VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Home » 2015 » February

Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Greatest Injustice and the Most Powerful Words

father-forgive-them

(Voice of the PersecutedThe greatest injustice ever done in human history was done to the Son of God. 

Luke 23:34……Father forgive them, for they do not know what they’re doing…….

The New Testament shows Him to be the innocent Lamb of God.  The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.

Jesus, without sin, was put to death by sinners.  He was put the death by wicked, evil men.  Yet the scriptures tell us He did not revile nor curse His enemies.  According to 1 Peter 2:21-25 we read,

…….For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth, and while being reviled, he did not revile in return, while suffering He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him the judges righteously and he himself bore our sins in His body on the cross so that we might die to sin and live in righteousness, for by his wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls…….

The Apostle Peter tells us that Jesus left us an example. The example that in our sufferings, in our persecutions, we are not to revile nor threaten our enemies.  Indeed our attitude is to be His attitude and that is Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.

This has always been the history of the persecuted church. This is called suffering love. This term was coined by Anabaptist brethren who suffered much persecution during the time of the Reformation.  They saw an example of Christ’s forgiveness and love for their enemies, even when He went to the cross. The Anabaptists saw this as the suffering love of Jesus.

This example of suffering love has been born by the persecuted Church through 2000 years.  Our brothers and sisters in times past and present, never reviled nor cursed their enemies. They never uttered threats against their persecutors.  In the account of the martyrs, the plea of those being persecuted, was always for their persecutors to come to faith and repentance in Jesus Christ.

4646589Yet, tragically in this day,  there are those in the name of Christ who were calling for a crusade against Muslims.  There are those who are calling for their own brand of jihad against those in Islam. Does this sound familiar? A French philosopher once remarked that those that fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat its mistakes.

Nowhere in the New Testament did Jesus ever teach that we are to kill our enemies. One cannot profess to have the 9 fruit of the Spirit and want to lock and load for Jesus. For a Christian to have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, but a heart of anger is contradictory.  Jesus never taught that we were to pray imprecatory prayers as regards our enemies.  That is call down God’s hell fire judgment on our enemies.

Jesus came so that we might have life. And that we might have it abundantly. Jesus is about life. This is illustrated in Luke 9:51-56 where Jesus rebukes James and John. They are wanting to bid fire to come down from heaven and consume a Samaritan village that would not welcome them.  But Jesus rebuked them by saying they do not know what spirit they were of. He goes on to tell them that the Son of man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.  Interesting to note that John would later be known as the Apostle of love.  And James would later be martyred for the faith

It has been said the most powerful words that Jesus uttered were, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”  These words of forgiveness, by Jesus, for his enemies, were words that broke the power of hell.

We are reminded of the 21 Coptic brothers who were martyred 2 weeks ago.  Indeed Isis has displayed it all over the social media. One reaction is anger. Anger that cries out retribution and justice.  There are those in the Christian camp who cry out for the killing  of Muslims. They want to see another crusade against those who martyr Christians.  Those who do such claim, they do this in the name of Christ.  But did Jesus ever command that one do a crusade against His enemies? Didn’t the organized church learn this tragic lesson hundreds of years ago in their so called crusades.  It is because of this blood stained history of the institutional church that Muslims are reluctant to come to Christ. Praise God for Muslims are coming to Jesus through dreams, visions and those caring and loving enough to share the Gospel with them.  May God send more to share His word and release more visions of Jesus and in these end times.

But another response is being overlooked. A response far more powerful than anger and hate.  And that response is forgiveness. The Egyptian Coptic Church has said that they will forgive those that martyred these 21 precious saints.

A mother had two sons martyred by Isis was asked if she saw the attacker of her sons walking down the street what would she do.  The mother quietly and calmly said, “I would go up to him, extend my hand, and say I forgive you.”

In an interview with Iraqi Christian children forced to flee their village, one little girl remarked that she would forgive those in Isis. She would forgive those that caused such turmoil in her little heart.

