In the United States, persecution is something we know very little about. The option to shy away from being overtly overtaken by Mr. Love Himself (aka Jesus) seems more prominent in an effort to “relate” and “be relevant” to the world around us. Love is how you relate. Compassion is the key to being relevant. In other words, being relevant is not skin deep. The Holy Spirit is known for being a show off. He wants to make a scene at the expense of the expectations the world puts on your shoulders. I remember my first date with Keeli. We went to a movie and then strolled through the Asheville Mall. I saw some teenagers passing by. One was in a wheelchair. I stopped to speak to them and asked what had happened. The boy had hurt his leg in a skateboarding accident. I asked if we could pray for him. He agreed so I took a knee beside him and prayed for total and complete healing to manifest in his leg. When I was finished, I asked him if he felt anything different. Immediately, his friends began laughing at my question. I stood to my feet and told them that this isn’t a joke. I began telling them what we had seen healed by the power of God. I haven’t been stoned, I haven’t been beaten, and I haven’t been shot at. I’ve taken on the simplest form of “persecution”… the lightweight, powder puff kind that many believers in America think is true hardship. Those kids weren’t laughing in insult when I was through. The world wants to know that you’re serious about what you believe. Of course, even in your firmness, you can still overflow with the joy of God.
So let’s face it… If we consider this as persecution, we truly need a new perspective. Each morning at my office, we have devotions. Pastor Saeed Abedini was sentenced to prison for 8 years in Iran because of his faith in Jesus Christ. He has been beaten, tortured, and is in the hands of radicals who want him dead. The only thing keeping him alive is the fact that he is in the media spotlight. His wife, Naghmeh, shared their testimony. They have been arrested multiple times, threatened, and promised death in prison by the authorities in Iran. I could retell their amazing testimony, but I encourage you to hear it from the lips of Naghmeh. She is a woman who has asked for the nations and shares how she was given an open door to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. Join us as we pray for the release of Pastor Saeed and for his wife as she takes care of their family.