2 Peter 2:20-22 (NLT) And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the truth of this proverb:"A dog returns to it's vomit." And another says, "A washed pig returns to the mud."
Over the last few days I have had conversations with several friends about how others have disappointed them or have let them down. It's always sad and hurtful when someone you love turns their back on you. It's even more difficult when you see them turn their back on their faith in Jesus. They begin to rationalize how it's OK for them to do things that The Word of God teaches us is sin. When once fully sold out and committed Christians start to live for the world. Sometimes these same people start to torture and persecute others for their unashamed stand for Jesus. Peter tells us it's better for them to have never known the way of righteousness then to know it and reject it. They are worse off than before! Their sins have cut them off from God and according to the words of Isaiah 59:2 "Because of your sins, He has turned away and will not listen anymore." None of us are perfect but to blatantly disregard and disobey God and persecute His people would be a frightening place to be!!
Some people may think that persecute is a strong word. Here in America we may not be persecuted in the horribly violent ways that many around the world are. But often times people must live or work in places that don't allow them to express their faith in Jesus. On a large scale it maybe that an atheist group wants to keep a nativity out of a public area at CHRISTmas time. On a smaller scale it may be that you work with people who say things to you like "don't you be praying for me" or "there's to much Jesus here".
But the truth is we should be praying for these people. Matthew tells us in chapter 5:43-44 "You have heard the law that says, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! This at times may be hard to do. The Lord has commanded us to love and pray for one another. He has not commanded us to let people walk all over us!!! We are to stand up for ourselves but more importantly for HIM!!! We "Owe nothing to anyone - except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God's law. (Romans 13:8)
I am fortunate enough to work at a place where we can talk about Jesus and no one will complain or be mean to us about it. Unfortunately that is not the case for everyone. If that's you let me leave you with this scripture 1 Sam. 12:23-25 "As for me, I will certainly not sin against the Lord by ending my prayers for you. And I will continue to teach you what is good and right. But be sure to fear the Lord and faithfully serve Him. Think of all the wonderful things He has done for you. But if you continue to sin, you and your king will be swept away."
If you are living or working in a place that is not welcoming to Jesus continue to teach those around you what is good and right. You never have to say a word. Just live the way that GOD has commanded not the way others may say you should. Faithfully serve HIM. AND pray for those around you. Even if they tell you not to!!!!
This devotion was written from the heart of Beth Reed. My prayer this week is that if you are living or working in a place where the name of Jesus is not allowed or you are being targeted because people know your stand on HIM, that you will not be discouraged. HE is with you!!! HE will show you the way and give you the words to say.
I would love to hear from you.
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