Many Christians put their life on the line every day across the globe. As you read this today, Christians continue to be persecuted for their faith in over 40 countries around the world. In many of these lands, it is illegal to own a Bible, share your faith publicly, or teach your children about Jesus. These believers often face harassment, arrest, torture, and death for the sake of Christ. This continued persecution should not surprise us, as the Scriptures teach, “In fact, all those who want to live a Godly life in Jesus Christ will be persecuted.”
As we enter 2014, organizations that work with the persecuted Church are predicting a turbulent year for many Christians across the globe. Consider these facts:
- In North Korea, bowing your head in prayer, possessing a Bible, or making contact with a known Christian is punished harshly. Christians are sentenced to concentration camps, often without a trial, as they are labeled as foreign spies.
- In Central Asia, persecution is on the rise in predominantly Muslim countries that have a history of communism. In Kazakhstan, unregistered churches are not allowed to meet, and in Tajikistan, Christian parents are not allowed to take their children to church.
- In Nigeria, extremist Muslim groups have bombed churches and claimed responsibility for killing Christians, as they seek to establish an Islamic state during this election season.
- In Syria, Christians are being driven from their homes, women are being raped, and churches are being robbed during this time of violent civil war.
What can we do as fellow believers:
- Do not forget our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, who are suffering for their faith.
- Pray for those being persecuted across the globe. Pray for political stability in many nations. Pray for safety and provisions for those suffering for our Lord. Pray for the church to grow in the midst of persecution, and give thanks that the church is flourishing in many of these persecuted lands. Pray that God will open the hearts of Muslims, Hindus and Atheistic Communists to the Gospel, and that He will reveal Himself to those who are lost. Pray that believers will have courage, boldness, and strength to live out their faith in difficult and dangerous lands. Pray for our missionaries and their families serving in dark places.
- Make your voice heard by contacting our representatives in government to remind them of the plight of persecuted Christians around the world.
- Give to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, or Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief so that resources such as food, water, shelter, medicines, and other vital needs can be provided to refugees, in disaster areas, and in community development. These funds provide us with countless opportunities to minister to persecuted believers and bring the hope of the Gospel to those without Christ.
In the midst of these turbulent days, be encouraged by the words of our Risen Lord, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will suffer in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33)