"Patience in Suffering"-
7Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. 9Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
10Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. "-James 5:7-11
Are you going through some personal challenges (e.g. social issues) right now? Just remember, you are not alone and please remember others in other parts of the world facing similar or even tougher challenges. Today (Thursday, November 15th of 2007) I (Sal)decided to add more to this topic on "Praying for the Persecuted Church" (November-Month for this type of dedication worldwide. Recently in my local church (Morris, Minnesota), I taught on this topic to our "Sunday School" children. I was going to becareful of this graphic-sensitive issue and was suprised to hear the knowledge of these children. They ended up sharing the graphic description of how Christians are getting killed around the world. I felt like I was "preaching to the choir" (they didn't have to hear this message as they already knew it). What about you? Did you know? I didn't know much about this topic until I met a friend (Poniman from Indonesia-see down below in the very bottom of this site) in college during my sophomore year (1996-1997). I feel it's important to learn this increasing global issue because we ("Americans") are not too far from this being done (e.g. look what happend in Germany before WWII) in our very own backyards.
What is it like being persecuted for being a Christian?
When we become Christians (e.g. Salvation Prayer), we don't fully understand what we got ourself into-we will suffer and get persecuted as followers of Jesus! We "Americans" living in the U.S. can't really understand until we face (e.g. we face some here-e.g. teasing or even physical too-see Pro-Life Demonstration) it by living in other countries as missionaries.
The only type of persecution I face is just verbal abuse, like....
Most of these words don't sound hurting, but the tone of voice and context of the way people-especially close ones say it. However, as I've grown in my walk with Christ, God has abled me to endure any negative words people say to me.
"Persecution of Christians"
Growing-up back in St. Paul, my self-esteem was very low. I got hurt by many words people used to hurt me through racism, physical appearance, or even criticism. Over time as I grown Christ-esteem, I don't let words effect me because of my constant daily devotional of reading His Word. His Word is over whatever people say to me, which determines my identity in Christ!
Physical abuse is another story on persecution as a follower of Jesus. My knowledge of Christians being persecuted didn't start until I became a Christian (see personal testimony) at UMM in 1995. In fact, one of the people that showed met the "Way" was an Indonesian. He would share some resources-sometimes graphic-of the persecution going on in his homeland.
Another was a periodic guest from Kenya, who spoke at my local church and UMM's IVCF one year. He showed his scars in his stomach and leg when he was tortured alive with a machette, thank God his life was spared!
Since then, I've been in constant awareness through media and collection article on this "Christian Life" to help me not forget my fellow brothers and sisters in the faith. In fact, God reminds me to continue to pray for the "persecuted church" through various ways:
-articles on websites or any media (like down below)
-music (local church's punk rock band-Children 18:3
One time I had this dream, where I saw a group of Koreans getting tortured in some den or dark room. It was soo..vivid, which I started to go on my knees and pray
Currently, it's November 3rd 2003, which I decided to write this because of this being the month of persecution awareness. This is to encourage believers that read this-to thank God for your current circumstance (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) no matter how severe it is. There is always someone out there who is going through a worse or even more severe situation.
*Below in an excerpt of an article I've kept over the years in my disk on "persecution":
"STANDING IN THE GAP" (part of an article-down below)
"Only one power can redeem the course of events, and that is the power of God's people being involved as His instruments on this earth. Believers need to 'stand in the gap' for the persecuted, as well as for the persecutors."
"For every Peter and Paul of the first century, there are millions of Christians facing persecution today," said Madison. "And the best way to stand up for these brothers and sisters in faith is to learn about their
"Without question, sensitizing ourselves to the reality of persecution is the first step toward doing something about it."
"WAYS TO GET INVOLVED"
Madison said that there are many things that American Christians can do to
get involved in helping the Suffering Church.
"The first priority is to educate yourself on this urgent issue and then
spread the news to others," he said. "It is vital that we know the facts so
that we can pray intelligently for those who suffer because of their faith,
as well as for those who cause the suffering."
Madison also suggested people could organize efforts in their church or small
group. "We can also encourage prisoners and workers on the frontline and
become an advocate."
He suggested that concerned Christians can write letters to the editor of
their local newspaper or email their congressman and point out the plight of
persecuted Christians around the world. The website gives specific
instructions for undertaking these advocacy efforts.
Madison also suggested that believers use the site to learn how they can "go
to the frontline of faith yourself and be a Bible courier or minister first
hand on a short-term mission trip."
The site, which can be found at www.opendoorsusa.org also posts a daily
devotional inspired by those who have suffered for their faith, plus breaking
news stories and prayer requests.
Madison went on to say that Christians in the United States can help by
giving financially to strengthen the Body of Christ and they can make a
secure online donation through the new website.
*Note: Thu, 03 Feb 00 04:31AM MST From: Assistcomm@cs.com To: "Assist1"
Subject: CYBER-WARRIORS-OPEN DOORS USA APPEALS TO AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO BECOME CYBER-WARRIORS ON BEHALF OF THE PERSECUTED CHURCH By Dan Wooding
Songs for the Persecuted Church
"Pray for the persecuted Church...they're praying for you....all around the world they're praying for you!-Children 18:3 (punk rock band)
"Let Us Pray...open the flood gates of Heaven.."-Harvest Project for 10/40 Window
Why Does God Allow Suffering?
A friend of mine just asked this deep life popular question the other day that I've heard many times, so I decided to expand more on this topic. Before I came to a personal relationship with God, I didn't know how to handle me stress, pain, or suffering I went through in a day to day basis. I've now learned how to lay all my burdens (worries, struggles, sins, etc..) on the cross mentioned in Matthew 10. I have completely no control over the situations, challenges, or circumstances in life. Also, some/many of them could've been prevented if I made the right or better choice. Now, I have to suffer the consequences of my own actions. What has helped me is reading other people's stories (e.g. current news Hurricane Katrina) of how they overcome their trials in life. Instead of focussing too much on your own situation, look at others or look up to the One that is in control-Jesus!
PHYSICAL: "Some painful conditions can be alleviated by changes in lifestyle. For instance, changes in diet can sometimes reduce the pain of arthritis. Much back pain can apparently be alleviated by spending some time doing gentle exercise."
EMOTIONAL: "Once people have been through emotional pain, they can often end up more caring. I was reading some literature by the Christian counsellor Celwyn Hughes about what he believed to be the benefits of suffering once, which said that he discovered that if he asked a general audience how many people had been depressed, a fairly small percentage would put their hands up; but the percentage increased quite substantially when he was talking to an audience of counsellors. (On the other hand, I'm sure that not everyone who becomes a counsellor does it because they're caring. In fact, it could be that depressed people might want to become counsellors so they meet more people they can identify with.) He also said that someone had told him that since his wife died, he seemed to have developed a sensitivity towards others that he hadn't had before."
What would you do?
"This is a powerful video and I really hope you take the watch and consider what is presented. As a christian, have you ever wondered what you would do if you were had to answer the ultimate question?"
"... 8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
9 They who seek my life will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword
and become food for jackals. ..."-Psalm 63:8-9
"34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
" 'a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -
36a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'[e]"-Matthew 10
"WASHINGTON (AFP) â€“ The United States said Tuesday it is "deeply concerned" about the rise in attacks against Christians in parts of the Middle East and Africa.
"We are certainly aware of a recent string of attacks against Christians from Iraq to Egypt to Nigeria," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said. "We are deeply concerned about what seems to be an increasing trend."
Crowley, speaking to reporters, said the US State Department condemns all violence based on religion or ethnicity and includes such attacks in its annual human rights report.
But he added: "I'd be very wary at this point about... making any sweeping statements about whether what's happened in Iraq has a bearing on what's happening in other countries such as Egypt or Nigeria.
"These are all being investigated," he said.
"There are pressures on minority groups in these countries, and we would hope and expect that ... in those respective governments, we'll fully investigate these attacks and bring those responsible to justice," he said.
"That's what... for example, the people of Egypt are rightly demanding -- a credible, thorough investigation and those responsible brought to justice."
In the past few days, anti-Christian attacks left 21 people dead in Egypt, two slain in Iraq and 86 slaughtered in Nigeria.
On October 31, militants stormed a church in central Baghdad, leaving 44 worshippers, two priests and seven security force personnel dead, in an attack claimed by Al-Qaeda's local affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq."
"SANTA ANA, CA (ANS) -- The 2012 presidential elections provide an incredible opportunity to advocate for persecuted Christians and people of all faiths worldwide.
Open Doors USA has partnered with professor Tom Farr of Georgetown University, an International Religious Freedom (IRF) expert, to produce and promote the Presidential Pledge for Religious Freedom.
Open Doors USA is presenting the pledge to presidential candidates –including Republican, Democratic, Libertarian and independent – asking each of them to sign it. Former Senator Rick Santorum is the first candidate to sign the pledge.
A candidate’s signature indicates that he or she commits to upholding religious freedom for people of all faiths in America, nominating U.S. federal judges who are committed to upholding religious freedom as defined in the pledge and prioritizing religious freedom concerns in U.S. foreign policy. The complete pledge can be accessed at http://www.pledgeforreligiousfreedom.com.
People can help by signing a petition that urges presidential candidates to sign the pledge. To sign this important petition, go to www.OpenDoorsUSA.org starting today. Open Doors will approach candidates, informing them how many Americans have signed the petition. This will help them understand that the public cares about religious freedom and wants our president to protect and promote it.
“Religious freedom is in global crisis,” Farr says. “In the United States, religious associations are at risk of being forced either to abandon their core beliefs -- for example, on the sanctity of human life -- or cease operation. Internationally, 70 percent of the world's population lives in countries in which religious freedom is severely restricted.
“Tens of millions of human beings are subject to violent persecution because of their beliefs or those of their tormentors. Whoever wins the presidency in 2012 should make religious freedom, at home and abroad, a high priority.”
The Presidential Pledge has been endorsed by over 30 Non-Government Organizations, institutions and individuals. A few of the groups include the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, China Aid Association, Jubilee Campaign, the International Institute for Religious Freedom of the World Evangelical Alliance and the Universal Peace Federation USA. Individual endorsers include The Honorable Ernest Istook, former U.S. Congressman, Distinguished Fellow, The Heritage Foundation; Dr. Richard Land, President of Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; Dr. Robert E. Record, Executive Director, Council for National Policy; Stuart W. Epperson, Chairman of the Board, Salem Communications Corporation; Michael Cromartie, Vice President of Ethics and Public Policy Center; and Dr. Paul Marshall, Senior Fellow, Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute.
“Religious freedom is foundational to American society, and a key indicator of prosperity in most societies worldwide,” says Open Doors USA Advocacy Director Lindsay Vessey. “Candidates need to hear from American voters that this is an important issue. We’re asking all freedom-loving Americans to sign the petition. This petition indicates that you would like your presidential candidate to sign the Presidential Pledge for Religious Freedom.”
The Presidential Pledge is an educational tool for voters. Open Doors USA does not endorse or support specific candidates.
An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world's most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.
(For more information or to set up an interview on the Presidential Pledge, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.) "
"WASHINGTON, DC (ANS) -- President Barack Obama, has today (Friday, January 14, 2011), condemned recent attacks against Christians in both Iraq and Egypt in his proclamation for Religious Freedom Day 2011 which is due to place on this Sunday, (January 16th).
In his message sent to the ASSIST News Service from the White House, Obama said, â€œWe condemn the attacks made in recent months against Christians in Iraq and Egypt, along with attacks against people of all backgrounds and beliefs.
"The United States stands with those who advocate for free religious expression and works to protect the rights of all people to follow their conscience, free from persecution and discrimination.
"Across the globe, we also seek to uphold this human right and to foster tolerance and peace with those whose beliefs differ from our own. We bear witness to those who are persecuted or attacked because of their faith."
Values of shared commitment, justice, freedom and equality
He began his proclamation by saying, â€œOur Nation was founded on a shared commitment to the values of justice, freedom, and equality. On Religious Freedom Day, we commemorate Virginia's 1786 Statute for Religious Freedom, in which Thomas Jefferson wrote that â€˜all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion.â€™ The fundamental principle of religious freedom -- guarded by our Founders and enshrined in our Constitution's First Amendment -- continues to protect rich faiths flourishing within our borders...
"Why Would God Allow This?
With such a terrible tragedy as the World Trade Center Terrorism, there is always the question of "why would a loving God allow this to happen?". Listed below is what many of us as Christians feel God's answer would be. .."
"My life has never been this clear
Now I know the reason why I'm here
You never know why You're alive
Until you know what you would die for
I would die for You"
Fr. Stan Fortuna - Everybody Got 2 Suffer
"New York City police are investigating as possible hate crimes a wave of firebombings that included a Islamic center, New York papers are reporting today. A bodega and two private homes also were targeted. No injuries were reported....
Video: NY Mosque Firebombed (CAIR)
Related: Media focuses on Mosque firebombed in Queens, ignores firebombing against Hindus, Christians
Posted by Matt Lacy • January 2, 2012 greeleygazette.com
Other attacks included house where African American Christians lived, Hindu place of worship "A series of firebombing in Queens, New York that targeted a Hindu place of worship, an African-American Christian couple’s home and a Mosque is being portrayed by the mainstream media and a Muslim advocacy group as a hate crime solely directed against Muslims.
A series of firebombs involving Molotov cocktails was directed against two homes, including one where a group of Hindus was meeting to worship, another home where an African-American Christian couple lived, a convenience store and a local mosque.
The Al-Khoei Islamic Foundation houses one of the most prominent Shiite mosques in New York. According to its website it lists branches in several cities including London, Paris, Montreal and Islamabad, Pakistan. The firebomb, made with a Starbucks bottle was thrown at the door of the center. While the door was blackened, the building did not catch fire.
Police are investigating the crime as an anti-Muslim hate crime. A spokesman for the New York Police Department told the Gazette anytime an attack is made on a Mosque or a synagogue, it is automatically investigated as a bias or hate crime.
The meeting at the Hindu home consisted of two firebombs that did not catch fire, while the home of Monty and Sonya Burnett, who are African-American and Christian, was heavily damaged.
The Burnett’s home was the most heavily damaged of all of the structures firebombed during the four attacks. It took more than 60 firefighters to get the fire under control.
While the bombings were directed at Hindus and Christians as well as Muslims, one would not know that from reading much of the mainstream press coverage of the event.
The New York Times said in the lead paragraph that “police were investigating (the firebombings) as a possible bias crime against Muslims.” Nowhere in the story does it mention the attack on the Hindu worshippers or the Christian family, simply referring to them as houses that were bombed.
The New York Daily News followed a similar lead. While the article did mention the other attacks were on Christians and Hindus, the headline read “Four firebombs, including one tossed at Queens Mosque, eyed as hate crimes.”
Other headlines by various papers included “Islamic structure firebombed in Queens, three other structures attacked”, “4 Firebombs hit Muslim targets in NYC” and “Firebomb attacks in Queens hit Mosque in possible hate crime.”
On Monday morning, the Council on American Islamic Relations sent out an e-mail release suggesting the attack was directed solely against Muslims. The e-mail said in the subject line “CAIR condemns firebombing of NY Mosque.”
The e-mail went on to say that Ibrahim Hooper, National Director for CAIR said the organization is calling on local police to boost patrols near mosques and advised members of the Muslim community to review security procedures.
Nowhere in the message from CAIR is there any mention made of or a condemnation of the attacks against Christians and Hindus during the same wave of attacks.
Instead, Hooper focused exclusively on the Muslim component saying “a number of recent reports have documented the growth and promotion of Islamophobia.”
Robert Spencer, founder of Jihad Watch said the media spin shows the favoritism Muslim groups are given to the exclusion of other groups and that CAIR is simply trying to use this attack to portray Muslims as the exclusive victims in this case.
"Implying the attacks were directed solely at Muslims is obviously false and self-serving. It seems as if whoever did this is opposed to foreigners or religion in general and to say this is exclusively a Muslim hate crime is a politically motivated claim.”
Spencer went on to say that CAIR’s ignoring the firebombing of the black Christian family and the Hindus shows the agency’s isn’t really interested in hate crimes against other groups but simply want to use the attacks to their advantage.
“CAIR did not mention anything about the Hindus or Christians when they issued their release. This just shows how self-serving their claims of victimhood really are,” Spencer said. “They called for increased police patrols against mosques, but they didn’t say anything about calling for protection for Hindu or Christian places of worship.
"New York (CNN) – Synagogues firebombed and defaced by graffiti. Windows smashed at shops owned by Jewish merchants. Is anti-Semitism on the rise?
The FBI is investigating a rash of anti-Semitic attacks in northern New Jersey, including the attempted murder of a rabbi after incendiary devices were thrown at his home above a synagogue.
Rabbi Nosson Schuman suffered minor burns in the incident Wednesday at Beth El Synagogue in Rutherford.
It was the fourth anti-Semitic incident in the past month in Bergen County. On January 4, a Paramus synagogue was hit by an arson attack, and in December, two temples were vandalized.
No arrests have been made. "We don't know if we're looking at one person or a group of people," said Bryan Travers of the FBI's Newark division.
In November, vandals smashed windows at five stores owned by Jewish merchants in Middlesex County.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie condemned the recent synagogue attacks. "I will not stand for it, and we will summon all necessary law enforcement resources to identify and prosecute those responsible," Christie said in a statement.
The Anti-Defamation League, which catalogs anti-Semitic incidents nationwide, is urging law enforcement authorities to step up security around synagogues. It's offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of those involved in the Bergen County attacks.
But Jewish leaders and scholars contacted by CNN could only speculate on why there is a surge in anti-Semitic incidents in the Northeast.
"This year, it did go up, but I'm not ready to draw any conclusions," said Ken Jacobson, the ADL's deputy national director.
But Jacobson said he was concerned about the spike in attacks in New Jersey. "The surge of these incidents in a short period of time in New Jersey is not a conventional kind of thing," Jacobson said.
The type of incident is also alarming, he said. A rabbi attacked in his home is far more worrying than a swastika scrawled on a door. "We are watching very closely," he said.
Economic insecurity and polarization "create the kind of atmosphere where people act out," he said.
According to a November survey by the ADL, 15% of Americans hold deeply anti-Semitic views; that figure stood at 12% in the 2009 survey.
In the poll, 19% of respondents answered "probably true" to the statement: "Jews have too much control/influence on Wall Street." The theme of the "miserly Jew," as personified by Shakespeare's Shylock, is common in anti-Semitism.
"There's a persistent economic theme of the Jew not just as miserly but as economically parasitical," says Derek Penslar, Samuel Zacks Professor of Jewish History at the University of Toronto, and author of "Shylock's Children."
In the 1930s, anti-Semitism was "visible, public and people did not try to hide it," Penslar said. "Jewish bankers were often accused of fomenting wars." Things are much better now, he added. "There seems to be a change in the United States in how Jews are accepted."
