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1 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.
2 Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.
3 Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
4 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.
6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols; as for me, I trust in the Lord.
7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.
8 You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.
9 Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.
10 My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning, my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.
11 Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors and an object of dread to my closest friends—those who see me on the street flee from me.
12 I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.
13 For I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side!” They conspire against me and plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me.
16 Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.
17 Let me not be put to shame, Lord, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and be silent in the realm of the dead.
18 Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous.
19 How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all,
on those who take refuge in you.
20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues; you keep them safe in your dwelling from accusing tongues.
21 Praise be to the Lord, for he showed me the wonders of his love when I was in a city under siege.
22 In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight!” Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help.
23 Love the Lord, all his faithful people! The Lord preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full.
24 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
(Voice of the Persecuted) Dear brothers and sisters, be encouraged. Our times are in His hands. You can fully trust our Almighty God to be faithful.
For further encouragement click here
(Voice of the Persecuted) Andrew Brunson has been imprisoned and falsely charged with being a threat to Turkey’s national security. read more Recent reports have shared that Brunson is in grave danger and is being kept with ISIS fighters and Afghani rebels. His wife has confirmed the claim is false.
I want to clarify that Andrew is NOT being held with violent people in prison. He is in a room with 11 Muslims who are very devout so prayers are always going on in the small room. But these are not violent people and he is not in danger from them. They all sleep in bunks in a fairly tight space, and eat the meals in another room and have a small courtyard to go out to. I believe they are kept separate from everyone else.
The Brunsons have lived, including raising their children, in Turkey for 23 years. Andrew was a pastor at the Resurrection Church in Izmir before the couple was detained on 7 Oct. under Interior Ministry deportation orders.
During a trial on Dec. 9, Rev. Brunson was accused of being linked with a terrorist movement. He was then taken to Izmir’s Sakran 3 Nolu T Tipi Prison.
According to the ACLJ, Andrew was allowed to visit with family on Wednesday, and allowed to have a New Testament Bible which was previously denied. He was also given some access to his attorney, and has a visit scheduled for Friday with U.S. Embassy Officials. Yesterday, Pastor Andrew appealed his imprisonment, and was denied. Another appeal to a higher court is allowed, but it is uncertain how that appeal process will go. Due to an emergency decree in Turkey, those visits are recorded and any notes taken by his attorney are copied. Thus, Pastor Andrew has no attorney-client privilege.
The Invite to Pray
Heirloom Love: Authentic Christianity for this Age of Persecution – Study of the 1st century Persecuted Church
As society becomes increasingly divisive in a world full of hatred and violence, has the modern-day, Western Church lost it’s flavor? Is something missing?
In the new book, Heirloom Love: Authentic Christianity for this Age of Persecution, Dominic Sputo compels us to take a deeper look into the legendary first-century Christian love that changed the world. Heirloom Love challenges Western Christians to truly examine our own hearts and the status of today’s church compared to that of our early church brethren.
HEIRLOOM LOVE is — the legendary first-century Christian love that changed the world — the early church’s response to Jesus’ new command to love one another — the love that Jesus said would convince the world that He is the Son of God and we are His true disciples.
The “pillars” of the church—John, James, Peter and Paul— all taught the New Command to include giving our utmost to care for suffering and persecuted fellow believers. Yet fast forward two thousand years, and Western Christianity has virtually forgotten our persecuted brothers and sisters who are suffering around the world.
We’ve lost the truth and love that shines in the darkness, and so we’ve lost our way. By accurately interpreting familiar but commonly misunderstood Scriptures,
HEIRLOOM LOVE RESURRECTS THE TRUTH THAT WESTERN CHRISTIANITY HAS FORGOTTEN.
- New Testament hospitality originally meant providing food and shelter to homeless Christians who were seeking refuge from persecution. Yet today it is commonly trivialized to mean having friends over for lunch after church.
- Paul initiated Sunday collections to provide aid to suffering and persecuted Christians in a foreign land. Tragically, today less than one-half of 1 percent of our Sunday collections is used to help persecuted Christians.
More than the latest persecution news, Heirloom Love opens the eyes and stirs the hearts of Western Christians to reclaim the love that will change the world.
HEIRLOOM LOVE IS AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANITY
This book will challenge your assumptions about love and bring a fresh perspective to many familiar New Testament teachings on the love that shines light into darkness.
Do you want to make a difference? Heirloom Love is about restoring the love that will change the world today.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” Hebrews 10:24
This Christmas, we in the West will openly observe and celebrate the birth of Christ and our faith without fear. But many brothers and sisters in the world lack the human rights that we in the West so often take for granted. They face constant threats of abuse and are persecuted simply because they are Christians. Knowing they could be killed for their faith, celebrations will be held in secret. No bells will be ringing as their songs of adoration and praise will only be heard in a whisper. In the midst of their persecutors, some will celebrate the birth of our Savior silently rejoicing within. Others will worship in tents, meager structures or outdoors in IDP/refugee camps thanking God that He has kept them alive. All are asking for our prayers and hoping the Body of Christ will not forget and desert them. What stirs in your heart at the knowledge of their circumstances? Sadly, still too many Christians in the West know nothing about them. They are unaware that Christian persecution has reached historic levels with approximately 100 million Christians around the world facing possible dire consequences for their faith.
At this special time of year, may we remember the persecuted and the sacrifices they make to follow Jesus. Pray that God will strengthen their faith and give them supernatural joy and peace. By the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, may our Lord bless them with endurance to overcome all things. Pray also for our hearts to be changed to have the agape love of 1st century Christians. Pray for the ability and means to aid our suffering brethren in need. May we too be a witness of faith, through the love we demonstrate, as we come to pray, serve and care for the persecuted.
When we care for persecuted Christians, we are really caring for the Lord Jesus Christ. — Dominic Sputo
Voice of the Persecuted is joining with Dominic Sputo in getting this timely new book into every Christian home and church across America.
In appreciation of your support, Voice of the Persecuted will send a Hardcover copy of Heirloom Love with any donation of $50 or more. To receive your free copy, be sure to include your email and shipping address when donating. Share your blessings and help shine the love of Christ on the persecuted, this Christmas. Your gifts are appreciated more than you could ever know.
For all our readers, we will be offering the hardcopy edition of Heirloom Love for only $9.99 (regularly 15.99). Please include $3.75 for shipping and handling. The author has agreed to donate all proceeds for Voice of the Persecuted’s relief mission project caring for the persecuted in North Nigeria. Secure your copy of this critical message for the Body of Christ, today!
If you are a church or study group leader please contact us to help you with the resources needed to use the message of Heirloom Love for your next bible study. Though the book has an excellent format for this purpose, an additional study workbook is going to print. You can reach us at email@example.com Please include ‘Heirloom Love Study’ in the subject line of your e-mail. We look forward to hearing from you and honored to help!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Take part and come along on the mission! You go with us to the nations through your gifts.
Food, clean water, shelter, clothing, medical assistance and basic needs. Bibles, emergency supplies, hygiene, education/training and Spiritual/emotional encouragement. These are main concerns when meeting the urgent and long term needs of those rejected and agonizing for Christ.
While all are affected, children, widows and the elderly are at the most risk. They make up a large number of those we wish to serve. Without our support and your gifts, many of these persecuted brothers and sisters have nothing. Please keep them in your prayers.
We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on them. They have been so encouraged and grateful 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
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
Donations always desperately needed
9 p.m. Eastern
8 p.m. Central
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6 p.m. Pacific
(Voice of the Persecuted) Do you know in some parts of the world, it’s dangerous to be a Christian? Statistics say 100 million Christians face persecution daily. For them, at best, life is difficult. At worst, it’s a nightmare. Because in many countries, Christians are imprisoned—tortured—harassed—beaten—and even killed for their faith. So what can you do?
SPEAK UP against persecution—DEFEND those discriminated—HELP those in need—PRAY for those suffering.
PARTICIPATE: The IDOP event is a global day of intercession for Christians facing persecution worldwide. Its focus is to encourage the Body of Christ to intercede in prayer on behalf of our suffering brothers and sisters persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the IDOP. Since it’s inception, the IDOP has grown substantially and today is observed in more than 100 countries across the world.
Godfrey Yogarajah, Executive Director of World Evangelical Alliance, Religious Liberty Commission says it’s also been a source of solidarity and encouragement to persecuted Christians by reminding them that they are part of a larger, global family of believers.
