VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

United with the Persecuted

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EVENT REMINDER: An Invitation to Pray for Those who Carry the Cross – Begins Tonight! 9pm(est)

SEPTEMBER PRAYER CALL EVENT

SEPTEMBER PRAYER CALL EVENT

So many ask what they can do to help the persecuted. This is the most important and effective thing we can do. “PRAY FOR US!” is the number one and often only request from the Persecuted Church. Don’t miss the call to pray for our suffering brothers and sisters. Please come and pray, as we believe prayer works. Phone in from any location and stay on the prayer conference call 5 minutes, 5 hours, or as long as you feel led. Your prayers DO make a difference in the lives of our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.

We look forward to praying with you and our persecuted family on the 24-hour call.

Call Details Here

 

An Open Letter To Congress On An Urgent Plea For Help

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There are many urgent problems plaguing America today.  But the most urgent is the plight of Christians across the Middle East and Africa.

Christian genocide has been declared, yet America refuses to admit Christians who are persecuted.  If we could save one life, why aren’t we?

We want to zero in on Pakistan for a moment.  Pakistan receives top aide from our government.  Our government recognizes Christians are singled out, targeted and persecuted.  In Pakistan Christians are considered unclean, even non-Christians trying to come against laws like the blasphemy are assassinated or exiled.  Pakistan is not following its own constitution, and yet the UNHCR refuses to investigate.

This is from the US report on International Religious freedom (2015):

According to news reports, on February 20, a judge dismissed the fourth bail petition of Liaquat Ali, who was accused of blasphemy in 2013. Ali and Ali’s religious instructor were accused of blasphemy for allegedly incorrectly reciting the Islamic testimony of faith. Ali said the accusation was a personal grudge related to a property dispute.

On March 28, a court sentenced Sawan Masih to death for blasphemy in an incident that had triggered a riot in Lahore. The court convicted Masih, a Christian, of committing blasphemy in a conversation with a Muslim friend in 2013. A mob of more than 3,000 persons burned some 100 Christian homes in Lahore’s Joseph Colony after the allegations against Masih emerged. Masih filed an appeal in the Lahore High Court, stating the charges were false and aimed at evicting Christians from the area.

On April 3, a trial court in Toba Tek Singh, Punjab, handed a death sentence to Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar, a Christian couple accused of texting blasphemous messages to local Muslims in Gojra, Punjab. Police first registered the case in June 2013.

On July 11, Islamabad’s Anti-terrorism Court ordered the continued detention of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants Hammad Adil and Muhammad Tanveer. The men allegedly confessed, after their arrests in August 2013, to the 2011 assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, the former federal minister of minority affairs and an outspoken critic of the blasphemy laws. Adil and Tanveer were the main suspects accused in the murder. Their trial was ongoing at year’s end.

On October 16, the Lahore High Court upheld the death sentence of Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman on death row since 2010, when a district court found her guilty of making derogatory remarks about Prophet Mohammed during an argument. On November 24, her lawyers submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court.

And that’s only a few instances.  A Christian couple burned alive because mob mentality knows no fear of prosecution.  The brick kiln owners are government sanctioned slave owners.  The Ahmadi Muslims are given priority because the government does not recognize their Muslim beliefs, but the UNHCR refuses to acknowledge that Christians in Pakistan are persecuted.

Case in point:  A Pakistani who fled to Thailand to avoid death waited 3 years for his interview for asylum with the UNHCR. Postponement after postponement dashed his hope of ever living a normal life or providing for his wife.  Finally last month he received his interview only to be denied.  He was told Christians in Pakistan are safe and he could return.  Even with clear cut evidence of the opposite.  This man was a Christian photographer and worked as a television host in Pakistan  with multiple medias, he led a profitable life until he came under attack and attempted assasination.  He is not the exception, but part of a growing problem plaguing Christians in Pakistan.  Christian women have to hide under the Hijab to go in public for fear of being recognized.  Many are beaten and raped.

The UN Humans Rights Council must be held accountable for clear discrimination against Christians.

Again this is URGENT, as many face deportation in foreign lands such as Thailand and Malaysia.  It’s true that Thailand is not a signatory of  the Human rights 1951 convention.  But the UNHCR is there, why won’t they help them??  It’s time to bring Human Rights recognition into the 21st century.  Hold them accountable!

Contact us for details and documentation from persecuted Christians discriminated against by the UNHCR.  Please this is urgent.  Anything you can do would be a great help.  The man who was denied asylum needs immediate intervention.  Then international laws need to be revised, or at least committees formed to investigate the practices of the UNHCR in regards to Christian refugees.  Please we are their only voice. Yours may be the one that makes the difference to end their suffering. Won’t you join in the efforts of the UK to highlight this abuse?  These people need you.

Sincerely,

The team at Voice of the Persecuted

Contact us at info@voiceofthepersecuted.org

Editors note:  Won’t you replace or add your name to this letter and send it to representatives across the US?  You may copy and paste this letter.  Please message your Elected Officials, today!

How to Find and Contact Federal Elected Officials
Click here to add your name to this letter in a petition.

Held Captive For 2 Years By Boko Haram: Rebecca’s Story

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Reunited with her husband after 2 years of enslavement by the Boko Haram.

