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THIS FRIDAY! Join the JANUARY PRAYER EVENT: Praying #JusticeInJanuary for the Persecuted Church

24 HOUR PRAYER CONFERENCE CALL EVENT Friday, Jan. 29-Saturday Jan. 30

24 HOUR PRAYER CONFERENCE CALL EVENT Friday, Jan. 29-Saturday Jan. 30

Call in from any location and unite in PRAYER for the Persecuted. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS  and downloadable flier- JANUARY PRAYER EVENT: Praying #JusticeInJanuary for the Persecuted Church

JANUARY PRAYER EVENT: Praying #JusticeInJanuary for the Persecuted Church

24 HOUR PRAYER CONFERENCE CALL EVENT Friday, Jan. 29-Saturday, Jan. 30

24 HOUR PRAYER CONFERENCE CALL EVENT Friday, Jan. 29-Saturday Jan. 30

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
Luke 18:7-8
And now will not God bring about justice for his His elect who cry to him day and night and will He delay long over them? I tell you that he will bring about justice for them quickly. However when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?
James 5:16
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

(Voice of the Persecuted) One cannot help but think that Jesus had His persecuted bride in mind when he spoke of the elect crying out to God for His justice day and night.  The promise of Jesus is that God will bring about justice for His elect speedily.  God will not delay long over his bride. He will hear their prayers. He will bring about justice on their behalf. The word justice means decency or moral rightness. The King will do right for His persecuted bride.

But for justice to come, for God to act; there must be a crying out. There must be a crying out in prayer for the persecuted Church. God is not the unjust judge that Jesus speaks of in the parable of Luke 18.

Our brothers and sisters cry out in prayer to God in the mist of their persecutions. But often in places like North Korea or Somalia, these precious saints cannot even cry out loud, less their persecutors find and execute them. The number one request of the persecuted is, “PRAY FOR US”. Can you hear the pleas of our suffering family to pray for them?

Will you cry out from the depths of your heart asking God to move on their behalf—to bring justice for those who carry the cross for Jesus?

As members of the Body, let us call out to the Father and intercede on behalf of our persecuted family. My brothers and sisters, I invite you to join us in prayer. Dear saints, I ask will you be their voice? Will you cry out heartfelt anguish and tearful prayers with and for those who cannot do such themselves?  We’ll take a Sabbath to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. In partnership, Persecution Watch and Voice of the Persecuted will host a 24 hour conference prayer call beginning Fri., Jan. 29 to Sat., Jan. 30. A Flyer has also been attached that you may share with your churches, faith/prayer groups and social media contacts.

I pray you will hear my plea and come on our 24-hour call. Please promote this call through your church, family friends and social media. Encourage intercessors to join us for those suffering in Christ. Call details and printable Flyer below.

Note: You do not need to commit to the entire 24 hours. Come on the call and pray as your time allows. 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

Location: Call from your own phone from your location

Call Date:
Fri., 1/29 – Sat., 1/30

Length of call: 24 Hours

Time of call…….Fri. evening to Sat. evening
9 p.m. 9 p.m. Eastern Time
8 p.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time
7 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mountain Time
6 p.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time

Call number and access code:
712.775.7035…….281207#

PRINT PRAYER CALL FLYER: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1Yfy-ajbppfTVBXR0J5S19KYlU/view?usp=sharing

The New Living Translation quotes proverbs 31:8……. Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, ensuring justice for those being crushed.

Brothers and sisters please join with me in crying out justice for His persecuted elect who are being crushed, being persecuted, and being put to death all day long for the sake of Jesus.  I pray you will unite with us on our 24-hour call at the end of this month.

Your brother in Christ,

Blaine Scogin
pwprayercall@gmail.com

Serving Jesus as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and Persecution Watch

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

(Please let us know if you were unsuccessful getting on the call, so we can address the issue with technical support.)

Praying into 2016 Declaring ‘The Year of HOPE’

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(Voice of the Persecuted) Many are reflecting on the past year and considering resolutions to become a better person. They plan to eliminate bad habits, gain confidence, relieve stress, or other reasons to help themselves make changes towards success. Too often, these actions of solving our issues with “I will” or “I can” gets left by the wayside in the short span of 30 days, if at all. Our good intentions end up turning to failure and frustration.

Do we believe without a doubt that God desires to lead and direct our lives? Will we allow Him to guide and work through us in His will?

“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

As Christians, we believe our destiny is preplanned by God in agape love.

What will be our response to Him in the new year?

 “Teach us to order our days that we might present to you a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

We stand at a critical moment in history. Daily reports of terrorism, chaos and the threat of world war. The current refugee crisis now a global problem — one whose scale and severity is unmatched since World War II. An exodus of biblical proportions as believers from the Middle East and Africa, attempt to escape violence in lands where Christianity began. Anti-Christian sentiment increases globally, while we witness the persecution of believers as never seen before.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:14-18

Father, we are at a crossroads. Across the globe persecution and suffering increases for Your faithful. The wearing down of the Saints has begun. Darkness grows around us seeking to destroy your sons and daughters. We ask in Jesus mighty name, please guide us and give us mercy and Your protection. Soften hearts of leaders, open eyes and send caring hearts and hands. Give a spirit of Hope to those suffering. Give us strength and courage. Your Saints are calling out to you from Africa, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Thailand and beyond. Father God, send them love and comfort.

We, who are free to eat and sleep, write, speak, and travel as we please—We, who are blessed to work and worship without discrimination or persecution—Let us use our freedom to make a difference in the lives of the suffering members in the Body of Christ.

There is a danger, a trap set by the enemy to prevent us from achieving this goal. