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A SIMPLE, YET CONFRONTING CHALLENGE
January 28, 2016
Living out the gospel amidst persecution
At the end of 2015 I had the opportunity to go to the Philippines. The Philippines is a beautiful nation, and like many developing nations is trying hard to match the western world with wealth, but also leaves many of its own people behind in very poor living conditions. In addition to this there are daily threats from Muslim separatists, in particular in the south of the country.
During my time there I got to have a conversation with a woman who was about to finish her studies at the local bible college. On completion of her studies she is going back to her home town to work in her church. She started describing to me how it isn’t necessarily safe to be a Christian where she lives. Not long ago a friend of hers was checking bags, and one bag had a bomb in it that exploded. Likewise, her previous employer was planning to have her killed due to her faith. She told me these events quite plainly, and in the same breath she shared with me her passion to follow God’s call back in her hometown! She told me with great conviction that God must still have a plan for her here on earth, otherwise she would have already been dead. So whilst she is here on this earth she will do God’s work, and share the gospel with her local community.
Translate that to my comfortable situation, where I freely worship and don’t really have a sense of urgency everyday that the gospel must be shared… How does that work? Through this conversation I was really reminded of how temporary our life on this earth is, and that I am called to do all that I can to share the good news, in God’s strength and by His guidance.
I am encouraged and inspired by Paul’s words; “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Rom 1:16)
This reminds me firstly that the Gospel is God’s power at work, and I have the privilege of being His vessel. And secondly, that there is nothing to be ashamed of, on the contrary I can speak boldly of the gospel! Those two things sound quite straight forward, but often if we are honest with ourselves we don’t speak with those truths in mind.
My life may not be at gunpoint, but there are people next door and down the street who don’t know their Saviour. Who am I to not share with them the best gift there is? Perhaps you can join me this year to take more opportunities to share the good news, here in Australia or wherever you are!