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The Word on the Week

Kill a Christian

Kill a Christian Word on the Week 23rd January 2016.
One of the softest targets to be presented to the Islamic State Militants is the Christian minority living in the lands which ISIS have conquered. To the observer they have no one to take their side. No big brother with nuclear capability. They appear to be alone.

Unlike Islam where the aim is to have an Islamic State where every citizen is a Muslim, Christianity is blind to borders and not allied to any State. The Kingdom of God exists wherever God’s people are present. In fact it is the salt and light illustration Jesus used to describe his followers that is so helpful in describing the Christian calling (St Matthew Chapter 5 verses 13-16).
Salt, thinly sprinkled, stops corruption and adds flavour to food. Indeed it is universally in demand. Light dispels darkness but in order to do this it must itself be in a prominent position. This places the followers of Jesus in very vulnerable situations, counteracting corruption and revealing Jesus. They are a thorn in the flesh of wrongdoers who may prefer to get rid of them rather than change.

Of course it is not only Christians that are being targeted but any minority group that can be identified. As ISIS has grown in strength its basic beliefs appear to have been redefined so that even any Muslim transgressing their rules is in danger. It is fear of falling foul of them that has created the waves of refugees fleeing the fighting in the Muslim hot-spots and pouring into Europe for safety. Some have stopped in large camps in Jordan and Lebanon where conditions are barely adequate to sustain life.

It was in one of these camps that Miriam a 12 year old Christian broadcast a message of forgiveness on the SAT7 TV network. She understood that the offer of forgiveness did not depend on those requiring to be forgiven but on the work of Jesus on her own heart enabling her to trust in him and to forgive the people who had wronged her and her family.

There was nothing like it broadcast before and the clip has been watched many times since it was first aired in 2014. Miriam was interviewed again recently and continues to serve the Lord in a school on the camp where she has been reunited with her class-mate Sandra from whom she had been parted from when she fled Syria.

The killings are carried out in the name of Allah. Jesus predicted this when he said “the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God” (St John Chapter 16 verse 2). He was preparing his people for the persecution that was to characterise this Gospel era.
ISIS are said to offer Christians a choice; convert to Islam or die! This is the ultimate meaning of Jesus challenge to his disciples; “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (St Matthew chapter 16 verses 24-25).
Persecuted Christians need our prayers to remain faithful in the face of unbridled evil. Pray that the Lord will sustain them and work miracles of grace among all who ask for the reason for the hope that lies within them. “Do not fear what they fear, do not be frightened, but in your hearts honour Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that you have (1Peter Chapter 3 verses 14-15).