PROPHESIED END TIMES PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS

Persecution of Christians is on the rise in at least 18 countries, especially in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, due to growing jihadism and nationalism, according to a report released by a Catholic group (Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that examined human rights violations against Christians in 24 countries where it is particularly difficult to be a Christian.

Thank goodness God warned us that this would happen and the good news is that it indicates Jesus’ return to put things right is not too far in the future.

Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:28

Hopefully, this information will help you pray for the persecuted church. These countries include Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Mali, Sudan, Nigeria, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar, Russia, North Korea, China, Vietnam, India and Qatar, according to the report titled “Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2020-22.”

Around the world, more than 360 million Christians live in places where they experience high levels of persecution just for following Jesus — that’s one in seven believers worldwide, according to Open Doors USA’s World Watch List, which ranks the top 50 countries where Christians experience the worst persecution for their faith.

ACN said its report was presented in the Houses of Parliament in the U.K. this week with a keynote address by Nigeria’s Bishop Jude Arogundade, whose Diocese of Ondo was targeted by gunmen who killed more than 40 people at a packed Sunday service on Pentecost Sunday this year.

Bishop Arogundade said, “no one seems to pay attention to the genocide” taking place in swathes of Nigeria’s Middle Belt. “The world is silent as attacks on churches, their personnel, and institutions have become routine. How many corpses are required to get the world’s attention?” he was quoted as saying.

African countries saw a sharp rise in terrorist violence from non-state militants, with more than 7,600 Nigerian Christians reportedly murdered between January 2021 and June of this year, the Catholic group said in the report, adding that in May, a video was released showing 20 Nigerian Christians being executed by Islamist terror group Boko Haram and Islamic State’s West Africa Province.

In Asia, “state-authoritarianism” was behind the worsening oppression, especially in North Korea, where religious beliefs and practices are routinely and systematically repressed, it said.

The report also noted that religious nationalism has triggered increasing violence against Christians in the region, with Hindu nationalist and Sinhalese Buddhist nationalist groups active in India and Sri Lanka, respectively.

The report noted that India witnessed 710 incidents of anti-Christian violence between January 2021 and the start of June, “driven in part by political extremism.” It cited an example of a mass rally in Chhattisgarh state last October, where members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party applauded as right-wing Hindu religious leader Swami Parmatmanand called for Christians to be killed.

In the Middle East, the report said, a migration crisis threatened the survival of some of the world’s oldest Christian communities.

In Syria, the Christian population declined from 10% to less than 2%, falling from 1.5 million just before the war began to around 300,000 today, ACN said, adding that while the rate of exodus is slower in Iraq, a community that numbered around 300,000 before the 2014 invasion by ISIS had halved to 150,000 by the spring of this year.

At this month’s G20 event centered on religions’ role in helping solve global problems, the Most Rev. Bashar Warda, the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Erbil, warned that Christianity in Iraq was “on the very edge of extinction.”

During his remarks at the G20 Religion Forum in Bali, Indonesia, the archbishop stressed that “sectarian violence” was a significant problem in Iraq. This country suffered the rise of an Islamic State stronghold during the last decade in which thousands of Iraqi religious minorities were killed, enslaved, or forced to flee their homelands.

“Without an end to this sectarian violence, there is no future for religious pluralism in Iraq, or anywhere else in the Mideast for that matter,” he said. “The brutal logic of this is that there does eventually reach an end point where there are no minorities left to kill, and no minorities left to persecute.”

Warda added, “As I share with you this experience, I pray that you will find in our story a clear warning to you all.” He noted that after around 1,900 years of existing in the region, “we Christians of Iraq now find ourselves on the very edge of extinction.”

There is “a fundamental crisis of violence within Islam” that “can no longer be ignored,” he said, adding that it “continues to affect the entire Middle East, Africa, Asia and beyond.”

The report includes information from ACN and other local sources, provides firsthand testimony, compilations of incidents, case studies, and country analysis on the extent to which Christians are targeted around the world.

Open Doors USA’s 2022 World Watch List, which looked at incidents reported between Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021, found at least 5,898 Christians were killed, 5,110 churches were attacked or closed, 6,175 Christians were arrested without trial, and 3,829 Christians were kidnapped. 2021 saw a 24% increase in Christians killed for their faith.

