Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Make a JOYFUL noise!

Acts 16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the
prisoners were listening to them,

We in the modern western world have little idea of what an ancient European prison was like. I don't mean to be gross or too graphic but in order to get to the heart of the matter I must describe what I've learned.

Ancient Roman prisons were under ground, no sunlight, no fresh air ever. They reeked of urine and vomit and death. Prisoners received only one meal a day and that one meal usually consisted of moldy bread and dirty water. The prisoners were forced to sit and sleep in their own excrement day after day, causing open festering sores. Spiders and rats bit and crawled over them in the darkness while lice chewed at their bodies. The prisoners were usually beaten and bloodied even before being thrown into this dank, dark, unholy place and it never took long before their minds were lost to insanity.

Paul and Silas were in such a place, beaten and bruised, but far from broken. Jesus was there, in that terrible place with them, in their hearts, protecting their minds from the evil that resided there.

In the middle of the night Paul and Silas began to sing and pray and worship their risen Lord, even as they were being persecuted for speaking about that same Lord. In the depths of the most miserable place on earth, Paul and Silas found JOY!

Please, please read the story that inspired this post. A modern day story that is happening right now on the other side of the world from where I sit right now. The story of Imram Gafur who is in prison right now for loving his Lord.

What gives American Christians the right to complain about anything when somewhere in the world a brother or sister in Christ is being brutalized for simply believing in Jesus- a right that we often take for granted. It's easy to get complacent about our faith when we face no real opposition to it. Jesus encourages us to face persecution for our faith with joy because persecution for his name's sake means we're doing something with our faith, we're being a city on a hill, a light in the darkness.

Don't hide your lamp under a basket, put it on the lampstand so that all might see the truth of God's word and find salvation in Jesus!

And please, if the Lord so moves you, send our brother in Pakistan a letter of encouragement and please remember to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.

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