Bible verses to build your life on
Jesus said: whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock ~ Matthew 7:24
A brief study on persecution
After I sent that last brief study out, I had a couple of friends ask me about persecution and wasn't it a part of a genuine Christian's life. So, here are their questions, and I plan to answer below them...
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I am in complete agreement that we should not be entertaining ourselves in these evil days! For sure! My family (me, hubby, two boys) are found at abortion mills weekly and we also hand out tracts wherever we go. People are hungry! We have had many very good conversations with people.
I just believe that the rain will fall on the wicked and the just and we are going to be persecuted and perhaps even martyred for our faith, don't you? Even in the scriptures you mentioned I see we will face trials and that they will increase our hope (Romans 5, I believe). Are we talking around each other?
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I have some objections/questions. (Don't worry, I'm a pleasant person to disagree with.) :D
2 Timothy 3:10-12 (King James Version)
10But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 11Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
John 15:18-20 (King James Version)
18If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
Being hated and being persecuted "comes along with the package" when one chooses to take up their cross and follow Christ. If Jesus (who was perfect) was rejected... wouldn't we (who are imperfect) be in the same boat too? Is that not what the above passage implies?
Of course, I am really interested to hear what you have to say. :-)
Keep studying the Word, bro. Hope you guys are doing well.
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So, first, I need to mention that they are both right about persecution being a part of the life a genuine disciple of Jesus Christ. In other words, if we are truly following Christ, those who know the difference between right and wrong and choose to do what's wrong (scoffers) will mock us and/or try to harm us in one way or another, to keep us from reminding them of the truth. You can see this much more so in countries like Saudi Arabia, China, many countries in Africa, and quite a few other countries. For them and many recorded in Scripture (Acts, Hebrews 11), and the 'Book of Martyrs (which is also an inspiring book to read, though can be tough sometimes), persecution was a life-changing event ~ as in, if they choose to follow Jesus, that means that they will be hunted down and killed (except that God intervenes in many of those situations). But, that is just one of the costs of following Christ, and that is one of the reasons Jesus warned us to count the cost - so for many outside our country, choosing to follow Christ means a certain death, and possibly a quick one. Another thing many of those new believers outside the US face is harsh rejection, especially by family. When a person decides to follow Christ in a Muslim country, when the family finds out about it, they have a funeral for them, and pretend they are not alive anymore - while the men watch for them to murder them. Here in the US, we are so comfortable, we barely know what persecution is like. I mean, we are so pampered, we complain when we don't get our way in the little details. I mean that as 'us' as a culture, and 'us' as individual followers of Christ - me included. we need to keep learning on that... but then, I'm getting ahead of myself....
So, here are a couple of verses on persecution being a certain part of the life a genuine believer and follower of Christ, in addition to the ones you saw above.
"And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it -- lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:27)
There are so many verses on persecution, and it being a matter-of-fact reality for the genuine follower of Christ, but, I'll only list a few here and then the other references I found, and post the rest of the verses after the note.
"But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls." (Luke 21:12)
a few verses from Jesus' prayer for those who were following and those who would follow later: "I have given them Your Word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth."
are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom
of Heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all
kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad,
for great is your reward in Heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who
were before you." (Matthew 5:10-12)
>> Please don't miss those words: "great is your reward in Heaven".
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word,
immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and
so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises
for the Word's sake, immediately they stumble." (Mark 4:17)
>> This passage is specifically talking about the seed sown on stony ground, and it shows the certainty of persecution, and how some will turn away and stop following Christ because they were not willing to count the cost.
(Also, please see at the bottom of this note for: Matthew 5:44-46; Matthew 10:23-33; 1st Peter 4:12-14)...
So, back to the subject of my previous email I sent out previously, as they said we were sort of 'talking around each other?'... but, I do apologize for the confusion. As you can clearly see, persecution will be a part of following Christ, or if are a follower of Christ, then you already see that it is a part of your life. And it is a necessary and precious part of the life a believer, because that it is in times of persecution, that we grow closer to God, with a much richer fellowship. And the more passionate you are in following Christ, the more you will see persecution and rejection. Doesn't sound fun? I agree, but it goes back to why are you following Christ in the first place, or are you not really following Christ yet? Is it possible you are just hanging around, like the 2nd and 3rd soils described in Matthew 13?
