It seems that every year, as we approach Christmas or Easter, the stories of persecution increase and this year seems to be no exception. Lets recall the scriptures, as directed to end times events:
""Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me." (Matthew 24:9).
"Fast-Growing Christian Churches Crushed in China".
"SOMALIA: CHRISTIAN MARTYRED".
"Catholic Church attacked, suspicions fall on Buddhist extremists".
CHINA: CHURCH LEADER SENTENCED".
"Church Burnt to Ashes by Hindu radicals in Andhra Pradesh State".
"Islamic Extremists Kill Somali Church Leader".
These are just a few recent stories to drive home the point. Persecution - a story that barely makes news anymore. Thankfully, we have groups who monitor and attempt to disseminate these stories to Christians, as the main-stream-media chooses to ignore the plight of Christians who suffer tremendously throughout the world, simply for following Jesus.
It is most definitely a sign of our times. Comparatively, there has never been an era such as this. It is estimated that between 150,000 - 160,000 Christians are put to death annually simply for peacefully practicing their faith.
Jesus seemed to hold these suffering followers close to His heart:
"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets before you."
We need to remember to pray for our brave brothers and sisters who are undergoing this persecution - those who are currently imprisoned, and those who must worship our Lord in hiding - constantly under threat of torture, beatings, death or imprisonment.
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