The ministry, Open Doors, work with persecuted Christian believers all across the world. Their inspiring daily devotionals describe persecution as being a specific downward spiral of opposition, disinformation, discrimination and then persecution. Each step has a passive, then active aspect. Where are our countries on this spiral? And where are the countries of our sponsored children?
1. Opposition: “Ultimately Satan, our real enemy, wants to destroy the Church of Jesus Christ, wherever it is. And Jesus Himself is the stumbling block to those who don’t believe. When we speak truth and say He is the only way, we are labelled as exclusivists and are considered intolerant.” Read more
2. Disinformation: Unchecked ridicule and disinformation is next. Christians are robbed of their reputation and the right to answer the accusations made against them. Media, politics, entertainment, publications and schools are used to spread insinuations or lies. If disinformation happens long enough, no one will help in later stages because of this negative brain-washing. It dehumanizes the person and creates an “us-versus-them” mentality. A classic historic example is the gross disinformation the German Nazis spread about the Jews. Jewish homes and businesses were then marked with Stars of David and targeted… the entire society is controlled by propaganda and disinformation; Christians are considered enemies of the state. Read more
3. Discrimination / Injustice: If disinformation happens long enough, no one will help when discrimination relegates Christians to second-class citizens with inferior legal, social, political and economic status. Once discrimination takes place, no one will intervene when persecution comes. “We do face discrimination because we live in the midst of people who don’t want us to move forward; people who keep trying to push us down so that we will always be in slavery.” Read more
4. Persecution / Mistreatment: Persecution can now begin as the normal protective measures have been removed. Persecution can come from various sources – the government, police, military, extremist organizations, paramilitary groups, anti-Christian sub-cultures and other religious groups. The irony is that in many parts of the world, the accusations of the attackers turn the victims into the villains. Torture, imprisonment and martyrdom may follow for any who dare speak openly about Jesus. Read more
ARE WE PRAYING FOR OUR PERSECUTED BROTHERS AND SISTERS?
ARE WE PRAYING FOR OUR SPONSORED CHILDREN TO BE OVERCOMERS?
ARE WE READY TO COUNT ALL THINGS AS LOSS FOR CHRIST?
WHO ARE THE MOST PERSECUTED?
Who is the most persecuted group? (khouse) you may be surprised by the answer… 80% of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed at Christians… 100,000 Christians now die every year… 11 every hour… hostility to religion reached a new high in 2012, when Christians faced some form of discrimination in 139 countries, almost three-quarters of the world’s nations… also include Western countries… A rival religion, Human Secularism, first demanded recognition, then equality, and now is demanding prominence in society. The United States is seeing one of the most concerted attacks on Christians and their values… If Christians around the world do not stand up and defend their faith, those that are not suffering overt persecution will soon see it.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
“The number one desire of Satan is to deny people access to Jesus… you can go anywhere in the world – including the Middle East – and live a happy life… if you will only keep Jesus to yourself.” Nik Ripken
“Believers… can avoid being persecuted if they simply leave two things alone. If they will leave Jesus alone and witness alone they can avoid persecution… Where there is a great harvest there is great persecution. And you can flip that around; where there is little harvest, little witness, there is little persecution…” Nik Ripken
“All Christian disciples have one thing in common: as they carry the gospel across the ocean and across the street, persecution will become the norm for those who choose to follow Jesus. How believers respond in the face of persecution reveals everything about their level of faith and obedience.” Nik Ripken
Nik Ripken blog How Nik & Ruth Ripken came to live among, and learn from, believers in persecution. Sitting at their feet, they learned from the suffering church how to thrive amidst suffering, not merely survive (powerful and challenging)
Open Doors – Prayer Alerts
Open Doors – Watch List check where your sponsored child’s country is on this list
Only love will destroy hate “…you will not go to hell because I hate you… but because you rejected love.”
Helen Berhane imprisoned for her faith in Jesus, bravely confronted her tormentors in her shipping container prison, “I am not afraid of you. You can do what you want to me, but ultimately all you can do is kill my body; you cannot touch my soul. You cannot even kill me unless it is God’s will that I should die.”
America’s Secret of Freedom (and how it can be lost) Kirk Cameron in his documentary movie, Monumental, discovers the answer
Is our turn coming? Freedom of religion in America under attack (Answers in Genesis)
Could America be stirring with revival? “When… there’s nothing you can do humanly speaking, you still can appeal to heaven.’ And George Washington grabbed this, put it on a flag and flew it over all the naval ships… It spread through all the colonies,” he said. “And it really became almost the battle cry of a nation. It was the banner we were born under,”… concentrating on… what the earliest settlers and founding fathers did for God and country should drive Americans to their knees. “When we see and understand the price that they paid and… why they did it, and then we see… what we’ve lost and what we’re about to lose if we don’t wake up.”
Faith when times are tough It is so hard to have faith when things only seem to get worse and worse and worse. Faith has to pass the test of disappointment and the urge to want to quit. The enemy will set up every roadblock he can think of, to entice us to just give up. We must not give up! Instead, we must shout our unconditional love for God from the housetops and trust Him, assured in our hearts that God’s victory WILL come.
Resilience = Courage, Gratitude and Hope
The Cross – Responding with Singing A story from Helen Berhane in the shipping container prison
Pray Sing Talk (Helen Berhane) Remember that the walls of Jericho came down because of praises. If we keep complaining, we cannot win. Instead we must continue to pray, praise and sing. Satan wants to use discouraging words as a weapon against us, so we must continue to praise God in all circumstances.
Be not Afraid (Helen Berhane) I will talk to anyone and to everyone. Jesus does not just want me to tell the prisoners about him, he wants me to tell the guards too. Even if the president were to visit the prison, I would tell him about the gospel.
The Cross – tortured for Christ (Helen Berhane) after a full day of being chained outside, she was handcuffed and thrown into an old rusty shipping container full of holes. She lay on the icy floor in her thin dress. With no blanket, she soon began shivering. Her whole body ached from the cold and the beating she had received. She feared she might die from the freezing cold so she composed this song…
Freedom to cherish the Bible (Helen Berhane) smuggling a Bible into prison
The Cross – Suffering (Helen Berhane) the guards were making their own situation worse, because people began to ask what was so special about this religion that Christians refused to give it up, and they also believed.
Meriam Ibrahim – the chains are gone
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