I know this year has been crazy! Not being able to attend church on Sunday and meet with my fellow believers has been rough. Coming together each week to worship with my church family and hear God’s Word is where I gain a lot of strength. I have missed that. Recently my church began meeting again and it is such a joy to me to be back with my friends.
However, it seems most are complaining about how it has been hard on them to not have church – focused more on their own selves rather than on how can we in this difficult continue to share God’s Word and His love to those who do not know Him.
It’s like “how hard this is on me” rather than “we need to find other ways to share God’s message to the world.”
But hearing so many complain and say how Christians are being persecuted I have to say “really?”
* Inconvenienced – yes
*Stressful – yes
Let me share some stories of real persecution.
In North Korea Christians have to hide any portion of the Bible they might have (and Bibles are scarce). The possession of a Bible can get you and your entire family killed. If you are not executed, then at the very least you’ll be sent to one of the five major labor camps for political prisoners. Sources who work with missionary groups tell us that between 50,000 and 70,000 Christians are in labor camps where they are tortured, starved and work long hours. Sometimes they are used for medical tests.
A young Vietnamese man who gave his life to Christ reports that when he shared that news with his family his father threatened to kill him. Many Christians there are secret believers because if they reveal their faith, discrimination,, threats and violence often are a result of that confession. To leave the village religion is seen as a betrayal to the family.
To see true persecution, check out this post:
Reading today from the book of Acts I was impressed again with the early church’s response to persecution.
Ater the apostle were jailed for preaching about Jesus and warned not to do so again, they immediately went to the church and there was a prayer meeting.
Now, if that was us I think our prayers would be:
Lord, we are being so persecuted. Please save us! Please destroy the power of our enemies. Protect us!
But that was not their prayer.
“Sovereign Lord, you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one. Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Consider their threats and help me as I attack them with name calling and other personal attacks.
Consider their threats and help me to destroy them.
Consider their threats and help us to continue to share God’s Word with great boldness.
May we focus on sharing God’s Word and not so much on our own stresses at this time.