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919. Producing Fruit for the Kingdom

What are we doing with what God has given us?

IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING

Middle East Map PAIDIran ranks as one of the most repressive regimes in the world. The Government tries to control every aspect of every Iranian’s life. It’s no wonder Iran has the highest rate of drug addiction in the world. Iranians who find Jesus face additional challenges including threats, beatings, imprisonment, and rape, yet, the amazing stories of their courage and determination should inspire believers everywhere. Once they find the real God, they will go to any length to worship Him. Underground churches will do whatever it takes for all believers to gather together in worship. Since women are doubly oppressed in Islam, those who find Jesus face twice the obstacles as men.

Fear plays a great role in Islam through the teaching that anyone who leaves the religion will never go to heaven. Despite this threat, Iranians are looking for God. Many hate the   oppression of the government and the oppression of Islam. Many are depressed. Often, the happy faces of those who are telling them about Jesus are the only truly happy faces they have ever seen. The brightly colored scarves the women wear shine in stark contrast to the usual black. They are drawn to those whose lives are clearly different. This isn’t accidental. Iranian believers make a concerted effort to openly display Christ’s love and joy to those around them.

I recently read an article about an Iranian believer who had shared a taxi with another Iranian woman. The believer asked a simple but profound question: “If you could see God, what would you say to Him?” The woman started crying and said, “You are an angel that God sent for me. Do you think God loves me?” They exchanged phone numbers and agreed to meet again.Muslim woman PAID

The same woman who told that account told of her visits to the mosque: “I have gone into the mosque about a dozen times. There the women must sit behind a divider and cannot see the men. We must all wear our black chador [full body shroud] in the mosque. I take gospel tracts with me, and I sit there on the rug among the women and ask God if he will show someone to me. In one mosque, they had a library where I placed a Bible.  The next time I went, they were searching all the bags of the women as we went in. On Tuesday when I go to the mosque, we give the leaders a prayer request. I print a small note about Jesus, fold it up, and hand it back to them. With the personality God has given me, I do not fear at all. Nothing is more important for me in these times.”

AS I SEE IT

courage What an inspiration to us here in America! If only we shared her courage and boldness. It’s funny how the Church grows the most when the persecution is the greatest. When life is easy for us, we get complacent and enjoy life’s blessings. That’s our first mistake. Not enjoying the blessings, but hoarding them for ourselves instead of returning them to God as we’re supposed to.

When life is all about us and our comfort, God’s kingdom fades to a distant second place. It doesn’t have to be that way. God has already given His children everything we need to do the work we’ve been called to do.

We need to stop and think about what is really important to us. Are we kidding ourselves when we rest in our assured position? Yes, we can know for sure if we’re heaven bound (See 1 John 5:13), but we don’t want to be among those to whom Jesus will say, “I never knew you” (see Matthew 7:23).pilgrims progress

A tree is known by its fruit. What fruit are you producing for the kingdom? Are you actively engaged in the work of God, or do you mostly just talk about it? How do you compare with this Iranian believer? Can you honestly say, “Nothing is more important for me in these times?” John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, preached sermons in barns when Christians were imprisoned for meeting outside the state church. Are we doing anything that displays a passion for the kingdom, no matter what?

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ON THE LIGHTER SIDE

Acupuncture is a jab well done.


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