The Persecuted, part 2

Blessed are those who are persecuted for doing right,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:10

©cnn.com

©cnn.com

“While American churches squabble over doctrinal debates and celebrity pastor faux pas, in many places in Africa and the Middle East, thousands of Christians have found themselves in the middle of conflicts where they are easy targets in attacks that aren’t merely idealogical—they are literally a matter of life or death.” Relevant Magazine, Jesse Carey, March 10, 2014

According to the May/June 2014 issue of Relevant Magazine, just in the Syrian conflict alone:

The Syrian People are still victims of ongoing violence, mass displacement, collapse of infrastructure and health care system

126,000+ killed in the conflict

40 percent of Syria’s pre-war population has been displaced

2 Million are refugees in neighboring countries

Syrian Children remain victims of abductions, sexual violence, combat recruitment, torture, and use as human shields

1 Million+ children are refugees

40 percent of Syrian children are not currently attending school

11,000 children have been killed in the conflict. Some were specifically targeted or used as human shields

Christian Communities are victims of targeted attacks, forced conversions, the destruction of churches

450,000+ Christians fled home

10 percent of the Syrian population are Christians

Over 60 Christian churches and monasteries have been destroyed

 If we are to follow Jesus, we are to make ourselves fully aware of what he told us. We are to read his words and obey. We can’t even rely on one Bible version to do that. If we can’t rely on one Bible version, we certainly can’t rely on one person to interpret his words for us.

©susanirenefox

©susanirenefox

Start off by reading three chapters in Matthew – chapters five, six and seven. These contain the entire Sermon on the Mount. Read them in your own Bible, then go to www.biblegateway.com and read them in a couple of different versions that reliably translate from the original Hebrew and Greek. The New American Standard Bible (NASB), New English Translation (NET) or the English Standard Version (ESV) do an excellent job of that.

If you want a version that closely paraphrases into an easier read, choose the New Living Translation (NLT) or the Easy-to-Read (ERV) version. Enter passages and choose up to five versions to read side-by-side to compare. Be sure you pick a good translation version along with a paraphrase version so you can see the meat of the verse, not simply the paraphrasing.

Read the commentary section of your Bible and the notes in the margins to understand and review reference Scripture. If your Bible doesn’t have commentary notes or reference Scripture, please do yourself a favor: get one!

 As a child, you learned how to use a dictionary, a thesaurus, an atlas. You may have even learned to use other reference books as a professional. The Bible is your reference book for life. If you don’t know how to use it, for Christ’s sake (I am not using this pejoratively), start now! I don’t know another way to say it.

What does this have to do with persecution?

As you read the Bible, you will learn that it is the story of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation. You will see Jesus, God’s will and our mission in golden threads connected throughout Scripture. Below is one of those golden threads to follow.

He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. Deuteronomy 10:18

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free,and remove the chains that bind people.Share your food with the hungry,and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them,and do not hide from relatives who need your help. Isaiah 1:17, 58:6-7

Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other. Zechariah 7:10

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food.-, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcome me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’

“And the righteous will answer him saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?

“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:31-40

LISTED ALPHABETICALLY

Compassion International www.compassion.com

Destiny Rescue http://www.destinyrescue.org/us/

International Justice Mission http://www.ijm.org/

Liberty in North Korea http://www.libertyinnorthkorea.org/

Live58 www.live58.org

Living Water International http://www.water.cc/

Open Doors USA https://www.opendoorsusa.org/

Red Window Project www.redwindow.org

UNICEF End Trafficking http://www.unicefusa.org/mission/protect/trafficking/end

Voice of the Martyrs https://www.persecution.com/

World Food Programme, http://www.wfp.org/

World Vision www.worldvision.org

 

www.marmarthunder.wordpress.com

21 comments

  1. This is wonderful. Truthful. Needed to be said, heard, and lived!

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    1. Thank you so much, Christine. I pray those reading this will seek God’s word in earnest. I also pray the men, women and children these organizations lift up see fruit from this.

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  2. If you had not named the Syrian people then I think the description could also apply to the USA. While my heart goes out to the downtrodden anywhere…it is home where I think needs helpin’. I have been to foreign third world countries where the people of that country do not realize they are “poor” ..poor by our standards anyway. It’s almost as the old slogan goes, “ignorance is bliss” ..they do not know what poor is in a country where nearly everyone is “poor.” I came away feeling depressed on my way back to my “rich” life. While I probably did not leave them with much more than the charity of being a good will ambassador, they impacted me with their humbleness and joyful existence. I began to understand what “poor” really is…and it ain’t them.

