June Prayer for the Persecuted Church

Hebrews 13:3 tells us to “remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” Our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world are being persecuted for the sake of the Gospel. We need to remember them in prayer.

China restraining churches

The Chinese government enacted new regulations this week in a further attempt to control its growing Christian population. Pastors must provide police with weekly reports detailing their whereabouts and how many people attend their church meetings. If Pastors leave their city, they must report their travel plans, and they are restricted to short trips. If they fail to report and police are unable to contact them, they are arrested. These regulations primarily target large house churches that organize under a specific name and meet publicly.

India Attacks Persist

Hindu extremists continue to target Christians in India with harassment, false accusations, beatings and even murder. The Global Council of Indian Christians believes Hindu extremists are behind two recent murders of Christians in the state of Andhra Pradesh. In the most recent case, 17-year-old Nirupama Pradhan was raped and murdered after school on May 12, 2011. Her father, Sitrian Pradhan, named the possible murderer, but according to Asia News, police have done nothing to find the murderer.

Police also have refused to give a post-mortem report to the widow of Saul Pradhan, a Christian preacher who was murdered on Jan. 10, 2011. Pradhan had taken a new job at a brick-kiln in another village. When he did not return home from work one day, his family searched for him and found his body near a pond. Police originally claimed Pradhan died from the “bitter cold,” but his employers, Hindu radicals, later confessed to the murder.

On May 8, Hindu radicals stopped Pastor B. Vijaya Kumar and his family as they walked home from a prayer meeting, according to Compass Direct News. After the extremists detained the family for three hours, police arrived and questioned Kumar. They told the family to leave the area and said they would accept no responsibility if anything happened to them. Earlier, local papers had falsely reported that Kumar had been converting people by offering them money.

Extremists in Madhya Pradesh accused another pastor of forced conversions. Hindu extremists stopped Pastor Shivraj Maravi from renovating his small house, where he sometimes holds Sunday services. After the extremists filed a police report on May 4, police arrested Maravi and charged him with forcible conversion under the state’s anti-conversion act. Compass Direct reported that Maravi stopped working on his house because he feared he would be attacked by extremists.

Hindu extremists in the state of Maharashtra also stopped construction of a church building and imposed a boycott on Christians in the area. When the Christians complained to police, the police told the group to get permission from the village head, who subsequently refused to help them. In the ensuing boycott, the extremist group prohibited Christian vehicles from carrying vegetables to market, cutting off their means of livelihood. The extremists ordered the Christians to leave the village and said they would not allow Christian children to attend the local school.

Violence leaves Christians dead

Hundreds of Nigerian Christians were killed and injured while more than 150 church buildings were burned in violence stemming from the election of a Christian as president of Nigeria. A Voice of the Martyrs source reports that 31,000 people also have been displaced by the rioting. The nation’s Christian president was re-elected over a Muslim challenger on April 16, sparking the violence, which continued into May. One report told of a pastor who prayed with his wife and daughter as they died from the violence. Pastor James Musa Rike’s wife, Dune, died after being shot and slashed with a machete by Muslims. Their 13-year-old daughter, Sum, reportedly told her father that the militants said, “See how your Jesus will save you,” before attacking her. Her response was that Jesus had already saved her.

Pray that God will use all of these difficult situations to the furtherance of His kingdom and for His glory! 

Thoughts on Bin Laden

Believers, I have a question: Are we to rejoice that our enemy is dead? Don’t get me wrong, I love America and it is a good thing that a dreadful enemy of our country and one that is responsible for taking many American lives is now no longer on the earth. Nationally, it is a great victory. Militarily, it is a great victory and makes me proud of our SEALS. Many civilians and military alike have died because of this enemies evil and hatred and false religion.

But as I read many Tweets and Facebook status updates, I can’t help but feel conflicted and a bit saddened. We are to love what God loves and hate what God hates, right? And to be sure, God does hate wickedness. But His Word also says, He has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” (Ezekiel 33:11) And wicked Osama Bin Laden was. So is our Christian response to be rejoicing in this time? Or mourning?

Like I said, please don’t misunderstand me. I think it a great victory for our country and really, for the world, in terms of safety and morale. But for a Christian to say, “I’m glad he’s finally getting what he deserves” and “I’m glad he’s burning right now”… WOW. I’m just not sure that’s what a godly reaction would look like.

Yes, justice is being served. Yes, he is paying for the sin he committed. Moreover, he is paying the price of the rejection of God’s Son.

But what about your unsaved mother? Or your unbelieving best friend? Or your child who has rejected Christ’s atonement. Do you wish the same for them? They are in the same place Osama Bin Laden was: at war with God. No, they haven’t murdered people. Or have they? (anger). No, they don’t think they’re getting 70 virgins when they get to heaven. But they have lusted. And they are guilty by the same standard as Bin Laden was. They are just as deserving of eternal damnation and hellfire. But would you rejoice and be stoked on the fact they are “burning”? I think not.

Christians, let’s have God’s heart and mourn a sinner that is most likely in the depths of hell as we speak. Not because we are wishing he was still here threatening and plotting against us, because, of course we aren’t. But because he is getting all that he deserved.

(*To be fair, the verse quoted above is God speaking to the Israelites in their disobedience. Also, God is completely just in his judgements and his ways. So I am not saying we should mourn the sinners death because they don’t deserve it. They had chance after chance after chance to turn from their wicked ways and live. They rejected God’s right path and walked on their own path… right into hell. So I am not kicking against the plan or the Way that God set up for justice to be served. I am just saying, let’s not rejoice over eternal damnation of a wicked sinner when even God Himself is not rejoicing to send one to hell.)