FAMINES AND PESTILENCES IN THE LAST DAYS

Unprecedented famine conditions not seen in the last 40 years are gripping parts of Africa. Back-to-back droughts, COVID-19, and the effects of the Ukraine war have created dire conditions for the eastern region. Fadumo Abdi Aliyow has just buried her two sons on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia. She lays a thorny branch on their graves to protect their bodies from wild animals. Both died from starvation. “I wanted to die before them so they could bury me, but both of them died before me,” Aliyow said. Somalia and its neighbours in the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia and Kenya, are facing unprecedented drought conditions. “We’ve had four failed rains,” said Alex Marianelli with the World Food Program (WFP). “The drought that we are currently seeing in the Horn of Africa is the worst drought in over 40 years.”

On average, one person dies every 48 seconds from hunger in the Horn of Africa. “Because of the drought, many water sources have dried up,” Wafaa Saeed Abdelatef, a UNICEF representative warned. “Many wells have also dried up.” With crops failing, the United Nations says some 22 million people are at risk of starvation, many of them farmers who only grow enough food to feed their own families. “People will be forced to flee to look for food,” warned Rein Paulsen with the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization. “People will have to try and find a way to survive and obviously this entails very perilous journeys for people who are already marginalized.” Many in the region who rely on livestock for livelihood have seen massive numbers of their animals wiped out.

“For example, in northern Kenya, we’ve lost about 1.5 million herds of livestock,” Joseph Kamara with World Vision Kenya, said. “Similarly, in southern Ethiopia, we’ve lost about two million. In Somalia, we’ve even stopped counting.” In Somalia alone, around eight million people, or half the population, are experiencing crisis hunger levels. One-in-three children face chronic malnutrition. “I have been shocked to my core these past few days by the level of pain and suffering we see so many Somalis enduring. Famine is at the door,” said Martin Griffiths, the United Nations’ humanitarian chief. Anne Kasombo oversees CBN’s offices in Kenya. In partnership with Operation Blessing, they’ve been distributing food and other aid supplies to some of the hardest-hit regions of her country.

“It’s been quite devastating in some communities, especially in the arid areas, even when there’s rain, food is hard to come by because they’re not able to grow their food,” Kasombo said. Four consecutive droughts and African economies still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic have created these dire conditions. “The situation has been aggravated by the current conflict in Europe between Russia and Ukraine,” Kamara said. Before the war, Somalia imported 90 percent of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine while Ethiopia imported 42 percent. Kenya, which also imports oil, iron, steel, and fertilizers from Russia and Ukraine, imports 44 percent of its wheat from both countries. All that has come to a screeching halt since the war started. The result: skyrocketing prices for practically everything. “It has really affected us, especially on food prices,” Richard, a resident of Nairobi, said. “It has also affected the cost of fuel.”

“When the fuel prices go up, the production cost is high, so everything is affected,” Allis, another resident of Nairobi, said. A new survey just out found that most of Kenya are forced to dip into their savings or take out loans to meet the rising cost of living. “It’s been a buildup: From COVID, to inflation, to drought, to war in Ukraine,” Kasombo said. “So just before one situation gets better, another one crops up so the impact has been quite deep and long. It’s devastating. It’s been tough on families.” In late August, the first ship carrying grain from Ukraine docked on the Horn of Africa offloading some 23,000 tons of wheat. “That’s enough wheat to feed 1.5 million people for about a month,” Marianelli of WFP said. Food experts say that’s a drop in the bucket considering the immediate crisis facing millions across the Horn of Africa.

Jesus warned us as recorded in all three gospels Matthew Mark and Luke of the signs that would precede His second coming particularly the increasing persecution that Christians will endure so we can be prepared.

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Matthew 24:9-14

Source: CBNNews

BE PREPARED – END TIMES TRIBULATION

Persecution of Christians is escalating just as the Bible prophesied would happen before Jesus’ second coming. For simply stating the truth that natural marriage between a man and a woman is the fundamental building block for a successful society, Maureen Martin lost her job as a Housing Manager with the London & Quadrant Housing Trust (L&Q).

A recent article in Christian Post stated: “A housing trust in England has doubled down on its decision to terminate a housing manager who voiced her belief in the biblical definition of marriage while campaigning for mayor of her local community.”

The L & Q which houses over 250,000 people, issued a statement this week in response to legal action filed by former employee Maureen Martin, who claims she was terminated this spring after voicing her beliefs on marriage in a leaflet during her campaign for mayor of Lewisham.

