Christianity is the most targeted and persecuted religion in the world! The Easter attack on Christians as they worshipped the risen Saviour is a grim reminder of this reality.
Here it was that Christians were attending their church as usual on Sunday morning as they had done the Sunday before, and the Sunday before that. They were glad to be at church, glad to sing praises with family and friends, glad to hear what God was saying to them that morning through the preached message. They were completely oblivious of the plan to kill hundreds of them at different locations in Sri Lanka.
It was a well-planned, murderous scheme that was successfully executed. But this is not how it is supposed to be. People ought to be able to worship their God in peace and safety.
However, the reality is that hundreds of Christians were killed by suicide bombers of the local radical Islamic group, the National Thowheed Jamath.
Then, on the following Sunday, there was the killing of other Christians in the small town of Silgadji in the country of Burkina Faso. These were also at church when they were attacked. It is reported that seven motorbikers opened fire on worshippers at the end of the regular Sunday service, killing the pastor, his two sons and three other members!
This was the second church attack in the month of April. The identity of the gunmen who attacked this protestant church could not be ascertained. However, “fighters affiliated to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, as well as the local Ansarul Islam, have been active” in the area (article in BBC News online, April 29, 2019, www.bbc.com).
It would seem that the killing of Christians is becoming fashionable in several countries around the world. And the governments of these countries seem powerless – or are unwilling – to stem the bloodshed and murder. The persecution and deliberate shedding of Christian blood around the world – and particularly in the Middle East – is very clear to anyone who examines the 2019 World Watch List, published by Open Doors (www.opendoorsusa.org).
This annual list gives “the 50 countries where it’s most dangerous to follow Jesus.” The first five are North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, and Pakistan. What is quite revealing about the 50 countries listed here, is that in more than 30 of them, Christians suffer from “Islamic oppression!”
How does the rest of the world view this information? Do we even care that minority Christian groups are facing extermination in these countries?
Urgent Prayer – 25 Christians in Nigeria Killed by Boko Haram in Door-to-door Attacks was the headline of a recent article by Lindy Lowry for Open Doors USA. On Monday, April 29, 2019, at around 8 p.m. the radical Islamic group attacked the Christian community of Kuda, North-eastern Nigeria.
They first surrounded the town, then proceeded to go from door to door executing the inhabitants. Twenty-five Christians gave their lives for Christ that night! Christian leaders in the area told Open Doors, “We are in danger, we have no one to fight for us to end the killing of our people.” These are chilling words, and our hearts really go out to these helpless people in Northern Nigeria!
The startling statistics of the attacks by Boko Haram – which have been going on for decades now – is that 27,000 people have been killed, and 2 million have been displaced!
Truly, there is an urgent need to pray for persecuted Christians the world over. So let us keep crying to God for their deliverance each Sunday in our churches, and each day in our individual devotions. Amen.
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