We as followers of the Lamb are called to forgive our enemies, even when they do harm to us or our families—we are to forgive. If Jesus said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”, are we not to do the same?

We see this also in Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. In Mark 11:26 “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” And again in Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.

If we do not forgive our enemies, then we are disobeying Christ.

To go out and kill in the name of Jesus is an abomination. Again I say, to go out and kill in the name of Jesus is an abomination and will certainly invite the wrath of God on those who do such.  Indeed those who hold to such a position are not born again.

We as believers in Christ are called to a radical love toward our enemies. This love can only come from the Holy Spirit working in us. This love can only come from His fruit flowing through our lives.  The radical love of Jesus Christ for one’s enemies is far greater than the hatred of Satan.

1794795_149473758556457_480879340_n

Let us pray that God transforms our hearts with the radical love of Jesus Christ.  Let us pray that God grants us the same suffering love toward our persecutors that Christ had. Or that of Stephen while they were stoning him, he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.  And of that of the Anabaptist along with many others who forgave those who persecuted them.  Let us pray as Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Brother Blaine
VOP Prayer Director

Voice of the Persecuted

Naghmeh Abedini to Address National Leaders at CPAC

You Must Be Empty To Become Full!

5514266-52

 

Many times we find ourselves saying, I should start reading the Bible, or I need to get into the Word. Often this thought gets put aside due to our hectic schedules and the trials of the day. If this sounds like you, I’ve got great news…Today is a new day! A day to purposely choose to begin one of the most important things we as those called by Christ can do, read God’s word.

It is where you will learn His plan for us and this world which seems to be collapsing in on itself. How we can have true peace and joy. Courage in times where worldly men fear. Hope in the many promises that God has given to us. And to come to know the One who created all things for Himself, including you!

Commit yourself to reading the Bible. Begin by praying for wisdom and understanding through the Holy Spirit. Be still. Think yourself EMPTY, then read yourself FULL!

Click Here for resources to help you get started. And may God bless you on this wonderful journey where HE will go with you!

 

SYRIA: Unconfirmed report warns of mass execution of “infidels” on Friday, Feb 27

 

womanPraying

Islamic State militants have reportedly executed 15 Christians who have been captured in villages in northeastern Syria since Monday.

A priest who has been feeding reports to Christian aid agencies around the world, including Aleteia partner Aid to the Church in Need, said today that a Christian Assyrian lawyer in the city of Hassakah told him that about 15 young Assyrians “are martyred. Many of them were fighting to defend and protect the villages and families.”

Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana of CAPNI, the Christian Aid Program in Iraq, said that in the Christian village of Tel Hormizd: 14 fighters, two of whom were women, were killed. One of the women may have been beheaded, he said. Another 13 fighters from different villages were captured.

Altogether, including civilians, as many as 350 Christians from the area have been captured, he reported—many more than the 70 originally reported. Their fate is unknown, and there is much speculation. He said that an unconfirmed report said that a mosque in the Arab Sunni village of Bab Alfaraj was calling people to attend a “mass killing of infidels in the mountain of Abdul Aziz on Friday.” READ MORE via Aid to the Church in Need

Though we have been unable to verify this report, we are asking for urgent prayers for those abducted and being persecuted in Syria. May God be with them in this horrific storm.

Breaking: Bomb Blast in Nigeria – News source calls a Boko Haram/ISIS connection a Marriage from Hell

NIGERIA road sign

(Voice of the Persecuted)

(CNN)For sheer cruelty, they are well matched. They also share an apocalyptic “end-of-days” vision. Now there are signs that Boko Haram — the most feared group in West Africa — may be edging toward a formal pledge of allegiance to the self-declared Caliph of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. (Watch Video}

For some time now, we have shown the link between Boko Haram, ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al-shabob, and other extremists groups.  A year ago we warned of the ‘super highway of terror’ that travels from the Middle East to the coasts of Africa.  The MSM is finally connecting the dots, as the stench of death and destruction goes ever deeper in the region.  As we review our past reports, you have to ask what took Western leaders and the press so long to figure this out, or to finally decide to share it with us? Though some are reporting it as happening overnight, when you take a look back, you’ll find it’s been festering and spreading like a cancer for some time. With reports coming in last year from the field, we feared with others the risks of genocide as the world remained basically silent.

