Friday, November 8, 2019

Praying, Trials, and Persecution, Part 1

I will be the first person to tell you that I don't like trials.

I don't want persecution. I'm a coward. When I read about some of the things people have gone through for the name of our Lord, I just say, "Lord, I don't know if I could do it. Please never let me deny You!" And then I remind Him, "By the way, I would really prefer to not suffer persecution." Like I said, I'm a coward.

But persecuted believers around the world say over and over again, "Don't pray that our persecution stops." Unbelievable! These people are super saints. That should be Super Saints. That is absolutely the first thing I would pray for.

But I've been thinking and studying about this a lot recently and I have become convinced that we should be praying to be prepared for trials and persecution. When they come we should not be taken by surprise and we should be ready to meet them in a way that glorifies God.

I want to be a One Person person 
--Jesus Christ and Him crucified

I came to this line of studying in what my family calls "chain link" thought. (They actually use it as a joking pejorative for some preachers who don't seem to know where they are going and one thought leads to another.) Here's my chain:
   - I read Rosalind Goforth's book, How I know God Answers Prayer
   - I decided to study through the verses she had at the end on the Secret of Victory
   - This eventually brought me to John 15 on abiding and bearing fruit
   - Verse 2 talks about God pruning those who are in Christ and bear fruit so they can bear more fruit
   - Pruning is often done through trials. 
   - Persecution is definitely a trial.
   - So if I see that I will have trials, how can I be ready so they have the desired outcome of more fruit?

Whether God uses small everyday trials, rejection by the world, or outright persecution, I want to be ready. 

In the United States, and in much of the Western World, we have not experienced much persecution. Yet. Our nations in recent history have been founded on the basis of freedom of religion. However, today, I see that this is moving more and more toward freedom from religion. Consider these few signs I have heard just in the past few days:
  • Teen Challenge, an organization founded in 1959 to help detox drug addicts, has accepted state licensing and funds and therefore is now limited in it's ability to share the gospel, the basis for helping addicts
  • All the Democratic presidential candidates support homosexual marriage and many want to censure churches that will not perform these marriages
  • California signed into law a bill that will force public colleges and universities to provide free abortion inducing drugs for students up to 10 weeks of pregnancy starting in January 2023
  • A Canadian father was ordered by a court to change the pronoun he used for his 14 year old child who was born a girl.
  • In my own experience, I took my two three year old granddaughters to story time at the public library and the librarian read a book celebrating the marriage of two men.
I definitely don't want to get political and I don't want to be a one "issue" person. I want to be a One Person person--Jesus Christ and Him crucified--living the life He wants me to live, following Him in every area of my life. So as I stand up and say that in a world that is increasingly against everything He stands for, everything He taught, and, yes, against Him Himself, I will be persecuted. It could be as simple as someone refusing to speak to me or spreading the story that I'm "intolerant." Or it could get much, much worse.

That is why I think I need to prepare my heart, my life, my soul and my spirit for trials, troubles, and persecution. Jesus said it. "In the world you have tribulation." But He didn't end there. He continued, "But take courage, I have overcome the world." John 16:33 If He is the One who has overcome, I need to know Him through the Bible and prayer and be ready to walk with Him through whatever may come.

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The next few posts will be about what I am learning about how to prepare my heart for the future which will hold trials, problems, difficulties, and possibly persecution. Please walk with me through this. As you read through my posts, consider how you can talk about these things with your children. A friend recently told me, "We are not raising children, we are preparing adults." What a great way to look at parenting. Are you preparing your children for the world they will enter?

Also in this series:

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  1. So glad you stopped by and I checked back and had a chance to read this. This is very spot on and you're right that we seem to compliment each other a bit today. Thanks for this insightful reflection about the value of trials from a slightly different angle than what we often hear.

    Have a blessed weekend!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read this, Pam. I have learned a lot from this study.

  2. Thank you for posting this topic in your blog. It spoke to my heart as well since the Lord brought this topic up in my life recently. I read a book called "Faithful Unto Death" a story of 15 young people who were martyred for Christ during the 1500's. It was so strange compared to how we live today. I thought if I lived then instead of today how would I have been in their shoes? The Lord answered me through His word that He would give me the grace and the power to endure the trial. 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Colossians 1:9. God bless.

    1. Yes, God promises grace for when we need it, so I we don't need to fear our response, just abide in Him!



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