6pm was a sacred time in our household when I was growing up. It was time for the TV news and my Dad wouldn't miss it. I always remember this time as a kid because as soon as "The Magic Roundabout" was finished absolute silence was required. I usually hung about just long enough to hear the first few words… "And here is the news…"
Today we have access to world news all the time. Not only are there several 24 hour TV news channels, but also updates at any time on the web, breaking news bulletins on the radio, the BBC News mobile phone App, Twitter and Facebook, sometimes even as an event happens.
However, this ever-present news coverage doesn't mean that all the important news stories get covered. It seems that some important items are not covered for a number of reasons. It is one such news item that I want to mention briefly this month.
Today there are thousands upon thousands of Christians across the world who are being persecuted simply because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Some of this persecution is brutal and many Christians have been murdered for their faith. But do you hear any of this in the news? More Christians have been murdered in the 20th century for their faith than in all the other centuries put together! And the start of the 21st century is no different.
I have written before about persecution in the church ('Thought' for June 2010) but it was in my head again after our Pastor spoke on the subject in relation to the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew chapter 5). I also thought about Ahmed, a Christian from Tehran who I used to send church audio tapes to, and how he ended up in prison after being found in possession of these tapes and gospel literature. Thankfully Ahmed only served a few months and was able to let me know what had happened to him on his release.
As you may be aware, most persecution of Christians occurs in Islamic countries. But God is still working in these countries and His believers are to be found all across the Muslim world. Life is very tough for them as being an apostate is punishable by death under Islamic Law. And yet, they don’t ask to be rescued or for an easier life, but only that we in the West would pray for them.
If I could ask you to take 7 minutes out of the busy lives and watch a video - at the end of this 'Thought'. It is from "Voice of the Martyrs" website. The woman with the blurred face in the video is Padina. She is from Iran and speaks in part of the video in her native language (Farsi). The rest of the video is a re-enactment, based on Padina's statements about the encounter both she and her Mother had. It says so much more than I could ever convey. It is also a message of hope and I hope that it touches you the way it did me…
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)
Please continue to pray for all our Brothers and Sisters who are undergoing persecution across the world. Until next month then (DV)…
(All Bible quotations are from the NASB)
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