"A Surprising Result"
January 23, 2012
Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of Your words. Psalms 119:161
North Korea, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Iran, the Maldives, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Iraq and Pakistan.
Can you tell me what these nations have in common?
According to Open Doors USA, these are, in order, the top ten countries where Christians are persecuted. You've heard the expression, "It's a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there?" Well, our brothers and sisters are not just trying to live in these countries, they actually do live there.
They live there and, fearing persecution, they practice an underground form of Christianity.
In most of these countries that means no church buildings on every corner; it means no Bible studies at the local coffee shop, no wearing a cross or crucifix, no Sunday school or parochial school. It means no Christian TV or radio (although radio can beam in from other countries.)
You get the idea?
All of this means the church in these places is dying. Right?
Actually, the answer is wrong. Rev. Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA, an organization which monitors persecution, says so many Muslims are converting to Christianity in nations like Iran that they may constitute a fourth major branch of the global church (along with Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christians.)
Can you believe it?
For these people to believe in Christ means they run the risk of losing friends, business, family and life. Still they believe.
Sort of reminds me of that hymn: "Take they our life, goods, fame, child and wife; let these all be gone; they yet have nothing won; the kingdom ours remaineth."
Won't you join with me in praying for these souls?
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I give thanks for the power of the Holy Spirit. In spite of the barriers men have erected, in spite of the hatred unbelievers show, Your work continues on. Now may I do what I can to share the Savior with those who hate Him. This I pray in my Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries