Posts Tagged ‘persecution’

“The Love of Many Shall Wax Cold”

February 6, 2020

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We are living in days when much of Matthew 24 is being fulfilled before our very eyes. Certainly we are reaching that place in history where the Christian faces hatred and betrayal from even his own fellow countrymen, for taking a stand on the truth of God’s Word. Have you ever felt that you have been given “the silent treatment?” You try to understand why this is so, to no avail, not fully realising the extent to which there is a natural and very strong enmity between those who truly know the Lord as Saviour – and those who do not.
“Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Mark 13v12&13)
Spiritual wickedness currently resides very much “in high places.” (Ephesians 6v12) And many individuals have now all those characteristics mentioned in 2Timothy Chapter 3. Savage attacks on defenceless individuals on public transport and elsewhere shows a lack of “natural affection” but this is also portrayed on another level, with many having become cold, unloving, callous, uncaring, even “mercenary” in their attitude to the plight of life’s fellow travellers. Sadly these traits and lack of warmth have taken root in those who would once have made a profession of faith. We are living at a time in history when the love of many is waxing cold because iniquity abounds. (Matthew 24v12)
Whatever is going on in our lives right now, we can be sure that “offences will come.” (Luke 17v1) Jesus said: “ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” (Matthew 24v9) Paul echoes the words of Jesus when he says “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2Timothy 3v12)
“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matthew 24v13) The secret is to abide in Him by faith and though we may be cruelly slighted, we continue (in His strength) to love as He loved. Our short lives will soon be past history but we love and follow Him, letting our hearts be filled with love (and grave concern for) the destiny of souls, regardless of how those individuals are mistreating us.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2v5-8)
The Lord knows, sees and understands everything in His children’s lives, including when they are unfairly treated, for “what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” (1Peter 2v20) Someday we will be rewarded for patiently bearing that which we could never bear outside of Him.
We journey on, showing love for hate, sincerity for ridicule, caring for coldness – for we follow in the footsteps of He “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled , reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” For were we too not once “as sheep going astray?” But, praise God, are “now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls” ((1Peter 2v22-25) In this great knowledge, we love and pray on for those who are facing a lost eternity, in these “the last days,” when “perilous times shall come.” (2Timothy 3v1)

Marvel not if the World hates you

December 31, 2019

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I sincerely believe that as Christians, we experience much antagonism when we are being active in the Lord’s service and as the years go by we will naturally feel increasingly like an “alien” in this world. “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” (1John3v13) We are not to be shocked by personal vicious attacks upon us – by virtue of the very simple fact that we are on the Lord’s side.
In this world there is no middle ground; we cannot “straddle” the narrow and the broad road. “Choose you this day whom ye will serve,” (Joshua 24v15) Either we are on the Lord’s side or we are not – and when we are on the Lord’s side we can be assured that we will feel like “fish out of water” in this world and the world will most definitely hate us.
Jesus said: “I have given them thy word; and the world hateth them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17v14) I have been guilty recently of “marvelling,” when really I shouldn’t be at all surprised. I honestly feel that many unregenerate people aren’t even aware of this antagonism within them or the fact that they serve an evil master – and that master hates those who serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
Marvelling and feeling shocked and hurt are human reactions, of course, but we must go in the strength of the Lord and continue to love those souls who are outside of Him and for whom He died. The deep wounds we sustain can be prevented from “festering” when we rest in Him, in the knowledge that He too was hated. He knows all about it and there is nothing in our lives that He is not aware of. How He cares deeply for us and looks with compassion upon us as we tread this earth, as strangers and sojourners.
Let us be encouraged, as we march on by faith to “a better country, that is, an heavenly.” (Hebrews 11v16) “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Hebrews 11v8-10)
Like Abraham, we may not know what the journey ahead consists of but we know that we look for “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (2Peter 3v13) We set our sights on that place while on this brief journey which is sometimes fraught with trouble and we can leave our positive mark for time and eternity, in His strength. How amazing to someday meet the prophets and the apostles of old, as well as precious loved ones who have gone before us… but infinitely more marvellous will be to meet the Lord Jesus Christ who died for us and made it all possible. It will be worth it all!

Where is Youcef Nadarkhani?

October 8, 2011

A global day of prayer has been called on Sunday 9th October for this young man, Youcef Nadarkhani who has already suffered so much. He was originally charged with protesting but later the charges were changed to apostasy and the Evangelism of Muslims. Anxious to carry out the death sentence in Youcef’s case, the authorities have come up with new charges of rape and extortion, although there was no mention at all of such charges in the original documents. Now we are told that a verdict will be delivered in his case on Monday (10th) next.

The words: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake,” (Matthew 5v11) came to mind when I first learned of these new charges.

Youcef has remained loyal to his Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, for how could he deny He who went to Calvary to purchase his salvation?

“The time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” (John 16v2) I sincerely believe that the persecution which we are currently witnessing in Iran will someday (perhaps sooner that we think) become a worldwide phenomenon and only those who are walking closely with the Lord will be able to endure such persecution.

Much to the consternation of the Iranian authorities, the eyes of those in power in the international community are now focussed on this case and it is unanimously agreed that these new charges are ‘trumped up.’

Please continue to pray for Youcef in the knowledge that, whatever happens, the Lord will have the last say in the life of His servant. Pray too, for his wife, his children, the members of his congregation and for other anonymous souls who have been imprisoned for their faith throughout this country with its evil regime.

So, where is Youcef at this very moment, as I write? Is he still in the secret police security prison in Lakan, where he has been held in solitary confinement – or (knowing that the Iranian authorities are capable of such things) has he been taken away and hanged secretly?

I just don’t know but I will continue to pray, as the Lord leads, in this ongoing horrific situation.

And I do know that wherever Youcef is, he is in a safer place spiritually than the most supreme religious ruler of Iran… because no one is safe in this sinful uncertain world, as long as they have not yet repented of their sins and trusted in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.

24th February 2012… The lastest news on Youcef  is  that  an order for his execution has been signed. Please pray for him and his loved ones and make representation on his behalf to the Iranian Embassy in your country. But mostly – continue to pray.