"Forty leagues it stretched from the Fox Downs to the Brandywine Bridge, and fifty from the western moors to the marshes in the south. The hobbits named it the Shire, as the region of the authority of their Thain, and a district of well-ordered business; and there in that pleasant corner of the world they plied their well-ordered business of living, and they heeded less and less the world outside where dark things moved, until they came to think that peace and plenty were the rule in Middle-earth and the right of all sensible folk. They forgot or ignored what little they had ever known of the Guardians, and of the labours of those that made possible the long peace of the Shire. They were, in fact, sheltered, but had ceased to remember it."
As Americans, it can sometimes be easy to forget the whole rest of the world, the poverty, abuse, and unrest that is endured daily by others. As Christians in a comfortable place, it can be easy to forget the persecuted church in other countries. We are concerned with our "rights" when there are others who can concern themselves with nothing but surviving another day. There is no crime in being "sheltered"; we should thank God for our peace. But we must not cease to remember those who are not living in peace, who do not have a bite of bread to feed their children, who are "persecuted for righteousness' sake", and even those whose very souls are in turmoil.
The following is the latest story by Voice of the Martyrs:
"On April 30, 2009, 18 house church Christians and leaders were arrested by Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers, while they were gathered for communion at a house church in Xinye city, Henan province, according to China Aid Association.
The Christians were taken to the PSB office in Xinye city and each forced to pay a 1000 Yuan (about US$150) fine.Currently 16 Christians are still being held by the PSB, including 10 preachers from Hubei province."
To learn more about the persecuted church around the world and how to pray for them, visit
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ' For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.' Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Romans 8:35-37