A love stronger than hate

By Dave Henning / September 3, 2013

As John Ortberg concludes Chapter 8 of Who is This Man?, he asserts that as Christians we need to remember that the first thing that “belongs to God” is the obligation to love.  The early Christian church flourished despite the intense persecution of the Roman emperor, Nero.  Paul told the church in Rome to pray for those in authority, including Nero.  Nero eventually would have Paul killed.  Pastor Ortberg states: “There is a kingdom that is not of this world.  There is a love that is stronger than hate.”

Historian Philip Jenkins note that 100 years ago 80% of Christians lived in the United States and Europe.  Today approximately 70% live in the southern hemisphere.  Mr. Jenkins concludes: “Christianity is flourishing wonderfully among the poor and persecuted while it atrophies among the rich and secure.”

There was a time in Ethiopia when Christians were persecuted.  Churches there were small and vibrant.  There was no such thing as a nominal Christian.  On a visit there, Pastor Ortberg talked with a Christian doctor, assuming that the doctor prayed for the persecution and suffering to stop.  With no apparent irony, the doctor responded: “Why should I pray to be relieved of suffering?”  Pastor Ortberg couldn’t think of a good answer.

Today’s question: How has Jesus’ constant presence in the midst of your desert, transition time strengthened and transformed you?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Experiencing blessing in adversity”

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Dave Henning

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