"For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”Hebrews 13:5b
I had this verse reference written on a note on my desk for the last few days to remind me I wanted to write about it but I couldn't remember what it referred to until I looked it up again today. Then I remembered 'Persecuted Christians'.
Many of us who live in North America don't really have any idea what it is like to be persecuted for our Christian faith. Some of us may endure ridicule or embarrassment, maybe some hateful words or actions but in our mostly free countries, we don't really have to face persecution like some do.
According to my trusty dictionary site, PERSECUTE is "to harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict; specifically : to cause to suffer because of belief" and there are thousands of Christians facing this in our world today. Its only going to get worse. Many are imprisoned, beaten, threatened or martyred for their faith in Christ. They are the ones that cling to verses such as these when they feel alone or helpless. The reminder that God is there with them no matter what they are facing.
I get email updates from "Voice of the Martyrs" on a regular basis which provide details on where Christians are persecuted around the world. According to their own Mission Statement on their website at www.persecution.net "The Voice of the Martyrs exists to glorify God by being Canada's effective and reliable source of information and support of persecuted Christians around the world." I invite you to have a look at their site for yourself so you have a better understanding of how & why there is persecution in the world.
I think at Christmas time, my thoughts often wonder about the 'less fortunate' in the world and I try to think of ways I can give a little bit back. For example, I send out shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. This year especially, I've been wondering what else I can do. Then this email update from Voice of the Martyrs put my thinking in a different direction. It reminded me that I need to pray! Its easy to forget about the power of prayer when my own life is going so well. But when I am reminded of others suffering, this is when I need to pray even more. I need to pray that they feel God's promises & presence even stronger. Please join me in praying that they will cling to this verse in Hebrews knowing that God will never leave nor forsake them.
1 week ago