“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write,
‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”’ ~Jesus
Persecution began almost immediately after the Church was born, and it continues to this day. As a matter of fact, there were more people martyred for the name of Jesus Christ in the 20th century than in any century previous.
The 20th century was bad, but if its first thirteen years are any indication, the 21st century looks to be even worse. You don’t have to look too hard to see the evidence – Egypt, Somalia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Indonesia, Pakistan, and many others, have all been in the news regarding their harsh treatment of Christians. Sadly, there has not been much global outcry against this widespread problem.
And there are storm clouds in the West as well – For the first time in our history, there are feasible scenarios in which persecution could come to America – Something that would have been inconceivable to many, just a few years ago.
So how are we to respond? The Bible gives us direction on what we can do as believers.
Hebrews 13:3 says “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”
That’s a good question. How do we as believers in a free society remember our brethren all over the world as if we were together with them in their suffering?
In response to this question the ministry of Open Doors has come up with the World Watch Challenge
This is one of the most practical and effective ways to participate and make a difference that I’ve ever seen. If you’re looking for a way to get involved, take a look at the 1 minute video…It might work for you as well!
Until next time, may the Lord continue to bless you and yours!