It's been refreshing to hear stories of Christians who persevere amidst oppression and persecution. Stories like that of Shi Wei Han, a Christian bookstore owner imprisoned by the military and was now freed, is a testimony of God's goodness and faithfulness.
You see, being a Christian is costly. It does not only cost your most-loved secret sins, your friends, your popularity, but it also costs your life. Being a Christian means having the burden to seek the lost and to confront the sinning brethren. Being a Christian means carrying the cross of Christ wherever you go. It means running the race whatever it takes to reach the goal.
Here in the Philippines, we Christians do not experience persecution like those in North Korea or Iran. Let's admit it, many of us are too relaxed in our faith walk. We text during service. We sleep during sermon. We disregard fellowship with other believers. We don't read the Bible. Some of us don't even pray at all. Remember, there is no such thing as NON-PRACTICING CHRISTIANS! Being a child of God is a gift and a responsibility. This responsibility not only concerns ourselves. It's also the responsibility to build up and edify one another.
Today, I attended Open Doors' Shock Wave: The Beginning at Cornerstone Community Baptist Church. It was a blessing to see so many young people giving up their free time to praise and glorify God by praying for the persecuted. We prayed for Christians in North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Maldives, Yemen, Iraq, Uzbekistan, and Laos. As you can see, majority are Islamic countries. These are the Top 10 countries that persecute followers of Christ. They sure are worthy to be called saints. The thing is all Christians are saints. We should live up to the standards of what we are called.
I am so awed by the saints that are faithfully running the race and those who already crossed the finish line. There was a news last March 3 about the assassination of Pakistan's Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti. He was the only Christian official in Pakistan (To read more on this, click this link: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/03/03/3154734.htm?section=justin). What's amazing is that he knew that he will be assassinated. True enough, it happened. It came as no surprise to him. It should also come as no surprise to us if we face persecution in any form. If you don't experience even a pinch of oppression, you should check your lifestyle. Maybe it's still too conformed to the ways of this world.
Check your life, your faith walk. Are you growing or are you stagnant? Is your attitude improving or was it neglected? Have you surrendered all your sins to the feet of our Great High Priest? Do you even bother about your spiritual growth?
It's always good to reflect every now and then.
thank you Lord, for another opportunity to remember the persecuted!
thank you for godly people who edify and encourage us to continue amidst all the discouragements through your enablement.
thank you for saving me!!!
i hope that we will counter the waves of turbulence and unease with waves of prayer...
i believe that prayer can reach even the most dark places of this fallen world.