Mark your calendars!
Don’t miss this opportunity. Our prayers can accomplish much for our persecuted family. We are reminded in James 5:16, the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Let us accomplish much for the persecuted in fervent, heartfelt prayer during the 2016 IDOP in November. Call information below.
Participating Global Advocates
PRINT/DOWNLOAD FLYER IDOP 2016 Prayer Conference Call (remember to also share with pastors, church members, prayer groups)
Sunday November 6
Sunday November 13
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time
7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central time
6 p.m. to 6 p.m. Mountain time
5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time
International numbers and Mobile App links available
MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes
Available International IDOP Prayer Conference Call Numbers
(Note: If you will be using one of the call numbers below, you may experience issues in your country. If you are unable to connect, try using the VoIP dialer available at this link. Click on VoIP dialer, go to this number 712-775-7035 in the drop down menu—enter access code 281207 (do not add the # symbol)—enter your name and click on the ‘Place Call’ button.)
Australia +61 (0) 3 8672 0185
Austria +43 (0) 732 2781155
Belgium +32 (0) 9 324 29 17
Brazil +55 61 4040-4314
Bulgaria +359 (0) 2 495 1527
Canada (712) 775-7060
Chile +56 (0) 44 890 9161
China +86 (0) 510 6801 0117
Costa Rica +506 4000 3885
Croatia +385 (0) 1 8000 065
Cyprus +357 77 788854
Czech +420 225 852 060
Denmark +45 78 77 36 35
Dominican Republic (829) 999-2585
Estonia +372 614 8061
Finland +358 (0) 9 74790032
France +33 (0) 1 80 14 00 56
GCC/Arabian Peninsula +973 1656 8325
Georgia +995 (0) 706 777 110
Germany +49 (0) 89 143772955
Guatemala +502 2458 1416
Hungary +36 1 987 6821
Iceland +354 539 0323
Indonesia +62 (0) 21 51388813
Ireland +353 (0) 1 437 0318
Israel +972 (0) 76-599-0026
Italy +39 06 8997 2187
Japan +81 (0) 3-5050-5075
Kenya +254 (0) 20 5231033
Latvia +371 67 881 516
Lithuania +370 (8) 37 248962
Luxembourg +352 20 30 10 03
Malaysia +60 (0) 11-1146 0070
Mexico +52 (01) 899 274 5015
Netherlands +31 (0) 6 35205061
Nigeria +234 (0) 1 440 5221
Norway +47 21 93 53 35
Pakistan +92 (0) 21 37130640
Panama +507 838-7821
Poland +48 32 739 96 40
Portugal +351 21 114 3145
Romania +40 (0) 31 780 7760
Slovakia +421 2 333 255 32
Slovenia +386 (0) 1 828 03 25
South Africa +27 (0) 87 825 0107
South Korea +82 (0) 70-7686-0015
Spain +34 931 98 23 70
Sri Lanka +94 (0) 11 5 322961
Sweden +46 (0) 31 781 06 26
Switzerland +41 (0) 43 550 70 55
Taiwan +886 (0) 985 646 917
Turkey +90 (0) 212 988 1713
Ukraine +380 (0) 89 323 9978
United Kingdom +44 (0) 330 606 0527
United States (712) 775-7035
Vietnam +84 (0) 4 7108 0080
The weekly Persecution Watch Prayer Call meets at 9pm EST every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. For more info contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
(World Watch Monitor) Life hasn’t been easy for 28-year-old Syrian mother Kristina, a Christian of Armenian descent, who lived with her husband in Aleppo long before the civil war started in 2011.
It was in that besieged city that Kristina gave birth to her firstborn daughter, 18 months ago. She’s brought the little girl to the house where a World Watch Monitor contact meets her. While her mother talks, the toddler explores the room.
“Please close the door, I’d like to keep an eye on her,” Kristina asks, not letting her child out of her sight.
With the pain still visible in her eyes, Kristina recalls her first days of being a mother in the spring of 2015 – the war raging outside, electricity, gas and water cut off most of the time and her family unable to visit and help her.
