Kraig J. Rice
Bread On The Waters (BOW)


Satan hates God, he hates Jesus Christ, he hates God's word (the bible), and he hates every true Christian. He will use individuals against you. It matters little what their excuse(s) may be towards you. Be assured the devil is behind it all somehow.

When you accepted the cross of Christ you accepted this challenge because God warns us in His word:
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer PERSECUTION"
(2 Timothy 3:12).

If they'll do it with you
They'll do it to you

Persecution Will Drive You Into One of Two Directions

There is some talk in Christian circles about persecution making you hang onto the cross of Christ a lot harder, however, some folks turn around and run from the cross. Here is what Jesus said:
"The rocky soil represents those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But like young plants in such soil, their roots don't go very deep. At first they get along fine, but they wilt as soon as they have problems or are persecuted because they believe the word"
(Matthew 13:20-21).

The story is told that one time in Communist Russia two Russian soldiers entered a church service, aimed their machine guns at the congregation, and told those folks "Anyone who does not want to die for Christ, get out of this church now!" Several left the church. After they left, the soldiers put down their guns. The pastor wanted to know why they put their guns down instead of shooting the rest. The two soldiers told the pastor they were true Christians and only wanted to worship with other true Christians in this congregation who were willing to die for their faith. Then they had a wonderful time of worship together!

"It is not persecution of the church in China that I fear.
The church has always been able to weather persecution.
My fear is the love of money in the church"
-Chinese pastor

Some Scriptures About Persecution

"But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised PERSECUTION against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts"
(Acts 13:50).

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in PERSECUTIONS, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong"
(2 Corinthians 12:10).

"But about that time, serious trouble developed in Ephesus concerning the Way. It began with Demetrius, a silversmith who had a large business manufacturing silver shrines of the Greek goddess Artemis. He kept many craftsmen busy. He called the craftsmen together, along with others employed in related trades, and addressed them as follows: "Gentlemen, you know that our wealth comes from this business. As you have seen and heard, this man Paul has persuaded many people that handmade gods aren't gods at all. And this is happening not only here in Ephesus but throughout the entire province! Of course, I'm not just talking about the loss of public respect for our business. I'm also concerned that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will lose its influence and that Artemis- this magnificent goddess worshiped throughout the province of Asia and all around the world- will be robbed of her prestige!" At this their anger boiled, and they began shouting, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" A crowd began to gather, and soon the city was filled with confusion..."
(Acts 19:23-29).

If you are being persecuted now, I want you to get a lot of prayer going up to God on your behalf. Your deliverance may depend on prayer. Here is the scripture on this, and it is a good possibility why God placed this message in His word:

"When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish leaders, he arrested Peter during the Passover celebration and imprisoned him, placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. Herod's intention was to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover. But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him"
(Acts 12:3-5).

What happened then? God sent an angel to come and release Peter from prison. God worked a miracle for Peter in response to intercessory prayer made for him. And God may very well work a miracle for you, as well, in response to intercessory prayer made on your behalf.

How Are You Supposed to Handle Persecution?

Here is what Jesus had to say:
"God blesses those who are persecuted because they live for God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are My followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted, too."
(Matthew 5:10-12).

Here is what Jesus had to say about Revenge:

"You have heard that the law of Moses says, `If an eye is injured, injure the eye of the person who did it. If a tooth gets knocked out, knock out the tooth of the person who did it.' But I say, don't resist an evil person! If you are slapped on the right cheek, turn the other, too. If you are ordered to court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow."
(Matthew 5:38-42).

Here is what Jesus had to say about about Love for Enemies:

"You have heard that the law of Moses says, `Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too. If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."
(Matthew 5:43-48).


Jesus Gave Us His Battle Plan In This Matter of Persecution

Here is what Jesus had to say:
"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore
(1) wise as serpents,
(2) harmless as doves, and
(3) beware of men
(Matthew 10:16-17).

What About Christian Martyrdom?

You have to look at this extreme persecution from God's point of view, and NOT from man's point of view. God has the total picture and plan of what He is working out and oftentimes we don't know what it is. We know that martyrdom spreads the faith. And we have the
Genesis 50:20 rule: "They mean it for evil, but God means it for good" (my paraphrase). We are called to walk by faith- in good times and also in evil times. One day at Bethany Bible College in class, Rev. Norman Arnesen was discussing martyrdom, and he asked us this question: "Is it harder to live for God, or is it harder to die for God?"

