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March 18 | Mark 13:9-19


 

DAILY READING


REFLECTION


Ready or Not ...

by Pr. Dave Mann

 

Jesus’ words in Mark 13 are quite challenging. Rare is the believer who longs to be among those who will live through these times of distress and tribulation. Jesus himself says that the persecution that will precede the end of the age will be unlike any time in history. 

 

There indeed have been horrific times for Christians in different periods of history. Some missionaries, who were the first to share the gospel with various ethnic groups, were greeted with spears and swords. According to tradition, all the twelve apostles (except John) died a martyr’s death. Polycarp and Perpetua are perhaps the best-known martyrs after The Twelve. Click here for more info. The era when Diocletian was emperor of the Roman Empire (and several of his successors) was awful. Click here for a fuller description. 

 

This happened not just in the early centuries of the church but also in more recent centuries—Korea, central Africa, the deep jungles of South America, etc. Who can forget the young men, including Nate Saint and Jim Elliot, who were speared to death in their attempts to share the love of Christ with a remote tribe in Ecuador? Read about it in Through Gates of Splendor.

 

The suffering continues in the present day. Women believers in Iran are boldly proclaiming Christ, and then pay the price. Those who dare to preach the name of Christ in Somalia, are beaten and thrown in prison. Christian believers in northern Nigeria and areas controlled by radicals see their churches burned, their men killed, and their women and daughters taken as hostages.

 

As horrific as all those stories were and are, Jesus says that the days of tribulation at the end of the age will be “days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again.” (Mark 13:19) Are you ready to live through those difficult times? Many of us have difficulty living with the smirks and the rolling of the eyes of people when we verbally express our faith in Christ. If God chooses to bring the present age to a close within our lifetime, how will the church manage the severest persecution of all time? Only by the grace of God. Read the biographies of the martyrs. None of them saw themselves as exemplary models of courage. They simply lived out the faith that the Holy Spirit gave them moment by moment. Ready or not, that time is coming. If we see it, we will also experience the Holy Spirit’s presence as well.

 

PRAYER

Lord God, thank you for the courage that you have given your martyrs from ancient times to the present. Should we live through the persecution of the end-times, or that of more moderate severity, we trust you will give us the boldness and peace to experience your Holy Spirit as well. In Jesus’ name, Amen.






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robin.lorms
Mar 18

GOOD AFTERNOON, PASTOR DAVE.

THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ALL OF US THAT OUR TIMES HAVE NOT BEEN CHALLENGING IN TERMS OF PERSECUTION FOR SHARING OUR FAITH--ESPECIALLY THE PHYSICAL KIND. . YES, ROLLED EYES MAYBE, BUT NO SPEARS-- AT LEAST NOT IN UPPER ARLINGTON.

I HAVE OFTEN THOUGHT GOD ALLOWED JOB TO SUFFER AS HE DID SO THAT WE MIGHT READ HIS STORY FOR MILLENIUMS AS A FORM OF ENCOURAGEMENT WHEN WE FACE TRIALS OF MANY KINDS. SAME FOR THE EARLY MARTYRS AND THOSE OVERSEAS WHO ARE BEING KILLED BECAUSE OF THEIR TESTIMONY. IF THAT KIND OF PERSECUTION COMES IN OUR LIFETIME, I PRAY FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT TO INSPIRE ME AND SHOW ME JESUS GOING DOWN IN FLAMES FOR U…


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Thank you so much for the links you provided. Reading about the martyrs, the Diocletian era, and Nate Saint and Jim Elliot was fascinating and eye opening. In our little bubble of Columbus, OH, I bet very few of us think about the Christians being killed today; however, their deaths are a reality. I join with you in praying that, if we live during the days of tribulation at the end of the age, we will be filled with the grace of God and the boldness and peace of the Holy Spirit.

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