A number of months ago I wrote about the courage of Meriam Ibrahim who, while she was eight months pregnant, was jailed by the Muslim government in her native country of Sudan for refusing to renounce her Christian faith and for marrying a Christian man. Although she was tortured and threatened, she would not refuse Jesus. Eventually, public outcry from around the world secured her release and freedom. Ibrahim was present over the weekend at the Faith, Family, and Freedom dinner in Washington D. C. hosted by the Family Research Council Action where she thanked all the people who were instrumental in her release and where she received the inaugural “Cost of Discipleship Award” in recognition of her tremendous courage and steadfast faith. During her speech she also acknowledged Pastor Saeed Abedini who has been in prison in Iran for the last two years because of his faith. For many of us, especially for us here in America, we read the words of Jesus from our Subject Text but they’re really just words on a page because we practice our faith in relative safety and comfort. But Pastor Abedini and his family are living those words every day. I want you to hear their story as a real life example of what our Subject Text looks like when it is lived out before our eyes:
Like Meriam Ibrahim had, Pastor Abedini has the option to secure his own release by renouncing his faith. Instead, he has determined that there is something much more important at stake than saving his own life. He has determined that God has not forgotten him and is, in fact, using him to proclaim Jesus Christ to his persecutors. Pastor Abedini and his wife have determined to remain faithful to their Christian confession. They have put their hope, their trust, and the faith in Jesus Christ who holds the key to their eternal future. They Do Not Fear Those Who Can Kill The Body. Pray for Pastor Abedini and for all our brothers and sisters around the world who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. But also pray for those around the world whose faith is yet to be tested by persecution, that they too will remain faithful and have the courage to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior and that there is no other name under heaven by which men and women can be saved (Acts 4:12).