Pastor Saeed Abedini torture stepped up in notorious Iranian prison

photo via www.cbsnews.com

As Americans, and as citizens of free countries we are having the opportunity to watch living martyrs and possible future deaths of Christ followers, something we had not seen before the advent of the internet, where information flows freely even from countries like Iran, which are tightly monitored and controlled.

By posting updates on Pastor Saeed frequently (and others in his situation), our intent is only to highlight the work of Christ, through the Holy Spirit, yet through dedicated men and women who have sacrificed their futures, and in many cases their lives, in order to proclaim the Gospel to those that have never heard it. Just like in the book of ACTS, the persecution of Christians fanned the Gospel into a wider and broader geographical area, and thus more souls were won to Christ. As we heard a North Korean brother say, here in this video, that when he saw the public execution of 2 young men and a woman who had brought Bibles into his town, instead of scaring him, it made him want to know this Christ of the Bible even more. This North Korean brother has now trained in the knowledge of God’s word and is going back and being a witness to his kinsmen, even unto death, if caught.

But getting back to Pastor Saeed, here is the update from the Christian Post:

Pastor Saeed Abedini Severely Beaten,

Fainting From Internal Bleeding

The American Center for Law and Justice received news that U.S. pastor Saeed Abedini has been severely beaten in Evin Prison in Tehran, denied proper medical care, and experiencing fainting spells.

„Pastor Saeed reported today that last week he was severely beaten when the prison officials took him to the hospital. During the weekly prison visit today, Pastor Saeed’s family reported that his physical condition is worsening – seeing first-hand the marks and symptoms left by the recent beating. These beatings and the internal injuries are causing Pastor Saeed frequent fainting spells,” the law group, which is representing Abedini’s wife and two children back in America, revealed in a statement on Monday.

The Iranian-born pastor, who converted to Christianity and was building an orphanage for children when he was arrested in Tehran last year, was sentenced to eight years in prison in January for „endangering national security.” The ACLJ called that a „sham trail,” however, noting that the real reason behind Abedini’s sentence was his faith.

Inside Evin prison, Abedini has been pressured to deny his faith in Christ, and even threatened that he will not be released after the 8-year sentence unless he does so, but the pastor has refused to recant his faith.

He has been suffering from internal bleeding because of the beatings, however, and his wife Naghmeh has expressed deep concern for his well-being.
Read more at http://global.christianpost.com/news/pastor-saeed-abedini-severely-beaten-fainting-from-internal-bleeding-93977/#wO0mwVB5pdgRLlKu.99

Let’s teach our families & kids – Saeed Abedini’s Letter from Inside Iran’s Evin Prison

Matthew 5:11-12

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Saeed Abedini’s Letter from Inside Iran’s Evin Prison

Pastor Saeed writes a letter to his wife and supporters. Please share this moving letter from the dark and brutal Evin prison in Iran & sign the petition to #SaveSaeed: Here is his letter, dated February 18- read aloud.

OfficialACLJ

And A Letter from Saeed’s Wife

Naghmeh, Saeed’s wife, reads a letter she has written as she reflects on the time passed since Saeed was arrested in Iran. She asks us to use our voices to make his story heard. Please sign the petition at http://www.SaveSaeed.com, and do all you can to help us #SaveSaeed.

O scrisoare primita de la Pastorul Saeed Abedini – cetatean american incarcerat in Iran

photo from http://www.theusreport.com/the-us-report/tag/pastor-saeed-abedini

READ LETTER IN ENGLISH here – Assemblies of God has posted the letter that Pastor Saeed Abedini has sent to his wife here. –http://ag.org/top/downloads/Abedini_Letter.pdf and read the article in english here – Please Pray for US Pastor Saeed Abedini, held in Iran since July 2012

Cand am auzit ca la Craciun au fost puse la mese tacamuri de Craciun la scaune goale ca un semn de aducere aminte a incarcerarii mele si a celor care sunt inchisi pentru Christos, mi s-au umplut ochii de lacrimi de bucurie. Am avut ocazia ca sa pot  impartasi aceasta cu alti prizonieri din inchisoare, si ei au fost socati de dragostea si suportul pe care noi crestinii il avem unii pentru altii in Isus. Le-am spus atunci cum in Biblie suntem toti considerati ca frati si surori (indiferent de rasa, culoare sau nationalitate) si ca noi trebuie sa suferim unii cu altii. Aceasta vine de la Domnul nostru.

