No Turning Back

 

www.transformstudent.org

It is an early Sunday morning, and my husband and I dress our babies in their Sunday best as we get ready for the day.  We easily eat our breakfast and then make our way to the car, equipped with seat warmers, to make our short drive to church.  We check the kids in to the nursery for child care where they get snacks and a bible story. My husband and I walk across to the worship center which is fully decorated for the New Year.  The lights and backdrop are fill us with warmth as we worship in cushioned pews, not batting an eye at how easy it for us to come together as a church family. 

If you live in America, this is probably close to the way your Sunday morning schedule appears, however, for most of the world, their way of worshiping God, on any given day, is drastically different. 

In Bangladesh, which is about 90% Muslim and poverty stricken, a Christian man walks 3 miles to church.  He fearlessly shares the gospel with many Muslims in his community, knowing that death is very likely if he gets caught.  

In Pakistan, a church is bombed by suicide bombers killing and injuring hundreds. 

In Nigeria, a church is attacked, the members are forced inside and the attackers pull out the pastor forcing him to watch his congregation burn to their death (which includes his wife and children). 

In Southeast Asia, police strip Christian’s identification papers if they do not recount their faith.  It strips them also from their ability to go to school, get jobs, as well as buy and sell. 

If we look at these stories it could be easy for us to say that those in America have definitely been the ones blessed by God because of the comfort in which we live, but what does Jesus say about those who are blessed?

 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:10) 

Jesus goes on to say,

“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matt. 5:11-12)

Who are the blessed?  Who possess the favor of God? 

It is those who are insulted, persecuted, and those who have been falsely accused of all kinds of evil. 

And why are these things happening to them? 

Because of Jesus!

He is the One who they have given their entire lives and have made the potentially deadly decision of no turning back.  It is like the old hymn goes, “The cross before me, the world behind me.  No turning back, no turning back.”  They see Jesus as priceless and as their most valuable possession. They won’t live a life of compromise for the sake of comfort and safety.

 And what should their response be to this persecution?  

They are to rejoice and be glad! 

WHY??? 

Because their reward in heaven is great.  Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Those who live for Jesus will be persecuted because the world lives in stark contrast to the truth, the way He taught us to live.  The world is under the kingdom of darkness and walking according to Satan’s power (Ephesians 2:1-3), so when we, who have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of Light, live our lives for Jesus, we will be persecuted. When we are persecuted, we can know that we are blessed.  

Let us look at the faithful bride of Christ all over the world and their testimony of surrender to Jesus despite horrible persecution and may it spur us on to live boldly  for Christ.  May we not shrink back from persecution, but may our lives reflect that of Christ who endured suffering.  May we not hide within our Christian circles, but may we go out into the world, shine our lights in the deep darkness, expose Satan’s evil and reveal true salvation for all men which is in Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life!

I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.

(These stories were taken from the Voice of the Martyrs Free Newsletters.  If you would like to receive these newsletters to better pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters)

 Holly is a former intern who is passionate about God’s Word and people knowing it for themselves. As a wife and a mother her goal is to find joy and holiness in the beautiful mundane of life.

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