All About GOD

All About GOD - Growing Relationships with Jesus and Others

Listen along here:  https://www.pastorwoman.net/podcast/episode/5d60a667/danger-danger-...

'Ever notice what's not mentioned in the news? Hmm... quite a few things actually.

"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ," Paul said. That was a big "whatever". Yes a big whatever happens in the first century under the fist of Rome; it is a big whatever happens today, too, for many around the worldChristians are harassed in more places than any other religious group - 365 million Christians around the world suffer persecution or discrimination for their faith in Jesus Christ today.1

Paul continues his thoughts to the church at Philippi,

"whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence,

I will know that you stand firm in one spirit,

contending as one man for the faith of the gospel

without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.

This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved -

and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ

not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,

since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had,

and now hear that I still have." Philippians 1.27-30

Friend, let's talk about what the media ignores - - at least in the newsfeeds in the West anyway . . . persecution.  It started with the first Christians in Jerusalem, and continues to this day. Like never before in my lifetime, I can see that persecution is an eventuality - it is coming to Christ followers.  In just a few days, I will be standing in the cave on the isle of Patmos where John received the book of Revelation. In the intense book, the final book of the Bible, Jesus tells us persecution will happen.

The West does not talk about it because it is ugly, and let's face it, for the most part, persecution does not touch our lives personally. Plus, we are soft, we like to keep it 'positive' right? How many times has a self-described spiritual person said to me, 'I think positive thoughts'. Oh brother. As I listen, all that matters is love, all religions are the same and other rot of little substance or truth. So, no - we westerners do not like to discuss weighty matters like persecution for faith in Jesus.

Has it touched your life?

I have experienced only very mild persecution for my faith, and that was more like social rejection. For example--while I was leading Fellowship of Christian Athletes at our large public high school, one of my sons, Dylan, was scorned because 'your mom is trying to proselytize the whole high school'. It led to a physical altercation. Later, Dylan looked at me and sighed, 'Mom, you have no idea what it is like being your son!' Ugh. While this was nothing like what is happening across the world, for this mother to see the anguish my actions caused my son, tough. Spoiler alert: Dylan won.

 

What country is it most dangerous to be a Christian? It seems it is currently a toss up between Nigeria and North Korea. The latter has topped the list for years, but Nigeria is edging the communist country because of Islamic Jihadists including Boko Haram.

 

How is it possible that in 2024 there are at least 50 countries where it is illegal to be a Christian?? Muslim extremism. In Somalia, which ranks second for persecution, people even suspected of being a Christian in the lawless country can be murdered on the spot." The militant Islamist group al-Shabaab, which is highly active in the East African nation, has made making Somalia "free of all Christians" one of its missions."2 Danger for Christ followers is high in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen and Eritrea, and of course, China.

 

All this to say, 'Yes, Paul . . . you were right. Christians would be persecuted; many would suffer and die for their faith in Jesus.'  I remember that Jesus said, "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you3 but it is difficult to square the 'whys and wherefores' with the 'who's' and the 'what' they are facing.

 

Christians are suffering and dying, being driven from their homes,                                             denied jobs because they will not denounce their faith in Jesus Christ.  

 

I am moved by this statement of John Piper:

           "God graciously gives his people suffering and faith

     so that they might enjoy magnifying Christ to their adversaries

     through the fearlessness of faith and humble love to each other."

 

Friend, we must not be ignorant. Let us first be people of prayer, and educate ourselves about what's coming,and ways we might help others already losing so much. And then, let us not allow apathy to grow in our own lives of faith - we who live in freedom to practice our faith!  

 

God is on the throne . Of that, I am sure.  

        May that cause us to be people of love, 

               compassion, faith and truth, 

                   committed to sharing all four with other people.

Just When You Thought, listen pleasehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi2yGomZWyQ

Christine

PastorWoman.net

 

1 - "What is Christian Persecution?" Open Doors International, https://www.opendoorsus.org/en-US/about/what-is-christian-persecution/

2 - "Pray for Somalia" https://www.persecution.org/2024/02/24/no-country-is-safe-life-as-a...

3 - John 15.20

4 - Revelation 2.10-11

picture below is looking out of the cave on the Isle of Patmos where John got Revelation

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