Paul Madson

THOUGHTS, QUOTES & REFLECTIONS

Month: September 2020

At least 500 Christians reported slaughtered in relentless attacks since June

A group photo of pastors and leaders trained by GTN in Shashamene, Ethiopia.

BarnabasAid reports:

An Ethiopian Christian leader called for an international inquiry into the slaying of hundreds of Christians, including pregnant women, children and whole families, in ongoing Oromo Muslim extremist attacks in the parts of the Oromia regional state, extending south, south-east and east of Addis Ababa, since the end of June. According to reports, more than 500 were killed.

In door-to-door attacks on Christian households the Qeerroo extremists arrived in cars and, armed with guns, machetes, swords and spears, sought out and slaughtered Christians. Children were forced to witness their parents being brutally murdered with machetes.

Barnabas regional contacts confirmed attacks in numerous towns including….

Ziway and Shashamene…

An Oromo Christian was beheaded for refusing to deny his faith by tearing off the thread around his neck (worn by many Ethiopian Christians as a sign of their baptism). His widow told Barnabas, “The attackers said that it is only he/she who prostrates with us before Allah for prayer who is considered an Oromo.”

Christians’ business premises and houses were burnt down, vandalized or destroyed by the extremists. Billions of dollars of damage were caused to property, including businesses owned by internationally renowned Christian athlete, Haile Gebreselassie, in Ziway and Shashamahe towns.

The severity of the atrocities shocked local witnesses who gave accounts of harrowing scenes.

In Dera, a witness described how the killers desecrated corpses by “dancing and singing, carrying the chopped or hacked body parts of those they slaughtered”.

Another witness reported how the hacked bodies of an elderly Christian couple, who were beaten to death in their home, were dragged through the streets in Gedeb Asasa.

Thousands of traumatized survivors have fled for their lives, including orphaned children, and many are being sheltered in churches and community centers.

Since September 2018, violent ethnic clashes have led to some two million Ethiopians becoming internally displaced.

For more information on this situation, you can access the full article here.

Tragically, throughout much of Africa and Asia, this is not an isolated incident. These types of atrocities happen on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

But they never make the nightly news or the front page of American newspapers.

Over 95% of all the people on planet earth live outside of the United States. Americans make up a very, very small minority of the global population.

God loves all people – no matter their race, ethnicity or geographical location. They are made in His image. Therefore, we should deeply care what happens to them.

Please join me in praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the Majority World who are suffering immensely for their faith in Christ.

And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood
you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”

(Revelation 5:9-10 ESV)

How do we love an invisible God?

By loving well the visible people He has placed in our lives

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul
and with all your mind.

This is the first and greatest commandment.

And the second is like it:
Love your neighbor as yourself.

All the Law and the Prophets hang on
these two commandments.”

(Matthew 22:36-40)

If there is one thing that I have observed in 40-plus years of ministry, it is that we can never be reminded enough of the central importance of loving one another.

The greatest apologetic we have to a watching world is loving others.

In Galatians 5, the Apostle Paul says that the whole law can be summed up in one single command: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

“For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)

Think on that.

The entire law summed up in one single command.

Francis Schaeffer wrote years ago,

“Through the centuries men have displayed many different symbols to show that they are Christians. They have worn marks in the lapels of their coats, hung chains about their necks, even had special haircuts.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with any of this, if one feels it is his calling. But there is a much better sign—a mark that has not been thought up just as a matter of expediency for use on some special occasion or in some specific era. It is a universal mark that is to last through all the ages of the church till Jesus comes back.

What is that mark? Love—and the unity it attests to—is the mark Christ gave Christians to wear before the world. Only with that mark may the world know that we are indeed Christians.”

(Francis Schaeffer, from his book: The Mark of the Christian)

So, if the greatest commandment is to love God with our whole heart (Matthew 22:36-40), how do we practically carry that out?

I would suggest the primary way that we demonstrate our love for an invisible God is by loving well the visible people that He has placed in front of us on a daily, weekly and monthly basis (1 John 4:7-21).

Jesus said in Matthew 5:43-47,

“You have heard that it was said,
‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?
Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?
Do not even pagans do that?”

Jesus said in John 13:34-35,

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Jerome, one of the early church fathers, tells us that when the apostle John was very old, he continued to say again and again, “Little children, love one another, love one another, love one another…” When asked why he said nothing more, his response was, “Because it is the commandment of the Lord, and because when this is done, all is done.”

In this season of great political and racial divide in our nation, it is vital that we stay focused on what is central to following Jesus: loving one another.

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us,
a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

(Ephesians 5:1-2)

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with…
compassion,
kindness,
humility,
gentleness and
patience.

Bear with each other and
forgive whatever grievances
you may have against one another.

Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
And over all these virtues put on love,
which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

(Colossians 3:12-14)

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