Category Archives: Refugee Hope

The U.S. welcomes approximately 75,000 refugees per year. This is an opportunity for us to reach the nations and love our neighbors at the same time.

Should We Fear ISIS Infiltrating the West through the Refugee Crisis?

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“There’s lots of people among these refugees who are ISIS sympathizing young men going thru with rampages in Italy and the Austrian border,” one friend said to me. My friend’s solution to this concern? “Let’s shut the borders in Europe or allow women and children only to enter as refugees”. My friend concluded her argument by saying, “What if ISIS infiltrates the ranks of refugees to enter the west so they can come and kill us?”

Should Europe shut down Her borders so that ISIS will not enter? Should America ban Syrian refugees from coming to the US for fear that some of them might be ISIS sympathizers?

A parallel story is found in the pages of our Bible that speaks to this modern day concern…

Saul was a Christian hater. He despised and disdained anyone who claimed to follow Christ. Each breath he took was filled with murderous threats against God’s people (Acts 9:1). When the Lord stunted Saul’s mission and stifled his vision on the road to Damascus in Syria, He offered a ray a hope that a man named Ananias would be the instrument whereby the Lord will use to restore Saul’s vision (Acts 9:11-12)

The Lord, however, encountered a snag in the story. Upon visiting Ananias in a vision and telling him to seek Saul and restore his sight back to him, Ananias responded in fear and trepidation. Ananias retorted, “Lord are you sure you want me to do this? Are you not aware that if this man had a bomb, he would strap it on his body walk in our midst to detonate it to kill us? Do you not know that if he had an airplane, he would’ve blasted it into the upper room and killed all those who believe in You? Are you sure this a good idea?” (my own translation of Acts 9:15-16)

The Lord could have responded with, “Oh, Ananias! You’re right! This a bad idea. Why don’t you, your family and all My followers hide in the nearest storm shelter until this tornado named Saul passes through!” But that is not how Jesus responded. The Lord said, “GO!” Acts (9:15).

You see, the Lord does not want us to cower to fear but to respond in faith. He said He did not give us a spirit of timidity but of power, sound mind and love (2 Tim. 1:7). He tells us that we will triumph by His blood, our testimony and not loving our lives as to shrink from death (Rev. 12:11). He calls us to an extreme and insane love that extends to loving our enemies and praying for them (Matt 5:44).

The fact of the matter is ISIS will infiltrate the west with or without the refugees. As a matter of fact, they have done so already. Have you watched the news lately? What they do is not our concern, it our government’s concern to stop them, stifle them and wage war against them. And I pray our government and our allies will be swift and victorious in that endeavor! But we can’t fear them so much that we shut all refugees out!

My pastor, JR Vassar, said in his sermon, “Fear is surrendering to people what belongs to God.” He added, “Don’t give fear more authority than God.” JR said instead of asking “what if” we should be declaring “If God.”

So in the refugee crisis, rather than ask, “WHAT IF ISIS comes to the US through the refugee crisis?” we should say, “IF GOD’s Hand is in this and wants to bring these refugees to the US so that they may know Him, He will be our Protector and Defender.” IF GOD wants people from every tribe and nation to know Him, then He will use this crisis to accomplish it. IF GOD loves people, then love should be my driving force to reach these refugees! We should not live in the WHAT IF but give our lives to IF GOD!

How Does God View the Refugee Crisis?

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Heartbreaking! Painful! Insurmountable! Dangerous! Terrorism!

These are words that come to my mind when I think of the refugee Crisis. What about you? What are the first words that come to your mind when I think of the refugee crisis?

In the thickets of trying to wrap my mind around it, I find myself teetering between looking to countries and super powers to intervene or look at them with disdain. It’s sad to acknowledge this, but oftentimes, God is my last resort to turn to in the midst of an overwhelming difficulty.

When I am able to freeze the racing images in my mind and peel back the curtains long enough, I find myself asking God these questions… “Lord, how do you want me to process all that I’m seeing, hearing and reading? Lord, how do YOU see this crisis? Lord, what are You doing in all of this??

The Lord often takes me back to the roots found in His Word. How does God view the refugee crisis? Here’s what His Word tells me…

God Loves People! All people! And His love is demonstrative towards us (John 3:16)

God desires that no one die separated from Him. He has no ill will towards anyone, not even those among the ranks of ISIS. His wish and will is for people to turn from their sin and run to His loving arms (2 Peter 3:9). He does not delight in the death of those who act wickedly. He especially doesn’t desire for people to perish in their ignorant zeal that lacks the true knowledge of Him. Those who think they are doing it all in His Name (Ezek 18:23)

God loves justice and He will execute it for the oppressed in His timing and His way (Job 8:3). Even when we may not see the chariots of fire with a host of angelic armies encamped around us, we trust God do what only He can do in His timing and His way.

God appoints the times and locations where people should live so that they may seek Him (Acts 17:27-28). He has a purpose in all of this!  In His Sovereignty, He moved Joseph out of the land of Canaan to Egypt so that Joseph can be the second in command in Egypt. He scattered the Christians across Asia Minor and Europe so that His message may go forth. When God allows a scattering of people to occur, no doubt, He’s accomplishing  His purpose for people to seek Him and find Him. He did it then and He does it now!

