I've been thinking about Youcef Nadarkhani , a pastor in Iran who is sentenced to death by hanging because of his Christian faith. He had three opportunities to recant his faith in Jesus and return to Islam, but he didn't do it. He is a husband and father of two boys and if he had denied his belief in the Lord he would be back with his family by now. I can't imagine how strong the temptation would be to deny Jesus. Actually that would be a bad choice to make because the Bible says that if we deny Jesus he will also deny us, which is a scary thought.
People like this man are such an incredible inspiration! I know it's the power of God in them that makes them able to stand strong and endure such persecution, but God gives us the choice of what we will do in each situation and pastor Youcef and others like him are choosing to stand strong in their faith, even to death if they should be called on to do that.
I've been following Pastor Youcef's story on Twitter and praying that he might be released unconditionally and he and his family kept safe. If you want to receive updates on this story on twitter I suggest you follow @JordanSekulow www.twitter.com/JordanSekulo you can also do a search on twitter for Youcef Nadarkhani. Another thing you can do is check out the American Centre for Law and Justice website: http://aclj.org/ which has news articles and whatever up-to-date information about pastor Youcef Nadarkhani's case that is available. they also have a petition there to sign that I would encourage all of you to sign.
I wanted to express my thoughts about this situation and poetry is the way I express them most easily. if I could talk to Pastor Youcef this is what I would say:
I am so encouraged by people like you
Who allow god to use them so mightily,
Who stand up for the truth in the face of death
And will not recant your faith.
I read your letter of encouragement
Which you wrote from prison
And it really touched my heart and made me
Think of how I would react in your situation.
You are an example of what god can do
With a heart and life that is yielded to him,
You may not even realise
The ways God is using your testimony.
God has used your case powerfully
To make people more aware
Of the difficult plight of Christian people
Who live in the Muslim world,
And to challenge us who live in the West,
Who don't experience such intense persecution
To think about our priorities
And the way we live as Christians.
So I want to say thanks to you
And tell you my friends and I
Will continue to pray for you
That God's will be done in your life.
Thank you to all who have read my scribblings, may God bless you all.