PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS IN CRISIS

The global food shortage is hitting persecuted Christians hard. In many countries, Open Doors field teams are now operating with a “FOOD FIRST” mission.

Displacement, drought, discrimination, rising food prices, and lack of resources have made persecuted Christians more vulnerable, insecure, and desperate—especially in remote areas where resources are few.

Open Doors is fighting to provide critical supplies to believers on the brink of survival in countries like Burkina Faso, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Nigeria, and many others.

“Persecuted believers can’t … worship or serve one another if they’re too weak and starving.”

— Field Partner in Burkina Faso

“Food inflation in Sri Lanka has surged to 80 percent … The needs are urgent.”

 —Field Partner in Sri Lanka

The following Scriptures remind us that we have been warned by Jesus that persecution, tribulation, and disasters on earth and in the cosmos will precede His second coming, to first rescue the Saints and to pour out His wrath on the unrepentant.

There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.” Mark 13:8

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be... See, I have told you beforehand.Matthew 24:21, 25

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

LIFE OF AN EARLY CHRISTIAN MARTYR – JUSTIN MARTYR

In Rome at the birth of Christianity, it was a faith that shunned popular vices and amusements that provoked a hatred that took the form of blackening the character of Christians. Christians were accused of all kinds of wickedness. Their assemblies for worship, instruction, and the celebration of the eucharist were none other than secret gatherings for incest, child murder, and cannibalism.

As prophesied in the last days before Jesus returns to rescue the Saints and to judge the world, Christians will be persecuted and martyred as was the early church in the days of Justin Martyr.

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

Justin Martyr

Justin Martyr represents a pioneer type of Greek Apologist. He is concerned not only with the refutation of attacks against Christians; he is also concerned to show that philosophy is truth, reason as a spiritual power, and Christianity the fullness of both. Christianity was, for him, not a theory but philosophic truth itself and this he served with unswerving devotion and courage. The heart of Christianity, which for him was indispensable, was God’s care and love for men and women revealed in the Bible and supremely in Jesus Christ. This places him in the mainstream of the Christian tradition and not on the outskirts as one who grievously distorted the Gospel of Christ by his excursions into philosophy.

We only know that Justin taught in Rome in the reign of Antoninus Pius and that he was martyred during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. from which we infer that his birth occurred either late in the first century or early in the second-century AD. His martyrdom may have been the outcome of a conflict with Crescens, a cynic philosopher whom Justin had convicted of ignorance—certainly, there are ominous forebodings in the Second Apology that this might happen. For the actual account of his death between 162 and 167 AD, we are dependent on the Acta Martyrum et Sanctorum Manuscript Collection, Justin and his companions are brought before Rusticus, the prefect of Rome, and commanded to sacrifice to the gods. On examination, Justin testifies to Christianity as the truth. After a brave refusal to sacrifice, Justin and those with him are condemned to be beaten with rods and beheaded. They pass to their deaths praising God and confessing Christ; later faithful Christians secretly carry away their bodies in order to give them a decent burial.

In the opening chapters of the Dialogue with Trypho the Jew (which in its final form probably dates from c. 160 c.e.), Justin gives a graphic account of the studies through which he had passed before becoming a Christian convert. From youth, he appears to have been of an earnest and religious type of mind intent on finding intellectual peace and satisfaction. With this hope in mind, he undergoes instruction from a Stoic, a Peripatetic, a Pythagorean, and finally a Platonist teacher. The Platonic philosophy immediately impresses him: “The perception of immaterial things quite overpowered me, and the contemplation of ideas furnished my mind with wings.” It was while a Platonist that Justin became a Christian through the agency of an old man who kindled a flame in Justin’s soul: “A love of the prophets, and of those people who are friends of Christ, possessed me.” Christianity was the one, sure, worthy philosophy.

In a statement recorded in the Acta Martyrum, which almost all scholars regard as based on good historical tradition. According to this account Justin, in answer to the Prefect Rusticus’s question, “What teachings do you hold?” said, “I have tried to learn from all teachings, but I came to adopt the true teachings, which are those of the Christians.” Justin found the truth only after much searching. The use of testimony sources in Justin’s First Apology, in addition, confirms that he was converted to Christianity through reading the Old Testament with Christians.