(Voice of the Persecuted) Baga is a town at the extreme north of Nigeria’s Borno State. The town has had more than its share of atrocities at the hands of the notorious Boko Haram. In January 2015, the fishing town became internationally known when it was targeted in the deadliest massacre in the history of the extremist Islamic group. The attack lasted 5 days (Jan.3-7). Security forces had quickly responded against the militants, but fatalities were reported as ‘heavy’ with possibly 2,000 people killed or unaccounted for. The Ministry of Defence claimed no more than 150 killed, some said the massacre never took place or that the terrorists had been repelled. But this claim was refuted by local officials, survivors, and the international media.

Baga and at least 16 other towns were thought to have been destroyed with 35,000 people displaced. Many were feared to have drowned while fleeing across Lake Chad, others were trapped by the Boko Haram on islands. At that time, the attacks resulted in Boko Haram extending its control to over 70% of Borno State. Its leader, Abubakar Shekau, claimed responsibility for the massacre, considered the killings as “not much” and threatened the insurgency “would not stop”. Their goal: Total Islamic Sharia Rule. The group had links to al-Qaeda, but later announced their allegiance to ISIS in March 2015.

If you don’t recall the attack, it may be due to the coverage of attacks in Paris beginning at the the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The terrorists killed a total of 17 in four shooting attacks between Jan.7-9. For weeks, the attacks in France dominated headlines and televised news reports. On January 11, 2015 about two million people, including more than 40 world leaders, met in Paris for a show of unity. 3.7 million people joined in demonstrations across France. The phrase Je suis Charlie had become a worldwide slogan of support. But compared to the coverage and solidarity with Paris, reports of the Baga massacre were barely a whisper. While the world has had their attention on ISIS, thousands have silently been slaughtered for the past 7 years by the Boko Haram, also known as ‘the deadliest terror group in the world‘. Outside Nigeria, most attacks go virtually unnoticed. The Baga attack was picked up after it claimed so many lives. See our report, World Ignores Victims of Boko Haram Terror Group (VOP January 14, 2015)

Heartbreaking Case of Abduction, Rape and Slavery 

Some weeks ago, Voice of the Persecuted received a report from our project leader in Nigeria that literally brought us to tears. In full detail, the report described the ordeal of a Christian woman who had escaped the clutches of Boko Haram militants after being held by the terrorists for 2 years. The family of Mr. Bitrus and his wife Rebecca have an extremely sorrowful story to share. They were residents of Baga when it came under a ferocious attack by the Boko Haram on the August 21, 2014—an attack that came before the brutal massacre and complete terrorists occupation of Baga in 2015. It was extremely hard for the couple to discuss all that had happened. But bravely, Rebecca narrated her story to one of our Nigerian correspondents, Fr. Gideon Obasogie, Directorate of Social Communications in Maiduguri, Nigeria.

With a sober look and a deep feeling of depression, Rebecca explained that in great confusion she fled her lovely home with her husband and their two sons, Zachariah who was 3 years and Jonathan 1. At the time, she was also expecting a third child but lost her pregnancy due to the subhuman conditions she was subjected to.

While fleeing the attack on that fateful day, Rebecca knew her husband would be the terrorists primary target. With the radical militants in hot pursuit, she feared Bitrus could not run fast enough while carrying their one year old son. Rebecca had developed severe pains from running and found it hard to go on. She pleaded with her husband to run and save his life and fervently urged him to leave them behind. In the panic, Bitrus finally heeded her advice and quickly ran to hide in the bush.

While Bitrus shared his story, he looked at his wife with a feeling of deep shame for not being her hero at that desperate moment of their lives. Guilt for not protecting his family when they needed him the most. But Rebecca had been correct, the militants did go after Bitrus. They continually sprayed bullets in his direction but were unsuccessful to find him. Praise be to God, no bullet ever touched him. After some time, Bitrus emerged from his hiding place but had become separated from his wife and children. When the Boko Haram fighters quit hunting him, they had turned back towards the location of his family. He was left imagining what would become of his wife and children and wondered what to do next. Promising himself to reconnect with his family, he trusted God would keep them alive. Bitrus moved with renewed hope to the nearby town of Mongonu. He waited in Mongonu for 15 days, as he scanned the crowds in anticipation of the arrival of his wife. Day after day, Bitrus searched for his family. He met and spoke with a lot of people coming out of Baga..

“I kept on asking them of the whereabouts of my wife….no one could tell me any good news. I became depressed with severe migraines and my blood pressure hit the roof. Some soldiers assisted me with a shelter to lay my head. They gave me some money, which I used to transport myself to Maiduguri. My uncle pleaded with me to not to be discouraged. He even took me to the hospital for medication. He tried to renew my hope, but he couldn’t stop the nightmares or my heartache. Leaving my family and everything I ever had behind was not an easy experience to come by.”

Rebecca’s Story

“When Bitrus fled to hide, Boko Haram came to me. They kept saying, “…da mun kashe Mujin ki..da mun Sami lada….ama ton da Allah bai bari ba…ke da yaran ki sai ku je ku yi aikin Allah,” meaning if only we had killed your husband we would have received Allah’s reward…but since Allah did not permit that…. you and your children will go and work for Allah. Thereafter, they hit me with the butt of a big gun and knocked out some of my teeth.”

