Persecuted gems

Discussion in 'Blogs & Columns' started by totallylovedbyGOD, Apr 14, 2017.

  1. totallylovedbyGOD

    Sep 22, 2015
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    "How deep the Father's love for us,
    How vast beyond all measure,
    That He should give His only Son
    To make a wretch His treasure.
    How great the pain of searing loss --
    The Father turns His face away,
    As wounds which mar the Chosen One
    Bring many sons to glory."

    ~ Stuart Townend

    EGYPT: Palm Sunday Bombings Lead to Prayer Vigils

    Sources: World Evangelical Alliance, Christian Today, BBC

    Pray for the safety and peace of Christians residing in Egypt.

    On April 9th, explosions targeting Palm Sunday services at two churches in Egypt killed at least 44 people and injured over a hundred others. According to reports, the first bomb exploded during the morning service of St. George's Church in Tanta, a city less than 96 kilometres north of Cairo, killing 27 people and wounding 78 others. Just hours later, the second explosion -- a suicide bomb attack -- killed a further 17 Christians and injured 48 at St. Mark's Cathedral in Alexandria.

    Palm Sunday's bombings are the latest in a series of attacks targeting Christians in the country. In December 2016, ISIS claimed responsibility for a Cairo church bombing that killed almost 30 innocent people. At least seven more individuals have been murdered by militants in northern Egypt since January 30th -- with victims being burned alive, stabbed in their sleep, or shot in the street. In February, the jihadist group released a video inciting violence against the "infidel" Christian faith community. A previous report is available here.

    Due to the increasing number of threats and attacks, hundreds of Christians fled the coastal city of El-Arish, Sinai, in late February. Egypt's president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a three-month nationwide state of emergency following the attacks, and established a Supreme Council to Combat Terrorism and Fanaticism.

    While mourning the Christians killed during the two Palm Sunday bomb attacks, several churches in various parts of Egypt will not be conducting their usual Easter celebration festivities but rather will be focussing on the importance of prayer.

    May God's presence be tangibly experienced by these brokenhearted brothers and sisters in Christ -- providing greatly needed comfort to the grieving, healing to the injured, and strength and hope to all who've been traumatized by the bombings. Ask that His wisdom will be granted to the Egyptian government as attempts are made to bring those who are responsible to justice and ensure protection of the remaining members of the Christian community. Despite the upheaval and attacks in recent months, pray that the church in Egypt will remain unified and strong; not only fully equipped with the armour of God for this heightened spiritual battle but also filled with His Spirit so they can respond in ways that testify of His compassion, mercy and saving grace.

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    INDIA: Call for Increased Security During Easter

    Sources: Evangelical Fellowship of India, World Watch Monitor

    Photo: Flickr / Jan Smith

    On the same day that the two churches were bombed in Egypt, five churches in India -- in five different states -- were also targeted. The incidents included the disruption of worship services and prayer times; the arrest of pastors and their wives, as well as other church members; and in one of the cases, the violent beating of a pastor. As a result, church groups have called for extra security to be provided for churches during the Easter season, and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

    The Evangelical Fellowship of India released a statement on April 11th, in which it criticized the targeting of Christians on special days of worship:

    "We urge the respective state governments and the central (federal) government to not only take note of these violations, but also to take action to curtail the non-state actors who function with impunity. It is important, especially now as we are in the Passion Week; for, going by the trends so far, it seems the incidents may escalate during Good Friday and Easter.

    "It does not reflect well on the world's largest democracy if incidents like these continue to hound religious minorities. We also request that the held accountable and responsible for enforcing the rule of law, so that minorities can live in peace and without fear."

    Four of the five states in which the incidents took place are ruled by the Hindu-nationalist BJP -- President Modi's party. While the so-called "anti-conversion laws" appear to protect against forced conversions, in reality, they discriminate against minority groups by forbidding them from any form of evangelism.

    The National Council of Churches in India announced that the sudden spurt in anti-Christian violence is a "signal" that Hindu nationalist groups like the BJP and RSS "are going to use the communal card in the most blatant way" -- by teaching majority-Hindus that minorities like Christians and Muslims present a threat to the Hindu nation. To learn more about the country of India, click here.

    While the spiritual forces of darkness in the heavenlies may try to hinder the Gospel from going forth, we know according to God's Word that the enemy's wicked schemes won't succeed -- for greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). May this be a living reality for the Christians in India who need the Lord's strength and empowerment to continue faithfully serving Him amid opposition. Also pray that the eyes of the spiritually blind will be opened so that they can clearly see and acknowledge Jesus as their Saviour -- the Lamb of God who valiantly conquered the power of sin and death on the cross so that they may have eternal life.

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    MEXICO: Tribal Christians Building Bridges of Peace

    Source: World Watch Monitor

    Photo: World Watch Monitor

    Today, in a community dominated by members of the Wixárika tribe, many of whom still partake in pagan rituals (involving the use of a hallucinogenic drug) and sacrifices offered to their gods, remains a group of about 25 evangelical Christian converts. Many other converted followers of Christ have faced alienation, eviction from their communities, and separation from their families for refusing to take part in the ancient tribal rituals.

    Omar Rodriguez, who presides over a church in the Jalisco state capital of Guadalajara, supports persecuted Christians residing in the Tuxpan and Bolaño communities. "We are convicted that God gave us the Great Commission," he explains. "When He said to go out to the whole world, that includes our indigenous friends and compatriots who also have a need to fill the emptiness in their hearts."

    The Christians are already taking proactive steps in order to build bridges. Newly elected tribal officials were recently invited to a believer's home where food was graciously provided. They are hoping this kind gesture was received well and will help to build good relations with the new officials. Following this, another meeting had taken place on April 8th, giving the Christians an opportunity to discuss ways to ensure a more harmonious existence.

    Mr. Rodriguez says the meeting was a "very important" step and "could be the start of something." There are signs of hope that, in time, Christian Wixárikas will be able to live peacefully amongst their fellow tribal people, especially those who are in desperate need of deliverance from spiritual bondage through the power of Jesus who is risen indeed!

    If you would like to post a prayer of praise or petition on behalf of our persecuted family around the globe, visit VOMC's prayer wall.

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    The Persecution & Prayer Alert is a ministry of:
    The Voice of the Martyrs Canada, P.O. Box 608, Streetsville, Ontario, L5M 2C1
    Tel. (905) 670-9721 Website: