(Voice of the Persecuted) What does it mean Advocate? According to Merriam-Webster : A person who argues for or supports a cause or policy; a person who works for a cause or group; one that defends or maintains a cause or proposal.
The Apostle Paul taught Advocacy, in fact this is one of the reasons he and Silas were thrown into prison. In Acts chapter 17 we see the clear advocacy of Paul and Silas, as they were accused by the Romans of “advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” They were stripped, flogged and thrown into prison.
Jesus told us to take up our cross and follow Him. But what does this mean? God called us to be followers of Christ, Jesus called us to care for those less fortunate. Paul explains that we are to remember those suffering for Christ as if we were in the body with them. This is not allegory, this is reality to be followed even unto death. “And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives even unto death.”(Revelation 12:11) And again Jesus said: “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for 10 days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. (Revelation 2:10)
Stephen was stoned because of Christ. And at the moment of His death he said “I see Jesus standing at the right hand of our Father.”
Western Christians have watered down the doctrine of Christ so much it no longer resembles the original context. I have heard it said that Christians such as those living in Africa (a people they have no relationship with)are being punished for their roots of paganism mixed in with their Christianity. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Many have left the western influence of the prosperity message and have gone back to the Word of God and live their daily lives to be pleasing to the Father. We have also heard Christians being persecuted are not true Christians, or they would be blessed instead of persecuted. This is heretical false doctrine.
Anyway you get the picture. Answering the call to fight for those persecuted, downtrodden, and less fortunate doesn’t mean you will have prestige, it doesn’t promise that this will make your living for you, it doesn’t promise to give you cushy offices, and the best of technology. It promises a long arduous battle, full of roadblocks, full of ridicule & full of sleepless nights. I recently ran across an ad for another agency who advocates for the persecuted who were advertising a position for Advocacy supervisor. It started at 40,000 a year. My immediate thought was, “My God, how many would be fed, how many could be rescued with that amount?
Every Easter as a child, my Father’s church started in January with a task for Adults and Children alike. The money raised would go to Missions. It was called “Thirty pieces of Silver.” You see, Jesus was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver so our task was to collect thirty pieces of Silver over the coming months for children. It could be nickels or whatever we could scrape together as long as it was silver. It was both educating and fun that we as children felt like we were really doing something for Jesus. We were turning his betrayal into a trail of faith and aid for others. Why don’t today’s churches take up this cause? It doesn’t have to be Easter, it can be anytime of the year. If every church in America did this, we could raise millions for the refugee camps and the persecuted across the globe. We could turn Jesus’ betrayal into a mission of hope and advocacy for those suffering in His name.
In the beginning, I didn’t fully understand my position as an advocate until I was well into this volunteer position. I never sit down to a meal that I don’t think about those who have nothing. Those who beg daily because they have no food to feed their children. No way to provide for their families. Those who are being tortured and killed for their Faith.
Many are not uneducated people, but were well off, with cars, homes, good jobs, and all the amenities of life that goes with it. They were jerked from their life, and forced to watch as one by one of their loved ones are killed and tortured. They were suddenly forced from their homes with what they could carry, fleeing to a promise of freedom.
I’ve asked God over and over, “Why have you opened my eyes to this when I felt as if I could do nothing to help? I have begged him to release me of this burden, just as Paul did, and just as Paul, I got the answer— “You are not finished yet, you are doing your job, your job is to write and educate and advocate, your job is to pray (some call it travail) for those suffering. You are NOT DONE, I will tell you when you’re done.” Paul’s answer was similar,
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
I now understand what that means. I allowed God to take my life, mold it and use it. I am in constant tune with His spirit. I am awakened at night hearing cries of those suffering, dreams of suffering and death. One night I was awakened from a dream about death with the words, “they will die in their sins”. These words were in response to those doing the killing. Until I gave my all to Christ, and submitted to His will not mine, my prayers came back empty.
If you are persecuted and reading this, know that God sees every tear you shed, feels every sorrow and suffering you are enduring. He is calling together His remnant to spring into service for your needs. If you are reading this and can’t decide what to do, let Christ guide you and join a group that advocates, or better yet start a mission in your church. Be a church planter so to speak. Plant the seeds and see what happens. The betrayal of Christ still exists today and it’s growing like weeds. Let’s turn this betrayal into a shining beacon of hope. Not only for those close by, but for the world. The world is watching Christians like never before, let’s show them the Gospel of Christ and the hope and faith instead of betrayal. Let’s show them that Christ’s sacrifice does not come back void. You say you are not a prayer warrior, I say yes you are. When you answered God’s call and became born again, you became a prayer warrior. So put on the full Armor of God and get to it. Join our prayer team, start a prayer team in your church, use the Thirty pieces of Silver or any other campaign to raise money and awareness. But God say’s “work, while it is still daylight, as the night comes when no man can work.”
By C. Refsland, VOP Advocate
Together with your generous support, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.
Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
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