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Psalm 44

Vs. 1-8 teach the new generation why God is King and victory is with Him;

Vs. 9-16 bemoan the punishment meted out by God against His own people;

Vs. 17-26 confess to God His punishment has worked!

Regardless of whether this Psalm fits into the history of Israel, it certainly is a foreshadowing of what was to happen to Christians in the 1st Century. Read on.

Verses 1-8: The solemn obligation upon parents is to teach their children what God has done in the past (Old & New Testaments) and how appreciated He must be in the present and future! The summary mentioned here covers the Books of Joshua & Judges. The Psalmist, understandably, desires such victories again, but not by national strength.

Verses 9-16: Something seems to stand in the way to keep this from happening. God appears to be letting the enemies win, but to no profit (verse 12). This “shaming” of God’s people by those who are not God’s people is of great concern, and only God can change it (verses 13-16).

Verses 17-26: Through it all, God’s people have not forgotten God (verse 17), but have been faithful to Him (verse 18), even to their near death experience (verse 19). There are 2 ways to leave God: 1) forget Him; 2) replace Him. Either way, God would know their thoughts in their hearts, therefore the truthfulness of their declaration (verse 21). Jesus Christ is described as having this quality of God in Revelation 2:23. “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession” (Hebrews 4:13-14). What’s done in Vegas (or everywhere else!) is never hidden!

Verse 22 is quoted in Romans 8:36 as describing the 1st Century persecution of Christians (Acts 8:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16). If, as Paul argued, Jesus died to save those baptized into His death (Romans 8:32; 6:1-17) and now intercedes in Heaven on their behalf (Romans 8:34), then “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect?” (Romans 8:33).

Verses 23-26 appeal to God to act on behalf of His persecuted people while they are beat down to the ground. There are those “who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble” (Mark 4:16-17). Such afflictions shouldn’t move us. “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7). “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:10-13). Christians don’t go after their enemies, like some, rather they ask God to go after them – and He does!

 All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #faith, #persecution

Revelation 9

Reading the commentaries on Revelation chapter 9 will make you dizzy. They all feel compelled to find historical figures to plug into this chapter. Since they all have different ones, the reader finds it hopeless. I tend to think that the visions are more timeless than specific. The spiritual war with Satan and his forces will always be with us.

The book showers comfort on the Saints of John’s day and the Christians, Jews and Romans are backdrops. Yet, the overall theme is much larger, encompassing the entire spectrum of spiritual existence. We must be careful not to become lost in the morass of imagination when we study Revelation.

The locusts are the power of Satan and those who do his will. They bring havoc to the world but they are limited in their power and scope. Thank the Lord that He is always with us (Hebrews 13:5) and has prepared an eternal place of comfort for us (John 14:1-6)!

#heaven, #persecution, #revelation, #study

Daily Nudge: your persecution

Maybe we’re asking for a bunch of no-replies today, we’ll see. Have you ever been persecuted, or otherwise made fun of, because of your faith? Tell us about it, what happened, the situation, what you were doing.

Persecution is the norm in some places, happens on and off in others, but in some places, hardly at all.

Jesus said it would happen, Paul, too, not necessarily from governments, but from family. Then, let’s not forget persecution from religious people. Yes, it happened then, too. At the beginning of the Way, the Jews persecuted Christians.

The subject is on my mind, since we read Acts 7 yesterday, and are to read Acts 8 today.

I do not pray that God will spare you. I pray he will give you strength and courage to continue doing his will and evangelizing in the midst of it.

#courage, #nudge, #persecution, #religious-conflicts

Persecution? – JAM

Here is something new: students of a New Mexico church youth ministry were disciplined for leaving doughnuts with religious messages in teacher’s lounges at Roswell high schools. The twenty-five students received school disciplinary action of detention or suspension. The official reason was quote “showing kindness”. Maybe the teachers prefer croissants or bagels. I bet the police department would receive them with no complaint. More and more American society is becoming hostile to any and all Christian witness. Maybe the teachers would have been less reactive if the doughnuts had been jelly-filled. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess

#faith, #hostile, #just-a-minute, #persecution

Mexican preacher threatened

Carol Short in Ohio sent me this on Facebook:

Received this from our church secretary. Please share this with others, prayers needed for these folks in Mexico: Juan Martinez, a minister in Mexico supported by the Nederland Church of Christ (in the Beaumont area) has requested our prayers. His family must come up with 50,000 pesos, or they all will be murdered. He is not asking for money, just prayers for him and his family’s protection.

Does anybody have any more information? There was no date or other info on this.

#mexico, #persecution, #prayers

Persecuted for Righteousness Sake

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10).  There is a big difference in being persecuted for being a Christian and living by the Word and having people angry at us for being bullies. If we violate Ephesians 4:15, we have no right to claim persecution.

The Apostles were persecuted because they stood up for the Word of God. Countless others have, as well. Yet, we know of those who speak the truth with venom and then lift themselves up as victims when the screaming starts. It is abominable to stand with Christ with such an attitude (Matthew 5:44).

If we do, it won’t be long before we begin preaching our own word alongside the truth. Satan will gladly help us along until our word become predominant, so he can pull more people away from God. Let us never allow our emotions to become his weapon!

#love, #persecution, #preaching, #sermon-on-the-mount

An Unforgettable Story of Faith

Mike Brooks has given us an unforgettable story of faith, courage and resolve in Bangladesh. Destitute brethren refuse to back down after their meeting place is repeatedly burned. Read this amazing story and share with others.

#courage, #forthright, #missions, #persecution

The lamb with wolves

At the first sight or stir of wolves, the lamb runs to the shepherd. That I do as well.

Surrounded by wolves, the lamb does not bare teeth, but its best defense is its humility and innocence in the midst of malice and arrogance.

The lamb is slain and comes to life again. By the power which raised Shepherd and lamb, the hand of God leaves the wolf whimpering in the corner, wounded mortally.

And the lamb goes to a party.

#lamb-and-wolves, #persecution

“In addition to all this, on the last d…

“In addition to all this, on the last day of the games Blandina was again brought in, with Ponticus, a lad of about fifteen. Each day they had been led in to watch the torturing and were urged to swear by the idols. Furious at their steadfast refusal, they showed no sympathy for the boy’s youth or respect for the woman but subjected them to every torture. Ponticus was heartened by his sister in Christ and bravely endured each horror until he gave up his spirit. Last of all, the blessed Blandina, like a noble mother who had comforted her children and sent them on triumphantly to the king, rejoiced at her own departure as if invited to a wedding feast. After the whips, the beasts, and the gridiron, she was finally put into a net and thrown to a bull. Indifferent to circumstances through faith in Christ, she was tossed by the animal for some time before being sacrificed. The heathen admitted that never before had a woman suffered so much so long.”

An excerpt from a horrifying letter preserved by Eusebius (A.D. 260-339), sent from brethren in Gaul to brethren in Asia Minor during the latter second century, documenting the merciless persecution saints were enduring in what is, today, France. It puts our own troubles in a different perspective, doesn’t it?

#church-history, #eusebius, #persecution