A Church Prepared for Persecution

Thomas’ words to his fellow-disciples, “Let us go with Him that we may die also,” once spoken in fatalistic tones, took on a new and exciting perspective for the apostles after Jesus’ resurrection.

In this presentation, Ken Miller shares a graphic, historical profile of the crucifixions of Stephen, James son of Zebedee, Philip, James “the Lesser,” Barnabas, Mark, Peter, Paul, Andrew, Bartholemew, Thomas, Matthew, Simon the zealot, Matthias, and Luke.

“We conquer in dying; we go forth victorious at the very time we are subdued. […] Kill us, torture us, condemn us, grind us to dust; your injustice is the proof that we are innocent. […] Nor does your cruelty, however exquisite, avail you; it is rather a temptation to us. The oftener we are mown down by you, the more in number we grow; the blood of Christians is seed.”

Tertullian, 155-220

This topic illustrates persecution with an expectancy of heavenly reward, spiritual growth, victory over sin, and maturity.


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Transcription:

Grace to all of you in Jesus’ precious name.

How did those early disciples go off to war? They went off to war, seeing the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. May that be our way of preparing for persecution.

I would like to say at the very beginning – I think that if we can get the vision of those early disciples, of this living Savior, whom they had observed for three years, doing the miracles, the amazing teaching that came from His mouth, the suffering that He taught, and then exemplified in front of them. The garden. The cross.

But before that, some of them at least, saw Him on the Mount of Transfiguration, and they all heard Him there on the Mount of Beatitudes, and now they come to the cross, and they think it’s all over. And for three days, His body was in the grave. And then He rose again, and they realized something is going on! And then He was with them for another forty days, and taught them about the Kingdom, and taught them how to understand the Scriptures. And then they watched Him ascend to heaven.

If we want to prepare ourselves for persecution, we can prepare today, by asking Him to give us the same kind of vision that our dear brother Stephen had. (I have a clearer slide in a moment.)

“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” That’s a quote that we have often heard attributed to Tertullian. Here we have an image taken from The Martyrs Mirror, an image by a young lichen who did the engravings for this book. For those of you who may not be familiar with this volume, The Martyrs Mirror, it’s a collection of stories of the martyrs, and of their letters and the writings that they sent home. These people who were the radical Reformers from the 1500’s and 1600’s. The volume begins with the martyrs of the early church. So I’ll be showing a series of slides that shows the death of those apostles.

Let me give just a little more on The Martyr’s Mirror for those of you who may not be familiar with it. The reason this book was published, first compiled in the mid to late 1600’s by Dutch ministers, was because in their country, they had experienced a heavy persecution about 125-150 years prior, but now in the mid to late 1600’s the churches had grown comfortable and prosperous. These ministers were concerned that their people would forget that the way of the cross is a way of suffering. So they compiled this volume of the stories of the martyrs to help their people, and us, today now, to remember these accounts.

So here is Stephen, and his portrayal of his stoning. Of course, the image here, has at the very center Stephen looking up at heaven at the moment he is declaring, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” And off to the left, if you look closely (this image is a little dark), there is a man coming out of the city gate with his hands over his ears, trying to block out what he thought was blasphemy. In the middle of the picture, you can see three men that are raising stones. And at the very center, there is a man with a block of stone over his head ready to bring it crashing down upon dear Stephen. And then to the left of him, there is a man that has like a back-swing with a rock in his hand. He’s getting ready to bring a rock down upon poor Stephen, and he has a rock in his left hand, ready to exchange it to throw it. And then in the very center, you see that man with a stone raised in his right hand.

But I think perhaps the most mysterious and the most significant part of this picture is off to the right, you see that slight figure standing there with his arms crossed, and he’s standing there over the clothes. And we know who this is. This is Saul of Tarsus. The way his stance is portrayed there, arms crossed, kind of confident, maybe self-righteous, and indignant, ready to stamp out this heresy. And we know the rest of the story. He did set out to stamp out the heresy, but he got arrested. And he realized that what he thought was heresy was actually the Truth, and he gave his life for it!  I have a portrayal of his death later on.

