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Monday, May 4, 2015

Coming for Christians

A Google search of “Christian Beheadings” or “Christian Persecution” will pop up numerous RECENT articles from a plethora of sources (CNN, New York Times, Reuters, etc.) outside the usual outlets such as Open Doors, Fox News, The Blaze ,and Christian Post. 

If you haven’t viewed the recent video’s (yes this has happened more than once in recent months) of ISIS beheading Christians on a beach I encourage you to take a deep breath and watch at least a minute of the brutality our Christian Brothers and Sisters are facing (I’ve only watched a few minutes of each gruesome video and the images are burned into my brain- I have not included links so you’ll have to do your own search).

Why am I asking you to do this?

Because God commands us to:

“ Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Heb 13:3 NIV

Seeing these images will help you REMEMBER those suffering extreme persecution. And once you REMEMBER, you can take action to help your Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

I was speaking with my husband about this and he asked, “How can we help them? We’re powerless to stop this.”

I went to bed thinking about what he’d said. Is this why so many American and European Christians are silent about the slaughter of our fellow members in the Body of Christ…they feel powerless?

I began asking God what I could do that would make a difference and God reminded me that there is POWER IN PRAYER.

“…The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16b NIV

In Jeremiah 33:3, God says, “Call to me (PRAY) and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

Later in Chapter 33 God reminds Jeremiah that His covenants are everlasting; we cannot break them any more than we can change the day into night. Therefore, we can have confidence in His promises… and He promises that HE WILL ANSWER WHEN WE PRAY. 

In Jer 32:24 God asks a rhetorical question, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?

We may feel overwhelmed and powerless to help those facing martyrdom, but God doesn’t.

This isn’t too big or too powerful for God. 

So if He instructs us to REMEMBER others and challenges us to CALL to Him, shouldn’t we do it?

I realize FEAR also plays a role in our refusal to acknowledge the evil being perpetrated against our fellow believers in Christ. A recent podcast on Engaging Missions, A Wind in the House of Islam with David Garrison, will lesson your fears. 

Muslims are coming to Christ by the thousands. 

God is using Christians just like you and me to bring the Gospel to those who invoke fear in us. 

In Jer 38:14-28 King Zedekiah told Jeremiah that he feared man more than he feared God. Jeremiah encouraged him to obey God, but he refused and Jerusalem was taken just as Jeremiah warned. 

We mustn’t fear. We must obey whatever it is God asks. I don’t know what God is asking of you… and chances are you don’t know either, unless you’ve spent time seeking His will.

While you might not be called to witness to someone who intimidates you, you can certainly pray for them. You don’t have to know them personally in order to pray for them.

Likewise, you don’t have to KNOW the Christians across the world suffering for their faith in order to lift them up to God in prayer.

Just begin praying. 

Pray for those being persecuted. 

Pray for those doing the persecution.

And let God do the rest. 

He may or may not lead you to do more, but you’ll never know if you don’t begin somewhere. 

Why not start with prayer?

 If you’re interested in learning about witnessing to those of the Muslim faith here are two books on my reading list that I got from listening to the podcast linked above:

If you’re wondering, YES I’m still on maternity leave and will not officially be back for some time. Writing this post took a great deal of time but I felt I must share it with you. 

Time is critical. 

Christians are daily dying for their faith. 

The time to act and pray is now

Here’s a link I HIGHLY encourage you to read.  It puts this all into greater perspective. 

Lastly I’ll leave you with this quote from Martin Niemoller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

They are coming for Christians..and it can happen here too. 
Will you speak? Will you pray?