VERSE: 1Thessalonians 2:14-16 
For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus.  You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews,  (15) who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out.  They displease God and are hostile to all men (16) in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved.  In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit.  The wrath of God has come upon them at last.  

In these three verses, Paul is reminding the Thessalonians that the persecution that they have been facing from Jews and Gentiles is not new.  All the other followers of Jesus were also facing persecution.  He says in verse 15 that this persecution is to keep the Gentiles from being saved, from hearing the truth about Jesus.  

I think there are two ways for us to apply this to our lives today.  One is to think about where the current church is being persecuted.  There are many countries in the world where it is very dangerous to be a Christian.  Do we know about these countries?  Do we care enough to pray for them and to provide them with support?  These are our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Here is a website to learn more about this.  I thank God that I live in a country where I don’t have to sneak into an underground church or where I am likely to be jailed for my beliefs. 

The second way to apply this is to think about the reason for the persecution, to keep people from the truth of Jesus.  How am I doing at making sure others are hearing the truth?  I feel like I have closed ranks some during this pandemic and have not been out meeting people and sharing about the Christian life.  Many people are hurting after this pandemic.  Many have lost jobs and lost hope.  Some have lost loved ones.  God can’t be happy that I am holding back on sharing his love and truth for those in need.  

Let’s all think about the people in our lives that need Jesus, either at work or school or friends.  Let’s try to talk to them about how much hope we have and where it comes from.  Ask them how they are doing and allow God’s love to pour out from you.  Invite them to come with you to church.  If you try, you will find that God will smile on you.  And likely give you another person to talk to.  

Father God, help us to pray for those that are suffering in your name.  And open our hearts to others that need to hear about you.  Be with us and pour out your love to those around us.  Thank you for your many blessings and for working with us and through us.

AUTHOR: Brad Dunn