I am praying through this booklet during Ramadam. I used it last year and it is an extremely informative, helpful and profoundly moving tool. Yesterday I read this:
“We often face troubles but still we are praising God. We have a saying, ‘If you are arrested, praise God that you have not been beaten. If you are beaten, praise God that you have not been killed. And if you are killed, praise God that you are now with Jesus in heaven!.'”
Bek an Uzbek Convert to Christianity.
Reading that in the comfort of my home, amid the freedoms I enjoy that sounds unreal. Do people really feel like that when they are persecuted?
55 But Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit. Gazing upward into heaven, he saw something they couldn’t see: the glory of God, and Jesus standing at His right hand.
59 while they were pelting Stephen with rocks.
Stephen (as rocks fell upon him): Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
60 Then he knelt in prayer, shouting at the top of his lungs,
Stephen: Lord, do not hold this evil against them!
Those were his final words; then he fell asleep in death.
Should our experience today be any different than that of Stephen? We aren’t promised an easy life, or the absence of trouble what we are promised is peace amid strife, joy amid troubles and hope when we are surrounded by uncertainty.
1 God is our shelter and our strength.
When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help.
So why run and hide?
2 No fear, no pacing, no biting fingernails.
When the earth spins out of control, we are sure and fearless.
When mountains crumble and the waters run wild, we are sure and fearless.
Please remember the persecuted church today.
Please remember those for whom confessing a faith in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour can mean persecution, torture, death.
Please remember we are a privileged few as we take for granted the freedom of religion we enjoy.
Please remember we live in a world that hates us but we have a God who loves us and is faithful and sure.