Cuvantul lui Dumnezeu ne spune ca atunci cand suntem persecutati pentru credinta noastra, noi trebuie sa ne bucuram. Cand ma gandesc ca toate aceste incercari si persecutii sunt inregistrate pentru mine in ceruri, mi se umple inima de o bucurie de nedescris.

Biblia ne spune ca Bucuria in Domnul este taria noastra. Fara bucuria in Domnul noi nu putem trai. Este aceasta bucurie din viata noastra care ne da putere sa mergem inainte. Fara putere, noi nu putem continua lucrarea Domnului si fara bucurie, nu avem putere.

Eu am vrut intotdeauna ca Dumnezeu sa ma faca un om evlavios. Nu mi-am dat seama pana aici ca pentru a ajunge  oameni evlaviosi noi trebuie sa devenim ca si otelul calit sub presiune. Este un proces greu de cald si de rece pana se  obtine otelul. Procesul din viata mea pe care il traiesc astazi este ca intr-o zi mi se spune ca voi fi eliberat pe cautiune ca sa pot sa-mi vad familia si copiii de Craciun (toate au fost minciuni) iar in ziua urmatoare mi se spune ca voi fi spanzurat pentru credinta mea in Isus. Intr-o zi am dureri intense dupa bataile pe care le primesc la interogatii, iar in ziua urmatoare ei se poarta frumos cu tine si-ti ofera dulciuri. Aceste calde si reci nu pot sa te faca decat un om de otel care te poate face sa mergi inainte pentru inaintarea Imparatiei Sale.

Cand timp de 120 de zile esti pus sa dormi intr-o camera cu o lumina puternica care sta aprinsa continuu si care nu mai separa ziua de noapte si cand nu poti vedea lumina adevarata a soarelui decat cateva minute pe saptamana, atunci este momentul cand ai devenit manopera Sa si poti fi un vas care sa duca Imparatia Sa intr-un loc de intunerec unde sa poti sa impartasesti Evanghelia Pacii si a Vietii la o lume care moare. Si aici este locul unde inveti ca poti sa-ti iubesti vrasmasii cu toata inima ta.

Astept cu nerabdare ziua cand pot sa va vad pe toti aceia care ma sprijina prin rugaciuni si sa va pot imbratisa in bratele mele. Va multumesc pentru dragostea pe care mi-ati aratat-o.

Ce este in noi este mai tare decat ce este in lume si a biruit lumea.

Pastor Saeed Abedini, in lanturi pentru Domnul nostru Isus Christos

– traducere de A.C. –

Please Pray for US Pastor Saeed Abedini, held in Iran since July 2012 + read letter to his wife

photo from http://www.theusreport.com/the-us-report/tag/pastor-saeed-abedini

Assemblies of God has posted the letter that Pastor Saeed Abedini has sent to his wife here. –http://ag.org/top/downloads/Abedini_Letter.pdf

In the letter Pastor Abedini describes how his jailers tell him he will go free, and the next day they tell him he will hang. One day they beat him, and the next day they give him candy. Yet, despite these intense physical and psychological pressures Pastor Abedini looks to his faith in Christ as the anchor that keeps him going every day:

When for 120 days you are asleep in a room with one big light that is constantly lit and does not separate day or night and when you can only see true sunlight for a few minutes a week, that’s when you are becoming His Workmanship and you can be a vessel in bringing His Kingdom in a dark place and you are able to share the Gospel of Peace and Life to the dying world. And this is where you learn you can love your enemies with
all of your heart.

I am looking forward to the day to see all of you who are behind me with your prayers and to embrace you in my arms. Thank you for the love you have showed me.

What is in us is stronger than what is in the world and it has conquered the world. 

Christian Post reports on the plight of US Pastor Saeed Abedini, who was jailed during a 2009 visit to Iran to see his parents.

