Growing up in the United States, particularly in the Midwest, I didn’t see any persecution for being a believer. It wasn’t until adulthood that I even understood any territorial history other than what was presented in the Bible. We didn’t study that kind of thing in Social Studies back in my day.
It’s been quite eye opening for me to witness some of that persecution. Recently David showed me a report of the areas of the world that were under the most attack. I wasn’t surprised that many of the nations surrounding Israel (but surprisingly NOT Israel) were at the top of that list. What did surprise me was that our own country of residence, Mexico, was on that list.
God has me in a particular season of my life that is only revealing itself in bits. I wasn’t writing my devotional blog before December 2016. I published my first book in the Bible Reflections series in 2019, and the 4th in March of 2021. I love how he is using me, even as a “sort of” missionary. I suppose the fact that we are volunteers helps me feel that way. In the back of my mind, since I was a little girl and the missionaries would come to our church to share about how they were telling people about Jesus, I secretly wanted to be a missionary. (Be careful what you ask for!)
Despite it all, the Thessalonians stayed true to their new faith. They didn’t let the bullying of those around them cause them to run the other way. Timothy’s own account back to the others after a visit there was glowing. “After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you! Yes, you are our pride and joy.”
Paul is really calling out the Jews here, of which he is one. He, himself, used to be one of the zealots persecuting Christians. He was feared by many. Until God got a hold of him! Put yourself back thousands of years ago. Jesus was not the Messiah everyone was expecting. Sometimes it’s hard to do a mindset shift like that. Think about it. We have context. It’s easy (easier) for us to believe having all the documentation and proof.
Despite it all, it’s a beautiful thing, and a bit miraculous, that we know Jesus as our Savior. We may want to know him better. I know I do. That’s partly why I started my blog. It was to honor him, to help others grow closer to him while sharing my own reflections and journey of faith. It’s like you’re getting a glimpse into my life.
I’d love to hear from you. Did you know I started a Facebook Group a while ago? I post cool stuff that resonates with me in there. Anything from songs, other people’s devotionals, interviews, and other uplifting stuff. You should check it out. I may have put up a couple questions to get access to keep the “riff raff” controlled. Everyone will get a chance to come in, but I want to keep the group as a “safe” and sacred space.
Take some time today to reflect on what spoke to you today? Despite it all, what’s the “all” in your life that you’ve left behind to be a believer today?
Let’s pray … Father God, I thank you for how you are using me. May I be mindful to your leading at all times. Speak to my heart. Prepare the hearts of those who I will encounter who will hear your Word. Guide my steps, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.