Dealing with Persecution
Joy and Life
By Miki Maynard
Have you been in a situation where someone didn’t like you because you are a Christian? They were mean to you and influenced the way others see you? I’ve been persecuted a lot, and when it happened there was a misunderstanding because something was misconstrued.
Misconstrue definition is – to interpret (something, such as a statement or action) wrongly : misinterpret; to form a false understanding of the meaning or intention of something that someone does or says.
Synonyms for misconstrue:
misapprehend, misinterpret, misperceive, misread,
miss, mistake, misunderstand
Jesus says we will experience persecution. In Matthew 5:11-12 TPT:
“How ecstatic you can be when people insult and persecute you and speak all kinds of cruel lies about you because of your love for me! So leap for joy—since your heavenly reward is great. For you are being rejected the same way the prophets were before you.”
“Ecstatic?” I don’t know about you, but when I was trying to help someone, and working very hard doing it, and they told others I was doing the opposite, I felt shock. I definitely was not “ecstatic” about it. When I tried to defend myself, they didn’t believe me.
Jesus says to be glad because our heavenly reward is great and others were persecuted as well. The verse says “the prophets before you.” Here at Firestorm Ministries International, like many people groups all over the world, we are a crowd of prophets, are we not? We can count on someone giving us some trouble.
But there is a dynamic that happens when they do, and that dynamic is revival.
Revival and Persecution
Just like in history, when there is persecution, revival breaks out. It was as if, COVID-19 comes and BAM, all of sudden we hear crazy talk about believers. It was just a matter of a few months and now the media is inundated with it.
There are promises we have to help us deal with persecution. Despite the persecution, God always does something special.
Over a year ago, when I was praying, I felt in the coming years that persecution in America was going to get worse. It’s already very harsh for Christians in other countries. I’ve always noticed how Americans have had it pretty easy compared to them when it comes to this. Many people have shared that they think it will get worse here too. However, we also believe that the church would experience God in a deeper way.
Part of the deeper experience with God is a burning in our hearts. He tells us that He baptizes us with the Spirit and with fire. Jesus met with two disciples after the resurrection while they were walking on the road and was telling them about the scriptures and how they foretell his life, death, and resurrection and how Jesus fulfilled what is written. After he left the Bible says:
Stunned, they looked at each other and said, “Why didn’t we recognize it was him? Didn’t our hearts burn with the flames of holy passion while we walked beside him? He unveiled for us such profound revelation from the Scriptures!” Luke 24:32
When we read the Bible and hear the Word and pray, we meet Jesus like the disciples did that day. His presence burns in our hearts. Then whatever circumstances we are faced with, we will have his burning fire in us.
The Joy of the Lord Will Shine
The interesting thing is that it is almost because of the persecution that many people realize who God is. Why is that so? I think its because of the joy and power he gives to us when we allow him to work through us.
The difficulty that we have to face is the reality of more intense persecution in America, and the fact that we need to be willing to let God help us go through it. The good news is that we can count on the Lord to give us power and joy when we are persecuted. (Photo Unsplash)
God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.
Matthew 5:11 TLT
This isn’t a fun topic, but we have to be aware of the seasons and the times we are in as Christians. We need to prepare ourselves, and remember we have a promise that God will help us.
He Promises That We Will Be Blessed
The word blessed in the Greek is:
Blessed Μακάριοί (Makarioi)
Adjective – Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong’s Greek 3107: Happy, blessed, to be envied. A prolonged form of the poetical makar; supremely blest; by extension, fortunate, well off.
When Jesus revealed himself to me, he was the light in my darkness, and he still is. I know you want to shine in the darkness. Do you remember who was shining their light that allowed you to see him?
How were they shining? What was it that they did or what were the circumstances to where you realized who Jesus is?
Many times it is because of the fruits of the Spirit flowing from that person.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
One of the ways he is revealed to people is through the fruits of the Spirit. If someone is persecuting you, they are watching to see how you respond, or …others are watching us be persecuted and …how we respond to them. People are watching.
I was persecuted in my own home while growing up and at times at work. The Holy Spirit gave me joy so that I could love those who wanted to give me a hard time. This is what happened.
In my opinion, while I was in the midst of this, I found there are different types of joy and comfort that he would give to me. I am not being unrealistic. In the crux of the moment, it is hard.
It requires leaning into God so we can respond in a Christ-like manner. I had some failed attempts trying to do it on my own. I didn’t yell at them or cuss at them or anything like that. I either froze up or didn’t know what to say or do. I didn’t feel like I was allowing the Spirit to guide me through it.
So, I asked him to give me a nudge the next time it happened. Sure enough, right in the heat of the battle, I felt his nudge. I even sensed Him standing right next to me! Guess what else I saw? I saw in a vision right there at work, a banqueting table in front of me. I knew it was the fruit of the Spirit! The Lord was helping me to respond the right way and we did it together!
The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking,
but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
Romans 14:16-18 NKJV
A great example is recently, in America, we have seen persecution happen with a group of christians in outdoor worship events across the country. Sean Feucht and his team. They had things thrown at them, people yelling at them, trying to damage their instruments and equipment. In one town, even police tried to block them from parks they were planning to set up at.
