Daily Devotion Friday, July 5

Friday, July 5, 2013 – Psalm 148; 1 Samuel 13:19-14:15; Acts 9:1-9 and Luke 23:26-31

Luke 23:26-31 – 26As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. 28But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Even up to the end our Lord warned his followers that there were tough days ahead. For 300 years the early Christians were persecuted, sometimes more harshly than others. When they gathered they sometimes would fear for their very life. Even today, Christians in some nations are persecuted because they believe in the risen Christ.

One website I found listed forty countries where Christian are persecuted, some more harshly than others.

http://www.prisoneralert.com/vompw_persecution.htm

Yesterday we celebrated Independence Day. I give thanks that one of the founding principles of the United States was, religious freedom. In fact it was a part of the first amendment made to the US Constitution.

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 the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (ratified 12/15/1791)

Even as we enjoy our freedom to worship and serve the one who gave his very life for us, may we pray for those who are persecuted asking that God’s protective hands be upon them.

In the reading from Acts we hear of the conversion of Saul, Jesus struck him, blinded him and spoke to him saying; “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Saul asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. (Acts 9:1-9).

Today, pray for brothers and sisters who are being persecuted for their faith and pray for the conversion and transformation of those who persecute them.

O Lord, I give thanks for the freedom I have to worship you. I take it for granted. Watch over and protect brothers and sisters in Christ who risk their very life when they profess their love and faith. May I be bold in sharing my faith with others this very day. Amen.

Psalm 148 – 1   Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!

All creatures and all creation great and small, praise the Lord!

13  Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.

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