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The first New Testament record of persecution is with the Messiah Himself. The teachers and doctors of the law who studied the scriptures vigorously did not recognize the very One the scriptures testify of yet they were expected to know more than the layman. They tried everything they could to provoke Him, presenting Him with trick questions that He may be found at fault and yet, He never betrayed His Father nor forsook his assignment (John 8:5; Matthew 9:14; Luke 14:3). After Christ had completed his assignment on earth, those who crucified Him thought they were done with Him. They never anticipated nor could they have seen (1 Corinthians 2:8) that He would send His very Spirit into His disciples. The disciples were uneducated commoners and simple men who believed in the Messiah and followed Him.

They went preaching the Gospel, laying hands on the sick, opening blind eyes, making lame men walk and praying for believers to be baptized in the Holy Ghost. In the account of Acts of the Apostles, we read stories concerning the intense persecution, imprisonment and even death they have undergone for the sake of this Gospel. Today, persecution looks a little bit different than it did 2000 years ago, but not less intense and requires the believer to step up with boldness and lift His name that all men may be drawn (John 12:32) and none should perish (2 Peter 3:9).

For the solitary in homes

God sets the solitary in families Psalm 68:6 KJV

You have heard testimonies of individuals that have received Christ as their Lord and Savior and got born again in homes where they were the only ones or the first to do so. Some of these individuals almost immediately begin to desire their kin to come to the saving knowledge of Christ. Soon after, they begin to pray for this revival in their families and the enemy begins to attack even harder for he knows what the prayer of a righteous man avails and how dynamic it is in its power (James 5:16).

Persecution in this sense looks like unkind words spoken towards them, verbal attacks directed to their ‘new personality’ that cannot be recognized and so on. In John 3:3, Jesus tells Nicodemus that except one be born again, they cannot see the kingdom of God. As a born again individual, it is only normal that you are unrecognizable because you have died to your previous nature that gave into all appetites, contributed to every argument or participated in any slander.

A newborn grows, forms their character and changes right before the eyes of their parents. The changes are so staggering that it sometimes bewilders them! The changes in a new believer is likened to a newborn. They grow in wisdom and understanding of the nature of the new realm they have been born into. This newness, that is only found in Christ, is a reality that is in direct conflict with what those surrounding this individual have always known. This revelation, as Jesus said, can only come to one that accepts and surrenders to this new birth. Therefore things such as misunderstanding, persecution, and unkind words shall inevitably be spoken towards the born again man/woman.

Some families, who may already have an established faith in a different deity, may disown them completely for denouncing their faith. Others may not make such drastic resolutions but subconsciously resolve to always poke at the born again individual. God promises to turn what the enemy means for evil, for good. As the non believing family members are still veiled to the truth of a regenerated spirit, they remain an open door for the enemy to provoke you into error. As you grow to understand and discern this pattern, you will develop a gracious attitude towards them, learn to separate the offense from the offender by grace and make strategic prayers accordingly.

When the Israelites were taken out of slavery in Egypt, the Lord provided food for them straight from heaven and they still told Moses that they’d rather go back to Egypt where they ate fish, melons and garlic than this food from heaven. The non-believing family members, friends and colleagues assure you that the person you were before was much better, even if your heathen self may not have been appreciated either. This world believes you would rather stick with evil you know, than surrender control to step in the unknown, which can only be done by and through faith.

For The Minister Who Was Dealt With

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV

Those of you that have been baptized in the Holy Spirit and have an active prayer life can testify that you can hardly remain the same, as the very Life of God permeates your soul. Over time, the more God deals with you, every single revelation in scripture takes on another form. The Spirit ministers to you according to what He knows you need spoken into your life by God at a specific moment. The only participation required on your end is availability and willingness to receive and action what He has to say.

The Apostle Paul talks about ‘the Spirit searching all things’, and this very Spirit curates an intimacy with God for the true seeker. It shines a light on deep seated grievances that may cause you to stumble even without your knowledge. There are things like grudges, offenses, unresolved conflict or premature reconciliation that can cause a door to open for the enemy’s schemes. Many ministers of the Gospel have fallen prey to provocations due to these unresolved matters leading them to bring reproach to the Gospel they preach and represent.

Paul warns his son in Christ that the times are near where people will choose to listen to teachers that tell them what they want to hear and if you observe what is happening in the world very keenly, you will discern that indeed those times are here. In the same breath, he tells Timothy that ‘he must endure’ suffering, directly implying that suffering indeed will come, especially when he diligently exposes the falsity present in the body of Christ (Songs of songs 2:15).

What it looks like for a minister to suffer on account of the Word is to be so tethered to God that they seem not to fit anywhere in the world without offending many and they do this simply by sharing the truth. 1 Corinthians 4:10 MSG calls such believers ‘The Messiah’s misfits’ but Child of God, this is nothing compared to the glory ahead (2 Corinthians 4:17). Make one step after the other confidently knowing that when He calls you, He equips you (Hebrews 13:21), He protects you (Hebrews 13:5)and gives you what to say by His Spirit (Matthew 10:19).

If you have never given your life to Jesus Christ, and you feel that this is the perfect time, pray this prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I thank you because you died for my sins and you were raised for my glory. Today, I receive you as my Lord and Savior. I am born again. Amen.”

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