Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Living Hope (1 Peter 1)

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine.” (1 Peter 1:6-7b NLT)
About A.D. 65 the Christian faith had grown so dramatically that it was becoming a treat to the Roman Empire. Believers were persecuted for their faith and had forced to flee to Roman provinces ‘of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia’ (1:1). Don’t know where it was? Well, it’s today Turkey. So Peter, the apostle of Jesus, writes letters on encouragement to believers who are suffering persecution because of their faith. They have been facing all kinds of difficulties, from physical harm, to slander and insults.
Do not be surprise that the world hate you, if you’re devoted to Christ. Jesus said “If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you.” (John 15:18-19 The Message) Because of this hatred, the world today had persecuted Christians all over the world.

Frontline Faith organization in their newsletter (March/April 2011) reports that:
“Dozens of Christians from the tiny Afghan church have been move homes due to subsequent death threats…”
“Nigeria… two thousand Christians lost their lives in riots with extremists…”
“Lao Officials arrest 11 Christians for ‘holding a secret meeting’…”
“… at least 60 Iranian believers arrested since Christmas…”
“10 Christians were arrested in Tehran while meeting in a house on 26th December…”
“Blast kills 21 outside Church in Alexandria, Egypt as congregants were leaving a New Year’s Eve Mass celebration.”

Barnabas Fund: Hope and Aid for the Persecuted Church magazine (March/April 2011) also reports that:
“A mother was jailed in Germany in February 2010 for refusing to send her 9 years old son to school for sex education lessons.”
“A Spanish Christian TV network was fined 100,000 Euros by the government in July 2010 for running a series of adverts promoting the family and opposing alternative lifestyles.”
“In February 2009 a Christian foster carer in the UK was struck off because she allowed a …… teenager in her care to convert to Christianity.”

Persecutions are all over the world. Malaysia is also under persecuted. Underground. Undercover. Even as we breathe, someone breathe their last.  As we open our house’s gate, someone is locked inside iron bars. When we raise our voices singing praise, someone hide and worship in the cold of the night. If you truly live on God’s terms, the world is going to hate you. The only way to live without any persecution is to live “on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own.”

Pure gold put in the fire comes out it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.” (1 Peter 1 The Message)
 If you are being scorned or mocked by others including your own family because of your faith in God, rejected because you’re decided to make a U-Turn in your life, and ignored by society because you try to live a godly life… take heart. Be glad for these are just for ‘a little while’. By enduring persecution, you show that your faith and trust in God is real. Pray for them, pray for yourself and pray for me that during the time of difficulties, may God will strengthen our faith. In Jesus we have a living hope.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:10-11)

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