The Persecuted Church
This weekend I went to a conference put on by the Voice of the Martyrs. To say that it was eye opening would be to put it lightly - though I am familiar with the plight of my Christian brothers and sisters and have heard first- (and second-) hand, it was a good thing to be reminded of.
Here are some highlights from the conference: They (VoM) started a widows' support group (whose husbands had all been murdered for being Christians or pastors). One of the widows said that the worst part was "I didn't think anyone knew, and I thought I was the only one." I don't think she's alone in that way of thinking - it's easy when you're going through a tough time, to think that nobody knows what you're going through and to think that you're the only one to go through it.
We also heard that every hour, twenty Christians are killed simply because they are Christians. I remember the impact that the 30 Hour Famine had on the youth I worked with when we revealed that every three seconds a child dies of hunger-related causes. Well, this is just as eye-opening.
Most of these Christians aren't somewhere that we can offer any physical help, but we can pray. In fact, we need to pray. We were reminded again and again that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.
The main target of most of the speakers was the Muslim religion and the air of political correctness that surrounds discussion of Islam. We were repeatedly told that Islam is a religion of lies and deceit - that's it's not simply radicals who promote terror. They also said that Muslim people are good people, but that they have been led astray by the teachings of the religion. Fortunately, many Muslims are becoming Christians... there have been many instances where Muslims are dreaming dreams and seeing visions, and they are accepting Jesus Christ. One of the speakers cited 600-700 conversions a month in Iran! This is amazing, and can only be attributed to God Himself - not to anyone else! Praise God!
One last thought: when reflecting on the story from the book of Daniel about the fiery furnace, did you note that when Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednigo were in the fiery furnace besides the fact that they were joined by a fourth person, the fire was so hot that their chains were burned away? Persecution, as the flames of the fiery furnace, burns away the shackles and allows our Christian brothers and sisters to have free fellowship with Jesus Christ.
Something to think about...