A Season of Thanksgiving (and Persecution) Is Coming

Fall reminds us things are changing and when it involves leaves we look forward with thanks-1thanksgiving to the colorful displays those changes will bring. But, what if the changes we observe as other things fall stir up other emotions? The Psalmist asks, “If the foundations be torn down, what can the righteous do?”(Psalm 11: 3)

The Psalmist says our lives are going to be under scrutiny, our faith tested. This is not only directed at us from the world but more importantly from the Lord. Read Psalm 11. The Lord wants to prove your faith to reveal His glory and judgement in the earth.

1 Peter 4: 12-13 says, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”

Jesus was emphatic to tell us us this in John 15: 21, “They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.” We who bear the name of Christ will be persecuted in the days ahead.  Do not be surprised when the world’s ignorance, unbelief and hatred is directed towards you. Don’t react in such a way that you identify with the world more than with Christ.

What can the righteous do when the foundations are destroyed?  First, we can determine what we won’t do. We won’t live anymore for sin or to do our own will. We won’t avoid or gloss over the hard and prophetic places in the Holy Scripture. We won’t give the devil a foothold in our lives by not forgiving or holding on to bitterness. We won’t be ashamed of the absolute claims Jesus makes about Himself. Finally, we will quit talking and acting as if God’s judgment is far off.

Instead, we determine to live our lives doing the will of God, attentive to the Word of God. We will forgive just as in Christ we have been forgiven. We will be led by the Holy Spirit and walk in His comfort. If we suffer as a Christian, we are not ashamed, but praise God that we bear that name.

“For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, ‘If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’ So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” (1 Peter 4: 17-19)

About laurelhillumc

Laurel Hill United Methodist Church is rich in history as a church family committed to a life in Christ. We began in the heart of Varina almost 150 years ago; the church has grown through its existence as a church-hospital in the Civil War, as a circuit church, and survived a disastrous fire which destroyed the sanctuary about 50 years ago. Then, dedicated, Spirit-filled Christians worked hard together to build a new sanctuary. That hard work has continued with many new improvements including a new addition connecting the sanctuary and educational building, the installation of an elevator providing total accessibility throughout both buildings, remodeling the education building and the installation of 18 stained glass windows. Faithful clergy and laity ministering together have established a legacy of dedication and service which enables Laurel Hill to be a beacon of light in our community, in our world and to all who follow for generations to come. In response to the needs of the Varina community, Laurel Hill United Methodist Church also operates the Laurel Hill Weekday School. These programs are an active part of the life and ministry of Laurel Hill UMC. We accept the opportunity through our morning Preschool and After School child care to share our values of love, caring, cooperation and forgiveness. The Church and child care programs work together to enhance the spiritual, mental and physical growth of children in our community. Our worship services are held each Sunday with a contemporary service at 8:45am and a traditional service at 11:00am. Sunday School begins at 9:45am. Call our office (804) 795-2772 for Bible Study times and other ministry opportunities.
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