When asked what happened next, Rebecca broke down in tears. With great compassion, Gideon encouraged her and she quietly told him, “That was when my nightmare began”. After killing all the men they had caught, Boko Haram militants moved Rebecca and her sons into the Lake Chad. They were fed nothing but chin-chin (a crunchy, baked or fried dough) as they were forced to wade through the water for nearly a week. Rebecca said, “crossing the lake was like an evil journey” with the water often coming up to her neck.  On the seventh day, they arrived at a place called Kwalleram and stayed there for about 53 days. Rebecca was forced to clean, wash and cook for the for militants and their wives. Sometimes she was assigned the task of clearing pathways for the militants motorcycles.

For fear she might try to escape, the militants move her and her sons to Gurva, a town in Chad. There she found 2000 other Nigerians who had been captured by Boko Haram and forced to farm and cut wood for fuel.

About two months later, she move again. This time they were taken to a town called Tilma.

“It was in Tilma that they branded the number 69 on my back. I don’t really know its meaning, and I never cared to ask. They sold me to a man called Bage Guduma and I was with him for 55 days. I was given palm fruits to eat, but thank God I didn’t eat any of it. It would have drugged me and resulted in the loss of my senses. Most nights, Bage Guduma wanted to touch me, but I did not give in to him. I couldn’t bear the thought, so I took the feces of my children and rubbed it on my body…this kept him away. But for this, his sons would beat me ruthlessly. They made me dig a hole for three weeks until I hit the water level. They often flogged me 98 lashes and I became ill for two weeks. Then, they took my one year old son, Jonathan and threw him into Lake Chad. My son drowned and died. With deep sorrow as tears rolled down her cheeks, she said, “All these terrible things happened because I refused to give my body”.

Rebecca was then given to another Boko Haram militant called Malla.

“They tried to force me to sleep with him but when I resisted they threw me into their prison, a dark pit. I was in the pit for two whole days without food or water. When I came out, Malla brutally forced himself on me and I became pregnant. I tried to kill myself, but the wife of a Pastor, herself abducted from Gwoza, pleaded with me not to take my life. She already had two children fathered by the militants. When the time came for me to give birth, I delivered alone. No one came to my aid. I cut the placenta myself and was in great pain. I received no medical attention.  They named my son, Ibrahim. They liked him because he is a boy. The fighters want women who give birth to male children. Malla had traveled out and returned six weeks after I had given birth. I had nothing to do with him.”

Her Escape

Little Ibrahim with swollen navel/tummy

Little Ibrahim with swollen navel/tummy Photo: Voice of the Persecuted

Malla began to grow tired of Rebecca and promised to sell her to another man. It was then she decided to try and escape. At a time when most of the Boko Haram fighters had left the enclave, Rebecca sought permission from a female Boko Haram militant, probably the commander’s wife, to see a friend in another area controlled by the Boko Haram. When permission was granted, Rebecca headed instead to a small community called Maitele. From there, Rebecca took her sons and joined others as they walked for 6 days towards what they thought was the Nigerian border. Her son became ill for lack of water and food. Praise God, there came a heavy down pour which renewed and revived their strength for the journey, which for many would be towards an unknown destination. However, not for Rebecca, though she was unsure of her location, she pressed on with much hope and faith in the Lord to have a safe landing.

She eventually ended up in Diffa, a town in Niger. With the help of others, she met military personnel operating in the area. The military in Niger gave them much needed medical care and something to eat. Soon after, they were taken to a town called Damaturu, in Nigeria and left in the care of some Nigerian soldiers. The military eventually helped her to reunited with her husband, Bitrus. Rebecca has nothing but praise for the military personnel she met in Niger and Nigeria, including some of whom she thinks may have been US military personnel.

Reuniting with her husband

Bitrus claimed, “seeing my wife with the son of a Boko Haram father frightens me a lot. I was very happy to see my wife but the boy makes my heart break.” May God make me love him…yes, the son of a snake,” he said with some bitterness.

Rebecca is unsure what will happen between her and Bitrus. If Bitrus does not come to terms with the presence of the child, she is contemplating relocating to join her parents who are currently in Cameroon. She has pleaded with her husband to receive her as she is…and if he is hesitant she said in a hopeless tone, “I will give him his son and go to my parents”.

Sometimes, she too has mixed feelings about her son, Ibrahim. This is compounded by the stigma that traumatized women and girls rescued along with children fathered by Boko Haram fighters encounter from their own communities. Rebecca has even tried to give the child “to the government” but the military personnel encouraged her to keep the child. Ibrahim is only eight months old.