Abedini, 32, grew up in Iran, before converting to Christianity at the age of 20, and marrying an American woman in 2002, which helped him gain U.S. citizenship. Along with his wife, Naghmeh, and their two young children, the pastor has traveled back and forth between Iran and the U.S. a number of times in the past few years, helping create a network of underground churches, which provide a safe haven for Muslims who have converted to Christianity.

During one such trip in 2009, Abedini was detained by Iranian officials and interrogated for his conversion. While he was released with a warning against engaging in any more underground church activities, in July 2012, he was once again arrested while working on a non-sectarian orphanage project.

An American pastor currently held in Iranian prison is facing a grim future after it was announced that his case was recently transferred to a judge accused of human rights violations and infamous for the number of people he has sentenced to death.

The ACLJ says the minister was arrested for „his previous work as a Christian leader in Iran,” and that he faces the death penalty for trying to convert Muslims to the Christian faith. Currently, Abedini is facing trial at the Evin Prison in northwestern Tehran, described by the persecution watch group as one of Iran’s most brutal prisons – reports allege that he has been beaten by guards and inmates.
Read more at http://global.christianpost.com/news/us-pastor-saeed-abedini-faces-notorious-hanging-judge-in-iran

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Free Again

Youcef

The American Center for Law and Justice  (ACLJ.org) is reporting that they have confirmed through a member of Pastor Youcef’s church, that  Iranian authorities released Pastor Youcef from prison shortly after 1:30 p.m. near Rasht, Iran.

He had been re-arrested on Christmas Day in Iran, the first Christmas he would have been able to spend with his wife and two young sons after his nearly three-year imprisonment for his Christian faith.

After initially spending 1,062 days behind bars under a death sentence for apostasy (becoming a Christian), he has now been forced to spend an additional 14 days in prison because of his faith even after his apostasy conviction was absolved.

English: Locator map of Iran

The ACLJ welcomes his release from this unjust and illegal imprisonment.  Iran must not be allowed to persecute individuals because of their faith.

Pastor Youcef has become the face of persecution around the world, and his re-arrest on Christmas Day shows Iran’s intent to make an example of Pastor Youcef to intimidate people of minority faiths.

While Pastor Youcef is now once again free, American Pastor Saeed Abedini remains imprisoned for his faith in one of Iran’s most notoriously brutal and abusive prisons.

ACLJ is circulating a petition that asks for the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini. You can sign it here- sign petition demanding the U.S. government take action on Pastor Saeed’s behalf.

Read more here- http://aclj.org/iran/pastor-youcef-nadarkhani-again-free

But the joy of Pastor Nadarkhani’s release is tempered with the fact that his lawyer remains imprisonsed, as the CHristian Post reports:  http://global.christianpost.com photo below from http://humanrights.gov

Although Nadarkhani’s family and supporters worldwide who have called and prayed for his release will look at the development as good news, pressing concerns remain for the Iranian pastor’s lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, who was jailed for 10 years and disbarred back in September allegedly for „actions and propaganda against the Islamic regime.”

„The imprisonment of Mr. Dadkhah is part of an ongoing campaign of repression of human rights activists journalists and defenders,” Kankhwende told CP. „Mr. Dadkhah is not the only one; his fellow founders of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), which the authorities forced to close in 2008, are all detained and suffering similarly. He is being persecuted in his own right because of his profession and lifelong professional commitment in defending the rights of political activists and others.”

CSW’s chief executive, Mervyn Thomas, has called for the immediate release of Dadkhah, amid concerns that he is being pressured to do a televised confession admitting his supposed actions against the Islamic regime.

Read more at http://global.christianpost.com

Global Persecution Watch – in English and Romanian

How to pray for the persecuted Church

From The Barnabas Fund

When we read of the suffering which our brothers and sisters in Christ endure for the sake of His Name, our hearts are moved and we long to bring them before the throne of grace. But sometimes it is difficult to know exactly how to pray, especially if we have never experienced such injustice or persecution ourselves. The Bible tells us that the Church will be persecuted. So if the Lord will continue to allow persecution, what exactly should we ask Him for when we pray about these situations? We hope that the ten points below will be helpful suggestions, under the guidance and prompting of the Holy Spirit.

  1. God that He is all-knowing that in Christ He himself experienced shame, pain and agonising death, as well as the glorious resurrection. Thank Him for His promise: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Josh 1:5).
  2. Pray that all governments will work for justice and righteousness. While Jesus says that in this world we will have trouble, (John 16.33) He does not say that it will always be present in every place.
  3. Pray that leaders of liberal democracies will use their influence to find ways to reduce, if not end, persecution in countries where it occurs. Just as Paul appealed to Caesar to seek justice (Acts 25), so Christians can appeal to secular governments.
  4. Pray for the growth of the Church where persecution flourishes, remembering that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”
  5. Pray for strength and courage for those undergoing persecution, and for peace that only God can bring. Thank Him that His grace is sufficient for their needs (2 Cor 12:9). Pray that their faith will not fail, but that their suffering will draw them closer to Him and increase their faith.
  6. Pray that the Holy Spirit will enable persecuted Christians to forgive and love their persecutors (Matt 5:44) and that their Christ-like reactions will have an impact on their persecutors.
  7. Pray that the Lord will be at work in the hearts of those who currently persecute our sisters and brothers to bring them to a saving knowledge of Himself, as He did with Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9).
  8. Thank the Lord for the privilege of entering into the sufferings of our sisters and brothers, remembering that “if one part [of the body] suffers, every part suffers with it” (1 Cor 12:26).
  9. Pray that Christians who are experiencing persecution will not lose the ability to accept or trust genuine approaches from those who have formerly persecuted them, as when the believers in Jerusalem had to learn to accept the reality of Saul’s conversion (Acts 9). Pray that the Lord will give discernment, and relief from unnecessary fears.
  10. Pray for yourself and for persecuted Christians to be spiritually ready for whatever tomorrow brings, be that persecution, respite from suffering or Christ’s return (Matt 24.42).

See links below this short article on different christian persecution news and please pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters as the Bible instructs us to do in Hebrews 13:3

Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were.

1 Corinthians 12:26 – If one part (of the body of Christ) suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Published on Jun 14, 2012 by 

Every day, there are thousands of Iranians coming to Christ by hearing the gospel through satellite programs, secret evangelism and even dreams. Interestingly, among those Iranians are also officials within the government itself. An underground church faces persecution, prison charges and in some cases even death when the Iranian government becomes aware of such gatherings held in their own country. This is an inspirational story that portrays the struggles, excruciating emotions and conflicts of Iranian believers that ultimately results in Christians uniting globally through prayer and fellowshipping in their sufferings.
From Hovsepian Ministries and The Voice of the Martyrs Canada.

WWL-Main-Download

Information and watch list from  the non denominational group http://www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.  Rankings released  January 8,2013

North Korea – For the eleventh year running, this is the most difficult place on earth to be a Christian. In a country of 24.5 million, there are just 400,000 Christians. North Korea is one of the remaining Communist states, and it is vehemently opposed to religion of any kind. Christians are classified as hostile and face arrest, detention, torture, even public execution. There is a system of labor camps including the renowned prison No. 15, which reportedly houses 6,000 Christians alone. But despite severe oppression, there is a growing underground church movement of an estimated 400,000 Christians. We have written on North Korea several times in the past year. At the bottom are some noteworthy articles you can read in order to become more familiar with the brutal hardship that is endured by the Christians of North Korea. You can also read about North Korea’s hidden gulag, below all of the links, and visit the website that published The Hidden Gulag Report.

African countries surge – Open Doors reports that persecution of Christians in Africa vastly increased in 2012. Mali is a newcomer on the list and holds the No. 7 position. Tanzania (No. 24), Kenya (No. 40), Uganda (47) and Niger (No. 50) also moved onto the World Watch List and Ethiopia is one of the strongest risers (from No. 38 to No. 15) on the list. In addition, the small African country of Eritrea made the Top 10 for the first time at No. 10. Libya climbed from No. 26 to No. 17.

Syria made the largest jump on the World Watch List. The country is No. 11 on the list, compared to No. 36 in 2012.

