What I read today;
Jude & Revelation 1; Acts 5-6; Habbakuk 3 & Zephaniah 1; Proverbs 20; Ecclesiastes 10; Deuteronomy 23
There are many places in the world today where being a Christian can be dangerous. I subscribed to the Voice of The Martyrs magazine not that long ago. The stories of things our fellow Christians have to endure are horrible to read.
In places like China, you can be arrested for being a Christian. In North Korea, the church has been declared an enemy of the state and merely owning a Bible can get you arrested, tortured, and executed. In parts of Africa, a danger exists from Islamic Terrorist groups. In Iraq and Syria, centuries-old Christian communities have been wiped out by extremists and war.
Yet in the midst of all this, the church still grows. In spite of the risk, people still put their faith and trust in Jesus.
In Habakkuk 3, we listen to what is coming against the nation of Israel. They are about to be invaded and taken captive. But the prophet still says;
“Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer and makes me tread upon the heights.” NRSV
In the United States, citizens live in relative peace and harmony. We can go to a church or not go to a church. We can live how we want, within reason, and not fear attack or bodily harm. We can’t envision what is happening around the world.
God uses times of persecution to find out who his faithful followers are. He looks to refine his people and determine what is truly important to you. Habakkuk understood that.
I pray for those being persecuted around the world and ask God to put an end to the persecution and terror. I pray that our church here in the US will wake up to what is going on around it and begin to act like the church. I pray that we will never see any of these days!