Suffering

Persecuted Christian! They Cannot Eliminate You

Image credit: Ben White, on Unsplash

Ever felt hurt, dejected or demotivated when people have persecuted you because you are a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ? Take heart from the Bible – I too have. Let me begin with a portion of Scripture:

1 Peter 4:12-14 says:
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 

Think of the martyrs who have shed blood and sacrificed their lives for the sake of the Gospel. Be thankful that you are at least alive. And while you are alive, get equipped to not just preach the Gospel boldly, but also be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will give you the power to demonstrate the Kingdom. If you preach the Gospel with signs following, unsaved people will lose most (if not all) of their resistance to the message that you bring. It will be clear who reigns – Jesus Christ the risen!

People who persecute others can, at the most, kill – but not eliminate – the victim. The spirit of the born again Christian will personally go to Heaven at death. In fact, positionally, you are already in Heaven if you are born again. So any which way you take it, your persecutors cannot eliminate you. In my view, your safest bet to minimize persecution and maximize your impact for the Kingdom is to operate in the way that Jesus operated. And he not only preached the Gospel of the Kingdom – he also healed the sick, raised the dead and cast out demons. Ask God to give you the power needed to do the same. According to the Bible, the key to getting filled with Holy Spirit is this, as stated in Ephesians 5:18-21

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 

When the religious people of Jesus’ day tried to attack him physically, he escaped from their midst every single time. He knew that the time had not yet come for him to be hung on the Cross. So, with the Holy Spirit’s ability, he could escape unhurt, untouched. If we keep renewing our minds to the Word of God – the Bible – and keep preaching with signs following (or at least attempting to do so in obedience to the Bible), we too will be able to avoid being persecuted more than God allows us to be.

According to a preacher that I respect, Bro. Curry Blake, as you develop the reputation of being a warrior for Christ, demons will trouble you less. They will look for a more opportune time. But every time, you can beat them. So brother/sister! Keep reading the Bible, studying the Bible, meditating on its verses, and doing the Bible. There is nothing that comforts you more than Scripture. and there is nothing that gives you greater hope and strength. Above all, forgive those who persecute you. Encourage others by sharing your experiences overcoming persecution, in the comments section below, and offline too!

 

Posted by Ketan Rindani in Born-again, Christian, Gospel, Holy Spirit, India, Life Issues, Persecution, Prayer, Sacrifice, Suffering, 0 comments

Is This the Last Christmas Before the Rapture? Part 2


In the previous post in this two-part series, we saw how the Pre-Tribulation Rapture would affect one’s life as a Christian. It is especially exciting to see how your life as a Christian should be (or already is) just in case the Rapture happens mid-tribulation.

Mid-Tribulation Rapture

Mid-Trib proponents believe that Jesus will enrapture the Church (every human who is born again) halfway through the 7-year tribulation. So we believers will be spared the second half of it – a.k.a. The Great Tribulation. So what happens if the Rapture happens mid-trib?

The Negatives:

  1. Believers would have to face the first 3.5 years of turmoil despite being righteous in God’s sight.
  2. They would have to try hard to convince unbelievers that the Antichrist is a liar and deceiver. It might be tougher to witness than now.
  3. Many believers might be deceived into taking the Mark of the Beast or worshipping the Antichrist in the temple at Jerusalem.
  4. There could be more martyrs than we are seeing now.

The Positives:

  1. We would get 3.5 years more to preach the Gospel, heal the sick, etc. and improve the chances of getting our loved ones and others into the Kingdom of God.
  2. We would get a better chance to prove from the Bible to unbelievers that the Antichrist is really the Antichrist. Hopefully, many will believe the Bible and be saved from the end-time great deception.
  3. If we have to be persecuted or get martyred, we will receive a greater reward in heaven [ I can sense your reaction to that one! Don’t feel condemned 🙂 ].


Post-Tribulation Rapture

Image courtesy: prewrathrapture.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/revelation0.gif


There are some people who believe that believers too will have to go through the Great Tribulation. If true, this might be the real test of how faithful can you be to God – will you succumb like Eve did to Satan in the Garden, or will you endure to the end and be an overcomer?

So, the conclusion to this series is that even if the Christmas of 2013 was not the last one before the Rapture, we ought to be ready. Let us be about our Father’s business so that we are found approved in when the Lord Jesus exalts us. Let us be busy so that our whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.And how to ensure that? As you sow, you shall reap. So help others preserve their spirit, soul and body blameless and you should hear the Lord exclaim: Well done, my good and faithful servant!


