Persecution

Iraq: Hard Choices in Mosul

As we are the the Body of Christ called to be Jesus throughout our community, country and beyond. We are also called to share the message of the persecuted church to the American church in order to fulfill our Christian responsibility according to Hebrews 13:3. Therefore we ask that you continue to pray for those in need and those persecuted for their Christian faith around the world. Please consider the story below in your prayers.

IRAQ: HARD CHOICES IN MOSUL

From The Voice of the Martyrs 4 August 2014

The eyes of the world turned last month to the northern plains of Iraq, to a city where Jonah first delivered Jehovah’s message thousands of years ago. Today the story of Nineveh (now called Mosul) isn’t of a messenger of Jehovah going into Nineveh, but of thousands of Jehovah’s followers being forced out of the city. The IS (Islamic State) told Christians if they don’t leave Mosul their alternatives are subjugation to Islam or being forced to follow a different god—Allah. Or they will be killed.

The Christians that fled the city—it is reported that the remaining 200 Christian families left prior to an IS-imposed deadline of July 19—left behind all of their possessions, as demanded by the radical Muslims. Those who tried to carry more than the clothes on their backs were robbed at IS checkpoints on their way out of the city.

The cross on the Cathedral of Mar Afram in Mosul—the Archbisopric of the Syriac Orthodox Church—was pulled down and replaced by loudspeakers to broadcast the Islamic call to prayer. Middle East Concern, a VOM partner ministry, reports: “A few Christians remain in Mosul, including some elderly or infirm who were not able to leave. In some cases, Christians are being shielded by Muslim neighbors. There are [also] credible reports that some have been compelled by the IS to convert to Islam by reciting the Islamic declaration of faith before a Sharia court.”

Most of the Christians described in these sad news reports are part of the historical Christian community in northern Iraq, primarily Syriac Orthodox or Catholics who are considered by Muslims to be “Christian” because they were born in Christian families.

There is another group of Christians in northern Iraq too: those that were born into Muslim families but have consciously made the choice to reject Islam and follow Jesus. It is important to understand that these believers do NOT have a choice to pay a tax and save their lives. These converts are, in the eyes of IS, apostates. If IS fighters learned of their faith, they would give these believers two choices: return to Islam or be killed.

VOM is ministering to both groups of believers. Already VOM is caring for 2,000 displaced Christians who have fled Mosul; it is likely that number will increase. We are also working with Christian converts in the region who risk their very lives to witness of the love of Jesus to Muslims—even radical and violent ones.

As we look through the eyes of TV cameras into this volatile region, may we be reminded daily to pray for our brothers and sisters suffering such hardship and violence. And as we pray for them, let us also pray for their persecutors, that some of those hunting believers today will become believers themselves in the days and months to come.

Iran: Execution Delayed

As we are the the Body of Christ called to be Jesus throughout our community, country and beyond. We are also called to share the message of the persecuted church to the American church in order to fulfill our Christian responsibility according to Hebrews 13:3. Therefore we ask that you continue to pray for those in need and those persecuted for their Christian faith around the world. Please consider the story below in your prayers and support The Voice Or Martyrs in their work.

A judge rescheduled the Aug. 12 sentencing date for a Christian man imprisoned outside Tehran, Iran. “Amir” was set to be executed after being imprisoned two years ago after being caught transporting a truckload of Bibles. Publishing, importing or reprinting Bibles or Christian literature is illegal in Iran. Though the sentencing trial has been delayed, his family remains very concerned for him.

Posted on www.icommittopray.com on Aug. 8, more than 250 people from 18 nations have committed to praying for Amir.  These are just a few of the prayers that have been offered on behalf of Amir and his family:

“Lord Jesus my heart breaks for Amir and his family. Please move the judicial system in Iran to free him. I pray for a great awakening in Iran.”
— Debbie S. (USA)

“Dear Father in heaven, I sincerely thank you for the life of Amir. Gracious Father, I pray that his faith will not fail in these trying times of his life. The scriptures say, “Indeed, all who desire to live a holy life in Christ will be persecuted.” I pray that you reverse the execution and through that even the executioners will come to the knowledge of Christ”
— Christina Afua N. (Ghana)

“Thank you Lord, for this young man. Oh Lord, your works and your people are powerful. Oh God, let your will be done –but we ask that if your will be to release this man … that many more may come to Christ through him. Release him like you did Peter. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
— Charles A. (India)

Like Charles, many others prayed in the spirit of Acts 12, in which “constant prayer was offered to God for [Peter] by the church,” and Peter escaped from prison. We praise God that Amir’s execution date was postponed and we pray that God’s perfect will would be done. Continue to offer constant prayers for Amir and his family. Please pray with us on www.icommittopray.com.

 

The Genocide Of Iraq’s Christians

 

Help Iraqi Christians

As the world continues to burn in turmoil, Iraq’s Christians have been under unrelenting persecution. This weekend alone, one of Iraq’s largest city’s entire population of Christians was presented with a simple demand from ISIS. “Convert to Islam, leave Mosul or be killed”. Deadline this past Sunday.

