A couple in San Diego County California was ordered recently to stop holding Bible studies in their home, or risk facing fines. After some neighbors complained about the assembly of around 15 people, County officials showed up and according to the couple’s attorney Dean Broyles, asked the following questions, “Do you have a regular meeting in your home? To which they answered yes. “Do you say amen?” Again they answered yes. “Do you pray? Do you say praise the Lord?” To both of these questions the answer was yes.
After the questioning interrogation, the couple was notified that their Bible study violated County regulations. A few days later, they received a written warning listing “unlawful use of the land” and ordered them to “stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit”, which could end up costing thousands of dollars.
There are a couple of key points we can glean from this story. First, if you remember back a couple of months ago I posted several stories about Christian persecution in the United Kingdom. At that time I offered the warning that if we think that those persecutions can happen there and not happen here, then we need to wake up. It is happening here, in our country. If this gathering violated some kind of County ordinance, then why would they ask the line of questioning that they did? Just a thought, but I wonder if every party in the County requires permits and licenses for weekly meetings?
The second point we can learn from this is that being a Christian means facing persecution. Jesus told us in John 15:18 NKJV, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” Jesus knew that their would times of persecution for those that follow Him. This is part of the “cross” that He refers to in Matthew 16:24-25, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
This story actually fits perfectly in with the apostasy’s within the church that I’ve mentioned this week. When persecutions begin for the sake of Jesus Christ, then we will truly know who is with Him and who is not. Or as Jesus said, “All nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.” Matthew 25:32
Prayer: Pray for the couple as they endure their persecution, that ultimately God will receive the glory from their trial. Pray for courage in your daily life, that God might strengthen you to withstand persecution were to face you today.
Additional Study: Matthew 5:10-12, Romans 8:35-39, II Corinthians 12:10