21st January 2020

One in Ten!

“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.’”
John 15:20 (NKJV)

A well known Christian Charity has just released its best estimate of Christians in the world today. It calculates that there are about 2.4 billion Christians, which is a very encouraging number. But it also calculates that one in ten of those Christians are being persecuted today, for some, literally leading to death, and for others, long prison sentences, and yet others being denied the opportunity to earn a living and feed their families. That means about 240 million Christians facing the persecution that Christ spoke about in the scripture above.* For us in the west that figure is a surprise and a shock! We don’t face the same kind of hatred and hostility in the UK as many of our brothers and sisters do in some countries in Asia, the Middle East and parts of Africa.

In the resurrection we may be in awe of what some of our fellow Christians in these areas endured faithfully because of their absolute belief in God. Constant persecution is draining and discouraging, whether harsh and vicious or low level discrimination day after day. The question is what can we do for them ourselves? One answer is to pray for them on a regular basis. 1 Corinthians 12.12-27 tells us we are all one body, and verse 26 says “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.” We cannot feel their pain, their frustration, their despair, but we can ask God to be a God of presence to them—to support them, encourage them, strengthen them, uplift them, to give them the faith, courage and endurance they need as well as relief from the persecution.

It may not sound like much, but prayer changes things! That is one of the best things we can do. Other than that, we can keep ourselves informed about them, and to maybe donate money to Christian charities that provide help and support for them. But, most of all, pray for them.

Prayer
Gracious Father, comfort, strengthen and support our Christian brothers and sisters in countries and areas where they are persecuted for their faith. Help us to appreciate the freedom we have to be Christians. May Christ soon return as this world’s only hope. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Study by Keith Hartrick
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*Barbabas Fund magazine September/October 2019

About the Author:
Keith Hartrick is an Elder in Grace Communion Church – Leeds.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village Welfare Association Community Centre
Pendas Way
LEEDS
LS15 8LE

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2PM

Local Congregational Contact:
Malcolm Arnold
Phone: 01484-312347
Email: leeds@gracecom.church

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