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Sunday, October 18, 2015

All the Way to Timbuktu!

Steve Saint, Nate Saint, Timbuktu, persecution
When Steve Saint found himself stranded in Timbuktu,(1) a young man named Nouh agreed to take him to a local missionary to help him procure transportation. 

Nouh was a Christian convert who'd been beaten and disowned by the Islamic community. His own mother had tried to poison him. 

Reading Christian biographies had encouraged and strengthened Nouh's faith.

He told Steve, "My favorite was about five young men who willingly risked their lives to take God's Good News to Stone Age Indians in the jungles of South America ... these men let themselves be speared to death, even though they had guns!"(2)

Can you imagine Nouh's surprise when Steve explained that one of those men was his father, Nate Saint? 

But Nouh was not the only one blessed that day.

Steve had been struggling with the purpose of his father's death and this meeting gave him confidence that his father's witness was touching lives all the way to Timbuktu!

(1) Timbuktoo, often used to describe the uttermost parts of the earth, is a city in the West African nation of Mali
(2) For more details of this story that happened in 1986 and other interesting short stories from the lives of Steve and Ginny Saint, check out "Walking His Trail."   You can also read about Steve's life in his book End of the Spear. 
You might like these related 1-minute devotions:
"3 Things We Learn From Reading Christian Biographies"
"A Saint's Life" 

Bible Study

Most of you reading this are like me. The type of persecution we experience is not worth mentioning compared to the persecution of men like Nouh and Nate Saint.

It's not likely that we'll be threatened physically for our faith, but let's pray that we will willingly make whatever sacrifices God asks of us. 

The following passages reveal various aspects of persecution:

It's inevitable - genuine believers will experience persecution.
2 Timothy 3:12: Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted

It's a privilege - it glorifies God.
1 Peter 4:14-16: If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 

Steve Saint, Nate Saint, Timbuktu, persecution

We can be confident that God is with us no matter what we suffer.
Romans 8:31-35:What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We need an eternal perspective on suffering.
Matthew 10:28-33: And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, ... 

copyright, Gail Burton Purath, 2015, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All passage this week are ESV

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