Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Persecuted Christians winning the battle against their haters

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Jesus said it, so that settles it. Indeed, the Bible predicts that Christians will be persecuted for their faith. Since the time of Christ, followers of Jesus have been killed or threatened with death by anti-Christian extremist groups. And that has not changed. Recent efforts by Islamic extremists, ISIS, Boko Haram and others, to eradicate Christians from places like Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Nigeria will fail like all the attempts before them. 

There are about 50 countries on Open Doors USA's World Watch List  that actively persecute Christians. Sadly, the United States government, once a staunch defender of religious freedom around the world, now sits silently by and does little to help stem the tide of religious persecution against Christians. Some suggest that this country's inaction may be fanning the flames of religious persecution abroad.

Whatever the reason, the result is that Christians are suffering and dying for their faith. Even so, Christians believe that in the end, they will win. Bible prophesy is on their side. All Christians should find strength and courage in this at a time in history when things are likely to get worse before they get better. Jesus forewarned his followers:
They’ll arrest you, hunt you down, and drag you to court and jail. It will go from bad to worse, dog-eat-dog, everyone at your throat because you carry my name. You’ll end up on the witness stand, called to testify. Make up your mind right now not to worry about it. I’ll give you the words and wisdom that will reduce all your accusers to stammers and stutters.
You’ll even be turned in by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. Some of you will be killed. There’s no telling who will hate you because of me. Even so, every detail of your body and soul—even the hairs of your head!—is in my care; nothing of you will be lost. Staying with it—that’s what is required. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry; you’ll be saved.  Luke 21:12-19 MSG
Look around, it's happening right now. And although the scenes played out in the media are gruesome and sad to see, Christians should take courage from the greater good your sacrifice will eventually bring about. Meanwhile, every Christian should protest and continue to pray for those persecuted Christians, as well as, for those who are persecuting them. After all, this is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions ---the fact that we are commanded to love our enemies. Good Christians pray for those who persecute them, just as Jesus did for those who crucified him.

Peaceful protests and prayer vigils have been staged by Christian groups in many countries around the world, including Canada, United States, Great Britain, Italy and Australia to name a few. While Christians are not silent on the issue, some Church leaders have been.
Many Christians know the stories about the early Christian martyrs being thrown to the lions in the Roman Coliseum, but today over 100,000 Christians are murdered every year for their faith, and pulpits are strangely silent. This silence, stemming from lack of awareness, or fear of criticism and reprisal, is the very intimidation that the enemies of Christ seek to impose. God has not given His Church a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 
In a letter sent to some 300 Catholic and Protestant church leaders, U.S. Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) wrote:
Every day around the world, men and women of faith are imprisoned, beaten, detained, tortured and even killed. . . . Have we in the West ceased to be salt and light? . . . Has our comfort led to complacency?  Can the church in the West be galvanized to act?
And act we must. Christians in the U.S. and other industrialized nations must not only wield their spiritual power, but also their economic power to  put pressure directly or indirectly on those governments that persecute Christians. A well publicized and coordinated boycott by Christians can make a difference. When Christians stop buying goods produced in countries that persecute Christians, the economies of these countries will suffer. Either way, persecuted Christians have nothing to fear. In the end, we win. 
I consider that what we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

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