Sunday, September 28, 2008

PERSECUTED CHURCH

WELCOME TO MISSION 4 MONDAY!

This is a place to share with one another what God has you doing or have done as a purpose of serving Him right where you are daily, doing just what you feel God has put on your heart at one time or another. Perhaps you have a calling or realize that you were made for a mission and you are doing it, reaching out to others in some way. It may be for a short time or just being birthed in your heart at the moment. God uses each one of us and the glory and honor should go to Him! 

God does not call the equipped but equips those called, as I am finding out each day. 

If you would like more information about this meme, you can go to the information page by clicking here. We have had a good variety of MISSIONS and I pray you will join us with yours.
Since many of you are Christian bloggers, you have a MISSION. Let me share a new one for me.

I first heard of all this PERSECUTION issue of India probably through the same comment that many of you  received from Alan Pardoe

Yet did you know that 200 million Christians worldwide live under persecution? 

Campus Crusade for Christ says, "Since Jesus laid down His life, 43 million Christians have become martyrs." These numbers aMaze me not because of the multitudes alone but because how many of us go about our daily lives without even realizing this many are being persecuted.

I noticed it more and more as God was putting it on my heart to pray for our brothers and sisters being persecuted for Christ's sake, in these current days-in India but it is occurring in many parts of the world. As I prayed, in obedience only, I really had no idea how to pray without having an understanding of what was happening. I am sharing this because many times we say we will pray and we just utter a few sentences for the prayer concern or person. 

But when we get a burden for the prayer request or the Holy Spirit begins to stir inside you, you must do more. So I did. I found an excellent article on why & how to pray for those suffering but it was copyrighted. Thus,  I  try to summarize the key points below***.

I began researching and trying to grasp what it must be like for the Persecuted Church or a Christian asked to suffer, perhaps in many of these cases, die for their belief in Jesus Christ. Sometimes God chooses to magnify His name through His people counting Christ more precious than their own lives and dying in the process. Sometimes He is pleased to deliver His people out of persecution. Regardless of God's doing, we are responsible to pray for our brothers and sisters. 

Many of the Scripture references below I have used, but rarely do I quote the full context of the verse. Trust me, I am hardly well versed or educated about this crisis, but can't avoid doing something. This has not been a MISSION of mine ever but God wants me to prepare.

Because of all of this, again it was time for me to get out of my comfort zone so I had to look deep inside of me and ask, 

"Would you be able or willing to die for your faith?"

It is with this attitude that I ask you to read the following:

"Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life." Revelation 2:10

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?" Romans 8:25

"That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10

"Keep on loving each other as brothers(& sisters). Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." Hebrews 13:1-3

Here are all 13 references that Bible Gateway gave as results to PERSECUTION in the Bible. If you click on the verse Bible Gateway will share it:

  • Matthew 13:21
  • Mark 4:17
  • Mark 10:30
  • Acts 8:1 The Church Persecuted & Scattered
  • Acts 11:19
  • Acts 13:50
  • Romans 8:35
  • 2 Corinthians 12:10
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:7
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:4
  • 2 Timothy 3:11
  • Hebrews 10:33
  • Revelation 2:10
  • NOW READ WHAT IS HAPPENING:

    Most current report from Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) 

    INDIA_orissa

    Friday, September 26, 2008 Standing with the saints in Orissa

    A month has come and gone and still Christians in Orissa continue to suffer attacks at the hands of Hindus.  Blaming them for the death of Hindu leader Laxmananda Saraswati and angry over the numbers of Hindus coming to faith in Christ, mobs have driven thousands of Christians from their homes. Dozens of church buildings have been destroyed or damaged, at least 50 believers have been killed, schools and colleges have been attacked and vandalized, and numerous cases of forced conversions to Hinduism have been reported.  Even relief camps have been attacked, as mobs terrorize the refugees, sometimes poisoning the water supplies and/or stealing supplies.  The state government has done little to bring the situation under control.

    The Voice of the Martyrs has committed to sending aid to the Christians of Orissa. 

    (to read more go to http://persecutedchurch.blogspot.com/)

    also Voice of the Martyr http://www.persecution.com/topStory_indiaOrissaState.html

    Churches burned, Christians slaughtered in India

    Fri, 29 Aug 2008 - 3:35 PM CST

    In what could be eerily compared to the massacre of men, women and children burned alive or hacked to death in rioting that occurred in Kenya earlier this year, Hindu mobs are rampaging throughout the Orissa region of India, burning churches with people still inside and hacking other Christians to death.

    However, unlike Kenya, this outbreak of violence is linked totally to religion, and Christians are being hunted by Hindus who are methodically targeting, hunting and killing them wherever and whenever possible.

    "We have never seen anything like this," reports a U.S. Assemblies of God minister in India, whose name is being withheld for safety. "We knew that Orissa was the most resistant and hostile state in India as far as the gospel is concerned . . . . But none of our staff imagined that they would see this kind of carnage." (to read more go
    here)

    Phil Johnson shares:

    "Reports out of India over the past week or so describe a dramatic increase in violence against Christians mainly at the hands of radical Hindus in the state of Orissa. The conflicts are to a large degree rooted in Hinduism's caste system and Hindu resentment over lower-caste people who have converted from Hinduism to Christianity.


    But the incident that sparked the current violence was
    the August 23 murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, Orissa's top leader of Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), a hard-line Hindu nationalist organization. Saraswati was well-known for his militant opposition to Christianity. He is alleged to have directed the burning of hundreds of churches.





    Maoists (communists) have taken responsibility for Swami Saraswati's murder, but Christians have been the main targets of the radical Hindiu backlash. VHP leaders insist Christian missionaries plotted the murder.

    More than 50,000 Christians are said to have fled the region, hiding in jungles and forests to escape the violence. Many of them will likely be permanently dispossessed of all they have."

    Phil goes on to list forty-six typical acts of violence against Christians that have just taken place in less than one week as reported by Evangelical Fellowship of India. He mentions that the Web is full of stories (click to Google here to see) like this:

    Yesterday one of our church members B_____ P______ hailing from Orissa reported that Fanatic Hindus came to her home in Orissa and asked all of them to become Hindus. On refusal they started threatening the family, so her brother said, "We will worship our Lord Jesus." The Hindus said that they would kill him, and asked, "Don't you fear to be killed?" He said, "I am willing to die for Jesus." So they cut him in three pieces. They also killed her maternal uncle, burnt the whole house and threw them on the road. Kindly keep on praying. Things are started happening in our state also. Kindly see Orissa violence on Net for more information.

    I thank you all for praying, & we can say that He is El-Shaddi God. S_____ F______. 

    *********************************************************************

    How to Pray from the Bible

    Because the New Testament was written to persecuted believers, it is filled with examples of how to pray for our brothers and sisters under attack.

    Here are 5 examples from Ephesians:

    • Please pray persecuted believers would know the hope God gives (Ephesians 1:8).
    • Pray the Holy Spirit would strengthen them (Ephesians 3:16).
    • Please pray persecuted believers would know how much God loves them (Ephesians 3:17)
    • Pray they would know how to share the gospel (Ephesians 6:19).
    • Please pray persecuted believers would fearlessly tell others about Jesus (Ephesians 6:20).

    To create additional ways to pray from the Bible, take any book from the New Testament (except the gospels). Search for verses with the word "pray." Then use those verses to create prayer requests, just as in the 5 examples above.

    • Pray for their phyiscal protection and deliverance (Matthew 26:39; Acts 12:5; Phil.1:19; Philemon 22; Romans 15:30-31; Acts 20:23-24)
    • Pray that they will endure (Hebrews 10:36)
    • Pray that God would give them the right words and that they would fearlessly make Christ known.(Eph.6:19-20; Eph.4:2-4)
    • Pray that they will see God's grace as sufficient and God's power made perfect in their weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
    • Pray that they rejoice in sharing the sufferings of Jesus so that they will rejoice even more when Christ is revealed. (Heb. 10:34; Matt. 5:12; 1Peter 4:13)
    As I summarize from the 18 suggestions and I read these ways to pray, while people are actually suffering...I think again, that could be me. Could I pray this way if it were me or people I know?
    I must admit that I would not be ready nor would I be able to pray this way but now realize the immense reason that I should have these verses in memory so that I would recall them to pray them. And why it is so important to have the CHURCH pray UNITED for these concerns. For the day could still come when we may be in this same place of need or situation where we will
    want others to pray for us!

    You can read all of these 18 ways to pray with the verses here from the founder of Open Doors at ChristianAnswers.Net.

    How to Pray for Practical Needs

    Along with the example prayers in the Bible, there are some practical needs persecuted believers would love your prayers for:

    • Please pray persecuted believers would have access to a Bible.
    • Pray they have the courage to remain in their homeland.
    • Please pray for believers who have been rejected by family and friends. Pray that God would surround them with a new Christian "family" who loves them and supports them emotionally and physically.
    • Pray for God to be an advocate for women who are socially vulnerable or have lost the custody of their children because of their faith.
    • Please pray that God would provide persecuted believers with jobs and safe places to live.

    Learn more ways to pray for the persecuted church and read news alerts on current crises by visiting the Web site for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

    Support in Addition to Prayer

    "When we support them, it sends them the message 'I am not forgotten -- not by God and not by my brothers and sisters."

    You can:

    • Send a believer in hiding their first Bible.
    • Write letters to the government on behalf of persecuted believers.
    • Help pay the legal costs to defend a Christian falsely accused.
    • Help provide for a family whose father has been imprisoned or killed for his faith. (Help is given until they can find alternative means of support.)  

    The Bible League 

    http://www.bibleleague.org/persecuted/index.php is committed to reaching Persecuted Believers around the world. The second Sunday of November (November 9th or 16th) is International Day of Prayer of the Persecuted. Raise your church's awareness of Persecuted Christians. Bible League has an offer for a kit your church can useto raise awareness here.

    Also International Day of Prayer will have material available on October 1st here. 

    As well as Open Doors Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide has a free prayer kit now just click here.

    BIBLE LEAGUE asks: 

    "Imagine looking over your shoulder because you are studying a Bible, or worshipping in church. Imagine that if you are caught, you could be jailed, beaten, or even killed. To millions of Christians around the world, this is the stark reality."

    What if this happened to YOU? 

    [just like I had asked above.]

    BARNABAS FUND gives hope and aid for the persecuted church. Barnabas Ministries has a section called Daily Prayer Points. They share with us these words:

    "By obeying His command to love one another, we can help our brothers and sisters who live under the crushing pressure of persecution.

    “They are hurting, like the nails which were hurting the body of Christ. We are all members of the body of Christ. These kids are like the hurting wounds. So we have to treat them as if we are touching the body of Christ."

    [Leader of a ministry to disabled Christians in Egypt, which Barnabas Fund is assisting]

    My hopes with sharing this burden is not to convict or cause fear but that you will seriously consider your part, whether in prayer or whatever God lays on your heart for your part in HIS GREAT COMMISSION. 

    And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)

    "A cord of three strands is not quickly broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

    Together, we-you, one of these organizations and the Persecuted Christians, can boldly shine the light of Jesus in areas of oppression.

    You can promote in your church their participation in the

    INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER of THE PERSECUTED, Nov. 9th/16th 





    4 comments:

    Charlotte said...

    This is so sad. Satan has such a strong hold on India. It was amazing traveling around the countryside there at all the places they had set up for the worship of their idols. I am thankful there isn't this kind of persecution in the area where the Kulpahar Kids' Home is located. That country and other countries where Christians are persecuted and killed needs to be in our daily prayers. Thank you for bringing these things to our attention. I'll be back tomorrow to post my link. Blessings to you.

    Nancie said...

    "God does not call the equipped but equips those called." How true is this statement! Sometimes we feel so inadequate and tempted to refrain ourselves from doing what God has laid upon our heart to do for His kingdom's sake, but as we walk in obedience to Him in serving Him wherever He places us, we shall find that His grace is sufficient for us and He equips us to do His missions. We are instruments in hands of a mighty God and with Him all things are possible! Thanks for sharing this precious reminder with us, Peggy.

    Thanks too for sharing the links and extracts on how to pray for the persecuted. It is sad to remember that many Christians are suffering persecutions but yet we know also that this is God's way of sowing the seed and spreading the Gospel. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. May God give us grace to live and die for Him too when the needs arise. Meanwhile may He continue to preserve His people and give each one grace to serve Him. Thanks for sharing this encouraging and convicting post with us. It really challenges my heart to pray more earnestly for the persecuted, and also to faithfully serve the Lord in the missions He has given to me relying upon His strength and grace. Take care and may God continue to bless you in your various callings!

    Debra said...

    Peggy,

    Good morning dear sister. I have to tell you that reading about Orissa broke my heart again. We subscribe to the Voice of the Martyrs and we have many of the persecuted christians that they send to us actually posted all over our home. We have them on our refrigerator so each time we open it, we pray for their provision. We have them posted on our computers because the voice of the martyrs has a website that you can go to and send them a note of encouragement that they will translate in their language.

    We also petition the governments on behalf of those in prison. I have to tell you the first time I did this, I was scared. And then I felt the Lord telling me...of what? Why would you fear when you are in a free country...and better to speak up for ME then to sit silent.

    Next, this area, India, is very precious to my son, and to us. My son has a strong call to go there. He wants to serve there is some way. He has a strong sense of justice. He wants to take Bibles in. He wants to bring children to safety. We keep praying. He is 16 now...but if God keeps calling him, he could be there within 2 years.

    Blessings to you today as you share about our persecuted brothers and sisters and how we can be praying for them!!

    Debra said...

    Peggy,

    I have an award for you .. please come and see me.

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    We were ALL made for a mission...God has a unique purpose & plan for everyone.
    ALL MONTH, Every Week, Every Day...it's a lifetime experience!
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    A very special thanks to those of you (you know WHO you are) that faithfully have posted a MISSION4MONDAY whether you remember to link or not I appreciate it and if you are a regular and I notice, I have been linking you to the LINKY!
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    Lots going on over here at a mission field at home in the USA. PRAISE GOD & continue to pour out blessings on Auto Mission & Sherry w/Cowboy.
    Nancie was a participant in the very beginning, but unable to currently blog actively. Yet she still has much good material to read in her previous posts along her sidebar of a worldwide health mission.
    New blogger that shares MISSIONS at times:
    Here's a current post she shared.
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