Now here’s what happened in the early church. Here is how they prepared for persecution. Acts 8:1

“And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.”

Now ok, so here we’ve got a problem. There is heavy persecution. There is a scattering of the disciples all over. So we have two hardships. Number 1, there’s the hardship of persecution. Number 2, the hardship of the scattering. So what is their solution to this great hardship? Do they make up a petition to the local authorities to ease the persecution? Their solution and their preparation for persecution was that they went everywhere preaching the Word. Their preparation was to go on the offensive, preaching the Word.

“We conquer in dying. We go forth victorious at the very time we are subdued. Kill us, torture us, condemn us, grind us to dust. Your injustice is the proof that we are innocent. Nor does your cruelty, however exquisite, avail you; it is rather a temptation to us. The oftener we are mown down by you, the more in number we grow; the blood of Christians is the seed.”     

Tertullian (145-220)

And we’ve seen that throughout the history of the church.

And following the disciple-deacon Stephen, we have here then the beheading of James the son of Zebedee.

Here is a portrayal of the stoning of the apostle Philip. We see here that they put his head against a pillar, and the stones are raised. They have his head tied to the pillar, and they’re getting ready to crush his skull.

(Now, I might say that these portrayals are based on the church’s tradition of how the apostles were martyred.)

Here we have a significant picture. I’m sorry it’s a little bit dark for those of you in the back. But maybe you can see in the middle of the picture, the apostle James is kneeling with his hands raised to his mouth, and prominent in the very center of the picture, at the bottom (it’s lighter; you might be able to see it) are his two knees. Because what the apostle James was known for were his prayers. Legend has it that he spent so much time on his knees praying that the callouses on his knees were the size of camel’s knees. So the artist gave those knees prominence in the picture.

Here we have the burning of Barnabas. Our dear brother Barnabas who has encouraged so many people, suffered this indignity of a rope around his neck, being dragged to the flames.

We have the offering of Mark the evangelist, in the town where the mob attacked. They grabbed him by hooks and by ropes, and they dragged him through the streets of the town until they reached the stake, and by that time he had already died.

Here we have the apostle Peter, of whom the Lord prophesied that he would die in a way which he did not wish. Tradition has it that when he was being taken to be crucified, he requested that he be crucified upside down because he felt he should not have the honor of being crucified in the same manner as his Lord.

Now here we have another portrayal of Paul the apostle. Now he’s an old man and has suffered the wounds of the war. He’s about to give his life, tradition has it, at the hands of Nero. And the executioner is drawing the sword from the scabbard, and in a few minutes, in this portrayal, our apostle Paul would have met the Lord Jesus, Whom he had first met there on the way to Damascus.

The crucifixion of the apostle Andrew.

Bartholomew, skinned alive and beheaded. (We won’t linger long.)

Here we have, as Brother Dale already alluded to, the apostle Thomas got his wish: “Let us go with Him that we may die also.” Well, we know – tradition has it, and actually we have good archaeological evidence – that the apostle Thomas ended up all the way over in India. “Doubting Thomas” preaching to those people, all the way to the East. And legend has it that they captured him and threw him into this burning fiery furnace. And I’m sure that the Son of God was walking with him in those flames.

Matthew the evangelist, beheaded, pinned to the ground, and beheaded with that large ax.

The crucifixion of Simon the zealot, and the crucifixion of the apostle Matthias, and the hanging of the evangelist Luke.

That’s the end of that slide presentation.

So again, we could ask the question, “What was their cause?” And we know that their cause was not a doctrine. Not a creed. Their cause was a Man!  A Man Whom they had followed, Whom they had seen, and felt, and touched, as the apostle John teaches us in 1 John 1.  They had heard Him. They had seen His glory, the glory as of the only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. This was their cause. This was how they prepared for persecution. The vision of the suffering risen ascended Christ, and a commitment to follow Him, and the teachings that He gave them. This was their preparation. And we could elaborate on this, and sit down, and we would be done. And I think we would have adequate preparation.

