So last week many people around the world celebrated Chinese New Year. I love this time of year. Living in Las Vegas, one might get desensitized to the array of extravagance on the famous “Strip” and it’s numerous casinos and attractions. This is also the main time of year where all casinos pull out the stops and unleash their Asian marketing strategies with lavish Chinese decorations, events and concerts specifically for Chinese people. And with all of this opulence, it is so easy to forget how fortunate we are if we live in a country that doesn’t persecute us based on our religious beliefs. Now, I am not Chinese, although my great grandparents on both sides are of Chinese origin, but I am a Christ follower and believe that my purpose on earth is to minister the grace, love and forgiveness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I find it hard to stomach that there are some parts of the world where the Bible is illegal. I find it very painful to accept that, even in the present day, people are being persecuted or killed because they believe in Jesus Christ. Why one human being would harm another is beyond me, and I pray for those being persecuted and I especially pray for those who are doing the persecuting. It is with this that I reflect on the following scripture passages from the Gospel of Mathew and John.
John 15:19-21 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you…. If they persecuted Me they will persecute you… for they do not know the One who sent Me.”
Matthew 5:10-12 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11″Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. 12″Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”
Letting all people know that they are loved, cherished and forgiven is the most precious gift that I can share with this world. I could not imagine being forced to remain silent about the salvation that we all receive through the intercession of Christ on the cross and His glorious resurrection.
The video above is my favorite Chinese song known as “Yue Liang Dai Biao Wo Di Xin” made famous by Teresa Teng who was also banned from performing in her native China. The title is loosely translated into “The Moon Represents My Heart” and the translation is:
You ask me how deep my love for you is,
How much I really love you…
My affection is real.
My love is real.
The moon represents my heart.
Even though it is a secular love song, I see these particular lyrics, of this section of the song, as the words of Christ and how He loves all of us more than we could ever imagine. His love was and is real and surpasses anything that we might experience on earth. His love says that we have value to God. His love says that the battle has already been won and that we can live freely, knowing that our salvation through Christ and the glory of Almighty God is ultimately victorious over sin and death.
His love is the foundation of my faith and the example that I strive to live by everyday. That being said I pray…Lord God, Abba Father, we pray for those in this world who are persecuted because they accept You, Jesus, as their Lord and Savior. Give them strength in the knowledge that they are not alone and never have been. Comfort them as they grow in relationship with You and with each other. Let the power of the Gospel and the truth that is Jesus Christ shine through every dark valley of this world and life. We also pray for those who are persecuting our Christian brothers and sisters. Let Your compassion melt away the coldness of an unfeeling heart and open the windows of their lives to reveal all that You are. We pray that it will be on earth as it is in heaven, and that the true and authentic love of our Creator will be what binds this human family together. In the name of Christ we pray all of these things. Amen.