There was a recording on twitter of a satanist saying how he couldn’t believe Sean and the group were so happy after being attacked. The satanist ended up giving his heart to the Lord. Why? One reason is he experienced the fruit of the Spirit, joy! This man felt the kingdom of God and responded to God.
One of the reasons that people give their hearts to the Lord is they have experienced the fruits of the Spirit in God’s people. They have “tasted and seen that the Lord is good.”
It Can Seem Overwhelming Until We Respond in Christlikeness and Yield to the Holy Spirit
There is more persecution coming and we have seen a lot of lies in the form of christians being blamed for things like rioting in cities, burning things, breaking into federal buildings and businesses.
We have heard some say that if we don’t take a vaccine, that we may not be able to travel on planes and maybe even buy things. All sorts of rumors are going around.
Airlines are reporting that they won’t allow people with a “specific political affiliation” to fly on their planes. A professor at a university is making a stand, claiming that Christians need to be “deprogrammed” comparing our way of thinking to Nazi’s thinking. This is referring to the idea of having Christians being put into “deprogramming labor camps.”
Even Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son, has had someone put together a petition with thousands of signatures demanding that he is fired claiming he incited the capital riots and “supporting Trumps deadly presidency.”
We know that Franklin Graham is not doing what they are saying. We definitely do not think like Nazis. It is being misconstrued. It is unfair. We have seen big tech media is biased against Christianity. We are experiencing the misconstruing of who we really are. Yet, in the midst of this, there is a promise.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? Romans 8:35
Nothing that happens will separate us from God.
Christ and Persecution
Surely, the Lord understands when He said that we will experience this, but he says we need to be “exuberant” about it?
There needed to be a major adjustment in my perspective when I’m blamed for something I didn’t do and I need to be “exuberant” about it. How can I be glad?
After I asked for the Spirit’s help when I was being attacked, and I responded with the fruit of the Spirit, I had joy. I saw what he was talking about. It was because I knew that while I was in a hard situation, the outcome was going to be good. He was going to give me fruit and others are going to realize who he is. If I don’t learn to allow God to work in these situations, then I am missing a major part of many stories we find in the Bible and who Christ needs to be in me.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
With all of the new developments in our country, I’ve been asking God to help me. It is scary. He reminded me that people said he was doing things that he wasn’t. They said he was guilty when he was innocent. He prayed and asked the Father for help to go to the cross for us. He was beaten, mocked, tortured, and killed.
Love Those Who Persecute You
I am the kind of person that likes to encourage people and don’t want to have to talk about this. I like to share about the goodness and promises of God. Yet, in times like these we can’t bury our head in the sand. We need to look at it…and look at it, in advance… so we can respond the right way.
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you Matthew 5:44
When I was at a missions school, a missionary spoke to the class about those who were killed when they went to remote tribes in third world countries. In one story, the father and husband went alone, leaving the family at home. The villagers killed him. Then the others from his family decided to go out to the village anyway. This time, the tribe listened, and they gave their hearts to the Lord.
The missionary speaking told us, “It isn’t a matter of “if we will die,” but rather “it is a matter of when.” It was not an easy message to listen to. It was gut wrenching. The tribe killed the husband and dad of the family. The rest of the family, moved with the love of Christ, went to the same tribe to tell them what they felt deep inside they just had to do. That Jesus is real and loves them. They forgave, despite the deadly persecution, and went to them, even though they knew they could have been killed too. The fact is, however, we belong to God, and he promises to be with us and help us. We know that others will see who God is through us.
And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. Revelation 12:11
I read a history book about the martyrs in the early church years ago when I was in bible school. It was very difficult to learn about the cruelty many had to endure because they would not deny their faith in Jesus.
You may not be faced with the situation of having to lay down your life for Christ. I don’t wish anyone would have to. I am compelled to ask myself, however, if I will have the courage to not deny my faith out of shock and in the face of fear or will I shrink back? (Photo Pixabay)
He will provide the joy that will burn in our hearts to share his love:
To live is Christ, and to die is gain.
There is no other life, I desire to claim.
Than the life that’s dead, that I might live again,
No more in self to pride, for I have died.
To live is Christ.
Let my life
Be a fountain of your blessing
Let my life be a fragrant sacrifice
That the hurt and bruised may know
The God that loves them so
Forever let my prayer be.
To live is Christ.
The Church Will Thrive
YOU Will Thrive
Despite the trials and tribulations, the church will thrive and move forward. God is bringing unity of coordinated efforts to reach people. There is going to be a surge of in home ministries and creative efforts from believers to reach out.
God will provide resources from people that will fund different ideas and visions for ministries and businesses. Despite the difficulties, as our President of Firestorm Ministries International, Bonnie Nelson says, the gates of hell will not prevail against the church.
Reflect on those you see around you. I know you see how much they need the Lord. You tell yourself how you know they will find so much joy when they do. Stand on the promises of God. Rise and shine because he will help you to reach those who need him so they will know that to truly live… is Christ.
*Now we need an article from Prophet Jim Mellard on “The Demonstration of the Spirit in Power and Revival”
*Do you want to be continually encouraged and get the tools you need to be effective as a Christian to reach people? Visit firestormministries.com and check out our forums.
More verses to encourage your faith:
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.
Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 1 Peter 4:14-16
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 10:28-33
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
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Call Us At : (205) 569-3343