Let’s go on. I have a few more thoughts. From Jesus’ teachings, let’s look at the certainty of preparation. I’m going to read these Scriptures and make no comment.

The question before us is, “Can we expect persecution today?”

Let’s listen to Jesus teachings from John 15:19-20. I invite you to turn there.

“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.”

2 Tim. 3:10-12  We will hear from the apostle Paul who experienced his share of persecution.

“But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

1 Peter 4: 1 (the verse that was memorized) The first part of the verse:

“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind . . .”

Then over in verse 12.

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you . . .”

Now let’s go on to the Benefits and Blessings of Persecution.

Matthew 5:11-12 Those familiar verses at the end of [the Beatitudes in] the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says,

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

Here I see two benefits in being persecuted. Number 1, it gives us a good reason to rejoice, because we can – after that person, say, at the restaurant you’ve just given him a tract or maybe at the drive-through, and you’ve wished God’s blessing on that person, and as you drive away, you hear the ripping of paper, and you think, “Oh, that person has spurned what I offered him.” Well, at that moment, you can thank God. Now that may be a very mild form of rejection, obviously, but it did happen recently, and I thought of this. Here’s an opportunity to rejoice. Secondly, at the end, after we have endured faithfully, there will be a great reward in heaven.

Romans 5:3-5  Here we have Paul giving us the benefits and privileges of tribulation.

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

So “patience” could be translated, endurance, and“experience” could be translated, character. So here, if we endure tribulation, we can look forward to having our endurance built up. Which will then lead to greater godliness in character. So right there are two more benefits: endurance and character coming out of persecution.

1 Peter 4:1 (back to the passage we had just read) says that we should arm ourselves. Since Christ has suffered, we should also expect to suffer, and prepare ourselves to suffer. And the benefit there is that

“he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.”

Do you want help to get some victory over sin? Well, then endure some suffering. That’s one of the benefits of persecution.

In verse 13,

“But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”

There you have that same combination, that two-part facet of reward as we saw in Matthew 5. So we can rejoice now because of the glory and the rejoicing that we will have promised to us in the future.

In verse 14,

“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part, He is glorified.”

There we have a couple of benefits. Do you want the Spirit of glory and of God resting? Well, go through some persecution, and you’re going to experience the Spirit of God and the Spirit of glory resting upon you. We’ve probably all felt that at times when we’ve kind of gone out on the edge a little bit and talked to somebody, or handed somebody a tract, or witnessed in some way, and we have felt that Spirit of glory and of God resting upon us. What prevents us from seeking more of that, through the right kind of witness? May God help us.

Now in chapter 5:10,

“But the God of all grace Who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while . . .”   

Now what’s going to happen after you have suffered a while? Well, God is going to “make you perfect.” God is going to bring you to maturity. He’s going to “establish you.” He’s going to plant your feet so that you can stand securely. It says there that He will “strengthen” you and “settle you.” So do you want to mature, and grow more secure in your salvation? Then endure some persecution. Do you see the blessings and benefits of persecution?

Now here in the West, because of the inalienable rights that are guaranteed to the citizens of the United States, under the first amendment – freedom of religion and all that, the tendency is to fight for religious freedom when persecution comes, instead of seeing the benefits of persecution. Can we kind of turn things upside down a little bit and embrace the blessings and the benefits of persecution?

Now let’s talk about America. Is America a major exception? – Because, since 1791 the United States Bill of Rights, the first amendment guarantees religious freedom as an unalterable right to the citizens of the United States. It says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of people to peaceably assemble.” And the Constitution backs that up by saying this can never be changed. Legislature can’t change it. Federal government can’t change it. This is the right of all the residents of the United States of America. And for 230+ years, this country has guaranteed its citizens religious freedom.

And we could ask the question: Is this good or not? Because in 2000 years of church history, this is more of an exception than the norm. We have been living in very exceptional times in terms of religious freedom. What kind of persecution is likely to happen in America? We are guaranteed persecution by the promises of Scripture. So we will declare that we should expect persecution. There is persecution happening. Of what kind? So my personal opinion is that there is a soft kind of persecution, and more of a hard overt kind of persecution. 