From our report dated April 26, 2014:    The Stench of Death, Abomination & Devastation Coming From The Middle East & Africa

There is a terrible highway being built by evil factions that have one agenda.  Though they[terrorists] are a mixed people, they have one goal in mind, and that is to kill everyone and everything that is different from them.  If you don’t believe in their brand of god, than you will die.  They don’t care about life, they have no regard for it.  While talking with a Christian brother from this region, I have come to understand that there are nearly 100 different sects[divisions] of people who follow Islam.  And none of them seem to know which or who will go into ‘paradise’ with their God.  So they are all bent on killing seeing this as the sure way to guarantee their entry into paradise.  To die in battle fighting in the name of Allah.

So as the media and the West fiddles, so to speak, the middle east and Africa are on fire.  In Syria there has been a battle cry raised, a cry that commands all to come and fight.  This is not war in the conventional sense, this is not the Syrian people raising up to topple an evil dictator.  This is a Holy War, a jihad commanded by a Holy Book. With an end outcome of causing chaos, while ridding the world of non-believers so that their Mahdi/savior can appear.

Look at what has happened in the short span of a year.  Over 2 million are now displaced, over 200,000 have been killed. Refugee camps overflowing and people starving or dying from disease.  Attack after attack has been witnessed in village after village by the Boko Haram’s murderous rampage.  We have watched whole Christian communities and churches looted and destroyed, many burned to the ground. Aid is not nearly enough, and we’ve reported that rebels have infiltrated refugee camps hiding among the people. Many fearing to even go to the camps for refuge, choosing undesignated areas for safety instead. This in turn makes calculating true numbers of those suffering much harder.

Three armies are now battling this wicked insurrection, from Niger,  Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon.  They have joined to form a multi-national force with France supplying logistics.  Young children have been forced and indoctrinated into their armies, and as recently reported little girls used as suicide bombers.  Women and children are kidnapped and used as slaves, raped and tortured.  Christians are slaughtered for not recanting their faith. We have also connected the Janjaweed from Sudan to this group, as well as possible ties with the LRA here and in the CAR.  Now Libya has been overrun with ISIS as allegiances grow and formed.

Voice of America is reporting of one refugee camp in Cameroon, that has grown to 40,000.  They describe deplorable conditions with no running water, no toliet facilities, and very little food.  The displaced complain that Christians and Muslims are put together in the camps. With the inhumane attacks by the Boko Haram many Christians are mistrusting of Muslims in such close proximity.  Knowing insurgents infiltrate these camps, Muslims are feared as Boko Haram with many frequently taken away. There is much confusion in this crisis that has been allowed to explode not only by Nigeria, but global governments who’ve been fore warned. Fear grows for innocents mistook for insurgents, Muslim and Christian alike.

VOA reports that a humanitarian crises is looming in Cameroon.  They report that ” last week, the Cameroonian forces arrested hundreds of the refugees saying they were suspected Boko Haram fighters who had infiltrated the camp. Yega (a resident)  said life has been extremely difficult for him and his family for the one week he has been here. I brought all of my family. My wife is in the market, my children are from school. They give us food normally, but the feeding will not satisfy us. That is why they call us here today in a meeting so, may be tomorrow they will give us feeding [more food], he said. “We eat two times in a day. We cook in our various houses. Mouhaman Boukar, a cattle rancher who fled from Yerwa, Borno State said he is thankful to God for saving his life from the insurgents, but said the increasing number of Nigerians in the refugee camp is making living conditions unbearable.” (More)

Our contacts are reporting similar conditions in the refugee camps and deplorable conditions for many.  Churches are struggling to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the people.

