In a nutshell carla YES. I am still relatively young in my faith and for a while didnt have full trust in God. Over the past year my faith has been strengthened so much and mailnly because through the good and most certainly through the bad God has never left my side, even when i've thought he wasnt there or even listening, He was and is, always. I have full trust in God, He comes first and foremost no matter how difficult I find it. I would die for my faith in a heartbeat, like deborah said in her post, God is good all the time, and He is.
thanks Carla for posting this question. It has helped me to think about, and discuss this very important subject in these times. Just reading everybody's replies has strengthened my faith. So a great BIG Thank you to all of you. I now know in my spirit that grace and strength will be given when needed...and not before.
Then [Jesus] said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:23-26, NIV).
I believe it is harder to die to oneself every day; Jesus' description of a true follower in contrast to those merely professing to be His followers.
If we are crucifying our ungodly passions and desires daily and living for Jesus each day, we will have doubt how we will react when it comes time to give up these these physical bodies. It will be unquestioning, joyful and automatic.
Most of us have no idea of persecution...what it is really like.
For the past two days my husband and I watched a two-part report on ‘The Church in Iraq’, on 100 Huntley Street. In the report Terry Law, Director of World Compassion was interviewed, as well as an Iraqi gentleman named Farouq. Terry’s ministry emplasizes reaching nations that are hostile to the Gospel. His mission is very dangerous because he is bringing in Bibles.
In watching this program I was inspired to share with you some things I heard, which we will not hear on the ‘NEWS’.
Before the war broke out there were five evangelical churches there, now there are 25. The largest church has 1,000 members. That may not seem like many by western standards, but is unheard of in Islam. Many think Christianity is a Western Religion, but it was birthed in Israel.
Iraqi’s are exposed to persecution such as: death threats, suicide bombers, kidnappings, beatings, young girls being forced to marry Muslim men, forced to give the children Muslim names, women are forced to wear the head-covering, and Christians are taxed for being Christian. Many are choosing to flee… 1.6 million still living in Iraq, and 1.6 million have fled to nearby Syria & Jordan. Some choose to stay because they love their country.
In Kurdistan, Northern Iraq as one pastor arrived, there were 43 persons waiting to be baptized. Since baptism is a public event, they risk persecution and death. Before they are baptized they promise to live a holy life, to give their life to Jesus Christ. They are willing to die for their faith. This is made clear even before being baptized.
The images we see on the news give the impression that nothing good happens in Iraq, but God is appearing and speaking to Muslims Sovereignly. Something is happening on God’s calendar. HE is about to do something, so better get ready.