The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is this Sunday, Nov. 1st. Let’s remember to pray for and give to Christians who are in the “big leagues”, struggling under great persecution in the contest to remain faithful to the name of Jesus.
It can be easy to believe God when nothing major is at stake or there is no adversity for believing. But consider how there are bigger leagues for those who play sports like football, basketball and soccer. When these players become more skillful, they move up to junior varsity, then high school varsity, then college, then finally pro. So it is with those who enter the “contest” of either believing God or disbelieving God. As a person moves up to the bigger leagues, the opposition keeps getting tougher and tougher.
This is the contest that all of life is about. Will we fall short and stop believing? Or will we do what it takes to keep our belief and obey, regardless of the amount of opposition we face?
While believing God pleases God, it frustrates God’s enemy. As with any war, the stakes are very high, and just about anything goes. If Satan can’t talk you out of believing what God has said, he might try to force you to do so by bringing great suffering and even persecution to you. There are many stories later in the Bible of people who must suffer greatly in order to keep their belief in God. The Apostle Paul wrote that those who believed God enough to act accordingly would have to suffer persecution in order to keep that belief in Him. This is still the case today.
Cole Richards, President of The Voice of the Martyrs, a ministry whose mission is to serve persecuted Christians through practical and spiritual assistance, recently wrote the following:
Richard Wurmbrand [founder of The Voice of the Martyrs] often wrote sympathetically about Christians in Communist prisons who had buckled under horrific torture and denied Christ. In a Communist jail called Piteshti, the chief torturer, named Turcanu, told Christians, “None of you will die as a martyr and go to heaven. We will make you blaspheme God and betray believers before dying to be sure you go to hell.” Persecutors, like Turcanu, often try to make us apostates rather than martyrs. The enemy wants to bring dishonor to God and His gospel by showing our faith to be uncertain, weak or altogether false. The enemy whispers in our ears, “Must you always bear His shame?” Yes! And it is an honor to do so. Let’s trust God for the strength and grace to boldly and passionately speak of His love and truth. He will empower us, and He will restore us when we fail. And let us pray that our persecuted brothers and sisters who endure torture and hardship for the name of Christ will also be strengthened when they face temptations to deny Him.
To pray for or to give to Christians who are suffering persecution, visit https://www.persecution.com/.
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