“A person all wrapped up in himself makes a very small package.”
I would encourage you click on the title above and to listen to it.
We’ve read the headlines or heard the reports.
Islamist police in Saudi Arabia have stormed a Christian prayer meeting and arrested its entire congregation, including women and children, and confiscated their bibles, it has been reported.
(Mail Online, 15 September 2014)
Suspected Islamic extremists sprayed gunfire at worshippers and torched four churches Sunday in a village just miles from the town where more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped, witnesses said.
At least 30 bodies have been recovered but more are turning up in the bushes, where people tried to escape from Kwada village, said a member of a vigilante group that has had some successes in repelling attacks.
“They killed dozens of people and burned houses after attacking worshippers,” survivor Mallam Yahi told The Associated Press by telephone from Chibok town, to which he escaped.
(Yahoo News 29 June 2014)
Like the gunmen who attacked Nairobi’s Westgate Mall last year, the Mpeketoni attackers gave life-or-death religious tests, a witness said, killing those who were not Muslim.”They came to our house at around 8 p.m. and asked us in Swahili whether we were Muslims. My husband told them we were Christians and they shot him in the head and chest,” said Anne Gathigi.
(Yahoo News 16 June 2014)
The startling gains made by jihadist fighters in Iraq are placing the region’s already extremely vulnerable Christians in even greater peril, Christian advocacy groups are warning.
While hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are affected by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s takeover of key cities including the Ninawa (Nineveh) provincial capital, Mosul, minority Christians – some of whom trace their origins to the earliest years of Christianity – are among those with the most to lose.
(CNS News 13 June 2014)
The fact is, Christians are coming under increasing attack around the world.
What can we do?
Let’s see what Jesus has to say about it.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Jesus
Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV)
The events described at the beginning of this post are horrific but they are happening in another part of the world.
What can we do?
Pray, for sure.
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
James 5:16 (NIV)
But also partner with people who are working directly with those in desperate need.
I would like to suggest a couple of organizations for your consideration …
Check these organizations out. See if one of them is an organization you can support.
Make a difference in peoples’ lives.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
“The middle of the road is a poor place to walk.
It is a poor place to drive.
It is a poor place to live.”
I love this technological age we live in.
Last week, using a little device I held in my hand, I spoke to my daughter in Portland, Oregon, to my daughter in Tacoma, Washington, to my daughter in Denver, Colorado, to my daughter in Austin, Texas, and to my daughter and son in Missoula, Montana. I think that’s incredible!
But that’s not all. Using Face Time and Skype, I’ve been able to have live video chats with my family in all of those places and even live video chats with my brother in New Zealand. That’s beyond incredible. It’s almost miraculous.
Throw in texts, tweets, emails and Facebook and I have to admit I love the communication tools we have today.
But yesterday I was at the store and I bumped into two people I had not seen in a long time — Aana and Carol. I had kept up with what was happening in their lives through Facebook and other online resources but seeing them in person was very special. To hug them, to talk to them face to face, to just be near them for a few minutes was a delight as I caught up with what has been happening in their lives.
The communication tools available to us are wonderful.
But speaking to someone face to face is so much better.
Enjoy the social media and the electronic tools at your finger tips. But I would encourage you to give special attention to the face to face interactions available to you.
It may be people you see everyday — in your family, at work, at school. It may be old friends you “happen” to bump into. It may be potential new friends who were strangers before you met them.
Enjoy the social media interactions you have but TREASURE the face to face contacts with the people in your life today.