VIDEO Persecution of Christians Is On The Rise Worldwide – The Promise

Persecution of Christians Is On The Rise Worldwide, According to New Report

Open Doors, a Christian mission concerned with exposing and confronting the persecution of Christians worldwide, has released its annual World Watch List for the period of October 31, 2017 to November 1, 2018, and it’s not good news for the followers of Jesus. Overall, the report concludes that at least 30 million more Christians faced persecution in 2018 than in 2017.

At least 4,136 Christians were killed in 2018 for reasons pertaining to their faith, an average of 11 per day. Over 1,200 churches or Christian buildings were attacked or destroyed. In all, Open Doors estimates that up to 245 million Christians are in danger of significant persecution worldwide.

According to the report, one in nine Christians in the world are likely to experience a high level of persecution. Should a Christian live somewhere in Asia, that number rises to one in three.

The Open Doors report lists the top 50 countries where Christians are most likely to be persecuted for their faith based on the pressure they receive from the government, the populace, or both. The report also takes into account where Christians are most likely to face violence, simply because of their faith.

Women are the most at-risk worldwide, because they often face a “double persecution” for being a Christian and for being a female. David Curry, CEO of Open Doors, wrote, “This year, we noticed how Christian women are especially targeted around the world. Often, they are culturally discriminated against because they are women — and when it’s discovered they follow Jesus, the suffering can be even worse.”

Atheist and Islamic countries dominate the list. The People’s Republic of China rose 16 spots because of the Communist Party’s recent crackdown on both state-approved and unregistered churches. And seven of the top 10 countries most likely to abuse Christians — Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen, and Iran — are Islamic countries.

In China, about 100 million Christians are facing increased persecution. A recent government crackdown has been called the worst in a decade in the communist nation. On-line sales of Bibles have been prohibited, churches have been demolished, and crosses and Bibles have even been burned in the government’s attempt to assert communist control over the populace. North Korea, the communist dictatorship run by the Kim family, remains number one on the list, as it has been for the past 18 years. The communist government is the main source of persecution for the approximately 300,000 Christians of the country.

From the report: “For three generations, everything in the country has been focused on idolizing the Kim family. Christians are seen as hostiles to be eradicated.”

It was hoped that events in 2018, such as the Winter Olympics held in neighboring South Korea and the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, might lessen pressure on Christians, but that has not been the case. “Kim Jong-un has maintained tight control over the populace, and dissent or worshipping anything else is not tolerated.”

But it’s not just atheists, Muslims, and communists who are hostile to Christians. For the first time, India, a predominantly Hindu country, made the top 10 of the World Watch List. “Since the current ruling party took power in 2014, attacks have increased, and Hindu radicals believe they can attack Christians with no consequences,” the report said.

No less an authority than Jesus himself predicted the persecution that Christians would face. In Luke, the Lord said, “But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.” (Luke 21:12, KJV)

Obviously, Jesus couldn’t have been more right.

The type of persecution spelled out in Open Doors’ World Watch List has not yet reached the United States. But that isn’t to say that persecution doesn’t exist here. There might not be the overt, life-threatening persecution faced in other parts of the world, but Christians in America are routinely marginalized and mocked for their faith. Christians in America are told to keep their faith in church and are slowly but surely being shut out of the nation’s conversations. This type of subtle bigotry can grow into more overt persecution, and American Christians need to call it out for what it is.

Still, our First Amendment gives Christians — and all religions — the right to practice their faith as they see fit. Though America is not a perfect place, we still have that going for us.

Open Doors urges us to pray for persecuted Christians throughout the world; and pray we should.


Image: freedom007 via iStock / Getty Images Plus

The Martins – The Promise

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes.  Psalm 8:2 esv


After watching ten-year-old Viola using a tree branch as a microphone to mimic a preacher, Michele decided to give Viola the opportunity to “preach” during a village outreach. Viola accepted. Michele, a missionary in South Sudan, wrote, “The crowd was enraptured. . . . A little girl who had been abandoned stood in authority before them as a daughter of the King of kings, powerfully sharing the reality of God’s Kingdom. Half the crowd came forward to receive Jesus” (Michele Perry, Love Has a Face).

The crowd that day hadn’t expected to hear a child preach. This incident brings to mind the phrase “out of the mouths of babes,” which comes from Psalm 8. David wrote, “Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes” (v. 2 esv). Jesus later quoted this verse in Matthew 21:16, after the chief priests and scribes criticized the children calling out praise to Jesus in the temple at Jerusalem. The children were a nuisance to these leaders. By quoting this Scripture, Jesus showed that God took seriously the praise of these children. They did what the leaders were unwilling to do: give glory to the longed-for Messiah.

As Viola and the children in the temple showed, God can use even a child to bring Him glory. Out of their willing hearts came a fountain of praise.

By Linda Washington

Today’s Reflection

How can I offer praise to God today? Why is He worthy of my praise?

What Takes Place After Salvation

John 3:16-17

To truly grasp what Jesus did for us on the cross—and to be able to share the gospel effectively—it’s essential to have an accurate understanding of the terms we use to describe salvation.

