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Monday, November 19, 2012

Remember Brothers in Bonds

Remember them that are in bonds,
as bound with them;
and them which suffer adversity,
as being yourselves also in the body.
(Hebrews 13:3)

Remember them that are in bonds . . . . Pray! Pray for believers who are in prisons, kidnapped, enslaved, abandoned, persecuted, mistreated, suffering—because they are unashamedly Christians. When Hebrews was written, this was a common problem. The Roman government wasn’t too keen on Christianity. Nero blamed the Christians for the fire in Rome and tortured all those he could find to death. He made their deaths a spectacle sport. Hebrews was probably written the year Nero died.

Remember them . . . as bound with them. How would we pray if we were right next to the Christian tied to the stake? How would we pray, chained, in prison? How would we pray if we were trudging through the jungle, prodded on by our captors? How would we pray if tortured for Christ? How would we pray under interrogation? This is how we need to pray for our Christian brothers in bonds for Christ’s sake.

I’m not exaggerating. Today, perhaps every bit as often as in Roman times, Christians are being persecuted. Some are imprisoned just for teaching Sunday school to children. Some, because they attend an unapproved church. Pastors are kidnapped. Some endure tortures. Orphanage workers are expelled. People who try to help others, in the name of Christ, face danger. Churches and believers’ houses are destroyed. In some places, even to profess Christ means a death sentence. Today—2012—Christians need our prayers, as if we were right there beside them.

And them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. Have you ever stubbed your toe so badly that your stomach hurt? One part of the body hurts when another part hurts. This is an illustration of what happens in the Body of Christ when one brother suffers. Others suffer with him. Each person is connected to the others.

We’re to pray for those who have a hard time. Do you know anyone who’s in need of work, or ill, or hungry? Because they hurt, we need to pray . . . and, if we can help them in a practical way, we need to do that, too. (Proverbs 3:28)

It’s important to be aware of the needs of Christians all over the world who suffer persecution and captivity. When we know about them, we can pray. And, our prayers can make all the difference.

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them.

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