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August 10 Streams in the Desert

 

When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.” (John 11:6.)

IN the forefront of this marvelous chapter stands the affirmation, “Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus,” as if to teach us that at the very heart and foundation of all God’s dealings with us, however dark and mysterious they may be, we must dare to believe in and assert the infinite, unmerited, and unchanging love of God. Love permits pain. The sisters never doubted that He would speed at all hazards and stay their brother from death, but, “When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.”

What a startling “therefore”! He abstained from going, not because He did not love them, but because He did love them. His love alone kept Him back from hasting at once to the dear and stricken home. Anything less than infinite love must have rushed instantly to the relief of those loved and troubled hearts, to stay their grief and to have the luxury of wiping and stanching their tears and causing sorrow and sighing to flee away. Divine love could alone hold back the impetuosity of the Savior’s tender-heartedness until the Angel of Pain had done her work.

Who can estimate how much we owe to suffering and pain? But for them we should have little scope for many of the chief virtues of the Christian life. Where were faith, without trial to test it; or patience, with nothing to bear; or experience, without tribulation to develop it?—Selected.

“Loved! then the way will not be drear;

For One we know is ever near,

Proving it to our hearts so clear

That we are loved.

“Loved when our sky is clouded o’er,

And days of sorrow press us sore;

Still we will trust Him evermore,

For we are loved.

“Time, that affects all things below,

Can never change the love He’ll show;

The heart of Christ with love will flow,

And we are loved.”[1]

 

[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 234–235). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

Monday Briefing August 10, 2020 – AlbertMohler.com

DOCUMENTATION AND ADDITIONAL READING
PART 1 (0:0 – 18:47): 
──────────────────
When History and Theology Collide: Turkish President Erdogan Reverts Hagia Sophia into Mosque 

WALL STREET JOURNAL (CHARLOTTE ALLEN)
Turkey Retreats From Modernity 

PART 2 (18:48 – 22:47): 
──────────────────
None Will Escape the Justice of God: Nazi Concentration Camp Guard Convicted at Age 93 

WALL STREET JOURNAL (RUTH BENDER)
Former Nazi Camp Guard Convicted in Germany 

PART 3 (22:48 – 25:35): 
──────────────────
Profound Truth in a Headline: Even the Pro-Abortion Media, When Honest, Recognizes Human Life in the Womb 

WASHINGTON POST (CAITLIN GIBSON)
A Pregnant Woman with COVID-19 Was Dying. With One Decision, Her Doctors Saved Three Lives. 

August 10, 2020 Morning Verse Of The Day

Ver. 5.—For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life; literally, for a moment (is passed) in his anger, a life-time in his favour. God’s anger is short-lived in the case of those who, having sinned, repent, and confess their sin, and pray for mercy (see vers. 8–10). His favour, on the contrary, is enduring; it continues all their life. Weeping may endure for a night; rather, at eventide weeping comes to lodge, or to pass the night; but joy cometh in the morning; or, but at morn joy arriveth (comp. Job 33:26; Isa. 26:20; 54:7).[1]


