Thursday, April 21, 2016

I am N book review


I just finished reading a book that all Americans – especially Christians – should read.    Say the title out loud – I am N. -- and you’ll understand why I had to explain the title every time I told someone what I was reading.  It's a tongue twister but worth you time.   
N in the title is the Arabic symbol for Nazarene, which represents all Christians to the radical Islamic terrorists.  If the Muslims paint the symbol for Nazarene on your home, it means that you are marked to be killed, raped, and/or taken as a slave.  Some have the option to leave before they are killed.  Others don’t have that opportunity.   
I am N is an accumulation of nearly fifty stories of Christians who are being tortured, raped, kidnapped and killed by Muslims in Muslim countries around the world.  This is a book of present day Christian martyrs.
I am N gives the details of the tribulations these Christian people have endured. It reads like a news report that presents the who, what, where, why, and how that American newspapers and the electronic media are not reporting.  The story of each martyr provides a name, location and description of the situation he had to undergo because of his faith in Jesus.  Most were given the option to deny their faith before they were killed or otherwise persecuted, but each stayed faithful to Christ like the heroes of the faith in Scripture.  The names of some survivors were changed so they would not again be targeted for their faith. 
It took me nearly a month to read this book because it was very difficult for me to absorb more than 2 or 3 mini stories in an evening.   I stopped and reflected extensively after  each report.  My prayer life became stronger each day as I began to dialogue with God about atrocities endured by His people. Each story, though detailing a different circumstance, offered a similar scenario -- a Muslim converting to Christianity or identifying with Christ in some way, but then the parents, family, and/or community  turning against him simply because Christians, who refuse to  revere Muhammad, are despised in Muslim countries. 
I kept thinking of the insistence of our political leaders and the media that Islam is a religion of peace.  Consistent persecution of Christians for no reason does not reflect a friendly, conciliatory religion.  Although many of the stories illustrated the brutality of Islam terrorists, the majority of the abusers and killers were everyday Muslims who lived in Muslim controlled territory. The book clearly demonstrates that locations where Muslims are in the majority or near majority, they believe it is their right and responsibility to kill or persecute Christians simply because Christianity is an affront to Islam. 
One story describes how a group of men invaded the home of a Christian and sliced him to death in front of his family because he had the audacity to share the Gospel in the town center.  In a couple of stories young believers were locked in their home and beaten by their parents because they “brought shame” to the family by their identification with Christ.  Others tell of Christians who were unable to find a place to live or work and the struggles they endured because of their faith in Christ.
One of the most violent killings happened in a little Nigerian village. The local Muslim ethnic group had been getting more and more radical and violent until one day they rushed into the village with guns and started shooting people who had identified as Christians.  The surviving Christians hid in the largest building in the village, but the Muslim group simply burned down the building and shot anyone who came out.  The next day at the mass funeral, the gunmen attacked again shooting the mourners who were Christians.  Although the local pastor lost his whole family he quoted Job.  “Job lost everything but he did not turn his back on God. His story has helped me, not only to deal with the situation, but even to remain who I am.”  Please continue to pray for Pastor John who continues to serve God in that village. 
Fortunately, this book chose not to describe the violence in detail, but I am N is a poignant reminder that we are living in the Last Days.  These stories were a real eye opener for me as to the hatred Christians experience daily in many countries of our world today.  We may hear a twenty-second TV news report that whole villages were wiped out by angry Muslims and forget that it happened to real people YESTERDAY by the time the weather report is given.  I am N reminds us that our Christian brothers and sisters are being tortured and killed for their faith today, tomorrow and every day.        
I am not sharing this to get you politically charged against Muslims, it is just a fact that it's only Muslims who indiscriminately kill Christians.  But this problem is really a spiritual issue that can only be won on our knees before our God.  We must pray for and reach out to these martyrs as best we can.  This book is written by the “Voice of the Martyrs” mission agency that helps persecuted Christians around the world.  You may wish to support them directly, or maybe you just want to encourage your church to get involved in foreign missions in Muslim countries. We are so fortunate to live in a country that is relatively safe and secure that we should take this opportunity to help the poor and needy as well as the persecuted people of the world. 
Christ and the New Testament writers warned us, “In the last days people will hate you because you are Christians.” The detailed accounts contained in this book suggest that this is only the beginning of worldwide torture and persecution.   There was nothing special about these martyrs.  They were just like you and me.  Most had a family, a home,  a job – and none were looking to be killed and persecuted.
I urge you to read this book, then share it with a friend who needs to understand that there is a war against Christians around the world.  As Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego declared to King Nebuchadnezzar, “Our God is able to rescue us, but even if He doesn’t, we will never bow down to your god.”  How about you?
The title of this book is a constant reminder that our Christian brothers and sisters around the world are being killed daily for their faith.  Do you care?  If it were a crime to be a Christian in your community, would there be enough evidence to convict you?  The furnace is built, and they are assuredly starting the fire.  What will you say when they come for you?
You can buy I Am N where you buy new Christian books or on Amazon at this link: http://tinyurl.com/jpr4gr7.

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