PERSECUTION

…intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. —Galatians 1:13

It is reported in 2011 that there are 105,000 Christians martyred each year http://www.christianpost.com/news/shocking-figures-reveal-105000-christians-martyred-each-year-50976/. About every 5 minutes a follower of Jesus Christ is killed.

Many of those who kill Christians actually think they are doing the will of God. What they do not realize is they are in “the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (II Timothy 2:26). Saul, before he became Paul, “began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison” (Acts 8:3). “Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples” (Acts 9:1 and headed on a week’s journey to Damascus to bring men and women who where following Jesus back to Jerusalem as prisoners. He said, “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities” (Acts 26:9-11). But the Lord Jesus appeared to Him and said, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 26:14). Saul, who thought He was doing the will of God in persecuting the church, was actually doing these things against Jesus. But, praise God, Saul trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior and went from a great persecutor of the church to a great preacher in the church!

Down through the ages there are those who have persecuted the church and said it would go out of existence. Voltaire said Christianity would be gone in 100 years… His home was used to print Bibles and distribute around the world! Ingersoll said the Bible would be in the morgue in 15 years. He was in the morgue 15 years later and his desk purchased by a Pastor where he spent his life writing sermons on it. Nations around the world have and are seeking to destroy the church. They confiscate and burn Bibles and Christian literature. They burn churches and yes, they kill those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ. This is all done just because people love Jesus and the persecution comes from those who hate Jesus.

Jesus said, “I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Matthew 16:18). People need to understand this, “Anyone who harms you harms my most precious possession” the Lord has said (Zechariah2:8). What will be the end of those who kill believers and do not repent? We get a glimpse of how those killed feel about it in Revelation 6:9-11— “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters were killed just as they had been” (Revelation 6:9-11). The Lord says, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay” (Romans 12:19). May many of those persecutors come to Jesus before He judges them!

Dear Father, please intervene in the lives of many of those who persecute Your people.

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