Christians are persecuted in at least 60 countries for their faith. They suffer interrogation, arrest and even death in some of the most dangerous and restrictive countries in the world. For 58 years Open Doors has supported and strengthened believers worldwide through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development and prayer and presence ministry. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at http://www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.

The Hidden Gulag

Second Edition

The Lives and Voices of
“Those Who are Sent to the Mountains”

David Hawk

Description: Based on extensive interviews with over 60 defectors and more than 40 satellite photos of North Korean political prisoner camps, the report calls for the dismantlement of the vast North Korean gulag system in which 150,000 to 200,000 are incarcerated.

From Page 158: In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, crimes against humanity are committed against persons sent to the political penal labor colonies. Evidence shows that:

1. Perceived or suspected “wrong-doers” or “wrong-thinkers,” or in some instances, persons with“wrong-knowledge,”123 and/or their family from the DPRK State Security Agency,124 which refuses to acknowledge the deprivation of freedom and refuses to provide information on the fate or whereabouts of those persons with the intent of removing those persons from the “protection of law” for a prolonged period of time.

2. The abducted persons are subjected to deportation or forcible transfer from the area in which they were lawfully present without grounds permitted under international law.

3. The abducted and deported persons are deposited at distant, remote, penal labor colonies or encampments, where they are subjected to “imprisonment or severe deprivation of physi- cal liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law.”129 These abductions, deporta- tions and the subsequent imprisonments all take place without any judicial process. There is no arrest, charge, trial, conviction or sentence, as provided in the DPRK Criminal Code and the DPRK Criminal Procedures Code.

4.The prolonged, indefinite detention of family members is a violation of Article 26 of the ICCPR, “…the law shall prohibit any discrimi- nation and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” The imprisonment of family members amounts to what the ICC Statute terms as “persecu- tion.” Most family members of suspected wrong-doers or wrong-thinkers are detained for the rest of their lives in sections of the prison camps termed “total control zones.”

5. Once cut off from any contact with the coun- try or world outside of the prison camp, including former family and friends, the imprisoned persons are subjected, usually for a lifetime, to arduous forced labor under extremely severe circumstances. This begins with the provision of below subsistence level food rations.

7. Prisoners are regularly subjected to beatings and sometimes more systematic torture for infractions of prison camp regulations and during interrogations.

8.On numerous occasions, prisoners compelled to observe executions (which are carried out publicly to demonstrate to other prisoners the severe consequences of escape attempts and/or non-compliance with camp regulations) …

9. Prison camp officials and guards are regularly able to exact sexual relations with female prison- ers under circumstances that have been judged to constitute rape or sexual violence …

These are just a few excerpts from the  CONCLUSIONS in the Hidden Gulag Report. You can read the entire report here – http://www.hrnk.org/uploads/pdfs/HRNK_HiddenGulag2_Web_5-18.pdf

~ RECAP of 2013 ~

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Syria

Journeyman Pictures films
the persecuted Christians in Syria (full film)

~ RECAP of 2012 ~

New – On Christmas Day, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was rearrested again in Iran – see article here –Youcef Nadarkhani Re-Arrested by Iranian Authorities on Christmas Day

The American Center for Law and Justice is reporting-

Breaking: On September 8th, 2012, Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been released from jail in Iran, acquitted of apostasy (death penalty), and sentenced to time served for evangelizing Muslims. He is now home with his family after spending 1,062 days in prison for his Christian faith.

More details to follow at ACLJ.org

May we continue to pray for the thousands of others who are suffering for their faith in Christ. Hebrews 13:3 „Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

  1. Where the 12 Apostles died (On Google Maps) -Tradition holds that all the apostles died as martyrs
  2. Ignatius – Bishop of Antioch and one of the first New Testament martyrs
  3. Suffering in the life of John Bunyan
  4. Sovereignty,Suffering and The Work of Missions by Steve Saint – son of missionary martyr Nate Saint who died in Ecuador with Jim Elliott (Desiring God)
  5. Through the Gates of Splendor – 5 missionaries speared to death in 1956 on a beach in Ecuador (Jim Elliott documentary)
  6. The story behind the hymn „All hail the power of Jesus name”
  7. Persecution is coming to America – Paul Washer
  8. Nigeria: The young victims of Christian persecution (video)
  9. Voice of the Martyrs – video report from Nigeria
  10. International Day of Prayer (IDOP) for the Persecuted November 11, 2012
  11. Persecution watch in Nigeria – it is estimated between 300 – 1,000 already martyred in 2011
  12. North Korea’s Hidden Gulag – Google earth satellite imagery proves the internment camps exist and imprison tens of thousands of Christians
  13. An estimated 40,000 to 70,000 Christians housed in internment camps in North Korea
  14. The persecuted church – 200 million Christians living with persecution
  15. Persecution watch in Nigeria – it is estimated between 300 – 1,000 already martyred in 2011
  16. Iran: A Letter from prison
  17. Tales of persecution – Ethiopia
  18. The world was not worthy of them, who is the God they serve? (1)… Graham Staines’ family, India
  19. Hebrews 11:38…the world was not worthy of them (2) Nigeria Pastor, James Musa Rike, loses family in attack
  20. Missionary from Lebanon crosses into Syria to baptize believer, he has to bury him instead as a martyr
  21. Human trafficking at the Indianapolis Superbowl? Some things just can’t be ignored any longer!
  22. Free Online Book – Adoniram Johnson
  23. Free Online Book – Biography – John G. Paton – You Will Be Eaten By Cannibals!
  24. The Radicals- The first Anabaptists: Michael and Margaretha Sattler (1525)
  25. William Tyndale Biography (c 1492-1536) Photos of Tyndale Bibles
  26. Peace on earth? Not until Christ returns…unless you are a Christ follower
  27. Randy Alcorn – Difficult Truths: Sovereignty, Suffering, and the Promise of Heaven
  28. Free ebook from John Piper: Disability and the Sovereign Goodness of God

  1. PAGINA RICHARD WURMBRAND si Pastorul – Film Documentar
  2. Istoria Martirilor traducere de carte in Limba Romana
  3. Viata lui Sadhu Sundar Singh – traducere de carte in Limba Romana
  4. Koreea de Nord – crestinul prins in posesia unei Biblii e condamnat la inchisoare cu intreaga familie si urmatoarele 3 generatii
  5. Afganul Said Musa eliberat cu ajutorul lui John Piper, Rick Warren – Said Musa released with help from two Pastors
  6. Brutal Persecution in Romania, Iosif Ton
  7. Extreme devotion: Anutza Moise – Her Love and Advocacy Helped Birth a Ministry to the Persecuted Church (Richard Wurmbrand)
  8. Extreme devotion: The Doctor Who Helped Find Richard Wurmbrand – Devotament extraordinar: Doctorul Care a Ajutat la Gasirea lui Wurmbrand
  9. Comemorare – Anul Richard Wurmbrand (Partea 1) si  Anul Richard Wurmbrand (Partea 2)
  10. Ziua de Rugăciune pentru Pacea Ierusalimului, 7 Octombrie 2012

How things work in a non democratic country – Pastor Youcef Nardarkhani’s lawyer arrested

Also Read –

Arab man declared insane, sent to mental hospital for faith in Christ

Pray for the persecuted church:

  • Hebrews 13:3 Remember those who are in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
  • Matthew 5:10  Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 – “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”
  • 1 Peter 4:12-16  Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

Full story: http://www.MNNonline.org/article/17168

Iran (MNN/ACLJ) ― Another obstacle has been handed to imprisoned Iranian pastor Youcef Nardarkhani. According to reports, the Iranian government has acted against his attorney in the case.

Todd Nettleton with The Voice of the Martyrs explains. „His attorney, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, has now been sentenced to nine years in an Iranian jail for apparently representing people like Pastor Youcef – people whose human rights have been violated.”

American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which has been working to secure the release of Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, called Iran’s decision to imprison Dadkhah „very troubling” – a move that puts the Christian pastor in greater danger.