Posted by admin, 0 comments

Is This the Last Christmas Before the Rapture?

“For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:2

The Bible says that the day is coming when Jesus Christ will come down (but not step on Earth) and resurrect the bodies of those followers of his who are already dead at that time. These bodies will be given to their respective persons (who are now in heaven) and the bodies will be incorruptible (indestructible). Immediately after that, he will also supernaturally lift up those followers of his, who are alive at that time on Earth. The bodies of these followers will supernaturally be translated into incorruptible bodies. No matter which group we are in, we will be united with the Lord Jesus Christ forever. This event, as you might know, is called the Rapture. 

And after that, the 7-year Great Tribulation will begin. Those who have not repented of their sins and accepted God’s Free Gift of Salvation by then, will be left behind. The Antichrist will appear on the scene and woo the hearts of as many people he can deceive. All this will reach a climax with a war at Armageddon, when Jesus and his forces will defeat the Antichrist and his forces.

Some scholars say that Jesus saying in the Bible that a generation shall not pass since Israel will be re-formed, that the Rapture will occur. They say a Biblical generation is 70-80 years. Israel was re-formed in 1948. This means Jesus could come for the Rapture anytime from 2018-2028. Others say the 4 Blood Moons that will occur from April 2014-October 2015 will likely bring this event. 

Some other people believe not in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, but a Mid- or Post-Tribulation Rapture. They say the first 3.5 years of the Antichrist’s wooing the world’s people will pass and then the event will occur. So when is it really going to happen? Or is it even important for you if you are a born-again child of God? Well, here is my take on it, with helpful insights from a Christian friend…

Scenario 1: Pre-Tribulation Rapture

Well, this is what most Christians would want, wouldn’t we! Supernaturally airlifted out of the danger zone before the zone turns dangerous like it never has in history. But there is another side to it… 

This also means you and I have less time to preach the Gospel and do the other works that destroy the works of the devil. So if your loved ones or friends are unsaved, maybe you need to develop a plan soon, to witness to them. 

Mark 16 says that believers shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. It also says that the disciples went about obeying the commands of Jesus and preached the Gospel everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs following. So if you think you only need to preach the Gospel but not lay hands on the sick or cast out devils or raise the dead, better re-read Mark 16 again a few times. If the Lord needed to confirm the message with signs, and he is the same yesterday and today and forever, he needs us to yield to him so he can confirm the word with signs following today as well. So make yourself available to the Holy Spirit. If the Pre-Trib Rapture is what it’s going to be, then you might just have 3.5 years less to get your loved ones into the Kingdom.

“The day you realize that who you lay your hands on will live and who you do not lay your hands on could die…from that day, you will start looking at your hands differently.” – Curry Blake, General Overseer, John G. Lake Ministries

Let your hands and feet be the hands and feet of Jesus. Allow him to continue his ministry today…this time through you!

We will look at the Scenario 2: Post-Tribulation Rapture in the next blog post. Till then, keep witnessing and demonstrating the Kingdom!

Posted by admin, 2 comments

Christian Persecuted: Have you ever been one?

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.” – Matthew 5:11


A couple of months ago, I had been to my native state of Gujarat, where I became – sort of – a Christian persecuted. I gave some gospel tracts to Hindus. Their response wasn’t bad on my face. But when I came back to my hometown, I learned that there was a small verbal fight over the issue. I had given one tract to my relative’s maid. First she asked for our pastor’s phone number saying she wanted prayer. The next day though, her husband came and fought with my relatives. In fact, another relative of mine took my evangelism negatively and said that they could inform the police and get me arrested for trying to convert people’s religion! A brother-in-Christ later advised me that on every tract, you should print words like “We are not trying to convert your religion. Jesus did not come to (start or) establish a religion. Whether to believe in this message or not is your decision.”

Of course, Jesus says in the Bible that people would hate his followers. But what I found surprising was that this actually happens here in India even though we are a secular country. We aren’t theocratic – Hindu like Nepal or Islamic like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia etc.

A missionary pastor later advised me to abstain from handing out gospel tracts in that state as people there think differently than people in my hometown. Missionary pastors really have it tough and often risk death when, ironically, they are really trying to set people free from the clutches of sin, sickness, death etc.

