Stop Calling Yourself The Persecuted Church

 Open Doors World Watch Map/Open Doors

There is no more prayer in schools.

They want to take God’s name out of the national anthem.

The list of “assaults” on Christianity grows and varies from Western country to country. Every day Christians take to social media and share how life is so hard. We are under siege. Our lives are in danger of ungodly people changing things in our government. We are suffering at the hands of sinners. And the likes…

These kinds of things make their rounds on Facebook and Twitter because we are the “persecuted church“.

Only we couldn’t be more wrong. And we need to stop calling ourselves that.

Open Doors, an organization dedicated to helping the actual persecuted church, wherever they might be in the world. But it isn’t in North America.

The World Watch List was recently updated, sharing the Top 50 nations where being a Christian is the toughest. While you can find the full list here, read over the Top 20 as shared by BibleGateway Blog.

Top 20 Countries Persecuting Christians

  1. North Korea
  2. Afghanistan
  3. Somalia
  4. Libya
  5. Pakistan
  6. Sudan
  7. Eritrea
  8. Yemen
  9. Iran
  10. India
  11. Syria
  12. Nigeria
  13. Iraq
  14. Maldives
  15. Saudi Arabia
  16. Egypt
  17. Uzbekistan
  18. Myanmar (Burma)
  19. Laos
  20. Vietnam

The only “Western” country to make the Top 50 list is Mexico, coming in at 39.

Think about that.

These Christians suffer from Communist or Post-communist oppression, Dictatorial Paranoia, Ethnic Antagonism, Islamic Oppression, and/or Religious Nationalism.

They are regularly attacked, routinely harassed, habitually disturbed and made the public pariah of their respective nations. Their government makes examples of them, create laws with which to demoralize and cripple their lives. Freedoms and rights are removed or none existent.

Christians have no voice, no power, no representation, no ability to advocate for change in these nations. None of which are Western countries.

More than 245 million Christians live with high, very high, or extreme persecution on a regular basis. If not daily. That number is up from 2018. It was 215 million last year.

David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA said this,

“Islamic radicalism continues to dominate and influence all spheres of life for Christians, and we are watching China and India very closely. The distressing impact of billions of people living in an environment in which the government oppresses freedom of religion is unravelling day by day as millions of Christians are being attacked, imprisoned or killed. Open Doors will continue to walk alongside these Christians and advocate on their behalf for human rights we take for granted in America.”

That is the persecuted church. Those are the people that are suffering in the name of Jesus.

Having someone disagree with us on Facebook is not persecution. Having a government make changes to their laws to no favour a single religion is not what people in North Korea are suffering. Someone mocking your faith in a cartoon or a meme is not what is happening in Afghanistan.

They are being murdered. They are being imprisoned.

I’m not saying that our lives are easy or that the way we are treated is right, but what Western Christians deal with is not persecution like the rest of the world deals with.

Let’s remember what our brothers and sisters are going through, remember what our forefathers endured as well.

“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”

– Hebrews 13:3

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”

– 2 Corinthians 4:8-12


This article first appeared on Christian Thought Sandbox.

What does it mean to be crucified with Christ?

What does it mean to be crucified with Christ?

So today I got mad. And I cried for an embarrassingly long amount of time over it.

Did someone die? No. Did a friendship end? Nope.

A friend and I were arranging my brand new writing space, a room I had wanted for a long time. We began to place my books on the closet-turned bookshelf, and as we laid down the last book, boom. Just like the walls of Jerico, it came tumbling down. It seriously ruined my whole day. Now, what does any of this have to do with God? Not a whole lot, but it has more to do with his nemesis. I let the devil rob me of my joy for a good chunk of the day over something so trivial and earthly.

I told everything that had happened with the broken furniture, how I reacted, and how I still felt about it to one of my church leaders (because we are more like family than anything) and she flat out told me that needed to stop tripping. Nowhere in the Bible does it say it isn’t okay to be mad or upset, but it does tell us that in the end, earthly things will have no room in the kingdom of heaven. God’s word also instructs us not to be anxious over anything, but to instead, trust that everything will work out to his glory.

God is trying to teach all of us something, and for me right now, those lessons seem to be joy, peace, and patience. True joy is found in God, and crying over the little inconveniences of life isn’t honoring him; it’s feeding the enemy.

