For My Name's Sake

April 24, 2015
by Parise Arakelian

Matthew 24:9 – Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. (NKJV)

Today marks the one-hundredth anniversary of the Armenian genocide, an event that occurred during the Ottoman Empire. It was on this date, April 24th, 1915, that several thousand Armenian intellectuals in Turkey were rounded up, arrested, and later executed. Generally, the massacres are said to have extended into 1917 with a reprise between 1920 and 1923, resulting in the death of over one million Armenians. Systematically, they were murdered for their refusal to deny Christ and convert to the Islamic religion. Those who gave their lives highly valued the eternal life that Jesus died to give them, and they truly believed His words:

Matthew 10:33 – But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. (NASB)

One individual who experienced the genocide in a close and graphic way was my father — the lone survivor of his family. Afterward, he came to the United States alongside other survivors from his church and community. Years later, he became a minister of the gospel and shared the miraculous story of his escape with many listeners coast to coast in the United States. He wanted people to appreciate the value of freedom and the right to worship God without danger of persecution.

Unfortunately, if my dad were alive today, he would be deeply troubled by the escalating violence taking place against believers in many parts of the globe, and he would personally identify with their suffering. Though the time, place, and circumstances are different, nevertheless, the atrocities are very much the same.

It is reported that Christians are the most persecuted group in the contemporary world; over 100,000 are brutally killed every year. And according to the World Evangelical Alliance, over 200 million are denied fundamental human rights solely because of their faith. Of the 100-200 million Christians under assault, the majority are persecuted in Muslim-dominated nations.

Scripture warns us that anyone who follows Jesus will face adversity in some form or another:

2 Timothy 3:12 – Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (NASB)

When the early church underwent immense suffering, the leaders underlined the need for patience, endurance, and determination:

Romans 12:12 – Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (NIV)

1 Corinthians 16:13 – Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. (NIV 2011)

Living in a world that is becoming increasingly hostile to Christianity, I realize that what happened to the Armenian people can happen to anyone. What would our reaction be if we were forced to face the same challenge? Now is a good time to consider the past and what we can learn from the examples of those who have already suffered for His name's sake. However, it is important to remember that they did not endure persecution by their own strength. Therefore, let us be grounded in God's Word and hope forever in His promises.

John 16:33b – In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (NIV)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your promise that You will stand by us in our hour of persecution. Help us to remember the examples of the Christians who have gone on before. Remind us to pray for those who are suffering for You even now. May we be encouraged by the knowledge that You will always stand by us if and when we are called to suffer because of our faith in You. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Parise Arakelian <parisesings@roadrunner.com>
Arcadia, California, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen!


    Wonderful story Parise.


    That’s a big amen sister!
    Blessings.


    Parise, this is beautiful. The best ever. Your Dad would be proud of you. Can we get this on Facebook? We need the world to see.


    Dear Parise,
    I really enjoy your devotional “For My Name’s Sake”.
    Thank you.


    Amen Parise, very timely especially in regards to what is happening to Christians in regions where ISIS is present.
    Blessings.


    Thank you for sharing your father’s story Parise. Perhaps no lesson is better learned than that which we are taught when “walking beside or in another’s shoes”.


    I thought about those university students in Kenya recently where gunmen asked ,”Are you Muslim or Christian?” Then shot the Christian kids…terrible and so courageous of those believers.


    Parise,
    Thanks for sharing your story and putting it all in content with God as our HOPE!
    (CA)


    Parise,
    Remarkably stated. A great lesson to be learned in light of today’s suffering and persecution.
    This has all happened because the world has first hated Him (John 15:18).
    Praise God for your father’s testimony.
    God bless you for bringing this to the forefront.


    Dear Parise,
    Thank you for writing this special tribute to the Armenian people; it is a day for all believers to remember. Having read your dad’s story, I appreciate this devotional very much as I have been so inspired by his extraordinary courage and faith. Thank you also for using this opportunity to raise awareness for the plight of the persecuted church today. You have touched on an extremely important subject. May we never forget the testimonies of our brothers and sisters in Christ while we stand with those who continue to suffer for His Name’s sake.


    Good Morning Parise:
    Thank you for your insightful warning. Yes, there IS much evil in the world today! It has been said: “If we ignore History, we are damned to repeat it!” How true! We ignored Hitler, and look what happened! We ignored Stalin, and look what happened! We CANNOT ignore those who call Allah “God” and who will kill anyone who does not! If we ask Jehovah what to do, then do not do it, we will be the authors of our own misfortunes, even to the point of death.
    Let us PRAISE God, and ask for His guidance. Then follow it! Amen.


    Dear Parise
    Thank you for sharing this part of your life.
    I pray for Christians around this troubled world, realizing that such atrocities can happen anywhere that we are, given the right ingredients of people with a misguided faith, and allegiances to anything other than the one true God.
    Today, I ask God to protect His people. Hold them close to Himself, and also to convict the persecutors of their murderous, plunders and inhumanities against innocent people.
    Blessings to you, Parise.


    Good-morning:
    I’m grateful for your meditation. It is our duty to remind our contemporaries that the suffering continues and even if it is a thoughtful meditation, we must do what we can to honour their memory and to pray for such events to come to an end.
    I don’t know how it works for you but, along with the strengths, many of the folks who are descended from those who were brutalized have been burdened with the survivor’s sorrows. I also pray for them as it takes generations to heal such great pain.
    Thank you for your timely meditation.
    Peace to you in your time of remembering,
    (Ontario, Canada)


    My Dear Parise,
    I am so happy to receive this devotional today.
    You must have lost so many relatives to you, of course, never not to know. Your father was saved to bring you into this world and to serve the Lord too. There is a “young” Mother in our church that has a daughter in her 20’s and became a single Mom early on. Quite a few years later she made a decision to become a Mother to babies overseas who had no chance to ever have a family, and had physical needs.
    Every morning in my prayer, I ask the Lord to make me a blessing to someone this day. I never know if it will be in person, on the internet, or in a way that I would have no idea. The Lord bless you in many special and surprising ways and have a blessed Sunday.


    Thank you Parise for reminding us of the sacrifice of the Armenian people and many believers today. May we be as strong if we are faced with the same decision.


    Hi, a very nice devotional. I can recall your father describing those days, and his miraculous escape!
    Thanks for sharing, I passed this to one of my good friends.


    Hi Parise
    A deeply moving story. I did not know the Armenian background to this story, despite the fact that I arranged for Armenian families from Kosovo to come to Canada in 1998.


    Parise, no matter how often this atrocity comes before us and the rest of the world, many still fail to heed the warning. Thank you for sharing this with us again. May our Lord deliver persecuted Christians no matter where they are. Blessings.


    Dear Parise,
    How great of you to write this message of fear and the power of the Lord.
    Let us pray daily that the overcoming of faith in Jesus Christ, of Christians, will be known world-wide. And let us pray that Muslims will see the power of Jesus Christ to save all who call on him in faith and truth –and call upon Him. Too, may the surpassing wholesome behavior of Christians result in miracles Muslims cannot deny.
    I thank God your father lived and witnessed.
    Keep writing.

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