persecution

Utterly Pure and Persecuted

“Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, ‘Come to bed with me!’ But he refused. ‘With me in charge,’ he told her, ‘my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care…One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, ‘Come to bed with me!’ But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.” – Genesis 39:7-9,11,12 Yesterday, we looked at the beginning of the story of Joseph. He was a young and naive dreamer who was sold into slavery by his brothers in their jealousy. After being sold, Joseph’s saga progressed, and he ended up in the household of a wealthy Egyptian named

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The Anti-Fragility of Jesus

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” – Galatians 3:26,27 After discussing how love is anti-fragile, I want to continue our conversation focusing on God’s anti-fragility, more specifically Jesus and the early church. Jesus Christ exemplifies what it means to be resilient. More people followed Him when others cursed Him and lied about Him. More people talked about Him when they said He was sent by demons. They grew jealous as He grew in popularity, and eventually crucified Him; but little did they realize, that was the worst thing they could have done! Why? Because new life spilled into the universe as a result of His death and resurrection! Everything shifted at that point, and time was snapped in half like a twig. Because the veil was broken in half, history

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Suffering is a Force for Change

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 The Apostle Paul was writing to the church when he wrote the passages above. Do you know what he’s talking about when he says “all-surpassing power”? In the first century church, they were healing the

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Stand For What’s Right

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Ephesians 1:1,2 If you’ve listened to me for any length of time, you know that I love history, especially because I believe it completes our understanding of the Scriptures. That said, many of us are familiar with the book of Ephesians — which Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus — but we may not know the story behind it. Ephesus, which was labeled the crown jewel of the Roman Empire, was home to the temple of Artemis, the Greek goddess of hunting and nature. Considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the temple was not only elaborate and beautiful, it was also a hub of commerce. It housed offerings

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Rejection for His Sake

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” – Matthew 5:11 As Christians, we sometimes get the idea that once we know Jesus, life will be easy. Since certain teaching emphasizes earthly prosperity over spiritual power, many have come to believe that we’re called to an existence of sheer wealth and popularity. However, the truth is that embracing the journey of discipleship isn’t a guarantee of a trouble-free path. You see, we are set apart to be different, and at times, this can feel lonely. While the world is going one way, we’re asked to go another, and swimming upstream against the strongholds of culture can be exhausting. Nevertheless, it’s a battle worth fighting, for in the end, we will be rewarded for our faithful endurance. Though Jesus was not always popular, He was triumphant, and His

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