Joy and Sorrow Mixed

Saturday I experienced joy and sorrow back to back.

As I reviewed my email correspondence overnight Friday, I read two emails back to back.

The first had to do with a news article giving details of the execution of dozens of Ethiopian Christians in Libya. Ethiopia is one of the first countries where the Gospel was taken and preached. Acts 8 tells the thrilling story of the Ethiopian eunuch, saved as the Holy Spirit miraculously sent Philip to the chariot the Ethiopian was driving.

The Ethiopian was reading the prophecy of Isaiah (Isaiah 52:13-53:12), specifically the great poem about the Suffering Servant. The Ethiopian asked Philip who the prophet spoke of, was it about himself or another? At that point, Philip answered him by preaching unto him Jesus.

The Ethiopian received Christ and Philip baptized him. There has been a large number of Christians in Ethiopians ever since.

I grieve for our brothers in the middle east and in Muslim controlled areas. Their tribulation is like that which Jesus described in Matthew 24.

Let us pray for those brothers and sisters who are experiencing great tribulation.

The next email concerned Christians in Nepal. At the same time I read the email, we received word of a massive earthquake in Nepal. The first reports indicated 905 people killed.

The email itself spoke of the growth of Christianity in Nepal. In this country of 35 million people, there were 50,000 Christians in 1985. By 2000, the church had grown to 400,000 believers. Now, the estimate is 500,000 Christians.

We can credit faithful believers in Nepal who are praying and witnessing. What a great occasion for joy.

The church in Nepal has grown because of evangelism initiatives, prayer, and a willingness to suffer for Jesus.

I couldn’t get over the mixture of joy and sorrow. Truly, we grieve for those who grieve and rejoice with those who rejoice.

I thank God for the parties going on in heaven (Luke 15:7) over the number of sinners around the world who are coming to faith in Christ.

Let us pray for the believers around the world but especially let us pray for God to bless those churches under pressure. Let us pray for Christ to be known and preached to all the world.

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