The news is full of various terrorist attacks around the world. Journalists are currently being targeted. Seventy have been killed by ISIS, not including the staff at Charlie Hebdo, not including the seventeen Iraqi journalists. Saudi blogger Raif Badawi has been sentenced to 600 lashes, 50 a week, for “insulting Islam” by criticizing senior religious leaders, and suggesting Saud Islamic University is becoming a den for terrorists. His wife, Ensaf Haidar, has been sentenced to 1000 lashes because she dared say the floggings are killing her husband.
This week, in the name of religious freedom, Duke University planned to allow a Muslim call to prayer from a campus chapel bell tower. In our own county, Sonoma State University had kicked Intervarsity Christian Fellowship off campus. There are classes at the Junior College on Islam, but none on Christianity. Many in our country believe the propaganda that our founding fathers were not Christians and that Christianity was never the foundation of our government, though further investigation of original documents, letters, and the Constitution itself says otherwise.
Persecution of Christians is growing as fast as our nation’s seeming desire to avoid any possible hint of political incorrectness in regard to Islam. Over 2000 Christians were martyred last year, according to some statisticians. That doesn’t include the 70,000 currently imprisoned or doing manual labor in North Korea. That doesn’t include the thousands being murdered in Nigeria. That doesn’t include more than 1200 Christians martyred in Syria. Christians are experiencing persecution in more than 65 countries around the globe. Persecution comes in the form of imprisonment, torture, rape, execution, expulsion and forced labor (slavery).
None of this should surprise any Christian. Jesus told us what to expect. Look what the world did to Him. Even so, He arose and spent another forty days teaching (witnessed by hundreds of people), and then ascended. He’s still alive. He still holds out His arms to the world that still wants to reject Him and deny His existence, a world that goes after other gods who demand blood when He gave His to free us.
I think God is preparing us for the persecution to come. Bible studies are cropping up all over. Ordinary people are digging in, reading and studying what God has to say about life and death and living on this fallen planet and that this isn’t all there is. When the real persecution comes and the churches are shut down and people are imprisoned for their (Christian) faith or die for it (because they dared tell the truth), there will be plenty of small underground churches alive and well – like cells in the great Body of Christ.
Muslims say Islam is a religion of peace. Christ said a tree is known by its fruit. Allah says to kill the infidel. Jesus invites all to come to Him. Allah says bow down to me or die. Jesus died to set men free. Whom do you serve?