In 2009, Pastor Youcef Nardarkhani, a leader in the Full Gospel „Church of Iran” network, was arrested and imprisoned after protesting a decision by the government requiring that his son study the Qur’an.
He was charged with apostasy, which carries a death sentence under the revised penal code. However, the court now says Nardarkhani is being executed for the trumped-up charges of rape and extortion,charges not mentioned during the original court proceedings.

Nettleton says this is bad news for Nardarkhani and other jailed Christians. „[Pastor Youcef] is going to have a hard time finding another attorney. When the government is locking up people who are representing him, you can imagine that any lawyer would think twice about taking his case.”

While Nettleton is urging Christians to contact the Iranian embassy to complain about this, he says Iran doesn’t listen – „particularly to Americans. Sometimes in cases dealing with Iran, our Canadian friends or sometimes our European friends can have a much stronger voice because Iran HAS relationships with their governments.”

Despite the crackdown on Christians, the church is growing. „The Islamic government–which is run by the Mullahs–see the growth of the church. They see thousands of people leaving Islam to follow Jesus Christ, and they don’t know how to respond; so their first thought is, ‘Hey, let’s lock up all these people.'”

Nettleton is urging you to pray that not only Nardarkhani will be released, but also his attorney. He’s also asking you to support the work of The Voice of the Martrys. The ministry is coming alongside Christian families with relatives who are imprisoned for their faith.

Washington Post: Planned Parenthood- 40 days of prayer for (more) abortion

Will God be mocked? Psalm 14:1-4 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. The Lordlooks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the Lord?

from the Washington Post  04/18/2012

A prayer for abortion?

By Jordan Sekulow and Matthew Clark

Pro-life advocates have long complained that Planned Parenthood, the country’s largest abortion provider, worships at the altar of abortion, but did you know that the abortion industry actually prays for abortion?

Perversely reminiscent of 40 day pro-life prayer vigils, Planned Parenthood in Humboldt County, Ca., is promoting it’s own “40 days of prayer,” March 18th through April 27th, for abortion. This is not their usually disguised promotion of abortion as “preventative care,” “family planning,” or “contraceptive services.” No, they throw those typical euphemisms out and directly pray for abortion.

A prayer guide found on PlannedParenthood.org ,40 Days of Prayer Supporting Women Everywhere , encourages pro-abortion supporters to offer prayers of “thanks for abortion providers” and the “sacred care” they provide.

Each day, Planned Parenthood suggests a prayer, for example:

· “We give thanks for the doctors who provide quality abortion care.”

· We pray for a cloud of gentleness to surround every abortion facility.”

· We pray for all the staff at abortion clinics around the nation. May they be daily confirmed in the sacred care that they offer women.”

Some of the prayers, like those above, are for the abortionists. Others are for all “women to access . . . abortion,” and one is to “give thanks and celebrate that abortion is still safe and legal.”

Still other prayers are against pro-life advocates. They pray that women on the way to have an abortion would be “shielded” from the lifesaving message of pro-life sidewalk counselors and “give thanks for abortion escorts who guide women safely through the hostile gauntlets of protesters.” In another, “we pray for women who have been made afraid of their own power [of choice, i.e. abortion] by their religion. May they learn to reject fear and live bravely.”

One of the most outrageous of these pro-abortion prayers actually urges people to “pray for the families we’ve chosen. May they know the blessing of choice.” What about the babies who weren’t “chosen”?

Of course, none of this should be surprising when you take a look at the group who penned these prayers, Faith Aloud. Among Faith Aloud’s board members is the infamous partial-birth abortion doctor LeRoy Carhart.

While admitting that aborted babies are “our children—even those we decide not to bring into the world,” Faith Aloud cannot debunk the claim that abortion is murder. Faith Aloud’s Web site states, “When you hear something over and over, like ‘abortion is murder’, it can get into your head—like a commercial. But if you really believed that abortion was the same as murder you probably wouldn’t even be considering it.”

All Planned Parenthood and Faith Aloud can do is rationalize the taking of another human’s life under the guise of prayer.

But apparently, these prayers are being used by the entire abortion industry. Faith Aloud even wrote us after we at the ACLJ initially exposed Planned Parenthood’s prayer guide to clarify, “Independent abortion providers (non-Planned Parenthood facilities) have been using these prayers for years.”

While the prayers themselves are shocking, the true outrage continues to be the yearly slaughter of millions of unborn babies. No matter how you try to spiritualize it or rationalize, it’s just plain wrong, and we will continue fighting for life.

Jordan Sekulow is Executive Director of the American Center for Law & Justice and writes for On Faith’s blogging network at the Washington Post. Matthew Clark is an attorney for the ACLJ.


David French on the Collapse of the Evangelicals’ Cultural Influence

David French is the author of multiple books and Senior Counsel for the ACLJ (American Center for Law and Justice) . A Kentucky native, David is a 1994 graduate (cum laude) of Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a 1991 graduate (summa cum laude, valedictorian) of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. David is a regular contributor to National Review Online, a columnist for Patheos, and he has written numerous op-eds and articles, including pieces in the Washington Post, Washington Times, Human Events, Townhall, New York Post, New York Daily News, Boston Herald, and Philadelphia Daily News. (source)

The following is an excerpt from an article in the National Review Online, consisting of 3 points that David French makes in support of this claim:

During my years in the pews, I’ve witnessed a moral collapse — and a corresponding collapse in positive influence over the real lives not just of our fellow congregants but also of our fellow citizens in need. Of course it’s difficult to present a compelling witness when our own practices and lifestyle are often indistinguishable from the larger culture, but the problems get more specific. Here are three:

1. We are more focused on meeting the material needs of the poor than their spiritual needs. Spend much time in the evangelical community, and you’ll soon learn that the old-fashioned Gospel-focused mission trip is largely a thing of the past… Service must be accompanied by intentional, vocal evangelism and discipling.

2. We go on sinning so that grace may abound. The secular stereotype of the modern evangelical — as a judgmental moralizer — is so wrong as to be laughable. Everywhere you go, preachers reject this model entirely, emphasizing, for example, “divorce recovery,” therapy, and treatment for the consequences of sin. Again, these are worthy things, but Christ and the Apostle Paul also emphasized holiness and discipline. How often has your church actually disciplined adulterers? How often have you intervened in the life of a friend before they made devastating mistakes? Our desire to be liked trumps all, and suffering is the result.

3. We church-shop, seeking to meet our needs rather than serving the church. This echoes Douthat’s point above. Church-switching is pernicious. Not only does the church “market” breed selfishness, it also makes pastors market-oriented. As you survey church after church, each doing things their own way, ask yourself, which of these church institutions will still be present and viable in 50 years? Or 100 years? Or 1,000? Evangelicals often look askance at Catholics, but which of our churches has even lasted since the Reformation? We cannot build institutions when our focus is on building the self.

He concludes: I once heard it said that following the social and political disruptions of the 1960s and early 1970s, religious conservatives decided that they had to win elections, while secular leftists decided to win the culture — and both groups succeeded. So now here we are, enjoying unprecedented influence on presidential outcomes even as our cultural foundation rots away beneath our feet. Click here to read the entire article at the National Review Online.

Something to think about; each and every one of us (especially the laypeople) has contributed to this decline with our (perceived) individualistic daily decisions in how we live our life whether we obey God’s word or simply choose to disregard it. How then shall we influence unbelievers? Grace Bible Church of Tulsa, OK  has an excellent article elaborating on the fact that we can only influence by what we are:

It is the difference in our character that distinguishes us from unbelievers. The believer influences the unbeliever by what he is, not by what he has. Turning our attention to verse 13 we see that Christ did not say, „You have salt and light to dispense,” but rather „You are the salt. . . . You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13, 14). The believer’s very presence in the world acts as salt and light, preventing corruption and exposing error. The only question, as Jesus goes on to say, is whether or not we are tasteful salt and effective light

2 Cor 2:14-16

14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;

16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?

Returning back to Matt 5:13, the „you” in both verses is plural. It is His whole body, the church, which is called to be the world’s salt and light. Each person has ones own limited influence, but the church collectively is to have an influence throughout the world.

Christ is the source of our savor and of our light. (HT)

May the Lord help us to search our own hearts and live according to His word!

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