Caring For This Family

For now, Bitrus, Rebecca and the boys are in the custody of the Church. They’re staying in the IDP camp that Voice of the Persecuted helps to care for. Currently, there are 500 people staying in the camp. This case seems to place everyone in a moral fix. But time heals and Rebecca is really a strong woman of faith! All she needs is thorough medical attention, food to eat, cloths to wear, a good shelter, bedding for her troubled head and love from the Body of Christ, us! With the generosity of all of you who are helping to support this mission, Voice of the Persecuted has been able to provide Rebecca and her family with their immediate needs. Thank you so much! It’s because of people like you that we are able to step in and care for this family. To give them hope and know God is with them providing their needs. Rebecca will also need systematic trauma counseling. Her older child, now six years old, would need to go to school. Her husband, Bitrus also needs time to heal and guidance from the Lord. We can do our part by loving and having compassion on this family. Let us step in to continue covering this family, monthly, until they are able to stand on their own. Please could you show them some LOVE?

Brothers, Zachariah (6 yr) and Ibrahim (8 months) born on Dec. 25th

Brothers, Zachariah (6 yr) and Ibrahim (8 months) born on Dec. 25th. Photo: Voice of the Persecuted

PRAY

What horrors Rebecca has faced. Pray for her healing. Pray for her 6 yr. old son, Zachariah, that his little mind will heal from the things he has witnessed. For her husband, Bitrus to have a change of heart towards Ibrahim. Certainly these children born in captivity are not at fault in their fathers brutal sins.

Think of Joseph and the struggles he must have had learning Mary was pregnant. Our Heavenly Father must have loved Joseph very much to call on him to help care for the most important child ever born, His begotten Son, Jesus. Nothing is by chance. This child, Ibrahim may grow up to be a great hero of faith, entrusted by God to Rebecca and Bitrus to keep him safe and raised in faith.

Pray our brother, Bitrus will quickly come to see Rebecca’s son as a gift, not a reminder of his shame. To lift the child to the Lord and raise him to know the sacrifice Christ freely gave so that he may have life. Pray he can sacrifice his bitterness to the Lord and show Ibrahim, he is greatly loved. That he will treat the boy as his own son, equal with Zachariah. To teach him GOD’s word, how to worship HIM with his life and explain he too has a purpose in the Kingdom of our Lord.

Pray he will welcome Rebecca back into his heart, even stronger than the first, accepting her as she is with the boy. Pray for understand of the relief he will give her when he does. Father, have mercy on this family. Comfort and bless them with peace and joy. Surround them with compassionate brothers and sisters in Christ. Bring those with the means to help get them back on their feet. In Jesus Holy name, we pray. AMEN

By L. Kanalos, VOP Founder/Advocate

Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) is on the ground helping to care for the persecuted in Nigeria through our aid program, ‘Project 13:3’. They have suffered much, so many lives have been lost or forever changed by the insurgency. Many suffer from unbearable heartbreak. Living conditions for the displaced brings extreme hardship and too often disease and illness. Their physical, emotional and spiritual needs are immense.

We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief, and encouragement. We have committed to a long-term mission in Nigeria. When they are able to return home, we will be there to encourage and help rebuild villages and their lives. They will not be forgotten!

We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on orphan-306x4601them. They’re so encouraged and thank God for each one of you who have joined this mission through prayer and your support.

Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

If the Lord is placing it on your heart and you are able, please help us to continue the mission in Nigeria. Donations always desperately needed

 

Christian writer who ‘insulted Islam’ murdered in Jordan

Jordian Christian writer Nahed Hattar murdered by gunman outside of court house.

Jordian Christian writer Nahed Hattar murdered by gunman outside of court house. Photo: Nahed Hattar’s Facebook page

JORDAN: (Voice of the Persecuted) Many reports are being shared of a gunman who was arrested after killing prominent Jordanian writer, Nahed Hattar outside of Amman court where he was facing charges of inciting sectarian strife and insulting Islam over an “offensive” cartoon. On Sunday, Hattar was shot in the head three times as he arrived at the court for a hearing. Hattar’s two brothers and a friend were at the scene, chased and were able to catch the killer and hand him over to the police.

Hattar, a Christian, was arrested on August 13 after posting a cartoon produced by an unknown artist titled, ‘The God of Daesh (Isis)’ on his Facebook account with an Isis militant sitting next to two women and asking God to bring him a drink. Many Jordanian Muslims had found it offensive and against their religion. The Christian writer then removed the cartoon claiming it was not meant to insult Islam and did not infringe God’s divinity in any way”. It was shared to expose how Isis “envisions God and heaven”.

The Guardian reported that the family of Hattar holds Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki responsible when he ordered Nahed’s arrest and put him on trial for sharing the cartoon. His cousin said the prime minister ignited the public against him and created a hostile atmosphere that encouraged violence that led to his murder.

Jordanian government spokesman, Mohammad Momani condemned the killing as a “heinous crime”, but also said, “The government will strike with an iron hand all those who exploit this crime to broadcast speeches of hatred to our community.” Read the Guardian’s full report.

Update: some have reported that though Hattar came from a Christian family, he had expressed various atheist views throughout his life. We are unable at this time to confirm his religious beliefs. But as one who notified us presumed,  we support an end to persecution of all human beings and this crime is no less an outrage, whatever Hattar’s beliefs.

