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We need Grace to Endure Persecution: Jesus said “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Our hearts are broken and deeply saddened as we continue to mourn the devastating realities of what has happened and what is happening to our brothers and sisters in Libya. As we discussed in an earlier program, our response to these acts of persecution will decide the outcome of how Jesus will respond to each one of us. It is important to remember that Jesus gave us a message of love. In His Sermon on the Mount, He said in Matthew 5:10, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” He continues in verses 43-44, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” This is a stark difference compared to how the world would respond to such acts of evil. It is important to remember, outside of the blood of Jesus Christ, not any one of us is any different than the worst jihadist. It is because of Jesus’ holy blood that we are washed clean. A recent video titled, “A Letter from the People of the Cross to ISIS” we feel this video is going to awaken a deep encouragement inside of you! In addition, this week marks the 100 year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and what took place in the nation of Turkey to Christians that we are witnessing again today.
As these events are continuing to occur and escalate throughout the world, we are witnessing continuing results from the persecution of the Church. Christians are fleeing Libya for safety of their lives, across the Mediterranean to the shores of Europe. Refugees are escaping the persecution and acts of terrorism. When a refugee ship capsized mid-route, reports are stating that it “could be the deadliest refugee disaster with more than 900 feared dead.” According to ABC, “35,000 refugees have arrived in Europe.” As these refugees are arriving to the shores of Europe, the Church is there, receiving them with open arms and compassion. In a CBN interview, Pastor Leonardo De Chirico of the Italian Evangelical Alliance, shares his perspective of what is taking place. “They are all traumatized people. They have crossed the Sahara Desert, the Libyan shores. All the women practically, are abused sexually, and also the men are exploited with slavery. So they are traumatized, away from homes, away from families. Not knowing what will happen”. As Pastor De Chirico shares how the church is responding, he stated,”there is a growing movement of churches and agencies, missionary organizations working together to respond to the challenge because the government alone is not capable of dealing with the massive that we all face.” In the midst of continual hardship of difficulties, it is profound to see the church responding with love of the Gospel, or as Pastor De Chirico states, “in everything we do, we try to show the face of Christ”. Hear the full stories of what is taking place, how you can pray, how we can respond, and so much more. Also shared in this segment: persecution, Armenia, ISIS, love, forgiveness, salvation, repentance, forgiveness, ABC News, Libya, European Union, refugees, disaster, crisis, Ottoman Empire, Anatolia, Armenian Genocide, Death March, Concentration Camps, Mehmet Celal Bay, Italy, the love of Christ, and service. Greg and John shared in this segment.