Ash Wednesday 2014

27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28 in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. 29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me. ~ Philippians 1:27-30 (NASB)

Heavenly Father, I thank You for the privilege of believing in Jesus the Christ. What a blessing You have bestowed upon me and all believers. But I’m not so excited about being chosen to suffer, even though any suffering I experience is nothing compared to the suffering of persecuted Christians around the world. They risk their lives to worship You and share Your Gospel. The worst suffering I’m apt to encounter is being shunned by unbelievers who think I’m a “Jesus freak.” But I see what is happening in our country, and I see a trend that can lead to suffering and persecution for Christians. Paul told the Philippians to stand together united in one spirit and single-minded in purpose. Break down the bonds of separation between Christians and unite us in the purpose of defending our freedom to worship. I know that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Unite us and strengthen us to stand for You. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.


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