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Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

syrophoenician She is arrested in her approaches to Christ by the information that He will not see anyone. She is denied His presence, and then [finally] in His presence is treated with seeming indifference, with the chill of silence and unconcern. She presses and approaches, the pressure and approach are repulsed by the stern and crushing statement that He is not sent to her kith or kind, that she is reprobated from His mission and power. She is humiliated by being called a dog.

Yet, she accepts all, overcomes all, wins all by her humble, dauntless, invincible importunity. The Son of God, pleased, surprised, overpowered by her unconquerable importunity, says to her: “O woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt.”

Jesus Christ surrenders Himself to the importunity of a great faith.

“And shall not God avenge His own elect which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them?”

By illustrating in a parable, Jesus Christ puts ability to importune as one of the elements of prayer, one of the main conditions of prayer. The prayer [and fervent effort] of the Syrophoenician woman is an exhibition of the matchless power of importunity, of a conflict more real and involving more of vital energy, endurance, and all the higher elements than was ever illustrated in the conflicts of Isthmia or Olympia.

praying

There is neither encouragement nor room in the Bible religion for feeble desires, listless efforts, lazy attitudes; all must be strenuous, urgent, ardent. Inflamed desires, impassioned, unwearied insistence delight Heaven. God would have His children incorrigibly in earnest and persistently bold in their efforts. Heaven is too busy to listen to half-hearted prayers or to respond to pop-calls.

In the end, the [prayer] closet is not an asylum for the indolent and worthless Christian. It is not a nursery where none but babes belong. It is the battlefield of the Church… Importunity, it may be repeated, is a condition of prayer. We are to press the matter, not with vain repetitions, but with urgent repetitions. We repeat, not to count the times, but to gain the prayer.

“Men ought always to prayer, and not to faint…” -Jesus

When was the last time you were on your face in your own prayer closet? Interceding for souls, or simply adoring Him?

jailWhen were you on your knees as the “persistent friend” for those imprisoned for their faith in Christ?

widow

Pleading for the widow?

orphan The orphan?

IsraelIsrael?

The voiceless?

Quotes taken from the book, “Purpose In Prayer”.
By: E.M. Bounds

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…to be a bigger voice.  A loud one, if God so wills! I’ve been wrestling with a lot of issues as of late, but I always come back to this: being a voice for the persecuted. No matter what pulls at me, I somehow find my way back. Whether that be my husband’s illness, the inclinations of adoption, homeschooling, evangelizing the lost through the Gospel wagon or tracts, running my online shops, etc., all these things work to distract me at times, or just plain wear me out so that I can’t do anything else! It does take determination and focus to stay on this track, to do the will of the Father. I am confident that He has brought me into this ministry for His purposes and pleasure and I’m thrilled about that (and I strive not to deviate!).

I am priviledged in all of this to share in their sufferings even if that is a very, very small role. I will never forget that Jesus identifies so closely with the persecuted, that all persecutors are persecuting HIM. So any work I, or anyone else does, is for HIM. And that makes me happier than I can say to serve my first love.

So without further ado, I just wanted to post real quick that Afflicted4Christ has its own Facebook page. I never intended to have one, but it kind of just… happened. Now its here and I share it with you all HERE. Maybe it could be a meeting place for those who DO suffer and where they can share their stories and we pray for one another. Maybe even pray for more laborers in this ministry? Want to serve Jesus Christ through the persecuted with me?

May Jesus Christ bless you all with more of Himself,

Joy

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1. If you believe the Bible to be the perfect Word of God, free from error, completely true, absolutely living and able to transform lives, you are a fool. If you believe the Bible to be just an ordinary book with a lot of black and red writing, old stories about dead people and whales, you must be wise indeed.
 
2. If you believe that a man, named Jesus Christ, died at the hands of the Jews and the Roman government all the while claiming to be the Son of God, who claimed to be equal with God, who claimed to be God Himself, who claimed to have created the Heavens and the earth and every living creature in it, and believe what He said, you are a fool. If you believe Him to be just a good man, a very influential man, but not God Himself, then you are wise indeed.
 
