"Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words." Saint Francis of Assisi

Friday, February 24, 2012


How often have you read about something or someone who really needed your prayers and you just go right on with your day and do nothing spiritually about it?

I do that far more often than I'd like to admit.

This morning I was reading an article about a brother in Iran. His name is Youcef Nadarkhani. He's a pastor and he's been sentenced to die.

His crime? He accepted Christ and turned his back on Islam.

He has been given the chance to convert back to Islam to save his life. He has refused. He has been given the chance to say Muhammad is a prophet to save his life. He has refused.

Our brother Youcef is a 34 year old husband and father of two young boys. Here is his family.

I prayed for Youcef this morning. I asked God to give Youcef His peace and joy today. I prayed for Youcef to be freed but I asked for God's will to be done and for God's kingdom to grow in Iran through whatever happens with Youcef and his family. What a testimony to his family and to Christians around the world.

He is not backing down. He is claiming Christ and holding to him, not to this temporary life.

We tend to believe that our lives wouldn't be full and complete unless we live until we are 90. We tend to think of how horrible it would be to be killed at such a young age. To not see our kids grow up. To not grow old with our spouse. Where do we get that promise in the Bible?

What we do see is God asking us to sell out to Him. What we do read is God telling us that heaven is so much better than anything here. Better than our good marriage, happy homes, great job, great ministry, whatever. Better than all that.

But do we really believe it?

As I prayed for Youcef this morning I found myself praying for myself.

That I would be bold today in my faith. That I would, literally, die because of my love for Jesus. That my unwavering love could even win over the very people who are wanting to kill me. That I wouldn't buckle under any pressure, even the threat of death. That I would never recant.

"But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God."  Acts 20:24

Being killed for Jesus still goes on today, and our brother Youcef may never see his wife and boys again.

Because he loves Jesus more. He loves Jesus more than his own life, his wife and his kids.

Youcef is your example today.

1 comment:

Brian Walton said...

Dear God,

I pray that you watch over Youcef and his family, and that he'll be able to be reunited with his family. I pray that Youcef will have a tremendous effect on the people of Iran by his unwavering faith to You. Please help us all to have the same boldness and courage as Youcef.

In Jesus name, Amen.