Could you “Count it all joy”?

For those who follow the news, it comes as no new revelation that ISIS is still at it. As recently as yesterday, this group has beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians for standing firm in their faith. ISIS sent a video with the title, “A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross.” This is a war cry against all Christians. We must join with our brothers and sisters around the world and pray for them, minister to them as best we can, and never forget that we have many brothers and sisters around the world who are being martyred for their faith.

ISIS & Egyptian Christians1

1 Peter 3:14 says,

“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.'”

The Egyptian Christians, and all the Christians who are being threatened, frightened, beaten, and killed by ISIS can take courage as Peter writes this verse. This verse is something I haven’t had to make my own through experience of being threatened for my faith, but there are many who have been threatened, whether by a bully at school, a political enemy, an organization that one works for, or a militant group who hates Christians, etc. The threats are real, the fear is real, but the hope of Jesus Christ is even more real.

We can be free from fear when we remember that our Savior was threatened, captured, beaten, imprisoned, spit on, laughed at, mocked, tortured, crucified, and killed so that we could experience new life through faith in Jesus Christ and a relationship with our Heavenly Father.

When you are threatened, take courage to know that He who is in us is greater than He who is in the world. They may be able to take your earthly life or harm your physical body, but our spiritual lives are caught up with Christ in heaven and we have nothing to fear in eternity. Take courage! ISIS may be a real threat, but Jesus Christ is a real, living, unending hope and joy.

Count it all joyDear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:2-4, NLT)

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