Witnessing Among the Ashes

Witnessing Among the Ashes

As we go through our daily lives, we find it difficult to witness. Our busy schedules are a reason (or excuse), and perhaps, if we were honest, we would also say fear is a factor. Yet around the world we see people who go through so much worse than we ever go through and yet their witness is strong and seemingly unrelenting.

An example of the hardships Christians face is today’s AP story out of Indonesia (see it at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41468759/ns/world_news/ ). Antonius Richmond Bawengan, 58, was found guilty and sentenced to five years for blasphemy. His crime? Distribution of books and tracts that "spread hatred about Islam." What makes the story worse is what happened next.
Hearing the verdict, a mob of hundreds went ballistic. Shouting that the Christian should have received the death penalty, the crowd rioted. Besides torching a police truck, a few cars and several motorcycles, the mob set two churches on fire and threw rocks at a school and another church.

Another incident in Indonesia involved house churches. Voice of the Martyrs reported that seven of them were forced closed in West Java, Indonesia. Gathering outside of these homes, a few hundred Islamic extremists demanded to inspect them. They claimed the homes couldn’t be used for Christian worship services and that the meetings would have to be held elsewhere though the families could continue to live in them.

In response to this, Voice of the Martyrs encourages the following: Ask God to use this incident to strengthen the members of this church. Pray that they will demonstrate Christ’s love to those who oppose them and that their faith will be a light that helps guide others to the Lord. Pray that persecuted Christians in Indonesia will keep their eyes on Jesus, persevere in faith and not grow weary or lose heart (more at http://www.persecution.com/public/newsroom.aspx?story_ID=MzI1 ).

It wouldn’t surprise me to hear in the aftermath of these reports of the continued witness of the Christian population there. They challenge us to greater things and to a more resilient and active faith then we often manifest. May God cause us to be just as brave, just as resilient, just as faithful, even as our brothers and sisters witness among the ashes. Enjoy your day; watch and pray.

Attached you will find a book that I was thoroughly captivated by. James and Marti Hefley wrote a modern Foxe's Book of Martyrs, if you will. Check it out.

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