I am sure that most of you have heard the saying, “The only guarantees in this life are death and taxes”. While we would like to do without the taxation part, we cannot escape either of these truths. We will all die and we will all pay taxes.
It has been hard for us to acknowledge that one day we will die. Some of us will be able to die a natural, peaceful death of old age, while others of us may suffer an excruciating death. In the United States most of us can expect and plan for a peaceful death, but Christians in Africa are expecting an excruciating death. This death can come from malnutrition, animal predators, civil wars, or persecution, but almost none of our brothers and sisters are planning on a peaceful death.
For example, take this article from Open Doors USA. African Christians are being slaughtered by Muslim and other extremists based on the fact that they are Christians. We discussed in an earlier blog posting that we are to expect persecution. In the United States the persecution may come from losing a job or being shunned from your family. In African nations this persecution is almost guaranteed to result in death and chaos. But our brothers and sisters being persecuted for their faith can take comfort in God and His promises:
‘”Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ‘ Matthew 5:10
If you are a true Christian, truly saved, you WILL face persecution. This verse and promise from God can bring us comfort, knowing that we will find trouble in this world, but rejoice for eternity in the kingdom of heaven.
Earthly Desires from Evangelicals
In this life I often find to many pastors enjoying the spoils of this world. I call them pastors because Christian leaders is a title that I do not wish to give them. Pastors such as T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, and Steven Furtick live like royalty while exploiting the emotions of their sick flocks. True Christian leaders in this world are expected to be forgotten, only to be working for an eternal life in heaven, to where they can rejoice with God each and every day.
Even bloggers and young evangelicals are expecting to enjoy the riches of this world and what it has to offer. We can only find true wealth being obedient to God and His Will working through us, whatever that cost is to us in this world. Take the promise that God gave to Jeremiah:
‘”Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”‘ Jeremiah 1:5
As he promised Jeremiah, he also promises us. Before we were even in the womb, God knew us and the plans that He had for us. What a rejoicing and wonderful thought that is as true believers in Christ! We have been anointed to our positions with God before we were even in the womb. That is even before our parents were married or even thinking about children! Generations ago, the Lord knew us and the plan he had for us. Whatever that may be, we can take comfort in knowing the the most high God had a plan for us and what we were to do on this earth for His Will.
‘Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. ‘ Matthew 5:11-12
Our reward in heaven is great. Our reward in heaven is great. Our reward in heaven is great.
Just keep repeating and rejoicing in that statement. A false teacher or televangelist may just stop here and tell you that your reward in heaven is great. What brings mighty power to this verse is what comes before and after this promise. On this earth we are guaranteed persecution because of our belief in Him. No matter what you are going through because of your faith in Jesus Christ, just know that our reward is in heaven and that is great.
No matter the persecutions that we face, we are guaranteed a great reward in heaven. Those Christians in Africa face persecution and death every day from the enemy working in those lives. We do not know why God does certain things and we are not supposed to know. Since the beginning of time with Adam and Eve we have sought to know that wisdom and knowledge of God. Can we take comfort in not knowing?
Some of you reading this may be facing depression and suicidal thoughts. You have come to the realization that most people do not: That you will one day be forgotten. You may in fact not be important in this world and to be honest, none of us really are. The greatest leaders that have led nations on this earth have been forgotten by mortal man and his memory.
But you should take comfort in knowing that the most high God has had a plan for you before you were even in the womb, before you were even thought of. Just as he promised the prophets, he has promised us eternal life for following and trusting in Him. Just as he has promised us in the book of Matthew, we can take great comfort in knowing that persecution will come our way and our eternal reward is infinity greater than the pain we face here.
My prayers are with you who are facing persecution. Know and take comfort that God has had this planned and your reward is great. For those facing depression, know that I am praying for you as well. Take comfort in knowing that your feelings are not alone: God himself is knowing exactly what you are going through and is here too. Take great comfort in knowing that the Lord Jesus Christ has a plan for you and it is good and just.