Middle East Persecution

Voices of the Faithful Cover Cyndi and I have been reading the book Voices of the Faithful. For those who don't know, this is a daily devotional book written by International Mission Board missionaries.

Each month focuses on a different area. January was God's Character, February was God's Word, etc…. June's theme is Persecution.

Anyway, last night's devotion dealt with persecution in the Middle East. I tried to scan the page so everyone could read it, but it didn't work. The scripture was 1 Peter 4:13:

But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Here are some quotes from the devotion:

While in Europe, he [a Muslim living and working in Europe] became a Christian. Before he returned to his home country in the Middle East, he told his family of his decision to follow Christ. Consequently, the family waited for him at the airport upon hsi return, bringing law officers to have him imprisioned. He is now out of prison and working as an electrician, but he has been disinherited by his family and experiences discrimination in his profession. In spite of all this, he is a joyful witness to others.

The devotion goes on to tell the story of another former Muslim names Mohammed:

[He] became a believer and dynamic witness. He visited another country in the Middle East and distributed the Word. The group that he was with became so effective at spreading the Word that militant Islamic groups decided to put a stop to their work. They murdered Mohammed by placing a bomb in his apartment. He was buried in that country, because his family had disowned him and refused to accept his body.

How about us? Would we as believers share our new-found faith with our family and choose to return to the country knowing what was going to happen? Once released from prision, would be able to be a "joyful witness?" Would we be willing to leave our home country and go somewhere different to spread the Good News? Would we be willing to go to that other country knowing we could get killed for our faith?

Why do we in America shy away from sharing our faith? Currently, we aren't going to get killed or thrown in jail for sharing, but we don't stand up like we ought. Why aren't we salt and light as we are called to be?

I read and hear stories about great revivals in the world and in our own country and wonder why God doesn't do that today. Is it because the church has become like the church of Laodecia in Revelation? We think we are "a bag of chips and all that" and have everything together, but in reality we are really dead.

Would we come under more persecution in America if we were to actually stand up for God and what He says is right?

I'll readily admit that I don't witness like I ought. I don't always stand up for Christ like I ought. I don't pray like I ought. I don't study the Bible like I ought. The desire is there….I just don't always know how to balance American Life and what "ought." I wrote this post for the Persecution Blog Canival tomorrow because the devotion jumped at me so. Hopefully it will be posted. If you read this, pray that God will reveal to Cyndi and myself how we can do the right thing and live like we ought. Pray that we would honor Christ and don't let down our fellow brothers and sisters in chains around the world.



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