There They Stand

On days such as these, as I relax in the soft warm darkness of my quiet home, and count the boundless blessings the LORD has rained down upon my undeserved head… I must pause to think of those whose faith has been put to a trial that I have never known, those to whom their belief in and testimony of the LORD Jesus Christ cost them the ultimate penalty: their very lives.

My mind is taken with a certain minister in Gonawela (Sri Lanka) who was attacked by a group of men claiming to be police officers. He was guarding the church building when the men approached at approximately midnight. Threatening to kill him and his entire family if they did not leave the area, the men attacked the minister and injured one of his young sons (who had run outside to help his father).

Despite his injuries, the minister led worship service on the following LORD`s Day morning…

Further and further across the vast black oceans and high continental plains my mind races, my heart going out to the land of India – to Pastor Revanna Naik and his Baptist congregation in the village of Lambini (state of Karnataka).

The local government forbade them from worshipping on Sunday but attempted to force them (by court order) to worship idols of Hindu deities and to partake of the Prasad offering (a ritual which venerates Shiva).

After Pastor Naik and his congregants refused to submit to the edict, a mob of Hindi zealots seized them all and forced them to their knees before the idols and applied the vermillion marks to their foreheads – all of this as local police officers looked on.

Northward into Asia, deep behind the tall walls of China… my thoughts and prayers go with Pastor Xu Sheng Guang and two of his assistant ministers – all of whom are facing a death sentence for the crimes of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ against the explicit prohibition of the laws of the Maoist regime in China.

My brothers and sisters abroad may not enjoy the easy leisures that I know, but neither am I so graced to pay such a high price for the cause of Christ – to endure suffering for His holy name is one of the highest honors that any Christian can be granted.

Verily, may the LORD be with my Brethren in their trials – that, in gain and loss, they will serve as yet another glorious testament to the power of the Gospel.

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