Standing Firm

Read Romans 1: 8-17

"So revere Jehovah and serve him in sincerity and truth. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Worship the Lord alone. But if you are unwilling to obey the Lord, then decide today whom you will obey. Will it be the gods of your ancestors beyond the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites here in this land? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:4-15 (TLB)

Mariya Lohinova was raised in a Christian family in Ukraine. Unfortunately her family and other Christians suffered under Soviet rule. As Christian children, they were persecuted in school. They studied hard but always received lower grades than others. When students began to be recruited for an atheist youth organization, eight of them from Christian families refused to join. As a result they were locked in a classroom for several hours. a teacher yelled at them and ordered them to sign applications, but they did not bend.

After graduation, Mariya wanted to attend university and passed the entrance exams twice. Because of her faith, her name was deleted from the admissions list both times. Despite their persecution, the examples of their parents and grandparents gave them the courage to stand firm in their faith, and they never ceased to pray for their children.

Years later when things had changed in their country, her sister and Mariya were walking in town and met the teacher who had humiliated them the most. They were astonished when the teacher said, "Please forgive me, if you can! I always admired your strong faith but was too afraid to take your side." Mariya understood then that their lives had given witness to God's mercy and protection. God's power made us strong and enables us to face out trials.

May our lives give witness to our faith in Jesus Christ no matter the circumstances.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for never forsaking your children, even in the most difficult situations, in Jesus' name. amen.

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