We possess few details of Justin’s life following his conversion and baptism. He seems to have come to Rome and to have stayed there some time. In Acta Martyrum it is stated that he had resided twice in Rome. This is consonant with what we know of the various schools of thought that Christian teachers established in the capital city of the Empire (so Valentinus had connections with Alexandria and Cyprus as well as Rome). It is not therefore to be assumed that Justin established a permanent school of Christian philosophy in Rome. It may be that he taught in other cities at different times in his career. Justin’s special task was Christian apologetics or the defense of the faith. Eusebius vividly describes his work: “But Justin was the most noted of those that flourished in those times, who, in the guise of a philosopher, preached the truth of God, and contended for the faith, also, in his writings.” Again the Acta Martyrum speaks of him sitting in the house of Martinus, a recognized meeting place for Christians, and there conversing with any who visited him, imparting to them the true teaching. The persons condemned with Justin are those whom he had gathered around him; “I took delight,” says one Evelpistus, “in listening to Justin’s discourse.” This is a picture of a philosophical evangelist informally training disciples. One of the most famous of these was Tatian, the brilliant Assyrian, who came from the neighborhood of Nisibis beyond the Euphrates and who became famous as the author of the Diatessaron, the first harmony of the Gospels. Justin’s school may well have engaged in literary production—indeed may have provided the material from which Tatian later was to compose the Diatessaron.

Our object must not only appeal for toleration of the Christian faith but even more win people to the Christian faith. The Christian way of life has to be shown as the highest ideal of ethical conduct the world has yet seen.”

Justin Martyr shows the actual truth of Christianity and its positive worth. He begins by demonstrating that Christians are monotheists who worship God and then Jesus Christ according to His secondary rank, and then the Prophetic Spirit. Christian worship is essentially reasonable worship. Justin then gives examples of the moral power and elevation of Christ’s teaching and produces analogies between the Christian doctrines of immortality, resurrection, the end of the world, and the teaching of nature and philosophy. He also gives some of the pagan fables about the exploits of the sons of gods and shows how irrational it was for believers in these tales to persecute believers in the facts of Jesus’ life. Justin’s object in this part of the First Apology was to disarm unbelief and to show that Christianity was not contemptible or novel but essentially rational. He seeks to show (a) that the teaching of Christ and the prophets is alone true and is older than all other writers; (b) that Jesus Christ is alone begotten as the Son of God being His logos and First-born and Power and appeared on earth as a teacher for the conversion and restoration of the human race; (c) that before Christ came some, influenced by the demons, related through the poet’s mythological tales intended as a travesty of the future revelation. After showing the irrationality of allowing impostors such as Simon Magus and Menander and heretics like Marcion to go unmolested, Justin then passes to the main burden of his argument. This consists of elaborate proofs of the fulfillment of prophecy. The main facts of Christ’s life and work and the mission of the Apostles to the world had been predicted in great detail centuries in advance. He also explains the different kinds of prophecy and defends them against the charge of fatalism. In a remarkable passage, Justin replies to the objection that since Christ came so late in time, those who lived before His coming were not accountable. Quite the opposite—the divine logos had been in the world since the beginning and those who lived according to reason, whatever their race, were really Christians though they have been thought atheists; so among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and among the barbarians Abraham, Ananias, Azarias, Misael, and Elias and many others. On the other hand, those who lived irrationally were the enemies of Christ and so wicked. From all these “fulfilled” predictions, the Christian belief in Christ as the firstborn of God and the universal Judge of humankind is totally justified. Justin next passes to a demonstration that mythology was used by demons to imitate Christ although they had failed to understand the predictions of the Cross, which were also clearly evident in nature and human life. He then tries to show that Plato was directly dependent on Moses for his account of the origin of the world and of the second and third power in the Universe. In the concluding part of his work, Justin gives an account of the Christian sacraments of baptism and the eucharist, which is of great value to students of the early liturgy. Those who are to be baptized are “brought to the place where there is water” where they are regenerated and illuminated. Baptism is in the Name of the Trinity. In the Eucharist, after a reading from the Memoirs of the Apostles or the prophets, intercession is made for the Church and those in the world. The Ruler prays extempore over the elements and the deacons distribute the eucharistic gifts to those present and then take them to the absent.

