This afternoon, people will get home from work and the July 4th weekend will begin. As a nation, we will celebrate our independence and our liberties. In church on Sunday, there will be patriotic songs, prayers for our military and thanksgiving for freedom to worship.
Meanwhile, in other parts of the world, our brothers and sisters in Christ will have gathered in secret to worship where they have no freedom and liberty to do so. In the coming days, it is likely that a faithful believer will have been arrested, beaten, tortured and perhaps, killed. As we give thanks for our freedom to worship, others are giving their lives to worship. A few days ago, I read about the beheading of a believer in Afghanistan. The article is disturbing. If you want to read it, click here. John Piper recommended that we read about such things in this brief article. He wrote that we should read about it, “….Because we can’t get into the reality of most of the Bible without some real emotional connection with terror. Every book of the New Testament has terror in it, something like a beheading. The situation in the first century, when these books were written, was more like Afghanistan than America.”
As I connected this with the coming holiday, these thoughts came to my mind.
1. We thank God for the freedom to worship. How many people in our churches would worship if that freedom did not exists? I think we should examine ourselves to see if we are willing to pay the ultimate price to follow Christ.
2. As we celebrate our freedom, we need to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. I hope many churches will take time to do this during worship services this weekend.
3. We should remember that the most important fronts of war are not the military ones but the spiritual ones.