Enduring hardship through faith

Living in caves can be modern experience; it can also be a hard life.  It makes me think of a time when the early saints had to endure an amazing amount of cruel and hardship in the pre-church era. Hebrews 11:37-38 (ESV) says:

“They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”

This verse indicates that faithful people of God in the Old Testament had been forced to live underground, in deserts, and hid in dens and caves (as were prophets in 1 Kings 18-19). They were a shunned and disparaged because of their faith. They were not just typical Jewish followers but were despised for their deep faith and conviction within broader Judaism. They were living amongst Jews but were still shunned and seen as an abhorrent sect within Judaism.

In the Church today, there is also sectarianism, as in many other major/established religions. Parts of the Christian church also face disparagement and shunning because of their deep faith and conviction. They are not only persecuted by people of different or opposing religions, but from followers of the same religion.

I’m glad we don’t are not as separated by denominationalism as we formerly were. There are still subtle differences but we have come a long way in being respectful of our religious and spiritual differences. I appreciate that it’s our differences that make us unique and special.

I have brothers and sisters in the Lord who went from borderline fence-walkers to devoted Christian believers. I also some dear friends who went the opposite direction and/or stopped attending church. Our society is multi-faceted. Some of us want more devotion and deeper spirituality. Some of us want less or nothing of the sort for various personal reasons. Despite our personal convictions, God is still sovereign and in control, so who are we to judge others for their deep faith or lack of it?!

May we who are faithful, endure, hold-on, and remain thankful for the sacrifice of our spiritual and religious ancestors who paved the way for us. It made our path of devotion and service to the Lord a little easier to walk. God gives each of us strength to follow him; and faith is given to each generation–even this generation, from Baby Boomers to Millennials to generation Z.  God is forever faithful to us.

Pray for the Persecuted Church

Nov. 4, 2012 is International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Most of us in the western hemisphere have no idea these horrendous tragedies acted against Christians are actually still happening today around the world. Let us pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, for their protection, but more importantly, for patience and long-suffering. This is to truly practice loving our enemies.

Christian churches attacked by Muslim extremists

Sometimes I wonder if political liberation is always a good thing—at least for Christians around the world.  Egypt’s Coptic Christians and churches have been under attack again since yesterday.  Muslim extremists just burned down a church and has sparked new protests. (read New York Times and Catholic Online)

Since President Hosni Mubarak was kicked out, these Egyptian extremists are beginning to think they have free reign to persecute Christians.  Same thing happened to Iraqi Christians after Saddam Hussein was on the run.  It may be a political game of choose the leader who will hinder your personal interest the least—not necessarily choose who you think would make the best leader for the nation.

Independent news: a real source of news

Earlier, police reportedly exhumed eight bodies from shallow graves in a predominantly Christian village near Jos. The discovery of the bodies brought to 15 the number of corpses found in three days in an area fraught with Muslim aggression that has left hundreds of Christians dead.  read on…

Hundreds, if not thousands, of Christians are still being persecuted and killed by Muslims in countries like Nigeria.  Real news like this from today is real but it seems to be continually ignored by the mainstream news media.  News like this don’t seem to make their headlines, however, the killing and stone throwing by young kids in Palestine do.  Why? Self-interest and sensationalism?

Our trust in mainstream media like newspapers and television have been constantly declining and seem to be a less than trustworthy source of news for our younger generations today.  Many are turning to the less mainstream sources for news because there is a growing distrust of mainstream media.  News blogs from various types of organization: non-profit and for-profit and other independent new sources, such as bloggers, try to make this news available to the public.  This is where some of the real news seem to be coming from these days.