Justin’s Second Apology is much shorter than the First and was apparently called into existence by his indignation at an outrage that had recently occurred—typical of the indignities to which Christians were subjected. A dissolute man, angry with his Christian wife for having rebuked his vices, had charged her teacher Ptolemaeus with being a Christian. As a result, Prefect Urbicus sentenced Ptolemaeus and two others to death simply because they were Christians. Justin then divulges that he himself expects to fall a victim to the malice of Crescens, “that lover of bravado and boasting” whom he had publicly shown to be an ignorant demagogue. He then goes on to discuss two popular objections to Christians: (a) Why did they not kill themselves if they were so willing to face martyrdom? Justin replies that God’s creation is good and to kill themselves would prevent the spread of the living doctrines; Why did their God not protect them? Justin replies by declaring that God placed the world in charge of angels, but some of these fell, and to them and their offspring are due to the evils that good people suffer. In contrast to the demons is the one ineffable God and His begotten logos, who became man to deliver man from the demons. God in fact spares the world for the sake of the Christians. In all ages, those who followed reason have been persecuted by the demons but the time of judgment will come. Christianity is superior to all other teachings because it reveals the whole logos of God. Another reason why God allows people to suffer is because of the blessedness won through discipline and probation. They are as athletes who prove their virtue by risking death. The way in which Christians regard death is a crowning proof of the truth of their religion and the falsity of the slanders reported about them.

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AUSTRALIA JETTISONING ITS CHRISTIAN ROOTS

Bob Katter MP addressing the media July 28th 2022

KENNEDY MP, Bob Katter, has used a media address in Canberra today to slam the continued persecution of Christianity, after learning the Senate Chief has proposed to ban morning prayers[i].

An enraged Mr Katter used the opportunity to hold up the Holy Bible and rattle off a plethora of recent examples of religious persecution in Australia. He showed solidarity and support to the seven Manly Sea Eagles players, who stood down to defend their religious beliefs, praising them for their conviction.

“This Book for 5,000 years has been the heartland of religious belief, a concept that there is something bigger than me, but in sharp contrast, the persecutors believe that there is nothing bigger than themselves and their opinions,” Mr Katter said.

“For 5,000 years the persecution of the people who believe in this Book have been on public record. I will not go through the persecutions that go back to the dawn of time.  I’ll just mention one – just one.

“During WWII, six million people were murdered in cold blood, many in gas chambers, for no other reason than what they believed.  And remember, the Torah is based on the first five Books of the Hebrew Bible.

“This continued persecution is well and truly alive today. Just have a look at what’s happened to these seven boys from Manly. They have been persecuted for no other reason than they have moral conviction and whether you agree with their convictions, or not, is irrelevant.

“The conviction shown by these seven men is heroic and every decent member of society should admire them. Whether you agree with them or you don’t, they have stood up for what they believe in at great personal sacrifice and that is truly admirable.  

“This is what the people of self-righteous arrogance have done to them:  they have had their jobs taken off them, taken their family security off them, taken their incomes from them, they have put the house they live in in great jeopardy, their futures, their aspirations – all in jeopardy. 

“According to news reports[ii] today, these players have been confined to their houses; they have been locked up.  Apparently, they are doing this to protect the players, but do you know what they said to the First Australians when they rounded them up in chains and sent them to Palm Island? They said, “we are doing this to protect you.”

“To think that this is happening in Australia today is sickening. We Christians have no illusions that we are now under persecution.  

“First, they targeted the Hollingsworth and biggest church in Australia. He was torn to pieces. Having finished with the biggest church in Australia, they then started on the leader of the second biggest church in Australia. Tore him to pieces.  

“Then they turned to the Evangelicals. They started on Israel Falou. They took his whole life away from him and destroyed his career because he made a quote from this Book. He was punished for his quotation of this Book. Yet for 5,000 years people have based the foundation of entire societies on its teachings. More than half the world believes in this Book, or in parts of it.