God works things out for His Glory (Ps 46:10). My finite mind cannot comprehend how His Majesty will be exalted among the nations, but I know He will. I don’t know how He’s working in this refugee crisis to exalt His Name and make His Name Great but I know He will do it. May He find us faithful to trust Him, to look to Him and ask the questions…

Lord, how do you view this crisis?

Lord, what is Your perspective on this refugee situation?

Lord, what is Your purpose for this situation?

As the Lord opens and expands our minds to gain biblical thinking, He may or may not answer the “why” question. You know that question…”Lord, WHY did you allow this? Lord, WHY don’t you do something?” As if God isn’t doing something since He’s not moving in ways that make sense to us!

God always opens Himself for us to ask the frustrating, puzzling, and confusing questions. He, nevertheless, moves us from wanting to know the “why” to the “what” question.

This question is…Lord, what is my part in this? We all have a part to play. God desires to use us in the purpose and plan He has in this crisis. I encourage you to ask ask God this question: “Lord, what is my part in the refugee crisis?”

Refugee Crisis In Perspective

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In the last several days, our senses and emotions have been tugged at the horrific pictures, videos and interviews of refugees. Who has not cried over Aylan’s tiny little dead body at the shore of the Aegean Sea?? And who has not been gripped by the painful pictures of refugees trying to cross to Europe?? As a result, organizations are guilting you in giving, fingers are being pointed at politicians in the ugly and brutal blame game, and the churches are accused of not being “the church” if they do not act swiftly.

This blog is not intended to accuse, blame, or guilt you in anything!!

Instead, my desire is to help you understand the crisis and how we can lock arms as a community of Believers to be most effective in reaching our world for Jesus Christ. In order for us to that, we must ask ourselves some questions…

How did this refugee crisis occur?

People have had to flee their homes because of war, danger or persecution since the first communities were formulated on this earth. This is not a crisis that occurred in the last year, people have fled their homes for thousands of years. The refugee crisis has reached an all-time high because of ISIS destroying Syria and entering into Iraq. Close to 1/3 of refugees today come from Syria and Iraq alone. However, we also have people from Afghanistan, Colombia, Somalia, Congo, Sudan, Myanmar, Central Africa, and Eritrea that are refugees.  Most of them these refugees that are internally displaced people (IDP) and some flee to neighboring countries to seek asylum.

What are the best steps to take for the benefit of the refugees?

The first step is for each refugee to be able to live in their homeland in peace. War, persecution, or danger are factors that do not allow them to do that. The United Nations has been charged with trying to promote world peace. This sometimes means fighting against rebels, factions or political parties are bent on destruction. Ideologies, religion, prejudice, politics are can all play a role in causing war. The Unites Nations can’t possibly fight against the deep rooted sin in the depraved heart.

The second step is to welcome refugees who are unable to go back to their homeland. The first countries that these refugees flee to are the neighboring countries and considered “countries of first asylum.” Countries like Turkey, Jordan, and Pakistan are populated with refugees that have fled from a neighbor country. The neighboring counties that take in the refugees are usually supported by organizations like the Red Cross, or UNHCR (The Untied Nation High Commissioner for Refugees) or smaller faith based organizations like World Relief, and Baptist Global Response.

The Third step is for refugees to register with UNHCR to receive refugee status. There are 26 countries that have agreed to resettle refugees into their own country, and the Unites States being one of them. A new trend hit twitter known as #wewelcomerefugees. This movement is intended to encourage our political leaders to welcome refugees in our country. Most people don’t know this but out of the 26 countries that resettle refugees, America welcomes the largest number of refugees. I’ve always said that America is a generous country and I’m grateful for the Her leading the way in resettling refugees. So instead of pointing fingers at our leaders, how about we thank them for their generous spirit!

The refugee crisis is ongoing so we need to, first of all, educate ourselves about refugees and we need to know how we can better serve them in the name of Christ! My next blog will be about how we can make difference.

Jesus was a refugee

Startled in the middle of the night, Joseph sat up and thought about what the angel just told him in the dream. The angel said, “Get up! Take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child and kill him.” (Matthew 2:13)

“Was this a dream or a nightmare?,” Joseph probably thought to himself as he woke his young bride, Mary. She needed to pack her belongings and flee with their boy, Jesus. Mary was struck with panic and fear. They could hear the wailing of women as children were being slaughtered across Judea. It was a horrific night for everyone, but they didn’t have time to process the situation. They needed to flee to Egypt as fast as they could. Their Son, Jesus, was about to be killed by a ruthless man if they didn’t act fast. Adrenaline propelled them to run fast. Fear drove them to run in dark areas where they could not be seen by the soldiers. Jesus and His parents were refugees!

We often read the familiar passages without considering the emotions and thoughts of biblical characters. What did Joseph think when he saw the angel in his dreams? Did he wake up with a panic attack? How did Mary feel when her husband told her that her baby boy was about to be killed by Herod? Running for your life is a very traumatic situation.

Today, we have over a million people who are refugees around the world. The Unites States welcomes close to 70,000 refugees each year. These people come to the United Stated traumatized, They have lost everything!

People often ask me who is a refugee. It is someone who has fled their country because of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion or social group membership. They come from all parts of world. They come to find refuge and begin their lives again. But is it not easy.

As believers in Christ, we need to see them from a different perspective. We need to see that God has brought them to us so we can minister to them. In the coming days, I’ll share with you how they come to the United States and how we can reach out to them. Today, I want to just share with you how Jesus was a refugee. I pray God will open our hearts to the nations next door!