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Posts Tagged ‘persecution’

They had prepared their slings and arrows fashioned from their outrageous fortune and had used them with intentional force.  It was premeditated.  It was a set move.  It was nasty. Sometimes in life we feel like we are set up to fail, that no matter how much we stand up for what we believe, we end up sitting right back down.  There is a paradox in fighting for justice, what is right and true, and then, turning the other cheek, as Jesus did.

stickstone

Persecution takes many forms, usually its the subtle acts orchestrated by the enemy, often through people, places and events that are designed to throw you off track, get under your skin, and make you feel angry and then revengeful.  How we deal with these irritations is important.  Sometimes we need to speak up and sometimes silence is the best offensive weapon. How often though do we race ahead without acknowledging that the battle belongs to the Lord.

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. ~Exodus 14:14

I have often been persecuted and insulted for my faith.  Mainly the subtle stuff – the blank looks, the whispers, people apologizing for swearing in front of me (what’s with that?) and the scattering of people when I walk in the room.  All this is good.  Really.  It means that people maybe just recognize something in me that looks a bit like Jesus.  This is what I’m aiming for and it helps me to know that I’m on the right track.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. ~ Matthew 5:11

What I do know is this.  We are blessed when we are persecuted – it means that we are on the right track.  We are blessed because we serve a very big God.  We are loved by God and that is all that matters.  Persecution does not define us – it just points to the road we are walking, the narrow road. Other people’s harsh words are really just sticks and stones. God’s word on us is final and defines us.

So what about you my friend?  Have you been persecuted lately?  Here’s a harder question. Are you someone who is persecuting someone else, but you would never admit to it? If you are, what will you do? Maybe sometime this week, here or somewhere share your story, it may just help someone recognize that they are blessed and that they are on the right road.  Perhaps you could pray for those who you know that are on this journey.

Definition

I am not defined
By what you think of me
My reputation matters not
As it flows out with the sea

The content of my character
Is chiselled by the sea
As the Master works his plan
And his purpose just for me

I am not defined
By what emotions capture me
This is just the way I feel
And not my reality

Your words hold no power
No judgement over me
I break the chains of bondage
As Jesus set me free

So say and think what you like
Your storm in your cup of tea
Your hollow judgement
Holds no verdict over me

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Out of the blue it came, like a lightening bolt.  They had prepared their slings and arrows fashioned from their outrageous fortune and had used them with intentional force.  It was premeditated.  It was a set move.  It was nasty. 

Unless you have been living in the Amazon jungle for the last month, you may have noticed that I have published a book. I’m no marketer and you may have already been the subject of my social networking book promotion more than once. Sorry about that, but this is all new to me. You’ll see a copy of the book if you glance quickly to the right. Have a browse later on and buy one.  All the proceeds go to a micro financing project in Cambodia.

In this book I describe my journey of faith through poetry.  It is my story and it is personal.  I had expected some criticism and some push back from those who just don’t get why I would do this.  Why I would bear my soul in a book, then promote it and sell it for a worthy cause.  I get why people wouldn’t get this.  I also get that they would share there opinions – some more directly than others.  I expected this and I was prepared. 

I have often been persecuted and insulted for my faith.  Mainly the subtle stuff – the blank looks, the whispers, people apologizing for swearing in front of me (what’s with that?) and the scattering of people when I walk in the room.  All this is good.  Really.  It means that people maybe just recognize something in me that looks a bit like Jesus.  This is what I’m aiming for and it helps me to know that I’m on the right track.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
~ Matthew 5:11

What I was totally unprepared for was a trident of three premeditated and planned attacks from people I had a huge amount of respect for.  These people are Christians, followers of Jesus.  We have similar beliefs and values.  We are all writers and express our faith and actions using words.  I admire these people.  These are the people who sent me separate but clearly joint attacks about my book, about my over promotion of it, attacks about me as a person, and that I should just go back to where I have come from and be quiet. All of this of course, they claimed was in love.  Strange way to show love. 

Initially I was stunned.  Then I slowly began to recognize this for what it was.  The messages, not the people, were the evil one’s attempt to derail me, doubt myself and my God, and doubt what I was doing. 

It. Did. Not. Work. 

Sometimes as a Christian I despair, I think we need saving from ourselves. No wonder people don’t see the point of going to church. No wonder they see such hypocrisy.  It’s because it’s there and it’s real. None of us are perfect, I’m sure not.   I really believe that Christianity needs saving from religion.  I have prayed for these people, that they would see through their words and use the eyes of their heart.  This is what Jesus calls us to do.

But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you ~ Matthew 5:44

Will they be on my Christmas Card list?  Probably not.  Do I still admire their work and think they are great writers?  Absolutely.  Do I or should you be surrounded by these type of people? No.

What I do know is this.  We are blessed when we are persecuted – it means that we are on the right track.  We are blessed because we serve a very big God.  We are loved by God and that is all that matters.

So what about you my friend?  Have you been persecuted lately?  Here’s a harder question. Are you a follower that people need saving from? If you are, what will you do? Maybe sometime this week, here or somewhere share your story, it may just help someone recognize that they are blessed and that they are on the right road – just maybe with the wrong people.  Perhaps you could pray for those who you know that are on this journey.

Lord, Save us from your Followers

I expected persecution
From those who have no tomorrows
But not from those who shoot their arrows
Lord, save me from your followers

I expected misunderstanding
From those trapped inside their sorrows
But not from those who sling their stones
Lord, save me from your followers

I expected slings and arrows
From those with who never lend nor borrow
But not from those who serve you God
Lord, save me from your followers

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