“Is it an unreasonable thing to quote from a book that more than half the population is committed to?  In Australia it is!

“And now, we have been told today by some that we cannot say prayers in the Parliament. We can show allegiance to some lady in England, but we cannot say prayers.

“So, to my fellow Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, and people of other religious belief, I say this to you – Please will you circulate the names of those who persecute you. We must stop this cold-hearted persecution. They got Pell, they got Hollingworth, got Folau, they have got the Manly boys, so when will they start on you?!”

God is in control of all events in His world. This nation is setting itself up to come under God’s judgement. Perhaps we are already seeing His judgement with the floods and other calamities besetting this nation.

PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS ESCALATES

30 Christians Jailed in India as Persecution Escalates

06/02/2022 India (International Christian Concern) – At least 30 people were imprisoned in India during May because of their faith. According to persecution watchdog, International Christian Concern (ICC), the arrests were justified by filling charges of forced conversion. In one incident a mob of radicals broke into the home of a local pastor, who was praying with his family and beat him before handing him over to police. The police then imprisoned him under the charge of “deliberate and malicious acts against another religion”. Anti-conversion laws, adopted in 11 Indian states, are often used against Christians as it allows authorities to jail them with little regard for due process. “We have arrived at a critical juncture, where practicing faith of our choice is equated as crime and punished accordingly,” a local Christian leader told ICC.

36 Christians Kidnapped in Nigeria’s Kaduna State

07/28/2022 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – On Monday, July 25, an estimated 36 Christians were kidnapped from a village in Nigeria’s Kaduna state. The kidnappers are estimated to be Islamic extremists who performed door-to-door kidnappings in the village.  

An area resident described the kidnappings to Morning Star News. They said, “The Muslim terrorists attacked the community at about 9 p.m., shooting at the people, and broke into their houses and forcefully took away the victims to an unknown place.” 

Hmong Christians Suffering Daily Persecution in Vietnam

07/31/2022 Vietnam (International Christian Concern) – Hmong Christians in the Nghe An province of Vietnam are suffering from severe persecution.  

According to Morning Star News, officials in the province are trying to create “Christian-free zones” where they are able to operate “with no conscience or humanity,” as if the religious freedom violations were occurring a country other than Vietnam, where such acts are not legal.  

Other forms of persecution come from within their own communities. Most Vietnamese follow traditional animist teachings, and many who convert to Christianity from the traditional faith face rejection and even persecution from their family members and communities.  

Additionally, Vietnamese authorities pressure animist relatives of Christian converts to drive Christians from their homes and exile them. The only hope these Christians have of rejoining their communities is if they renounce their new faith.

Christians Prevented from Worshipping in Burkina Faso

7/30/2022 Burkina Faso (International Christian Concern) – According to Aid to the Church in Need International, Catholic churches in Burkina Faso are suffering interference by Islamic groups in the country. In many cases, militants are entering the churches during the service and forcing men and women to sit separately. In other instances, the sermons are being replaced with Islamic sermons. With this being the case, many people in the villages are not receiving proper pastoral care, and the pastoral care that is occurring is only because it is permitted by Islamists.

This recent interference comes on the heels of an attack that killed 20 people on July 3.

Lebanese Christians Concerned Over Political Future

07/30/2022 Lebanon (International Christian Concern) – As Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s six-year term approaches its October 31 close, Christians in Lebanon are concerned for their nation’s future. Lebanon’s historically Christian presidency, an important vestige of the religious community’s declining influence in the country, could worryingly fall to one of four individuals, none of whom are particularly popular with the nation’s Christian community. 

Overall, Christians in Lebanon face an unfortunate political reality. The Christian presidential candidates Aoun, Bassil, and Frangieh are all sympathetic to Hezbollah, and the other likely option to fill the role besides them is the Muslim Prime Minister Mikati. Unfortunately, this conundrum well reflects declining Christian political influence in the state of Lebanon

Cemeteries of Religious Minorities Targeted in Turkey

07/31/2022 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Radicals have targeted another minority cemetery this month in Turkey. On July 15, a Jewish community discovered that their local cemetery in the Haskoy neighborhood of Istanbul had sustained serious damage. Vandals had desecrated 81 gravestones, excavated graves, and left the site in disarray.

