Some churches are vibrant. Some are growing. Some are truly full of the Holy Spirit and are maintained under the leadership of Christ. Even when the situation turns harsh and maintaining a Christian witness is no easy thing, these faithful ones have continued. Or maybe we should say, especially when the situation is harsh.
This fellowship of believers are all young Christians, the most mature of this group believing only a couple years, at most. Last year, local officials tried to place pressure on them to let them know these actions are a serious "offense" and need to stop. None fell away; all continued to grow.
Just recently, this fellowship has been struck again. This time, more than local officials were involved. Still, though, thinking like mere men, they struck the shepherd...or who they thought was the shepherd. Again, no sheep ran away. The obvious conslusion is that the shepherd was not struck.
This flock is not led, encouraged, and brought into unity by any man. The shepherd cannot be struck. The Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ is himself working in their hearts, speaking through his Word, and helping them grow. Even when their legitimate Bibles are confiscated, the Spirit has continued working through the Word in their hearts to help them grow.
As a testimony to the Lord's work in their hearts, we want to tell quickly of one in particular. This individual is not a believer at all, but has a hunger for the Word. When the pressure increased, even on family members, this individual stood up for the truth. And that is from an unbeliever...at least, for now.
None the less, times of trouble and pressure need constant prayer, and that is how we can help. Let us spend a few moments in praise for all the Lord has been doing in the lives of our brothers and sisters. Let us ask the Spirit to give peace and encouragement in times of trouble. Now, with little access to Bibles and an increased difficulty in meeting together, let us pray that the Lord will give them opportunities to teach and edify each other in the Word and continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.