The house is silent in sleep. The world outside still dark. It is the beginning of a fresh, new week. It’s a peaceful and beautiful time of the year where I live. We are in the lush green of late summer. In just a few weeks families will be preparing to send the children back to school. The economy is making a slow come-back. For the most part our lives are stable and prosperous. Things have been a little thin lately but we still have enough extra for our cable and internet and the electronic gadgets that bring them to us. We still have enough extra to get away and enjoy some time “Up-North” in the summer. Not so in much of the world.
In the east it is daytime and I wonder what news we will hear from Israel and from Iraq. Israel and Gaza are at war and Iraq is torn apart by a group of Muslim extremists that make Al-Qaeda seem moderate. They are practicing unspeakable brutality against any religious group but their own.
This morning I’m thinking about the fact that I have known nothing but freedom without fear all my life. I can study and read freely. I can speak and write freely. I can apply myself freely to any work or legal enterprise that I desire. Lois and I were free to have eight children. We were free to teach them at home. Most of all, we have the freedom to worship God publicly with others of like faith. Never once in all my life have I feared for my life or safety because I assembled with other believers to worship God.
That’s not the way it is in many parts of the world today. Every day the news reports another atrocity against Christians somewhere in the world. Here in America we are preoccupied with worship styles and preferences as if church was a religious smorgasbord offering a little something for everyone’s personal taste.
Will there come a time we will regret not taking advantage of the freedoms we have enjoyed all our lives? Will there be a time in America that Christians will repent in tears for their pettiness and for the self-centered consumer attitude we have had concerning church?
While our brothers and sisters in other lands lay down their lives for Christ, let’s gather in groups and faithfully pray for them and while we can. Let’s take advantage of the freedoms we enjoy while we can. Let’s put aside personal preferences and prepare to suffer for Biblical convictions.
There are those who threaten to raise the flag of Allah over the White House. They would love to destroy our churches and snuff out our faith. Professing Christians in America gossip more then we pray. Most of us are playing when we should be praying. If religious persecution comes to a “theatre near you soon,” as many in other parts of the world are warning us, we will live to regret the games we play that we call church.
Let’s not be feasting and playing when we should be fasting and praying.
August 11, 2014