 This month’s attack comes specifically on the heels of a similar incident against a Christian community in Turkey. On June 29, local Christians found the perpetrators had desecrated their cemetery, which was dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul, just prior to an annual celebration dedicated to the two saints. 

Source: Premier Christian News

PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS INTENSIFIES

March 6th, 2022 China (International Christian Concern) – A Christian woman in China, named Zhou Jinxia was detained for her repeated attempt to share the good news of Jesus Christ with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan.

Using placards filled with Gospel messages, Zhou regularly stands outside a gated area in Beijing where top Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials reside. Last month, she did so to greet President Xi when he returned from the Winter Olympics, leading to her arrest for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” Authorities ordered Zhou to return to her hometown of Dalian, where her beef with the government began.

In 2009, local authorities seized and demolished Zhou’s house in Dalian without her consent, later turning it into a city square. According to the group China Aid, Zhou and her family members have spent years seeking justice, only to be detained and lose their jobs.

Religious liberty magazine Bitter Winter explains that Zhou “took seriously [President] Xi’s statements he would fight corruption.” So after his 2013 inauguration, she repeatedly wrote to him about her unjust eviction. Because Xi never replied, Zhou “concluded that no solution to China’s problem would be possible unless [the president and his wife] would receive Jesus in their hearts.”

The Dalian native was sent back to Liaoning province by the police after her action in Beijing. She was subsequently detained. On Feb. 20, Zhou went to Zhongnanhai in Beijing, the central headquarters for the Communist Party of China and the State Council of China, holding up a sign asking Xi Jinping to believe in Jesus.

The police in charge arrested her before Dalian police brought her back to Dalian. She was criminally detained and charged with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” on February 21. Her family received the notice of her criminal detention from Dalian’s Public Security Bureau’s Xigang Branch on March 1.

According to China Aid, in recent years, Zhou has attempted to share the good news with her Chinese leader more than 50 times. As early as March 2015, Zhou was detained for ten days for her evangelism activities. In March 2016 and March 2018, she was detained again for the same charge.

Beginning October 2020, Zhou has resided in Fengtai district’s Xiaobailou village in Beijing. She actively shares the gospel and is involved in her church. On June 27, 2021, she was driven away by local leaders and police, while her amenities of daily life were confiscated. As someone whose house was forcibly demolished by the government, Zhou is not unfamiliar with the injustice in China.

We need to pray for Zhou Jinxia and the many like her in China and other countries where Christians are persecuted. Moreover, we should ask God to give us the courage to be like her in the face of intense persecution that we will see intensify across the globe in these prophesied “last days” before Jesus returns.

STORY OF MUSLIM CONVERT

(Morning Star News) – Muslim relatives of a Christian evangelist, Malingumu Bruhan on Feb. 6th beat and tied him up to be burned to death after he returned home for a funeral in eastern Uganda, he said.

Despite the fact Uganda is a majority Christian country that affords its citizens religious freedom, there have been some cases in recent years that mirror Bruhan’s ordeal. Despite being 84% Christian, certain pockets of Uganda — particularly the eastern region — are Muslim-dominated.

Malingumu Bruhan, 34, returned to Kaliro District for his grandfather’s funeral in Muhira village, Nawaikoke, and then accepted his uncles’ request to stay and visit, as they said they had not seen him for a long time.

“Subsequently, my uncle accused me of embarrassing the family by holding Christian evangelistic, open-air meetings and debates with Muslims,” Bruhan told Morning Star News. “He accused me of being an infidel by converting to Christianity, and that Allah will reward them in Jannah [garden paradise] if they kill me.”

“He told me that now is the right time for me to receive punishment from Allah, whereby I was going to be burned alive and the birds of the air will enjoy me as their meat,” Bruhan said. “Some men beat me as others gathered firewood, while another was sent for petrol because they wanted to use it to burn me alive.”

”As his uncle was waiting for the fuel, another convert from Islam who had accompanied Bruhan to the funeral came looking for him but was told he was nowhere in the vicinity”, he said. The friend saw Bruhan’s shoe, which had come off as his uncle and others dragged him off.