    I feel like I don’t do enough by putting money on the altar of our church that keeps the benevolent fund going, but that’s just me. It is by “hands on” that makes me feel like I have really done something. Even the smallest thing to help another is a good thing. Thank you for your devotion posts. ❤

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    1. I see your point of view, Dale. They are often richer than we are in belief in God. However, I remember years ago when I visited Egypt, I was horrified at the gap between rich and poor. It was devastating to see the those made rich from oil driving in Mercedes and the poor eating one meal a day living in cardboard homes with dirt floors – and those were the lucky ones. That was in 1998; I’m certain the gap is wider now.

      Some of those websites I listed also help those in need here in the U.S. There is also trafficking right here, too. So many needs everywhere, and we are His hands and feet. None of us do enough, really.

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      1. I am familiar with Voice of the Martyrs and have the book “Tortured for Christ”….a very touching story to say the least.

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  3. Susan, I take all of this to heart. I was raised in a family that believed in helping the downtrodden and I am still committed to this. It is hard, though, because when you spend time with people who have been so abused, it is difficult not to become totally discouraged. I used to take it home with me and didn’t (and still don’t) know how to help without becoming too emotionally overwrought. But, we have to work on it continually. My charities are children and animals — both abused systematically, right here in the US.

    Thank you again, sincerely, for your help with my Aunt. I copied your idea onto a blank sheet of paper and will be working on a letter shortly. You really saw to the core of the problem and gave me wise advice that helped me calm down and I know will be the best thing I can do in this difficult situation. You have a gift of understanding. Bless you! ❤

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    1. Thank YOU, Beth, for your willingness to step into God’s Word and obey. It’s so important that we reach toward those who are suffering right where we live.

      Bless you, my friend! ❤

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  4. Susan, this is what jumped out at me, in particular, from your powerful post–‘and do not hide from relatives who need your help’. I will keep this in my heart and mind as I age. My goal should not be to have a retirement of ease (not possible anyways) but to help our children raise their families in whatever way God asks us to do.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

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    1. That’s beautiful and wise, Wendy. Thank you for your comment.

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  5. Thanks for shining the light on this, Susan. In America, we’re so me-focused with our “selfie” culture that we don’t turn the camera lens around to see the broken world around us. And we have SO much to give, more than we know. I think of how Heidi Baker (Iris Global), a former yuppie girl from Southern California, has impacted several nations, feeding and giving over 13,000 orphans a home, teaching about the love of the Father. And that came from the heart of one person who just said, Yes! And such joy comes from giving what’s in us away. I remember hearing about depressed pastors going to the Dream Center in L.A., losing their depression within a week because their focus was on helping the helpless.

    A wonderful and much needed post. Blessings.

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    1. Oh, thank you, Mel, for pointing out just a few individual who said, “Yes!” to God. Open and obedient hearts can accomplish incredible things.

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  6. “And the righteous will answer him saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?

    “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:31-40

    This deeply touched my heart. For 20 yrs, I was lost, but 5 yrs ago i was found.
    I believe with my entire soul that Gods word is alive and powerful, and that he wants nothing more from us than a relationship with us. He then wants us to take what we learn and gain from that relationship with Him, and share it with everyone. He wants us to love God, and love man.
    Revelation is very clear about us being judged on those two things.
    Susan, your blog feeds me every time you write.
    God Bless you

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    1. Oh, your comment means so much to me! I pray that the hearts of those who read Matthew will be touched deeply by Jesus’ words. We have all been lifted by His grace; we must lift others, and there are so many ways to do that. We must follow our words with action.

      Thank you. I am lifted each time you visit.

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  7. This is very powerful and timely message Susan, you presented it as you always do, hitting to the core of Jesus’ message to the world and what REALLY matters. Matthew 25: 31-40 which you shared at the end says it all doesn’t it? Bless you my dear friend.

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    1. Thank you so much, Sherri. The heart of Jesus means so much to me. His message is important, over and above doctrine or any individual agendas. Bless you, too.

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  8. You go girl! Another great and thought provoking post. Hugs, Natalie 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Natalie! Love the boost I get from you. ❤

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  9. Susan, truly another call for us the think and help care for the less fortunate. Thanks my girl. Well done!!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Levi.

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  10. Thank you for sharing ~ I was pouring over all the information and was deeply touched by one in particular ~ Voice of the Martyrs and its founder Richard Wurmbrand. What an amazing and heartfelt story. This man’s devotion was absolute and deeply heartfelt. I viewed one of his videos and would recommend it to all ~ “Tortured for Christ” ~ (You Tube) ~ it was so full of Christ and so beautiful ! It is the very heart of the Gospel. Thank you for sharing and exhorting others. ~ Amen :Y

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    1. Bless you for your willingness to take the time to dive deeply into all this, and thank you for the additional recommendation.

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