My friend told me, “Really Ali? You’re going to be this upset over something so small? Is that gonna matter when you get up to heaven?’ With a little attitude, I responded with, “ I’m gonna ask God why he allowed this bookshelf to break.’ She laughed and said, “Then God will say ’˜depart from me, you’re petty.’

God knows our hearts desires, but the unfortunate thing is that Satan knows some things about us as well; he knows exactly what to do to make us angry.  I love books, and anything to do with writing, so of course, like the turd he is, he’s gonna go after those areas in my life.

I’m not mad about it anymore, and truth be told I should have just let it roll off my shoulders then and there. No matter what it is that’s got you down in life; bills, a toxic home life, a bad day at work, spilling coffee on your laptop, all of those things, big or small, have no power over us, because we are the children of a God who loves us, knows us better than anyone, and knows what we can and can’t handle in our lives.

Don’t let the devil win. He may know how to attack, but so do you. Make him mad with the way you respond, shake it off, know that things can be fixed, and have an awesome day. The devil can’t win if you don’t play the game.

Thanks, hope all is well!

-Alisha-

Thankful for All- Poem

Oh Lord we are thankful for all that we receive,
We give this prayer of thankfulness.
We honor you by sharing our faith and believe,
Giving a kind gift to those who have less.
Giving to others is easy to do.
Happy smiles from little ones,
Joyful hearts and laughter ringing true.
Elation from our daughters and sons.
We know all blessings are from above,
From our kind Heavenly Father.
Blessings are because of your love,
Spreading forth this love to one another.
We thank you for the food you provide.
The clothing, the shelter, our hearts desire.
Thank you Jesus, our Savior who died.
Without you our life would be dire.
To many blessings to name,
We thank you Lord for all.
As a baby you came,
to save us from sins and teach us your law.
We know Salvation is freely given.
To those who believe on the Son.
Forgiving us of our sin,
We thank you for all you have done.

Thank you to all who read and follow this blog. From my family to yours, we hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Have Church While Cooking Your Sunday Roast

The digital age is great, but has it taken over? In this blog, I discuss whether it’s a positive thing for the Church and Christian organisations to go digital.

So, I attended the Premier Digital Conference on Saturday 3rd November in London. For those of you who are not familiar with this event, it’s an event to help the Christian community take advantage of all the opportunities brought about by our digital age. Their aim is to ‘inspire with what is possible, equip with new ideas and skills and connect you with people and organisations that can help you achieve your aims’.

As you can imagine, as a virtual ministry assistant, this was an amazing event for me, and it proved to be just that…….

To me, this event really brought to question, whether Churches, and Christian businesses were now becoming in tune with the digital age.

Why do Christian organisations, more specifically, Churches, find it so difficult to move with the times and become more digital / virtual?

Is it because Christianity is all about community, communication, being present with one another?

In today’s age, we now have Church apps where you can download your Church sermon, or Church newsletter; Bible verses posted on Facebook or Instagram, view Church sermons from YouTube while on the go. We have so many online Churches. A lot of Churches aspire to get their Church online. So, do less people now physically attend Church now that there are so many online Churches? You could now literally have Church while cooking your Sunday roast! Will it eventually get to a point where there will be no physical Churches, and everyone will be at home in their families, or worse, on their own listening to their Church sermon online?

 Of course, the flip side of this is that tens of thousands of people can easily hear the word of God. People who may not have usually attended Church can just tune in to hear what it’s all about. People who are house bound can experience Church in their homes.

As a virtual assistant, I’m all for the digital age. Most of my work and interactions with Churches, pastors, Church leaders are done digitally, and it works well. But it is very slow to catch on. In times of such great change, it is important to take the positives of the digital age. We can reach so many people in different cities, countries and even continents. We can work and bring together a vast amount of different ideas from different cultures and generations.

Nevertheless, we must not lose our human connections. We must not forget what Christianity is about. Loving your neighbour, helping and supporting each other and working together.

As a Christian community, we must be known to not only love Jesus Christ, but to also love one another, and to live in fellowship with one another. When the world sees this, our light will ‘shine before others, that they may see… our good deeds and glorify… our Father in heaven’. (Matthew 5:16)

 We need to find a happy medium where we have an option to connect virtually and digitally, but also not loose touch of our human contact.

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