Malingumu Bruhan was attacked near Nawaikoke, Kaliro District, Uganda on Feb. 6, 2022

“My friend made several phone calls to friends after finding my shoe, they arrived and started searching for me,” he said. “They found me behind the house, tied and with firewood around me. They called the police, which scared the attackers, and they fled.”

Having sustained head injuries, Bruhan was taken to a clinic at Bulumba town, then later transferred to another area undisclosed for security reasons.

An evangelist well-known in Mbale, Iganga, Jinja and Kampala for his public debates with Muslims about Christianity and Islam, Bruhan has survived 11 murder attempts. “By God’s grace I overcame the Muslims’ planned attacks,” Bruhan said.

His Muslim relatives ostracized him in 2017 following his conversion, saying that as an apostate he had brought shame to the family.

“When I was chased, I went on foot, slept in the bush, and survived on wild fruits for two months,” Bruhan said. “I still trust God to heal me and for divine protection for my life. The church has been a comfort to me. Pray for me so that I recover from the head injuries and will be able to continue with the work of sharing Christ with the lost.”

The assault was the latest of many instances of persecution of Christians in Uganda that Morning Star News has documented.

We need to pray for our ex-Muslim brothers and sisters that come under intense persecution, particularly evangelists like Bruhan. You can keep up to date by connecting to Morning Star News and Voice of the Martyrs.

PERSECUTION ESCALATING AS PROPHESIED

In Australia in the State of Victoria, the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Act 2021 ( It ensures LGBTQ Victorians are able to live their lives authentically with pride and makes clear that a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity are not broken and do not need to be fixed.) comes into force today.  

Here’s how this new legislation will restrict Christian’s freedom to live out their faith, wherever they live in Australia …

This law gives broad powers to locate, investigate, and punish anyone who holds to and teaches Christian convictions on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Penalties could be as much as 10 years imprisonment and a $500,000 fine.

Complaints can be reported by “any person”, even those who are not affected and can be made anonymously – even about conduct in other states.

Those opposed to the Christian faith will be able to harass and silence churches, organisations, and individuals they don’t agree with.

No other law in Australia has this power to limit your religious freedom.

It could land anyone in jail for failing to toe the line on LGBT issues and, more disturbingly, it could imprison anyone who carries out religious practices such as prayer.

We should not be surprised to see this happening as Jesus told us beforehand that prior to His second coming to put things right, persecution of Christians and even being “hated by all for my name’s sake” will be the law of the land.

And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Mark 13:11-13

Many Australians are already facing unfair treatment – people like …

  • Hannah, who was banned from a café for reading the Bible
  • Ian, a teacher whose job was threatened for expressing his religious beliefs on social media
  • Jereth, a doctor who was suspended by the Medical Board and has been unable to practise for two years because of his social media posts.

The real fight is not political: it’s spiritual and only with us preaching the Gospel and the Holy Spirit transforming minds will God’s truth be made known.

HONOURING GOD’S WORD

Two well-known and often quoted verses are Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:1. Sadly, they are often quoted out of context and looked at only in relation to how they can help us in the here and now. This is the case with so many other Scriptures as well. So, let us take a look at both of these Scriptures in context.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.Romans 8:28

What God considers good may not always align with what we consider good. In fact, we are told numerous times in the bible that Christians “will be hated” and that “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (Matthew 10:22 and 2 Timothy 3:12). God uses tribulations for our eternal benefit, just look at God’s dealings with His own nation, Israel. The world’s hatred of us is ultimately working for our good. It’s growing us, changing us, sanctifying us, and making us more Christ-like. Our sufferings force us to let go of idols and seek God above all else. When everything else is taken away, all we have is the Lord.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11

This text needs to be read in context, it has nothing to do with God prospering your plans for your life. In fact, it is everything to do with a disobedient nation God sent into exile.

Starting in verse 1 of chapter 29, we learn that the prophet Jeremiah is writing a letter to “all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.”  So already, we have a categorical and contextual problem

Jeremiah 29:11 coffee cup

It’s somewhat absurd when we take a verse meant to offer hope to an enslaved race of people and put it on a coffee cup or T-shirt. It’s just simply wrong to say this verse is about me and proclaim it over your life. Having said that, it’s important to mention that while Jeremiah 29:11 may not be about you, that doesn’t mean it’s not for you. By way of being grafted into the people of God, we can identify with this verse and remember that those in Christ are within the perfect plan of God.