It would be interesting to learn if you have ever been a Christian persecuted for preaching the gospel (even soft persecution – like just handing out tracts or praying for people…). Share your experiences in the comments here. God bless you!

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Posted by admin, 0 comments

How to Give up – How to Quit – Read on…

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” – John 8:36

They say “Never quit.” “Never give up.” In some cases, that’s not true. It depends on what you want to or need to quit or give up. If you are a slave to smoking or drinking, then you need to quit – give up – that. You need to be set free. Many people who live in democracies are in bondage – to sin. Or they are captives of disease, depression etc. Are they really free? No…! They need to be set free. Here’s how…

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” – John 8:36

The best way to be set free from sin is to repent of it in front of the true living God and ask Him to forgive you and restore you to what He wants you to be. Jesus Christ – the Son of God – wants to set you free today…now. All you need to do is ask him to forgive you and help you overcome your weaknesses. In saying this, I assume that you are already a born-again believer in Jesus Christ. If you are not, then you need to become one. Click here to learn how to get born again. Once (or if already) you are a born-again believer, use the suggestion given earlier in this paragraph, exercise your authority in Jesus’ name and choose to receive the freedom that is yours in Christ Jesus! Amen.


Posted by admin, 0 comments

What is Good Friday?

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” – Luke 23:34
Today is Good Friday. Many people feel that it is a day of mourning. Actually, it is a day of rejoicing. It is the reason why Jesus Christ came into this world – to pay the penalty for every human being’s sins by dying on a wooden Cross. And as he had predicted, he rose back to life on the 3rd day – or after 3 days. Anyone who believes in this, repents of their sins and turns their life over into Jesus’ hands will be saved. That is a promise from God – one of the nearly 8,000 promises in the Bible.
Posted by admin, 0 comments

Sympathy or Compassion – what do you have?

Sympathy says: “You poor thing! I wish I could help.”
Compassion says: “You poor thing! Let me help.”
Curry Blake, General Overseer, John G. Lake Ministries
I heard in one of Blake’s teachings that sympathy is a soul-level emotion while compassion is a spirit-level ‘emotion’. When you pray for someone to whom you are emotionally very attached and get sentimental while praying, you are actually doing them a disfavour. That’s because you are not giving them your best prayer which comes from your spirit – the compassion-driven prayer. Jesus was driven by compassion. He could not have been emotionally attached to anyone (from what we read in the Bible) except of course his parents and a few others. So the prayer (or commands) that came out from him were spirit-level – the best that he had to offer:
“I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar.”Mark 8:2
Jesus himself says here that he had compassion on the people. What happened later? He went ahead and fed the multitudes (“You poor thing! Let me help.”).
And of course, we know what success rate Jesus demonstrated with his compassion – 100%!
Posted by admin, 0 comments

“Wilt thou be made whole?”

The famous evangelist Smith Wigglesworth, in a book, narrated the case of a sick woman who was bedridden for years. She told him that God had allowed the sickness to afflict her for His glory. Wigglesworth’s reply was something like:
“Yes, you should not sin. If you are healed but do not stop sinning (for example, a patient healed of lung cancer continuing to smoke cigarettes), your sickness will in all likelihood come back – because you did not repent (feel sorry + correct your behaviour) and thus did not break legal grounds for the devil to attack you again. As a matter of fact, your sickness can come back stronger than before and you would end up in a condition worse than before.” (Matthew 12:45)
It’s time we pulled down devil-erected or self-erected walls between God and us in the area of healing. If you need healing, allow God to heal you. (John 5:6) We know just how many people in this world are sick. Just imagine, if several thousand born again Christians are healed every year and in turn heal several millions of sick people through the power of the Name of Jesus, how many unsaved people would be brought into the Kingdom of God! The devil does not want to let that happen.
Phew! This series has seen 4-5 posts and I would like to thank my readers, especially on LinkedIn, for engaging in intelligent discussions (whether scripturally accurate, I’d rather not comment, because many of these contradicted each other). By God’s grace, the number of my readers is increasing. This means I will have to increase the frequency of my posts. As the Lord leads me, I will. Obedience is the key word here. Today it is healing – tomorrow it could be something else. Jesus’ command must be obeyed. The Word of God must be preached, taught and ministered under the presidency of the Holy Spirit. And God must be worshipped in Spirit and in Truth. As my pastor sometimes says, “The Holy Spirit is already resident in your life. Now make Him President!”
Well that’s it for now. See you in the next post. Until then, God bless you and use you mightily as a blessing for His Kingdom and for His purpose. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Posted by admin, 1 comment

Is Sin Related to Sickness?

