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    Even If

    Sometimes life deals us a tremendous blow. Other times the miraculous happens.

    Three young men, captives in Babylon, stood in front of the fearsome king of that land and boldly proclaimed that under no circumstances would they worship the giant image of gold towering above them. Together they declared: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know . . . we will not . . . worship the image” (Daniel 3:16–18).

    These three…

    Even If

    Sometimes life deals us a tremendous blow. Other times the miraculous happens.

    Three young men, captives in Babylon, stood in front of the fearsome king of that land and boldly proclaimed that under no circumstances would they worship the giant image of gold towering above them. Together they declared: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know . . . we will not . . . worship the image” (Daniel 3:16–18).

    These three…

    Even If

    Sometimes life deals us a tremendous blow. Other times the miraculous happens.

    Three young men, captives in Babylon, stood in front of the fearsome king of that land and boldly proclaimed that under no circumstances would they worship the giant image of gold towering above them. Together they declared: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know . . . we will not . . . worship the image” (Daniel 3:16–18).

    These three…

    Strength in Suffering

    When eighteen-year-old Musah received Jesus as Savior, his family rejected him because their tradition was of a different faith. But the Christian community welcomed him, offering encouragement and financial resources for his education. Later, whebn his testimony was published in a magazine, his persecution intensified.

    But Musah did not stop visiting his family. He visited whenever he could and talked with his father, even though His siblings cruelly prevented him from participating in family affairs. When his father fell ill, Musah overlooked his family’s slighting and attended to him, praying his father would get well. When God healed him, the family…

    Courage to Be Faithful

    Fear is Hadassah’s constant companion. Hadassah, a young Jewish girl living in the first-century, is a fictional character in Francine Rivers’ book A Voice in the Wind. After Hadassah becomes a slave in a Roman household, she fears persecution for her faith in Christ. She knows that Christians are despised, and many are sent to their execution or thrown to the lions in the arena. Will she have the courage to stand for the truth when she is tested?

    When her worst fear becomes reality, her mistress and other Roman officials who hate Christianity confront her. She has two choices: recant her…

    Prayer and Bullies

    My husband and I were discussing an elderly person who was being bullied by a professing believer in Jesus in their Christian workplace—unaware that our 10-year-old daughter had overheard us talking. A few days later, however, when my daughter and I were walking around the track at the local fitness center, I told her that I often pray for people as I walk each lap because I find that to be a good use of time. She responded: “Why don’t we pray for that person who was being bullied and for the bully too? Jesus said to pray for our enemies.”…

    The Day I Believed in Jesus and Broke My Dad’s Heart

    “Look at what you’ve done by becoming a Christian! You’ve deserted the family tradition. Your father feels like a failure. He couldn’t keep the family together.” My mother was upset.

    The Overshadowing of God’s Personal Deliverance

    . . . I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord —Jeremiah 1:8

    God promised Jeremiah that He would deliver him personally— “. . . your life shall be as a prize to you . . .” (Jeremiah …

    Offering Refuge and Hope

    My friends Shelah and Jade Acker are the founders and directors of Refuge and Hope, a faith-based ministry serving the urban refugee community in Kampala, Uganda.

    Sacrificial Faith

    It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m sitting in the garden of our home, which is near the church where my husband is the minister. I hear wafts of praise and worship music floating through the air in the Farsi language. Our church in London hosts a vibrant Iranian congregation, and we feel humbled by their passion for Christ as they share some of their stories of persecution and tell of those, such as the senior pastor’s brother, who have been martyred for their faith. These faithful believers are following in the footsteps of the first Christian martyr, Stephen.

    Stephen, one of the…

    Persecuted but Growing

    There are few events of greater historical significance in the 20th century than China’s Cultural Revolution. The Communist Party instituted changes at every level of society to enforce its ideology. These included the persecution of the nation’s Christians, with many sent to labor camps. It’s estimated that the Cultural Revolution resulted in the death of 30 million Chinese people and forced the church underground. But decades later, it turns out that the efforts to wipe out Christianity had the opposite effect. Experts believe that there are more Christians worshiping in underground churches in China than there are total believers in…

    Dance of the Saints

    “Eyes fixed where the Son reigns. Color them great cloud of witnesses now crowned, now reigning, dancing where the Son stay. They stayed, they stood, they praised and prayed, endured for the sake of the gospel. . . . Be not afraid to light up the dance floor, and dance more.” —Ciara Jones

    He Saw Something

    It was with gut-wrenching horror that I watched the video of 21 Coptic Christians being forced to kneel on a Libyan beach before being beheaded by terrorists. Later, I learned that a relative of some of the men who were killed said that many of them cried out the name of Jesus with their dying breath—a testimony to their faith in Him. Though the terrorists had hoped for the opposite effect, they had actually strengthened the faith of the Coptic Church by proving that even imminent death couldn’t snatch away their brothers’ love for Christ!

    Voice of Reason

    Except for technological advances, the first century AD wasn’t much different than the 21st. The human condition can be depressingly consistent: injustice, exploitation, oppression, violence.

    In Jesus’ Love

    In Jesus’ Love. He closed his email message with those words. And as I read them, I realized how poignant they were. For this young man—who I had seen come to a saving faith in Jesus, who I’d baptized, whose faith was maturing—was back home for a stay in his birth country, a place not known for kindness toward believers in Jesus. He mentioned receiving “strange looks” from nationals as he prayed before his meal in a restaurant, the coolness his friend showed toward his faith, and that he was lonely. So I strived to encourage him by writing, “I’m so…