(Voice of the Persecuted) In the darkness of night, Christ was born to bring hope and light into the world. He did what no other could accomplish; He brought salvation to all who believe, love and follow Him.
This Christmas, let us reflect not on the trials, but on all God’s blessings in our lives. Let us thank the Lord for His faithfulness to bring hope to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted and liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners. We thank God for comforting all who mourn, giving them strength and peace instead of mourning. For the ability to praise instead of a spirit of fainting, for being with us in the storm.
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14
To all our persecuted brothers and sisters, our advocates and workers in the field, missions who partnered in emergency situations—to all friends of Voice of the Persecuted—and to you who have supported our ministry and make it possible for us to care for our persecuted family…THANK YOU! We pray for the Lord’s guidance and the ability to do so much more in 2016.
Rejoice! In the name of the Lord, Rejoice! Christ is King and Savior of the world.
May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all through the year. We thank you for standing with us in the ministry!
God bless you,
From the Voice of the Persecuted Team
(Voice of the Persecuted) Our hearts our breaking as we communicate with our persecuted brethren around the world, this Christmas Eve morning. Every very morning starts with messaging them, to be sure they are safe. We pray with them, encourage them and even cry with them. Christmas for many in the Body will look very different to ours in the West, this year.
While we settle into our Christmas celebrations, our brethren are hurting, suffering, and live in fear. Today, persecuted Christians in Thailand are facing continued arrests which have grown in intensity. Their need for basics such as food, shelter and safety is increasing. This morning, they are asking for our prayers. Here is a message from one of the persecuted:
“Send a message to my brothers and sisters that we will not give into the battle raging around us. We will continue to fight for our rights, even if we have to be arrested. Our faith grows stronger as more persecution approaches.”
Thailand has increasing their raids on the Christian Pakistani’s seeking refuge from the storm of persecution in Pakistan. There is no help in sight as the government refuses to recognize them and the UNHCR seems incapable to protect them. Days before Christmas, Christians have been arrested and will be treated less than animals on Christmas Day. We try to help with bail, food, and basic needs, but the needs are so great.
Their faith, as you see is increasing in persecution. Join us in lifting our voices and prayers for these dear brethren. Let them know that we stand with them. We may not physically be able to be with them, but we can stand in the divide and lift our voices and our prayers. The prayers of the Saints are taken to the throne of God.
We will stand with you in the gap!
Our prayer for our Brethren, this Christmas Eve. Again we stand with you!
Father we thank you for the gift of Salvation through your Son Jesus. We recognize that we are in tribulation and facing persecution, please Father my prayer is for those suffering in Thailand. Those in hiding, those facing arrest, those living in fear without provisions. We know that you are there with them. We ask that you make your presence known, let your love shine through this darkness, and lift them up in your mighty hands. Let them feel your love and healing hands. Send your angels to surround them and drive back the darkness. Send us as your hands and feet to care for them. In Jesus mighty name we ask this. Amen.
New cases continue to pour in. It’s heartbreaking when we cannot meet the needs of all those in immense suffering to help them survive—to cover the fines to prevent them from going to the Central Jail with hardened criminals—to pay the large sum of bail to protect them from rearrests and the horrid Immigration Detention Center for two years. Please help us to continue aiding our suffering brothers and sisters in Thailand.
UPDATE 11:00 am EST:
We have now received the news 25 Pakistani Christians have been arrested today, including children and a pregnant woman. We are praying we can raise the funds to help pay the overstay fees to keep them out of the Central Jail, but we need your help!
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.
Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and 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
(Voice of the Persecuted) Farshid Fathi, a prisoner of conscience, was released from prison. PRAISE GOD!
According to Iranian Christian Voice news (Vocir) Christian activists inside Iran reported that after 5 years of incarceration at the brutal prison of Karaj (Rajai Shahr), Farshid Fathi was released on 21 December 2015.
His crime? Being a Christian evangelist.
“Farshid Fathi,” (36 yr.) was convicted and sentenced to 6 years in prison on charges of acting against national security through his work with and fundraising for Christian organizations. Fearing the rapid growth of Christianity in Iran, the Islamic regime is determined to stamp out house churches and those guilty of leading Muslims to Christ.
December 26, 2010: Farshid is arrested at his home in Tehran by agents of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry. He is taken to Evin prison. When Farshid was first arrested in 2010, he was held in solitary confinement for more than 100 days.