The history of the Christian church is loaded with the martyrdom of it's saints. The Bible itself and Bible tradition has many examples. By Their Blood, and Fox's Book of Martyrs, are 2 books that deal with this subject in great detail.

You Will Reap What You Sow

Whoever you are- it is not wise to persecute any of God's true Christians. Why? Because there is a spiritual law that can't be broken and it holds true for Christians and non-Christians alike. It is called the Law of Sowing and Reaping. Here it is:
"You will always reap what you sow!"
(Galatians 6:7b).

You want a few examples from history. OK, here are a few:

Did King Herod reap what he sowed?
"About that time King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. He had the apostle James (John's brother) killed with a sword"
(Acts 12:1-2).

"Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people's worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died"
(Acts 12:23).

Did King Herod's daughter, Herodias, reap what she sowed?
"It was Herod's birthday, and he gave a party for his palace aides, army officers, and the leading citizens of Galilee. Then his daughter, also named Herodias, came in and performed a dance that greatly pleased them all. Ask me for anything you like," the king said to the girl, "and I will give it to you." Then he promised, "I will give you whatever you ask, up to half of my kingdom!" She went out and asked her mother, "What should I ask for?" Her mother told her, "Ask for John the Baptist's head!" So the girl hurried back to the king and told him, "I want the head of John the Baptist, right now, on a tray!" Then the king was very sorry, but he was embarrassed to break his oath in front of his guests. So he sent an executioner to the prison to cut off John's head and bring it to him. The soldier beheaded John in the prison, brought his head on a tray, and gave it to the girl, who took it to her mother"
(Mark 6:21-28).

History tell us that one day the daughter of King Herod was ice skating on a frozen lake. She was going at a considerable speed when she broke through the ice, cutting off her head. Is there any doubt that she reaped what she sowed?

Did the ones who persecuted Jesus to death reap what they sowed?

"That is what has happened here in (Jerusalem) this city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant..."
(Acts 4:27).

Pontius Pilate was committed to a mental institution with padded walls. He died there knocking his head against those walls, loudly lamenting the fact that he had killed the Son of God. In 70 A.D. God allowed the Roman army to destroy Jerusalem and haul off it's inhabitants into slavery. Did they reap what they had sowed?

So, when you are wondering how to handle persecution in your life, act like Jesus did and leave the vengeance to God. He will stick up for you. Be comforted in the fact that they will reap what they have sowed. God will make sure of it.

You and I have to forgive our persecutors. Why? Because they deserve it? No, because the root of bitterness will spring up into your heart if you don't. And you and I have to pray and ask God to do a convicting work in the hearts of our persecutors to lead them to salvation. This is following the pathway of love.

"Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit
makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before"
- James Buckham

What Is The Pathway of Love?

It is simply walking through life with love and responding with love to all personal injustice. This proper response is in line with how Jesus acted and this pleases the Father. This is the ultimate goal for every believer, however, God has created some individuals who have trouble living up to this ideal (not necessarily by choice but by their internal make up). If you find this difficult you can ask God to help you and He will. He will give you His power if you will ask Him. He will work on your behalf and show Himself faithful to you. He will be strong through you. If you feel that you have been really wronged, there is another option.

That option is the Imprecatory Prayer Request if you ask Him persistently and meet His conditions. But keep in mind that God is in the saving business first and anything else last.
"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him."
(John 3:17).

"Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life, and when it comes, hold your head high.
Look it squarely in the eye, and say, "I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me."
-Ann Landers

How Do You Protect Your Christian Reputation?

Anyone can accuse anyone else of anything they want to, but that don't make it so, does it! You can accuse me of having green skin color with purple stripes. And a lot of people, who think negative, or who believe gossip, or who want to believe it due to their bias or evil hearts, may believe it. So, how does a true Christian protect his or her reputation if some suspicion, half lie, or distorted truth is told about them? The answer is that you don't protect your reputation. If you are innocent you just keep on living a godly, holy life and your reputation will take care of itself.

Getting the matter out in the open (not hiding any secrets) and telling what really happened is good. This is called clearing the air. One time the police thought I was guilty for something my oldest grown son had done. I went down to the police station and told them I had nothing to do with anything that he was involved with. You can confront church gossip in much the same way. But, just remember, God is under no obligation to protect your reputation if you are as guilty as sin.


Don't Stone the Devil's Dogs

How To Survive a Job's Trial

Encouragement For Suffering

Overcoming Discouragement

Distress and Deliverance

Index of Testimonies

Encouragement For Ministers

Click here to go to the master index page


As of March 9, 2010