Suffering For the Gospel

MONDAY

 
This week we will look at the scriptural perspective of persecution.  As I contemplate my ministry in eastern Europe I am struck by the number of young believers (mostly under 20 and between 15 to 18 years of age) who face persecution for their faith. They do so willingly and their joy in the Lord is undiminished. Most of the kids with whom I have ministered thought long and hard about making a commitment to Christ. They were aware that along with having the penalty for their sins removed eternally they would most likely be losing cherished relationships with family and friends, and face persecution from these same people.  Currently I am praying for the well being of a man in his 40’s with whom we have lost contact over the past few weeks.  He had to flee his homeland (a Muslim republic with the former Soviet Union) less than five years ago after he converted to Christianity. His father was the local Islamic leader and well respected in a larger community. He has been training at the Moscow Bible College for the past two years and graduated last May with the desire to return home and plant a church. When he returned he was not immediately greeted with hostility but several weeks ago the police came to his house and ‘beat’ him up for converting from Islam to Christianity, saying that such a thing should not and does not happen in an Islamic country. Still, his wife and children are believers and his father and mother are close to converting – a powerful testimony if it occurs of the power of God to change a heart toward Him. But, we have lost contact with him and pray that we will be able to reconnect, and that he will continue to have a powerful proclamation of the Gospel in his community. This man knew what to expect if he returned home to proclaim the Gospel. Yet, when he was in my class he expressed eagerness to share the only message of hope with his people regardless of the cost to his physical wellbeing. I wonder if we in America will be able to boldly proclaim and embrace the consequences as my brothers and sisters in Christ have done in the former Soviet Union.

 

NAU 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory cyou may rejoice with exultation

 
NIV 1 Peter 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

  
KJV 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

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