Monday, February 27, 2012

The Persecuted Church


This morning the persecuted church is very much on my heart. The Lord had me up in the night praying for the situation in Iran with Pastor Yousef and His precious family and others. Here in the nation of Canada for the moment we live where there is freedom to practice our faith. We do see however that the enemy is trying to bring restraint on just what one can preach out their bible when it comes to certain topics. The love and fear of the Lord must be paramount in a person's life and the fear of man must be kept under our feet.

My heart is troubled for our brothers and sisters in China, Iran and many other places in the globe where they are suffering deep persecution for the gospel of Christ. What would it would be like to live in a country where anyone could pound on your door in the middle of the night and just haul you off to some unknown place and torture you. This happened to one precious woman in China as they tried to get her to denounce her brothers and sisters. Truly she was suffering the sufferings of Christ for her faith in Him. She did not relent and give in but with the grace of God she held ground.

Which brings me to the spirit of compromise that is so prevalent in much of the church today. Could we stand if persecution comes one day to our nation as it is in China or Iran. Years ago when first saved I heard a brother speak about persecution and all it did was scare me. Now I am mature and can look at it in new light. The bible tells us that all those that live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. We read about the sufferings of Christ. Do we even discern the Lord's body and move beyond our own needs to the needs of others? Are compassionate and understanding when one part of the body suffers for when one suffers we all suffer with them!

How is your relationship with Jesus? Is He your first love or have you over the years you have allowed other things to come between you and your Lord? Perhaps it is your work, another person, it could even be material things or your ministry. Do you have enough of the Word of God hidden in your heart to bring you through rough times? I am a firm believer in the need to memorize scripture and in retrospect would that I had memorized more when young and became a new believer. It is never too late to take the time to learn a scripture a week.

We must realize that the body is not just those in your group, your family, or ethnic background but it is truly made up from all the nations of the earth. Precious brothers and sisters who have heard the gospel and accepted the finished work of Jesus on the Cross. His blood was shed for you and me and for all mankind and we are seeing as we have seen through ages past that there are those that have and will continue to pay a high price for serving Jesus. They have seen that they are not of this world and that there is no price paid that will not be worth it in the end. They will obtain a better resurrection.

Let us turn our hearts towards the persecuted church, sit down with Father and hear Him. I know they are on His heart as He had me up praying for them in the wee hours of this morning. Ask Father God what is your part in this and He will show you. Let us stand with our brothers and sisters in the persecuted church today.

32And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
 33Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.
 34Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
 35Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
 36And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
 37They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
 38(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
 39And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
 40God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. Heb. 11:32-40

Patricia Hamel
February 27, 2012