Read: Hebrews 10:19-39
Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. Hebrews 10:32-35
In today’s passage, Paul is encouraging the recipients of his letter to stay the course in the face of persecution. In our focus verses he reminds them of persecution they endured when they first came to Christ and it seems that the more recent threats of persecution had the church members so scared that some of them stopped meeting with other believers.
This text reminds me of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are now in the midst of terrible persecution – suffering the very things Paul speaks of and worse. Christians in the Middle East are suffering in ways we can’t bear to even think of. Members of ISIS are beheading Christians, burning our brothers and sisters alive, slaughtering children. Thousands upon thousands of Christians (and others who refuse to live under ISIS rule) have been forced from their homes and businesses and are living in horrible conditions in overcrowded refugee camps. Families torn apart, children orphaned – hope seems impossible.
But our brothers and sisters in Christ are standing firm in their faith – holding unswervingly to the hope that is theirs (and ours) in Christ. Will you continue to join me in upholding the persecuted Church in prayer? God hears our prayers and I’m convinced He acts in response to them. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, say’s the Lord.”
Almighty God, you hold the universe and all that’s in it in the palm of your hand. You alone are God. I pray that your Spirit would move in power across the Middle East, that the persecutors would have a Damascus Road experience and fall on their knees in repentance before you. I pray for your people who are suffering, that your Spirit would fill them to overflowing with the confidence of your love and the rich reward that awaits them. I pray that you save those who are being led to slave markets, and those who are being led to slaughter. Bring the power of your salvation, Lord – may your Kingdom come to the Middle East. In Jesus’ powerful name, amen.