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Day 20: Jesus Is Warning Us

Reflect: Today, read the passage in The Message. “I’ve told you these things to prepare you for rough times ahead. They are going to throw you out of the meeting places. There will even come a time when anyone who kills you will think he’s doing God a favor. They will do these things because they never really understood the Father. I’ve told you these things so that when the time comes and they start in on you, you’ll be well-warned and ready for them.”

The Bible was written for all the people, in every culture, for all times. You may not personally be someone who is being killed or imprisoned because of your faith, but as part of the body of Christ, each of us still has a responsibility for our sisters and brothers that are being persecuted.

The Bible was written for all the people, in every culture, for all times.

Respond: A few years ago, my husband and I went to Vietnam to speak at a Bible training conference for pastors. We were supposed to speak at one location, but the gathering was tipped off to government officials and the conference was going to be shut down. We decided to leave our hotel in Ho Chi Minh City immediately that morning. The pastors and their spouses attending the conference, along with us, travelled for over two hours to a different location in another part of the country. We arrived at a rugged retreat site with peaceful surroundings and settled in to our rooms. Clearly, this group had lots of experience in avoiding the government’s raids on religious gatherings and had a “Plan B” from the beginning. We got settled in to our new location and continued teaching that evening.

In reflecting with the conference organizer, he told us we weren’t in danger. If we were captured, the government would only confiscate our Christian materials and compel us to leave the country. In addition, the owners of the conference site would lose their business license and be unable to continue their livelihood. There was great financial risk for the owners and their families.

Through the next five days, I began to interact with the pastors and their spouses. One beautiful, humble person after another, shared with me about their time in prison for being Christ-followers. A lovely woman I met, Ruth (she changed her name because she loved the Old Testament book of Ruth), was arrested for having a house church in her home and was in prison for almost a year. I didn’t get all the details of what she experienced while in prison, but she indicated it was a season of great suffering.

For Christ-followers, in many high-risk countries like Vietnam and many countries in the Middle East, Lenten season is particularly dangerous. Just two years ago, on Palm Sunday 2017, suicide bombings at two Coptic Christian churches, one in Alexandria and the other in Tanta, left 45 people dead and many more wounded. Although there has been an uptick in violence against Christians in the region, Egypt is hardly alone in a long list of countries that are violently hostile towards Christians.

John 16:1 teaches us to prepare for rough times ahead, but as you see many Christ-followers are already in those rough times. Today, could you please join others to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being actively persecuted throughout the world?

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Day 5: Jesus Speaks to the Crowd

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Day 8: Jesus Declares a New Command

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Day 12: Jesus Is Not Leaving You as an Orphan

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Day 13: Jesus Is In You

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Day 14: Jesus Has a Gift For You

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Day 15: Jesus Is Coming Back

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Day 16: Jesus Is Your Vine

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Day 17: Jesus Is In Love with You

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Day 18: Jesus Is Hated

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Day 19: Jesus Is Depending on You

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Day 20: Jesus Is Warning Us

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Day 21: Jesus says, “I am Going Away”

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Day 22: Jesus Is Leaving You a Guide

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Day 23: Jesus Turns Our Sadness into Joy

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Day 25: Jesus Has Overcome the World

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Day 26: Jesus Is Praying For Himself

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Day 27: Jesus Is Praying For His Followers

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Day 28: Jesus Is Praying For You

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Day 29: Jesus’ Night Of Terror

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Day 30: Jesus Had Predicted Peter’s Denial

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Day 32: Jesus Heard The Rooster’s Crow

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Day 33: Jesus Before Pilate

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Day 34: Jesus Hears “Crucify Your King.”

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