Maiduguri Christians are living in fear of Boko Haram taking control of the city. The control of Maiduguri could cause an unrevokable change the political landscape

Martin Ewi, a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies said, “Maiduguri is very important, extremely important, we’re talking about two million people who live in that city.” He warned, “The strategic importance of Maiduguri cannot be overestimated. “If they can take Maiduguri, taking over the whole state will be a matter of time.”

They are worried Boko Haram has placed ‘sleeper cells’ among the refugees in Maiduguri, as they have done everywhere else in their efforts to take control. If Maiduguri were to be attacked, 200,000 Christians would be at risk, unable to escape and possibly slaughtered.

Neighboring countries, Niger, Chad and Cameroon have also become targets as their forces have joined the battle against the radical insurgents. Two people were killed in Niger on Thursday by a mine thought to have been planted by Boko Haram.

Still Reeling from Tuesday’s Attacks Suicide Bombers Target Christian Areas Again on Thursday

Explosions in Nigeria’s north-central city of Jos and the northeast town of Biu over the past two days have killed at least 34 people, witnesses said Thursday.

A suicide bomber killed people at a bus station in Biu, witnesses say, while a second bomber was caught by a crowd and reportedly beaten to death. Reports claim a second bomber was killed before carrying out his mission.

One of the bombers refused to stop  at a check point then detonated. A witness claimed, the bomber may have been heading toward Biu market, but could not get past security points set up by the Civilian JTF

Following the Biu attack, two roadside bombs exploded in the city of Jos killed at least 15 people at a bus station and the motor park near the university. Witnesses claim they heard a “loud sound” then another blast moments later.

Video taken at the scene of one blast is simply to graphic to share. Please pray for the victims and their families.

Do not let up in your prayers for Nigeria. 

Voice of the Persecuted

NIGERIA – “Family threatened by materialism and selfishness”, say the Bishops

family-83673_640

(Agenzia Fides) – The family “first school of virtue” is threatened by materialism and selfishness, say the Bishops of Nigeria in a statement issued at the end of their Plenary Assembly. In the document, sent to Agenzia Fides, it is stressed that the dominant culture, which poses more and more challenges to the family, is reinforced “by a movie industry and social media that promotes primacy of the erotic and marital infidelity; by pressure groups funded from within and without fighting to impose a redefinition of marriage”.

“We cannot speak of challenges to the family without referring to the Boko Haram insurgency and the heightened tension occasioned by the coming general elections”, add the Bishops. “The Boko Haram insurgency has not only led to loss of innocent lives, it has also led to separation of members of the same families. Our hearts go to children separated from their parents, especially our beloved daughters, the Chibok girls, and others who have been abducted by mindless terrorists”.

The Bishops condemn the use of children for suicide bombings, saying they are “saddened by the use of young and innocent minds indoctrinated by Boko Haram and used as suicide bombers “. “We deplore the fact that young children are used to commit such crimes, and the fact that young Nigerians are used by politicians to intimidate and inflict violence on their political opponents is a disturbing symptom of breakdown of family values in our society”, says the message.

The Bishops complain that the campaign “has to be devoid of issues of national interest, but full of threats of violence, falsehood, rumour mongering, mudslinging and suspicion”. The statement concludes by calling for greater attention to the family, especially as regards to freedom of education of children. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 26/02/2015)

Christian attacked: more than 100 hostages in the hands of the jihadists; Archbishop Hindo denounces the “wretched” choices of the West

syria-map

Hassakè (Agenzia Fides) – There are between 120 and 140 Assyrian Christians held hostage by jihadists of the Islamic State who in the night between Sunday 22 and Monday, February 23 launched a large-scale attack against the Christian villages scattered along the banks of the river Khabur, in the Syrian province in northeastern Jazeera. This was confirmed to Agenzia Fides by Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, ordinary of the Syrian Catholic Archieparchy in Hassaké-Nisibis. The hostages all belong to the villages of Tel Jazira, Tel Shamiram and Tel Gouram.

