Preparing for Persecution

"The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."   Tertullian, 1st century AD


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True stories for children

God's Word: What the Bible Tells Us About Persecution

Victory in the midst of persecution: Polycarp

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Links: Nazi Persecution


On a cold drizzly day in early 1998, I took a sobering tour through the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. A picture of a Gestapo officer brought back memories of the Nazi soldiers that guarded our neighborhood in Norway during World War II. Young as I was -- I was born in Oslo early in the war -- I will never forget the piercing air raids, the thundering war planes, our hiding place in the basement, and the sounds of exploding bombs and fires around us.

My young father was part of the "Hjemme Fronten" (the Home Front) -- an underground army of loyal Norwegians who would rather die than submit to Nazi tyranny. Caught helping other brave soldiers escape into neutral Sweden, he endured hunger, torture, and the threat of death in three concentration camps before his release at the end of the war. Through the years of oppression, we all learned to treasure our freedom.

The Norwegian people hadn't known tyranny until the Nazi warships sailed up the Oslofjord on April 9, 1940. Overnight, Hitler's fascism replaced liberty, and trusted friends became foes. Resistance to the new ideology could cost our lives. Yet, how could we submit to evil and betray our king?

We couldn't! For most Norwegians, the choice was clear. Unlike Hitler's masses, we hadn't been weakened by years of ceaseless propaganda, slogans, service, and celebrations dedicated to the triumph of National Socialism.

My journey through the Holocaust museum began in the section dedicated to Nazi propaganda. Pausing by each display, I was startled by words that could so easily describe America today. The quotes brought stark reminders that, apart from God, human nature doesn't change with time. Nor do the aims of the spiritual mastermind behind the scenes who has always sought ways to stir hatred toward God's people. One tactic was simply to provide nice-sounding alternatives to biblical loyalty and service.

"Individuals were urged to sacrifice themselves for a greater 'People's Community,'" announced one of the displays. Such slogans must have sounded good to the masses, for few saw the cruel manipulation behind the noble words.

I thought of President Clinton's calls for "sacrifice", "service, "unity", "common values", "civil society," and "safe" communities. How many people today see the ominous new meanings behind these nice sounding words?

Another display stated that-

"elementary schools became forums of public indoctrination.

"The Gestapo gathered much of its information from private citizens. Even children were taught to report on their parents. The Gestapo's main sources, however, were Nazi party officials. who constantly monitored the activities of all citizens [and] used such information to track political opponents."

If you have read our articles, you know that America's leaders are using intrusive surveys, assessments, and classroom encounter groups to persuade children to divulge private information about their family's faith, values, disciplines, and church attendance. As in Nazi Germany, socialization, not academic learning, has become the primary goal of education. Children are learning the group thinking and socialist values needed for the envisioned 21st century communities and global workforce.

Do you find this hard to believe? Many do. That's why we urge you to read some of our articles that document the "paradigm shift" from American individualism and freedom to collectivism and control. Just go to our "articles" page and find the following reports that will help you and your loved ones understand and prepare for the growing hostility toward biblical Christianity:

Remember, the new set of global values, based on a blend of earth-centered beliefs, socialist ideology, and globalist goals, rule out biblical boundaries and absolutes. Genuine Christianity simply won't fit.

Our political, legal and education systems have been infiltrated by leaders who have betrayed America for a hollow vision of a global village. Hollywood has taught our children to delight in evil, while schools immerse them in pagan rituals to other gods. Many church leaders are ashamed to mention sin and the cross, and most "Christians" are drifting with the trends, too distracted to know or care.

We shouldn't be surprised. Again and again, the Old Testament shows our natural inclination to drift toward apathy, compromise, rebellion, and paganism -- anything but God Himself. It's happening in America, and 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 tells us that we are not immune to consequences like those that destroyed ancient Israel. Did we forget?

God told us repeatedly what would happen to a nation that that refuses to follow its Shepherd. Listen to this warning and see how it fits our times:
"When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you. Be careful that you do not forget... Otherwise... your heart will become proud.... You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.' ... If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods... you will surely be destroyed." Deuteronomy 8:10-20

Having left their Father's protection, God's beloved Israel faced famine, war, slavery, and oppression. When they cried out to God, He restored them, but their peace and prosperity didn't last long. Soon the cycle of apathy, compromise, rebellion and oppression began once again.

God may withdraw His protection from a nation that turns to other gods, but He never fails to guard and guide those who remain faithful to Him. He doesn't promise to save us from pain and persecution, but in the midst of suffering we can count on His strength and loving presence.

Remember, "the whole world is under the control of the evil one" [1 John 5:19]. Satan's subjects will always despise our King, twist His truth, and hate His people. Why should we not expect opposition?

Jesus described the normal Christian life: "If they persecute Me, they will also persecute you," He told His disciples, "for they do not know Him who sent me." John 15:20-21

We need to take His warning to heart, count the cost of discipleship, and pray to be prepared for inevitable battles. Prayerfully consider these steps -- as a family or as an individual believer:

  1. Pray for His guidance.

  2. Learn from those who suffered persecution because of their faith. (See "victory" at the top) 

  3. Memorize His Word, the victorious "Sword of the Spirit" in every battle we face. (See Clothed with Truth)

  4. Memorize hymns and songs that enable you to keep praising Him and affirming His victory.

  5. Silently practice singing to Him in the midst of all kinds of distractions.

  6. Practice giving thanks in all circumstances.

  7. By His wonderful grace, "love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." Matthew 5:44-45

"...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged." Hebrew 12:1-3

Those who choose uncompromising discipleship will find an unspeakable joy in His nearness. Stephen did. (See Acts 7) Remember how his face shone as his persecutors hurled the stones that crushed his body. Like him, we may demonstrate to a needy world the overcoming power of the majestic, heavenly King who reached down to earth to love us like a Father.

When I was little, I loved our Norwegian king. Like him, I wanted to be brave enough to die rather than surrender. Years later I learned that this wonderful leader was nothing compared to my heavenly King. Yet my earthly king and the years of war, danger, and deprivation gave me a vision of genuine Christianity that I continue to treasure. I saw that we, His bride and Church, are like a nation of loyal subjects -

  • who love and obey their King

  • who discover in their common devotion and warfare a fellowship that can rarely be found apart from persecution

  • who refuse to compromise, and

  • who persevere until death -- or until the war is won.

To sustain us through the battles ahead, our King gave us many precious promises. Few bring me more delight than the following words from our Master. May they fill you with joy at the unspeakable privilege of serving our sovereign King, following in His footsteps, and sharing His resurrection life for all eternity.

"Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven." Luke 6:22-23

See also Persecution News and Persecution Scriptures

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