(Jesus said) "If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." John 15:19
* Persecution. Persecution is something which happened to the early Christians who suffered under the Roman emperors.
* Persecution is something which is happening to our brothers and sisters who live in Islamic countries where various fanatical groups have murdered, raped and enslaved them.
* Persecution is something which occurs when a believer lives in a nation where the government demands people give earthly rulers the respect, reverence and adoration which belongs to the Lord alone.
And although you may not hear of it on the evening news, persecution is something that is happening in the U.S. of A.
Here's a case in point from Plano, Texas, a community five minutes from where I live. It is the story of Andrew and Kelly Counts who moved into their home in 2014. A Christian family who felt conscience-bound to homeschool their children, the Counts bought their house because it had a place for a swing set and playhouse the children could use when they were allowed to go out to play ... excuse me ... when they went out for recess.
Apparently, the play of the Counts' kids became disturbing to the couple who live next door. These neighbors are suing the Counts family because their little ones are supposedly making too much noise. Understand, the lawsuit is not the neighbor's first choice. Previously, they had gone to the home-owner's association and the Plano City Council where the neighbors requested the Counts crew be forced to dismantle their play set.
When those overtures were rebuffed, the neighbors began to blast loud rap music with obscene, vulgar lyrics through their windows and into the Counts' family backyard. When the Counts' kids went in, the music stopped. When the kids went out, the music began again. Being a Christian, Mrs. Counts went next door to talk things out.
The door never opened for her.
Instead of getting peace, the Counts family got a lawsuit: a lawsuit against Christian children playing outside during the day.
Jesus was right: when we are not part of the world, when we have been called by the Holy Spirit to faith and salvation, the world hates us and our children.
So, what can be done? Well, God's people need to be prepared, and we need to be ready to take a stand. That is what the Counts family has done. It is what we need to teach our children to do. We need to educate our little ones because the world is incredibly patient and is ready to try again and again to stifle the faith of believers, and push Jesus back into His empty tomb.
The world's motto is "If we don't succeed, we will try, try again, and we will keep on trying until the Christian community is worn out or no longer is paying attention."
Our motto ought to be a living prayer.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, the world hated Jesus and nailed Him to the cross. I give thanks that His resurrection shows He has won the ultimate victory over sin, death and devil. Grant that we -- and those who come after us -- may prove faithful to the salvation Jesus has won for us. 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
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"