Afghanistan: I’ve been praying for Afghanistan since our armed forces left the nation in 2021. An estimated two million known refugees fled to the surrounding nations, and the actual numbers are probably far higher. It ranks at the very bottom of Gallop’s “World Happiness Report.” “Ezzatullah,” an Afghan visitor to our 4steps.Godlife.com site, wrote us with the encouragement, “I am very happy to see your letters your teaching lessons to learn about Christianity… when they (Taliban) knew that people are fleeing, they closed passport offices, on a mere thing they insult and mock the honorable and educated people even they hit and abuse men and women. I love and obey Jesus our Lord, current situation and these devil religious people and their satans can not affect my belief. I do not mean that I leave and forget Christianity from my heart, but… every one is under the control of their satans and spies. Afghanistan is the most dangerous country in the world. Yours in Christ”.
China: By 2010, China’s population of evangelical Christians had grown from 2.7 to 75 million. In recent years, the government has undertaken steps to more thoroughly dominate influences of outside cultures, including both state-sanctioned and underground churches. Believers have been imprisoned and hundreds of churches have been demolished. “Huiliang,” a Chinese visitor to our whoisJesus.godlife.com site, recently wrote his Online Missionary, “I am a Chinese who has… just resigned [from work]. I have been a Christian for years. I am not intentionally to disturb you since I respect your time to help others about God. But when watched the ad on Youtube I'm just amazed that how good it is. The ad shows people what is Gospel. And this can never happen in our country. Here In the recent years, more and more churches are closed by gov and the policy seems even strict. I really admire countries that are religion free.”
Troubled spots like China and Afghanistan aren’t the only places Christians are targeted for their faith. A recent example has had us all praying for the families of six believers in Nashville. Three nine-year-olds and three adults at a Christian elementary school were slain last week. Despite the evidence victims were chosen because of their faith, only days later, the White House declared a “Day of Visibility” for people who, like the assailant, suffer from gender dysphoria.
Was there evidence of transformation in the lives of the people associated with this School? Nashville Chief of Police John Drake described his experience at a memorial service this way:
“I'm in tears, and the other first responders, police officers, firefighters, were in tears—and I look at these kids, and they look at us, and they say ‘thank you for your service,’ and they believe that their classmate is going to heaven, that they are in a better place, and they're not hurting. The ones that were hurting the most was us.”
We may wonder how we got to the point at which such an attack would result in holding up the assailant’s pathology for recognition. Although the adage, “hurt people hurt people” is obviously true, it also hurts people to affirm them in a destructive path, as Philippians 3:19–21 puts it:
"Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ". (Philippians 3:19–20)
The celebration of Jesus' Resurrection has historically brought renewed interest on Who He is. How can Christians in our chaotic world bring this perspective to bear on the direction so many people are heading?
Here are some conversation principles from a webinar we recently hosted for our Online Missionaries:
- Pray for wisdom: most are under the mistaken assumption that they know what Christianity is all about. God will bring Word to us to address their concerns and dismantle the spiritual deception behind them.
- Listen to them: aim to be able to understand their perspective so well that they wouldn’t need to correct you if you explained it back to them.
- Ask good questions: they’re prepared for criticism but questions are disarming. When they have to explain how life without Jesus works, it’s easier for them to see contradictions in their thinking.
- Acknowledge bad examples. David gave God’s enemies a platform to blaspheme. There’s no sense in denying the examples of people who poorly represent the one they claim to follow.
- That’s sort of the point: Christ came into the world to save sinners. Our unholiness is why Jesus died for us and rose again in the first place.
Isn’t it a blessing to know that the work you make possible brings encouragement to persecuted believers today? Let’s be all the more determined to
live like those who have been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the Kingdom of the risen Lord, and to tell hurting people where hope can be found, hastening toward Jesus’ return!
“He is not here, for He is risen, as He said!”
Love, in Christ,
One Day Closer!