Early Christians had to suffer various kinds of persecution. They were beaten, imprisoned and insulted. They were also dressed in animal skins and used as prey for the dogs and the lions in the Coliseum to entertain the ruling class in Roman society. Eleven of the twelve disciples were martyred. We here in America know little or nothing about being persecuted for our beliefs. Until recently, we have enjoyed true freedom of worship and religious expression. That is changing now, Christians are being forced out of their jobs because they refuse to accept immoral principles that are in direct conflict with our Biblical beliefs. We need to stay in prayer, studying God’s Word and encouraging one another. Jesus told us that the time was coming when we would be tested
9 “Then they will hand you over to those who will torture and kill you. All nations will hate you because you are committed to me. 10 Then many will lose faith. They will betray and hate each other. 11 Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.–Matthew 24:9-11 (GW)
We already see this happening in many parts of the world. But remember what Paul said to encourage us. If we remain faithful. God is faithful to do what He has promised.
11 You will make known to me the path of life;In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. — Psalm 16:11 NASB
In our busy, busy world, we often think about just getting away from it all. Just go somewhere and relax, where we don’t even have to think about anything. Perhaps, at some time in the past, that was possible (I doubt it), but, not now. Why? Because we take everything with us. It fits easily in our pockets, it is lightweight and it is our umbilical cord to the world. We think we can’t live without it. I posit that we can’t truly live with it. It is time to cut the cord and relax in the arms of Jesus. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life.” So, to experience life, we must experience Jesus. To experience Jesus, we must spend time with Him, both in quality and in quantity. Time with Him and Him alone. While we do need time away from our jobs with just the family, we need time away from everything and everybody with just Him; Our God is a great God and a good God. Yes, we need to fear (as in respect) Him for who He is, but we also need to understand that He loves us and longs for our companionship. He longs for us to be focused and fully dependent on Him. So, if you are looking for real life, real peace and real joy, run to Him, curl up in HIs lap, marinate yourself in His presence and just experience His love. You will never want to leave that spot. It is totally impossible to live a life of joy and peace without being completely addicted to Jesus.
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” — Matt. 11:28-30 NLT