Posts Tagged 'Persecution'

Are You Prepared To Die?

not-persecuted

The modern day “church” is sound asleep.

It has been gently rocked into malaise by smooth-talking false teachers – aided by greedy Christians who want their “best life now”, and can scarcely read and understand enough of God’s Word to compel them to even leave the bed every morning.

I don’t write that arrogantly – I lament and mourn at the state of Christ’s Bride today (or Christianity, Inc. as I often call it). For every sound teacher and sheep thirsty for the Word, their are thousands of pretenders who are leading millions dutifully into the lake of fire.

News Flash – as Christians, we must be prepared to suffer for the sake of the Gospel…and even die for it. I know that’s not the sexy “just speak health and wealth over your life and God will move!” message “taught” in churches across the land, but it is God’s truth. Here are two excellently presented (and sobering) reminders of our role as Ambassadors for the Word of God:

“Prepare to Die!” by ProclaimHisWord

“You Will Suffer” by John Piper (posted at sermonindex)

May God continue to grant peace and strength through His Son to His sheep so that we are able to stand for Him and declare His truth in these final and evil days.

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What Would YOU Do?

I want to introduce you to Keith Tolbert of Covington (suburban Atlanta), Georgia, and his blog: In Submission To Sovereignty.

Keith is an airline pilot who escaped Eddie Long’s plantation years ago.

Keith is also a prolific blogger (even though he’s not on WordPress 😦 ) and a student of Reformation theology. I’ve been reading his blog for the past 3 months (at the suggestion of my colleague Independent Conservative after I escaped a plantation myself).

I just added Keith to my blogroll. I would’ve done it sooner but for the fact that I recently started studying reformation myself – and most believers today don’t want to grasp the concept of the true foundation of our faith.

Let’s face it: the five solas just aren’t as sexy as the “name it and claim it” prosperity heresy that is preached in most pulpits today.

Anyway, Keith’s latest post is a great read:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

 

Separating the Men from the Rabbits

In general, I would consider myself to be a fairly optimistic person. I believe I have very good reason to be optimistic because I know God wins every time. When it comes to converting false teachers in the church and awakening their ardent followers; however, I have to admit that the prospects of overwhelming success are quite minute. The deceived are content and the deceivers love having it so. Confronted with this reality, I have often asked myself what would have to happen to change this situation. Today I was reminded of a story that was once emailed to me. It went something like this . . .

“One Sunday morning, Rev. Smith (not his real name)was about to begin his sermon at ____________(insert name)___________(insert denomination)Church. Just as he was about to speak, the doors to the sanctuary were thrown open. Ten masked men, dressed in black and brandishing semi-automatic weapons charged into the room. The leader of the intruders stepped forward and announced, “We are going to kill every Christian in this room. If you wish to live, deny your Christ and we will spare you and let you leave.” The men went through the congregation of more than 100 people and demanded their denial of the Lord Jesus. When they were through all that remained were the ten masked men, Rev. Smith and 15 of the congregants. Among those who denied Jesus and fled were: 3 ushers, 6 deacons and the entire mass choir. (click here to read the rest)

After reading Keith’s article, you should ask yourself “What would I do in that circumstance?”.
And don’t give the religious answer…would you contend for the faith, even to the point of death?

Could That Happen Here?

I came across an interesting article in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Bardot on trial for allegedly inciting anti-Muslim hatred

Brigitte Bardot is back on trial in France, facing charges of fanning discrimination and racial hatred against Muslims.

In a Paris court hearing Tuesday, prosecutors said they are seeking a two-month suspended prison sentence and a $23,900 fine against the former screen siren and animal rights campaigner. (click here to read the full story)

The article states that Bardot (an animal rights activist) complained several times in the past about the Muslim feast of Eid al Adha.

Because I’m not a scholar of Islamic tradition, I did some research and discovered what probably made Bardot complain to the French government in the first place (my emphasis in bold):

Men, women, and children are expected to dress in their finest clothing to perform Eid prayer (Salatu’l-`id) in any mosque. Muslims who can afford to do so sacrifice their best domestic animals (usually sheep, but also camels, cows, and goats) as a symbol of Ibrahim’s (Abraham’s) sacrifice.

As Christians, we understand that animal sacrifice was rendered unnecessary and obsolete because Jesus became the Sacrificial Lamb, thereby paying the debt of sin for everyone who believes in Him.

I don’t know any more details of this case, or of the previous instances where Bardot has been accused of “Muslim racism”. I will point out, however, that she is being prosecuted by the government for complaining about a religious “tradition”.

In an age where embracing universalism and “world love and unity” is accepted (and encouraged) while we who claim the Name of Jesus Christ are deemed fanatics and kooks – can this kind of government persecution happen here?

“In The World You Have Tribulation…”

33“These things I have spoken to you, so that (E)in Me you may have peace (F)In the world you have tribulation, but (G)take courage; (H)I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)

These are the words that Christ shared with His disciples as He was preparing to lay down His life in order to bring salvation to the world.

It’s a fitting admonition in light of the hostility that many believers face in the world today.

I’m a little late on this, but I found a report released by Open Door USA listing the top 50 most dangerous places in the world for Christians. The report was released in February, but it is still relevant, nonetheless.

I realize that this subject isn’t alluring to most “Christians”, and it’s not as interesting as reading about the latest antics of a pulpit pimp or false teacher.

This subject, however, is one of the core results of embracing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

More specifically, it makes pulpit pimping all the more shameful because we’re distracted by these false teachers and wolves while our brothers and sisters are really suffering for the sake of the Kingdom all over the globe.

Take a look at this map:

The red sections are where most believers are really pursuing the Gospel under duress. Here are the top 10 persecutors of our brothers and sisters:

  1. North Korea
  2. Saudi Arabia
  3. Iran
  4. Maldives
  5. Bhutan
  6. Yemen
  7. Afghanistan
  8. Laos
  9. Uzbekistan
  10. China

“ProclaimHisWord”, one of my favorite you tube evangelist duo’s, did an excellent exposition on this list when it was first released:

This shouldn’t surprise us because the book of Revelation is replete with the events that must occur before the coming of our Lord.

It should, however, remind us of our true calling through Jesus Christ – to declare that He is the way to salvation and eternal life.

Please continue to pray that the Lord’s Will be done through His representatives around the globe – even as they suffer for the sake of the Gospel:

Share the Sufferings of Christ

 12(A)Beloved, do not be surprised at the (B)fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;

 13but to the degree that you (C)share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the (D)revelation of His glory (E)you may rejoice with exultation.

 14If you are reviled (F)for the name of Christ, (G)you are blessed, (H)because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

 15Make sure that (I)none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a (J)troublesome meddler;

 16but if anyone suffers as a (K)Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to (L)glorify God in this name.

 17For it is time for judgment (M)to begin with (N)the household of God; and if it (O)begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those (P)who do not obey the (Q)gospel of God?

 18(R)AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE (S)GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?

 19Therefore, those also who suffer according to (T)the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. (1 Peter 4:12-19)

Remember, He has already overcome the world…

“…And the people said nothing”.

There is a war going on – a conflict between radical Islam vs. everyone else.

I’m not speaking exclusively about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m specifically speaking of the REAL war on Christianity that is being waged in countries around the globe.

While the pimps here in America are being used by the devil to distract us into “naming and claiming”“sowing a seed to reap a harvest”, and “submitting to their spiritual fatherhood”, this is what’s happening in China – the home of the 2008 Olympic Games:

CHINA: CHRISTIAN MISTREATED IN PRISON FOR ‘INSULTING’ MUSLIMS

Guards, Islamic inmates bullying Liu Huiwen for distributing gospel leaflet.

Liu Huiwen
Liu Huiwen

BANGKOK, March 18 (Compass Direct News) – Liu Huiwen, a Chinese Christian sentenced to 18 months imprisonment last November for distributing a gospel leaflet to Muslims in Gansu province, is suffering mistreatment in a Muslim-majority prison, local sources told Compass.

