As of late my heart has been drawn to a heavy reality.
Every month we receive “The Voice of the Martyrs” magazine. I am ashamed to say that like most magazines, I look at the cover & toss it in the recycling bin - I already have enough to read! A couple months back something got my attention inside of the packaging around the magazine: “FREE BOOK”. I am a sucker for books, especially free ones! The book title was “Hearts of Fire: Eight Women in the Underground Church and Their Stories of Costly Faith.”
I ordered the book & got to reading the moment it arrived. I could not put the book down. Within days I finished it & my heart was heavy and broken, yet inspired.
What am I supposed to do with this heaviness, helplessness, & even guilt that I feel after reading these women’s stories?
Their faith inspires me! Their struggles break my heart. Their stories make me question a lot about my circumstances & the state of my faith.
These women (& men) are beautiful souls fully submitted to Christ. They are willing to face abandonment & abuse from their families, imprisonment, torture & so much loss. They are prepared to stare death right in the face for their Jesus & the lost souls who surround them, even the ones who torture them!
November 7 (and all of November) is the International Day of Prayer for persecuted Christians. God has placed it on my heart to lead a prayer service that day. Please join us at 10am during our normal service time as we bow our hearts with Christians around the world for our brothers & sisters in Christ who face these horrible realities.
Being in America where we can worship freely together & legally own Bibles can feel as though these believers are worlds away in comparison to the persecution (or lack thereof) that we face. But you can help! You can pray, you can give, or you can go - if God is calling.
Our reality is so different from many other Christians around the world. Please remember that God placed us where we are for “...such a time as this." (Esther 4:14b) He created YOU for a purpose and it is up to you to be obedient to that call. What has God burdened your heart with? What excites you about God & the gifts He has given you?
So let those who face persecution inspire & encourage us to be faithful to our God right where we’re at. But let’s also not forget them:
“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.” (Hebrews 13:3)
Will you join me in remembering our brothers & sisters in Christ who face persecution for their faith in Christ & their willingness to share it?
Go to www.persecution.com/globalprayerguide/ for guidance on how to pray for specific countries and groups around the world.