“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.  What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.  So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,  but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.(Matthew 10:26-33 ESV)
These verses come to mind this morning as I read a story on Twitter about ISIS allegedly killing 30 Ethiopian Christians. And sadly, this is a story that will get very little media attention; 30 Christians (link included) going to their deaths because of their faith. I weep for the families affected and for the Ethiopian people but I also praise God with them that these 30 were found worthy to die for the Way. I probably will never face anything like that in my life time but I hope and pray that my faith would be strong enough to stare death in the face and cling to the hope of the resurrection.
And for this Christian way over here in this country, there is very little I can do to protect Christians way over there. But one thing that we can all do is pray for the Church:
Pray that the Church is faithful to the Word of God.
Pray that the Church is faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Pray that Christians remember what and who Jesus died for.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will convict those who oppose Jesus.
And that last prayer request is not out of line. It’s not a fantasy or dream to think that the Holy Spirit could convict those in ISIS. Saul (later became Paul) was a feared persecutor of the Church; killing and imprisoning many Christians. But then Jesus showed up; blinding him and changed his heart. If Jesus could do that to Saul/Paul then Jesus can do that to anyone.
God willing of course.
But in the mean time, do not fear those who can kill the body, rather…
Run to God
Cling to God
and all through Jesus Christ who died that we may live.
This pastor’s heart is heavy this morning but also very hopeful. God is good and God has already won the victory, no matter how many Christians are killed for the Way.
Praise be to God!
Holy God, grant faith to Your holy Church that it may stand under the threat of those who oppose it. May the Good News of Jesus Christ give hope to many as Your kingdom has been and is being established through Your Son. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
The Pastor -|—