In recent months, I have been reminded over and over again of the need for the Church to remember those around the world who are going through tremendous pressure and persecution. I realize that we talk about how bad these things are and how our hearts go out to them, but I believe there are some tangible things that the Church can do in order to show our love, concern, and support in times like these.
First of all, prayer is one of the keys to showing our support for those who are suffering. As many of you already know, a part of our Church of God of Prophecy family has been going through tremendous persecution. The one gift that we have been given that all of us can participate in is the gift of prayer. It is God’s way of hearing from us, but it is also His way of communicating wisdom and understanding in situations like these. It is very important that we remain “wise as serpents and harmless as doves”. For this we need God’s divine help. All through history God has provided covering and deliverance for His people when they called upon Him. It is no different today.
Secondly, we can speak words of encouragement, love, and support. Even though we may not be able to communicate openly in many of these situations, we can still communicate that we are praying for those who are being persecuted. We can also appreciate the work that they are doing in these very difficult situations. Just a kind word to let them know that we are thinking of them means so very much.
Finally, we can give of our time, talents and finance. Someone recently told me that going to countries where persecution existed was not their calling, but they could support those who do. This person also pointed out that they admired those who will live and do ministry in countries where this persecution is so rampant. You may never go to an area of the world where you are threatened because of your faith or work in the ministry. You may never go where the indigenous people have to secretly have service. You may never experience having to hide because some radical group has targeted you or come to take you and beat you. However, you can give to help those who are in those situations. Many years ago I remember when we were first going into the former Soviet Union. The thought that one day the Lord might call some of us who attended that Assembly when God moved so mightily on the hearts of people to give toward those efforts. The idea was spoken that we may need to go into countries where the Gospel could not be openly preached. It was at that time that the Lord dealt with me. Little did I know that I would have the oversight or travel into some of these countries myself.
Today, we still have five of our precious people who are incarcerated and need the support of their family, their Church family. They need your prayers first of all. Your prayers are the source of power and strength to face each new challenge. Your prayer support provides some of the encouragement that is needed, not only for those incarcerated, but for their families. They need your encouragement and to know that you are thinking about them and praying for them. We have already seen 10 people released because of your prayerful support. These 10 people cannot return to their homes, but their lives were spared because of your prayers and support. For this we praise the Lord. I know that you cannot perhaps give this kind of encouragement personally, but we can pass it along to someone who can get the word to them. Finally, you can give toward their legal expenses. God wants to use you to reach out to these individuals who are suffering to take the Gospel to their part of the world. Why not hear His voice and follow His lead as He speaks to your heart.
Thank you for all you do. Those from the Asia/Australia/Oceania area are praying for you today. May you receive the richest of blessings as you hear the call of God to support those who are working under extreme conditions.