Revelation 17:14 They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings--and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers."
This morning I have been reading some troubling reports about Christians suffering in Northern Iraq. Supposedly a Catholic cathedral has been burned and razed to the ground. The Islamic terrorist organization, Isis, is reportedly telling Iraqi Christians to convert to Islam or prepare to be slaughtered. I don’t know what the whole truth is about these different reports, but the sources appear to be reliable. CNN has a report at the following link: Christians Flee Mosul.
I can’t imagine what it must be like for those Iraqi Christians to abandon everything in order to escape persecution. Christians have lived in Iraq for centuries, so this type of religious tyranny is very similar to the Europeans pogroms that regularly took place against the Jewish communities across several centuries in different nations.
What really disturbs and appalls me is that this is all being carried out in the name of God. There is no justification for this and there is no divine command calling for this. Religious man’s inhumanity to man is at the root of it all. This is a fanatical evil which besmirches both the Christian and Islamic faith of billions across the world who peacefully co-exist.
Those who go to war against the Lamb of God and His people will end up on the losing side. Those who use their religion as a means to cruelly persecute others will not find any paradise or reward awaiting them beyond death. These baneful bullies are religious renegades who are drunken with the deceit and delusion that accompanies religious fanaticism. All that they are doing is drinking a cup of wrath that one day will destroy them completely.
Pray for the fleeing Christians in Iraq and also for the brave Islamic people who will try to support and protect them as they escape. Pray against the cruelty of those who would use faith as a means of transmitting fear, and for fanatically empowering themselves. Pray for peace to prevail and common bonds of humanity to be extended between those who value human lives and compassionately co-exist with their neighbors.
Questions for personal reflection
How can I promote peace between the different faiths in my community?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, there is a lot of suffering and pain in the world and most of it is driven, perpetrated, and advanced by religious fanaticism. We pray against those who would use their faith to promote fear and inhumanity; we pray for those of any faith or even none at all, who are presently enduring hardship, persecution, cruelty, and tyranny. Lord Jesus, help us to do whatever we can to promote peace, compassion, goodwill, and co-existence in our community and throughout the world. In Your Holy Name, we earnestly pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment or ask a question about today’s message, please send him an email to Traqair@aol.com.
Today’s image is one of John’s latest religious drawings called “Mother and Child.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: Mother and Child.