Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "When We All Get To Heaven"1 (Lyrics)
Mark 13:13 – And you will be hated by all men for My name's sake, but he who endures to the end will be saved. (NKJV)
We have a subscription to a Dutch-language newspaper which is published here in Canada and consists mostly of news and articles about and from the Netherlands. In the December 2016 issue, there was an article about a political party in the government that wants to remove the protection of Christians according to long-established laws, like the freedom of a minister of the gospel to refuse to perform certain functions for moral reasons; the "Sunday Law", which allows a Christian to refuse to work on the Lord's Day; and the words, "by the grace of God", and prayer after the throne speech. The article stated that there is a distinct possibility that Christians in the Netherlands will at some point in the future actually have to worship in secret in an effort to escape the ridicule of the non-believing majority. One journalist was quoted as writing, "Harassment of Christians is a good thing. The more they are obstructed, the better it is."
There is a great number of passages in the Bible that indicate that Christians should expect to be harassed for their faith. Jesus said,
John 15:18 – If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. (NIV)
Matthew 5:10-12 – Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (NKJV)
1 Peter 4:12a,14 – Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. (NKJV)
We know from what we read in the newspaper and see on television that Christians who believe in the truth of the Bible are being labelled as intolerant, bigoted, and judgmental, even though they are trying their best to act in loving ways toward those who disagree with them. Jesus encouraged us to be steadfast in our love and loyalty for Him, for it won't be easy.
Matthew 16:24 – Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." (NKJV)
Remember that those who endure to the end will be saved!
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, it is with a heavy heart that we come to You in prayer for brothers and sisters in Christ who are being harassed for their faith. We are so disturbed by the insults and hatred of Christians that is taking place in different areas. We pray that a change can come about. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.