(Washington, D.C.) — Right now, we are witnessing horrific war and bloodshed and lawlessness in the epicenter. We are seeing some of the worst persecution in the modern history of the Middle East unfold before our eyes. Radical Islamic extremists are crucifying and beheading Christians, forcing followers of Christ to convert or die, driving Christians from their homes and looting all their possessions. This is particularly true in Iraq and Syria, where genocidal conditions are emerging.
Much of the world is silent, but the Church must not be. We must stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ — pray for them, love them, stand with them, encourage them, and help them in every practical way we can. We also need to love and care for Muslims and others who are being mercilessly attacked by the Radicals. They are sheep without a shepherd, harassed and helpless.
We must urge world leaders to take decisive actions to stop the advances of the Radicals and do everything to defeat these forces of evil and wickedness and protect the innocent.
We must also give Christians in the region the opportunity to speak to the rest of the world, to tell us what they are facing and how we can help.
On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to interview by phone a dear Iraqi pastor who loves Jesus Christ and is right in the middle of the crisis. I’ve known him for years. As founder and Chairman of The Joshua Fund, I’ve had the opportunity to visit Iraq four times to encourage him and other Iraqi pastors and Christian lay leaders, hold pastors retreats, provide humanitarian relief, and so forth. Our team and I decided to do this interview to help our brother speak to you directly, so you could hear his voice and his heart and get a glimpse of the enormous dangerous and pressures he and other Christians face inside Iraq at this hour.
The interview runs about 20 minutes. I hope that you will listen to all of it, and share it with others. You can listen by clicking here.
Then please take time to pray for this humble, faithful pastor, and his family, and the flock he shepherds. Please pray, too, for the many, many families who are fleeing from the Radicals and coming to him for shelter.
The Joshua Fund is providing financial assistance right now to care for Christians fleeing from this storm of extremism. Please consider giving a generous financial gift to The Joshua Fund as our team stands with these brothers and sisters in their darkest hours.
At the same, let’s maintain a Biblical perspective on all that’s happening. Bible prophecy warns us that such terrible things are going to happen in the last days before the return of Christ. Indeed, they are signs that the return of Jesus and the establishment of His kingdom is getting closer. Therefore, as we study the Scriptures, let us not lose heart. Rather, let us be motivated to love our neighbors, and love our enemies, and care for the persecuted church in the Middle East and around the world. We may not have the power on our own to stop such evil. But we can help our brothers and sisters to stand firm in the Lord, and be to brave in sharing the Gospel and to show compassion to the helpless, and to be true lights in the darkness.
Consider the following Scriptures:
“As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:4-14)
“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” (Matthew 24:42-44)
“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46)