Can I just be honest with you today? My heart is weighed down and burdened as I begin this day. More people are being martyred today than ever before in history. It is all over the headlines; all over social media. Men, women and children, yes children are being murdered consistently because of their faith. Astoundingly, searching the internet for estimates, I found the estimates for those martyred per year because of their faith ranging from 100,000 in older articles to 159,960 in more recent articles. Some stats say more have been martyred in the last century than in all other centuries combined. One sight estimates as many as one person every five minutes is martyred for their faith yet until recently we have heard very little about this in news outlets.
Now that awareness is arising, we are looking for someone to blame for allowing it to happen. Questions are flying. How can governments allow this to happen? Where is the Church, why are they not doing something? Why are they not talking about it more? As awareness arises, all sorts of questions come to the forefront. Emotions run rampant. I can only imagine how our Heavenly Father’s heart must ache at their pain, suffering and loss. In fact, Psalm 94 speaks to this very thing:
O LORD, the God who avenges! O God who avenges, reveal your splendor! Rise up, O judge of the earth! Pay back the proud! O LORD, how long will the wicked, how long will the wicked celebrate? They spew out threats and speak defiantly; all the evildoers boast. O LORD, they crush your people; they oppress the nation that belongs to you. They kill the widow and the one residing outside his native land, and they murder the fatherless. Then they say, “The LORD does not see this; the God of Jacob does not take notice of it.” Take notice of this, you ignorant people! You fools, when will you ever understand? Does the one who makes the human ear not hear? Does the one who forms the human eye not see? Does the one who disciplines the nations not punish? He is the one who imparts knowledge to human beings! The LORD knows that peoples’ thoughts are morally bankrupt. How blessed is the one whom you instruct, O LORD, the one whom you teach from your law, in order to protect him from times of trouble, until the wicked are destroyed. Certainly the LORD does not forsake his people; he does not abandon the nation that belongs to him. For justice will prevail, and all the morally upright will be vindicated. Who will rise up to defend me against the wicked? Who will stand up for me against the evildoers? If the LORD had not helped me, I would have laid down in the silence of death. If I say, “My foot is slipping,” your loyal love, O LORD, supports me. When worries threaten to overwhelm me, your soothing touch makes me happy. Cruel rulers are not your allies, those who make oppressive laws. They conspire against the blameless, and condemn to death the innocent. But the LORD will protect me, and my God will shelter me. He will pay them back for their sin. He will destroy them because of their evil; the LORD our God will destroy them. (Psalms 94:1-23 NET)
Scripture tells us in many places that in the last days these things will increase; evil will rise up and wars, hatred, envy, murder and malice will increase. Yet, I don’t know about you but when it does increase, it still seems to catch me by surprise. I guess that is probably because we get so caught up in life and it’s responsibilities. Then when these things happen we are taken a bit by surprise wondering how this could happen; how it could be allowed. Why isn’t anyone putting a stop to it? Much like I have wondered how the Holocaust could have gone on so long that so many millions were annihilated, I now wonder if or when anything will be done to stop this onslaught of persecution. The thought then comes, what can one person do? Another thought some will express is that it is the job of the government, the military or the Church. Others will be lulled into a false sense of security that it doesn’t have any effect them. The truth is this behavior is spreading just like terrorism is spreading. As much as we would like to believe it won’t happen in our country, it could….
SO, what can we do? We can be informed. We can pray!! Prayer is a powerful thing!! We can pray for our government that powerful leaders will arise, people of character and faith that will lead us well and make good decisions, wise decisions, and even tough decisions in order to keep us safe.. We can pray for those who are in danger currently,, for their protection, their strength, for their faith to be strong, for their safety, for the families of those who have suffered persecution to be comforted, strengthened and find peace for their hearts even in the midst of their struggles. We can ask others to join us in praying for all of these things. We can educate ourselves, research the candidates that are running for office and go and vote according to our conscience. We can educate ourselves on what God’s Word says about the last days because even if we are not yet there, we are closer than we have ever been and we need to equip ourselves to be able to recognize the signs of the times and equip ourselves against the evil in our world.
Ephesians 6:12 (NET Bible)For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.
These things are part of a great spiritual battle and one by one, together we can make a difference!
2 Timothy 2: 1-7 So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ. Pass on what you heard from me—the whole congregation saying Amen!—to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others. When the going gets rough, take it on the chin with the rest of us, the way Jesus did. A soldier on duty doesn’t get caught up in making deals at the marketplace. He concentrates on carrying out orders. An athlete who refuses to play by the rules will never get anywhere. It’s the diligent farmer who gets the produce. Think it over. God will make it all plain. ((MSG)
We are the church, may we one by one unite together in love, in prayer and in purpose!!
Grace and Peace to you!