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Archive for the ‘persecution’ Category

Two gems from Andre Seu

Christians who continue to uphold the Bible’s teachings on, say, homosexuality as a sin and marriage as the lifelong covenant of one man and one woman are the new ignoramuses of the religious world. Rather than being called “fundies,” which is a term out of vogue in the 21st century, they are called “haters,” or “bigots.”

“I personally believe that most people would rather be thought immoral than stupid.”

How true.

What do you most fear being called?  Read Fear of being labeled a ‘fundie’

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From Frontline Missions:

For eleven straight years, North Korea has maintained its reprehensible reputation of being the nation most hostile to the Gospel.  This Communist nation resists any form of religion except the state religion of Juche,which glorifies human self-sufficiency and results in the cult worship of Leader Kim Jong-Il (who died two years ago) and his son, the new Leader Kim Jong-Un.

In recent days, two North Korean Christians were killed for the sake of the Gospel.  One was shot at the border as he courageously returned to his country after receiving Bible training in China.  The other believer died from torture in one of the despicable prison camps reserved for enemies of the state.  An estimated 70,000 Christians of all ages have been interned in these harsh prison camps, where Communist doctors conduct poisonous experiments on them with chemical and biological weapons.

In addition, this week Kenneth Bae, an American citizen detained in North Korea in November, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for “hostile acts.” Bae is a Christian and was in North Korea to feed starving orphans when he was arrested.

Please intercede on behalf of these dear suffering believers, who endure abuse and torture for their faith in Christ and who take great risks for the Gospel’s sake, knowing the Word of God is not bound.

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Be prepared and be forewarned.  Persecution is likely coming to a church near you that preaches the gospel faithfully.

Alistair Begg talks about what might get us into hot water.

[vimeo 55399513]

Jesse Johnson lays out where, when and how persecution may come to biblically faithful churches in the not too distant future.  He also shares four responses to the persecution.

 

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Preparing for persecution

Pastor Kevin DeYoung:

How will the church of Jesus Christ respond when the things that the church must believe are considered laughable, backwards, or worse?

It’s always been the case that Christianity has been derided by some. But now it’s not just people in far off Hollywood or in far away academia. It’s people next door. It’s the people you work with, the people you live with, the people you go to school with. How will the church of Jesus Christ respond when so many of those around us tell us that what we believe is repugnant? What will we do when we are the moral minority?

You cannot plan for opposition, at least not in the way we might think. You cannot plan for it by ruminating and worrying about it, or by making yourself miserable now so you’ll be prepared to suffer later, or by fearfully anticipating the worse in every situation.

The only way to prepare for persecution (however big or small) is to trust that if that day comes there will be new mercies on that morning for you. The only way to prepare to walk with Jesus on that day is to walk with him on this day.

The best preparation is not to meditate on yourself. What would I be like if I were persecuted? Would I be a coward? Will I be terrified?  Sometimes we think, “If I suffer or get cancer or something bad happens to me, I’d be a wreck. I won’t be able to handle it. If persecution comes my way, or people think poorly of me, or if I have to deal with hatred in the classroom, I will surely fail.” But that’s putting the focus in the wrong place. The answer is not to meditate on yourself, but to meditate on Christ.

If you want to have a face like an angel on the day of trial, you need to reflect the glory of God now.

If you want to see the Son of God in the clouds on your last day, you need to look upon the face of the Son of God on this day.

Be full of faith. Be full of wisdom. And pray for the Holy Spirit that you may know Christ richly, love him sweetly, and be assured of his grace and mercy to you at all times. If that is deep in your hearts, then how could you possibly deny him? How could you turn from him? How could you reject Him? He is your only comfort in life and in death.

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Kevin DeYoung:

How will the church of Jesus Christ respond when the things that the church must believe are considered laughable, backwards, or worse?

It’s always been the case that Christianity has been derided by some. But now it’s not just people in far off Hollywood or in far away academia. It’s people next door. It’s the people you work with, the people you live with, the people you go to school with. How will the church of Jesus Christ respond when so many of those around us tell us that what we believe is repugnant? What will we do when we are the moral minority?

You cannot plan for opposition, at least not in the way we might think. You cannot plan for it by ruminating and worrying about it, or by making yourself miserable now so you’ll be prepared to suffer later, or by fearfully anticipating the worse in every situation.

The only way to prepare for persecution (however big or small) is to trust that if that day comes there will be new mercies on that morning for you. The only way to prepare to walk with Jesus on that day is to walk with him on this day.

The best preparation is not to meditate on yourself. What would I be like if I were persecuted? Would I be a coward? Will I be terrified?  Sometimes we think, “If I suffer or get cancer or something bad happens to me, I’d be a wreck. I won’t be able to handle it. If persecution comes my way, or people think poorly of me, or if I have to deal with hatred in the classroom, I will surely fail.” But that’s putting the focus in the wrong place. The answer is not to meditate on yourself, but to meditate on Christ.

