A Life of Persecution

When you live according to God’s Word and seek to do what is pleasing in His sight and turn away from evil sometimes you will become a prey for others to laugh at or mock.

Isaiah 59:15 Yes, truth is lacking; And he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey.

If you are not being persecuted for the way that you live you need to ask yourself if you are truly living a godly life. The Bible says that you will be persecuted.

II Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

However, the Lord tells us that we are blessed if we are persecuted for being a Christian and for righteousness sake, which means, for living by God’s Word. Great is our reward in heaven.

Matthew 5:10 Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The Lord’s presence will come to you and rest on you. The sweetest time in your Christian life will be when you sense His presence. You will know then that it is all worth it if you know Him more and are drawn closer to Him through the fellowship of His sufferings, not to mention what He has in store in heaven for you.

I Peter 4:14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

He Himself will come to you and perfect you in your faith and confirm your relationship with Him. He will strengthen you and establish you when you may feel the weakest. After it is over then you will be more like Him and more holy in your behavior.

John 15:8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

There are three characteristics that the Lord said would prove to the world that He is Lord, that Jesus is God and that we are His disciples. It is through our holiness that the world is convinced that He is Lord, it is love for one another that we are His disciples and unity with other believers that Jesus Christ was sent from God.

John 17:23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me.

What do you do if you are persecuted? You pray for your persecutors. This is what our Lord commanded us to do.

Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Who is one of the most famous people that was a great persecutor but became a great Christian? Was it because the Christians prayed for him? Paul, the Apostle was zealous in His persecution of Christians and yet he became even more zealous for the Lord after his conversion.

Galatians 1:13 For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it;

God was glorified through the conversion of one who was once a destroyer of the church. Is there anyone who is persecuting you for being a Christian? Pray for them.

Galatians 1:23,24 but only, they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.” And they were glorifying God because of me.

 

 

A Life that is Debt Free

Jesus Christ came to set us free. He paid our debt to God and set us free from the bondage that we came into when Adam and Eve sinned. He redeemed us and paid the price for our freedom. One of the consequences of our sin is that we are in debt and Jesus paid the debt for our sin. When you forgive someone you release them from the debt that they owe you. Since Jesus Christ paid your debt and released you then you can release others from their debt to you by forgiving them. Jesus Christ paid their debt also.

Galatians 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

When we sin then we become a slave to sin and are held captive until Jesus Christ sets us free. When you sin against someone that guilt or debt ties you to that person. You can deny your sin to yourself but that is why you can not get the person out of your mind. You wronged them and that binds you to them. You are in debt and in bondage. Your guilt is like chains. Satan has you as one of his captives because of your sin. He accuses you and your guilt weighs you down in mind , soul and spirit.

John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.

Jesus came to give you liberty and to release you from being a captive. He came to set you free from the oppression of the devil. Satan will oppress you first through your thought life and then he will deceive you and tempt you to sin. When you sin then you are held captive to him. A tormenting cycle is his design for you and it is only the beginning.

Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed,

Only Jesus Christ can set you free because He is the only One who has the power over the devil. He paid for your sin on the cross and He has ransomed you.

Romans 6:6,7 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.

Just as Christ died on the cross and was raised again from the dead. So, we too, who belong to Jesus Christ was crucified with Him so that we too might become free and walk in newness of life. We no longer have to sin or give into temptation or carry around the guilt and debt of our sin. We have been set free to live a life of freedom. Freedom to do what we ought and not to be held captive by our sin and failures, which leads to bondage and death. The outcome of sin is death.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

The life which you now live is by faith in Jesus Christ. It is no longer you who lives but Christ lives through you. He can and will love through you. He came that we might no longer sin against others but learn to love one another.

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

The Lord paid the debt of your sin and set you free to love one another. Love is also setting others free from their debt to you. He has called us to love and to forgive. He can and also will forgive through you.

Romans 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

Are you in debt to someone for your sin against them? Ask them to forgive you. The Lord has forgiven you but they need to release you also. Forgiveness is the promise never to bring it up again. The Lord never brings up your past debts to Him and when you forgive someone then you have released them also from their debt to you.

A Life that Is Prepared

The Lord wants us to be prepared for Him, just as a bride prepares herself for the bridegroom so we are to be preparing ourselves to see Him. The Lord is preparing a place for you in heaven if you belong to Him and He wants you to be prepared to see Him face to face.

Matthew 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

The Lord has prepared you for glory. Are you prepared to see Him? Blessed are those who prepared themselves to meet their Master.

Romans 9:23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,

You can not even imagine all that the Lord has prepared for you. Do you love Him with all your heart? Are you one of those for whom He is preparing?

I Corinthians 2:9 but just as it is written,Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

He has prepared life for you here on earth and eternal life for all eternity. He has given His Spirit to you as a pledge of the life to come.

II Corinthians 5:4,5 For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.

He has prepared work for you to do that is good. He wants you to be ready for the good works that He has prepared beforehand for you to walk in them. If we do what He has prepared for us here on earth then we will be prepared to see Him face to face.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

You need to cleanse yourself from the former things that were yours in your ignorance and put on Christ, so that you will be a vessel for honor, set a part for Him and ready and useful for what He has prepared for you.

II Timothy 2:21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

Just as a bride prepares herself for the bridegroom so the Lord wants us to prepare ourselves to see Him, who is our bridegroom. We are His bride and a bride cleanses herself and then she clothes herself with her clean and beautiful clothes. Our clothing will be the righteous acts or good works that the Lord prepared for us so that we would be beautiful and ready for Him. He has made us ready for Him if we will only prepare ourselves to see Him by being obedient to what He has called us to do, which are the righteous acts that He wants us to walk in.

Revelation 19:7,8 Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

To sum up, if we do what He has prepared for us here on earth then we will be prepared to see Him in heaven. He has done everything to make us ready for Him.

A Life Not Forsaken, Judged or Condemned

The Lord came so that we might have life and it is an incredible life that He has given to us. We will spend eternity thanking Him. We are not forsaken…

Hebrews 13:5b for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”

…because He was forsaken for our sakes.

Matthew 27:46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

We are not judged, if we believe in Him…

John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

…because He was judged. He took the judgment for our sins.

John 3:18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

We are not condemned…

Romans 8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

… because He took our condemnation that we deserve.

Romans 8:3,4 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,

We are not dead, because He made us alive together with Christ, if we have put our trust in Him.

Ephesians 2:1-6 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

We live because He lives and we will spend all of eternity thanking Him.

A Life that Calls

From the very beginning the great men and women of God, who lived by faith, called on the Lord. The wicked do not call on the Most High but look elsewhere for help.

Genesis 13:4 to the place of the altar which he had made there formerly; and there Abram called on the name of the Lord.

The incredible privilege of being able to call on the Creator of the universe is what makes Christians so unique. The Lord has made us a people for Himself.

Deuteronomy 4:7 For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him?

The Christian life begins with calling on the Lord and the Christian life is a relationship where we continually call on Him. He says that whoever, which includes everyone, calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Romans 10:12,13 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

He tells us to call on Him when we are in trouble and He will rescue us. Has He ever rescued you? Did you honor Him by telling others what great thing He has done for you?

Psalm 50:15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”

Full repentance involves turning from your sin and turning to the Lord and calling on Him, that He might have mercy on you and save you from your iniquity.  Iniquity is  what your sin is called of wanting to be your own lord, by going your own way and making your own decisions. Once you repent from your iniquity then He will save you from your sins, which are all of the foolish acts, words, thoughts and offenses against Him.

Jonah 3:8 But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands.

The Lord wants you to call on Him so that He can show you great and mighty things.

Jeremiah 33:3 ‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

Where are you in your calling upon the Lord? Do you call on Him every morning before you start your day or have you become weary in your walk and no longer call on Him as you did earlier when you first came into your love relationship with the Lord?

Isaiah 43:22 Yet you have not called on Me, O Jacob;
But you have become weary of Me, O Israel.

The Lord longs to hear from you and waits for your call. Just as a parent, who loves their child waits for their calls when they are away, so your heavenly Father is waiting to hear from you.

Psalm 4:1 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.

He will answer you and He will hear your call. He loves you and longs to hear from you. You will find strength that you did not have and boldness in your soul.

Psalm 138:3 On the day I called, You answered me;
You made me bold with strength in my soul.

A Life that Is Found

The Lord says that the one who seeks finds. Just make sure that you are seeking the right things in life.

Matthew 18:11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

He came to seek and to save that which is lost and that is us.

Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

There is great joy in heaven when one of His sheep is found. We too, if we belong to Him should greatly rejoice when there is one who repents and comes to Him.

Matthew 15:3-7 So He told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the [b]open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Do you still think about how He saved you? Is it still your favorite story of when the One who loves you so much found you?

Luke 15:10 In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

You are His treasure that He left heaven so that He might find you. He was rich but became poor so that He might buy you back. You were bought with a price and that price was the precious blood of Christ. He sold everything that He might gain you. He paid for the field that He might have you. If you were the only one on earth then He still would have died for you.

Matthew 13:44 The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

You are His pearl of great value. He died for the whole world so that you could be bought. He paid for the sins of the whole world so that you might come to Him and belong to Him.

Matthew 13:45,46 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

You are the good fish if you have come to Him. There will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth when those who belong to Him are separated from those who do not belong to Him. You may think that it is not fair but He died for you so that you might belong to Him and be saved from eternal hell. Come to Him now while you can.

I Corinthians 7:23a You were bought with a price;

You were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ. He appeared in these last times for your sake, that you might be found in Christ. He is coming again to claim His own. Does He have a claim on you?

I Peter 1:18-20 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you

 

 

 

A Life that Seeks and Finds

The Lord says that the one who seeks finds. Just make sure that you are seeking the right things in life.

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

There is only one treasure that is worth more than all the other treasures on earth and heaven and that is Jesus Christ. He is the pearl of great price. He is the One who is worthy of our seeking and He says that He allows Himself to be found.

Matthew 13:45,46 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

The Lord tells us to seek Him continually and not only that but to seek His face, that is to seek to know Him and to please Him. When His face is towards us it means that He is pleased with us and His favor is on us.

Psalm 105:4 Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face continually.

Those who want to know Him will want to live in His presence, to behold His beauty and to meditate on Him.

Psalm 27:4 One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord
And to meditate in His temple.

This truly is a time of grace because the Lord has offered Himself even to those who do not seek Him. If they turn to Him they can still find Him.

Isaiah 65:1,2 I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me;
I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me.
I said, ‘Here am I, here am I,’
To a nation which did not call on My name.
“I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people,
Who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts,

If you have tried to live life on your own and think that you know best and have followed your own thoughts then turn to Him now while He may be found. He is gracious and abundant in mercy. He loves you and gave His only begotten Son so that you would not perish but have eternal life.

Deuteronomy 4:29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.

You will not be disappointed if you seek Him. You will find Him if you seek Him with all of your heart. The day will come when you will not be able to find Him and will regret that you had not sought Him. You have today to turn to Him with all of your heart. Today is the day of salvation.

I Chronicles 16:10 Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad.

And, again…if you seek Him, He will let you find Him but if you forsake Him then He will reject you forever.

I Chronicles 28:9 As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.