Enduring Witnessing

"We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;" - 1 Corinthians 4:12

In the early 1990's, Bishop Haik Hovsepian-Mehr was an Armenian pastor in Tehran, Iran. He was an evangelical who openly shared his faith and spoke out for religious freedom. He did not believe in succumbing to government pressure and chose instead to "tell the world" about the plight of Iranian Christians. He said: "If we go to jail or die for our faith, we want the whole Christian world to know what is happening to their brothers and sisters."

In December 1993, Bishop Haik was the chairman of Iran's Protestant Council and he courageously sent out an open letter to Western media publicizing fellow pastor Mehdi Dibaj's imprisonment. Then on January 19, 1994, Bishop Haik disappeared from the streets of Tehran. The authorities reported his death to his family on January 30. But his and other Iranian Christian martyrs deaths have not been in vain. Michael G. Maudlin, author of "Have You Seen Jesus Lately?", reports that: "In 1977 there were only 2,700 evangelicals in Iran out of a population of 45 million. Of these only 300 were former Muslims. Today, there are close to 55 thousand believers, of whom 27 thousand are from Muslim backgrounds."

Throughout the world today, there are millions of Christians enduring persecution. Today in prayer, remember the Christians in Iran and pray for an end to their persecution and that they may prove faithful to the end.

"Christ kept himself from suffering till his hour had come, but when it did come he met it as a free man, seized it, and mastered it. We are not Christ, but if we want to be Christians, we must have some share in Christ's large-heartedness by acting with responsibility and in freedom when the hour of danger comes." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's Word: "Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also." - John 15:20

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2003, Devotional E-Mail DEVOTIONS IN 1 CORINTHIANS pkennedy@devotional.com

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