Joy and Respect in Times of Persecution

IMG_0551

I am filled with comfort; I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction.
2 Corinthians 7:4

I hear so many say they are afraid of the government. The Bible says more than 365 time do not be afraid or fear not. Trust God, if we are in his love than we are safe. Be in fellowship with God, pray to God and trust God. God will take care of you. (I am not promising fortune, wealth or a pain free life) God will make sure your needs are met and bless you with a joy that only comes from God.

Paul wrote his letters to Timothy after being thrown in prison by the governing authority for spreading the gospel. He was not receiving healthcare, he was being starved to death. Paul pleads with Timothy “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity”. (1st Timothy 2:1-2)

The deplorable conditions of U.S. prisons would have probably seemed like paradise compared to the hole in the ground Paul was locked up in. It was a literal hole, a pit, when he wanted to go to the bathroom he squatted and it was never cleaned out, men would be standing ankle deep in excrement. “Its appearance is disgusting and vile by reason of the filth, the darkness and the stench.”(http://www.dl.ket.org/latin2/mores/legallatin/prisons.htm). Still Paul managed to plea for compassion and prayer for the governing authority and all men. He didn’t pray for ‘men who agree with us’ or ‘do good things’, Paul wrote to church leaders and said pray for all men.

Paul doesn’t say use Righteousness indignation to hate those who do bad, he says treat them with love and kindness so your actions can an example and bring people to the grace of Jesus. Paul doesn’t say some Christians are acting poorly you should act with hate. While in prison, starving, standing waste Paul pleads “Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.” (1 Tim. 2:8)

In Romans Paul tell fellow believers to “respect authority”. He doesn’t say ‘if authority respects you and leads with your values’. Paul says to respect authority as Christians were being persecuted by the government. Nero was king during that time, it is widely believed that Nero wanted to remodel Rome but lack the money, so he set the city on fire. Nero then blamed Christians for the burning and tormented them, burning Christians alive to light his gardens.(http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/txt/ah/Tacitus/index.htm) No, I don’t think Paul was rallying for the Roman government. I think Nero’s tyranny and wrath probably saddened and scared Paul. Yet, Paul said to respect the governing authority. I’m not sure I would not be as gracious as Paul. I’m sure I want to follow his advice and his example.

Jesus asks even more of us. He tells us to forgive our brother 70 times 7 times.(Matthew 18:22 & Luke 17:4) Jesus pleads we don’t hold offenses against eachother. Jesus forgives all our multitude of sins, the least we can do is forgive those who upset us.

Sincerely with,
Humility Mercy Grace

Luke 12:22-32 NASB
[22] And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. [23] For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. [24] Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! [25] And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? [26] If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? [27] Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. [28] But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! [29] And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. [30] For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. [31] But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. [32] Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

2 Corinthians 7:1-7 NASB
[1] Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. [2] Make room for us in your hearts; we wronged no one, we corrupted no one, we took advantage of no one. [3] I do not speak to condemn you, for I have said before that you are in our hearts to die together and to live together. [4] Great is my confidence in you; great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort; I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction. [5] For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within. [6] But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus; [7] and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more.

1 Timothy 2:1-8 NASB
[1] First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, [2] for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. [3] This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, [4] who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, [6] who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. [7] For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. [8] Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.

Romans 13:1-14 NASB
[1] Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. [2] Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. [3] For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; [4] for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. [5] Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. [6] For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. [7] Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. [8] Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. [9] For this, “You SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” [10] Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. [11] Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. [12] The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. [13] Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. [14] But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Matthew 5:22-25 NASB
[22] But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. [23] Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, [24] leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. [25] Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.

Matthew 18:21-35 NASB
[21] Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” [22] Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. [23] “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. [24] When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. [25] But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. [26] So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ [27] And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. [28] But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ [29] So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’ [30] But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. [31] So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. [32] Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. [33] Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ [34] And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. [35] My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”

Luke 17:1-6 NASB
[1] He said to His disciples, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! [2] It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble. [3] Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. [4] And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” [5] The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” [6] And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.

Sincerely with,
Humility Mercy GraceIMG_0551

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s