I used to think persecution - real persecution - meant imprisonment or martyrdom. Little did I realize that anything that tries to silence my voice of influence for Christ is, indeed, a form of persecution! That changes everything! Anything that threatens me to try and use fear to silence me is persecution. God has much to say about persecution - and it’s many blessings. But the best news of all? He endures it WITH me!
I have been physically threatened because of my faith. I have been mocked. I have walked through sign-carrying protestors to get to my own concert/ministry gathering. I have been called names. I have shared my story of deliverance on a college campus while a group mocked me the entire time. I have been called names. Been lied about and written about in the blogosphere. Been sneered and jeered at. I’ve been told I am doing more harm than good. I’ve been abandoned by ‘believers’ who told me ‘this is your calling, not mine’. I have been shunned. I have been thrown under the bus by more ‘progressively minded’, more ‘enlightened’ segments of the body of Christ. Through it all, I have determined that I cannot be silent about what God has done for me. Why? If we who have been redeemed do not say what we have been redeemed from, how can those in the same bondage ever going to know freedom is possible?
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary
Psalm 107:1-2 NASB
Another reason I continue to share in spite of the ever-increasing darkness in our culture is knowing that nothing stands forever - not the threats, not the wisdom of man, not humanism - except the Word of God! So, I choose to stand upon the Word in spite of the culture!
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.
Isaiah 40:8 NASB
Because of our faith in Jesus Christ, we WILL experience persecution. It may be as simple as pushback for a simple post of faith we make on Facebook. It may be as harsh as someone threatening us with violence. It may be facing possible censorship or the threat of imprisonment. It may come in the form of mockery or insults or shunning. But follow Christ and it WILL come. We might as well get ready for it.
Paul Nyquist, in his book Prepare: Living in an Increasingly Hostile Culture, says, “Because of our relative inexperience, we Americans tend to have a limited view of persecution. We typically think of it [persecution] in physical terms (imprisonment, martyrdom), and as such, may question whether our experience truly qualifies as persecution. But this definition is too narrow. The biblical term suggests a broader view including aggression, oppression, and violence affecting body, mind, and emotion…Simply put, persecution is the societal marginalization of believers with a view of eliminating their voice of influence.”
Lisa Cherry, in her book Like a Flood, provides a much-needed tool for the body of Christ as we face this present darkness. I would encourage you to read this book to prepare your heart for what’s coming…to prepare your heart to stand firm and strong through the onslaught. Below is a link to a list of 100 Scriptures dealing with persecution. I would encourage you to read through them and allow the Holy Spirit to use them to strengthen your heart and mind.
To get your own copy of Like a Flood, go to http://frontlinefamilies.org/home/product/likeaflood/
To get your own copy of Prepare: Living in an Increasingly Hostile Culture, go to https://www.amazon.com/Prepare-Living-Increasingly-Hostile-Culture/dp/0802412564
written by Todd , February 08, 2017
How encouraging to read this blog. To know that God is with us, no matter what we go through, is so amazing. Thank you Dennis for showing the way to so many.
written by Betty , November 26, 2016
Well, I sent you a post. It's not here, so I guess it didn't go through. For many years, you and your music soothed my soul. It's been awhile since I followed you. Probably because my church no longer sang your songs. I don't know. Tonight I looked you up. You were on my heart. After I read your post I grieved. Yes, we are in a battle. I would like to intercede for you. Please parlay and seek God. If this is something that you would accept, please let me know. I'm sure there are many who know you better and are closer then I ever will be, but you, your music, has blessed me often.
written by Betty , November 26, 2016
Hi, I once followed you religiously. I don't know why I stopped, maybe because the church I attended no longer sang your songs. Regardless, your music has been healing to a broken vessel. It has given me hope and kept me from killing myself. No, I'm not gay. I was sexually abused. My worth and identity crushed. So, yes, I can relate. No one wants to hear of the bad side of life....they might have to do something. People want a feel-good gospel, not the Gospel of the Living Christ. I looked you up tonight. You were on my mind. I would like to intercede for you as a prayer partner, if you would approve. I'm sure you have many praying for you who are closer to you then I ever will be. Please pray. Ask God if this is right for you. If not, I will still come back to following you and your music. May the Peace of God fill you to the full.
Oh, I'm 67 years old.
written by Julie Strock , November 08, 2016
Thank you, Dennis! I searched for your blog because of the recent statements by Brandon and Jen Hatmaker, calling monogamous homosexual relationships "holy." Many of my friends are heavy-hearted over their departure from the truth of God's Word and design in creation. Yes, we must be prepared for the onslaught of opposition and hatred, knowing Jesus even warned us of this. Thanks for your words of encouragement and the book recommendations. I want to prepare myself and my children for standing strong in His grace.