Living in America, there are many things I take for granted. The freedom to work where I want, live where I want, shop where I want, and to live like I want. The one thing I probably take granted the most is the freedom to worship God. In America, we can be free to be a Jew, a Muslim, a Catholic, a Christian along with many other religions. I can open the Bible anytime I want, anywhere I want. I can read scriptures on my computer or on my phone.
At my church I attend, we are doing a short series on In God(s) We Trust, and this week we had a guest speaker who spoke on Muslims and what they believe in. What they believe, or don’t believe, about the God I believe in. He is constantly amazed of how God is opening doors for him to Muslims who are looking for something more because of the extremists that are using violence and murder in the name of Allah. A friend introduces him to a friend who introduces him to a family who introduces etc etc. He treats them with kindness, compassion- like we are told to do – he shares the gospel, some accept, some don’t but they are amazed that a Christian will sit and just talk to them, just to share with them and to help them.
Then God put it on my heart to read some magazines I get monthly that I put aside to read at a later time. I have come to realize a later time rarely comes. So I sat down and started to read. Wouldn’t you know they went hand in hand with the sermon I just heard.
I opened up The Voice of the Martyr magazines and was deeply touched by how far other people in other countries have to go to be able to be a Christian, to be able to read and/or hear the Bible. In many , many countries if you are caught with a Bible, you will be thrown in jail, persecuted, or even killed if you do not denounce your faith as a Christian and commit to being whatever the “main” religion is of that country. Missionaries and other people actually risk their lives just to smuggle bibles, mp3 players, flash drives and other devices to spread the word of who Jesus is.
Many of the Christian leaders in their communities are outcasts. They are constantly threatened, beaten, persecuted, and some are killed. Many are forced to leave their villages if they continue to spread the gospel. All of this would stop if they would just denounce Christianity and commit to the religion of that area. They stand strong in their faith.
Would I be that strong? If I knew my daughter would be kidnapped, beaten, raped and left for dead because I am a Christian, would I be able to continue to say yes, I am a Christian and I will not denounce my faith. I will stand strong on God’s promises. I would like to think so but luckily, as of now, in this country I don’t have to make that choice.
Then I read how God has protected some of them. How they have gotten through ISIS checkpoints as they fled their homes. How they have survived this terror or that horror. How, even when a family member has been killed, they stand strong. I read where some terrorists escape that life because God called them to change, and now they are Christians fighting against the terrorists groups they were a member of just a short while ago.
It is amazing how God is using the terrorist groups like ISIS, Boko Haram, Taliban, North Korea communists, and many others to push thousands and thousands of people away from them and into the arms of our loving father, God, and Christianity. Many Muslims are horrified of these groups and their proclamation that Allah is having them do this. They say if this is the will of Allah, then we don’t want any part of it. One pastor in northern Iraq says “there are a lot of people turning from Islam. Jesus has a big net and ISIS is pushing people toward this net. What we are seeing now is like the tip of the iceberg.” He continues to say ” ISIS is making people, especially Muslims, think about their faith and question the faith they were born in and don’t understand.” He said they are repulsed by what ISIS is doing and increasingly disagree with Islam’s teachings. His church, which used to have seven to ten people on a Sunday, now is full to overflowing every Sunday because a lot of people are coming to know Jesus.
The Voice of the Martyrs has sent out 16,440 action packs (food, supplies, necessities), assisted 18,889 families and delivered 70,231 Bibles in just the Islamic state alone since June 2014 through October 2015. VOM is just one organization spreading the gospel. There are many others that share the same stories I mentioned above. Even though Christianity is declining in America, it is increasing many times over in parts of the world that denounced Christianity not too long ago.
Will you take a minute today and pray for VOM and other organizations like them? Will you pray for the believers who remain faithful amid persecution from ISIS and other terrorists groups? Will you take a minute and give thanks to God that you are free to read this without fear of persecution, that you are free to worship, free to read the most dangerous book in the world?
Unspoken by JustClay –
When The Saints by Sara Groves –
I Have Decided To Follow Jesus by Jadon Lavik –
The Just Shall Live By Faith by Rich Mullins –
Dreams of Jesus from Muslims –
Suffering Servant by Dustin Kensrue –
Guilty by Newsboys –
Our God by Chris Tomlin –