Where are the voices in the Church speaking out? How Muslims in these nations are not held accountable when they mock the faith of Christians, destroy Bibles and claim a follower of Jesus Christ is a blasphemer when revealing the truth that Christ is the Lord and Savior of the world. That it’s unfair to be arrested for sharing a caricature to call attention to the radical ideology of terrorists. That it’s not inciting violence, hate speech or insulting the Islamic faith, but to call out the darkness coming against humanity. Where are the cries for laws to protect Christians in these nations?

Can you imagine living under this threat of this darkness on a daily basis? Blasphemy laws unfairly protect Islam and are used to abuse minorities, particularly Christians. Until these draconian laws are abolished, they will bring more persecution, mob violence and the murder of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Please pray for them as, day by day, they’re coming under increasing attacks without fair trials or protection. They need and covet our prayers. May the Lord give them strength to endure in faith. Please speak out against these human rights abuses. Please share these stories to inform other Christians and encourage them to pray with you. Let’s fight this battle on our knees before the throne as we praise our mighty God.

Oh Father, bend low to hear our combined prayers and petitions for our persecuted family in Christ. Bless and have mercy on these dear ones. Protect them from the schemes of the evil one. May You be glorified by the witness of their steadfast faith.

This Friday, Sept. 30th we will hold another (5th Friday), 24-hour Prayer Call Event. Unite with us in prayer as we lift up our suffering brothers and sisters persecuted for their faith in Jesus. Please share this event with many and encourage them to honor the number one request of those in the Persecuted Church, “PRAY FOR US!”. Call details and printable flyer here.

We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Christians to bring them comfort, relief, and encouragement. We have committed to a long-term mission in Nigeria and are helping the persecuted suffering through the asylum process in Thailand. They will not be forgotten!

We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on orphan-306x4601them. They’re so encouraged and thank God for each one of you who have joined this mission through your prayers and support.

Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

If the Lord is placing it on your heart and you are able, please help us to continue the mission in Nigeria. Donations always desperately needed

 

Retired Navy Chaplain warns it will be difficult for Christians joining the Military

soldierBible

Bott Radio Network President and CEO Rich Bott is joined by Eben Fowler of BRN covering from the 2016 Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC. This video clip is an interview with Wes Modder, a former Marine and retired military chaplain. The U.S. Navy threatened Modder in late 2014 with detachment for cause, removal from the promotion list, and a Board of Inquiry after Modder answered questions pertaining to marriage and sexuality according to his religious beliefs and denomination’s teachings during private counseling sessions. In September 2015, the Navy exonerated Modder, dropping all charges against him and allowing him to continue serving in his full capacity as a chaplain. Modder warns his case is not the last time you will see Christianity openly under attack in the Armed Forces. In fact, he believes the problem is getting even worse.

You can also view his interview with CBN here

Living in a World Filled with Delusional People

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(Voice of the Persecuted) There are six kittens in my house right now.  They are seven weeks old, and they can already climb to the top of the highest shelf in the house and jump half way across the room. They are utterly adorable, but they can be destructive as well.  I wouldn’t trust them with anything valuable or dangerous.  If you think child-proofing your home is difficult then you should try kitten-proofing your home. Fortunately, I love them.  I want good life-long homes for them.  I want good health and proper vet care for them.  But I do know they are definitely not perfect.  They are in need of correction when they behave badly.  Now I don’t know exactly how you discipline a kitten.  The firm ‘NO!’ doesn’t seem to be working.  In a few weeks they will go to their new homes and be someone else’s problem. They will eventually grow up and behave in a somewhat more civilized and acceptable manner.  My grown cats are fairly easily managed, and they aren’t nearly as destructive as kittens.

Today we are living with many people in all walks of life who as equally undisciplined as a litter of kittens or puppies.  Maybe it was cute when they were little, but it is ridiculous and even dangerous today.  Actually, they were probably spoiled brats  and bullies as children and they are even worse today.  These people have rejected truth and right in favor of doing whatever seems good to them at the moment.  They are not afraid to bully and trivialize those who behave in a manner they deem to be old fashioned.  Somehow these people have become delusional.  Their delusions vary from believing that abortion is acceptable to believing that behaviors are acceptable that God clearly calls sin to believing they personally are above the law.  The bottom line is they have rejected God Almighty as the power and authority behind creation.  Without the true and living God, their lives have an empty place in the core of their being.  That empty place cries out to be filled.  Having rejected the God who created them, people are looking for a god who is worthy of their worship.  At the same time they want a god who does not require anything of them.  They form a false god in their own image.  In other words, they self-worship. They are going along with the original lie that Satan told Eve. They may not openly worship themselves, but what else would you call it?  The one who actually has the power and authority to make and enforce the rules is God. If a human being suddenly gives themselves authority to make and enforce rules they have made an idol of themselves.  They are self-worshipers who have set themselves up as gods.  My opinion is that the strong delusion that makes all other delusions possible for the individual is that they can be gods.

  • And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

                            2 Thessalonians 2:11

  • And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

                      Romans 1:28

  • Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

                         2 Timothy 3:8

  • They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

                 Titus 1:6

This is the world in which we live today. Those in power and those around us are denying God so they have no reason to bow to His authority.  They are delusional as they call the evil good and good evil.  Unlike kittens and puppies, they will not grow up and change for the better. In rejecting God a reprobate and perverted mind is simply par for the course.

