“A man really believes not what he recites in his creed, but only the things he is ready to die for.” (Richard Wurmbrand)
“Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” (1 Peter 4:16)
Mongolia: Police Storm Inner Mongolia House Church’s Sunday Worship Service . . . More than sixty police and other government officials stormed into a Sunday worship service of a house church in Inner Mongolia, and using police batons and tear gas, violently broke up the meeting, which was later ordered shut down. (China Aid)
India: Pastor Beaten During Church Service. . . Near the end of the service, a group of Hindu men attacked Pastor “Caleb,” tied him to a tree and beat him. The attackers… broke Pastor Caleb’s arm during the beating… About five families who have faithfully remained with the church had angered villagers by refusing to offer a gift to a Hindu goddess…Pastor “Caleb” continues his ministry. (VOM)
Nigeria: Militants Kill 29 Christians . . . On April 16, twenty-nine Christians were murdered in Maiduguri, Borno state, after refusing to denounce Christ. Unidentified gunmen stood along a roadside and stopped cars, separating Muslims from Christians. The Christians were told that if they would not say the Shahada (Muslim profession of faith) or renounce Christ, they would be killed. (VOM)
These are just three of the many current trials facing our brothers and sisters in Christ in other nations, simply because they love and follow Jesus.
According to current statistics, approximately 100 million experience significant persecution for their Christian faith, worldwide, each year. In about sixty-five nations it is basically illegal to practice your Christian faith. Recent reports indicate that approximately 150,000 make the ultimate sacrifice each year for the sake of the gospel. That’’s about one person every three minutes.
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand has said, “A man really believes not what he recites in his creed, but only the things he is ready to die for.” He was qualified to make this statement, because he lived his life ready to die for what, and whom he believed in. His body bore the scars of fourteen years of torture and suffering for his faith in a Communist prison, where he witnessed the invincible courage and enduring faith of hundreds of fellow believers. He went on to found the Voice of the Martyrs, an international ministry to raise awareness of persecution and support for its victims.
As you gather for worship this weekend with your church family, would you take time to remember your brothers and sisters who are also doing so, at a great price? While we worship in our beautiful sanctuaries, they go to church knowing that the building may not be standing when they arrive. While we have the privilege of singing songs about Jesus, the reason they sing is the reason many of them are imprisoned. While we meet in the open to pray and worship, they meet in secret, and, in some cases, whisper their praise songs and prayers, or it may be their last time. While we, even at a young age, get to live for Christ, they are dying at a young age for Christ.
The late Tom White once said, “God allows our way of life to be threatened so that we will wake up and focus our energies on sharing the hope of eternal life. Jesus allows his sheep to smell the breath of the wolf so that they will bleat out the name of the shepherd and depend on him.” Our brothers and sisters are bleating out his name in the midst of their trials and totally depending totally on him. They also are telling others of what he’s done, and inviting them into the fold, regardless of the cost. Am I? Are you?
“Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” (Paul- from his prison cell Hebrews 13:3)
That’s the view from here . . .