34 year old Pastor Youcef, a husband and father of two, will be executed in Iran today because he refuses to renounce Christ.
"Youcef is under the death sentence for apostasy. The Supreme Court upheld the death sentence as it is based upon fatwas of the Supreme Leader. On September 25-28 hearings were held by the Gilan provincial court to determine if he was a Muslim. On the 26th they determined that Youcef was a Muslim because his parents were when he was born. All witnesses stated that he did not practice Islam, yet the court inexplicably determined he was a national apostate. At each hearing he was commanded to recant and each time he refused. Two hearings were held after the verbal determination was made by the judges. There is a serious concern that he could be executed at any time because according to Sharia Law you are to be given three days to recant if you are an apostate. He was commanded to recant three straight days after the judges made their determination. The attorney’s for pastor Youcef are stating that, by law, the written verdict must be delivered within seven days. " Full story here presenttruthmn.com*Apostasy means abandoning your religious faith, in this case leaving Islam for Christianity
|Youcef and Family|
Wouldn't it have been easier for him to recant, get freed, jet out of the country and go back to Christianity when he's in safe harbor?
It'd be easier for me because, i mean, well... i wouldn't mean it from my heart when i recant right? It was just something i had to say to get them to get off me. To get me accepted and back in the grind of life. I really don't want to die just yet. I've got two sons and you know.... It'd be much easier to just give in than go through this. But that's not the life we as Christians are called to. It's never been about that. It's about holding on blindly to our faith even when there's every reason not to, even in the midst of trials. Even if it's just pretend, for a few hours, for a few days while we pray secretly and make the world around us believe otherwise.
God's will and grace is the end result even if this execution is carried out with all the outcry from around the world, It will still be his will that has been done.
I know for sure that this is doing far more good than harm. It's awakening people to their faith, it's making others curious about this faith, and asking questions like i am 'how strong is my faith?' and working towards strengthening this faith... it's doing something bigger than we can ever imagine.
If only this people trying him knew what they were doing, helping spread the gospel of Christ by this act, I'm sure they'd never have taken this fanaticism of theirs this far. Because, who would want to die to preserve a lie... an uncertain thing? Even fools are wise enough not to die for a lie. And if his willing to die to preserve this truth he believes in, then maybe some unbelievers somewhere would want to check it out and see what's in it worth dying for.
I guess i could speak of everything wrong here, from how his wife was arrested to the threat of his kids been taken away and given to a muslim family all in the bid to get him squirming away from the Christ, who he sees as his way, his truth and his life....
Will this play out like a modern day scene of Daniel, thrown in the lions den for standing for the God of his fathers? or the three Hebrew boys Shadrack, Meshach, and Abed-nego thrown in fire for refusing to bow to any other god?... in both cases they survived and brought glory to God, or will it be more like the disciples that were martyred? another Matthew crucified, another Steven stoned to death, another Peter crucified upside down on a cross in Persia which just happens to be present day Iran... or another one of the many who will be put to test in the coming years.
It's much more easier to be accepted in the world around as an atheist, a drunk, a pimp, an addict than to be a Christian holding on to the standards of old.
Someone commented on one of the news blogs "At the current rate, this could as well be Britain 20 years from now...."
Like Paul says... "For None of us lives for ourselves alone. If we live. we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord" Romans 14:7-8(niv)
I pray we all receive the Grace to stand when we have to, and hold on firmly to our faith when we come to the crossroad of denying it either to get a job, a spouse, friends, a loan or to preserve our life.