But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. (Matthew 13:20-22)
Please, if you see yourself in those verses, don't wait another day to surrender every last drop - every square inch of your life to Jesus' control! I'm convinced that the reason some people only think about what they can get from God is because they have never realized how much they lost the first time they chose to knowingly rebel against God. You see, if we were innocent people making mistakes, then God could overlook that, and would. But, the first time you and I knowingly told a lie, disobeyed and dishonored our Dad and Mom, coveted something, stole something, lusted after someone of the opposite gender, we lost EVERYTHING! It's sad, but true. We lost everything - we, in effect, knowing what God says is right and wrong, said to God 'I know what You want me to do, but I'm going to do it my way', and threw our opportunity to be perfect and our ability to go to Heaven on our own away. In that moment, we lost everything. We need to remind ourselves of that from time to time, because we can tend to forget in this selfish, self-centered culture. Remember, Romans 5:8 reminds us, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." The word there in the Greek for 'sinner' is literally 'reprobate, enemy, rebel'. So, while were still enemies of Christ, He died for us, which gives us hope and that is our hope! And just like it cost Jesus everything on the cross - everything... it will cost us everything to claim His free gift of paying our fine for us. That's the other cost of following Christ - 2 cost (that I'm aware of): forsaking all and following Him, and persecution... And that's the costs we need to really think about to see if we want that. And, since none of us know our time, I highly encourage you to make sure that you are a genuine disciple of Christ, so you won't hear this when you go through Heaven's gates and stand before God's Throne:
everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but
he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day,
'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name,
and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never
knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'"
>> The word 'Lord' there could be literally translated 'Master'.
Also, a quick note: No hypocrite will be in Heaven. That is why Jesus challenged His hearers again and again to strive to enter the Kingdom, and let nothing stop them.
and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 24:51)
>> Please note, the hypocrite's judgment is certain, even if they ignore it now. I pray that none of you my friends are one - (until 7 years ago, I was one). And I pray regularly that God would keep teaching each of you, as He is with me, teaching us more about us, more about Him and His Word, and more about what it means to be a genuine, passionate disciple/follower of Christ, who will not be ashamed at His return.
Jesus warned His hearers to: "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)
Now a slight change of subject...
In the previous 2 emails on persecution, I had been talking about the 'New World Order' slaughter of Christians, which is why they have built 800 FEMA 'camps', with at least 100 underground and the rest above. (You can google that if you want, there is a lot of info out there...) The greedy global bankers (aka 'Elitists') are serious about wanting to install a one-world-government, one-world-currency, and a one-world religion, and they are rapidly working toward their goals. But, they have a problem: the Holy Spirit that holds their molecules together is resisting their plan, until after the rapture.
So, can there be persecution in this country before the rapture? Yes, and to a certain extent, it seems likely. Will these 'Elitists' be able to slaughter all of the Christians that oppose their evil deeds, and set up their one-world-government (aka 'New World Order') before the rapture? No, not according to Scripture. With that said, I should mention that because the Holy Spirit is restraining * the NWO system until after the rapture, we as followers of Christ (who have the Holy Spirit in us) need to be opposing it too ~ if nothing else, in prayer, asking God to tear their evil deeds down, and bring them to justice, as well as continuing to pray for those in our country who call themselves Christians - that God would bring them to repentance and teach them what it means to be a genuine disciple of Christ. We all know that the false religion: evolution, is hurting many, and so is their 'new age' false religion, as well as their 'immorality' education and the witchcraft they teach our kids and push through the entertainment industry. Those are things we need to pray concerning and ask God to show as lies from the devil - and, because we know He hears the prayers of those who follow Him, then we know that He will answer those prayers because they are in keeping with His Word.
I hope that made sense. If it didn't, please ask me to clarify, and/or please share your comments. Thank you!
* "For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way."
So, in conclusion, let me leave you with 2 short parables that consistently challenge me ~
"Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it." (Matthew 13:44-46)
>> So, what motivates you in the morning: pleasing Christ, or gaining man's approval and/or gain earthly treasures and enjoying worldly selfish pleasures? That's the kind of questions that keeps me growing in becoming a living sacrifice for Jesus Christ.
So, any thoughts? Any questions? Any comments? ~ I'd love to hear them!
I'm working on a number of other Bible study topics and I hope to send out parts soon.
ttyl, your friend and
a servant/life-slave of Jesus,
Other verses on persecution:
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:44-46)
"When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in Heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in Heaven..." (Matthew 10:23-33)
do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as
though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you
partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also
be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ,
blessed are you, for the Spirit of Glory and of God rests upon you. On their
part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified." (1st
>> Please don't miss those words: "blessed are you, for the Spirit of Glory and of God rests upon you..."