Standing Strong Through the Storm - Sunday, November 3, 2013

STEADFAST TO THE END

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10

Christians in northern Nigeria have suffered severely from physical attacks resulting in destruction of Christian churches, houses and shops. Hundreds of believers have been badly injured, many macheted to death, some burnt alive and even more shot dead.

Despite all that has happened in northern Nigeria, the Body of Christ is not discouraged, declaring instead they are willing to continue carrying the cross. One Christian articulated their commitment: “We will be steadfast to the end.”

Another leader declared, “They destroyed our church buildings, houses and business centers, but the good Lord is comforting us. The Christians are growing in strength and total submission to God. Our challenge now is how to rebuild our churches and continue with the fellowship to encourage each other.”

The affected families of pastors and church members have gone through unimaginable hardship after all they laboured for, all their lives, was destroyed within minutes. Many families were left unattended while some were able to move to refugee camps. Others are living under trees with their children, gazing at their destroyed houses and life belongings, shedding tears and calling for help in this desperate situation.

A lady who was crying inconsolably told Open Doors, “I have nowhere to go. All I have laboured for is gone, I cannot afford to feed my children, and life is difficult. I almost gave up, but I will continue to wait on God to come to my rescue.”

“It is difficult to fathom the scale of destruction, but we have accepted it in good faith,” said one pastor’s wife who had lost her home. “It is nothing short of the fulfilment of the Gospel. We love these Muslims even though they hate us. They are not our enemies. We are only against the person behind their actions. We so much pray that they change their ways and accept Christ, so that we will rejoice together when we get to heaven.”

The believers in the affected areas are now confronted with the challenge of how to rebuild their churches and lives, while facing the call of sharing love and total forgiveness.

A pastor who lost his church building commented, “We are always ready to pay the price for our faith. This added strength to our faith, no going back. We are going to encourage our people to see this from God’s perspective. We want the world to know that what has happened in northern Nigeria…is even beyond politics. It is purely religious, and we need your prayers.

“Christ was rejected here on earth to the point that they crucified him on the cross for our sins; therefore, no amount of sacrifice for Christ would be too much. All we can do now is pray for the aggressors, because they do not know what they are doing. We will be steadfast to the end.”

RESPONSE: Today I will receive God’s restorative help in being strong, firm and steadfast.

PRAYER: Pray for brothers and sisters in northern Nigeria facing constant challenges to their faith.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

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