I am persecuted. For nothing.
I am persecuted for nothing. I’m not bothered, harassed, or cast out.
No one around me is really persecuted either.
Some may want to say they are, but when we really look at it, they aren’t.
We aren’t threatened not to say what we believe for fear we will be stoned.
We aren’t dragged out in the streets and beaten as an example.
We aren’t taken in front of our families and thrown in to prison for calling another religion a lie.
We aren’t slaughtered in the streets for everyone to see as a demonstration of how things are.
No. We aren’t persecuted.
There are those who meet in secret in their homes and preach the Word.
They aren’t safe in their homes, but they have nowhere else to go.
There are those who pass pages of a Bible around from group to group to memorize because they have a better chance to keep hold of a single page than the whole book.
Can you imagine? We sit here today with Bibles in our laps (if you even bothered to bring one) and talk amongst ourselves about how hard it is to find time in the day to get around to reading it.
To be honest I can’t help but feel shame at this for I am just as guilty.
We sing and praise God for all he has done for us, but there are those that chase after Him more in a day than I muster in a year and they do it knowing that if they were found out they would see God.
Not because they felt his presence at the altar but because they would see Him face to face, the next casualty of those who disobey.
Laws are passed in the name of “anti-terrorism” that makes it illegal to evangelize outside of a church. Invite a friend to worship via email and the best you could hope for if discovered is a fine.
Worst is imprisonment.
We live in a world where upon meeting someone for the first time you learn their name, where they go to church, and who they root for in the football stadium. It’s almost an anomaly if you DON’T go to church somewhere.
Did it dawn on you that you were expected to participate in such a volatile activity?
Other countries would sooner kill you where you stood because of the threat you could be, but we treat it like a chore.
Do you feel dangerous? Do you feel like an outlaw? Do you look in the mirror and see the face of someone with so much power that you could topple countries?
Or do you feel like a fraud? Do you see someone who is just playacting to pacify their friends and family so they leave you alone about showing up on Sunday?
Am I being a little harsh? “Who does this guy think he IS anyway?” Well let me tell you:
I’m a guy who looks around and is tired of seeing dry bones.
When I read about a God who gives life and performs miracles and conquers death but see nothing like that where I go to see him, I get confused.
If God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, something doesn’t add up.
People stand up and say that God spoke to them. He delivered me from this and I used to be that.
Can God direct your steps? Yes, but where is the power?
If God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, then only one thing seems to make sense: WE are the problem.
Are we afraid to step out? If I’m bold will it sound like I’m chasing my own glory?
I had better not sing out too loud, I had better not speak to the new guy; I had better not make myself known…
Does this sound like the people we were called to be?
We are called fearless, bold, more than conquerors. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
No power comes through a move of God because no one steps out in His name.
We don’t know God well enough to know that when we he will be faithful to act.
Do we pray like we should? Don’t answer me this is rhetorical.
Reading the Word and prayer is the only way to know God.
Knowing God and having a relationship with Him will bless you with spiritual gifts and riches beyond what you can imagine.
Then you will see the power at work. You will see healing. You will see restoration. You will be a channel for the miraculous!
Stories from impoverished countries where persecution is real are heard today. There people in the face of adversity are seeking God’s face with all their might and signs and wonders cannot help but follow them.
Truth is, it’s harder here where things aren’t that hard. This is our challenge.
To get and keep a spiritual need for God so strong that signs and wonders follow US.
This isn’t done in the seminary, or in stadiums filled with thousands, but in prayer at home so intense you lose track of the time.
It’s in the study of the word that drives our need for God in our life that we could not go one day without it.
It’s in falling on your face and after nothing but praise shutting up and listening for God to speak.
To speak honestly, there are times when I wish for persecution.
That one day I will head to church and find that Christians are deemed a group that discriminates against the rights of others and Christianity is ruled illegal as it goes against people’s personal freedom to do whatever they want.
I don’t want there to be a day that people will only realize that they need God when someone tries to take Him away from them.
Until then, I am persecuted for nothing.