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)” Galatians 3
The previous blog post “Does God Allow Sickness for His Glory? received a great response on LinkedIn. Some readers cited verses to argue that God lovingly (?) uses sickness to glorify Himself. Others cited verses to claim that God never allows sickness for His glory. At one point, it seemed to me like a game of tennis with aggressive and prolonged volleying from one end of the court to the other. So does it mean that the Bible contradicts itself? No! Not if you interpret it correctly.
One question that bothers people sometimes is this: “My friend is saved – her sins have been forgiven and she does not have any unconfessed sin in her life; then why did this sickness come upon her?” When I began this series of posts on healing, I said it was on healing. So in a sense, whether you are sick because you committed sins or you are sick even though you have no unconfessed sin in your life – it does not matter. Jesus did not command “they shall lay hands on the sick who have repented, and they shall recover.” He simply said “they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Mark 16:18)
Once you are healed – or during your healing – if you repent of your sins before God, the sickness loses legal grounds to be in you. But if you have not repented, the sickness can come back to you. But there it is – it can come back. This means it can go. So if a born again child of God commands in faith and with the authority he has, for healing to take place, the healing has to take place. In fact, Jesus did not even ask us to ‘pray’ for healing. He simply said we would lay hands on the sick and they would recover.
One more thing – those who fatalistically accept sickness saying it is God’s will for them to be sick; these people still go to the doctor to get treated. Why? If you do not want to tolerate the sickness physically, then why should your Father who formed your inward parts (Psalm 139:13) tolerate it? Wouldn’t He pull out all stops to ensure you got your healing? As I see it, it is basically a matter of indoctrination and sticking to your guns. But at all times Truth must stand. We children of God here on Earth, need to enforce God’s will (the Truth) here as it is in Heaven.
In the next post, we will discover why even sinners (saved and unsaved alike) can be healed even though they may have unconfessed sins in their life. Later, we will also see that the original promoter of sin was the devil – not God, Adam or Eve.
Praise the LORD!
Posted by admin, 2 comments

Does God Allow Sickness for His Glory?

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

Not convinced? Try this verse:

“If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?” Luke 12:28
Or…
“If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?” Luke 11:11
Would I allow sickness to come upon my son for my glory? I certainly would not. And mind you I am a normal human father, one who is not the Creator of this universe. Do you think our Heavenly Father, who has made all the mountains and the valleys, the seas and the fields, and the 100 billion galaxies; and most importantly the Father who gave His Son Jesus as a sacrifice to pay for our sins – would such a loving and great God be glorified and be happy watching His creation – including His born again children – writhe in pain?
On December 30, 2009, I lost my cousin brother to leukaemia. The side effects of the chemotherapy – hair fall, weakness, galloping infection…do you think God rejoiced in his suffering? My uncle spent his fortune behind the treatment – 4 million Indian Rupees – close to US$ 85000 (which is quite a lot of money here in India). I don’t think my cousin’s suffering brought God any glory. You might ask, “What about John 9:3 and John 11:4?” Well, at that point of time, Jesus had not yet sacrificed his life. The event in that verse took place in between Isaiah 53:5 (“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”) and 1 Peter 2:24 (“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”). As you read this, Jesus has already died, been buried, been resurrected, presented his blood in Heaven before the Father, come back to Earth and ascended to Heaven. It is really finished! In fact, it is almost time for his return for the Rapture!
True, unsaved people cannot command sicknesses to go away as their sins are not yet forgiven. But we as believers can pray for them – in fact, we are commanded to lay hands on the sick and they shall recover – and thereby prove that what we preach is the Truth. The Old Testament says in Isaiah 54:17, that the heritage of the servants of the LORD is such that “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.” Jesus said (in the New Testament – John 10:10) that “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” If no weapon formed against Old Testament saints would prosper, do you think God would allow anyone to form a weapon against New Covenant Christians and then allow it to prosper too – so that He would (?) be glorified…?
Well, I could possibly go on for many more pages. I will…but we will split these up into a few more posts. So do keep commenting. I can gain greater insight and do my bit so that the Body of Christ (of which I am a part) is built up and strengthened by the Word of God and by praise and worship that are done in Spirit and in Truth.
Posted by admin, 12 comments