Most of us seem to accept the daily persecution that we endure as a Christian, here in the U.S.
Most of the Christians I know seem to accept this as daily life, as the form of persecution here in America is typically limited to the subtle comments (or sneering) by TV personalities, teachers, professors, work-groups, neighbors, etc. It seems perfectly acceptable in the U.S. to make comments or remarks which indicate: a) the stupidity of Christians, b) the "irrational" beliefs of a Christian (abortion, creation, right to pray in public, end-times-prophecy etc.), and, c) the ever-present "straw-man" argument that Christians are "haters" whenever they express views that are contrary to the main-stream-media's beliefs. These are just a few examples.
We have also seen our basic beliefs constantly ridiculed: it seems that attacks on Christianity are perfectly acceptable, in fact fashionable in our society, but these rules don't apply to ANY OTHER religion, such as Islam, Buddhism, etc., where their beliefs are protected to the nth degree.
But of course, we know from biblical prophecy that this would be an end-times sign of this age:
"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)
"All men will hate you because of me" (Mark 13:13)
That brings us to two current stories - stories which may indicate that persecution in the U.S. is progressing in a more ominous way:
"NEWS ALERT: Street Preachers Killed in the United States"
In this heartbreaking story, we see that two young men, who were simply preaching the Gospel of Christ Jesus, were gunned down:
"Tite Sufra, 24, and Stephen Ocean, 23, were shot and killed late Saturday, January 30, in Boynton Beach in the U.S. State of Florida, where they evangelized, after meeting 18-year-old Jeriah Woody, local police said."
"They witnessed to Woody for fifteen minutes when he got a phone call and told the preachers he 'had to go', added the Commission, which closely monitored the case."
"As they walked away, Woody suddenly started walking back toward them. Sufra walked up to greet him and was killed with a shot gun blast at point blank range. When Ocean ran, he was shot in the back. After he fell, Woody shot him in the head execution style."
"Woody was detained Wednesday, February 3, and is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Bail was reportedly denied to him."
"Cass complained about a lack of interest in national media. "As of today, there are no national news organizations reporting this vicious murder of two innocent Christian men. Why?" Cass said, "I'll ask this: If two Muslims, or
two feminists or two homosexuals were murdered, wouldn't the media be all over it? These were two fine young black Christian men shot by another black man for their Christian faith, yet the media does not seem to care."
"East Texas on edge over church fires"
"9th, 10th Texas Church Fires Ruled Arson"
"Two More Churches Burn in East Texas"
There have been 10 churches burned in east Texas just since January 1. This would seem to be an occurrence saved for China or perhaps Pakistan (just to name two of the many places we would expect to see this), but in the United States?
It seems persecution is growing worse here in the U.S.
As the rhetoric (generally accepted by Christians) seems to increase, violent acts against Christians are also increasing in scope and magnitude. Two of our brothers murdered in cold blood for simply attempting to proclaim the gift of salvation that Jesus offers to everyone - based on His work on the cross. And that warrants a response leading to murder?
Ten churches - churches in which people gather to peacefully worship Christ Jesus on Sunday mornings - burned to the ground.
In America, 2010.
It will only get worse, as the road to the Tribulation continues. Jesus warned us.
But remember this:
They can take our churches. They can take our religious freedom. They can scoff at us. They can attempt to make us look "stupid". They can argue with us. They can marginalize us. They can attempt to evoke fear in our hearts. They can make it illegal to pray in public. They can scoff. They can intimidate. They can even murder us in cold blood.
But they can never ever take our faith. They can never ever take our permanent destination - Heaven - away from us. Nor will they be able to stop the chain of events that is rapidly approaching.
And no matter what they say - they will never be able to change or stop what happened on the cross. Its too late. Jesus won the day for us and that will NEVER EVER change - despite their attempts to do so.
Jesus seemed to have a special feeling for those who endured persecution:
"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, as it is for the prophets before you" (Matthew 5:17).
Persecution: Its just another sign of the times.