Today we live in a world that no longer believes in truth, but believes truth is pragmatic, or what one chooses to believe. In such a world stands Pastor Saeed Abedini. He is imprisoned in Iran for no crime, but for being a Christian. All he has to do to win his freedom is recant his belief in Jesus. If he recants he can go home to his wife Maghmeh and their two sons. Yet for two years he has stood for truth; Jesus is the Christ.
The world says, “It does not matter, just say the words and go home.” Pastor Saeed knows that it does matter, for there is too much at stake for him to lie. What is at stake you ask? The faith of his wife and children, the faith of the thirty men in the prison he has led to Christ, the faith of those praying for him, and the future Iran; a nation that lives in darkness.
Pastor Saeed does not have to recant to win his freedom for Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
Pray for Pastor Saeed Abedini,
It’s early Saturday morning and I’m heading down to a men’s Bible-study at a coffee shop off Happy Valley Rd. One thing about having life in abundance, the city of Anthem’s tag line, is there are a lot of coffee shops to choose from. Two years ago I noted that we had four Starbuck’s within a five mile radius of my house. Today we have five; apparently we really like cappuccinos.
One of the biggest hindrances to our spiritual walk is living a life surrounded by abundance, for our mindset becomes one of looking for only big things to do. Against this mindset we read Jesus act of drudgery; stripping to his waist he took a towel, a basin, some water, and washed the feet of fishermen (John 13). Jesus said, “I give you an example” (Cf. 13:15).
The question becomes: In our life of abundance can we use a towel as Jesus did? Can we use the ordinary things of the mundane, things like a towel, sandals, and washing to reveal Christ to others? If we take our example from Jesus then the answer is yes! Then no task is beneath us, or too insignificant for us to do.
Jesus said, “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25). Interesting contrasts: Love life and lose it; hate life and keep it.
The verse contains truths that are hard to perceive unless one understands how the word hate is being used. Jesus’ point is not that we are to hate our life, but instead our love for God is so much greater then the love of our own life, that the love for our own life looks like hate.
Here is a biblical truth: To have life one must surrender their life to God. God in return gives one a worthy life. The question arises within us, “Can I trust God with my life in this way? David, who was not a novice to trusting God, said, “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken” (Ps 55:22).
Let go and trust Him,
We all cringed at the news of an Islamic madman killing a journalist last week. The murder claimed to be killing in the name of Allah. Interesting how what he said compares to what God teaches in the book of Proverbs, “All who hate Me [God] love death” (8:36).
These murders, plural for there have been countless others, point out that the god of Islam offers neither grace nor mercy. Because Allah has neither, the Islamist must kill, spill blood, and plunge the knife. Their barbarity is all to prove they love their god enough. Here is where Islam falls short: Since their god has neither grace nor mercy, then the Islamist can never hope to receiver grace or mercy themselves.
Thomas Aquinas said, “The soul in grace is so seductive that it surpasses the beauty of all created things.” Today in the Middle-East, from Turkey to Morocco and beyond, there is a great amount of turmoil, and it is all because of Islam. Should the Christian be terrorized? No! Should the Christian see opportunity? Yes!
Grace and Mercy,