Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Thought for Thursday 17 September 2015

“I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.  Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of Me as a testimony to them and the Gentiles.  When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time, for it is not you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.  Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of My Name.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”  Matthew 10:16-22 NRSV

I want to share with you a thought from my dear friend and mentor, John Farthing, who had some thoughts about our Americanized version of persecution: “Whenever we don't get our own way, we start to whine and complain that we're being persecuted for Christ's sake. That demeans the Cross.  It's like getting a mild headache and saying, "This is the cross I'm called to bear." 

It also demeans the real sufferings of our brothers and sisters who really are being persecuted for their faith.  American Christians haven't the slightest inkling of what it means to suffer for Jesus' sake.  Our witness is so anemic, so powerless, that the world doesn't take us seriously enough to go to the trouble of persecuting us

Why should the world persecute Christians who have capitulated so completely to the values and assumptions of this fallen world?  When John Wesley rode into town, there would often be mobs in the street waiting for him.  How long has it been since a Methodist preacher in America has had to face down a mob?   Maybe that's because Wesley was a threat to the status quo ... and we're not. 

And then we have the unmitigated gall to claim that we are being persecuted just because, on some political issue, we don't get to have our own way ...  We need to talk to Christians in China or Iraq or Syria, who know what it's like to be imprisoned or shot or beheaded for their witness to the grace of our Lord.

It's just embarrassing to realize that we've become so numbed by our own comfort that we don't even realize what persecution really is---and then we have the gall to claim persecution just because we don't get our way.”

I really do not think I can improve on that.  Pray for our truly persecuted brothers and sisters around the world who literally face torture and death and displacement because of their faith in The Lord.  And take each American day as the Gift it truly is – to be used to the glory of our Lord and for the benefit of those who struggle for worth and love and acknowledgement!



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