Saved (Eph. 2:8). This is a synonym for rescued. Mankind needs rescuing because without Jesus, we are all destined for divine wrath, hell, and eternal separation from God.

Redeemed (Eph. 1:7). Redemption implies a transaction. Our salvation was purchased through the shedding of Jesus Christ’s blood.

Justified (Rom. 5:1). When someone trusts in Christ, God pardons that person and removes his or her guilt. A saved individual is in right standing with the Lord.

Reconciled (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). Salvation results in a relationship with God. We were once separated from Him, but now we are His sons and daughters, and He calls us His friends (John 15:15).

Using words like redemptionjustification, and reconciliation might not be effective when presenting the gospel to someone unfamiliar with the language often used in church. However, it’s important for us to understand what the Bible teaches about salvation, and these terms give us a framework for explaining the good news to others.

We must recognize that we are not saved by our personal works or performance. Salvation is ours by God’s grace—His unmerited, undeserved, loving favor toward us—and at the cost of Jesus’ own blood. Let us not take for granted how God has rescued us: by sending His Son to die in our place.

Beware of Seducing Spirits

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (1 Timothy 4:1) 

These “latter days” are surely characterized by the tragic departure from the faith on the part of many. Unfortunately, even many of our churches have followed what should certainly be exposed as “seducing spirits,” embracing lies taught under the influence of Satan. A list of such false teachings and practices within the church would surely implicate many. Let us look at the examples Paul gives in the next few verses.

First, he identifies the leaders and teachers of these errors as hypocritical liars who intentionally deceive their prey. They have deadened any possibility of right attitude by hardening their minds and searing their consciences (v. 2).

Next, we are given examples of their heresy: “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving” (v. 3).

Many cults and pseudo-Christian groups have fallen into these traps, but both the institution of marriage and the provision of foods were specifically created by God for man’s enjoyment and blessing (marriage: see Genesis 1:28; 2:18, 24; foods: Genesis 1:29; 9:3). They are to be “received with thanksgiving” to a loving Creator, “sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4-5). Each of these and all of God’s creation are “very good” (Genesis 1:31), if used properly.

But the main point of this passage is that we should guard against the heresy of false teachers and from imposing on ourselves and our fellow Christians a false piety—practices which may make us feel “holier than thou” but which, in reality, impugn God and His creation. Rather, let us be among those “which believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:3) of God’s loving provision of creation. JDM

Desire to Be Filled by the Holy Spirit

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with me Spirit.

—Ephesians 5:18

Again, before you can be filled with the Spirit you must desire to be filled. Here I meet with a certain amount of puzzlement. Somebody will say, “How is it that you say to us that we must desire to be filled, because you know we desire to be? Haven’t we talked to you in person? Haven’t we called you on the phone? Aren’t we out here tonight to hear the sermon on the Holy Spirit? Isn’t this all a comforting indication to you that we are desirous of being filled with the Holy Spirit?”

Not necessarily, and I will explain why. For instance, are you sure that you want to be possessed by a spirit other than your own? even though that spirit be the pure Spirit of God? even though He be the very gentle essence of the gentle Jesus? even though He be sane and pure and free? even though He be wisdom personified, wisdom Himself, even though He have a healing, precious ointment to distill? even though He be loving as the heart of God? That Spirit, if He ever possesses you, will be the Lord of your Life!   HTB042-043

Even so come, Holy Spirit! Amen.


Wherefore take on you the whole armor of God

Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand.—Ephesians 6:13.

That he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.—2 Timothy 2:4.


Soldiers of Christ, arise,

And put your armor on,

Strong in the strength which God supplies

Through His eternal Son

Charles Wesley.


Whither goest thou?

Where is thy soul?

Is it in peace?

If troubled, why?

How art thou fulfilling the duties of thy position?

What are they?

What effort hast thou made to amend thy disposition, and conquer thy sins?

Hast thou been faithful to the light God has given thee?

What means shouldst thou use, especially with regard to thy most besetting sin or temptation?

Hast thou fought against it?

Hast thou thought about it at all?

What hast thou done with the circumstances of the last month? Have they wrought God’s work in thee?

Père Ravignan.


Must Be Unstaggering Trustfulness

“He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.” Ps. 112:7

Suspense is dreadful. When we have no news from home, we are apt to grow anxious, and we cannot be persuaded that “no news is good news.” Faith is the cure for this condition of sadness: the Lord by His Spirit settles the mind in holy serenity, and all fear is gone as to the future as well as the present.

The fixedness of heart spoken of by the Psalmist is to be diligently sought after. It is not believing this or that promise of the Lord, but the general condition of unstaggering trustfulness in our God, the confidence which we have in Him that He will neither do us ill Himself, nor suffer anyone else to harm us. This constant confidence meets the unknown as well as the known of life. Let the morrow be what it may, our God is the God of tomorrow. Whatever events may have happened, which to us are unknown, our Jehovah is God of the unknown as well as of the known. We are determined to trust the Lord, come what may. If the very worst should happen, our God is still the greatest and best. Therefore will we not fear though the postman’s knock should startle us, or a telegram wake us at midnight. The Lord liveth, and what can His children fear?