Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10
For over a decade one of the staple programs on the Discovery Channel has been Deadliest Catch.
For those of you who don't know, the show follows a number of crab fishing boats that work the Bering Sea. The premise is, statistically and proportionately speaking, crab fishing has the highest number of fatalities. While I haven't investigated the claim, I do know there are a lot of ways a crab-man can significantly shorten his time on earth.
Recently, I came across an article that says there is another "job" significantly more dangerous than anything that has ever been featured on Deadliest Catch. Now I could have a little fun and ask you to guess what that might be. Instead, I'll tell you. Just about the most dangerous thing you can do with your life is be a Christian in North Korea.
The Database Center for North Korean Human Rights has interviewed 11,730 individuals who have, for varying reasons, defected from North Korea. These individuals agree with the opinions which have been shared by the organizations that track Christian persecution around the world.
And what is that opinion?
It is this: when it comes to persecuting those who believe in the Savior, North Korea is at the top of the list.
According to these defectors:
1. the only houses of worship in North Korea are in Pyongyang, and those are for decoration and to show to tourists;
2. there is zero religious freedom in North Korea;
3. the punishment for practicing any religion not sanctioned by the government is death.
Those thoughts are tragic, but these people who were interviewed also said that 80 percent of the people taken into custody by the government simply disappear. It is estimated that 75 percent of the Christians who are arrested are executed.
Looking at all those statistics, a reasonable person would conclude there ought to be zero Christians left in North Korea. We would expect to find that fear scares off any believer the government misses.
But that point of view neglects the power of the Holy Spirit and the effectiveness of God's Word, which goes out and accomplishes His purpose. It forgets the Savior's sacrifice brings hope to those who live in fear and light to those who were in darkness. This is why as you say your prayers of thanks, remember to express your gratitude for religious freedom and pray for those who have no such blessing.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, how jealous powerful men are of the gentle Savior who gave His life for His people. Watch over and be with those who are living a precarious life. Preserve and be with them and us. In Jesus' Name I pray it. Amen.
P.S. - Lutheran Hour Ministries is offering a virtual mission trip to Madagascar during January. Folks, I have had a look at what is happening here, and I encourage you to take a look, too. Use the link provided here: www.lhm.org/onlinemissiontrips.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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