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"Egypt Declares State of Emergency, as Attacks Undercut Promise of Security" – New York Times, April 9, 2017
As you may have gathered from some of my writings, I spent a considerable amount of time in the Middle East. Later I travelled to a number of different Arabic countries in North Africa and the Middle East. During the time when I lived in the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman, and later when I made trips to other countries in that area, almost always, time permitting, I would stroll down to the local market or to other areas where people gathered. There, I would observe their happiness. They were always standing around in groups, talking and laughing. There would be groups of women shopping for their daily vegetables and meats. The men would stroll through the markets, and a good time would be had by all. I could tell that they were happy to socialize.
When I first heard about the massacre of 45 Coptic Christians and the injuries of many more in two different cities in Egypt this past Palm Sunday, I could see the crowds in my mind. People would be happy to gather together, especially as they all came to remember and meditate on the story of Jesus when He rode a colt, the foal of a donkey, into Jerusalem. I can imagine the joy that they had as they prepared for worship and as they worshipped. Suddenly, there were these terrible explosions, and many died. I am sure that we can't even imagine the disbelief and the agony of that moment and the distress afterwards.
For a number of days, there were reports in the newspaper and on television, and then gradually, these events became old news. But for those who were there, for those who lost loved ones, this nightmare will continue for the rest of their lives. Whenever they think of the joy of worshipping the Lord, they will remember the agony of the moment when the explosions took place and loved ones were lost.
It seems that these days, we are confronted almost weekly with the fact that Christians have become targets of those who want to wipe out the Christian church and those who believe in Christ as Saviour and Lord. The Bible tells us that there would be days like this.
John 15:20a – Remember what I told you: "A servant is not greater than his master." If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. (NIV 2011)
Matthew 24:9 – Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. (NIV 2011)
For Christians in many places, there is a state of emergency indeed. In the western world, we also need to be prepared for persecution, even in its mild forms of prejudice and bias against Christianity in the secular media.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we pray for the many brothers and sisters in Christ who are persecuted for their faith. We ask that You will give them strength to cope; we also pray that change for the better will come. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Amen to your prayer.
A very appropriate reminder, Joel. Thanks for your writing.
Thanks for your message, Joel. End times are coming.
Maranatha! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Joel, yes, may we always pray for the persecuted church and for those who persecute them to come to faith in Christ Jesus as St. Paul did. Blessings.
Thank you for your insights and warning of persecution of Christians in our world today. We see more of this in the USA especially by groups that oppose the Biblical Worldview that dedicated Christians have. Thank you for your sharing giving the texts that tell of this.
Yes Joel. I am reading a book by Brad Long right now and it is a call to pray and to stand against radical Islam, its intention to wipe Christians, Jews and anyone else that does not hold their doctrine as they do, from the face of the earth. When I get over being terrified by this book, I will be stronger to stand and pray and support those who are fighting ISIS. Christians need to dig in and be earnest about their prayer time.
Good and true word today Joel.
I had opportunity to see the movie The Promise, this weekend. It is about the Armenian genocide and it is excellent. It also brought to mind the persecution which is still going on worldwide against Christians as well as others. I found myself praying that God would cleanse, strengthen and prepare His people for that which is yet to come.
I and many others join you in this prayer for peace and a stop to the persecution of Christians. I lament that so many young people are not given the chance today to learn about Jesus and accept Him as their Saviour by taking the Christian prayers and teachings out of the schools. Sports and other activities seem to have taken precedence over Church and Sunday School. I pray that all Christians will continue to pray for peace. God Bless those who have lost loved ones in His name.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful stories with all of us.
Last week I had the opportunity to watch a one-man play from the “The Voice of the Martyrs” at our church. It was the true story of a man imprisoned for 15 years in solitary confinement. It was incredible and we must keep praying for our church and these amazing people who are suffering for our Lord.
May God bless you always.
Your devotional brought to mind my immediate phone call to some Egyptian friends and their families. You can imagine, I called as soon as I heard of the attacks to see if any of my friends’ families were caught up in that service.
The persecution of our brothers and sisters in Christ is worrying. At our church, we pray regularly as a congregation for the suffering and struggles of these dear saints. We have done so for a number of years and have noted the increased frequency.
Thanks for your caring devotional. And thanks for reminding us all that we too may be called to suffer.
God bless you.
Joel, I really appreciate your devotional. Thank you for sharing this important message.
Thanks Joel, it is always a pleasure to tear myself away from the many “States of Emergency” to read one of your devotionals. They are a highlight of the day.
Another excellent devotional…Thank you!
I have just finished watching a movie called “Band of Brothers”…it talks of the second world war, some of its officers, regular soldiers, their “enemy” and portrayed so much good and bad in humankind. Man shall surely have to change his mind and his beliefs and actions before Christ can return and rule this world.
Thank you, again, for such good devotionals, such good thoughts. May God richly bless and keep you.
Thank you for informing us of this persecution of Christians.
We pray, “Lord God please form a protection around Christians, and cause the Christians to be bold and effective in proclamation of your Good News of Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
May the unbelievers come to you in mighty droves to win with the love of Jesus Christ.
Please empower all Christians everywhere to know your word and be true to it. Keep us praying. Amen.”
Thanks for trying to reveal to many that our faith is under attack. I had to specifically ask my pastor here in Florida to bring forth what is going on and for the congregation to offer prayer. Almost every week he leads prayer for new churches being planted in our area but not once until I brought the problem to his attention did he ask us to raise up our persecuted brothers and sisters. Where I lived for several years, the pastor asked us at every meeting to pray for the persecuted.
I hope more of your thoughts get publicized.
God bless you!
Thank you for your touching devotional.
Yes we need to pray for Christians being persecuted in the eastern nations.
Also we must pray for strength by the Holy Spirit as persecution gets worse in our country.