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"Not a hair of your head will perish"

If the Gospel message is good news, then why do so many people treat Christians with contempt and hostility for their beliefs and practices? Jesus warns his followers that they will be confronted with wickedness, false teaching, persecution, as well as the temptation to renounce their faith when it is put to the test. 

Satan destroys and kills - God restores and gives life
The real enemy of the Gospel - the good news of Jesus Christ - is Satan (also called Lucifer), the powerful leader of the fallen angels who rebelled against God and who were cast out of heaven. Satan opposes God and all who follow his rule of peace and righteousness (moral goodness) on the earth. Jesus calls Satan a "murderer" who turns brother against brother and the "father of lies" who twists the truth and speaks falsehood (John 8:44). Satan not only opposes God's rule, he seeks to destroy all who would obey God. Satan will use any means possible to turn people away from God. He tempts people through envy, deception, hatred, and fear to provoke hostility towards those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

What is Jesus' response to hostility and persecution? Love, forbearance, and forgiveness. Only love - the love which is rooted in God's great compassion and faithfulness - can overcome prejudice, hatred, and envy. God's love purifies our heart and mind of all that would divide and tear people apart. Knowing God as our compassionate Father and loving God's word of truth and righteousness (moral goodness) is essential for overcoming evil. Jesus tells us that we do not need to fear those who would oppose us or treat us harshly for following the Lord Jesus. He promises to give us supernatural strength, wisdom, and courage as we take a stand for our faith and witness to the truth and love of Christ. 

The Gospel is good news for the whole world because it is God's eternal word of truth, love, pardon, and salvation (being set free from sin and evil) through his Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus has won the victory for us through his atoning death on the cross for our sins and his rising from the grave - his resurrection power that brings abundant life and restoration for us. That is why the Gospel has power to set people free from sin, fear and death, and bring peace, pardon, and new life.

Endurance never gives up hope in God
Jesus tells his disciples that if they endure to the end they will gain their lives - they will inherit abundant life and lasting happiness with God. Endurance is an essential strength which God gives to those who put their trust in him. Endurance is the patience which never gives up hope, never yields to despair or hatred. Patience is long-suffering because it looks beyond the present difficulties and trials and sees the reward which comes to those who persevere with hope and trust in God. That is why godly endurance is more than human effort. It is first and foremost a supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit which enables us to bear up under any trial or temptation. 

Endurance is linked with godly hope - the supernatural assurance that we will see God face to face and inherit all the promises he has made. Jesus is our supreme model and pioneer who endured the cross for our sake (Hebrews 12:2). "God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Jesus willingly shed his blood for us - to win for us pardon and peace with God. Our joy and privilege is to take up our cross each day to follow the Lord Jesus.

True martyrs live and die as witnesses of Christ and the Gospel of peace
The word "martyr" in the New Testament Greek means "witness". The Book of Revelation says that "Jesus was the faithful witness ...who freed us from our sins by his blood" (Revelation 1:5). Tertullian, a second century lawyer who converted when he saw Christians singing as they went out to die by the hands of their persecutors, exclaimed: "The blood of the martyrs is seed." Their blood is the seed of new Christians, the seed of the church. 

The third century bishop, Cyprian said: "When persecution comes, God's soldiers are put to the test, and heaven is open to martyrs. We have not enlisted in an army to think of peace and to decline battle, for we see that the Lord has taken first place in the conflict." True martyrs live and die as witnesses of the Gospel. They overcome their enemies through persevering hope and courage, undying love and forbearance, kindness, goodness, and compassion.

God may call some of us to be martyrs who shed their blood for bearing witness to Jesus Christ. But for most of us, our call is to be 'dry' martyrs who bear testimony to the joy and power of the Gospel in the midst of daily challenges, contradictions, temptations and adversities which come our way as we follow the Lord Jesus. 

We do not need to fear our adversaries
What will attract others to the truth and power of the Gospel? When they see Christians loving their enemies, being joyful in suffering, patient in adversity, pardoning injuries, and showing comfort and compassion to the hopeless and the helpless. Jesus tells us that we do not need to fear our adversaries. God will give us sufficient grace, strength, and wisdom to face any trial and to answer any challenge to our faith. Are you ready to lay down your life for Christ and to bear witness to the joy and freedom of the Gospel?

"Lord Jesus Christ, by your atoning death on the cross you have redeemed the world. Fill me with joyful hope, courage, and boldness to witness the truth of your love for sinners and your victory over the powers of sin, Satan, and death."

Be a witness, share this story:

Looking for Jesus in the Fourth Watch of the Night

In Matthew’s gospel we read, "After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. Meanwhile the boat,

In choosing presidents, we choose judges, too

This article is courtesy of theleaven.org.

While at World Youth Day this summer, several Europeans expressed their wonderment about the quality of our candidates in the upcoming presidential election.

Proclamation of a Day of Fasting by Abraham Lincoln

Today, the last Thursday in September, was declared a day of fasting for our country by President Abraham Lincoln. His inspiring proclamation follows:

Proclamation of a Day of Fasting

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE

What can I do about the upcoming election?

This article is reposted with permission from Samaritan Ministries International.

Many Christian voters say they are not happy with our options for the November elections and are uncertain

Hope of Heaven makes Saints on Earth

This is part two of a two-part post on Louis and Zélie Martin.

Because they had their eyes set on their eternal happiness with God in Heaven, nothing on earth could disturb Louis and Zélie, neither fortune nor suffering.

They were able to amass a small fortune

Saints with Lives Like Ours

This is the first of a two-part post on Louis and Zélie Martin.

Last week, we celebrated the feast day (July 12) of Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and some of us may have celebrated their wedding anniversary (July 13).

Risen…Witnessed and Reviewed

Christian movies are a growing stream of revenue for mainstream Hollywood studios.   With the success of blockbusters like the Passion of the Christ, which earned over $145M at the box office, and independent films like Bella, which grossed over $30M at the box office,studios

You Will Be My Witnesses

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,

and you will be my witnesses…. Acts 1:8

This past April we held our second annual conference, Flourish 2016. On Friday evening as we kicked off the event, we had

Witnesses to Freedom

Each year our bishops ask us to spend a fortnight focusing on freedom--educating ourselves about it, promoting it, defending it, and praying for it. They also offer a new theme for each “Fortnight for Freedom.” The theme for 2016 is “Witnesses to Freedom.” Here at Catholic

Quote of the Week:

"But we cannot pray 'at all times' if we do not pray at specific times, consciously willing it."

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2697