Christians are now living in a world where mocking God is far more common than worshiping God.  There are those who openly ridicule and reject the God of creation. There are those who pretend to follow Jesus, but do not do the things He says to do.  There are those who clearly follow another Jesus who has no power or authority to do anything.  In other words, the self-worshiping crowd makes up a Jesus that fits their own idea of what a god should be like.  Many of these people love to point out that Jesus said to love one another, and that is unloving to point out sin.  Actually Jesus pointed out sin all the time.  It would be wrong for a Christian to invent a sin or call their personal preferences right.  Christians are not allowed to call sin something that they personally don’t like.  Jesus was clear that certain things are sin.  Christians who point that out are simply telling the truth according to Jesus Christ.

God always has followers.  There will never be a day when Jesus Christ does not have followers.  True followers of Jesus do have a duty to speak out and tell the truth. We can do this through the power of God.

  • For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

                        2 Timothy 1:7

God did not leave us without help in facing the world.  Instead of fear God has given us power, love, and a sound mind.

Yes – we love those who are delusional. God Himself is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Who are we to choose a different path than the one chosen by God?  Pray for the lost, and tell the truth.

Power – the truth has a power all its own.  Just tell the truth.  Tell the truth in your daily life.  Even little lies or half truths can have great consequences.

A sound mind – God has given us discernment meaning we can tell the truth from a lie.  To increase our discernment we need to follow closely some instructions set down for us in the Bible.

Study the Bible.  2 Timothy 2:15 says, (Visit our Study the Bible page)

  • Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

No matter how busy you are, you must make time to study the word of God.  Study can include listening to sound Bible teachers on audio.

Be obedient to all God’s instructions.  There are many Christians who pick and choose the parts of the Bible they want to believe. They are convinced that God wants them to be happy more than He wants them to be obedient.  These Christians and pseudo-Christians are headed for dire consequences.

Be patient – do not jump out of the frying pan into the fire.  Remember Abraham who became impatient and begat an illegitimate son through his wife’s handmaid.  Look at the problems that one act of impatience has brought to the entire world!  Wait on the lord.

  • Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

         Hebrews 12:1-2

  • Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.                                                          Psalm 27:14
  • Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it. Psalm 37:34
  • Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee.                                                                                          Proverbs 20:22

Continue in good works.

  • To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: Romans 2:7
  • And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9
  • But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. 2 Thessalonians 3:13
  • For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 1 Peter 2:15
  • For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. 1 Peter 3:17
  • Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. 1 Peter 4:19

Be faithful to God and His word even if you suffer for it.  God is righteous in all that He does.  Someday we will see the big picture and understand why some things happened.  In the meantime pray for the brethren who are persecuted for their faith. Your well doing may even put to silence the ignorant and foolish!

Praise the Lord!  Psalm 35:28 says,

And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.’

This entire Psalm seems to fit the world today very well.  Take time to read it.  But most of all take time to praise the Lord our Redeemer.  God has not changed though the world is changing rapidly.  Heaven is still waiting for Christians.  Reunions with loved ones are still coming in heaven.  Heaven is a very real place filled with very real people who are doing very real and enjoyable things.  Our good works today may be used by God to point lost souls to Jesus Christ.  That will make for more glad reunions for more people.

A gift from God is like-minded Christians.  Yet, sometimes a true Christian finds themselves in a situation where there is no one to discuss a matter with them.  In cases like these remember Nehemiah, who finding himself in just such a situation, consulted with himself.  There wasn’t anyone around to talk to.  But, Nehemiah went over the things he knew to be true and proceeded to do what was right.  Nehemiah 5:7,

  • ‘Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them.

This is a good example for us to follow when we find ourselves standing alone for something that we know is right according to the word of God.  Do what is right anyway.

God bless you.

By Barbara Henderson, Every Day Christianity with Barbara Henderson

SYRIA: Children will pray to implore the end of massacres of children (Join the Event)

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Voice of the Persecuted asks that you will participate, share with many and take this appeal seriously as if you or your own family were suffering. It is time for the Body of Christ stand up, speak out and unite against all evil in this world. Jesus said that he who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. His power is greater than the power of the enemy. When there is a head-on conflict between the power of the enemy and the power of God, the power of the enemy will lose every time. It is time to recognize that we are the Church with the power that is rooted in Christ.

Aleppo (Agenzia Fides) – Hundreds of boys and girls in Aleppo, Christians and Muslims, will meet on October 6, to pray so that the spiral of death unleashed in recent days especially on their defenceless children stops in the battered city they live in, and throughout Syria. This is what Archbishop Boutros Marayati, at the head of Armenian Catholic archieparchy in Aleppo reports to Agenzia Fides. The initiative will primarily involve school children. They will also put their signatures and their fingerprints on an appeal to ask world rulers to put an end to the massacres especially towards children, who in all wars are the most vulnerable. “But above all, they will pray. They will pray for all of their peers. And we trust in the fact that children’s prayer is more powerful than ours”, added Archbishop Marayati.