3. If you believe that the Good News of the Gospel has the power to change people, that it gives people the ability to say no to sin, that it is able to take away their desires to ruin their bodies from smoking or drinking, that it gives them the power to stop lying, stealing, cheating, sex sin, lust, and that it implants a desire to be Holy like God, to be more loving and patient and more like Jesus Himself, that it gives the power to say, Hallelujah! those sins are taken away, I AM a new creature, and not like my old self, not like I used to be, then you are a fool. If you believe that you can still live how you want, that there is no need to change, that you should embrace all the endearing qualities that make you who you are, that you should stand for your right to assert your sinful lifestyle because its “love” to you, or welcome all the things that are unwholesome to God, then you are wise indeed.
 
4. If you share this Good News with others, this new life you can have by coming to a crucified Lord that was hung up on a jag of wood, in order that He give you the power to live right, to go from a sinner to a saint, to renounce sin and pursue holiness and purity and have wonderful peace and contentment doing it through His power, if you’ve been accused of converting people to a religion, or if you love going to church to hear about The One who died yet now is alive this very day at the right hand of the Father, you are a fool. Or, if you believe that followers of Jesus are using a dead man as a crutch in life, then you are wise indeed.
  
5. If you look back in the scriptures at the prophets, the apostles or the early church disciples and read about their lives, if you read about their shameful deaths at the hands of lions, being beheaded, ignited and burned on poles, crucified upside down, watching their loved ones die because they won’t renounce their love for this Jesus of Nazareth, if you read all these stories and envy them, consider them heroes of the faith, if you desire to seal your testimony just like them with your very own blood, you are a fool. Or, if you believe that you should live your best life now, live the American dream, look out for #1, live in prosperity, safety, conformity to the Jones’, or laboring to enter a cushy retirement fund, then you are wise indeed.
 
6. If you have nothing to offer society but a desire to see people saved, nothing to offer but a prayer for their salvation, nothing to offer but an ardent warning regarding eternal punishment and torment in Hell, or nothing to offer but God’s unspeakable gift that lies in His Son, then you are a fool. Or, if you are extremely productive, work everyday of your life and have no compassion on those looking for a “free ride” or your perception of that mentality, then you are wise indeed.
 
If you stand in the box labeled ‘wise’, in accordance with the above 6 points, then in the world, you are a wise human being. You are smart, hip and cool. You are relevant. You are a lover and a pursuer of knowledge. There is absolutely no need for you to be embarrassed about anything! You will die and your funeral will be a showcase encapsulating a supreme speciman of life. People and loved ones will mourn their loss for a great and special person who has passed away. Be honest, haven’t you ever wondered how your funeral will look, what people will say about you, how your legacy will live on or how you will be remembered?
 
I think about my death more than you know. I pray that at least one person will be sad that I have passed, and I know based on scripture that in the eyes of God, precious in His sight are the death of His saints. In the Bible, many of His saints were put to death some amongst a cheering crowd. People rejoiced when Christians were killed, and many times there was no one to mourn them. And, if there were, they wouldn’t want to be found out- they wouldn’t want to endure the same penalty for being a follower of Jesus so they grieved in silence. Even today, there are Christians who are killed in secret. No one mourns their death. The five missionaries to the Auca Indians in the 1950’s who were speared to death were buried in a tiny grave in Ecuador somewhere. “The most beautiful little cemetery in the whole world.”, was the quote from one of the wives. The world doesn’t recognize or otherwise wouldn’t know about great sacrifices as these for the cause of Christ, but God does. It is precious to Him! 
 
When your life is over, will your life be precious to God? Will He say to you, “Well done thou good and faithful servant. Enter now into the joy of the Lord.” Or, will He tell you to depart because He never knew you. What is more foolish? Living a life precious to YOU and in the end suffer for eternity, or live a life precious to God and be open to suffering for His cause now, and in the end for eternity live in the joy of the Lord?