“The jihadists – refers Archbishop – have taken full control of the villages on the western shore of Khabur, while yesterday afternoon, February 24, all the inhabitants of 22 villages scattered along the eastern shore were evacuated and more than a thousand Christian Assyrian and Chaldean families fled to the major centers of Hassaké, Qamishli, Dirbesiye and Ras al-Ayn”.

The offensive of the jihadists of the Islamic State has so far caused the death in combat of 4 Christians enrolled in the Assyrian militia – deployed with Kurdish battalions against the militia of Is – while at the moment, according to Assyrian sources, a young Christian Assyrian named Milad appears to be the only civilian victim of the Islamists.
According to the Syrian Catholic Archbishop, the jihadists have launched an offensive in the region of the Khabur to find new spaces and escape routes. According to Mgr. Hindo even countermoves proposed by some foreign Countries before the recent military strategies of the Islamic State confirms the serious responsibilities of the West in triggering conflicts that are destroying the Middle East.

“With their disastrous policies – the Archbishop explains to Fides – mainly the French and the US, with their regional allies, have favored in fact the Daesh escalation.

Now they persevere in error, commit strategic, grotesque mistakes such as the announcement of the ‘spring campaign’ to liberate Mosul and insist on interfering with irrelevant interventions, instead of recognizing that their guaranteed support to jihadist groups has led us to this chaos and has destroyed Syria, making us regress 200 years”. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 25/02/2015)

Updated Report: 72 Christian families captured, 50 besieged by ISIS after Syria attack

(World Watch Monitor) Sources from Syria’s embattled Hassaka province confirmed at midnight on Tuesday, Feb. 24, that at least 72 Assyrian Christian families – thought to be around 200 people – from three villages have been captured by the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Reportedly taken to the Arab Sunni village of Um Al-Masamier, the exact number of Christian hostages from the Tel Gouran, Tel Jazira and Tel Hormizd villages remains unknown.

An additional 50 or more families are still under siege in Tel Shamiram village, surrounded by IS fighters. Although on Monday Kurdish fighters from Syria’s Democratic Union Party (PYD) took back control of Toma Yelda, an important hill on the battlefront, the military struggle for Tel Shamiram is continuing.

According to Archbishop Mar Aprem Nathniel, the Bishop of Syria of the Assyrian Church of the East residing in Hassaka, only 200 Christian families remain in the Khabour region, more than 100 in Tel Tamar and the others in villages not yet taken over by IS.

He estimates 1,000 families who have fled from Khabour are now displaced in the cities of Hassaka to the south and Qamishli close to the Turkish border.

Calls from abroad to the mobile phones of some Assyrian villagers on Feb. 23 were answered by IS members, according to a posting on the Facebook page of A Demand for Action, an advocacy group for religious minorities in the Middle East. “They told us that we should not call any longer since we cannot do anything about their situation,” said George Kasten, a Swedish caller trying to reach his relatives.

“IS members have been very clear with their demands,” he said. “They want the Syrian Kurdish militias to release the IS hostages they are currently holding. IS members say that if they do not release the hostages, all men from the village will die.”

IS has struck apparent exchange swaps in Iraq in the past year to release Turkish diplomats and truck drivers, after holding them hostage for months. But the gruesome propaganda video released from Libya earlier this month, showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians, has underlined once again the jihadist group’s clearcut anti-Christian agenda. On Monday, during the attack, a regional Kurdish news agency Rudaw reported that intercepted radio signals by IS referred to the capture of ‘56 Crusaders’.

VOP Prayer Points:

  • Pray for these brethren, pray for strength, and courage
  • Pray for their Faith to remain strong
  • Pray for protection
  • Pray for guidance and release
%d bloggers like this: