Consider It Pure Joy!

We can well remember the words spoken by the Lord Jesus, to his disciples,  before he left this world; “……. then you will be handed over to be persecuted, and put to death, and you will be hated by many nations” – Matt.24:9

This had to happen exactly the way he said it.  We can read from the book of Acts 7:54-60, how it was with Stephen, how he stood trial because of his great wonders and signs given him by the Lord.  He had truth in him, as he was speaking the Lord’s word, and he was stoned to death – in Paul’s (then Saul) sight.  When such situations occur, we must remember the Lord’s word in Matthew 24 – and to count it all joy, because even though he is asleep, in the Lord’s grace he will get a place in the Kingdom which will never end.  Stephen fulfilled the Lord’s words.

The other fulfilment is in chapter 16 of the Acts of the apostles - - here we read of a girl who had a spirit to predict the future.  Paul and Silas were there and commanded to spirit to leave the girl, but the brothers were seized by the owners of the girl, who brought them before the magistrate and they ended up in prison.  Though in prison they sang hymns to the Lord, until they came out of it – encouraging the apostles to be strong and standing firm in the Lord’s service – vs.16-40.  We will face such things also in times to come.

“We must go through much hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” – Acts 14:22.  Let us not give up doing what is pleasing to the Lord.  The apostles were persecuted and beaten severely but they kept doing the good work, fighting the good fight of faith.  Bro. James in his letter to the twelve tribes scattered in the world says, “Consider it PURE JOY, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” – James 1:2.

He goes on to say, “brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord.  As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered.  You’ve heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about: The Lord is full of compassion and mercy” – James 5:10,11.

This may happen to us today.  We must commit our everyday work to the Lord, that he strengthens us, even to stand firm and speak the word of truth if we stand trial for our faith in Him.  If we stick to the truth and persevere, great is the reward from the Lord – in his Kingdom – May it come soon!

The Lord Jesus said, ”Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject you as evil, because of the Son of Man.  Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven” – Luke 6:22,23.

We must consider and take to heart these words of the Lord, and live in his truth, dear brethren.

Bro. Silas Chishimba (Mufulira, Zambia)

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