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Have you ever had a series of experiences that started to change your perspective until a shift happens and you never want to go back to the way you were before?
Because of what other’s have been honored to live through, my perspective has shifted. My hope today is that this post might be the start of a series of events that will do the same for you, especially in regards to persecution.
Persecution is an honor and a blessing! (This does not come from my own lips but from testimony after testimony of those who have lived through it.)
The 1st experience that Opened My Eyes
About 16 years ago, I was studying in Vienna, Austria with several others from my university. One night, I went to watch several of my friends sing where some refugees from across the middle east were staying. God worked it out and I ended up studying the Bible with a few of these refugees. I’ll never forget when Ali decided he wanted to become a Christian. We had only been studying for a handful of weeks, so I wanted to make sure he understood the commitment he was making. He looked me straight in the eyes and said,
“I know the sacrifice of becoming a Christian. If I ever return home, I will be killed.”
Ali had fled from Afghanistan.
From that moment on, I started to grasp that the persecution that happened to Jesus, the apostles and Jesus’ disciples in the New Testament was not confined to the times written about between the pages of the Bible.
Persecution is furiously alive, but the persecution only fans the flames of faith for those who love the Lord.
I have never had to even think about my life being threatened simply because I am a Christian, but for Ali and many others, it is an absolute reality of life. Choosing Jesus can mean choosing instant physical death.
Giving a Voice to the Persecuted – The Voice of the Martyrs
The Voice of the Martyrs was founded by Richard Wurmbrand, who himself was imprisoned for 14 years in a Romanian prison because he refused to keep silent about the complete truth of Christ and choose not to exalt the communist government and allow them control over the churches.
As a preacher and disciple of Christ, he encouraged worshipers to gather in his family’s home and preached the truth. Even while he was in prison, he never allowed the torture and the beatings to deter him from the only thing that can set us all free. While in solitary confinement, he was able to communicate with a prisoner next door via Morse Code and led that prisoner to Christ. Later, Richard had the opportunity to be in the same cell with this man and learned that man had been a former communist who had done many bad things, but was now saved by God’s grace!
Isn’t it amazing to think that in the deepest, darkest dungeons of prisons throughout the world, the Lord is working?
The courage and the hope Richard had in Jesus Christ sustained him to never waiver in his faith. And more than that, it encouraged and inspired others to follow the Lord, who could give a soul such strength and peace! Even now, it instills courage in the hearts of other Christians when they hear his story and so many other stories that are like it.
The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) upon Hebrews 13:3:
Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
VOM gives a voice to the many persecuted believers so we can know how better to pray for and help them. It also encourages us to seek God’s will and seek opportunities to share the gospel boldly with people around us!
Blessing and Honor in the midst of the Persecuted?
At first, it was hard to understand how one could feel like persecution was a blessing, but that is why it is so important to listen to the stories of those who have been persecuted. To see how God works in these moments to bring about miracles and courage and hope so that these trails are seen as an honor and blessing.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
– Jesus, Matthew 5:11-12
I can’t really explain it any other way than to say it is awe inspiring and you must listen to these stories yourself! God is amazing in how He brings other prisoners, guards and witnesses of persecution to Him through these persecuted experiences. This stories will help reshape your heart and thought process about what living for Christ looks like!
That is why we are so thrilled to be able to partner up with The Voice of the Martyrs to give you a chance to win this “i am n” curriculum. It is set up as a small group study and will encourage your heart to boldness as you see how God is working in the lives of persecuted Christians.
This engaging video curriculum presents true stories of Christians facing Islamic extremists around the world. Ideal for small groups, campus ministries and churches, the I Am N Curriculum Kit includes
- the I Am N book,
- a participant’s guide,
- a facilitator’s guide and
- a 6-session DVD.
Each 15-minute video includes interviews with persecuted Christians as well as commentary and teaching by leaders from The Voice of the Martyrs and other leading missions organizations. As you explore the six themes of sacrifice, courage, joy, perseverance, forgiveness and faithfulness, you will be inspired to grow deeper in your relationship with Christ and witness with boldness and joy to your friends, family and co-workers.
“We have lost everything but have gained Christ and that gave us a joy!”
What can you do to help?
- Use VOM’s Prayer Map to learn more about the restricted, hostile, and monitered countriers.
- Pray over specific prayer requests.
- Download the VOM Pray Today App for an iPhone or an Android.
Listen & Read Stories from Persecuted Christians
- Gift a friend a copy of the Bestselling book Tortured for Christ and receive a copy for yourself as well.
- Sign up for The Voice of the Martyrs’ Newsletter
- Listen to actual interviews on VOMRadio.
- Watch The Torchlighters Series with your kids. (Available on DVD and Prime!)
Support Persecuted Families
- Send letters and encourage our fellow brothers & sisters in prison.
- Help others spread the word of Christ in restricted and hostile nations
- Support those who are suffering persecution or pastor’s families who have little means because the bread winner has been killed or imprisoned.
- Put Bibles in the hands of believers who live in restricted areas and do not currently have one, by supporting the Covert Operations outreach.
- Volunteer your time or your voice.
- Send an Action Pack
Why Support VOM?
I love VOM. After reading their book Tortured for Christ by the found Richard Wurmbrand I was so convicted in how easy it is to be a Christian in America. We whine about things like not having time to sit and read our Bibles or wishing we had the money for such and such. Truly, we are abundantly rich in every way. We have Bible studies, churches everywhere, 3 meals plus snacks and desserts everyday!
I really felt what he went through and took it personally. Living without the freedom to worship, being beaten and imprisoned, practically starving…. he would’ve done anything to have what we have. Or would he?? He willingly went back to continually reach the lost for Christ. I couldn’t “un-know” what he went through.
VOM is built around people like that and helping them. They support the persecuted who live in incredibly dangerous situations, as well as the families of martyrs. How could I not want to be a part of that?! We started giving monthly to VOM after that. Every month we receive a newsletter about what VOM is doing across the globe and ways we can help both financially and tangibly. It’s an honor to support their mission! – Ashley M.
God’s grace is what carries us all through and gives us the ability to stand tall and courageous in the face of extreme situations. Like the first martyr, Stephen, fixing his gaze intently on Jesus in heaven while being stoned, we too can fix our eyes on Jesus and trust that God will provide for us even in the worst of physical times.
This giveaway has ended but check out these great resources.
Enter now for your chance to win the “i am n” curriculum discussed above.