February 5, 2012: Farshid is brought to trial at Branch 15 of Revolutionary Court in Tehran. He is convicted by Judge Salavati of ‘action against the national security’, through cooperating with foreign organisations and evangelism, and sentenced to a total of six years’ imprisonment. He is moved to section 350 of Evin.
Mohabat News reported, the issuance of such an unjustified sentence by the Islamic Republic’s judicial system for a Christian convert whose only crime is practicing his Christian faith, contravenes international laws and the Human Rights convention that the Islamic Republic has signed and is obliged to follow.
March 2013: Farshid’s family secretly escaped to Canada and was been safely evacuated from Iran.
August 19, 2014: Farshid was transferred from Evin prison, as was Saeed Abedini, to Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj for unknown reasons.
July 4, 2015: Farshid was informed on his early release date set for Dec. 10, 2015
Islamic extremism is the main driver of persecution in Iran. Those who leave Islam and convert to Christianity are largely targeted. Increasing numbers of Farsi [Persian] speaking churches have been forced to close; some of which have been there for both decades and centuries. This is a development that has not been seen in the history of the church in Iran.
Please pray for Iranian Christians.
- Pray that Farshid and his family will be strengthened in the Lord.
- For those who remain in prison, including Saeed, will be comforted and released soon.
- For those suffering injuries from beatings, or sick with little to no medical treatment will quickly recover and their pain eased.
- That all prisoners in Iran will be treated with respect and dignity as beings created in the image of God.
- That all authorities involved will love mercy and act justly.
- For the prison officials and prisoners to learn about Jesus and decide to follow Him.
- Pray for families who are still without loved ones, as they pray for their safety and release.
- Pray prisoners and families will be blessed as they spend Christmas apart.
- Pray the presence of the Lord fills the prisons.
- REJOICE and thank God for all the blessings He bestows on us, the Body of Christ!
(Voice of the Persecuted) A state judge has ruled that an all-girl Catholic school, violated the anti-discrimination law where a job offer was rescinded when it became known the hire was gay. Nationally, the decision being called the first of its kind. The Fontbonne Academy in Milton Massachusetts will no longer will have the freedom to hire based on it’s mission where staff is to serve as models of the faith.
Matthew Barrett had been offered a job as the Academy’s food services director in 2013. Alleging discrimination, he sued the Academy after he listed his husband as emergency contact and the offer was soon withdrawn. Bennett Klein, an attorney for GLAD, represented Barrett.
According to the Boston Herald, the schools attorney John Bagley said, “The reason the job offer was rescinded was not that Mr. Barrett was gay or married to someone of the same sex. It was based on Catholic faith doctrine.”
Barrett’s attorney argued, “Sexual orientation is not a message, and there’s no distinction between sexual orientation and being married to a person of the same sex. He also claimed Fontbonne’s decision to withdraw its job offer was based on status not based on him doing or saying anything.
Fontbonne’s attorney asked, “How can you credibly talk to kids about the Catholic faith if somebody who’s an employee is involved in activity inconsistent with the message of the school?” He noted that, if Barrett and his spouse show up at a school-wide party or event, the students might assume the school is conveying an implicit message that same-sex marriage is acceptable to the church.
On Wednesday, the court ruling asserted that the Catholic mission at the Academy cannot include non-teaching positions.
Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins wrote in the ruling, “As an educational institution, Fontbonne retains control over its mission and message. It is not forced to allow Barrett to dilute that message, where he will not be a teacher, minister or spokesman for Fontbonne and has not engaged in public advocacy of same-sex marriage,” according to an AP report.
Christian Science Monitor shared, Janson Wu, executive director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) said, “Our government sends a powerful message when it says, through the laws, that discrimination against gay and trans people is wrong,” Wu says. “Government can be a role model in that way. It can change climate and culture.”
The FRC coverage on the case claimed it predictable that the court flatly rejected the school’s claim to be able to hire based on its core religious beliefs.
The courts have for some time issued decisions which infringe more and more on private religious institutions’ autonomy, we are now seeing the rising tide of infringement of religious beliefs regarding same-sex conduct. Prepare for the deluge.
One portion of the opinion is particularly revealing. The court observed that the school did not require prospective employees to hold to Catholic beliefs except for some positions — the position at issue here not included. Yet the court acknowledged that the school asked the employee here if he could “buy into” being a “minister of the mission” of the school — which included promoting the school’s religious beliefs, as required of all employees. He said he could!