Penslar is not convinced that the economic downturn is the main cause of anti-Semitic attacks.
"Things were much worse in 2008 and 2009. I was expecting something then.
"My sense is more often than not what's happening now is related to Middle Eastern politics." Namely, the stalemate about Israel, Penslar says.
Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center cited FBI statistics showing an actual decrease in hate crime incidents against Jews during the current recession.
Nationwide, the FBI reported 887 such incidents in 2010, compared with 1013 in 2008.
"I don't think are any obvious explanations," Potok says. "It may be there is a small number of people who are attacking repeatedly, and that just says you have a few very active anti-Semites out there.""
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a]have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we[c] also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. ..
persecution of christians
" this is a montage of real images of christians around the world who have paid great prices for following Christ. "
"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."-2 Timothy 3
" In practical terms, a lot of religious persecutions over the centuries has been caused more by ethnic, than religious, differences. But 21st century Islam is unique in that the persecutions focus on the religious issue. This tends to make the persecution more violent. Being on a mission from God tends to increase the level of violence. Radical Islam has always been a component of Islamic life, although usually a fringe type activity. But over the last few decades, the Islamic radicals have increased their power enormously. Radical Moslems have taken over the government in Iran and Afghanistan, and came close in Algeria. Radical Moslems, even when they are a numerical minority, have far greater political power because of their militancy and willingness to use extreme violence. And the easiest people to use violence on are non-Moslems. Here are ten countries where the violence is real, and often quite deadly.
1. Sudan- For nearly two decades, the Moslems in the north have been fighting to control the non-Moslems (Christians and followers of ancient tribal religions) in the south. Over a million non-Moslems have died as a result.
2. Kashmir- The Indo-Pakistani dispute over who should control Kashmir has turned into a religious war, with Islamic radicals terrorizing non-Moslems (Hindus, Sikhs and Christians) to leave Kashmir. Thousands have died in the process.
3. Nigeria- Islam came late to Africa, and Nigeria, like many African countries, has Moslems, Christians and followers of ancient tribal religions. Religious strife has always been present, mainly because of the militant and uncompromising nature of Islam. When decades of dictatorship disappeared in the late 1990s, the Moslems sought to assert themselves and thousands of Christians have died trying to resist this.
4. Indonesia- Several centuries of Dutch colonial rule, followed by several decades of local dictators kept the violence between Moslems, Christians and others quiet. But once the dictatorship was overthrown in 1998, Islamic radicals have been free to preach, and practice, their hatred of non-Moslems. Thousands have died so far.
5. Egypt- Ten percent of the population are descended from those that did not to convert to Islam 1200 years ago. These are the Coptic Christians, and since the government lifted restrictions on radical Islam in the 1970s, the Copts have been a regular target of Islamic thugs. Thousands of died and most Copts live in fear.
6. Pakistan was founded to "protect Islam," and that eventually turned into "death to all non-believers." While this sentiment is held by only a minority of the Pakistani population, it's an aggressive and murderous minority. Moreover, the definition of "non-believer" extends to different flavors of Islam. Thus there has been much killing of Sunni and Shia Moslems by each other. While the government is officially against persecuting non-Moslems, there has not been a major effort to rein in the Islamic radicals. And it was a military government in the 1970s that first officially encouraged the Islamic radicals to do their thing.
7. Chechnya- Like most of the three dozen ethnic groups in the Caucasus, the Chechens were clannish and hostile to outsiders. Raiding your neighbors was considered acceptable behavior. When the Russians conquered the area, they stopped the raiding and forced the Chechens to accept Christians in their midst. When Chechnya became independent in the mid 1990s, they went back to raiding their neighbors and persecuting local Christians. They went over the line when they let al Qaeda in and tried to establish an Islamic Republic, by force, in the Caucasus. Attacks on Christians continue.
8. Philippines- While Islam came north from the Moslem East Indies (Indonesia), Spain took over in the north and converted most of the tribes to Christianity. This religious difference has divided the Philippines ever since. The Moslems were never more than a few percent of the Filipino population, and the Moslems are resentful that most of the population is Christian, not Moslem (Islam arrived in the area 300 years before Christianity. As a result, there have long been active efforts by Moslems to drive out Christians living nearby. This often includes murder.
9. The Balkans- Moslem Turks occupied the Balkans for nearly five centuries and encouraged conversion with tax breaks and government jobs. Many locals accepted the offer and earned the enmity of their Christians neighbors. Although depicted as the underdogs, whenever the Moslems are a majority (as in Kosovo), they persecute the local Christians.