The bombings and massacres of civilians in Aleppo have expressed, in a devastating manner, the fragile and partial truce declared less than two weeks ago. In this regard, Archbishop Marayati is able to provide first-hand information on what is happening in the Syrian metropolis: “On Wednesday – reports the Armenian Catholic Archbishop – the representatives of the government and the Syrian army convened a meeting to explain that soon an appeal would be spread to the civilian population settled in the neighborhoods under rebel control. The appeal warned that gates would be left open to allow the population to leave those areas, and head for areas considered safe, without fear of incurring in retaliation. In fact, many civilian families left those neighborhoods and were welcomed in areas controlled by the government army, confirming that the appeal had somehow arrived at its destination. For groups arriving, housing facilities were set up for the reception. But it was not a mass evacuation. Perhaps many cannot leave. And the appeal also contained an expiration date, and the ultimatum expires in coming days. New blood will be shed if the powers behind the two warring parties do not decide to really put an end to this dirty war”. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 24/09/2016)

Pray With The Children Of Aleppo Syria (JOIN THE EVENT)

The have faced death and suffering, on October 6, 2016, the children of Aleppo Syria are praying for peace to put an end to the massacre of children. Join VOP Advocate, C. Refsland who has created an event on Facebook to unite us together to PRAY with them. Please click on the highlighted link above to join this event. For those without a Facebook account, we will share updates to encourage and remind you of this event. Your PRAYERS can make a difference.

Contact Your Elected Officials (ACT NOW)

As they put their signatures and their fingerprints on an appeal to ask world rulers to put an end to the massacres, let us also help by joining them and ask our elected officials to do more and all they can. Click on the highlighted link above to find your elected officials contact information. CALL, WRITE and EMAIL them today. Be heard, send multiple requests. Your VOICE can make a difference.

Church Youth Group/Sunday School Leaders

This will also be an excellent opportunity to get our Church Youth Groups/classes involved by joining these children in prayer. Let’s teach our children the importance of prayer. To petition the Lord in a world increasingly chaotic. The importance of caring for and encouraging one another, even beyond our own borders. To be the Church, the hands and feet of Christ.

NIGERIA – The Bishops alarm: “A hurricane of violence that threatens to plunge the country into chaos”

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Agenzia Fides) – “A hurricane of violence by herdsmen and other agents of death has left in its wake a landscape of blood and destruction” accuse the Bishops of Nigeria in their message “Restoring confidence in Nigeria” published at the end of their plenary assembly.

The document, sent to Agenzia Fides, seems to mark a change in tone of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria towards President Muhammadu Buhari, who had received the approval of the Bishops for the anti-corruption campaign (see Fides 04/05/2016). While emphasizing that the election of the Muslim Buhari, was “one of the most peaceful elections in our history” and by voting him “Nigerians demonstrated, beyond the pale of religion, region and ethnicity, that indeed wanted to turn a new page in a history replete with broken dreams”, the Bishops underline that “sectionalism” of the last presidential appointments, are “difficult to associate with the high moral credentials of the President”.

The message stresses that “political violence, corruption, kidnappings, armed robbery, ritual murders and all ills of the past, are still very much present and we seem to be progressively sinking deeper into the mud. Our people are now ravaged by disease and hunger. The result is the rise in the curve of violence both by the state agents and non-state actors among our own people”.

The Bishops recall that the State must ensure the safety of all, such as the concept of equality of all citizens before the law, criticizing “the scope of Sharia law in public life at variance with the letter and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution”. The Bishops launched an appeal to the people to continue to live according to the values of compassion and solidarity, inviting them not to fall victim to “charlatans” who use religion for their own interests.

The Bishops finally remind the President that “most Nigerians are today disillusioned by the frittering away of the high hopes which they invested in his resolve to turn things around”, and can “no longer safely ignore the very strong allegations of a rise in nepotism and sectionalism in federal appointments”.  [The Bishops’ full statement added below]

Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) is on the ground helping to care for the persecuted in Nigeria through our aid program, ‘Project 13:3’. They have suffered much, so many lives have been lost or forever changed by the insurgency. Many suffer from unbearable heartbreak. Living conditions for the displaced brings extreme hardship and too often disease and illness. Their physical, emotional and Spiritual needs are immense.

We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief, and encouragement. We have committed to a long-term mission in Nigeria. When they are able to return home, we will be there to encourage and help rebuild villages and their lives. They will not be forgotten!

We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on orphan-306x4601them. They’re so encouraged and thank God for each one of you who have joined this mission through prayer and your support.

Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

If the Lord is placing it on your heart and you are able, please help us to continue the mission in Nigeria. Donations always desperately needed

RESTORING CONFIDENCE IN NIGERIA

A Statement of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria on the State of the Nation

1. Less than two years ago, from His throne, the Lord looked down upon Nigeria with mercy and compassion and then showed us how much He loved us. Against all odds, even when as a people we had almost given up on ourselves and the international community looked on, we were able to conduct one of the most peaceful elections in our history. When Nigerians voted for General Muhammadu Buhari, they demonstrated, beyond the pale of religion, region and ethnicity, that they indeed wanted to turn a new page in a history replete with broken dreams.

