DATE: May 25, 2019
TEXT :Matthew 5: 10-12 – ESV - Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Most folks have encountered a time or two in their lives when they were close to flat broke.
Most folks have occasionally reached the end of the month and they had to decide which bill was being paid now, and which were being left to later.
Most folks have had a time or two when they looked into their purse or wallet and wished there were a few more greenbacks there.
Now, if you have been one of those “most folks” I’ve been talking about, I’ve got a deal for you. Well, actually the Chinese city of Guangzhou has a deal. They are paying for information and they are paying 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 yuan for those who supply it. For those of you whose yuan/dollar conversion is bit rusty, that’s $450, $750 and $1500 American.
Oh, there’s one other thing you should know… the Chinese officials are looking for people who could play the role of Judas in any Passion Play.
That’s right, they are looking for people who are willing to betray their neighbors, their family members, their business associates. The officials are urging citizens to ‘rat out’ anyone who is guilty of “illegal religious activities.”
And just what is an “illegal religious activity?”
The answer to that question is a bit fuzzy, that is nebulous.
For example starting a “home church”, that is a congregation which is not officially registered with the government is definitely illegal. Trying to witness to the Savior is questionable. Even so, a lot of money is going to be spent trying to locate and make life uncomfortable for Christians.
Now you may rightly wonder how Chinese believers took that Holy Week News.
Actually, they responded surprisingly well.
A Priest went public and gave an interview to Asia News. He said, “The authorities could not have picked a better time, just before Easter to introduce these measures. At this time, we often meditate on the passion of Jesus and Judas’ treachery for 30 pieces of silver. The Guangzhou government wants to turn people into many mini Judas.”
Now that’s an attitude that I can appreciate. It’s the kind of attitude the Savior talked about. How did Peter say it….”1 Peter 4:13-14 - ESV - Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
I encourage those persecuted brothers and sister. I pray for them, too… and for myself…that we might be ready whenever our day of testing may come.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, keep those whose lives are threatened for their faith. Keep them and make us all ready for our time to stand for our Savior. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
The devotion for today was inspired by various recent news articles. For further reading you may wish to go to this sitehttps://www.christianheadlines.com/contributors/michael-foust/chinese-city-pays-citizens-1-500-to-be-a-mini-judas-and-turn-in-christians.html : and the article written by Michael Foust on April 3, 2019.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html
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