Religious persecution is on the rise. In the US, Christian persecution has been in the news this summer. Think about the countries you know there is persecution. If you are like me you know about Egypt, Iraq, Indonesia, and Pakistan, maybe a few more. My list is way too short. Persecution can take on many forms. The Pew Research foundation describes persecution as government restrictions or social hostility. They further report that 41% of countries have high religious restrictions. This 41% does not include social hostility.
I am fortunate; I can go to church, pray and study in public. I can talk to others about my faith. If I am discriminated against, the courts will support me. I do think there is an increasing anti-Christian bias in my country that needs to be addressed. That is not what I am thinking of today. Today my life is not in danger because of my faith. There are believers in extreme situations everyday.
Please consider praying for the persecuted on a regular basis. The following links will help you be better informed:
Some time ago, I had a major decision to make. It was mine to make and no one else could make it. It was one of those lifelong, not going back decisions. I knew which way I should go in the decision. I prayed that God would help me recognize my struggle for what it was. I also wanted peace of mind. Through studying His word and prayer, I became more convinced of the correct biblical response. After over two months of struggle, choose the path that best represented Gods character and Jesus’ teaching. It was a blind faith jump, it didn’t feel right.
I didn’t have a peace about it. But still I knew the biblical response. I knew this path would take a lot of sacrifice and 10 plus years of intense commitment. I also knew that God would care for me and everyone involved. It wasn’t until much later that I finally understood how much I was the problem. This should have been a shorter struggle but I can be pretty selfish. When I choose do things Gods way, life goes better for me. Has Gods way been easy? No sometimes it has been downright exhausting but it is a better life than the one I planned. The sacrifices have been greater than I thought they would be but the rewards have been greater as well. God really does know me better than I know myself. 1 Ki 7.39, 1 Chron 28:9. When I give into selfish desires they don’t satisfy for long and I just want another desire and another and another. Each time I trust Him my history with Him is longer. I can look back on His faithfulness and rest more easily in His character.
He has me all the time
This was a good example of not trusting my heart. The heart or my emotions can be deceptive. Sometimes I choose the easy over the right. God really does know what is best for me. This should not surprise since He made me. He knows my innermost parts and thoughts.