Many question the Apostle Paul’s comments regarding celibacy but today’s devotional explains why he made them and sets an example for us that should challenge us to examine ourselves. Ask, “What would I have done? How does the way I am living indicate what the answer should be?” God bless you.
Because of Calvary,
I Corinthians 7:25-33 (ESV)
The Unmarried and the Widowed
25 Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away. 32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife,
Revelation 2:10 (ESV)
10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
“Persecution was impending. There were signs of a coming storm. The man, who kept himself free from the entanglement of earthly ties, would save himself from many a bitter conflict: he would not have to face the terrible alternative — the most terrible to sensitive minds — between duty to God and affection to wife and children. He was altogether more free to do and to suffer for Christ. A man who is a hero in himself becomes a coward when he thinks of his widowed wife and his orphaned children.” [J. B. Lightfoot, Notes on The Epistles of St. Paul from Unpublished Commentaries, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1895), p. 231]
Four Iraqi Christian Kids Beheaded After Refusing to Convert to Islam, Telling ISIS Militants ‘No, We Love Jesus’
Four Iraqi Christian children, who were all beheaded by the Islamic State, refused to betray Jesus and graciously died in his name when the ISIS militants gave them one last chance to say the Islamic words of conversion, the Rev. Canon Andrew White revealed in a recent interview.
In an interview last week with the Christian Broadcast Network published on the Orthodox Christian Network, White, who is the only Anglican vicar in Iraq and is know as “The Vicar of Baghdad,” detailed the plight of Christians in Iraq and recounted two instances when Islamic State’s forceful conversions directly pulled the strings of his heart.
Speaking on ISIS’ brutal mistreatment of religious minorities, White recounted the recent incident when ISIS militants beheaded four kids, all of whom were under the age of 15, when the kids refused to say that they would follow the Prophet Muhammad and told the ISIS fighters that they will always “love” and “follow” Jesus.
“ISIS turned up and they said to the children, ‘you say the words that you will follow Muhammad.’ The Children, all under 15, four of them, they said, ‘no, we love Yasua [Jesus]. We have always loved Yasua. We have always followed Yasua. Yasua has always been with us.'” White said. “[The Militants] said, ‘say the words!’ [The Children] said, ‘no, we can’t do that.’ They chopped all their heads off.”
“How do you respond to that?” White asked. “You just cry. They are my children. That is what we have been going through. That is what we are going through.”
White spoke of another instance, which happened a few days prior to the children’s beheading, where a male Christian adult was forced to say the Islamic words of conversion, or else all of his children were going to be beheaded. With his children’s lives at stake, the man could not afford to be bold and caved in saying said the words of conversion.
White said that later that day, the man called him to ask if Jesus still loved him even though he had said the Islamic words of conversion.
“[Militants] say to one man, an adult, ‘you say the words of conversion or we will kill all of your children.’ He was desperate. He said the words,” White said. “Then he phoned me and said ‘[Father], I said the words, does that mean Yasua doesn’t love me anymore? I have always loved Yasua. I said those words because I couldn’t see my children be killed.’ I said, ‘Jesus still loves you. He will always love you.'”
White, who is now staying in Israel after fleeing from Baghdad after receiving personal death threats from the Islamic State, said that it is “impossible” for Christians to live in Iraq because of the Islamic State’s brutal mistreatment of religious minorities.
“They have threatened to kill me. They are after me. They wanted that Abuna [Father] from England,” White said. “So the Archbishop of Canterbury said ‘you’ve got to leave now.'”
White further notes that over 250,000 Christians have now fled from the caliphate and are living as refugees in the Kurdish North.
ISIS mistreatment of children and religious minorities goes well beyond just the forced Islamic conversions. White noted that many children, not just the four he previously mentioned, are being either beheaded and their bodies cut in half.
In addition, Yazidi refugees interviewed by the Daily Mail say that ISIS not only systematically kills Yazidi and Christian men and women, they have also brutally cut the throats of babies. One 13-year-old Yazidi from one particular Yazidi village claims that the militants killed over 100 kids from his village.
ISIS militants are also kidnapping and selling off baby girls as sex slaves. A recent pricing guide released by Islamic State leadership reveals that Christian and Yazidi girls aged 1 to 9 years old are being sold as sex slaves for just $172.
Although ISIS recruits kids and other young adults to join the caliphate by advertising a false sense of Islamic Purpose, the ISIS leadership are also said to brutally treat their rank-and-file fighters.
Testimony from one 15-year-old former ISIS fighter says that ISIS leaders drugged fighters to make them more likely to commit a suicide bomb attack in battle. Additionally, a United Nations report states that ISIS militants are using kids as human shields in battle and also force them to donate blood to wounded ISIS fighters.
[Samuel Smith, The Christian Post, December 2, 2014]