Thursday, April 26, 2007

2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 --- THIS IS NOT A GAME!

3We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. 4Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.

Again, Paul demonstrates commendable qualities of the Christians in Thessalonica. He says that their faith is growing more and more, that their love for each other is increasing, and that they persevere in their faith even through the persecution and trials that they are experiencing. Would Paul say the same thing about us? Would he always thank God for us? Are we exhibiting these traits? Or, are have we become stagnant, lazy, idle, and comfortable in our faith. Do we persevere through the trials of life? Can we even handle a bad day or the basic inconveniences of life?

In light of the recent events involving the brutal murders of the three believers in Turkey last week, I thought of the Christian Church in Turkey as I read these passages. I have been to Turkey and will be returning this year. I also was blessed to spend time last week with one of the senior leaders of the Christian Church in Turkey. This prayer of encouragement and thanksgiving from Paul is so appropriate for the believers in Turkey. They truly are growing in their faith daily; their love for each other is growing because of Christ in them; they have been enduring persecution and trials for a long time. However, the persecution and trials have just reached and all-time high. Two of the Christians executed last week were the first Turkish martyrs who died specifically because of their faith in Christ. The other believer was a faithful missionary from Germany.

The Turkish believers understand “perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials”. They have a lot to lose because of their faith. They are willing to lose their jobs, social status, friends, family, and even their lives because of their faith. In the West we seem to have problems giving up our worldly pleasures and sin for Christ. May all Christians wake up to the reality that this is not a game. We are at war. No, not with Muslims. We are at war with our flesh, our sinful desires, and the temptation that so easily entangle us. We are at war with Satan and his works of destruction. We are at war with the darkness. How do you fight darkness? You shine the light! We must be like the Thessalonian and Turkish believers who grow in our faith, increase in our love for each other, persevere in our faith, and endure persecution & trials. THIS IS NOT A GAME!

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