The alleged offensive copy in the election leaflet:

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:24

Marriage: I pledge to cut through political correctness and simply state the truth that natural marriage between a man and a woman is the fundamental building block (ordained by God) for a successful society and the safest environment for raising children,”

In a statement, the Christian Peoples Alliance, a political party formed in 1999, said Martin’s beliefs on marriage are “what millions of people believe and is a belief that is protected in U.K. law.”

Someone posted an image of the leaflet on Twitter, calling it against the law and hate speech. Three complaints followed, telling L&Q’s chief executive that Martin’s beliefs should have no place at the company. The Christian candidate was described in the complaint as “bigoted” in need of “anti-oppressive training.”

Martin was soon “suspended, investigated, hindered from campaigning as part of the election and then dismissed for allegedly bringing L&Q into disrepute, breaching social media policy and failing to declare political interests.”

The Bible reveals that losing one’s job is just the beginning of tribulation as the following Scripture reveals. This warning is given by Jesus on what will occur in the end times before He returns.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.Matthew 24:9-14

CHRISTIANS CANNOT COUNSEL TRANSGENDER YOUTH

The recent U.S. Executive Order on Advancing Equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Individuals calls on the administration to “safeguard LGBTQI+ youth from dangerous practices like so-called ‘conversion therapy’—efforts to suppress or change an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.” It contends that conversion therapy is a “discredited practice that research indicates can cause significant harm, including higher rates of suicide-related thoughts and behaviors by LGBTQI+ youth.” Biden also directed the Federal Trade Commission to determine “whether so-called conversion therapy constitutes an unfair or deceptive act or practice, and to issue such consumer warnings or notices as may be appropriate.”

In my recent post on SELLING THE TRANSGENDER STORY, I showed a very appealing video that attempts to sell the transgender agenda as a positive step forward whereby we are told that tens of thousands of children out there identify as transgender. We are also told that Ryland and the Whittington family is a typical ‘American family’. As well, we are told that gender and sexuality are different. All three claims are false. If you have not viewed this video can I suggest you do. It was posted five days ago.

God and his commandments have been rejected by the majority of people as they were by the people of Noah’s Day bringing God’s judgement upon them. Jesus warned us that the world would reject God and His values prior to His return. Persecution of active Christians (living out their faith) will be considered just.

Is the church preparing Christians for this escalating persecution?

This is another appealing video selling Ryland’s transgender conversion beginning at age 3.

JESUS COMING MILLENNIAL KINGDOM

Christians do not rule the way the world does as the following verse outlines.

“You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.Mark 10:42-44

In Revelation John, in accord with Daniel, describes the kings of the world as hybrid beasts under the control of Satan.

In the coming Millennial Kingdom while Jesus and the Saints are servant leaders sadly in a fallen world we are told they will rule with a rod of iron.

She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,Revelation 12:5 This prophecy will be fulfilled during Jesus’ Millennial reign on this earth.

From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron.Revelation 19:14

Available on Amazon as a ebook and paperback book

Paul confirms that the Millennial Kingdom of God will eventually abolish all other empires before this earth is destroyed with fire then the second resurrection and the White Throne judgement when all the unrepentant are cast into the Lake of Fire for punishment and the second death.

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.1 Corinthians 15:22-26

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.Revelation 2:11

Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.Revelation 20:6

Prior to Jesus coming Millennial Kingdom, we know from Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) that God allows Satan to empower the Antichrist who will rule the nations for 42 months. John confirms that the final ruler, Antichrist is empowered by Satan (the dragon).

“the dragon (Satan) gave him (Antichrist) his power and his throne and great authority” Revelation 13:2

And the beast (Antichrist) was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also, it was allowed to make war on the saints and conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on the earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” Revelation 13:5-8

In case we think that the book of Revelation is alone in portraying the kingdoms of this world as ultimately under the authority of Satan, we would do well to notice that at the beginning of the gospels Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world if He would worship him,

“the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You fall down and worship me” Matthew 4:8-9

Furthermore, Paul affirms Satan’s role as an empowering empire when he states that Satan is the “god of this age” 2 Corinthians 4:4

With regard to the coming of the Antichrist and the many scriptures warning the church about the coming tribulation, even great tribulation, “it (Antichrist) was allowed to make war on the saints and conquer them” what churches are making their members aware of the many prophecies of Jesus second coming. As I have said many times before on this website, there are far more prophecies about Jesus second coming (2,000) than there were of His first coming (300) Jesus must want you to know about His second coming and to prepare for it.

