How Strong Is Our Faith??!!??
How Strong Is Our Faith?!?
This week we learned about the massacre in Charlotte, SC. We grieve for the victim’s families, for the perpetrator. Thank You for the entire community’s coming together – both black and white. We praise You that Your Word and salvation message have gone out from this horrible situation.
But what about the faith of the persecuted church in the Middle East. Subconsciously we may assume that the faith of believers in the West is stronger than that of the persecuted church. But, is it? Anne Emili Zaki, Evangelical Presbyterian Seminary in Cairo, Egypt, the General Director of the Egyptian Bible Society, and Director of the Vision for the Future, Egypt, powerfully discuss the faith of the Egyptian Church. (The first attached pictures is of the Cave Church near Cairo during an all-night prayer vigil where there were interceding for repentance. The 2nd is of the victims. The 3rd is another pic of the Cave Church, showing why it is aptly named.)
Over the last year, the news has constantly reported on the evils done to the Coptic Christians in Egypt, the Christians in Iraq, in Syria, and in other places throughout the Middle East. (On an interesting side note, many Arab Christians who live in Israel are beginning to prefer being identified as either Israeli Christians or Israeli Arabic-speaking Christians. Why? Because Christians in Israel have more freedom than their brothers and sisters in any other the other Middle Eastern countries.)
As we hear of the atrocities done to Christians by ISIS and other radical and fundamental Muslims, we wonder what are these persecuted Christians like. Last week, CBN World News posted 2 very enlightening articles. One article began with this probing thought: “Imagine ISIS kidnapped a relative of yours and then you see their brutal beheading on television.” What emotions would you have? Anger, grief, depression?
The reaction of persecuted Middle Eastern Christians is astounding. Mariam Farhat first learned of her husband’s murder when she saw the now-infamous video on local television. “We were very sad for the first two days, but we hadn’t seen the video,” she recalled. “When we saw them in the video calling to Jesus we were very comforted.” She said that she “was very proud” that her husband “stood firm in his faith and that he didn’t deny Jesus.” Because of the victim’s steadfastness in not denying Jesus, Mariam and other families say they are now joyful, not sad.
She is not alone in her response to extreme persecution.
“We were always praying that God would make them steadfast in their faith,” Bebawy, brother of murdered Samuel, told CBN News. “We were very happy with what they said on the video: ‘Jesus Christ have mercy on us.’ When we found out they had been killed for being Christian, we were very comforted, because these were God’s children and he took them.” Though the young families live without their father and husband, they told CBN News that their faith is stronger; they forgive the jihadists, and even pray for ISIS. “I pray for them that God may open their hearts, and they may know the truth and know that what they do is wrong and then do the right thing,” Bebawy said. “Jesus told us to forgive every sin and we forgive them and we hope that they can come to know Jesus,” he said.
Canon Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad stated, “In the United States and the West, people need to know that these people have nothing, but they have everything because they know that Issua [Aramaic], Jesus, is real and central to their lives.”
Seeing the faith of the 20 Egyptians who were beheaded, the 21st victim was asked if he would deny Jesus. Because of having witnessed the immense faith of his fellow captives, he replied to the terrorists’ question “Their God is my God,” knowing that this statement would result in his death.
CHALLENGE: Let us remember our brother and sisters in the Middle East who are standing strong in the faith. Let us intercede for them.
“L-rd, we are awe-struck at the commitment to You that our brothers and sisters in the persecuted church exemplify. Help us to remember to intercede for them. Help us to walk in the passion of faith that they do. Bless these precious families, help them to cling to You, be a husband to those who are up against unbelievable odds.We bless You, our sovereign L-rd and Savious. Bring Your peace to J’lem and to our country. In Yeshua’s holy Name we pray.
IMMEDIATE Prayer Requests:
- Pray for Israel!
- Protection of the persecuted church.
- Pray for America.
- Deb: victory over overwhelming circumstances. Encouragement!! God will provide; prayer for wisdom and favor with all those involved in the decision-making. Protection from false accusations and that truth, victory, and peace will reign. That Deb’s spirit will be lifted up: that she will have the words and clarity of mind to accomplish what needs to be done. That there will be a miraculously successful outcome of fairness and provision for her future.
- Connie: healing.
- Jim: recovery knee replacement surgery. Please pray flexibility will increase, pain will subside, and all other parts of his back, etc will operate pain-free.
- Brother-in-Law (Norman George): healing
- Shar: overcoming and sense of purpose
- Tere: healing and wisdom
- Carla: continued healing.
- Prayer for wisdom and favor as we encounter suffering people.
- REVIVAL IN AMERICA!
- REVIVAL in Arizona