Walking Outside the Noose

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It was inevitable I suppose. A recent article in Christianity Today (http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/january/bolivia-makes-evangelism-crime.html) reported that the government of Bolivia has fortified its penal code with provisions to persecute any person or group that, “…recruits, transports, deprives of freedom, or hosts people with the aim of recruiting them to take part in armed conflicts or religious or worship organizations will be penalized 5 to 12 years of imprisonment.” President Evo Morales, an admirer of the late Hugo Chavez, former president of Venezuela, has beaten the Venezuelan government to the punch by this latest endeavour to still any voices in opposition to the abuses and oppression of the regime. Interesting that, “armed conflicts” and “religious or worship” would be mentioned in the same statement as if they were related in some way.

Just a couple of weeks ago a friend traveled to Bolivia to do some ministry in an orphanage in that country. She took several copies of DiseƱo Divino para la Vida Diaria, my devotional book, with her as gifts for the workers. I wonder what this latest move by the government will mean for them, and for her, should she plan another trip to that beleaguered nation.

We look across the ocean for places where it is difficult, if not impossible, to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ freely. We miss those places closer to home—like Bolivia—where the noose is being tightened. Perhaps we need to look even closer, even on our own doorstep.

If I didn’t believe in a sovereign God, I might be tempted to move from natural concern to untrusting worry. But I was reminded again this morning that, “He [God] is a shield for all who take refuge in him.” (2 Samuel 22:31).

The Bolivian law is, as the article states, vague and poorly written. Who knows what it actually means or how it will be played out. But, in any case, the first part of the verse from Samuel is equally true: “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless.

Believers everywhere must walk in the perfect way of the God they profess, and believe that when He says He is a shield to those who abide in Him despite the circumstances, He tells no lies.

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