Monday, January 31, 2011

What is it Worth?

According to the January “Open Doors” newsletter, a Somali mother of four young children was killed by Muslim extremists when she confessed her conversion to Christ. In Alexandria, Egypt, 21 people were killed as they were leaving church when a bomb exploded on New Year’s Eve. Meanwhile, our brother in Christ, Dr. Said Musa (see Nov. 30 post), awaits execution in Afghanistan for loving Jesus.

“Now great multitudes were going along with Him; and He turned to them and said, If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple…If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me”
(Luke 14:25-26; Mark 8:34).

As we read these words, do we think our every-day problems are the cross we must bear? Is that what Jesus' followers thought He meant? No. To them, the cross was no figure of speech. In Jesus’ time, to ‘take up your cross’ meant you were condemned to die the painful, degrading death, called crucifixion—a penalty reserved by the Romans for the worst criminals. Christ’s early followers knew their conversion could cost their lives. Certainly, Muslim converts know this. When they picked up their cross, they knew the price they might have to pay. Perhaps it is a good time to ask ourselves how much we have bought into the “easy-to-believe-just-say-a-prayer” evangelism that promises everything and costs nothing.

1 comment:

  1. Greg,

    Perhaps the closest stress that we Christians in America have that even remotely compares to what our persecuted brethren are facing in other lands is when we are faced with losing our homes--for whatever reason. Our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ know they may well lose their "tent" in which their spirit and soul dwells if they publicly confess their faith. No one who has not experienced this level of stress can understand the fear and anxiety that could easily overcome you. It has led to some denying their faith, even with the knowledge that their heavenly home surpasses that of this earth.

    Perhaps if we pray with this understanding it will better position us to intercede with passion for our "family" members suffering this kind of emotional and mental torture preceding their death.Let us ask that the Holy Spirit indeed provide them with the comfort and assurance that He will enable them to endure what their enemies force upon them!

    The thought of losing one's home is daunting enough; the realization of losing one's life for one's tesitimony surpasses it!

    Just some thoughts.