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Christians being killed in Iraq because of their faith.

The same is happening in Nigeria.

The culprits are hoodlums masquerading as religious zealots ostensibly on a mission to purify their regions of any theology-based threat to their radical, ultra-conservative Islamic belief.

It’s perhaps happening elsewhere and we just haven’t yet heard about it.

Persecution on a non-fatal level is far more widespread, however. Churches are being destroyed or prevented from building.

Congregations are being forced into hiding in order to continue meeting.

Christians are losing jobs because of anti-Christian peer pressure brought against employers or company managers.

Christians are being alienated at work because of ethical principles that won’t go along with the unethical behavior of colleagues.

You and I are likely not encountering anywhere near the degree of religious persecution being faced by believers in some other nations. We should pray for them. And we should learn from them.

If Satan has his way, however, oppressive persecution found in other nations toward Christians will eventually take up residence here.

Until that day comes, let’s do three things.

First, let’s promise in advance that we’ll never compromise on our faith, no matter the pressure we face.

If teens and smaller kids can stay loyal to the Lord when a rifle is pointed at their heads, then we certainly can, too.

Second, let’s look for every opportunity to pray for Christians facing such pressure. God is stronger than Satan and prayers of other believers helps to provide a “covering” of God’s Holy Spirit strength and wisdom for those engaged in spiritual warfare.

Third, let’s look for every opportunity to tell others about the displays of determined faith being exhibited by our overseas spiritual siblings. Even non-Christians will be impressed by the character and determination of people whose love for God and love for people is so strong that they’d give up their lives rather than give up their faith.

The Apostle Paul experienced persecution on a recurring pattern. Why? Because of his overt faith.

He saw that it was growing against other believers, yet Paul wanted them to remain strong in faith because of the great reward in heaven.

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.” (Romans 8:19)

I can’t help but to think of the excellent example of Stephen when he was being killed — with Paul’s pre-conversion approval — rather than cave into the religious leaders’ coercion to renounce Christ.

No matter how often or how difficult the hassles attributable to our faith becomes, let’s always profess faith in Christ and encourage others to embrace Him as well.

That way, we’ll arrive in glory no matter how tough the storm of persecution, whether we’re the subject of breakroom gossip or we’re in the crosshairs of a fanatic’s rifle.

As always, I love you

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