Be Prepared to Handle Persecution Like Päivi Räsänen

Christian MP says prosecution for tweeting Bible verse on homosexuality is a ‘privilege’

Finland, Päivi Räsänen

Finnish Parliament Member Päivi Räsänen authored a 2004 booklet on sexual ethics describing marriage as between one man and one woman. She also expressed her views on a 2019 radio show and tweeted church leadership on the matter.

Päivi Räsänen, who was interrogated by police for over 13 hours and questioned on how she interprets the Apostle Paul’s letters in the Bible, will appear in court next Monday over criminal charges for voicing her belief on marriage and sexuality. She faces the possibility of six years in prison for sharing her deeply held biblical beliefs on sexuality and marriage. Räsänen shows amazing courage in saying that it’s “quite a privilege” to be interrogated for her religious beliefs.

“I could never have imagined when I worked as the minister of the interior and was in charge of the police that I would be interrogated and asked that kind of questions in a police station,” the lawmaker who led the Christian Democrats party from 2004 to 2015 said.

She said police also asked her if she was ready to “renounce” her writings. “But I answered that I will stand on what I believe and I will speak about these things and write about these things also in the future because they are a matter of conviction, not only an opinion,” she said. 

“I thought it was quite a privilege to have these kinds of discussions with the police,” Räsänen said in an interview with Alliance Defending Freedom International, a legal nonprofit that specializes in religious freedom cases and is supporting the 62-year-old former interior minister.

“I had many times during these hours the possibility to tell to the police the message of the Gospel, what the Bible teaches about the value of human beings, that all people are created in the image of God and that is why they all are valuable.”

It was like “giving Bible studies to the police,” she remarked.

Persecution of Christians is only going to escalate as the final prophesied tribulation that precedes the rapture of the Saints (trumpet blast at the opening of the seventh seal) and God’s wrath being poured out (Trumpet and Bowl judgements) on the unrepentant, unfold. We need to be prepared to be part of God’s disciples like Päivi Räsänen who will proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to all the world.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.Matthew 24:9-14

POSTMODERNISM – A WORLD GONE MAD

One symptom of madness is being disconnected from reality. That is an apt description for the whole mindset of Postmodernism. It teaches truth is a construction, not a discovery; a function of the will, not the intellect; a matter of political power, not rational inquiry.

WHAT IS TRUTH:

Only our Creator God knows the truth about us and His world. Moreover, He has revealed the truth to us not only through His prophets and His Word (Bible) but by God the Son, Jesus, coming to earth to not only reveal the truth but also to provide the means of our salvation. He paid the price for our rebellion. He died and rose again that we might have eternal life, not just the brief life on this earth. Death in Adam, Life in Christ. Reject God’s Word and you reject the truth.

Former editor of the New York Times, Bari Weiss was hounded from her job for refusing to conform to the canons of political correctness and the left wing culture of the Newsroom. Bari Weiss tells left-wing Brian Stelter of CNN how ‘the world has gone mad,‘ she lists ‘people who work at’ CNN as a cause

Brian Stelter was confronted by ex-New York Times journalist Bari Weiss over CNN’s coverage. 

Weiss has written that many Americans “feel the world has gone mad,” so the left-wing CNN host asked her what she meant by that comment.

 “Where can I start? Well, when you have the chief reporter on the beat of COVID for The New York Times talking about how questioning or pursuing the question of the lab leak is racist, the world has gone mad. When you’re not able to say out loud and in public there are differences between men and women, the world has gone mad. When we’re not allowed to acknowledge that rioting is rioting and it is bad and that silence is not violence, but violence is violence, the world has gone mad,” Weiss said. “When you’re not able to say the Hunter Biden laptop is a story worth pursuing, the world has gone mad. When, in the name of progress, young school children, as young as kindergarten, are being separated in public schools because of their race, and that is called progress instead of segregation, the world has gone mad. There are dozens of examples.”

Weiss said the news media, publishing houses, Hollywood and universities are all guilty of the same thing, they are narrowing, in a radical way, what’s acceptable to say and what isn’t.” Weiss added she feels “disinformation by omission” is plaguing the journalism industry. 

