Persecution is just around the corner, but fear not.
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
I’ve written several articles about persecution against Christians around the world. In nearly every case the persecution came from Muslims. Today, I’d like to bring it home, to the increasing persecution of Christians in the U.S. The difference here is that the persecution is not coming primarily from Muslims. It’s coming from private American groups, our schools, and our own government.
In an article by veteran journalist, political consultant and pastor Michael
Carl, he highlights what is happening on an increasing basis across our nation. Children are being prohibited from writing Merry Christmas to our soldiers. Senior citizens in some facilities have been forced to stop praying out loud over their meals. The VA has banned the mention of God in military funerals, and numerous attempts have been made to have veterans’ memorials torn down if they have any religious symbols such as a cross. In many cases, the Establishment Clause is being misused to eliminate God (and any Christian influence) from American History and change our national identity.
In case you’re thinking this is old news, here are some facts you probably didn’t know:
• A federal judge threatened to incarcerate a high school valedictorian unless she removed references to Jesus from her graduation speech.
• City officials prohibited senior citizens from not only praying over their meals, but listening to religious messages or singing gospel songs at a senior activities center.
• A public school official physically lifted an elementary school student from his seat and reprimanded him in front of his classmates for praying over his lunch.
• The U.S. Department of Justice argues before the Supreme Court that the federal government can tell churches and synagogues which pastors and rabbis it can hire and fire.
• A federal judge held that prayers before a state House of Representatives could be to Allah but not to Jesus.
AS I SEE IT
Most of us have heard or read of incidents like these, but probably have not experienced the persecution personally. Well, sooner or later we will. According to the Liberty Institute, there can be as many as 100 new reported incidents (like the ones I’ve described) each month in the U.S.
The words of Jesus to His Disciples in Matthew 10 suddenly become more relevant to us. What He said would happen to them is beginning to happen to us and its only going to get worse.
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:16-22).
What we’re beginning to experience shouldn’t surprise us. Jesus warned us that this is simply part of following Him. It’s been going on elsewhere. Now, it’s here, and it’s going to get worse. We would do well to remember President Obama’s quote at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2012: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you (John 16:2-4).
Read the accounts of Jesus warning His disciples about what lies ahead, and you’ll read two words over and over again. Fear not. Over and over Jesus explains that what they will endure is part of the program. They are to trust Him and not fear men. Why should we trust Him when the world seeks to kill us?
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
I almost had a clairvoyant girlfriend,…But she left me before we met.