After a recent prison visit (allowed only twice a month), Liu’s wife Miao Hui Lian said that he was limping badly and looked very thin. Liu, unable to speak openly, told his wife that the prison was a “very bad place” and that he was being “bullied constantly.”

When Liu’s wife attempted to travel to Beijing to report the suspected abuse, police warned her to stay at home and make no complaint.

She is under heavy police surveillance, a Compass source confirmed.

After his wife’s recent prison visit, a local source told Compass that, “We have reason to believe the guards or inmates are punishing him for what he did and trying to cast terror into his heart.”

They also claimed prison guards had withheld food and other items taken into the prison for Liu.

Liu, 39, was arrested on April 28, 2007 after distributing a leaflet entitled “A Letter To Our Muslim Friends” during a funeral in Manping Groupin Ketuo village, part of the Dongxiang Autonomous Region, a Muslim-majority ethnic area in Gansu province. (read the rest here)

We’re too busy worshiping Baal and running behind his false prophets (or “profits”, if you will) to make the decision to do the Lord’s work across the globe.

May God have mercy on us all…

21Elijah came near to all the people and said, “(A)How long will you hesitate between two opinions? (B)If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people did not answer him a word. (2 Kings 18:21

Suffering for the Sake of the Gospel

Generally, we hear 1 Peter 4:12-13 preached to counter the harsh talk that our resident “man of God” receives in the barber shop or beauty parlor. Never mind that fact that our resident “man of God” may exploit the Gospel message for personal gain, twist scripture to justify his unholy lifestyle, or just flat out misrepresent the true Kingdom of God – he feels as though he’s being “persecuted”, so he encourages us to defend him and to prepare to receive the same “persecution” that he receives.

Usually, after he reminds us to “touch not my anointed” (another text generally quoted out of context – but that discussion is for another time), he reminds us that Peter told us that we shouldn’t be surprised when we suffer (like Christ) because of the Gospel.

The reality is that most of our leaders in the Body of Christ get called on the carpet because of their duplicitous lifestyles – period. Sure, the Gospel suffers, but it’s an unintended consequence. Are there naysayer’s out there that seek to bad mouth God, His leaders, and His Word? Absolutely. But we give the naysayer’s ammunition when we (and our leaders) fail to yield to the Holy Spirit COMPLETELY, so we can’t be surprised when it comes back to bite us.

That was my introduction – here’s the point. My friends over at A Little Leaven highlight what really happens when you attempt to spread the Gospel into the outermost parts of the world (as we were commanded to do).

While we’re feeling persecution because we have to wait in traffic to get in and out of our colossal and impressive “worship centers”:  

 

“Pastor” Joel Osteen preaches a candy coated “gospel” that turns Jesus into your personal genie and life coach. So, from time to time, we’re going to ask “Pastor Osteen” …what about those Christians who are suffering persecution and death because of their belief in the Biblical gospel. Should we assume that these people are suffering persecution needlessly since Osteen believes they should be able to experience their ‘best lives now’? Today we are featuring Pastor Zaur Balaev.

Location: Azerbaijan    Arrested: May 2007

On May 20, 2007, Pastor Zaur Balaev was arrested for “conducting an illegal religious meeting” in his home village in Aliabad, Azerbaijan. In August, he was sentenced to two years in prison under Article 315, Part 1, for allegedly violently resisting the police during a raid. The authorities first claimed that Pastor Balaev released a dog on police, but have since claimed he attacked five policemen and damaged a car door. During the trial, some witnesses reported that police had pressured them into testifying against Pastor Balaev.We thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for men like Pastor Zaur Balaev for their bravery and willingness to forego their ‘best lives now’ so that they can share the true Biblical gospel in countries where being a Christian guarantees persecution, suffering and even martyrdom.

 

 

I’ll end with with Peter’s own words:

“If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you”. (1 Peter 4:14)


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