“All your fighting men, ready for battle, must cross over ahead of your fellow Israelites. You are to help themuntil the Lord gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land the Lord your God is giving them.”
Joshua 1:14-15
I have a new bracelet I wear every day. It’s not fancy; in fact, I think it’s made of rubber. And it wasn’t made for me by one of our grandchildren. On one side it says, “I-am-n” on the other, “I will not let them suffer in silence; I will not let them serve alone.” I got it free a couple weeks ago at a Voice of the Martyrs conference. There we heard testimonies from four incredible individuals who have suffered for their faith—prison, kidnapping, starving, torture, interrogation. And we heard many other stories of believers who are being tortured and killed because they will not disown the Lord who died for them. That’s why my bracelet is precious.
We are part of a worldwide network of believers. In many countries Christianity is illegal or “discouraged” and those who share their faith risk losing their jobs, homes, health, and freedom. Even their own families turn against them—the cruelest of all. But they love Jesus anyway.
God is using their persecution to spread the gospel around the world just as He did in the early days of Christianity (see Acts 8:1, 4). I wear this bracelet to honor them, call attention to their needs, and as a reminder to pray for them daily.
They are like the fighting men who crossed over ahead of the rest of the Israelites. They are on the front lines of Christianity, where the struggle is violent and aggressive. Our job is to help them until the Lord gives them rest. This includes prayer, writing letters, giving financially, and sharing their stories with other believers so they are not alone in this fight.
There are Christians facing persecution in the United States too—in “the land of the free.” The Christian world view is no longer the norm in our schools, workplaces, and entertainment. It is, in fact, becoming unpopular and dangerous to speak the truths of our faith. We know a young man whose parents recently kicked him out of the house for becoming a Christian; they’re just an average family, not extreme Muslims or terrorists.
Ponder these things as you walk the streets of your city and pray for your brothers and sisters facing persecution in all its forms. You may not realize how many are in your own community—despised, rejected, targeted for Christ’s sake. You may be one yourself. If you are, you are blessed to suffer for His name (Matt. 5:10-11).
Pray God will give all persecuted believers boldness to speak to their persecutors with power and confidence. That He will provide for their needs and confirm their testimony with signs and wonders. And that He will grant them fellowship with other Christians and the comfort of knowing they are not alone. We stand together in Him.
You can learn how to pray and help members of the persecuted church at: https://www.persecution.com/
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:21
*If you’d like to learn more about Halloween and some possible alternatives for Christians, my book Taking Back October is a terrific resource! Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Taking-Back-October-Believers-Pursuit/dp/1502516292/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1505868831&sr=8-1&keywords=taking+back+October
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