Duane Boyett: Queen Creek Campus Pastor: A lot can happen in 5 Minutes. For example in 5 minutes over 1,200 babies will be born, there will be 1,800 lightening strikes and over 250,000 barrels of oil will be used. Nearly 600 people will get married, UPS will deliver over 56,000 packages and over 1.2 million photo’s will be uploaded to Facebook. As I mentioned before, a lot can happen in 5 minutes. Earlier today I came across an article that stated that 200 million Christians are currently facing persecution and that every 5 minutes a Christian is martyred for their faith. As I read that article I found myself staring at that those words unable to move forward. I mean, I have known for years that there was persecution of Christians happening all over the world. I’ve seen it on the news; I’ve read about it, I heard stories from people who were persecuted for their faith. Why was this different? The article went on to say that more Christians have been killed for their faith in the 21st and 20th century then in the previous 19 combined.
Over the next hour I re-read the article and thought about the implications of what it was saying. In that time frame 12 of my brothers and sisters in Christ were martyred. That means that over the next 24 hours, 288 more will die and by the time you read this blog (which is 7 days from the time I’m writing) over 2000 more will die. It’s extremely hard to comprehend this as an American living in a fairly “persecution free” country. So what do I do? What can I do? What will matter? As I thought about those questions I came upon a verse in Hebrews that helps with an answer:
Hebrews 13:3 says:
Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourself were suffering.
The writer is reminding us to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters. Many in the early church had been arrested, tortured and killed. (Much like what is happening today.) I had to ask myself how often I pray for those people suffering for their faith? My answer was very honesty “not often!” That has to change for myself and likely for many of us reading this blog. Another way is to become more aware of the problem. Two organizations who are letting the world know about the problem are: Christian Freedom International https://www.christianfreedom.org/ And Voice of the Martyrs: http://www.persecution.com/ Both organizations provide free newsletters to help create awareness.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this Blog post a lot can happen in 5 minutes, I am encouraging all of us to commit 5 minutes a day over the next 30 days to remember and pray for our brothers and sisters who truly are suffering for the cause of Christ.