It is no secret that we are living in a “World of trouble”,
just step outside and look around,
open a magazine or newspaper,
turn on the TV or radio or
just listen to people in the supermarket and
it want take long to see and hear bad news.
We are surrounded by hurt and hurting people.
The “good old days” whatever they were
seem like a fairy tale compared to today.
The days of old are gone and
now we are a fearful society.
Always watching our backs and looking over our shoulders.
A lot of the time very cautious in what we do.
Always thinking about consequences,
And for the most part that is correct,
For it would be foolish not too.
However, I kind of think that we have become
A people who are always on the lookout.
We are always looking for ways to prevent the
“what if’s” in life.
What if I…???
We can keep ourselves up all night long
thinking about the “what If’s.”
The Bible tells us that we are living in difficult times.
The perils of Luke 21:9-11, 25-26
such as wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilences,
the perplexity of the nations.
The difficult times are expanded by the difficult
People of 2 Timothy 3:1-5, I Timothy 4:1-3 and 2 Peter 3:3
The selfish, covetous, lovers of money,
boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to parents,
ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving,
slanderous, without self-control, brutal,
not lovers of good, treacherous, rash,
conceited, lovers of pleasures etc.
And these difficult times continue with the idea of
A persecution in Luke 21:12, 16-17.
The persecution that God’s children are
experiencing today all over the world.
Can I suggest that persecution and
The people of God go hand in hand.
From the very start of the spread of belief
In Jesus by the rulers of the Roman empire
There has been persecution of the church.
The persecution of the Jewish people is
Well known and documented and
I would not discount them from being
People of faith.
In our context this morning,
It is a servant of God who is being persecuted
And then martyred.
The enemy wants to serve you up cold.
Is it too risqué to say that?
John was a forerunner for Christ fulfilling Isa 40:3-5
“A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord[a];
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
He did not look like everyone else.
Wild looking (long hair and beard) wore camel’s hair.
Lived in the desert.
Ate locust and wild honey.
Preached the truth.
I believe the enemy looks for troublemakers,
those that shake up his kingdom.
He takes notice of those that are always
preparing for the Presence of the Lord.
He will try to shut you down.
Just as John was beheaded for making way
for the Lord the enemy seeks our heads as well.
The enemy of God in John 10:10 Jesus says:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”
Or in John 8:44 again Jesus speaks:
“He was a murderer from the beginning,
not holding to the truth,
for there is no truth in him.
When he lies, he speaks his native language,
for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
And in 1 Pe 5:8 Peter puts it like this:
“ Your enemy the devil prowls around like
a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
I do not believe that it is too much of a
Stretch of the imagination to say that
Satan will do whatever it takes,
he will attack you to discourage, deceive, and destroy you.
Can I just say that I do not normally talk about Satan,
Or the devil or whatever you want to call him.
It takes a bit of focus off of God and what He does.
Being aware, however, of his tactics might
Keep us from falling into his traps.
So issues of our mind hold is in bondage to ourselves;
it places a fear upon us that keeps us
from moving forward.
When we are ready to take a step forward
the issue rises up and keeps us from enjoying life.
It has become a reminder of a life we can’t have.
This can create in us a lifestyle of defeat.
Draining us of every ounce of faith;
and depleting our spiritual bank account.
The enemy wants us at a mental melt down;
where we don’t know our down from our up
and our left from our right;
he wants to get us to a place where we
are running here and there.
When you are in a battle over your head,
no one knows about that this inner hurt
that you are carrying inside you.
Here at church and in public a smile is worn
so that you do not expose this issue to others.
Satan can have you placed on house arrest and
convince you that there is no escape.
Like a lion he stalks you looking for those
vulnerable moments to pounce upon you.
This is not a mental health talk,
And while our mental health is important,
So to is our spiritual health too.
Understanding the tactics of Satan can
Go some way to helping us.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case
in countries other than our own.
Some of you will know this better than me.
North Korea, Afhanistan and Somalia are the
Top three countries in the world
Where if you are a Christian you are
Likely to be persecuted for your faith in Jesus.
400,000 Christians in North Korea –
some 1.5 per cent of the population,
with about 50-70,000 of them in
horrendous prisons and labour camps.
Being discovered as a Christian is a
death sentence in North Korea.
You will be taken to a labour camp as a political criminal,
if you aren’t killed instantly.
These inhumane prisons have horrific conditions,
and few believers make it out alive.
Not just you, but everyone in your family
will share the same punishment.
Kim Jong-un is reported to have expanded
the system of prison camps.
Many Christians are unable to meet with other believers,
and have to keep their faith entirely hidden.
There are even stories of husbands and
wives not knowing, for many years,
that their spouse was also a Christian.
Secret police carry out raids to identify Christians,
and children are encouraged to tell their teachers
about any sign of faith in their parents’ home.
A Christian is never safe.
It couldn’t really get any harder for
2021 is the 20th year in a row that North Korea
has been the country where Christians
face the most extreme persecution.
And yet Covid-19 has made it even worse.
Though the North Korean authorities claim that the
pandemic has had little impact in the country,
North Koreans call it the ‘ghost disease’ –
because people are so malnourished already
that they die very quickly from Covid-19.
If you go to the website of Open Doors,
A charity that keeps a track of Christian persecutions
In countries across the world.
That’s where I found my information
Regarding North Korea.
Wherever we are on the earth
We need to be aware that as the people of God
There is the possibility that we can
Face the threat of being persecuted for
Our belief in Jesus Christ
God’s son our saviour.
Prayers for others and Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who is in heaven.Hallowed be your name.Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.Give us today, our daily bread.Forgive us our debts As we forgive our debtors.And lead us not into temptationBut deliver us from evil.For Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the gloryNow and foreverAmen!