10. - Lebanon- For centuries, Lebanon was a major center of Middle Eastern Christianity. Until about a century ago, Christians were the majority in Lebanon. But prosperity (the Lebanese Christians looked to Europe for educational, commercial and social trends, becoming more economically successful than their Moslem cousins, and thus having fewer kids), and migration (Arab Christians suffered legal discrimination, and the young men in particular were drawn to non-Arab Christian lands like the Americas) led to Moslems equaling the Christian population, and then surpassing it after World War II. This led to a 15 year religious war (1975-90) and continuing hostility towards Arab Christians.
Dishonorable Mention- Saudi Arabia outlaws the practice of any religion but Islam. Get caught holding a non-Islamic religious service and you can be beaten and imprisoned. Crimes committed against non-Moslems are not pursued as vigorously as those against Moslems. The Saudis insist they do not persecute non-Moslems, but they do enforce their laws. A distinction without a difference. "
"This is a video by The Voice of the Martyrs about persecution. So many people today do not realize that persecution of Christians happens every single day, but it does and we need to think about them and pray for them!" Faces of Persecution, This video, by Voice of the Martyrs shows the terrible persecutions that some Christians face by militant Islam extremists.
"Peter de Jaeger has lived a very blessed life that has been free of religious persecution, until now. While on a business trip to the Middle East, Peter becomes caught in the middle of a family crisis that shows to him the harsh reality that many Christians face, both in the Middle East as well as in the "open" country of China. Peter is about to see firsthand what many Christians in both of these parts of the world must suffer through in order to follow the Lord."
" NAPLES, FL (ANS) -- It was in October 1997, when Welsh-born pastor and singer, Kevin Gould, received a package through the mail announcing that the second Sunday in November would be the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP).
Kevin singing during a concert at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa in 1978
The date happened to coincide with a concert that was scheduled to take place at his church featuring Kevin and his longtime friend, fellow recording artist, Barry Bynum.
After reading through the “IDOP” literature, Kevin was moved by the horror stories about the persecution of believers in different parts of the world and immediately began to write a song.
“We had this concert arranged for the Sunday night of the day of prayer and I felt that one of the best ways to draw attention to the persecuted church and the way in which believers all over the world are suffering, was to write a song.”
A clip from the Shatter the Silence video
The theme, and title, for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church that year was “Shatter the Silence” and so Kevin used that as the inspiration for his powerfully moving song.
“I felt that it was not only a great title for a song but was perhaps the most succinct and effective way to describe the intention and motivation to pray and make others aware of what Christians are going through in many countries,” he told me from his Naples, Florida, home/
Kevin finished the song in time for the concert and performed it that night in November 1997 to a very responsive audience. However when the concert was over the song was put away and did not see the light of day for many years.
He explained, “It was as if the song was written for that special occasion and because I wasn’t touring any more, the opportunities to sing it were pretty limited. To be honest, after a while, I almost completely forgot that I’d written the song. Both the melody and the lyrics faded from my memory.”
That was the case until 2009 when Kevin needed songs for a new album that he was doing with guitar great Phil Keaggy.
Phil and Kevin playing together
“Through a mutual friend I got connected with Phil Keaggy who expressed an interest in producing a new album for me. Obviously I was delighted,” he said. “Phil and I go back to the same ‘Jesus Music’ era of the seventies but I had never met him until our friend brought us together.”
Gould, who is now the pastor of Naples Alliance Church in Florida, went on to say, “His idea was that I should write six new songs for the album and that we should take six of my old songs and do completely new versions of them. I liked that idea and so I submitted a whole bunch of songs for Phil to take a listen to and, based on his assessment, we chose the ones that he wanted to use.”
The album called "Roots of Love" was getting close to completion but Kevin was still one song short of having a finished product.
“We had chosen five old songs we were going to use and I had written six new ones. I was having a hard time deciding on what to use as the final song. I started going over all the songs that I’d written a long time ago but that had never been recorded to see if there was something that would fit. Suddenly, I remembered ‘Shatter the Silence’.
“Although, by now, I had pretty much forgotten how it went I remembered that I was really pleased with the lyrics and that the persecuted church was certainly a worthwhile subject to record a song about. I had to get out the VHS tape of the concert in 1997 to re-learn the song. After that I played it for Phil Keaggy.”
Phil and Kevin mixing the music
The song, he said, passed the “Keaggy Test” and it was decided that they would record it as the twelfth and final song on the album.
“Although I hadn’t planned it this way, I found when reviewing the material on the album, that most of the songs were about Christian love,” said Gould, who for many years was the pastor of Clover Pass Community Church in Ketchikan, Alaska, before moving to Naples, Florida.
“There were songs about Love for the Lord, the love of the Lord and the believers love for one another. I decided on the title ‘Roots of Love’ for that reason. ‘Shatter the Silence’ spoke of our love for those who are suffering for being Christians and so it fitted the album perfectly. Actually, the song became a duet between myself and Phil Keaggy who sings a couple of the verses and harmonizes on the choruses. That was a blessing too.”