We join with our friends at Persecution.org in urging all Christians around the world to help our brothers and sisters in Iraq and around the world. In particular, we urge you to visit: http://info.persecution.org/iraqi-crisis-response?utm_campaign=Iraqi%20Crisis&utm_medium=Website&utm_source=Splash%20Banner 

In Iraq, the Christian church is in danger of completely disappearing. Over the past decade it has shrunk from nearly 1.5 million to less than 200,000. Now the crisis in Syria has spilled over into Iraq and ISIS, one of the most brutal jihadist terrorist groups in the world, has taken control of much of Iraq.

ISIS has committed mass executions, set churches on fire, and is by force applying their radical interpretation of Islamic law. Thousands of Christians are among the nearly half million people who have fled from these brutal terrorists, many fleeing with little more than what they could carry.

The small churches in the Kurdish region of Northern Iraq are doing their best to care for those in need. ICC is helping them to provide food and other assistance for their brothers and sisters and others in need. This includes:

  • Food packages
  • Mattresses and blankets
  • Cooking supplies and lanterns
  • Water

Please consider helping us help our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

Prayer Request For The Persecuted

Fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Here at Sola Fide Ministries, we are deeply concerned about the ongoing persecution of Christians around the world and the endless war against us and the Lord. Whether in China, South America, Europe, the Middle East or even here at home in the United States, Christians are suffering under some level of persecution. In some cases losing their lives for their faith in the Lord.

We know that Jesus has told us “When reports come in of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic” (Matt. 24:6MSG) or simply “dont’ be afraid” (Luke 12:7NIV). We also know that Bible tells us “though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident” (Ps27:3 RSV).

The world is a mess! War in the Middle East, financial challenges in the global economy, etc etc etc. As a result, we ask you to consider the many persecuted Christians in your prayers. There are those in prison from Iran, North Korea to Venezuela for their faith. Those being murdered and tortured in Iraq, Syria, and Africa for their faith. There are those who suffer under “soft” persecution in Europe and the United States. While not considered as extreme as those in other parts of the world, we are still persecuted at some level. Simply visit our friends at the Voice of Martyrs (http://www.persecution.com/) to see all the evil in the world. Its also a great place to see how you can help those being persecuted. Non of  this should surprise us. Did not the Lord say that we will be persecuted by the world for our faith? Then we should not be afraid.

We should do as Paul said in Ephesians 6:10-18 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.”

However, we ask that you take it one step further. Please visit the many groups that support persecuted Christians and get involved. You can learn more about how you can help by clicking here: https://solafidedigitalministries.org/partners/ 

Finally, we humbly ask you to put on the whole armor of the Lord in your life and pray for all those in great need whether persecuted Christians, the poor, hungry, destitute, those in pain, ill, lonely, afraid, those in dispair and more . We are called to be Christ on Earth. So when the world continues to seems to be out of control, we can put our faith in our rock….the Lord. We can be sure that he still sits on the thrown. We can take comfort in the words of Jesus when he says, “These things must come to pass” (Matt.24:6) and “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev.2:10 RSV).

God Bless,

David

 

American Pastor Saeed Abedini wrote the following Easter message from his hospital room serving an eight year sentence for his Christian faith in Iran.

Crucifying the resurrected “self” with Christ and resurrects our death faith with Christ.

Happy Resurrection Day.

On the Eve of Good Friday and Easter I was praying from my hospital room for my fellow Christians in the world.  What the Holy Spirit revealed to me in prayer was that there are many dead faiths in the midst of Christians today. That Christians all over the world are not able to fully reach their spiritual potential that has been given to them as a gift by God so that in reaching that potential, the curtain can be removed and the Glory of God would be revealed.

Some times we want to experience the Glory and resurrection with Jesus without experiencing death with Him.  We do not realize that unless we pass through the path of death with Christ, we are not able to experience resurrection with Christ.

We want to have a good and successful marriage, career, education and family life (which is also God’s desire and plan for our life). But we forget that in order to experience the Resurrection and Glory of Christ we first have to experience death with Christ and to die to ourselves and selfish desires.

Jesus said to His Disciples:  “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)

This means that we should not do things that we like to do (that God does not want us to do) and to do things that we do not like to do (but God wants us to do) so that He may be glorified.

So in addition to spending our days and night in doing the works of faith as described above, we should also transform our death faiths into living and active faiths through the resurrection of Christ which is an active and constructive love that is effective.

In conclusion, let us resurrect our Dead faiths to living faiths by first dying to our selfish “resurrected” self and experiencing the cross of Jesus. Then we are able to experience the Glorious resurrection with Christ.

A Glorious life with Christ starts only after a painful death (to self) with Christ.

We will start with Christ.

Pastor Saeed Abedini
Prisoner in the Darkness in Iran, but free for the Kingdom and Light

Please continue to pray for Pastor Saeed as we continue fighting for his release, and sign the petition for his freedom.