Both verses, Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11 hold up a wonderful truth that God’s people can rest within, knowing God is for us. Still, a temptation remains to promote shallow applications and ignore some of the profound realities that surround these verses. We all need to dig deeper about what it means for God to promise good for His people and how He uses suffering for His glory.

Can I suggest you consider “living eternal now”.

FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN CHIEF JUSTICE MUST APOLOGIZE FOR DEFENDING ISRAEL

Mogoeng had refused to apologize, saying South Africa’s judges should not be “censored, gagged or muzzled.”

Former South African chief justice given 10 days to apologize for defending Israel
Former South African Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. (South African Judiciary)

By World Israel News Staff Jan 22, 2022

South Africa’s Judicial Conduct Appeals Committee issued a statement on Thursday giving former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng 10 days to make an “unconditional apology for becoming involved in political controversy.”

“I’m under an obligation as a Christian to love Israel, to pray for [the] peace of Jerusalem, which actually means the peace of Israel, and I cannot, as I Christian, do anything other than love and pray for Israel, because I know, hatred for Israel by me and for my nation, can only attract unprecedented curses upon our nation,” Mogoeng stated in July 2020 during a webinar discussion with South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein that was hosted by The Jerusalem Post.

“Did Israel take away our land or the land of Africa? Did Israel take our mineral wealth? We’ve got to move from a position of principle here,” he said.

The anti-Israel group Africa4Palestine, the South African branch of the BDS movement, filed a complaint over the chief justice’s comments, accusing him of breaching the judicial code of conduct.

Mogoeng, who served as chief justice until his retirement from the position in October 2021, refused to apologize, saying South Africa’s judges should not be “censored, gagged or muzzled.”

“I respect the law. I will not defy the law. But if it does come to the point where I am forced to do the abominable, or I am forced to reject God, then I would rather be without money, be without any position. I will never refuse to obey the Lord,” he asserted.

“If I get to the point where there is a judgment that says, ‘You must say you hate Israel and the Jews’, I would rather cease to be Chief Justice.

“If I get to the point where they say, ‘Mogoeng, you must say you hate the Palestinians and Palestine,’ I would rather cease to be Chief Justice than to do it…

“I will not apologize for anything. There is nothing to apologize for… I can’t apologize for loving. I can’t apologize for not harboring hatred and bitterness.”

Rejecting Myogoeng’s appeal on Thursday, the Committee said:

“Pursuant to this decision, the committee, by a majority, directed that Chief Justice Mogoeng should issue an unconditional apology for becoming involved in political controversy through his utterances at the online seminar (webinar) hosted by the Jerusalem Post on June 23, 2020. A copy of the apology must be released by Chief Justice Mogoeng to the Office of the Chief Justice and the media within 10 days of the decision.”

This tiny nation, Israel, which God established for His purposes some 4000 years ago and which He allowed to be utterly destroyed and renamed Palestine is prophesied to be the centre of world affairs until Jesus returns to this earth to rule and reign the nations. Their re-establishment as a nation in 1948 was a prophesied miracle. Even before Israel went into their Promised Land Moses told them their entire checkered history, including their being cast out of the land and dispersed throughout the nations but also the end of the story when God would regather them and their Messiah will rule the nations and they will be a people, “holy to the Lord your God”.

And if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.” Deuteronomy 28:1

And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them,” Deuteronomy 28:13

“And the Lord has declared today that you are a people for his treasured possession, as He has promised you, and that you are to keep all his commandments, and that He will set you in praise and in fame and in honour high above all nations that He has made, and that you shall be a people holy to the Lord your God, as He promised. Deuteronomy 26:18-19

“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and He will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. Deuteronomy 30:1-3

And the Lord your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” Deuteronomy 30:5-6

The former South African Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng got it right he knows God.s plan for Israel and he will play his part in ruling and reigning with Jesus in the Millennium probably in the judiciary.