90+

90+This morning the news has reported that 90+ Christians were kidnapped by ISIS in Syria. Here we go again. Just a couple of weeks ago ISIS sent out a gruesome video of the killing of 21 Coptic Christian men who were kidnapped in Libya. Will the world wake up?

A friend passed along a note from someone who knows many of the 21 men who were killed in Libya…

Our hearts ache as we write this to you. Last Thursday, February 12, 2015, 21 Christians from our beloved Egypt were brutally beheaded by ISIS in Libya These young men, most from the same small village, left their country, Egypt, in search of jobs that could barely satisfy the needs of their families back in Egypt. They left their home country, Egypt, where they felt they were strangers- as all Christians in Egypt feel. Persecution in your own homeland is a very painful experience.

Christians throughout the region too often pay with their lives for their faith. It has become a pattern through the ages. The persecution and suffering of the Christians remains a hidden story.  There have been many failed attempts to document the sufferings and courage, of the millions of Copts (Orthodox Christians of Egypt) who gave their lives for their faith.

However, God in His wisdom allowed what happened last Thursday to be so dramatic that the whole world could witness the Copt’s willingness to give up their lives for their Savior rather than denounce their faith. The 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians refused to deny their faith to save their own lives.  They preferred to hold on to Jesus and die.The brutal video of their deaths showed that they had, together, one word on their lips as the died:  Jesus.

These men leave behind wives, children, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters.  Many were the only source of income for their families.  If you would like to contribute towards the needs of these families please go online to donate (do not check any of the designation boxes instead put in the comment box: Martyrs #601005).

According to the New York Post, in this latest kidnapping “most of the captives come from the village of Tal Shamiram… The Islamic State group’s online radio station, al-Bayan, said in a report Tuesday that ISIS fighters had detained “tens of crusaders” and seized 10 villages around Tal Tamr after clashes with Kurdish militiamen. ISIS frequently refers to Christians as “crusaders…”  The captives include men, women and children. ISIS has a long history of killing captives, but have released some as well. Let’s pray that mercy reigns.

Again, this would be no less troubling if it were people of other faiths. However, the pattern of ISIS’ persecution is disturbing. Christians are being singled out and facing violence of a kind that should raise the heads of people of faith everywhere. This is what evil looks like. Pray for the safe release of the families held in captivity.

About marknicklas

Mark Nicklas is a husband, father, son and follower of Jesus Christ. He is a pastor at Beaverton Foursquare Church and an adjunct professor at Multnomah University, where he earned his doctorate in Cultural Engagement. Like Jacob wrestled with God at Jabbok, this site is a place for talking about the identity of the church with respect to the cultures we live in. You are invited to share the journey.
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