Philippians 1:12-14 (New International Version, ©2010)
12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
What type of affliction are you undergoing as a believer in Jesus Christ? I would venture to say that very very few in the United States have really encountered true persecution, physical persecution, for the cause of Jesus Christ. About the most we ever have to worry about in this country is that non-believer who gives us grief at work, or that college professor that believes we come from apes. If you were truly faced with a decision of renouncing your faith in Jesus, would you stand up to the test?
One of the ministries that I link to on this blog is Voice of the Martyrs. The story of its founders Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand is a remarkable one. They were two Jewish converts to Christ who survived World War II and the rescue of Jews from the Nazis, almost giving up their lives in the process, only to be imprisoned for many years under the Communist regime in Romania. Richard was savagely beaten and tortured because he was bold enough to take a stand for God and His Christ. Their story is worth reading, and their ministry today spreads the message of the atrocities that Christians face in restricted nations.
I believe a time may come in this country where faithful Christians will be faced with the same trials and persecution that is faced by our brothers and sisters around the world today. If you are a true Christian, you know that the rhetoric coming out of the media and other places today is already setting the stage. Our faith is probably the most ostracized in the world today; all because a Jewish carpenter, who claimed himself God in the flesh, traveled the roads of the Middle East, healing the sick and comforting the afflicted, gave up his life as a sacrifice on our behalf, and then proved who he was by getting up out of the grave a few days later.
A time is coming when we will be imprisoned, put in chains, for believing in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. Will we be able,...will you be able to stand up to the test?
Photo by juliaf, 3-27-2007, from stock.xchng