The Jeremiahs of the Church
05/15/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – When death and destruction are closely linked to persecution ministry, why do our volunteers and donors continue to commit their time and resources to them?
Believers who have a deep passion for the persecuted are few and far between in the Church. Often, those who have a heart for the persecuted find themselves alone in their congregation.
Jeremiah was called as a prophet by God to call out the sins of Israel in a nation filled with idolatrous practices. Though he suffered much for his calling, he never stopped revealing God’s messages to Israel.
Jeremiah was known as the lonely prophet and we know his pain.
Like Jeremiah, we who carry the burden of the persecuted are compelled to share their plight with those around us in the Church. Sadly, much of the Church cannot be bothered with the persecuted.
We pray that as you read through the testimonies of your fellow donors and volunteers that you are encouraged by the words of others who share your burden.
For we have also seen and been transformed by their faith and are encouraged by their courage, sacrifice, and growth.
The Western Church needs the persecuted for they are the antidote to Western Christianity in all its weakness and lack of depth.
Together, we will continue to call out to the Church to remember those in prison and to learn from and be transformed by them. We must obey the Father’s call to care for His suffering children.
Intimacy Through Suffering: Chris D.
People don’t want to hear about suffering because it makes them feel bad, so they tune it out. I think there’s an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality, with a failure to recognize our persecuted brothers and sisters as truly part of the same Body of interconnected members as they are.
People think there’s nothing they can do to help and they might as well let someone else deal with it who’s gifted or has a special calling. I see a low appreciation for prayer.
If people valued prayer enough to believe that it really changes things, and if they valued it and our persecuted brothers and sisters enough to go through some discomfort by reading about instances of persecution, and if they were willing to turn that discomfort into prayer, maybe we’d see a Church that’s so intimate with the brothers and sisters [whom] it can’t see.
We in the West want our pain to go away as soon as possible, but the Christian life involves suffering. I know from following the persecuted for a long time that this perspective is accurate. I can now see my pain as an opportunity for intimacy with God whenever it comes. I’d be more comfortable without this pain, but comfort isn’t eternal; it’s knowing God and Jesus (John 17:3).
Growth Amidst Persecution: Deborah H.
Many American Christians have taken for granted our religious rights. We may even be asleep or apathetic or complacent, perhaps. We just don’t know what’s going on or what to do about it if we did know.
We are instructed by Jesus to love others, and by Paul to pray for the Church. The persecuted Church worldwide is the American Church’s example of righteous behavior when persecuted— something American Christians have only recently had to face, and only in legal issues, not issues that put our lives at stake.
When a Christian stands up for the Lord despite persecution, it has a huge spiritual impact. People [who] participate in or witness persecution are very much affected by what they have done or seen.
When the Church prays to give honor to Christ and glorify Him, the influence that Christian’s sacrificial behavior has is always the very best thing any one of us can do.
Faith-Empowered Action: B.J.
Christians living in the US haven’t suffered like they do in some of the other countries. The media doesn’t cover how Christians suffer. Most churches are clueless about the persecuted Church.
We were so blessed to be born in the US that it has become a curse; we have gotten spoiled and lazy.
The persecuted are God’s children who stand for the truth and are willing to pay for it with their lives. It gives me strength, courage and a stronger faith!
A Call to Pray: Chris S.
Persecution is an uncomfortable subject. As a whole, the Church in the West and other developed nations is not a praying Church. It is often a Church that equates blessing with perceived peace, things, sustenance, and overall comfort.
Those of the Body of Christ [who] are experiencing persecution intimately know the sustaining power of God through His son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit and the necessity to not go a day without regular communion with Him.
As a whole, we don’t have that zeal in the Western Church. I think it is sometimes overwhelming to think about for many, and [most] legitimately don’t know what to do, [or] how to help, or learn from our persecuted brothers and sisters. If a [person doesn’t] have a desire to know the living God through prayer and studying His written Word, there is no way that they can relate to or understand the depth of verses like Colossians 1:24 in relation to our persecuted brothers and sisters.
The persecuted as a whole are not waiting for someone to come rescue them, but [rather] that someone is willing to dedicate themselves alongside them in prayer, fasting, encouragement, and believing that the Lord will use their situation to reach those that may be considered unreachable.
The persecuted hurt, experience pain, suffer, fear, sometimes doubt, but most of all, they have the unconquerable love of Jesus Christ in their hearts and the ability to see that if they put their faith in the living God, all things can be overcome. This is something that the ones persecuted teach us every day and we need to study that lesson.
Praises Through the Persecution: Sherri
We in the US treat Christ as a political figurehead instead of God. One political party waves the flag and the Bible; the other vaguely talks about “faith” and “thoughts and prayers,” and neither [reveres] the Lord in its platform. Both speak of rights to do as their supporters please, but neither speaks out against our country’s internal moral wickedness, all while our churches are dying.
In contrast, the Church is growing in countries where believers are materially poor and persecuted, and where Christ is praised and honored as holy—as God. Both the persecuted and myself are the Body of Christ.
I cannot choose to be ignorant of their daily lives, even the areas that are frightening or brutal. I must remain aware of their daily realities.
When I complain about my hurt feelings and refuse to sing, then read about a woman who sings praises to God long after a church bombing leaves her permanently scarred, I’m ashamed of myself and humbled. I want to sing again. This young woman’s testimony teaches me gratitude, and the reality of the power and presence of God.
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