Christian Persecution :: By Candy Austin

2 Timothy 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

Recently, memories of some ‘suppressed incidences’ of Christian Persecution that happened in my life came to mind. Incidences that happened over 30 years ago but are relevant to the type of Christian Persecution that still goes on today. My walk with Christ began when I was 9 years old, when my family started attending an Assembly of God Church in Colorado. This was the same Church that led me to my Salvation, and one that I later got Baptized into.

When we would attend this Church on Wednesday nights, I would go to a class for girls my age called “Missionettes.” In this class, the Teacher would have all the girls recite this verse week after week. In my mind, I can still hear us in ‘sing-song’ unison echoing, “Whatsoeverrr thingsss are trueee, whatsoeverrr thingsss are honesttt, whatsoeverrr thingsss are justtt, whatsoeverrr thingsss are pureee, whatsoeverrr thingsss are lovelyyy, whatsoeverrr thingsss are of good reporttt, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things!” (Philippians 4:8). Praise the Lord, for this is also the place where I first started to learn and memorize scripture!

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Around that time, I began telling my peers about God, Jesus, the Devil, Praying, and Salvation. Some kids would cry, some would laugh, and some came up with the idea to persecute this ‘pesky Christian girl’ the next time I came around! Sure enough, on this certain occasion, those kids were ready for me, because as soon as I walked up, they said, “Hey Candy, look at this Children’s Bible!”

The next thing I remember is seeing a sheet of paper taped over a magazine that had ‘Children’s Bible’ scrawled on it, but when they opened it up, it was a ‘disgusting and blatant pornographic magazine’ instead! All I know is, at the sight of that and hearing the laughter that ensued, my instinct was to run back inside the apartment of the friends that we were visiting!

Even though that incident happened in the early 80’s, I will never forget the feeling of being ‘persecuted for Christ’ that very first time! Not to mention, around the same timeframe, an episode at a restaurant happened when some teenagers saw me conversing in Sign Language with my family. The horror came when I heard them say that they knew how to sign too by using their middle finger. My tender eyes were beginning to be opened to the ‘Evil that was permeating our Youth, Culture, and Society’ all those 37 years ago!

Fast forward to 8th Grade when we moved to a new town and I walked into an English class to let the Teacher know I would be her new student, while wearing a classic picture of Jesus on my shirt. Little did I know, that would ‘elicit persecution’ from some boys in that class for the next 3 years! From my 8th Grade year until the end of my 10th Grade year, the title “Devil Worshipper” was said about me whenever I walked into a room with those certain boys around.

The first time I heard that ‘horrible accusation’ I remember telling the Ring Leader that I was not what he had just called me! He just laughed and kept saying, “Devil Worshipper” over and over. Right then, I knew it was because of the Jesus shirt I wore that day that ‘earned me that kind of ill treatment.’ Needless to say, I was ‘beyond happy’ when I learned in my 11th-Grade year that the Ring Leader of my ‘3-year persecution battle’ moved away and I no longer had to endure those evil insults!

Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”

Speaking of the youth and Christian Persecution, my heart goes out to a young Nigerian girl named Leah Sharibu who was abducted at age 14 along with 109 other girls. Sadly, five were killed, and the rest were released a month later except for one, Leah, because she would not renounce her Faith in Christ and embrace Islam. She is 17 now and has spent her last 3 birthdays in captivity. The call is for prayer for her Faith to remain strong and for her release.

Her ‘3-year persecution battle’ makes mine pale in comparison due to the rumors that she has been raped, has given birth to a baby boy for a Boko Haram Commander, and has supposedly converted to Islam. Although family members do not have solid evidence of such claims, they continue to work and to pray for Leah to be set free.

Revelation 2:10 “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

The list of Brothers and Sisters in Christ who are suffering Christian Persecution Worldwide is incomprehensible and exhaustive! It has already begun here in America and is only going to get worse! Being a Christian in these Last Days in our Country is not for the Weak, Nominal, or Lukewarm Christian. Do we have the Faith, Wisdom, Strength, Discernment, Courage, Guts, Spirit, and Fortitude to endure until the end? Are we praying for our Brothers and Sisters in Christ around the World as if suffering and bound in chains with them?

ACLJ.ORG is a site that advocates and fights for our Religious Freedoms and Rights. Log on, support, and sign their petitions like the ones to Free Leah Sharibu and so many others! Samaritan’s Purse.Org is another site that supports needs around the World! They not only provide physical relief to those suffering catastrophic loss, but they also bring the Gospel and distribute Bibles to those in their time of deprivation! The Voice of the Martyrs is another excellent site that advocates, helps, and empowers those suffering Christian Persecution around the World.

Hebrews 13:3 “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”

Until next time… Maranatha!