This is what the persecuted church fights for. This is the message they speak. It is what they lay their lives down for in order that a special Someone be lifted up. In America, we can speak these truths and the worst that can happen to us is that we aren’t liked all that much. Maybe we’re even avoided. But in other countries were hostilities ring high against a “Western religion”, the persecuted church has to walk a very tight line or suffer for it. This message is so important, so crucial, so powerful, it’s even worth dying for. It’s a foolish message, a message no one can really understand until they come to the understanding that the eternal consequences for NOT believing it are too much to bear.

Last night, my eight year old astounded me. It was a pure example of God’s heart and I don’t say that lightly. It was as we laid in bed together watching the news. It was late, we were both tired and although I hardly watch the news, there was nothing else on to see, so we got stuck with Nightline. The reporter was in Egypt chronicling the riots and protests going on there. There was even a sticky spot that the reporter, who was a female, almost got into as she was interviewing whatever people she could in the crowd. In one clip, she was asking questions to a large group of Egyptian men, who quickly displayed their anger when one of them started telling her to get out of there. I don’t think she knew exactly what he was talking about until he said, “We hate Americans. We hate you. You must go NOW.” After a slow dawning of realization, the reporter immediately started to walk away- but not before this group really showed their anger and hostility which eventually lead to the newscrew car being damaged with rocks and fists.

In my mind, I was wondering why someone would have so much anger for a country he’s probably never been to, rationalizing that he probably doesn’t even know any Americans in real life and, most likely believes every negative thing he hears about America, case closed. Yet all the while I was thinking this, I was looking over at my beautiful little girl (she didn’t know I was watching her) and wondered if this man if given the chance to simply look upon her in her sweet innocence, would still have hate in his heart for her; an American. I considered the possibility that he still might have hatred even looking at her, and at that consideration, the mama bear side of my brain came out and I was instantly angry about it. So, to come up off it, I quickly changed the channel and suppressed the thought until it was gone.

After about 5 minutes (seemed longer than it was), and I had stopped thinking about the news, my daughter quietly said, “I love them.” Since I put the issue out of my mind, she caught me off guard and I genuinely didn’t know who she was talking about. So I quickly asked, “Who are you talking about?!” Not sure if she had dozed off or was talking in her sleep or what, I just wasn’t sure who ‘them’ was until she said the men on the news who hate us. Immediately guilt flooded my heart, she was right. What a Godly heart of great price she expressed! I said, “You are so right. What a Godly Spirit you have to love those who hate us.”

What was so eloquently expressed by an eight year old, through very little effort I’m sure on her part, convicted me and put me in reverential awe of God Almighty. It made me meditate upon the amount of love God has for us considering the truth of how He loved us first, even when we were His enemies. Even when we hated Him, He STILL sent His Son to die for us. He offered the peace agreement to us when we were still engaged, and continue to wage war upon Him. His astounding gift that we, as followers of Jesus labor to bestow to others, even at the cost of our lives, even when the danger is high and the odds are so very against us.

After my daughter said those three words, we took hold of the moment and made intercession in prayer on behalf of the men we saw on the news. We prayed for them to receive the opportunity to hear about God’s Good News in the sending of His Son, that the light of the glorious Gospel would be shone to them and that God would work in their hearts, to be receptive enough to accept this precious gift of salvation provided only through Jesus Christ. It is with this mind that I want to bring up my labors in why I do what I do…

Over the past month, I have worked really hard to put gifts in my shop on Etsy. I really want to put a spotlight on it because every purchase will go to helping the persecuted church. It helps those who are oppressed and afflicted physically and spiritually, it also helps their families when loved ones are in prison, it helps rebuild houses and families that have been torn down by persecutors, and it will help share the Gospel in the toughest nations on earth as it provides literature and Bibles to those who need it. It is with these men I wrote about, who hate Americans that I think about. It is them I want to reach with the Gospel! These are the people that need Jesus Christ more than anyone on earth- the hateful, the broken down and angry, the violent, the afflicted, the hurt. The Gospel turns lions into lambs and I know after reading story after story from brothers and sisters in Christ who beg for our help in countries like Egypt that I can help supply to them the tools they need to reach the people I never will.

