(Jesus said) "But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man." Luke 21:36
Some people have great insight and an almost prophetic view of what the future is going to hold. Maybe you are such a person. I am not. That being said, there are times when the handwriting on the wall is big enough, bold enough, legible and obvious enough, that no great revelation is necessary.
2015 may be one of those times.
Looking over subjects for these Daily Devotions I was confronted by a series of HEADLINES in which experts looked back at last year and forward into this year. The following list some of these unaltered headlines:
* "Open Doors: Worst Persecution Yet to Come"
* "Christian Persecution on the Rise Worldwide According to New Report"
* "No Room in America for Christian Refugees"
* "Open Doors: Islamic Militants Killed Twice as Many Christians in 2014 than 2013"
* "2014 Saw Worst Persecution of Chinese Christians in a Generation"
Now there are many who, having looked at those stories, would say, "Well, things are still okay in our country. At least there's no persecution here."
My friends, I rejoice that there are still those who have not been touched by religious hatred and prejudice. My prayers will continue to ask that their lives may be lived without ever personally seeing how much the world despises the Savior.
But what can we say to those who believe there may be some dark days ahead for believers? How shall we answer those who want to know how the church can best invest its time and spend its energy, so believers might be prepared for such tough times?
First, we need to remember that the Lord Jesus has won the ultimate victory over sin, death and devil. While there are still good-and-evil skirmishes being fought in this world, God's Word and Sacraments assure us that nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God, which is ours via Christ's life, death and rising.
Second, we need to make sure our young people are prepared for difficult days. Now, while we have time, we need to lovingly and thoroughly educate them in the fundamentals of the faith and the tricks and temptations they may encounter. While there are many things a 21st-century church needs to do, I can think of none that would be a better investment than training and warning our children to be faithful.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, be with those around the world who are being persecuted for their faith. Hold them fast and let them be a bold witness to the power of the Savior in the lives of His saints. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries