Remember those [fellow believers] who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.
(Hebrews 13:3 ESV)
The persecution of Christians is not a thing of the past, it is something which Christians around the world deal with in a very real way.
According to the Toronto Star, Christianity is arguably the most persecuted religion in the world.
I think for most of us in the West, the greatest amount of persecution we can imagine for following Christ is that people won't think we're cool, or some people will have condescending or negative attitudes towards us.
I don't think most of us can imagine what it really means for some people in the world to say: 'For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain' (Philippians 1:21) - knowing that choosing Christ probably does mean losing everything, perhaps even their own life.
This week I read about a teenage girl in Somalia who was shot to death for converting from Islam to Christianity.
Even CNN, although not exactly a great defender of Christianity, is reporting on a Christian pastor in Iran who has received a death sentence for "apostasy": Click here for article
You can follow the Canadian 'Voice of the Martyrs' on Twitter here: @VOMC
CNN also posted this video about Iraqi Christians who were the targets of persecution, where 53 Christians were killed when their attackers entered their church during service:
I don't know about you - but it seems to me that the faith and life that Jesus called us to was not intended to be a hobby, one amongst many other activities that we participate in halfheartedly in our free time...