“The first two weeks after my daughter was born were the hardest in my life,” Kristina says. “It was so cold that we put our mattresses on the living room floor, the warmest room in the house. There we lived for two weeks on the ground, wrapped in blankets.”
As soon as it was safe, Kristina, her husband and her baby daughter travelled to neighbouring Lebanon to safety. At first it was intended to be a short trip, but when the violence increased and also the Christian part of Aleppo was being bombed, the young family decided to wait for the end of the war before returning to Syria.
“I can’t let my baby girl grow up amidst all those dangers,” Kristina says.
With the violence continuing and worsening, gradually more Christians left Aleppo. In Kristina’s church, now only 10 per cent of the regular church-goers are left, she hears from friends.
“But you know what’s surprising? The church is still full; displaced people take their place. Especially Muslims are coming to the church now,” she says.
In Syria, the Christian children’s activities draw the most attention, Kristina says. A lot of Syrians from other parts of Aleppo – the fighting is heaviest in Muslim areas – have fled to the Christian areas to seek refuge. For many Muslims, it is the first time they have mixed with Christians.
“Many Muslims were genuinely surprised when they met Christian women in our churches willing to serve them. Their image was that all Christian women spend most of their days dancing in night clubs and drinking alcohol! Meeting each other was a shock, both for them and for us,” says Kristina.
Kristina also says the Muslim women were surprised to see that churches offered support and programmes for all Syrians, not just for Christians.
“Their mosques don’t do that,” Kristina says. “Many are re-thinking the faith they grew up in and have dropped their hostility towards Christians.”
A growing number of Muslim children have been attending the children’s activities, where the Bible is opened daily.
“The mothers are okay with that,” says Kristina. “They see it as positive if their children learn about God. It’s the husbands who are stricter, usually.”
But, gradually, also the mothers and, in some cases, whole Muslim families have found their way to the church activities, including the services.
“That absolutely did not happen before the war,” Kristina says. “Still the Muslims are afraid – especially when entering and leaving the building – but they are there. The children have opened the church’s doors, then the women followed, and finally the men.”
Kristina says Muslim women “feel liberated when they notice the church doesn’t see them as merely machines only fit for cleaning, giving birth to children, and raising them, like many Muslim men do”.
“In Islam, many women don’t have any rights. When they feel how Christians really care for them, it feels like heaven for those women. They see it’s possible to live as independent women, to dream,” Kristina says.
Despite the war, Kristina speaks of a “golden age” for the Church in the Middle East.
“For the first time in history, Muslims are coming to us. The only thing we have to do is tell them the good news; they are waiting for it,” she says. “They realise that, when living in a Christian environment, the [Christian message] will be shared. They may even see it as a sign of weakness if it isn’t.”
VOP Note: Pray for the church in Syria. Pray that many Muslims to come to faith as they see the Lord’s light in our brothers and sisters. Oh Lord, how great are your ways! Thank you for taking this horrific situation to bring many into your flock. All for Your glory, we bless your name. In Jesus Holy name, we pray. Amen
What would you do?
What would you do if you were wrongfully accused
and then abused?
If you went about preaching
and you swore that, at any cost,
it would be the lost that you would be reaching
What would you do?
What would you do if because of the words you said
you were beaten with many a stripe
and then being left for dead
you were locked up in a cell with criminals of every type?
What would you do?
What would you do if you had no guarantee
that anyone knew about you
or that ever again you would be free?
What would you do?
Would you have sung praises to the Lord
after having been beaten and threatened with the sword?
Would you have lifted up your head
or would you have been angry over the wounds from which you’ve bled?
What would you do if the earth began to shake
and while you were singing, your chains began to break?
And what if, while those chains fell off broken,
you looked up and noticed that the jail gates flew open?
Oh, what kind of prisoner is he
who cares more for the prison guards life than that he himself escapes free?
What if the prison guard, thinking that all prisoners had fled,
rose up his sword thinking himself to be better off dead?
Would you have been the prisoner that rose your voice and said,
“Don’t hurt yourself for we prisoners are all here”?
Or would you have held your cry
to watch the guard die
so that you could disappear?
Oh what kind of prisoner saves the life of his captor?
It’s the one spoken of in the book of Acts, the 16th chapter.
By IOAN MANEA, VOP Guest Author