Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Matthew 19:29 -- Modern Martyrdom, Faith Witness, and Giving up All in the Name of Jesus Christ

"And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life." 
~ Matthew 19:29 (NABRE)

We do not have to read far in the daily headlines to find the many real sacrifices of Christians and minority groups in the middle east.  Many Christians were given the choice to convert to Islam or die a brutal, terrifying death.  Violent deaths and sufferings have been reported via the news media. Yet in the face of such brutally real threats, Christians are either fleeing their land or facing death.  By God's grace, they are clinging to their faith in Christ. 

These people are living testaments to the power of the Holy Spirit, and their willing martyrdom in the face of such brutal circumstances, speaks volumes to the many lukewarm Christians in America.  This crisis is a faith wake-up call and reflects the message Jesus teaches in the sermon on the mount in the gospel of Matthew Chapter 5:10-11, for he says that those who are persecuted, reviled, ill-treated, and wrongfully accused for His sake will inherit the kingdom of God. We are called to carry the cross of discipleship, and that cross can be heavy and knock us down.  But it is through our faith and reliance on Jesus that we are strengthened to do the impossible, as these persecuted people bear witness. 

Please remember to pray for these children of God, Christians and non-Christians, who are persecuted and robbed of their humanity as we live, thrive, and breathe in a modern, protected world. Please look upon their living testimony as a finger pointing to the true meaning of living out one's faith. To be a follower of Jesus Christ is not easy, and let us never take our faith for granted. Please, through prayer and loving action, help spread peace in our world.