A year ago, when I first started writing this blog, there was not much conversation about persecution. After I started this blog the world began to talk about ISIS in a new way. Much of the conversation is about fear and anger, not much about loving your enemies and forgiving them as Jesus has done for us. It’s easy to forget, in our fear, that Muslims are lost souls in need of saving.
Matthew 5:43-48 New Living Translation (NLT)
Teaching about Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Now, there is much debate over whether refugees should come into America. Many are afraid all the young men are ISIS members coming to kill us. As Christians we are not called to live our lives in fear. God tells us in his word, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” – Matthew 10:28
After my first post “Where His Path Led Me,” I went to Mission ConneXion. I learned about many different ministries and organizations, met inspiring people, and gathered great resources. A few months later, people that I met at Mission ConneXion became keynote speakers at the Worldview Symposium I helped organize for youth and their families. I wrote about that in my post “Wakeful and Uprooted”.
I wanted to connect with others around my age so I put together a class for the weekly homeschool co-op I’m in. The lessons were mostly pulled for my blog and books I’ve read. Some of the kids came because they went to the Worldview Symposium. I added a page to this blog called “Persecution Class” and I posted the lessons there. We are continuing the class next semester and adding a book club/prayer group. It will be a place for us to get to know each other better as we read books like Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand and God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew.
God is using this blog to teach me. I’m learning to trust Him more, to give my concerns about whatever I’m planning or holding onto to Him because he already has it planned and knows how it will turn out. I am learning to push myself and the value of being uncomfortable. I realize the stress I feel to write a new post is usually because I am looking to myself for something to say. When I turn to God and I am being led by Him, it feels completely different. A year ago, after reading people’s stories about persecution in several books and watching their testimonies on YouTube, my heart was broken. I could not stop thinking about them. I prayed to God and asked Him to use me and to let me help somehow. God brought to me the idea of a blog. He made it clear to me that’s what he wanted me to do. I was terrified when I wrote my first post, I thought no one would like it and I would be trolled. But, I didn’t want to say no to God so I sat down and struggled through my first post. It has been amazing to feel His hand on me through this journey. I can see Him so clearly through all of the brokenness that surrounds us.
The idea of a class was so scary to me, I went back and forth on whether I should do it or not. Then I thought of my brothers and sisters who are risking everything- their families, homes, security, and even their lives to share the love of God in this broken world. I thought of how scared I was to do the class and have people not like it or not like me, I felt ashamed for not trusting God, so I did the class. I am reminded again that His plans for me are good. I’m glad I trusted God with the class. They are a special group. God brought us together for a purpose and I’m excited to see what He has planned for us. This blog has been viewed in over 70 countries so far. It never even occurred to me that anyone outside of the U.S. or my family and friends would read it much. It continues to amaze me and I am praying for everyone who has read this blog.
The world feels more unstable every day, but remember that God is there, He loves and cares for each and every one of us. That is why He sent His son Jesus to take our sins from us. Jesus experienced complete separation from God, when He died on the cross, so we don’t have to. He died so we could spend eternity with Him in heaven. The Bible tells us, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Romans 10:9
If you want to know more about Jesus, the book of John or the book of Romans in the Bible are a good place to start. Bible Gateway has many translations and languages available https://www.biblegateway.com/
This is the Scripture that we built the Symposium on.
Jeremiah 1:4-12 New Life Version (NLV)
4 Now the Word of the Lord came to me saying, 5 “Before I started to put you together in your mother, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart as holy. I chose you to speak to the nations for Me.” 6 Then I said, “O, Lord God! I do not know how to speak. I am only a boy.” 7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy.’ You must go everywhere I send you. And you must say whatever I tell you. 8 Do not be afraid of them. For I am with you to take you out of trouble,” says the Lord. 9 Then the Lord put out His hand and touched my mouth, and said to me, “See, I have put My words in your mouth. 10 I have chosen you this day to be over the nations and the kings, to dig up and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.”
11 And the Word of the Lord came to me saying, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I said, “I see a branch of an almond tree.” 12 Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching to see that My Word is completed.”
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God bless you,