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05/08/2022 03:00 - 06/08/2022 02:00

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand" - Isaiah 41:10 (NIV). 

When God is into something it will last. Immediately after the crucifixion of Jesus there was intense persecution of his followers. A man called Saul led the campaign to annihilate Christians, supervising the first martyrdom of Stephen. He later recalled, "And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him" (Acts 22:20).

Saul would be converted while out on the road seeking to kill Christians. "At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.  All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name" (Acts 9:20-21). Everything was done to stop Paul and he too was severely persecuted. Once he pointed out, "Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked.." (2 Cor 11:24-25). Eventually he would be delivered to Rome, where he met his death!

The early believers suffered all manner of persecutions. A Roman Emperor called Nero inveted the practice of throwing Christians to lions for entertainment. His campaign would end in futility. In 312 AD Emperor Constantine decided to embrace Christianity.

But when believers realised the Gospel had been hijacked into a souless state religion, they rebelled and started the Reformation in 1517. Many would be burnt on the pyre as heteretic. In Uganda when the Gospel of Christ finally made its way here with the arrival of missionaries in 1877 the early believers were torched to death.

What force has not been leveled against Christianity? In the last century a Communist empire rose in the East determined to extinguish the flames of Christianity. But it all ended in oblivion with the fall of the Iron curtain in 1991.

All this is to say if you are on to something and are meeting all kinds of opposition yet deep inside you know it is God who has sent you do not waver. Stay focused. Stay on the road. The very fact that you are being faught hard, that the start is so fractured, is proof of what you are doing is of God. But no matter all the opposition your cause will prosper for you are not sent of man but of God!

Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I pray that knowing you are the one who sent me you lead me on from strength to victory, this I pray in Jesus's name.

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    “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful”( 2 Timothy 4:7).

    Fighting may be looked at as a non-desirable way of life, especially by those who are pacifists. In fact, throughout Christian history there are many who have literally taken Jesus’s admonition of “turn the other cheek” in Mathew 5:39, to mean nonresistance in the face of attack. The fact that Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for drawing a sword against his captors  ( Mathew 26:52), means giving in to those who attack them, as a sign of humility.

    Yes, of course there are moments where Christians must practice that humility and give in to those who attack them well remembering His word, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” ( Romans 12:19). However, that said, Believers in Christ would be mistaken to imagine that they must not fight for their faith, whenever under attack. For in reality, the faith of believers is under constant attack from Satan, who comes to “kill and destroy” ( John 10:1).

    Faced with this, Paul went at great length to advise Christians to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” ( Ephesians 6:11). To ward of constant attacks by the enemy Paul challenged us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” ( vv 14-17).

    Paul is telling us that if you think that ours is a walk over faith where you are not going to fight back against the attacks of the enemy you are very mistaken. Fight we must, and hold our ground. The devil respects that! And when all is done, we can then gladly say, “we have fought the good fight, finished the race” and thank God Almighty we are free at last!

    Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise ready to resist the attacks of the enemy, by wearing the full of armor of God, and with the sword of the Spirit, fight back to victory, this I pray in Jesus’ name!

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