Imagine being awakened by loudspeakers travelling through your neighborhood blaring an ultimatum to you as a Christian; convert to Islam, pay a religious tax, face death or leave. For those of us who live today in a society protected from such overt Government persecution, it is chilling to read of these very circumstances facing believers in rebel-occupied Iraq.
Tragically many of our sisters and brothers in Christ face this horrific choice; recant their faith or face death. Mosul, the capital of the Nineveh province is located about 250 miles from Bagdad and the Wall Street Journal reports this ultimatum demanded by the rebels of Christians in this city of historical Christianity. Fleeing Christians are often stripped at checkpoints of all but the clothes on their backs.
Nineveh to many bible students recalls to us the story of Jonah the reluctant prophet. This week the rebels destroyed the traditional location of the tomb of Jonah. They set explosives around the building and detonated it remotely. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/isis-militants-destroy-tomb-jonah-mosul-1458469
Believers around the globe are being challenged to stand for their faith in increasingly hostile environments. Jesus warned In John 16:3 that tribulation is part of living in a fallen world, but with the promise that He has overcome the world.
When I read of their present suffering, I am convicted of how easily I complain and become complacent and distracted by the irritations of daily living. All the while enjoying a freedom and opportunity these fellow believers cannot imagine. Am I thankful and grateful? Will I choose to pray today for their danger and their suffering? Will you join me? Lord have mercy.