After all, our greatest commission is to preach the Gospel to every creature. As a follower of Jesus and a laborer in His love, every single penny goes to benefit others. I do not take anything for myself. Ten percent goes to tithing in my own church that provides support to 25 missionaries every month, and everything else above that will go to VOM. As a stay at home mother, I praise God mightily for the abilities He has given me! He has supplied a way for me to have my own shop, He has supplied the materials in order that I have a product, He supplied the ideas of what to make and He supplied the time and the effort.

God and His unspeakable gift is worth being a fool for! 

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I can’t seem to get the javascript code for a gallery picture of my shop to work, so I have to use a link. Will you click below and take a peek? Help me help them…
 
  
Thank you for your time. I’ll leave with some sweet scripture to ponder…
 
1 Cor. 1:18 – For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
 
1 Cor. 1:23 – But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
 
1 Cor. 1:25 – Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men
 
1 Cor. 1:27 – But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
 
1 Cor. 3:18 – Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
_____________________
  
Serving Him, and those who serve Him, 
Joy

 

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Please pray for all restricted/hostile nations. Let’s remember the believers there and never forget the hardships they go through… 

Re-post from Persecution.com blog:

“Last week we shared with you the top ten list of stories that were prominent in the persecuted community.  Today I wanted to alert you to our friends at China Aid who have put together their top ten persecution stories in China.

Here’s the beginning of the article: CLICK HERE

In His Service,
Joy

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What a fun time Godstock was! I am so thankful that God allowed this event to take place. I’m also thankful for the leadership there who were happy to accommodate VOM by setting up a table (right in the front I might add! 😉 for me. There was a lot work that went into this festival and I anticipate their hard work will pay off to God’s glory, I really believe that. The photo I posted is a little low in quality since it came from my phone, but hopefully you can see it ok…

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Bibles were given out, beautiful music was being played, lots of smiles everywhere. Vendor booths with hand-made crafts, good smelling food (I was downstream as it were and my mouth watered the whole time!), it was really fun. I was able to make quite a few contacts, and a lot of people took newsletters. Some were surprised to even see a ministry like VOM. They did not know that there is a part of the Body of Christ that does not have the freedom to own a Bible openly, or that they do not have the ability to attend a true Bible believing church, therefore having to attend an “underground” house church in secret, or that they could go, or are currently, in prison for the name of Christ.

Some people realized perhaps for the first time how much peace and comfort American/“Western” Christians have in that we are tremendously blessed to worship Jesus Christ freely! This resulted in me hearing the word, “Wow” quite a bit and I was so blessed to be the one to tell them and ask for their prayers.

 I’ll admit that in the beginning of all this, I didn’t really know what I was doing! I worked diligently at maintaining a neat and orderly table and subconsciously prayed for the Holy Spirit to give me the right words as people came along. Of course, He was faithful as He always is and I was thrilled when a few conversations turned to how wonderful it is for Christians here in America to be able to share the Gospel without fear of persecution. For the most part as we all know, this country is in a lot of trouble spiritually, morally, economically, socially and politically. Depending on who you talk to, discussions can get very heated about all that is going on. But that didn’t happen here.

With some people, you could tell by the look in their eyes that they were reasoning within themselves which eventually bubbled over and spilled out into conveying how blessed we are to have the freedom we do! When you take a step back and realize that there are people who actually suffer for the things most of us take for granted, that is a whole different mindset! And it seemed to happen right before my eyes. I got to witness a sudden realization, almost an awakening if you will, and that has never happened to me before. And yes, the awakening came in that little word- Wow.

Sadly, a lot of Christians today are so caught up with what’s going on (and I’m no exception some of the time!) they are neglecting to set their affection on heavenly things. Don’t let the earthy, worldly climate of the nation deter you from your calling. Walk worthy of your vocation as commanded in Ephesians and while you are at it, get an understanding that walking worthy in some places of the world comes at a high price. The point I’m driving at is most of the persecuted church today realize there is nothing in this world worth living for, other than to tell others about Jesus. Because they know this world is not their home, it is not permanent and how we are all strangers and pilgrims looking for a city, a city God has made.

