How Long, O Lord? The Cry of the Persecuted

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.  They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”  Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.  Revelation 6:9-11 (NIV)

The cry of the martyrs given above I understand fully.  When wholesale slaughter happens against a Christian population under an evil ruler/group, one can get how the cries would ring out, "How long, O Lord?"  

What is harder to understand, though, is the response.  The Lord states that it would continue to happen until everyone who is to die a martyr's death does.  

It is apparently within the will of God that His people suffer for His name.  And it is also evident that the persecution will often enough be unto death.  More and more we are seeing across the world, especially in Egypt and Syria, God's sovereign will in allowing His people to go through hardship for Him.  Our faith, tested and proven by experience and history, is that persecution brings about a stronger faith, a more courageous Church and a more effective witness.  Truly, Christ is building His Church and the gates of Hell cannot prevail.  

Here is the latest:

American silence on Syrian plight fuels antipathy


From the article:
At least one Christian village near Damascus has been cleared out. Bodies are still in the streets. The recent chemical attack boasted headlines and horrific images of children being laid out; however, one of the worst atrocities didn't make a blip.

Doyle describes the situation of two weeks ago. "We heard from leaders in the region that they were crucifying Christians up north in Syria. We heard about it, we know people that have pictures of it. Pastors [are] crying out for help, frustrated that NONE of this is even making the national news (in the United States)."

And the question is: why not?

The United States has an Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, Suzan Johnson Cook. Cook heads the Office of International Religious Freedom in the United States Department of State. It is her job to speak out on behalf of the religious minorities whose rights are being trampled. Yet, when asked to comment earlier this week on the situation in Syria, she declined.

In Jarablus, a northern city in Syria, in the Presbyterian Church, an Islamic Armed Group (called the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) kidnapped the pastor and asked him to say the Islamic Shahada and become a Muslim. After threatening him, the pastor refused to leave his faith and said, “I bear witness to Jesus Christ only."  The group left him unscathed. Thank you Lord, for your care for your children. (Our friend in Syria confirmed this story to be true.)
-- from 8thirty8's Facebook page


By Sammy Ketz - AFP
Published on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 07:39

The most tragic story was that of Rasha, who recounted how the jihadists had seized her fiance Atef, who belonged to the town's militia, and brutally murdered him.

"I rang his mobile phone and one of them answered," she said.

"Good morning, Rash rush," the voice said, using her nickname. "We are from the Free Syrian Army. Do you know your fiance was a member of the shabiha (pro-regime militia) who was carrying weapons, and we have slit his throat."

The man told her Atef had been given the option of converting to Islam, but had refused.

"Jesus didn't come to save him," he taunted.

Assault on Christian Town in Syria Adds to Fears Over Rebels
Note that Jihadists apparently lied to the NY Times -- huge discrepancy in this story and the one above

Anwar Amro/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The funerals on Tuesday of three Christian Syrians who were killed over the weekend in the town of Maaloula.

Published: September 10, 2013
Syrian-Americans lobbying against the proposed American missile strike flooded Congressional message boards with appeals for Maaloula. A common refrain was that Mr. Obama was throwing Syria’s Christians “to the lions.”

More than 450,000 Christians have fled their homes, church leaders say, during more than two years of war.

Supporters of Egypt’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi chant slogans during a protest in Ramses Square in downtown Cairo on Friday, Aug. 16, 2013. (Associated Press)

Islamic onslaught, Christian village takeover

Highlights from the article: 
"There seems to be a very systematic and intentional move into Christian areas: areas that are historically places of faith for Christian believers and where there are larger populations of Christians." The developments of the last 14 days makes one thing is clear: "In some of these countries, it's a very dangerous thing to call yourself a ‘follower of Jesus.' So, they tend to group themselves together in some of these historic areas."

Please pray that those who have been traumatized will be touched by Jesus' healing power and will be cared for by other Syrian Christians in the country. There are reports of people coming to Christ, however, it's a dangerous time to do so. Gospel partners need wisdom and boldness. "It obviously has a ‘dampening effect' when people who are even identifying themselves as Christians are targeted for violence. We believe that the faith that people have in Jesus Christ to be salt and light in the community is critically important, so we need to support these folks."

A letter from Aleppo
SYRIA | A firsthand account from inside Syria’s humanitarian disaster

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