A man we’ll call Taher lived in Iran where it is dangerous to be a Christian.
His house was ransacked. He was taken from his wife and two daughters. He spent time in jail, interrogated at night between midnight and 4am. He was told to write down the names of other Christians. He didn’t.
Eventually he was released from prison on bail on the condition that he stop talking about Jesus. He went home but continued to be open about his faith. The situation became too dangerous and their family fled to Turkey.
Thinking back to his time in prison, Taher said: “The time that I had with Jesus in prison was the real freedom for me.”*
One of the ways that Taher spent his time behind bars was write secret messages of encouragement on his cell walls, hoping that future prisoners would see them.
One of our family’s favourite verses is 1 Thessalonians 5:11. Paul wrote: “encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Even in prison, Taher was aware that he was truly free in Christ. That joy spilled forward into the hearts of future prisoners who he knew would need a word of encouragement.
If you need consistent encouragement so do others. And there is no time or place too far gone to get it done.
Take a lead from Paul, Taher and countless others: Encourage one another and build each other up.
–The Up Devotional is published 5 days a week (Monday-Friday) and returns on May 18, 2021.
–*As reported by Open Doors in their monthly newsletter, May 2021.
–My most recent podcast is about FASTING. It is called “Fasting: powerful, passed-over, and counter-cultural.” Look for ‘The Pulse Podcast with Matthew Ruttan’ wherever you subscribe to podcasts (iTunes (Apple), Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or TuneIn) or simply click here.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.