Tag Archives: persecution

Does Persecution Still Exist?

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  (Matthew 5:10-12 NKJV)

For the last few days, I’ve pondered about what to write about persecution.  Lord, what would You have me write?  Many of us, who have been blessed to live in the United States, are often ignorant of the persecution and crimes committed against Christians.  We often, mistakenly think that the persecution of Christians and Jews is a thing of the past, but that is terribly foolish and wrong, for many of our brothers and sisters around the world are being persecuted, even now, as you read this message.

Indeed, I believe that there is coming a day, when even U.S. citizens will be persecuted for their faith in Christ.  In fact, that day has already begun.

“But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.  (Mark 13:9-13 NKJV)  

We are living in dangerous times.  You don’t have to look far to see how children have turned against their parents, and parents have turned against their children.  In other countries, we’ve seen how families from other beliefs, (Hindu, Buddhist, and Islam for example) have turned against their own loved ones, by disinheriting them, beating and torturing them, and even killing them, simply because they believe in Jesus.  

The chart listed above, shows the statistics for 2018, for persecuted Christians around the world.  It is eye opening, and if you are a child of God, then this should concern you, because those persecuted Christians are your brothers and sisters in Christ.  I got this information from the following website:

www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/ 

According to these statistics, approximately 8 Christians die daily, for their faith, which totals 255 Christians monthly.  For those who live in the U.S., can you imagine waking up each day, not knowing whether this is the day that someone will betray you for your faith in Christ?  Can you imagine wondering, throughout the day, whether you may be murdered because you are a follower of Christ?  The statistics tell us that 104 people each month, which is a little more than 3 people daily, are abducted for their faith.  Imagine, being snatched from your home, your place of employment, or from the streets, because you are a Christian.  As if this isn’t bad enough, 180 women are raped, sexually harassed, or forced into unwanted marriages every month.  That’s 6 women who are raped, forced into unwanted, mostly abusive marriages and sexually harassed every day, just because they love Jesus.  Imagine the fear, shame and pain that these women endure!  66 churches every month are attacked, and 160 Christians are arrested and imprisoned for their faith, without benefit of a trial.

Beloved reader, don’t just sigh and shake your head.  Do you know that if you are a believer, you, too, may one day suffer persecution?  I don’t share this with you to frighten you, but so that you won’t be caught unaware.  Do you know that here, in the U.S., Christians are being sued for standing up for their faith, which is our first amendment right?

You don’t often hear about these things on broadcast news media outlets, or in most newspapers, because defending the rights of Christians is not part of their agenda.  Instead, many are trying to silence Christians, because true believers refuse to embrace sinful lifestyles, such as abortion, adultery, fornication and homosexuality, to name just a few.  Christians, such as our Vice-President, Mike Pence, are mocked and ridiculed for our beliefs.

Nonbelievers claim that Christians are narrow-minded and intolerant, and yet, they are the ones who are trying to silence us.  All too often, debates end in name calling and false accusations.  They do this because, All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.”  (John 3:20 NLT)  

Beloved, in these last days, don’t be shocked by the things that are happening in the world around you, and in your world.  For Jesus warned us about this…

12 “But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are My followers. 13 But this will be your opportunity to tell them about Me. 14 So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, 15 for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you! 16 Even those closest to you—your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—will betray you. They will even kill some of you.17 And everyone will hate you because you are My followers. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish! 19 By standing firm, you will win your souls.”  (Luke 21:12-19 NLT)

Indeed, my friend, I suggest that we shouldn’t be surprised that people hate us because of our faith.  We should instead, be surprised by the ones who don’t hate us.  So, what can we do about this persecution of God’s people?  There is one thing that every one of us can do, no matter where we live, or what our circumstances are.  We can pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ, who are suffering. The Apostle Paul even let us know what to pray for our brothers and sisters, and so did the writer of Hebrews… 

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.  

19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for Him, as I should.  (Ephesians 6:18-20 NLT)

Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.  (Hebrews 13:3 NLT)

Jesus promised that the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are persecuted for His name’s sake, and that they will receive a great reward.  Beloved, let’s be active in our prayers for our persecuted brethren, and remember, you or I could very well be the next one to be persecuted for our faith.  And if, you or I do suffer from persecution one day, hold tight to Jesus’ promise, and may we have the same attitude that Peter had…  

12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. 

17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” 

19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.  (1 Peter 4:12-19  NKJV)

Links to sites about Christian persecution:

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

FREE MERIAM YEHYA IBRAHIM

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. (1 Peter 5:8-9 ~ NLT)

Meriam Ibrahim WesternJournalism.com
Meriam Ibrahim
WesternJournalism.com

This past weekend, those of us who live in the United States of America, celebrated Memorial Day, a time for us to honor those who fought and died, as well as those who continue to fight, so that we can live in freedom. Because of the sacrifice of our forefathers, we are granted certain inalienable rights, and among those are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is because of the first amendment to the constitution, that I am free to worship my God in spirit and in truth. Because I live in a country that recognizes this fundamental freedom, I can openly declare to everyone who reads this post that I believe that I am a child of God Almighty, and I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, who was crucified for the sins of mankind, was dead for three days, and arose from the dead on the third day. I can also tell you without fear of reprisal, that Jesus Christ will come again on the clouds.

Martin Wani, Meriam's Son GistOnThis.com
Martin Wani, Meriam’s Son
GistOnThis.com

Freedoms we take for granted, are what makes Meriam Ibrahim’s situation so untenable. If you haven’t heard, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, a Sudanese Christian woman, married to U.S. citizen, Daniel Wani, was sentenced to death by hanging, for apostasy two weeks ago, and imprisoned in a Sudanese prison with her twenty month old son, a U.S. citizen. When she and her child were imprisoned, she was eight months pregnant.

Since then, Merriam gave birth to a daughter, who was born a month prematurely. Neither her husband, or her attorney have been permitted to see Merriam or her newborn. Hence, no-one is sure of their health. However, when Daniel saw her last week, before she gave birth, she was shackled in her cell. Since giving birth, Meriam’s sentence will now be delayed for two years, to allow her to nurse her baby, in accordance with Sudanese law.

So, what’s the point of this post? This is not just a sad story for everyone to sigh and say, “What a shame!” As citizens of the WORLD, each and every one of us have been given certain unalienable rights. Though some nations guarantee these rights, that’s not what I’m talking about. I am talking about the rights given to ALL MANKIND by our CREATOR, who gives everyone a free will to choose who and what to believe…

Because we are all men and women, I’m asking you to take a stand and cry out on Meriam Yehya Ibrahim’s behalf. This is not a cry for any one race, religious group or culture, but a cry for humanity. Whatever your faith, surely you can see the wickedness that is being perpetrated against this woman, her husband and her children, simply because of her faith. I am a strong Spirit-filled Christian, however, if I heard about someone from another faith being imprisoned and executed for his/her faith, I would cry out on that person’s behalf as well.

Meriam Ibrahim to be hung inilah.com
Meriam Ibrahim to be hung
inilah.com

Therefore, I urge everyone who reads this post, to go to http://beheardproject.com/Meriam and sign the petition demanding the government of Sudan to free Meriam Yehya Ibrahim and her children from prison. Christians, please, also pray for this sister in Christ…

Finally, remember, Christianity is not a crime!

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

American Pastor Imprisoned In Iran To Go On Trial Next Week

Head to your favorite online news source. Pick an article with a headline that grabs you. Now, write a short story based on the article.
Daily Prompt: Ripped from the Headlines!

I visited the Fox News website, and as soon as I saw the following headline, I knew that I must participate in this prompt. The link below will take you to the fox news website, where that article can be read.

American Pastor Imprisoned In Iran To Go On Trial Next Week

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/01/14/trial-date-set-for-american-pastor-imprisoned-in-iran/?test=latestnews#ixzz2I09Tx4ny

What follows is my telling of this story, but before I continue, I want to cry out to all of my brothers and sisters in Christ to please join me in praying for this young Pastor, Saeed Abedini, as well as for other Christian men, women and children throughout the world who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Photo Credit: Pastor Saeed Abedini (COURTESY OF ACLJ)

And when the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their witness. They called loudly to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before You judge the people who belong to this world for what they have done to us? When will You avenge our blood against these people?” Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters — their fellow servants of Jesus — had been martyred. (Revelation 6:9-11 NLT)

In July 2012, Saeed Abedini, a 32-year old Pastor and United States citizen, was arrested in Iran while working on an orphanage project that was not affiliated with any religion. However, because Mr. Abedini, a former Iranian citizen, had been deterred and interrogated in Iran once before, in 2009, for converting from Islam to Christianity in 2000, and for helping to create a network of underground churches in Iran, he is now being held for trial, which is to begin on January 21, 2013, for trying to convert Muslims to the Christian faith, which is punishable by the death penalty.

My friends, this is a gross injustice and a violation of Mr. Abedini’s human rights. Let us not forget that while Saeed was once an Iranian citizen, he abdicated his citizenry to that country, and is now a citizen of the United States of America. It saddens me greatly that the United States government has remained silent regarding this matter. There has been no action from any of the U.S. government agencies on Saeed Abedini’s behalf. It’s as if he doesn’t exist.

(Photo: American Center for Law and Justice) Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini with his wife, Naghmeh, and his two children. While visiting his parents in Iran in July 2012, Abedini was arrested by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard for his previous Christian work in the country. Read more at http://global.christianpost.com/news/us-pastor-saeed-abedini-faces-notorious-hanging-judge-in-iran-88027/#oj7lu77c2oUlwuOk.99

This man is not only a Christian, but a husband and the father of two children. Surely he deserves our prayers at the very least. It has also been reported by Mr. Abedini, in a letter (please click link to read) that was written to his wife, that he has been abused by his captors.

When I first determined to write this Daily Prompt, it was just another opportunity for me to share the gospel in my writing, but as I’ve been researching this story, it has become more than that to me. This is a very personal issue. Men and women of the United States, do you realize how very blessed we are to live in a country where we are free to worship as we choose? Whether you are Christian, Buddhist, Islam, Atheist or whatever religion you are, if you live in the United States of America, you have been granted your God-given right to practice your faith in this country. I don’t care what your faith is or is not, every U.S. citizen who reads about Mr. Abedini’s imprisonment should be outraged by it.

And if you are not a U.S. citizen, but you have been granted the freedom to worship as you choose, you too, should be outraged by his incarceration as well. For those who are living in a country that does not afford you the right to freedom of religion, please know that my heart goes out to you, as well. No one should be imprisoned, beat, tortured or put to death for practicing your faith in God.

This is why I am urging everyone, aged 18 and older, whether you are a U.S. citizen, or a citizen of another country, to sign the Petition to Free American Pastor Saeed Abedini, by clicking the link.

I’ve never before written a post where I asked people to take action, but I strongly feel in my spirit that I must do so now. Saeed Abedini’s case has been turned over to Judge Pir-Abassi, and his court date is next Monday, January 21, 2013. His trial date and the charges against him were withheld from his attorneys until less than a week before his trial. He desperately needs our prayers and action now.

Judge Pir-Abassi, who was named in 2011 by the European Union as an individual subject to sanctions for human rights violations. The judge has reportedly presided over a number of cases against human rights activists, often handing down long prison sentences and even several death penalties – with some calling him one of Iran’s “hanging judges.”
Read more at http://global.christianpost.com/news/us-pastor-saeed-abedini-faces-notorious-hanging-judge-in-iran-88027/#I5vljeXtx1VHQg2X.99

Therefore, I am doing something I’ve never done before. I am asking every person who reads this article to sign the petition, and you have my permission to either reblog what I’ve written, or copy from it. I don’t care or worry about any copyright infringements on this article. What matters most is that we unite together as human beings to free this man of God, who was simply trying to start an orphanage for Iranian children when he was arrested.

Many thanks for reading this, and many more thanks and blessings to all who take action. May God bless you all!

Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – You Are the Light of the World

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16 NLT).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qt6Vw9_X1AI

I love this scripture! It made me think of the old Newsboys song, Shine and you know I just had to post that! 🙂

Light of the World
Light of the World (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Don’t you just love the Lord and His word? Just think about what He’s saying here. The Light of the world is telling us that we are the light of the world! How about that? Did you ever think of it that way before? I’ve read this Scripture many times, but tonight, He just spoke that to my heart… The Light calls us the light…

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into His family — calling Him “Father, dear Father.” For His Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children. And since we are His children, we will share His treasures — for everything God gives to His Son, Christ, is ours, too. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering (Romans 8:14-17 NLT).

So, since I’m a light, what should I do? I know! I should do what the Light does, right? So let me see… Life itself was in Him, and this life gives light to everyone. The Light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it (John 1:4-5 NLT)… “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16 NLT)… Jesus said to the people, “I am the Light of the world. If you follow Me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the Light that leads to life” (John 8:12 NLT).

Ok – Jesus, the Light, shines in the darkness… He went to dark places and the darkness can never extinguish His light! So if the Light goes to dark places and shines, then you and I, the lights, must go into dark places and shine! And praise God! He gives us instruction in case we don’t know how to shine… All we have to do is follow Him! If we follow Him, we wont be stumbling through the darkness because we will have the Light – His Light – that leads to life.

Do you see? When we follow Him, His light shines through us, and we are able to go to the dark places, as we follow Jesus, and we will shine. Isn’t that awesome?

A powerful light shines in the dark.
A powerful light shines in the dark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But we’ve got to be wise. Not everyone is going to welcome the Light… “There is no judgment awaiting those who trust Him. But those who do not trust Him have already been judged for not believing in the only Son of God. Their judgment is based on this fact: The Light from heaven came into the world, but they loved the darkness more than the Light, for their actions were evil. They hate the Light because they want to sin in the darkness. They stay away from the Light for fear their sins will be exposed and they will be punished. But those who do what is right come to the Light gladly, so everyone can see that they are doing what God wants” (John 3:18-21 NLT). 

Don’t think there’s something wrong with you or with the message the Lord has given you when people reject you, because they don’t want their sins exposed. Don’t be surprised if people get angry with you, if they hate you, if they plot against you and even if they violently attack you. Don’t hide your light because of this.

http://panafricannews.blogspot.com/2012/04/16-reported-killed-in-nigerian-church.html

Brothers and sisters, we have to shine, not for our own glory, but for the glory of the Lord! We mustn’t shine so people will pat us on the back and tell us what good people we are. No! We must let His light shine through us so that people will give glory to God!

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16 NLT).

© 2012

Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – Blessed Are Those Who Are Persecuted For Righteousness’ Sake…

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12 NKJV).

http://dl.creationswap.com/7002.jpg
http://dl.creationswap.com/7002.jpg

I love the Word of God… I love the Words of Jesus… His words are always true. He doesn’t try to sugar coat anything. He just tells it like it is. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NKJV). 

When I was younger, I remember being told that if you’ll just come to the Lord, your life will be so much happier, so much easier. So, when I first began this journey with Christ, I was wearing rose colored glasses. I really thought everyone at church would love me, and that my family and everyone else who knew me would be as happy for me as I was. Bless my heart! I was so naive. Was anyone else out there as ignorant of the truth as I was?

I quickly learned the cold, hard truth when I got home after church on the Sunday that I was born again. I was around 12 or 13 years old, and I was so overjoyed as I ran into the house after getting off the church bus. “Mom, Dad – guess what?” I shouted as I ran into the den. “I got saved today – I’m born again!”

I’ll never forget my mom’s reaction as she and Dad exchanged a look (You know the kind of look I’m talking about, don’t you? A look that says, “Oh no! She’s really lost her mind this time – she’s gone off the deep end!”), then Mom said very coldly, “I do hope you’re not turning into one of those holy rollers like the Whites (Mr. & Mrs. White were the church bus ministers who were instrumental in leading me to Christ. They were living testimonies of the love of Jesus and I can only pray that I can be as Christ-like as they were.), because if you are, you’re just going to have to stop going to that church.”

So much for everyone being happy for my new found joy! I was totally unprepared for the response I received, and as I look back on it, I see that my ignorance about the reality of living a life with Christ led to much confusion over the years, as I eventually backslid because I couldn’t really be saved and be so hurt by people who loved me, could I? 

When my stepfather, the man that I loved and thought of as my Daddy molested me a short time later, I was certain that God didn’t really love me, and that I must be too wicked for Him to love and save me. I remember trying so hard to be a good person so that I could earn His love, but failing miserably as I was a slave to the rebelliousness, sin and pain that shackles people who have been abused.

http://i220.photobucket.com/albums/dd211/driselda/spiritual-warfare-by-cooper.jpg
http://i220.photobucket.com/albums/dd211/driselda/spiritual-warfare-by-cooper.jpg
By the time I was in my mid to late teens, I fell away from the Lord. Oh I still believed in Him – that faith never wavered, but I didn’t believe that He could really love me. And I couldn’t change myself, no matter how hard I tried. You see, in my naivete, I didn’t realize that I was in the midst of a war for my soul. I had no idea that the enemy was persecuting me, and because no one had taught me what to expect and how to combat it, I felt like dying…

BUT GOD! I didn’t know it then, but Jesus had chosen me! And He had no intention of losing me to the enemy. “My sheep recognize My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them away from Me, for My Father has given them to Me, and He is more powerful than anyone else. So no one can take them from Me” (John 10:27-29 NLT). 

Oh, to be sure, I lost my way for several years, and yet every time I sinned, there was a war raging inside of me. When I got drunk for the first time, I heard the voice of the Lord telling me, “Don’t do it,” but I ignored Him and did it anyway. When I got high for the first time that same night, again I heard Him speak, but I didn’t recognize His voice. I didn’t want to hear what He was saying to me, so I continued to ignore Him. When I committed the sin of fornication, I heard His voice again, telling me, “No Cheryl, don’t do it,” but I did it anyway. And when He told me not to be unequally yoked, I argued with Him and told Him that I would change my future husband’s heart. I’ve been married to that man for more than 31 years now, and the only one who has changed is me!

But do you see? He never let me go! He kept loving me, wooing me, drawing me and I was like a moth drawn to a flame… I couldn’t resist Him. Out of everyone in the whole world, He was the only One who knew every dirty detail about me, and He still wanted me! Such love is hard to resist… He loved me through my own private hell… He loved me when no one else did! He loves me with a love that won’t let me go!

And because of that unrelenting love that He has shown me, I, like the prophet Jeremiah respond to Him saying, “O Lord, You induced me, and I was persuaded; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; Everyone mocks me. For when I spoke, I cried out; I shouted, “Violence and plunder!” Because the word of the Lord was made to me A reproach and a derision daily. Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not. For I heard many mocking: “Fear on every side!” “Report,” they say, “and we will report it!” All my acquaintances watched for my stumbling, saying, “Perhaps he can be induced; Then we will prevail against him, And we will take our revenge on him.” But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome One. Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail. They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper. Their everlasting confusion will never be forgotten (Jeremiah 20:7-11 NLT).

So you see, my beloved brothers and sisters, in this world we will suffer for Christ, but His never ending love makes it all worth it! “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12 NKJV).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6I16L_O49Y

© 2012

Cheryl A. Showers