Christians in the west have had it pretty easy for a while. Mostly, we feel we are persecuted when the government tries to infringe on our constitutional guarantees of liberty. Sometimes people threaten us or malign us for our beliefs. Atheists try to shout us down. Yet, we have little persecution, compared to history. Even Russia is now friendly to Christianity... as long as you stay out of the way of the government's totalitarian leanings.
However, in the rest of the world, such as in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and the Far East, Christianity is on the run. Sort of...
* Chaldean Christians in Iraq and Syria, the Chaldean church who have been part of the faith since the first century, are fleeing their cities with nowhere to go. Because they refuse to convert to Islam.
* Egyptian Christians have had their churches bombed, burned and their leaders stoned or shot by the Muslim Brotherhood. Because they refuse to deny Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
* Christians in India are very careful not to rile the police or government authorities who are primarily Hindu and who occasionally have pastors and church leaders beaten and arrested for evangelizing. Because they refuse to keep inside the walls of their churches, they keep preaching and teaching Jesus as the Risen Savior.
* Pakistani Christians have their churches and homes fire-bombed routinely. Because they will not deny Christ and become Muslim.
* African Christians have their children kidnapped, their women raped and their leaders shot at random intervals. Because they refuse to accept Muhammad as "Gods only prophet".
* In China, the government bull dozes churches without notice and arrests Bible believers as "dissidents". Because they refuse to stop evangelizing in the name of Jesus.
All of this by the zealous Anti-Christ forces of radical Islamists or other governments that feel threatened by Jesus. But, we in the west sit comfortably in our homes while Christians in other parts of the world are martyred, harassed, tortured and forced out of their homes.
In this generation, we have seen the faithful stand their ground against an onslaught of attack by real forces who will do anything to destroy "the Faith that was once and for all time delivered to the Saints". We have seen Godly missionaries, pastors, churches remain faithful to the Lord Jesus through unspeakable horrors. While we often debate what dogma is better and while we argue who is right about this point or another, we have witnessed millions of Christians stand for the name of Jesus and endure incredible hardship, or be killed, for His name.
As for me and my house, I pray we have the courage of Pastor Saieed.
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My challenge to my friends is this: don't wait in hiding for some future persecution that you are convinced you will overcome by the Grace of God. If you are failing to deliberately engage people with the Gospel today, you are already cowering in fear. Let me say that again: if you are failing to step out and boldly approach someone with the Good News, you have already hidden your lamp under a bushel and run away from a perceived persecution that may come.
Yes & Amen
Meriam Ibrahim and her American family are now safe and free!
Early this morning Italian government officials escorted Meriam and her family from the U.S. embassy out of Sudan and into Italy.
Meriam and her young children Martin and Maya have now gone from death row because of her Christian faith to safety and freedom outside Sudan.
This is a huge victory for religious liberty. Your voice was heard and Meriam is now free.
They are expected to return to the U.S. in the coming days.