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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Day 185: John 15:18 - 16:4 & Psalm 62 - Why Does the World Persecute Christians?

Today's Reading: John 15:18 - 16:4 & Psalm 62

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Why Does the World Persecute Christians? 

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. - John 15:18-19, ESV

Apparently, Dr. Eric Walsh is one of the latest victims of our culture's increasing intolerance for the Christian perspective. He was fired from a position with the Georgia Department of Health over sermons he preached on the weekends at his Seventh-Day Adventist church. Last year, Atlanta's fire chief, Kelvin Cochran, was fired from his position for publishing a Christian book. African-American Christians in public service are being fired for outspoken Christian positions on social issues in Georgia. 

Over the past few years, our culture has shifted from the language of tolerance regarding homosexual behavior and same-sex partnerships to an approach of absolute intolerance toward the Christian perspectuve on sexuality. If you agree with what God's word teaches in matters of sexual behavior, you can lose your job. You will almost certainly be called hateful names and probably have your life and safety threatened, too. 

These examples of persecution are mild compared to what many of our brothers and sisters around the world and throughout history have had to face. From the seizure of property to the burning of homes and from imprisonment to torture and death, faithful Christians often face angry and violent opposition from the world simply for believing in Christ and teaching God's word. Why?

Jesus said that no servant is above his master and that the world hates Christian because it hates Christ. But why would the world hate Christ, who came to heal, deliver and save? Because the darkness hates the light. The world was exposed for the fraudulent and evil system it really is by Jesus' perfect righteousness and holy purity. He spoke the truth and lived righteously, and for that He had to die. 

The hatred of the world does not need to cause us to fear. We have every reason for hope and peace in the face of opposition because God gives us His Holy Spirit, who testifies to us and through us. We can also rejoice in knowing that we are following in the footsteps of our Savior, and those footsteps lead to glory in the end. So let's keep following Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, testifying to His truth, come what may! 

Prayer Based on Psalm 62:

For You alone, O God, my soul waits in silence;
    from You comes my salvation.
You alone are my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.

How long will the world attack innocent men and women
    to batter them,
    like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
They only plan to thrust them down from their position.
    They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
    but inwardly they curse.

For You alone, O my God, my soul waits in silence,
    for my hope is from You.
You only are my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On You, my God, rests my salvation and my glory;
    my mighty rock, my refuge.

Let Your people trust in You at all times, O Lord,
    pouring out our hearts before You;
    You are a refuge for us.

Those of low estate are but a breath;
    those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
    they are together lighter than a breath.

Once You, my God, have spoken;
    twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to You,
    and that to You, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For You will render to a man
    according to his work.
Have mercy on me, according to the perfect work of Jesus, my righteousness. Amen.

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