2. We hoped that drawing from past experience, the government would rally our people around to confront the behemoth of corruption that had destroyed the very foundations of our society. Again, after we successfully contained Boko Haram’s murderous escapade, we had hoped that our nation would witness a massive programme of national rebirth and that the President would work assemble a cross section of patriotic citizens from diverse backgrounds to commence a programme of national rebirth and reconstruction.

3. One-sided appointments into public office have displayed a tendency towards a form of sectionalism that we have found difficult to associate with the high moral credentials of the President. A hurricane of violence by herdsmen and other agents of death has left in its wake a landscape of blood and destruction. Political violence, corruption, kidnappings, armed robbery, ritual murders and all the ills of the past, are still very much present and we seem to be progressively sinking deeper into the mud. Our people are now ravaged by disease and hunger. The result is the rise in the curve of violence both by the state agents and non-state actors among our own people.

4. We recall that in his address to us, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria, on 11 February 2015, General Buhari as a Presidential candidate stated among other things: “Government has no business preferring one religion to the other. The role of government is to protect lives and properties of citizens and to respect and protect their constitutional rights. One critical right that every government must seek to protect is the right of citizens to exercise their respective faiths, Christians and Muslims or others, in a lawful manner without fear or hindrance and to prosecute those who use religion as an excuse to destroy homes, schools, and places of worship. When governments fail in that duty, they must then assist in the rebuilding of the structures including destroyed places of worship and giving full restitution to property.”

5. As things now stand, most Nigerians do not see a government committed to attaining these stated objectives. Furthermore, we find the calls for the expansion of the scope of Sharia law in public life at variance with the letter and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution. In view of all this, to restore confidence of our people in Nigeria, and to reverse the feeling of hopelessness and distrust, we make the following appeal:

To the People of Nigeria:

6. These are difficult and trying times for us as a nation and a people. We salute the courage and resilience of the majority of our people who, in the face of provocation and suffering, have continued to live by our traditional and genuine religious values of compassion and solidarity. While we must renew our commitment to the fact that God loves our country and that His promises never fail, we must stand together and remain resolute. We equally commend the courage of our young people, who, at various levels, sacrificed so much in the hope that this would mark the beginning of a new era. We call on them to resist all attempts to turn them into instruments of the destruction of the very legacy on which they have built their hopes. As Scripture says: “We glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, produces character; and character produces, hope. And hope does not put us to shame” (Rom 5: 3-5).

To the Political Class:

7. It is a tragedy that over sixteen years after our return to Democracy, the political class has still not come to terms with the fact that politics is a noble vocation. Political parties ought to be platforms for the realisation of the lofty goals of nation building and human development. Unfortunately, far too many politicians in our country have continued to use politics merely as a platform for self-enrichment, oppression and the pursuit of goals that are totally at variance with our common good, collective wellbeing and aspirations. The result is that ordinary citizens have lost confidence in the political class. They have also become more vulnerable and many have resorted to violence as a means of self-protection and personal wellbeing.

8. We wish to state firmly that the debate about the restructuring of our country should not be seen as an act of rebellion or as a call for division. It should rather be seen as an expression of our people’s desire that the political class return to the fine principles of democracy such as true federalism, negotiation and consensus building as means of achieving a more equitable distribution of the resources of our country. To this end, we urge the entire political class to rise beyond party and sectional interests and loyalties and to heed the yearnings of Nigerians. Only in this way can we possibly reverse the dangerous slide towards self-destruction.

To the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria:

9. We call on our President to wake up to the fact that most Nigerians are today disillusioned by the frittering away of the high hopes which they invested in his resolve to turn things around. The President can no longer safely ignore the very strong allegations of a rise in nepotism and sectionalism in federal appointments. This has further deepened the feelings of alienation and the rise of centrifugal forces that are threatening the foundations of our unity.

10. Nigerians have been shocked and traumatised by the rampaging criminals who, without let or hindrance and under various guises, have gruesomely murdered, raped, kidnapped and mutilated innocent citizens across the country. In the process, they have vandalized and destroyed homes, farmlands, oil installations and sacked entire villages and communities. The President should remember that his primary duty and responsibility is the protection of lives and property. Without this, nothing else has meaning in any society.

An appeal and a Prayer:

11. Finally, we acknowledge that our current woes did not begin with this administration. We also support the President’s genuine resolve and efforts through the various government agencies to tackle corruption. Nonetheless, we reiterate that this must not be at the expense of civil liberties and the rule of law. The President must ensure that Nigerians do not feel that our country is sliding back into dictatorship.

12. We acknowledge the deep sense of genuine commitment of our people to live by the tenets of their various religious beliefs. True religion has to do with the relationship between human beings and God, which in turn guides and nourishes correct relationship among people. However, unfortunately, religion in our country seems to have been hijacked and held hostage by some charlatans who continue to exploit religion to further their ambitions and interests. We therefore urge our people to be more discerning in their spiritual quest. Government should make sure that these charlatans, no matter their claims, are not allowed to hide behind the mask of religion to continue to commit crimes.

13. May God the Father of mercy and compassion, bless our country Nigeria and turn our hearts towards His will.

+ Ignatius Ayau Kaigama                                                                          + William Avenya

Archbishop of Jos                                                                                  Bishop of Gboko

President of CBCN                                                                                  Secretary of CBCN

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