(And now, brother in the back, if you could bring up that last slide, the slide of Augustine the Baker. And if it takes a little time, that’s ok; I’ll bring up that story at some point.)

So in America here, what kind of persecution should we expect? It’s of my opinion that so long as there is the present government of the United States with its guarantee of religious freedom, my personal opinion is that it’s not likely that we’ll face the kind of persecution that the martyrs faced in the early church and in the days of our fore-fathers – under the present governmental system. But IF – let’s say, due to some catastrophe, that a new form of government would come in, a dictatorship, anything could happen! Or some undemocratic form of government of some kind or the other, anything could happen. And so we live in uncertain days, and we’re not sure what will happen.

But until such a time, I see the U.S. drifting toward a very liberal kind of society, kind of indifferent to religion, maybe similar to the way the Netherlands are today. I think it’s likely that we will experience a more soft kind of persecution, such as being charged with hate speech for calling people out of sexual sins as the apostle Paul did in Romans 1, in which were common in his day. Of course, I am aware that there are people who have actually gone to prison in recent years for the sake of loved ones and for conscience’s sake. I am aware of that. But I think it’s pretty much a rarity in this country, unless the democratic system collapses entirely. But if it would happen, and if we would have to experience persecution, we could do it! The grace of God would help us to endure, and we will have cause for rejoicing.

The burning question, though, for us today is:

If the church were all that she should be, would there be more persecution?

And we’ve been living in freedom for 230 years, but we shouldn’t forget that in many parts of the world, there is persecution, the hard kind of persecution. Right now in India, for example. India for the last 3-4 years has been moved up to the number 10 country in the world where Christians are most likely to be persecuted.

For example, there are villagers – (I’ve got a story here that I won’t give the time to refer to in detail, but there are many examples like this), where people go to their villages, and the Hindu extremists ask them to worship the local Hindu gods at the threat of their lives. And people have to flee. It’s a lot like it was in the days of the Roman empire when the Christians were asked to do just a little thing, just offer a pinch of incense to the emperor, once a year or so, that’s all. And they said, “No! We have one Lord, and His name is Jesus Christ.” And these Hindu Christians today are being persecuted in a similar way. Either you worship the local Hindu gods, or you leave the village. And if they don’t leave, some of these people are dying for their faith. So let’s remember to pray for our brothers and sisters in other places where persecution is actually going on.

Preparing for persecution

1)  I think that we should be realistic, number 1, about the threats that the church is facing today. I think that we have greater threats than persecution right now.

One of those greater threats is Prosperity.

I’ll read a little bit from a portion of a paragraph that the compilers of The Martyrs Mirror put in a later edition of The Martyrs Mirror, because they were concerned about the prosperity. They said,

“In the former times, in the times of the cross, when men could assemble only under peril of their lives, our zeal drove us in the night and at unseasonable times, into nooks and corners, and into fields and woods. How precious then was one hour which could be employed in stirring up and establishing one another in godliness. . .  Men did not ask for ingenious or flowery sermons; but hunger devoured all that was presented. Then soul treasure was diligently sought, since bodily possessions could give but little comfort. Then heavenly riches were sought for above all things; for earthly possessions were altogether insecure. But how is it now? Temporal avocations have the preference throughout; the oxen must first be proved, and the field be inspected, before one can come to the heavenly marriage, (Luke 14:18-19). Simplicity is changed into pomp and ostentation. Possessions have increased, but in the soul there is leanness. Clothes have become costly, but the inward ornament has perished.  Love has waxed cold, and diminished, but contentions have increased.”

Prosperity is a greater threat, I think, right now. I believe that with all my heart and soul, brothers and sisters.

And the second thing is Pleasure. If the church can overcome the threat of porn, the church can overcome the threat of persecution.

Politics. I think this is a third greater threat than persecution right now. Politics. As Kingdom Christians, we are called to be politically neutral. Are we in reality politically neutral? The problem with losing political neutrality is this: In the world – it has always been this way – one of the major causes of persecution has been religion, or in the church sadly, and other religions. But it has also been the State. So if I align myself with a political party, left or right, eventually I might find myself aligned with the persecutor! We saw that happening in the days of 1940’s under Hitler.

