by Rev. Fr. V.V. Paulose, Toronto, Canada
"Yes, and everyone who wants to live godly life in Christ will suffer persecution." (2 Timothy 3:12).
Has your faith in Jesus ever been tested by persecution in any form?
Cross is an integral part of a Christian. Imitating Christ and finding your way to heaven are difficult tasks. The blood of martyrs is the seed and the growth of the church. Christians are not for this world but for the world to come - the new heaven and the new earth - eternity. That is guaranteed by Jesus, our Lord and God, by his resurrection.
Jesus is the only way, the truth and the life. It is better to be persecuted to live as a Christian than as a worldly man. Don't expect or dream a life as a Christian sans persecution. The spirit of Jesus will always be with us till the end of time. That is the comfort for a Christian.
The prayer and support of fellow Christians are highly solicited in the time of persecution. Don't be surprised when people misunderstand, criticize,, and even try to hurt you because of what you believe and how you live. Don't give up. Continue to live as you know you should. God is the only one you need to please.
Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian and mother of 5, was sentenced to death by a court in Pakistan. While working in a farm with Muslim women, she was dragged into a religious discussion. The Muslim women termed her an ‘infidel' and called Christianity a 'religion of infidels'. They pressured her to embrace Islam. She did not budge and defended Christianity with her little knowledge and told them that Christianity is the only true religion. She was then accused, arrested and is in prison awaiting her death sentence.
Stand for Christ and His principles of life. Pray and support those who have been persecuted.
Jesus, we pray for the release of Asia Bibi from the gallows. Let all those who are suffering and being persecuted in homes, offices and elsewhere be comforted. All we ask in the name of Jesus.
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