**A group of armed Muslims opened fire on Christians at an open-air prayer meeting in Pakistan this week, killing two men.
**Anti-Christian violence has increased in northern Nigeria since January of this year, when 200 armed Fulani youths attacked churches and Christian homes. Sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria began in 2001 with a large-scale riot in the city of Kaduna.
**In Uzbekistan, six Christians leading a service at a nursing home on March 13 were detained by police and charged with resisting police orders and violating procedures for conducting a meeting.
**The battle over Bibles continues in Malaysia. In January 2011, port authorities confiscated 30,000 Bibles that a branch of Gideons International had ordered.
This is a sampling of some of the news stories regarding persecution against Christians going on right now. I read another story this morning of an Egyptian Christian persecuted for helping Muslims who have converted to Christianity by hanging him upside down naked and beating him severely.
This is not hundreds of years ago. This is right now. In this world we live in. Sometimes I feel we are so sheltered in our little American world. Sure, we take some slander or we may even take some damage to our reputation if we stand for Christ. There is a cost. But the cost is minimal, if you think about many other parts of the world.
Thinking on this leads me down several different trails-
First, is my faith sure and certain, so that I will stand strong, if (some would say “when”) that day comes?
Second, am I praying for my Christians brothers and sisters who are being tortured for Christ? They are part of our heavenly family. They need our prayers!
Third, am I living with a grateful heart for the freedoms I have? For the freedom from hunger? For the freedom to worship in church without interruption from the government? For the freedom to own a Bible?
And fourth, I can’t help but think that many of the things that upset all of us…people things…circumstance things…job things…just wouldn’t be as big of an issue if we knew we might lose our life the next day. Perspective is such a big deal, isn’t it?? What am I upset or disturbed about that would really matter if I may be imprisoned tomorrow for my faith? What argument or debate (and there are some, but not as many as we think) is worth destroying a relationship with a fellow brother, if we both may be killed tomorrow?
We are free. And these questions do not haunt us the way they haunt our fellow believers. And I thank God for that. Let’s live with grateful hearts. Let’s make sure it is God’s opinions directly from His Word that we take a stand for…not our own. And let’s pray that God would give us a godly perspective on the trials and problems we face.
The above examples are from website persecution.com. They also have a sister website, prisoneralert.com, which focuses on Christians who are imprisoned for their faith. Both are a great place to go if you would like to read more about this topic.