So let’s identify our major threats, and work on those. Prosperity, Pleasure, and Politics.

2)  Secondly, in preparation for persecution, we are to arm ourselves, as 1 Peter 1 teaches us. As nonresistant Christians, we are to arm ourselves. But our armor is a different kind of armor. It’s the armor of God on the right hand and on the left. It’s the armor of the breastplate of righteousness, the sword of the Spirit, the shield of faith, and of the Word of God. It’s the armor of a mind that is prepared for persecution. Because our Master has endured persecution, Peter tells us, we ought to also prepare ourselves for that same kind of experience. The Martyrs Mirror says that if you find that you live in a time when persecution is waning, persecute yourself! If you find that the time of freedom from persecution has given liberty and room to your lusts, then persecute yourself.”  That’s pretty good advice.

3) Consider the early church. They went everywhere preaching the Word. It says there in Acts 1:4 (we read it) that the persecution “scattered” the believers, and they went everywhere preaching the Word. Now, I’m not sure if we’re going everywhere preaching the Word, but we’re really good at scattering. Just follow the vehicles out of the parking lot today, and we’re going to be scattering all over the place. And we have the means and the method of scattering the Word across the world in ways that the apostles couldn’t even dream of. We have the opportunity to scatter and share the Word. Now how are we doing with that? I think we tend to reduce – I’ll leave that; I won’t make a judgment. But I think that we could leave this place with a desire to make preaching the Word our vocation, in whatever ways God gives us the grace to do it.

So, while we lived in the country of Ireland, we met at a large convention a gentleman that was carrying a cross. I’m going to raise this as an idea. There may be some young men out here who would wish to maybe do a little cross-bearing in a literal sort of way and use this as a means to offer a witness for our Lord. This man was from America, and he would go around to these large events, and this one was at a Tall Ships Festival in the town of Waterford. So I’m there with my family enjoying this, and just seeing the tall ships, and then we went to the town center, and here we saw off to the side this most unusual sight. Here was a man with a cross on his back.  Now we probably all heard of this or maybe have seen it, and we think, “This is weird; why would anybody do this?”  Well, I’m saying it’s one opportunity to preach the Word. This man had a wheel on the back of his cross, and he was pulling it along. I asked him about that wheel, and he said, “Yeah, you’ve got to have that wheel, or you will lose about 1 inch per mile.” He said, “It’s the Christians who are legalistic who ask about that wheel. Everybody else understands.” (Chuckle.)

So I’m driving down I-81, and I come to this overpass every day, but occasionally on my way home from work, I see a man up there on that overpass, over this very busy artery in the East. He’s up there demonstrating his allegiance to his country. He’s got this flag up there that is waving in the wind, and he is smiling and waving at the traffic passing below. I thought to myself, “What if some young man would have the courage to build a cross like that, and stand at that overpass, and just be friendly?” This gentleman that we met in Ireland was of a radiant face, a beaming testimony. This wasn’t some grim experience for him. He used this as a witnessing opportunity. People came up to him and asked him, “What is this cross about?” Well, was he ever ready to tell them what it was about!  It was an opportunity to present the cross and people came and asked questions.  We are in a visually cued society. And I’m offering that as a suggestion. I know it’s a little bit edgy. But our family has done a few edgy things, other things. 

“They went everywhere preaching the Word.”

How about going into Walmart or somewhere with a handful of tracts, and you got some children – they’re young and innocent. You can go over to the beer section. Did you know that the beer boxes, a lot of them, have a little slot in the middle, and you can drop a tract right down into the heart of that beer box? I’m not sure if it’s quite legal or not, but the worse thing that could happen is that the store manager could come and tell you to stop doing it. Then you could move on to the next store. You might want to be careful what address you have on the back of the tract.

So many ways that we can go everywhere preaching the Word! I don’t think that the days of the printed tract are over. It may be more limited now, but I don’t think the days of the printed tract are over. Maybe the printed tract is now for me, too, to help me remember that I’m to be out on the front lines preaching the Word.

Of course, we don’t want to neglect the deeper things such as conversations with neighbors. I know there are a lot of good Bible Studies going on with foreign students. There are short encounters, inviting people to church. I know there are probably people here that are involved with refugee ministry, and by God’s grace, in my home community in Stewarts Draft, we’re now about to offer help to a second refugee family. These are ministry opportunities. People have come from the Middle East out of terrible suffering, and we can show them the love of Christ, and hopefully some of them will choose to follow the Lamb.

4)  I think we could prepare for persecution by memorializing the martyrs. We should read the stories of the martyrs to our young children, and maybe have students in school write papers on the martyrs and on what they taught. We could have a Memorial Day for the martyrs. Our brother James Hershberger back at Stewarts Draft kind of gave us this idea. The world has Memorial Day to celebrate the fallen soldiers who died to protect this country. What if we would set aside a day to celebrate and remember those who have given their lives for the King?

I want to talk about Faithfulness in Ordinary Life.

Most of us probably won’t get to do anything all that heroic in life. We may never, probably none of us will be called upon to offer our lives as a martyr for Jesus. We live pretty ordinary lives. We may never get to do something that the world calls heroic. But we can be faithful in the small things.

I want to close with an example from athletics. I apologize if this is a poor way to close. Back in 2003, the British Bicycling Team reorganized, because in 110 years, they hadn’t won the Tour de France, and they had won only one gold medal in the Olympics since 1908. Their performance was so poor that a major bike manufacturer in Europe refused to sell them bikes for fear that it would harm their sales.

But in 2003, the British Bicycling Team hired a new performance director, and his philosophy was the aggregation of marginal gains, the philosophy of seeking for marginal gains in everything you do. He called it “The One Percent Principle.” They decided they would break everything down in riding a bike, and then try to improve everything by at least 1%. Put it back together and see what you get. So they did things like, they improved the seat on the bicycle. They provided heated clothes for their athletes to get their muscle tone just right. They experimented with the right kind of pain gels for muscle recovery. They even painted the inside of their van white so that dust particles might appear a little better – dust particles that might actually harm the performance of their finely tuned bikes. All that, and much more. They took apart the process of riding a bike, tried to improve in many ways, and put it back together.

The results of those tiny changes added up more quickly than anybody could imagine. In 2008 just five years after that new takeover, the British team won 60% of the gold medals at the Olympics, and four years later, they won nine gold medals and set seven world records. In a ten-year span, they won five Tour de France’s. All by taking everything apart, examining themselves, and trying to improve a little bit here, and a little bit there.

And what would happen to us, with us, and in our churches, if we could examine what we do in the light of Jesus and His teaching, and seek to be just a little more faithful in a number of things? A little more obedience, a little more testimony, a little more praise to God.

  • Maybe we can’t sing all day long, but could we sing one hymn a day?
  • Maybe I can’t pray for all the people in my church once a day, but maybe I can pray for them once a week by dividing them into a number of lists for each day.
  • Could I be a little more considerate of my wife and the people I work with?
  • Try “The One Percent Principle” on the Lord’s Day worship. What if we’d come to church, and we’d sit up and sing with all our might? And first of all, get there on time, so we can prepare our hearts. Try to be there at least one percent earlier than what you were doing. I might say 10% earlier would be better. Try it on the Lord’s Day service. Take notes when the Word is preached and think about those notes later on Monday.
  • If you’re the father in the home, revitalize family devotions.
  • And maybe I’m not that great at sharing my testimony. Well, you can practice. Practice it with an older person. That will do two things. It will get you to visit the older people, and it will help you practice your testimony, and then you can share it with the world.
  • Take a snack to the neighbors.
  • Seek to honor your parents a little more than you do today.

If we can try to be a little more faithful, with the help of God, we can make a difference. And we can prepare ourselves for persecution. Every small act of obedience done out of honor, respect, and admiration for our Master will strengthen us, and will prepare the Church for persecution. May God help us.

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