To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.- I Peter 2:21
Living by faith and not by dreams transforms the persecuted church daily. Suffering like Jesus ignites the walk of the believers across the Middle East and North Africa.
These suffering believers leap for joy at the victory of Jesus on the cross. Victory over sin, triumph over evil, the death of death itself, and the grave! All of it tossed into the Lake of Fire in the end.
For now, persecuted believers recite Jesus’ final teaching in the upper room discourse. He reiterated his command that they love each other as He had loved them and lay down His life for them—the highest form of love. Little did they understand that prediction. Fulfilment came the next day.
Jesus contrasts that love of the brethren with the reaction of hatred from the world: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first…for they do not know the one who sent me” (John 15: 18-21). A little further down in the discourse, He says, “…in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God” (John 16:2b).
Easter in North Korea, Nigeria, or fifty other nations, “faith-empowers” the followers of Jesus.
For these believers, Easter is not about fancy clothes, chocolate eggs and a delicious meal at Grandmother's after church service. Life’s circumstances demand faith in persecuting nations.
Fun may enter in, and it is welcome when it does, but the brutal burden upon these believers supercharges their faith. May our brothers and sisters in Christ all have a wonderful anointed Easter this year.
Kim Wenzel is a local Open Doors USA ministry representative who speaks in churches and groups about praying for the persecuted church. For more information, persons interested may contact Wenzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918-919-1490. Hear more about the persecuted church at 6 p.m., every Saturday on KWXC 88.9 FM Christian talk radio.