In October 2011, Kevin heard the news that Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani had been sentenced to death for his refusal to turn from his faith in Christ and back to Islam. His immediate response was to ask his wife Sheila to take the song “Shatter the Silence” and build a video around it. (Fortunately, after a worldwide prayer campaign, Pastor Youcef has been freed and is now safely back with his family.)
“I wanted to combine the lyrics of the song with visual images in order to draw attention to this urgent need for prayer and support for the persecuted church,” he added.
The song “Shatter the Silence” is powerful. The lyrics are a commentary on the great need as well as a call for Christians to pray for our brothers and sisters living under persecution. It is a reminder that we are the body of Christ. We cannot turn deaf ears to the cries for help from our persecuted brothers and sisters, neither can we remain silent in their time of need.
Kevin will be performing the song again this Sunday at his church in Naples”. If you wanted to download the song from iTunes, Kevin says he will donate the money raised to ASSIST to help us with our ministry to the Persecuted church. It's just a dollar per download.
Says Kevin, “It makes you think even more so that the song was written for a reason and that the Lord has a plan for it to be heard. My prayer is that many people will hear it, see the video and pray for the persecuted church.”
I will also be featuring the song during my presentation about the persecuted church at the two morning services (8:30 AM and 10:30 AM) this coming Sunday (November 11, 2012) at Hosanna Christian Fellowship in Bellflower, California. (For directions, go to: www.hosannachapel.org.)
There is still time for churches and individuals to view and feature this wonderful video by going to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHhL2GIkIzw
Here are the lyrics for Shatter the Silence:
With love in our hearts let’s lift up our voices and shatter the silence we hear
All over the world our brothers and sisters are suffering for the name we hold dear
Just people like us that are part of His body living where God’s word is hated and scorned
For loving the Lord and being His children they are beaten imprisoned disowned
But the light still shines on ever bright
Though the darkness has tried to put out His Light
The Light of the World shines on through the night
By His truth He will guide and with love win the fight
With love in our hearts let’s lift up our voices and shatter the silence with prayer
The battles we fight on our knees end in victory as the burdens of others we share
We may never know what it’s like to be living in places where our witness may cost us our lives
But we cannot be deaf to the needs of our family as in prayer we continue to strive
But the light still shines on ever bright
Though the darkness has tried to put our it’s light
The light of the world shines on through the night
By His truth he will guide and with love win the fight
Remember the words of our Master when He said they hated Me and they will hate you
The Holy Son of God was despised and rejected His disciples suffered those same things too
He said “Go into the world and tell them the Good news” the task is before us whatever the cost. So let’s lift up or voices and shatter the silence for the Lord for the gospel for the lost
And the light still shines on ever bright
Though the darkness has tried to put out the light
The light of the world shines on through the night
By His truth He will guide and with love win the fight
Note: To read a story written by Rebecca English about Kevin Gould’s extraordinary story, please go to: www.assistnews.net/Stories/2007/s07020087.htm and his website is: www.kevingould.org "
"CRETE, IL (ANS) -- The new year has brought news of multiple attacks against Christians around the world â€“ Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran, India â€“ many timed to strike when Christian worshippers were vulnerable because of their gatherings to celebrate Christmas.
According to a news release sent to the ASSIST News Service by A. Larry Ross Communications, one organization, Bible League InternationalÂ®, whose vision is to see lives transformed by the Word of God, has staff, volunteers and Bible training participants in many of these countries and seeks to ensure that those who want to be introduced to the Christian faith may do so, despite whatever threats they may face.
In Nigeria, for example, Bible League has seven local offices, some near the northern regions where religious extremists seem to be targeting Christians. The staff and volunteers in Nigeria stand with the Christians there, providing materials and encouragement to enable them to continue to boldly share their faith, participate in Bible studies and even start new churches.
In China and India, Bible League reports, pastors are imprisoned and churches are burned to the ground. In the Muslim world, Christian worship takes place behind a veil of secrecy and fear.
"Faced with such obstacles, it would be easy for Christians in those nations to lose heart,â€ said Bible League CEO Robert T. Frank. â€œYet their churches are flourishing, in part because we provide them with the Bibles and training needed to capture the hearts of new believers."
The release goes on to say that in India, a Bible League volunteer has become a substitute brother to a recent convert whose own family has rejected him because of his newfound faith. KM* admits he had a miserable life before as a drug addict and school drop-out.
"A Jesus follower came up to me one day and asked if Iâ€™d like to study a booklet with him,â€ KM continues. â€œI liked what we were reading together. As I studied the Bible, I learned about sin, and came to realize that Iâ€™m a sinner. On May 18, 2010, I professed that I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Iâ€™m happy He came into my life that day.â€
However, as a result of his decision to follow Christ, KM said his family now persecutes him for believing in Jesus, rather than appreciating the positive transformation in his life. â€œPlease pray for me,â€ he asks, which Bible League gladly does.
