Thursday, April 23, 2015

It's Not What You Know, But Who You Know!

Look around you in the world today and you can't argue how drastically things have changed since you were younger. My husband and I have this debate all the time when our kids tell us how much finding a job is. No longer do people venture into a future place of employment and fill out an application. They are told to apply through the companies website. It's funny because if they are called, they are then required to fill out an actual application on paper as part of the hiring process.

In fact if you look at your current employment position now, that you probably got your current job based on someone you know. Isn't that true? Odds of finding a job right now in our city and most of the state is now based more on who you know than what you know. Interesting how things have changed from when we were looking for work so many years ago. Of course having someone who worked at the company was definitely an added asset, but know it's almost the only way to get in to a company.

Looking around at what is happening quite literally all over the world today, we see an increase in the amounts of people who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. Why is that? Why isn't there a freedom to believe in whomever you want? Why is there no beheadings for people who believe in Buddha, or Confucius, or Mohammed ?

It's because the same analogy applies. It's all in Who you know! There have been more deaths of believers in Jesus Christ in the 20th century alone, than in all the years before! How can faith in Jesus Christ compel so many people to willingly step out in their beliefs and die for what they hold to be true?

We know that it began with the death of Jesus Christ and the fact that He rose from the dead on the third day. It was that one significant event that will strengthen people to watch their children be torn from them, and have the most unspeakable things done to them and then killed in an effort to get them to deny Jesus, but they don't. Why?

Why the hatred by so many people to have the 10 Commandments removed for any public place? Why do so many want crosses or Nativity scenes removed from anywhere someone can see them? Why is the most popular piece of jewelry, the cross?

Because despite how much people try to deny there is nothing to Jesus Christ, or what He did, they can dispute the power of what followers of Jesus Christ believe. Jesus spoke in John 15:13 (NLT), There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends."

Jesus also reminded us that as followers and believers in Him, that we would suffer persecution as well.

Matthew 10:22 (NIV) ~ "You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved."

Proverbs 29:27 (NIV) ~ " The righteous detest the dishonest; the wicked detest the upright.

John 15:18 (NIV) ~ " If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first."

John 15:19 (NIV) ~ " If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."

2 Timothy 3:12 ~ "Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."

All 11 of Jesus's disciples with the exception of John, all died brutal deaths for the faith in Jesus. They would not change their belief even in the face of unspeakable torture and punishment. But Jesus also promises that there is a great blessing for enduring persecution to the end. 

Matthew 5:11 (NIV) ~ "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." 

1 Peter 4:13 (NLT) ~ "Instead, be very glad--for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world."

Luke 21:19 (NIV) ~ "Stand firm, and you will win life."

James 1:12 (NIV) ~"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him."

Let us continue to keep our brothers and sisters in Christ in our prayers every day. Let our hearts burn with a passion to pray and encourage our leaders in government to do something about the many people who are losing their lives every single day or suffering horrible persecutions because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Let us not grow weary in our efforts but let us move in the direction God has laid before us to stand firm in our faith, remembering James 1:2-4 (NIV), "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything."

Some great sources to help stay on top of the Christian persecutions are Open Doors which evaluate countries by their levels of persecution, or even The Christian Post. Just googling the term Christian Persecution will net you tons of links to what is happening that our news programs are failing to highlight.  

Lord Jesus, 

I pray for dear brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering so terribly. I ask that You will rescue them from your enemies and give them what you gave Paul: endurance to carry on in the face of evil - persevering until you bring them into your heavenly kingdom. For we ask this in Your Precious Name , Jesus, ~ AMEN!!!

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