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Friday, February 4, 2011

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Hebrews 13:1-8
Psalm 27:1, 3, 5, 8-9
Mark 6:14-29

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are we ready for persecution?

"We may say with confidence: 'The Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?' " —Hebrews 13:6

Many of the people to whom the book of Hebrews was written were able to stand fast in their faith despite extreme persecution from the Romans. The Hebrews "were stoned, sawed in two, put to death at sword's point" (Heb 11:37). Nonetheless, they continued to confess Jesus as Lord and did not give in to pressure from the government.

The Lord made the Hebrews this strong in their faith by calling them to:

  1. show hospitality (Heb 13:2). When we use the supernatural gift of hospitality, we encourage and strengthen each other in miraculous ways.
  2. solidarity and compassion (see Heb 13:3). If one suffered, all suffered (1 Cor 12:26). They did not let themselves become alone and isolated, but they supported each other.
  3. sexual purity, especially in marriage (see Heb 13:4). The devil's initial attack against God's people is often through sexual temptations. If we win this battle, we're on the way to winning the war.
  4. not love money. This is the root of all evil (1 Tm 6:10), including that of giving in to persecution (see Heb 13:5).
  5. obey their leaders (see Heb 13:7). An army disobedient to authority loses the war.

We may soon face more intense persecution. To stand fast in faith, accept God's grace in all the ways He gives it.

Prayer:  Father, may I be delivered from every evil, especially the evil of denying my faith in You.

Promise:  "The Lord is my life's Refuge." —Ps 27:1

Praise:  Out of love for Jesus and His people, the Lilly's open their home to receive and house those in need.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Riding Out the Storm on audio AV 69-1 or video V-69.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July27, 2010

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