If you want to have a face like an angel on the day of trial, you need to reflect the glory of God now.

If you want to see the Son of God in the clouds on your last day, you need to look upon the face of the Son of God on this day.

Be full of faith. Be full of wisdom. And pray for the Holy Spirit that you may know Christ richly, love him sweetly, and be assured of his grace and mercy to you at all times. If that is deep in your hearts, then how could you possibly deny him? How could you turn from him? How could you reject Him? He is your only comfort in life and in death.

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On day two of American Pastor Saeed Abedini’s trial in Iran, news has emerged that the Iranian-born pastor has not even been allowed to attend the day’s proceedings.

“It’s unlike any judicial system in the world,” Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the ACLJ, said in a press release shared with The Christian Post on Tuesday.

“Pastor Saeed and his attorney were shut out of today’s proceedings. Not permitted to attend his own trial. We have been told that the court summoned other pastors to testify today. We do not yet know what was said in court, but we do know that the Iranian government often uses threats and intimidation to get the testimony it wants,” Sekulow added.

The law group has called the trial a “sham,” especially considering that the pastor’s lawyer in Iran was only allowed 24 hours to speak with the defendant before court proceedings began.

Read more here and pray for this man and his family.

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From Secret Church Blog:

Christian North Koreans, on the whole, experience the worst persecution in the world. They have  been number one on Open Doors’ World Watch List (which ranks countries according to the level of Christian persecution present) for the past ten years. North Korea’s former leader, Kim Jong-Il, was known for his injustice, brutality, disregard for human life, hatred, and unpredictability. According to a recentOpen Doors press release, the first year of successor Kim Jong-Un’s rule has not improved the plight of North Korea’s people, especially for the estimated 200,000-400,000 Christians living there.

Yet throughout the horrible oppression of North Koreans over the last decade, there has been one secret snapshot of deliverance. An underground railroad, similar to that of America’s antebellum, slave-holding south, has been established. For some, it has brought freedom, ushering them through China to safety. The facilitators within this vast network of safe homes consist mostly of Christ-followers, brave brothers and sisters of ours who are risking it all to help those in need find safety and freedom. And for thousands, this is just what they have found.

Read more about what those who have escaped are saying about what they experienced in North Korea here, including details of a new book release on the subject.

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From yesterday’s message on 1 Peter 3:13-17 here are seven ways we are to respond to hostility, persecution, and suffering for righteousness’ sake:

  1. Don’t fear your enemies’ threats
  2. Don’t be confused or upset by your enemies tactics
  3. Enthrone Christ in your heart
  4. Be prepared to defend the gospel
  5. Be ready to explain your hope
  6. Respond in meekness and in fear
  7. Keep a good conscience

Conclusion:  “For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:17, ESV)

 

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Luther once said in regard to suffering, “Go on in faith and love; if the cross comes, take it; if it comes not, do not seek it.”

I am preaching on suffering this morning (as in persecution) and this is a good reminder. Although we shouldn’t seek out suffering, we also shouldn’t be surprised by it when it comes.  In fact, we should be prepared for it.

As George Swinnock has stated,

Saints in this life must look to suffer. Affliction is their portion. They must not be Christians if they will not take up their cross. They who fear hardships must not set out for heaven. In the world ye shall have tribulation; in this sea ye must expect tempests, John 16:33. Saints are ships richly laden, therefore will have many pirates watching for them, to rob and spoil them. The thief strives most to meet the traveler that hath most money in his purse. The highest and richest Christian is most eyed and envied by the enemies of our salvation.

Satan’s rage is greatest against the people of God. It is the corn, not the chaff, he takes such pains to winnow. The tiger is enraged at the smell of sweet odors; so is the devil at the sweet scent of the saints’ graces. If Christ’s soldiers will storm heaven, and take it by force, he is resolved they shall have hot work of it, for he will raise all the powers of hell to oppose them. Many of those storms which vex the saints, as that which blew down the house of Job’s children, are raised by Satan. He troubleth the waters, thinking that then it is the best fishing. The prince of the air raiseth the winds of affliction, hoping that the vessels of Christians’ souls will be brought thereby to make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience. Though all his winds tend, by God’s overruling providence, to settling, yet he hopes thereby to overturn those trees that are planted in the house of the Lord. When we hear of any troubles and hardships befalling them that are holy, we may ask the question, which David did to the widow of Tekoah of Joab, Is not the hand of the devil in all this? He hath hand in most of their sins, and at least a finger in most of their sufferings. Like a dog, he barketh seldom at those of his own family, but always at strangers.

 

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A monthly report on worldwide Muslim persecution of Christians.  May’s report begins:

Elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa—in Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, the Ivory Coast—wherever Islam and Christianity meet, Christians are being killed, slaughtered, beheaded and even crucified.

This site’s information should drive us to our knees in prayer for our brothers and sisters around the world.

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