Fortunately, The source of truth knows exactly how this madness will “play out/unfold” and He has revealed it to us in His Word so we will know and not be unprepared. A time of testing is coming for Christians in nations that have been based on the Judeo/ Christian faith like we have never experienced before. God is separating the wheat from the chaff.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.Matthew 24:9-14

GODLESSNESS IN THE LAST DAYS

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:9-13

These two verses show us we cannot claim Jesus did not tell us that Christians will face persecution in the last days as God refines His church before the Rapture. It shows the Pretribulation position held by much of charismatic church in the USA and Australia is untenable. The church will go through a refining process with the tribulation and even great tribulation but Jesus tells us that we will kept from the wrath of God that is poured out on the world with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements.

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.Romans 5:9

Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.Revelation 3:10

It is at the sixth seal that heralds the coming wrath of God

Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” Revelation 6:15-17

The trumpet blast at the seventh seal is when the Rapture of the Saints on earth takes place and it is then John sees the Saints in heaven in their glorified bodies.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Revelation 7:9-10

Hold steady by keeping close to Jesus, by following the leading of the Spirit and by keeping short accounts with the Lord.  Confess sin quickly and be restored from all unrighteousness. Pray and seek guidance so that we can walk on the Highway of Holiness prepared for the ransomed, doing the things He has prepared beforehand for us to walk in – all for His glory. 

HARD WORDS OF JESUS RELEVANT FOR OUR TIME

In the days ahead we will need to take these words of Jesus’ seriously:

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.Mark 8:34b-35

Agabus (one of several prophets who came from Jerusalem to Syrian Antioch where Paul was ministering) prophesied that, if Paul went to Jerusalem, he would be bound by the Jews there and handed over to the Gentiles. Paul’s followers pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. Paul’s response;

Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”  When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.” Acts 21:13-14

What a challenge this is to us.  Even today, while we enjoy relative safety in our country, many brothers and sisters in Christ in countries under anti-Christian regimes are making the same decision as Paul, and they and their families are suffering intense persecution and deprivation as a result. 

Who can forget this image?

Islamic State Beheads Egyptian Coptic Christians

God has used the sacrifice of these twenty Coptic Christians and one Ghanaian for His purposes. The relatives of the Coptic Christian recently shared their pride in the men’s refusal to deny Jesus and how the tragic deaths of their loved ones has strengthened the faith of the local community.

Three years after their relatives were murdered by ISIS in the infamous “A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross” video, members of the Coptic community of Minya province, Upper Egypt, gathered for the inauguration of a new church, The Church of the Libyan Martyrs, dedicated to the memory of these men.

What a challenge this is to all of us. I am not sure how I would respond but I cling to the firm promise of Jesus that He will give me the courage when I need it.

Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is GIVEN YOU AT THE TIME, for it is not you speaking, but the HOLY SPIRIT.” Mark 13:11

CHRISTIANS MUST EXPECT PERSECUTION TO ESCALATE

It is important to remember that persecution come with the territory for Christians doing what God has called us to do. You are a Kingdom warrior in a spiritual war so expect demonic attacks. Moreover, Jesus tells us we should rejoice and be glad for we are blessed and our reward will be great in heaven.

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.2 Timothy 3:12

If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.1 Peter 4:14

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.Matthew 5:10-12

Many times demons work through unbelievers to insult, attack, degrade and persecute believers. This should be expected and how we respond is of course key to our ability to influence them for God. We know that they cannot understand the word of God without the Spirit of God. All we can do is love them, pray for them and return good for evil

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Luke 6:28

It is also important to remember that Satan is a created being under God’s control. He is limited by God as to what he can do to you. Read the story of Job again.

Demons do know your weaknesses, particularly long standing addictions and will challenge you again and again to exploit that weakness. The Holy Spirit will convict you and hopefully repentance is quick in response. Make sure you have a mentor with whom you are committed to confess your sins and will hold you accountable to the path of righteousness.

As we approach the last days before Jesus returns, He has told us that spiritual warfare intensifies. Satan knows his time is short. God uses the time of tribulation to purify His church. Many people who call themselves Christians will fall away and compromise with the world and its changing values.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:9-13

But just as Satan intensifies his effort to deceive and destroy, God likewise intensifies His efforts in the natural and supernatural. Joel testifies to this “prior to the great day of the Lord comes”

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.” Joel 2:28-29

And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Joel 2:30-32