Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Review: I Am N

I am N: Inspiring Stories of Christians Facing Islamic Extremists. Voice of the Martyrs. 2016. David C. Cook. 304 pages. [Source: Review Copy]

I found I Am N to be a compelling read that I could easily recommend to all Jesus followers. The book shares first-hand experiences--stories--of being a Jesus follower (a Christian, "N") in predominantly Muslim countries. (Think Middle East, Africa, Asia).

Lest you think the goal of the book was to strike fear or terror into American readers about Muslims, you should know that the overall tone of the book is one of hope, love, joy, peace--not fear, not worry, not regret. Time and time and time again, Christians who have been persecuted have chosen to FORGIVE, pray for, in some cases even witness to those that have attacked/abused/persecuted them. Even in cases where someone was killed, the response has generally been one of forgiveness. Surviving members of the family saying we forgive those that did this, we forgive them, we are praying that God will forgive them, we are praying that they will be saved, we know they need Jesus, we were once like they are.

Most of the stories are of Muslims converting to Christianity and becoming Jesus followers. They 'convert' knowing that it could very well cost them everything: relationships with parents, relationships with siblings, relationships with a spouse and in-laws, relationships with their children, their jobs, their homes or apartments, their money and property, their freedom, their very lives. There are accounts of people being beaten, tortured, imprisoned, shot and left for dead, killed. And sometimes the abusers are family members or former neighbors.

Yet through these circumstances, the stories reveal the joy of being a Jesus follower. How they REJOICE to share in the sufferings of their Savior, how God is with them through everything, the comfort they get from feeling his presence. They passionately, zealously love the Lord. And they love Muslims. Just as Paul zealously desired to see all Jews come to faith in Christ, these believers long to share the good news with other Muslims. They know the risks, that the risks are HUGE. But they believe that heaven and hell are real, and, that they could never stand by and do nothing with so many lost souls in need of saving.

Perhaps that is what will be so striking to American readers--to see the great contrast between those willing to live and die for Christ and those that profess the faith and live how they want and blend completely into the culture.

The book is divided into sections: "Sacrifice," "Courage," "Joy," "Perseverance," "Forgiveness," and "Faithfulness." Between each section, readers are introduced to a handful of martyrs throughout history. The book concludes with a commitment prayer. The prayer is inspiring to say the least. And it follows the various sections of the book: sacrifice, courage, joy, perseverance, forgiveness, and faithfulness.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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