Heb. 11:16 – “But now they [those who put their faith in Jesus] desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”

So to those who are: 

Troubled on every side, yet not distressed;

Perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken;

Cast down, but not destroyed;

 

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake…

(The Apostle Paul writing to the church in Corinth, chap. 4, vs. 8-11a)

(Photo taken from VOM's Special Newsletter, 2010)

To those are on the run, cornered in on every side from danger, have lost a spouse, child or parent for the cause of Christ, don’t give up. God says that He is preparing a place for you. I believe Him (truth be told, it doesn’t matter if I believe Him or not, He cannot deny Himself) and I believe that He is your very present help in a time of trouble. We here in the states do not know what you are going through, but we are endeavoring to remember your affliction for His Name. I am laboring to be your voice, I am asking for prayer for you, I am seeking those whose eyes need to be opened to your plight, I am calling out for the Gospel to be furthered in us all. Mostly, in every circumstance I am purely seeking God’s ultimate glory through you, and through us. And none of what I am doing is possible without Him.

My prayers for opportunities have now come in His perfect timing and He is proven over and over again how faithful He is. Although I got impatient at times, I know that everything works out according to His purposes. There were moments where I questioned my involvement with this ministry because it seemed as if nothing would ever happen.

Nevertheless, what I couldn’t get past after much self-examination was my tears. Holding myself up to scripture was what kept me on the journey, the scrutiny of my heart and how I felt about those who were hurting for Jesus told me that I must keep going; to just keep waiting until God opened a door. To put it simply and bluntly, Jesus cares about the persecuted, and so do I. In fact, I care greatly. Actually, He cares more than I ever could and since I knew that I was desiring to carry out His will it means that if I ask anything according to it, He would give me what I asked for. And I praise Him today so much because of how He is answering my prayers for them.

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My utmost goal for you is to consistently and continually stir you up into praying for the persecuted. Your hearts need to grow for those who are hurting for our Lord, as does mine. You have tremendous capacity and ability to help me in this work. Even the basest, yet most powerful way of co-laboring, should be in prayer for them. They are worth your time. JESUS is worth it. Ask Him tonight what His will is for you regarding the persecuted church- He will answer.

  _______________________________

In the future, I’ll probably post less on the meetings and work more on covering stories of current day martyrs and persecution. I have been planning on building up a recommended reading list, so look forward to that sometime soon. But before I go, I want to throw in a couple tips for any other area reps who may be reading this, or are new and don’t have much experience (not that I have much, but everything is a learning experience!). These are just little helpful hints that I learned today.

If you have been allowed to set up at table and display materials for VOM at an outdoor event, here are some tips. 

  • Even if you’ve been assured a table, try to bring an extra table from home anyway. I almost didn’t get one because someone forgot to tell me I needed to bring it! Its just better to have it with you in case of an emergency, that way you are not without.
  • Don’t forget tape and extra pens. Pens for signing up people for newsletters, and tape so you can tape up global maps or posters advertising for action packs.
  • I have found that carrying everything; all the literature, books, newsletters, business cards, table covering in a big suitcase is helpful. You can just open up the case and start laying it out on the table. It’s more organized!
  • This is a biggie: wind can be a problem! Bring paperweights- could be anything heavy that is small and looks presentable, but not too sentimental in the event is flies off the table and breaks!
  • Make a small sign that reads, “FREE” and put it by the newsletters and program information packets. There were vendors there who were selling goods and I felt like people were passing me by because they thought *everything* I had was for sale, which wasn’t true. I constantly felt like I was trying woo people to the table by telling them most of my stuff was free when I could have saved my voice and had more people stop by if I just had a sign.
  • Having a global poster map in plain view was extremely helpful. It gave everyone an immediate view of exactly how many countries are either restricted or hostile. I don’t think many people know just how much of the world is against Christianity, so it was nice to have in plain view and be able to explain.