While many Americans understand the persecution Christians face in India, Asia and the Middle East, they are often surprised to learn that it also exists in Europe. In Moldova, threats from family members keep new believers from being baptized. One girl who is handicapped was even beaten by her parents when she accepted Christ.
"Bible League workers in many parts of eastern Europe are seeing this kind of persecution grow as the world becomes increasingly hostile to Christianity,â€ Frank said. â€œWe are more committed than ever to leading Bible studies, training workers, planting churches and sharing the Word of God so that these individuals can know they are loved unconditionally despite the hardships they face here on the earth.â€
Note: Bible League International is a non-profit evangelical Christian ministry dedicated to making disciples and training Bible study leaders and church planters using the Word of God. Since its founding in 1938, Bible League has placed millions of Bibles in the hands of people in more than 80 countries. Its goals are that every person who wants a Bible can have one, every neighborhood has a vibrant Bible study group and every community has a thriving church grounded in God's Word. More information is available at www.BibleLeague.org.
"PAKISTAN (ANS) -- The tension surrounding the plight of jailed Christian Asia Bibi is increasing as members of the Pakistani Jamiat Ulema-e Party and the Taliban have called for her death.
According to Stephanie Samuel writing in the Christian Post (www.christianpost.com) A cleric has already offered 500,000 rupees â€“ roughly $5,800USD â€“ to anyone who kills the Pakistani mother and step-mother of five. And in yet another sign that the case has become a rallying point for extremists, the Taliban also has threatened retribution should she be spared.
"As tensions mount, Pope Benedict XVI and Ronald S. Lauder of the World Jewish Congress have both expressed concern and distress over Bibi, and the persecution of Christians in other countries,â€ wrote Samuel.
"In a December 10, 2010, meeting at the Vatican, Lauder, president of the leading global Jewish advocacy group, noted with concern that both Christians and Jews in the Middle East are facing the threat of radical Islam. He also expressed his sympathies over the murder of Christian leaders in Iraq and Turkey.â€
She went on to say that the pope has called on Pakistani officials for Bibiâ€™s release.
Prior to that, she added, he denounced the October 30, 2010, Baghdad church attack that killed nearly 60 worshippers and priests last month as â€œabsurd.â€ The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has also called on Congress to issue a resolution calling for a comprehensive plan to improve security for Iraqâ€™s religious minorities.
"In return, the pontiff conveyed the importance of Jews and Catholics working together to fight anti-Semitism even as it is directed at Christianity,â€ said Samuel. â€œPope Benedict indicated that Jews and Christians needed one another, and that the bonds of brotherhood and goodwill between the religions should continue to be strengthened.â€
The pope also emphasized the need to continue to combat â€œunacceptableâ€ anti-Semitism in the Christian world, which was the chief subject of the recent talks. At the meeting, the WJC delegation spoke of efforts to downplay Jewsâ€™ connection to its holy sites as a new "politically correct" form of anti-Semitism.
Samuel said that Lauder asked the pope to speak out against the de-legitimization of Israel and the denial of Jewish and Christian holy sites such as the Western Wall and the Tomb of Rachel near Bethlehem.
Pope Benedict responded by saying that the Christian church recognized the historical connection of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland Jerusalem, which goes back to the time of Abraham. He expressed his commitment to help foster understanding of the bond between the nation of Israel and the land of Israel among people throughout the world.
"As for Bibi, the first woman be sentenced to death for blasphemy, she continues to sit in prison," concluded Samuel. â€œHer husband, Ashiq Masih, recently told National Public Radio that he fears she may be killed in jail. He and their children also fear for their lives and have gone into hiding."
"When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with [their] teeth.
But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
And cast [him] out of the city, and stoned [him]: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.
And they stoned Stephen, calling upon [God], and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep."-Acts 7:54-60
"A video about persecution in Asia and other parts of the world and what you can do about it.
All my fellow brethrens in Christ, who has, is, and will be persecuted for their faith. In particular for Burhams, who were missionaries to my parents' homeland-Philippines. On Saturday, July 30th of 2005, I had the privilege to hear Gracia... (wife of deceased missionary that was killed in 2002) speak in person at Bethlehem's Baptist Chruch (north campus)- (spearheaded by Voice of the Martyrs)in Mounds View, MN.
I just wanted to say thank you (salmat po-Filipino) for the work you and your husband did in the Philippines. I was praying for you two when my sister, mom, and I were visiting relatives in October 2001 (post 9/11). I was following your story when I went back to the U.S. and it was very uplifting to hear you share in person at the Enduring Faith Conference (V.O.M.) in Minnesota on 7/30/05. My sister and I appreciated your shares as second generation Filipino Americans. Keep enduring in your faith as you help bring ours' and others' faith to another level!
Salamat po in Christ,