Aside from brushing past this misrepresentation (the employee could not “buy into” a mission when his own life contradicted some of its core moral tenets), the court misses the point that the mission the employee was asked to promote, which includes the Christian teaching on marriage, and the understanding that homosexual conduct is wrong — is required of Catholic and other traditions within Christianity (and, indeed, other religions entirely). The court jumps through hoops to construe the statute in a way that avoids recognizing this is the exact type of religious mission that religious employment exemptions are meant to protect. The court similarly engaged in logical and legal contortions to dismiss the school’s other claims.
This decision is very problematic for religious liberty. Hopefully the school will appeal.
Many on both sides of the spectrum believe the suit will be appealed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, then likely go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Lately, we’ve heard some argue that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. To say this is to completely misunderstand who the Bible’s author was. Among multiple mentions which calls it out as unnatural, an abomination and along with other sexual immoral activities, a sin. But to claim it was never spoken by Jesus who is also called the Word is dead wrong, as we see in scriptures read during most wedding ceremonies.
But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Run from False Teachers: Excerpts from a sermon by Carter Conlon
Produced by: http://www.truthaccordingtoscripture….
Music by: Alan Silvestri – from the movie “Cast Away”
9/11 Footage produced by BBC Discovery Channel
Philippines (Morning Star News) – Christians on the Philippine island of Mindanao believe Maoist rebels are responsible for killing a Baptist pastor and his adult son near a southern town on Nov. 27.
A friend of the pastor in Mindanao told Morning Star News that area Christians believe insurgents with the New People’s Army (NPA), armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, were responsible for shooting Pastor Feliciano “Cris” Lasawang, 50, and his 24-year-old son Darwin as they bathed in the Culaman River north of Jose Abad Santos, Davao del Sur Province, at 6 a.m.
Pastor Lasawang was shot three times in the body, and his son once in the face, according to relatives. The two men died at the site. They had conducted baptisms in the same river where they died, according to U.S.-based Christian Aid Mission, which assists native ministries around the world.
The pastor’s friend, whose name is withheld for security reasons, said area Christians suspect NPA rebels because the guerrillas believe church growth dampens insurgent recruitment efforts, and the pastor had received reports that the communist militants were monitoring his movements.
“Pastor Cris had received intelligence reports that the NPA guerillas were eyeing him as he was going around to communities telling NPA sympathizers that armed struggle was not the solution,” he told Morning Star News.
The friend, who trained the church leader, said Pastor Lasawang had notified him of a strong presence of NPA guerillas in the area. Pastor Lasawang had often advised the friend not to visit him due to heavy NPA activity. On one occasion the NPA launched an attack that killed nearly a dozen Philippine Army troops, with the rebels carrying weapons just a few kilometers from the church, the pastor told him.
The NPA, formed in 1969, aims to overthrow the Philippine government and establish communism. It is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.
Pastor Lasawang is survived by his wife and seven other children, the youngest 13 years old. He put his faith in Christ in 2007 after observing positive change in a cousin who had become a Christian. In 2013, he dedicated himself to pastoring and planted a Baptist church in Jose Abad Santos in Davao del Sur (technically Davao Occidental Province, but still governed by Davao del Sur until elections in 2016).
The church, where 300 people attend worship service weekly at a building with a capacity of 150, remains without a pastor, and NPA guerillas continue to be a threat, sources said. Members of the congregation are volunteering to exhort the gathering on Sundays.
Despite opposition in the area from both communist and Islamic insurgent groups, another house church has opened in a nearby village to meet the needs of a growing number of people interested in Bible study, the pastor’s friend said.
“The ministry in Jose Abad town will continue despite the absence of a full-time minister there,” he said.
Christian communities in the southern Philippines are vulnerable to sporadic rebel attacks as a result of failed peace talks between the national government and numerous separatist groups. The Philippines, with an estimated 100 million people, will choose a new president in May, and many Christians in the region hope that the next president will address the complex problems of insurgencies in Mindanao.
Rolly Pelinggon, former vice president of the Philippine Student Alliance Lay Movement (PSALM), told Morning Star News that the next president of the Philippines should have peace negotiators from the southern Philippines. Most peace negotiations with the rebels fail, Pelinggon said, because the designated peace negotiators are based in Manila and do not have an in-depth understanding of the regional complexities.
The pastor’s friend had not been able to visit the church for two years because of the rebel presence, but he received permission to do so on Oct. 27, he said. According to Christian Aid, he was able to meet briefly with Pastor Lasawang and discuss how to manage the increased attendance at the church and how to continue evangelistic outreach and discipleship.
“We both had lively plans,” he told Christian Aid, “full of hopes, accelerating desires to serve the Servant King, not knowing in God’s plan that that would be our last fellowship here on earth.”