Can you believe it is almost Thanksgiving? Of course, we should be preparing our hearts for a day set aside to thank our Lord for his provision, as we should every day. Specific days for celebration are cool. God is the one who started that. I like Thanksgiving because my children are decedents of the Mayflower. I don’t know if they were of the Puritans or of the rest of the passengers/crew of the vessel. I have seen the family tree. It’s quite impressive.
Of particular interest to me is the belief of the Pilgrims. While I am no expert, it is very interesting to note how important the bible was to them. In a nutshell, they were persecuted to flee to the New World. They read their bibles and discovered something that was being oppressed by the church/government. Just as Luther was persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church, so were the Puritans by the Church of England. What was it that the church so hated? Salvation by faith in Jesus, alone.
We’ve washed out all of that in our remembrance of this group of people. Gone is any teaching of what it was that they came here for. I remember, as a child, learning that they fled religious persecution. I don’t recall being taught the reason. I also remember being taught that it was very important to the early settlers to have freedom of religion. This carried through to the writing of our Constitution. I don’t know what they teach about the Pilgrims today. Given what culture is currently doing to freedom from religion, I can only imagine. Most likely, they are viewed as barbarians, as Christopher Columbus now is.
Perhaps it would behoove us all to learn a little about this holiday coming up. I would like my children to know more of their ancestry. Through this, I will learn a little more about my God and Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ. I’ve found the ministry FamilyLifeToday.com to be an excellent source of information. Use this link to check some audio programs: http://familylifetoday.com/?s=pilgrims
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 Blessed are the poor in heart, for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you who when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Let’s spend some time today in prayer for those in the world, right now, who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. Let’s be reminded of the instructions Paul gave to Timothy:
1 Timothy 2:1-7 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, that man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
Let’s give this a go.
Father, first I would like to admit to you I know little about the persecuted church. Teach me. Put it on my heart. Re-arrange my schedule; make time for me. I want to know more.
Father, we pray for all governments and leaders everywhere. We ask that you open their eyes to the truth of the gospel. How wonderful would it be if leaders of nations were suddenly born-again! Surround them with workers so that the gospel is continually presented to them. Let them allow the gospel in their land so that we may freely worship and share the Good News.
Father, I do know that there are men and women all around the globe who are being imprisoned, tortured, and killed simply because they profess faith in Christ. I understand this is your will and it is good. I pray for their protection, although I desire your will be done. I do pray that their faith may remain immovable upon the rock of Jesus. When they doubt, be quick to reassure them. Let them comfort each other. Send others to comfort them. Above all, comfort them with your Spirit. Hide your Word on their heart so that they may recall the right verses at the right time. Father, provide them with bibles, so they may learn about you and teach each other.
Father, above all, let them be brave and bold in declaring the reason they have hope. Give them the words to say and the courage to say them. Let them not stumble, rather let them prove you are God by their fierce loyalty to you. No matter the circumstances, let them proclaim your name.
Father, we know all too well that even Peter denied your Son. Not once, but three times. Let the persecuted not be discouraged at their lack of faith; rather, let them be encouraged with the knowledge of Peter’s failure and that Jesus himself prayed for him. Let them know that surely Jesus knows their weakness and is praying for them. Let them be so very quick to know that they are forgiven, even in denial in the face of persecution. They are children of God; nothing can snatch them out of your hand! Amen!
Father, encourage the rest of us to pray, to give of our resources, to travel to these parts of the world, and to send missionaries. Send out workers to support the persecuted. Send bibles. Translate them into all the languages so all people may have the Word of God available. Put it on our hearts, Lord, to learn about and support the persecuted.
Father, let those of us in the soft, cushy parts of the world be disturbed by our comfort. Let us be ashamed that we hide our faith in the land that enjoys more freedom than any to share the gospel. Let us not be concerned about cultural or legal trends against sharing our faith. Instead, embolden us to see just how much the world needs the grace that saves. Let us not be ashamed of your name or of the gospel. Every soul is important. Rich or poor, it doesn’t matter. Your desire is that all people be saved and come to the knowledge of truth. Let us understand that and be emboldened to share the gospel. Today.
Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers