S: John 167:32-33 “But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
O: Christians are being persecuted all over the world today. Today, Saeed Abedini sits in an Iranian prison because of his faith in Jesus. He made a cross out of paper and put it on his cell wall, but his jailors made him take it down. In solidarity, Brant Hansen is urging people to make a paper cross and put it on their Christmas tree to remind us to pray for him and to encourage him and his family.
In Syria and Iraq, Daesh has killed many Christians and chased the rest out of the territory it controls. In Nigeria, Boko Haram continues to kill Christians and even Muslims who are not for their murderous agenda. In Somalia and Kenya, it is Al-Shabaab.
Even here at home in Malaysia, Perkasa, Isma and even the government has threatened Christians, banned the Malay and Iban Bible, told Muslims that they're sinning if they wish us Merry Christmas, etc. Nowhere close to being as bad as Al-Shabbab, Boko Haram and Daesh, of course. But Christians feel the threats.
Hebrews 11 has a list of Old Testament saints who suffered much for their faith, saying “the world was not worthy of them.” In the New Testament, we have a huge long list of martyrs. from ancient times till today.
Yet, Jesus told us from the beginning, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” But he also immediately followed it up with “But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
As I wrote about 2 life journal entries ago, if we are in Christ, we have no longer any need to fear death. That's why Paul could say, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
A: So, as we face this world that of great evil and great danger, we can rest assured that
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
- Romans 8:31-39P: Father, when we feel afraid or anxious because the evil in this world, remind us of this truth. Keep us faithful and on Your path. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)