5. For his anger is only for a moment. It is beyond all controversy that life is opposed here to for a moment, and consequently signifies long continuance, or the constant progress of time from day to day. David thus intimates that if God at any time chastise his people, he not only mitigates the rigour of their punishment, but is immediately appeased, and moderates his anger; whereas he prolongs his kindness and favour for a long time. And, as I have already observed, he chose rather to couch his discourse in general terms, than to speak particularly of himself, that the godly might all perceive that this continued manifestation of God’s favour belongs to them. We are hereby taught, however, with how much meekness of spirit, and with what prompt obedience he submitted his back to God’s rod. We know that from the very first bloom of youth, during almost his whole life, he was so tried by a multiplied accumulation of afflictions, that he might have been accounted miserable and wretched above all other men; yet in celebrating the goodness of God, he acknowledges that he had been lightly afflicted only for a short period, and as it were in passing. Now, what inspired him with so great meekness and equanimity of mind was, that he put a greater value upon God’s benefits, and submitted himself more quietly to the endurance of the cross, than the world is accustomed to do. If we are prosperous, we devour God’s blessings without feeling that they are his, or, at least, we indolently allow them to slip away; but if any thing sorrowful or adverse befall us, we immediately complain of his severity, as if he had never dealt kindly and mercifully with us. In short, our own fretfulness and impatience under affliction makes every minute an age; while, on the other hand, our repining and ingratitude lead us to imagine that God’s favour, however long it may be exercised towards us, is but for a moment. It is our own perversity, therefore, in reality, which hinders us from perceiving that God’s anger is but of short duration, while his favour is continued towards us during the whole course of our life. Nor does God in vain so often declare that he is merciful and gracious to a thousand generations, long-suffering, slow to anger, and ready to forgive. And as what he says by the prophet Isaiah has a special reference to the kingdom of Christ, it must be daily fulfilled, “For a small moment have I afflicted thee, but with everlasting mercies will I gather thee,” (Isa. 54:7.) Our condition in this world, I confess, involves us in such wretchedness, and we are harassed by such a variety of afflictions, that scarcely a day passes without some trouble or grief. Moreover, amid so many uncertain events, we cannot be otherwise than full of daily anxiety and fear. Whithersoever, therefore, men turn themselves, a labyrinth of evils surrounds them. But however much God may terrify and humble his faithful servants, with manifold signs of his displeasure, he always besprinkles them with the sweetness of his favour to moderate and assuage their grief. If they weigh, therefore, his anger and his favour in an equal balance, they will always find it verified, that while the former is but for a moment, the latter continues to the end of life; nay, it goes beyond it, for it were a grievous mistake to confine the favour of God within the boundaries of this transitory life. And it is unquestionably certain, that none but those whose minds have been raised above the world by a taste of heavenly life really experience this perpetual and uninterrupted manifestation of the divine favour, which enables them to bear their chastisements with cheerfulness. Paul, accordingly, that he may inspire us with invincible patience, refers to this in 2 Cor. 4:17, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.” In the meantime, it is to be observed that God never inflicts such heavy and continued chastisements on his people, without frequently mitigating them, and sweetening their bitterness with some consolation. Whoever, therefore, directs his mind to meditation upon the heavenly life, will never faint under his afflictions, however long continued; and, comparing them with the exceeding great and manifold favours of God towards him, he will put such honour on the latter as to judge that God’s goodness, in his estimation, outweighs his displeasure a hundred-fold. In the second clause, David repeats the same thing figuratively: Weeping will lodge in the evening, and rejoicing shall come in the morning. He does not simply mean, that the affliction would be only for one night, but that if the darkness of adversity should fall upon the people of God, as it were, in the evening, or at the setting of the sun, light would soon after arise upon them, to comfort their sorrow-stricken spirits. The amount of David’s instruction is, that were we not too headstrong, we would acknowledge that the Lord, even when he appears to overwhelm us for a time with the darkness of affliction, always seasonably ministers matter of joy, just as the morning arises after the night.[2]


5. This comparison, marvellously expressed here, is carried even further in the New Testament, in the concept of sorrow producing joy (2 Cor. 4:17; John 16:20–22; but cf. also Ps. 26:6f.) and in the contrast between the momentary and the eternal (not merely the lifelong), and between troubles that ‘weigh little’ and a ‘weight of … glory which is out of all proportion to them’ (2 Cor. 4:17, jb). The word for tarry, in our verse, suggests by itself the overnight visitor; the line could be crudely translated ‘At evening, weeping may arrive for the night …’.[3]


5. “For his anger endureth but a moment.” David here alludes to those dispensations of God’s providence which are the chastisement ordered in his paternal government towards his erring children, such as the plague which fell upon Jerusalem for David’s sins; these are but short judgments, and they are removed as soon as real penitence sues for pardon and presents the great and acceptable sacrifice. What a mercy is this, for if the Lord’s wrath smoked for a long season, flesh would utterly fail before him. God puts up his rod with great readiness as soon as its work is done; he is slow to anger and swift to end it. If his temporary and fatherly anger be so severe that it had need be short, what must be the terror of eternal wrath exercised by the Judge towards his adversaries? “In his favour is life.” As soon as the Lord looked favourably upon David, the city lived, and the king’s heart lived too. We die like withered flowers when the Lord frowns, but his sweet smile revives us as the dews refresh the fields. His favour not only sweetens and cheers life, but it is life itself, the very essence of life. Who would know life, let him seek the favour of the Lord. “Weeping may endure for a night;” but nights are not for ever. Even in the dreary winter the day-star lights his lamp. It seems fit that in our nights the dews of grief should fall. When the Bridegroom’s absence makes it dark within, it is meet that the widowed soul should pine for a renewed sight of the Well-beloved. “But joy cometh in the morning.” When the Sun of Righteousness comes, we wipe our eyes, and joy chases out intruding sorrow. Who would not be joyful that knows Jesus? The first beams of the morning bring us comfort when Jesus is the day-dawn, and all believers know it to be so. Mourning only lasts till morning: when the night is gone the gloom shall vanish. This is adduced as a reason for saintly singing, and forcible reason it is; short nights and merry days call for the psaltery and harp.[4]


30:5 Then he gives the reason for this praise in the form of two extraordinarily beautiful contrasts. Knox’s translation of this verse is priceless:

For a moment lasts His anger,

for a life-time His love;

sorrow is but the guest of a night,

and joy comes in the morning.

Let me pause here with a personal story. There was a time when the MacDonald family was plunged into deep sorrow. Friends trooped in to express their condolences, but nothing seemed to assuage the grief. Their words were well-intentioned but inadequate. Then Dr. H. A. Ironside sent a brief note in which he quoted Psalm 30:5:

Weeping may endure for a night,

But joy comes in the morning.

That did it. The bands of sorrow were snapped!

Since then I have had occasion to share this verse with many other believers who were passing through the dark tunnel of grief, and always the verse has evoked a nod of gratitude.[5]


30:5 — For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Our holy God must judge sin, but because He is a loving God, He takes great pleasure in showing mercy and bestowing grace upon us. Hard times may be a fact of life on earth, but one day He will wipe away all our tears (Rev. 7:17).[6]


30:5 there is a moment While Yahweh’s anger (aph) lasts only for a short period of time (Isa 54:7), His favor (ratson) is permanent.

in the morning Just as night becomes day, the psalmist’s sorrow has become joy. The morning often represents restoration or blessing in the psalms (Ps 90:14; Lam 3:22–23).[7]


30:5 The discipline of the Lord is never pleasant, but His anger does not last forever. Joy does come in the morning (cf. Heb. 12:5–11; James 1:2–4; 1 Pet. 1:6–9).[8]


[1] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Psalms (Vol. 1, p. 219). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[2] Calvin, J., & Anderson, J. (2010). Commentary on the Book of Psalms (Vol. 1, pp. 488–490). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] Kidner, D. (1973). Psalms 1–72: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 15, p. 146). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[4] Spurgeon, C. H. (n.d.). The treasury of David: Psalms 27-57 (Vol. 2, p. 45). London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers.

[5] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 590). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[6] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ps 30:5). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[7] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 30:5). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[8] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Ps 30:5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

TRUST and DOUBT — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this.” Psalm 37:5

Trust me.” We say this to convince someone to believe that what we are stating is true. Scripture tells us over and over that trusting in the Lord is paramount if we want to live a godly, purposeful life. His ways are true, and we can rely on Him.
So for me Trust is:

Totally
Relying
Upon our
Savior’s
Truths

Office bonding exercises often involve blindfolding a person in order to determine if they can trust the other person to lead them somewhere safely. They have to rely on the seeing co-worker to guide them away from any dangerous obstacles. Those that do trust the co-worker, walk at a steady pace. But those that are unsure walk more cautiously and try to “see” by way of touch or sound; they doubt the person leading them has their best interests at heart or is capable.

In order to follow God’s will, I must place my trust in it. If doubt creeps in, my steps slow. My mind begins to question. “What-ifs” cloud my thoughts.
Doubt is:

Deviating
Off
Upheld
Biblical
Truths

Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Each time I am faced with a decision, I can either trust in that statement or begin to doubt its believability.

Do I believe His teachings speak truth, or do I see them as antiquated and irrelevant? Does He truly give me life eternal and abundant, or is His will a straight jacket of rules that are impossible to live by?

How about you? Will you trust Him to lead you, even if you can’t clearly see why or where?

Dearest Lord, help me to erase all doubts that creep into the corners of my thoughts. Keep me focused on Your footsteps and living according to Your Truths as You guide me through this life into life everlasting. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
Used by Permission


Learn more about knowing Jesus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


FURTHER READING

God is Faithful

Wisdom and Knowledge of God

Attributes of God

via TRUST and DOUBT — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

JOY! — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

“Thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” Psalm 16:11KJV

If you have lost the joy of the Lord in your life,” someone once observed, “who moved, you or God? For in His presence is fullness of joy.”

That saint and prophet of earlier years, A. W. Tozer, suggested several ways for the believer to achieve real joy:

1. Cultivate a genuine friendship with God. He is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.

2. Take time to exercise yourself daily unto godliness. Vow never to be dishonest about sin in your life, never to defend yourself, never to own anything (or let anything own you), never to pass on anything hurtful about others, never to take any glory to yourself.

3. No known sin must be allowed to remain in your life. “Keep short accounts with God” – never allow unconfessed sins to pile up in your life.

4. Set out to build your own value system based on the Word of God. Meditate on the Word; practice the presence of God. Set priorities as you realize what is truly important. It will be reflected in the standard of values you set for yourself.

5. Share your spiritual discoveries with others.

Bible Reading: John 15:7-11

Thought: Knowing that the best witness in the world is a joyful, radiant Christian, I will try to be that kind of believer, trusting the indwelling Holy Spirit to thus empower me and radiate His love and joy through me. I will share my spiritual discoveries with others.

By Dr. Bill Bright
Used by Permission


Learn more about knowing Jesus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


FURTHER READING

Always be Joyful!

God is My Delight

What a Friend we have in Jesus

via JOY! — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

Grace To You Blog Post – Why No Man Seeks After God

Seeking God is what fallen sinners ought to do, and God has every right to command them to do it. But they don’t come. They disobey His commands—as is their common practice. In fact, they can’t come, because they love their sin too much.

READ MORE

— Read on www.gty.org/library/blog/B200810

God’s grand story of redemption – The Christian Post

Our very existence has meaning. Each of us has a unique role in God’s grand story of redemption. 

A man reading the Bible. | Getty images/stock photo

Can you list any of the manufacturing differences between a Nike shoe and its competitors? Probably not. But if you are a certain age, you probably have the Charles Barkley vs. Godzilla television commercial by Nike indelibly stamped on your long-term memory. And that’s just one example of the explosion of storytelling in America.

Economists are busy “documenting the increasing variety and quality of all forms of story-based media.” Factual recitations of product features are out. Marketers know that if you want to sell something, wrap it in a story.

This is nothing new, of course. We’ve been telling stories to each other around the campfire or in our homes for millennia — whether the subject is Homer’s Odyssey or the primeval narratives from Genesis. Stories are not mere entertainment. They shape the way we see the world. They also shape us.

Human beings, you see, are hard-wired to respond to stories. Researchers know that the “love hormone,” Oxytocin, is released when we hear a story that resonates. This increases our levels of trust, compassion, empathy, and pro-social behavior. But that’s just the beginning.

Neuroscientists have discovered that storytelling also ignites neural coupling. Medium.com says that “when listening to a well-told story, the exact same areas of the brain light up on an MRI in both the storyteller and listener. Your brain, as the listener, mirrors the brain of the storyteller.”

“In other words, when you hear a well-told story, your brain reacts as if you are experiencing it yourself.”

So it’s little wonder that Jesus, the living Word, communicated so often via stories. Instead of a lengthy treatise on the priceless worth of God’s Kingdom, he told us a parable in one verse about a man who joyfully sells everything he has to acquire a field containing a hidden treasure. Instead of a dissertation on divine love, He described a Father who gave His only Son that we might live.

Given all this, why do His followers so often present God’s written Word, the Bible, as a dry, academic textbook full of important but ultimately uninspiring and disconnected facts? Why are we so lax in taking it up? Perhaps it’s because we’ve forgotten that the Bible — written over hundreds of years and comprised of many different literary genres — is itself a story. In fact, it is the Story.

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Apologist and author Gregory Koukl calls it The Story of Reality. Even more, he says, it offers a worldview that answers the four big questions of life: where everything came from, what went wrong, how to fix what went wrong, and what the world will look like when the solution takes hold. In Christian terms, these four elements are Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration.

This story stands in stark contrast to the current secular narrative that leaves out God and places us in a random, purposeless universe. As Lesslie Newbigin noted, “These are two different and incompatible stories.”

Viktor Frankl survived his experience in a Nazi concentration camp because he refused to give in to purposelessness. As Neel Burton, M.D., noted, “Life in the concentration camp taught Frankl that our main drive or motivation in life is neither pleasure, as Freud had believed, nor power, as Adler had believed, but meaning.”

God’s story assures us that we have not been set adrift in a cold, uncaring cosmos. Our lives matter. While believers still struggle, hurt, and die in this fallen creation, we know that a sovereign God always has His eye on us and ultimately will bring us safely home.

Our sufferings are hallowed by those of Christ, who went before us as the Man of Sorrows. Our very existence has meaning. Each of us has a unique role in God’s grand story of redemption. His story (credibly called “the greatest story ever told”) is our story, too.

His story of self-sacrificing love has launched a thousand creative echoes — everything from A Tale of Two Cities to “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan“. We need to recapture this kind of adventurous storytelling. We have many models. “Already the new men are dotted here and there all over the earth,” C.S. Lewis wrote. “… I strongly suspect … that they recognize one another immediately and infallibly, across every barrier of color, sex, class, age, and even of creeds. In that way, to become holy is rather like joining a secret society. To put it at the very lowest, it must be great fun.”

