The FaithWalker’s Daily — Dec. 24: Persecuted Christians, Inspiring Christmas Stories, Mini-Fiscal Cliffs

The FaithWalker’s Daily is a quick review of key news stories of the day from the perspective of a conservative Christ-follower living in, but not of, the world.

  • Christians in Middle East Face Tough Christmas and Beyond

The Basics —

From Egypt to Syria and throughout the Middle East, Christians face increasing persecution as radical Islam spreads rapidly.

Dig Deeper:

  • Via The Christian Post: Christians urged to set a place at the table this Christmas for Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. immigrant being held in an Iranian prison for his faith. [Picture above]
  • Via the UK Telegraph:Claims Christianity faces extinction in Middle East. Key graphs: “A far less widely grasped fact is that Christians are targeted more than any other body of believers….It cites estimates that 200 million Christians, or 10 per cent of Christians worldwide, are “socially disadvantaged, harassed or actively oppressed for their beliefs quoting estimates that between a half and two-thirds of Christians in the Middle East have left the region or been killed in the past century.”
  • Via The Christian Post: Syrian Christians keep a low profile; skip decorations, focus on service.
  • All this as Egypt approves its hastily assembled Sharia constitution.

A Few Thoughts…

“In this world you will have trouble,” said our Savior. So we should expect persecution as we faithfully follow Him. “If they hated me, they will surely hate you, also.” We can take comfort that nothing man can do could possibly frustrate the unfolding of God’s Kingdom in time and space. It is a Kingdom made without human hands; therefore, no human opposition could ever stop its growth. But that doesn’t mean it will be easy. This Christmas, pray for the freedom to proclaim the gospel in the Middle East and the courage to live in obedience to it.

“Fear not. I have overcome the world.”


  • Inspiring Stories and Pics for Christmas Cheer

The Basics –

Amid stories of persecution, school massacres, and financial fiscal cliffs, it’s important to remember the good stories and a few holiday pictures to keep our focus on what matter most.

Dig Deeper:

A Few Thoughts…

It’s easy to get focused on the evil in the world thanks to the media’s obsession with ratings. After all,” if it bleeds, it leads.” Maybe we should be intentional about ensuring we have access to the positive stuff happening all over the world. And in our own backyards. This Christmas, reach out and find out. Or make it happen yourself. Find a neighbor in need and help them out.

“I have come that they may have abundant life.”


  •  Scaled-Back Fiscal Cliff Deal Likely

The Basics –

Political leaders on both side of the aisle are predicting a scaled-back deal that will keep current tax rates for most Americans, raise taxes on all others, and kick spending issues down the road to the next Congress.

Dig Deeper:

  • Via FoxNews: Senators say it’s the only option left. Not quite.
  • Via CNBC: S0me in GOP say Obama intended to go over the cliff all along to cut defense and blame Republicans for it. I happen to agree with them.
  • Lefty Robert Kuttner for a view from the other side – and a good laugh.
  • NPR says Boehner could still emerge as bipartisan hero in spite of rumours that a Paul Ryan coup may be underway in the House. Likely wishful thinking on their part.

A Few Thoughts…

For a day or two, at least, it’ll be good to set aside concerns for our country’s financial future as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. But we’re still missing anything resembling courageous leadership in Washington. A study of the many hapless kings of Israel reinforces the truth that when leaders fail to lead with Biblical wisdom, the people suffer the consequences. In our situation, we have no one to blame but ourselves for electing them in the first place. I suppose this where we pray for a miracle — then pick up the phone and make our voices heard?

When in doubt, punt. Apparently.



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About Bill Blankschaen

Bill Blankschaen is a writer, author, and speaker who empowers people to live an authentic life with abundant faith. A former pastor, Christian school leader, and master teacher, he is the founder of FaithWalkers ( where he equips Christians to live an authentic life and a blogger on church and cultural issues at Patheos. An experienced collaborative writer and content strategist, he is the author of several books including What God Wants You to Do Next, The Secret to Explosive Personal Growth, and multiple collaborative traditional books. His writing has been featured with Michael Hyatt, Ron Edmondson, Skip Prichard, Jeff Goins, Blueprint for Life, Catalyst Leaders, and many others who shall remain nameless. Bill is a blessed husband and the father of six children with an extensive background in education, business, and organizational leadership. He serves as the Junior Scholar of Cultural Theology and Director of Development for the Center for Cultural Leadership. He works with a variety of ministries including Equip Leadership (founded by John C. Maxwell) when he's not visiting his second home -- Walt Disney World.