This summer, I have been teaching the kids’ Wednesday night program at church. We have been talking about some of the incredible heroes of the faith that are in the Old Testament.
This past Wednesday night we finished our eleventh lesson out of twelve lessons. The lesson was on Nehemiah and how he handled the opposition of Sanballat and Tobias in Nehemiah 4. The lesson talked about how Nehemiah was doing right and rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem yet he still faced opposition. It went on to say that as believers we can expect to see opposition if we live godly and how many Christians around the world are facing much opposition and persecution just for being Christians!
Many of the lessons of the summer have shown how these heroes of the faith obeyed and did what was right even when they had no idea what would happen next or they knew there would be negative consequences. Here were some of the heroes of the faith that we looked at:
- Abraham — He left his home and family not knowing where he went.
- Joseph — He was sold into slavery and later put into jail even though he did not succumb to temptation.
- Daniel — He was thrown into a den of lions! Yes, God rescued him, but he did not know that when he chose to pray.
We can learn some important lessons about how to handle opposition from Nehemiah 4:
- Prayer to God about the opposition should be our first line of defense.
Nehemiah 4:9a “Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God,”
- Continue to do God’s work and guard yourself against evil doers:
Nehemiah 4:9b “set a watch against them day and night”
- Protect yourself from physical harm:
Nehemiah 4:16 “And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons;”
- Don’t give up in what God has told you to do! No matter the opposition!
Nehemiah 4:21 “So we laboured in the work:”
- Trust in God for His protection.
Nehemiah 4:20 “our God shall fight for us.”
We discussed how they may face opposition from classmates and others if they do not give in to peer pressure and do what is right when pressured to do what is wrong. However, we should be like Nehemiah and do what is right even if opposition comes.
Towards the end the lesson, I shared about how there are many Christians currently facing persecution. Voice of the Martyrs has a site for kids called Kids of Courage. It is a WordPress site where a parent can become a free member and download books and many other resources. It has projects kids can do to raise awareness for persecuted Christians, stories of children who stood for their faith, crafts that can be done, and so much more! It is an awesome website. From their website, I showed them part of the Bold Christians In Korea download.
The website, Joshua Project, also has many resources to help us know how to pray for those who live in unreached people groups. It does not speak directly about persecuted Christians, yet many of these unreached people groups are unreached as Christianity is not allowed. There are still Christians in those countries and they could pay the ultimate price for their faith.
We finished the lesson talking about what we should pray for when we are praying for persecuted Christians. I remember hearing of a story of a pastor who was in China talking to a pastor whose son was in jail for preaching in a non-approved state church. The man said that he would pray for the persecution to stop. The father said, “Why would you pray for that? Persecution makes Christians strong! Pray that my son would remain strong and faithful! That God would be glorified! That others would come to know Christ through this persecution! Not that the persecution would end!” That story totally changed my thoughts on how I should pray for the persecuted Christians who are scatted abroad our world. I thought this article had five Biblical ways that we can pray for the persecuted church.
We know that 2 Timothy 3:12 says, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” How do you prepare your kids to face opposition as a believer?
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