 

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In closing, I want to leave on this note in the event I’m not able to post again. I say this because no person is promised tomorrow, we’re not even promised another hour. So for those who don’t know Jesus Christ personally; listen to me, this world can dissolve into powder, this world can fall off its axis, this world could burn into vapor, but if you don’t know HIM you have a much bigger problem to worry about than what happens currently in “this world”. And if you’re living for it, you’re a fool! I love you, but you’re caring more about the temporal than the eternal at the detriment of your very soul. Do not trifle with your soul. Literal saving faith is so much more than simple intellectual assent. What I mean by that is anyone can just believe in God, but guess what? So do the demons; in fact, they tremble (looks like they appear to have a leg up on most of us!).

The reality is you can know the Truth, it is within your grasp. There are those who are willing to suffer and die for it its that important… Don’t harden your hearts, but listen closely to what the afflicted for Christ can share with you. Open yourself up enough to know what True Love really is:

 

And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. –Isaiah 32:2

 

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. –2 Peter 3:18

 

Until the Lord allows the next post-

Yours In Christ,

Joy

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A week or two ago, I received an email on CFC events possibly going on in my area. The email went out asking if there were any volunteers and I was naturally interested since I have yet to establish a speaking engagement. This particular event would have been for training in the area of how to promote VOM as a charity, of which I was really eager to know all about.

Unfortunately after getting the details in order and mapping it all out, the event was cancelled. So that is my bad news. But its really not that bad since most likely there will be another event in the future.

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The good news is that I will finally be

