As a Christian I’m sure you have asked yourself the question; Would, I be willing to die for Christ as so many before me have? It’s easy to be brave when you’re sitting in the light of a strong Church surrounded by family and friends. But what if you were all alone in a dark, deserted underground prison surrounded by twenty-five foot walls and locked behind iron doors?
The coming November 10, 2013 has been designated as the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Do not believe as many uninformed non-believers do that the persecution of Christians stopped with the collapse of the Roman Empire; nothing could be further from the truth. Church historians and statisticians tell us that more Christians have been martyred for their faith in the past 20th century that any previous century in history and the 21st century is hell-bent on the same evil course.
“The blood dimmed tide” continues unabated especially throughout the Far East in Communist countries, like Vietnam, North Korea and China. Also in the Middle East anti-Christian persecution runs amuck like anti-Semitism did in the cities and streets of Germany in the 1930 s and 40s. Islam like a plague of supremacy, like a plague of cholera in the Middle Ages, kills Christians almost at will. The Arab Spring has turned into the Christian Winter.
Those in the know tell us that in the last few years the Christian population in the Middle East has shrunk from about 15 million to 13 million. Most of these have fled the homes their families have occupied for multiple generations, some even millennia.
Open Season On Christians
Hundreds of years before Mohammed was born or Islam conquered that region, these families lived basically in peace and safety. This was so even after the Islamic sword swept over their lands and forced them to become second class citizens (dhimmi); sort of like blacks in the Deep South. But nevertheless, Christian families decided to stick it out in Iraq and Syria and Egypt.
But in recent years, hundreds of thousands have decided to leave the country of their origin and flee because of what seems to them a Christian holocaust.
As the writer of Hebrews 13:3 says, “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. I can only imagine how I would appreciate your prayers if it were me. We feel their pain?
As Paul said In I Corinthians 12:26 ,”If one part suffers, every part suffers with it..” Let us hold up the suffering hands of our fellow believers in prayer. I know they will feel their strengthening power and assurance that God “will never leave them nor forsake them,”
More than 100 or so Christian cathedrals, churches, schools have been destroyed in Egypt just in the last couple of months. One Cairo-based church cancelled the Sunday-morning service in August for the first time in 1300 years.
In recent weeks, Islamists killed over 30 Christians at a Pakistani church service and innocent shoppers at a Kenya mall. Why? Because to the Islamists, all non-Muslims are infidels
The war in Syria has not abated. It is still a boiling cauldron. How sad it is to see this once stalwart church wobbling like a house made of branches and mud. It is in Syria where followers of Christ were first called “Christians.” (Acts 11:26). It is was while the apostle Paul travelled the Damascus Road on his way to Syria that he was converted and went on to write half of the New Testament. It is Syria that has left us some ten-thousand New Testament Biblical manuscripts. It was from the great Antioch Church in Syria that Paul and Silas were sent as missionaries to Europe where our cave-dwelling barbarian ancestor would hear the gospel for the first time.
Many of the rebels fighting the government in Syria are Muslim-rebels, and so the Christians find themselves trapped ‘between a rock and a hard place.” It’s almost like ‘pick your poison.”
Most martyrs have been common people. No columns mark their graves. How sad it is that so many pulpits have turned a glass eye and a deaf ear to these modern day martyrs. Their silence is almost deafening. However, in God’s sight their tears are not futile, their blood is not in vain, nor their cause a fallen one. Like martyrs Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer they have light a candle that can never be put out.
Coronation day will be worth it all.
Let Us Pray …
Pastor Robert Bryant