When was the last time you heard God’s story — and our roles in it — described as fun? Of course, the Bible is fun, but it isn’t merely fun. It is much, much more. As Lewis said of his friend J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, “… here are beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron; here is a book that will break your heart.” When was the last time we closed our Bibles, or walked out of church, pierced by beauty, our hearts broken?

Let us give people not mere facts, or theology, or encouragements to be good. Let’s give them God’s story, and show them how they fit in. A story, of course, has several distinct elements: setting, character, plot (involving an introduction, rising action, a climax, falling action, and a resolution), plus conflict and a theme. God’s Word has all that, and there are many resources to help us present it as a story, including my book, God’s Story in 66 Verses. It’s a story much bigger than Godzilla.

But to start, let’s keep it simple. God’s story, from Genesis to Revelation, is about Jesus — the King promised (Old Testament) and the King revealed (New Testament). As the late J.I. Packer once observed, “The traveler through the Bible landscape misses his way as soon as he loses sight of the hill called Calvary.”

Originally published at BreakPoint 

— Read on www.christianpost.com/voices/gods-grand-story-of-redemption.html

The Seventy Weeks — Christian Research Network

1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans— 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. Daniel 9:1-2 (NASB) 

One of the worst parts about expounding scripture while not allowing “what men say” to influence that exposition is that there will always be some people who are “offended” or in disagreement with the analysis….

I desire to offend no one. I deeply desire to be of use to my Lord in bringing His people into agreement about what His Word says. Therefore, I will continue to simply exposit scripture. As we have moved through Daniel I have tried very hard to look at extra-biblical sources only when necessary. I am very well aware that Daniel 9 is a hot button with some people. However, we must proceed.

Daniel was a very godly man. He was taken to Babylon before Nebuchadnezzar’s army destroyed Jerusalem. He was a youth who came into the King’s service as his “Prime Minister” because in him was found an excellent spirit. Daniel survived the Babylonian Kings who followed Nebuchadnezzar into the reign of Cyrus the first King of the Medo-Persian Empire. Daniel had a copy of Jeremiah’s prophecy about how long Jerusalem was to remain desolate. He read the part that we call Jeremiah 25:1-14. We will concentrate on vv8-14. View article →

via The Seventy Weeks — Christian Research Network

Oppression of Christians has increased during Covid-19 | Christian Today

(Photo: Release International)

Oppression and discrimination towards Christians has only worsened during the pandemic, says Release International. 

The charity, which supports persecuted Christians, said many had been denied food and relief aid by governments and NGOs because of their faith. 

Some countries have escalated their crackdowns on Christians. 

This is the case in China, where there were reports of Christians being arrested for meeting online to worship and pray during lockdown.

Authorities have “totally prohibited” online church services and prayer meetings, Release partners in China said. 

“Nothing constituting a religious service is allowed,” they said. 

They believe the Chinese Government is exploiting Covid-19 to increase its long-running crackdown on Christians.

“They have accelerated campaigns such as the forced demolition of crosses against even government-sanctioned churches,” the partners said. 

“Pastors have been rounded up for sharing the gospel and distributing facemasks on the street.”

In many countries, Christians have experienced crippling poverty during the pandemic. 

In Algeria, there is no social security or government support, leaving many Christians struggling to get by. 

A Release partner in Algeria said: “Many Christian families have had to stop work because of the lockdown and have lost their income. They have been rejected by society and their families as a result of their faith. The demand is huge.”

In Pakistan, the situation has been especially difficult for converts from a Muslim background because the only form of financial support comes from families.  Muslim families often withdraw this support to family members who convert to a different faith, Release said. 

“These individuals have been rejected by society and their families as a result of their faith,” said Release’s Pakistan partners. 

Just buying food and paying the rent has become a huge challenge for many impoverished Christians, let alone buying face masks and hand sanitiser.  

“The government is not able to support Christians in the villages, slums or brick kilns,” the partners said. 

In Upper Egypt, there have been reports of Christians being refused food and support from organisations distributing aid.

Release partners report: “The authorities are helping Muslims but not Christians. And churches that try to help are being closed by police order.”

Release partners are distributing aid packages to Christians in Algeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey. 

It has launched an appeal to support more Christians during Covid-19.

Release International CEO Paul Robinson said: “Covid-19 is having a devastating impact on the lives of many poor Christians. In places hostile to the faith Christians are experiencing increased hardship.

“Food is now in short supply. They are unable to work and can’t earn, and support is being withheld because of their faith.

“Their cries for help are being ignored by local charities who are distributing food packages only to families of other faiths. We can’t afford to delay. These Christians need our help.”

— Read on www.christiantoday.com/article/oppression.of.christians.has.increased.during.covid.19/135352.htm