speaking at my church!

~~~~~

On behalf of the persecuted, I will present VOM to our Juniors on Sept. 12th. These will be children ranging from 5-13 which means I will have to rearrange my message a little bit to gear it towards a younger audience, but that shouldn’t be a problem. VOM’s Kids of Courage newsletter will be a great help to me and it will be my resource throughout.

I’m really excited about this, so please pray that my words will not be my own, but will be the Holy Spirit’s. My fervent prayer is that the children’s hearts will blossom open and envelop our hurting brothers and sisters in restricted/hostile nations much to the glory of our Father in Heaven. I firmly believe that the prayers of children often hold more power than those of some adults, I really do.

I’m going to go onto VOM’s web site to schedule the meeting. If you are in the White Lake/Waterford/Highland/Pontiac area, feel free to drop in!

Place: Oxbow Baptist, White Lake, MI
Time: Sept. 12th, 11am

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Once the meeting is held, I will post the results. Stay tuned!

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I have a sinking feeling that I’m going to be held accountable for what I’ve written in Part 1 from 7-13.

Ultimately I am responsible for the words, therefore I must live by them, correct? The old adage that says, ‘practice what you preach’ is creeping into my mind like a sneaky little rat. Or, maybe I’m just over-exaggerating and the Holy Spirit is simply suggesting that I clear a few things up!

Either way, as I sit here tonight I’m asking if I’ve done damage to the word, “suffer” or the word, “suffering“ in the eyes of my readers. I’m tossing this idea around that maybe I should have substituted it with the word, “persecution” instead. Why?

Because the definition of what constitutes suffering is in the eye of the beholder. 

Sunday morning, my pastor preached on suffering as a tool used by God to either; a) mature us, or b) discipline us (what are the odds he would preach on something I wrote about only a few days earlier. Not coincidence, but providence!). The book of first Peter was used a lot (as you can imagine). The pastor wondered out loud how many congregants there that morning were possibly suffering from financial difficulties… Or, in other words, how many of us in the pews were suffering over how our bills were going to be paid?

After hearing about the Nigerian massacre back in March, I have a real hard time with those who claim to suffer over finances. Now, there were more topics preached than just suffering over finances, but I have to ask: 1) is what I’m feeling righteous indignation and, 2) is it appropriate? I genuinely ask because I have a sense of conviction typing this right now. Could it be the enemy, or am I just flat-out wrong? Somebody help me, here. In some sick sense I know all about struggling financially; I’ve been poor by America’s standards just about all my life (I live in a trailer for crying out loud!).

And I’m not here to speak negatively in any way, shape or form about my church or its leadership. Please don’t think that because they have been there for me when no one else was. They never forgot about me, they have prayed for me many, many years. It’s the enemy that can take all the credit for wrapping those poor souls into believing LIES about our Heavenly Father. When you worry about how you will pay your light bill, or how your rent is going to get paid, get these verses sunk into the depths of your heart:

Jesus uses some strong phrases here that require obedience if you follow Him:

Matt. 6:24 – No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (or money).

25: Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26: Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27: Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28: And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30: Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31: Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32: (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 

I’m not a betting person, but I’ll lay a dime to a donut that the persecuted church lives off of these verses. It really is the air they breathe every single day. And to say we here in the states can struggle over finances or even material things smacks of disobedience to me. I don’t believe Jesus ever promises us cars or electricity or even a dwelling place:

Mt:8:19-20: 19: “And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” 

Basically, I believe Jesus is saying, “You can follow me, but I’m homeless. Are you prepared to face the same?

There may be those who disagree with me and what I am saying about these verses, however you can’t argue the fact that Jesus said had nowhere to lay His head that night. As far as I know throughout scripture, Jesus stayed with people or lodged in their homes as He did not have his own dwelling place.

We in America are living within the richest nation on earth. In fact, I read in a book (David Platt’s, Radical) that if you have your own dwelling place, a car, a refrigerator of food and a closet of clothes, you are 83% wealthier than the entire WORLD (I’ll get a more accurate quote when I get the book back- it’s loaned out to someone right now). Can you picture that? EIGHTY-THREE PERCENT of the earth’s population does not have what you have and unless you have a heart of stone, that is incredible! And until we experience the suffering the Nigerian Christians did, the loss of precious children and babies all because of their witness, I don’t think we can say we know anything.

Next on the agenda that I quickly want to touch on is our physical health. Our church prayer list has many people on it, greatly suffering with pain and terminal cancer. There are some very Godly people riddled with pain there, eagerly anticipating their heavenly homecoming because their time on this planet is limited. Many people on the list are more than just a name to me, including my husband’s grandmother who is very, very sick right now. Am I saying that their suffering shouldn‘t be recognized? Absolutely not, God forbid! Please know that in my heart I would never want to even touch that type of topic with intolerance or frustration. The thought makes me queasy!

The whole point that I was trying to make in the blog was that suffering for being a Christian specifically, is a whole other ballpark on a whole different planet. You will see below in what I’m going to tell you that counterfeit suffering for being a Christian does exist. It is with great regret that I didn’t include this in my last blog to further enlightened the audience as to where I was coming from.

I remember reading this article I’m about to talk on quite a few years ago and it has always remained with me. The article was about a woman who was high up in the ranks of her denomination as she had racked up some type of influence, and she was lamenting over how much she was suffering because of her religion. Why was she suffering? Because she was too knowledgeable about the Bible. Apparently, she was considered an “outcast” because she was so smart and no one wanted anything to do with her. Her spiritual family had labeled her a black sheep and now she was crushed.

I won’t go into what denomination she was because that is not important. Come to think on it, I don’t even remember where I read it. The important issue that remained all these years what that she was glorifying her intellect and not the person of Jesus Christ. And I’m thinking in my mind, if you are that smart about the bible wouldn’t you know this? Wouldn’t you know that you are to glorify Him, and Him alone? Unfortunately, the answer to those questions is found in 1 Cor. 2:14. If she didn’t have the Holy Spirit within her illuminating the scriptures the sad reality is she wouldn’t have known these things.

1 Cor. 2:14 – “But the natural man (the unregenerate man) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 

I don’t believe the scriptures were foolish to this woman, I believe she didn’t know them because she was spiritually blind. Most of all, I think we can be confident of this:

  • There was no glory given to the Creator,
  • There was no furtherance of the Gospel, and 
  • No person received the plan of salvation.

Therefore, her suffering was counterfeit. And I’m not saying these three things are pre-requisites, but you know what I mean. She glorified her pain and the tragedy of having a big brain (or not-so-big brain depending on your point of view) and not the person of our precious Lord.

That’s the difference.

 

Well, that’s all. Thanks for letting me ramble.

Yours In Christ,

Joy

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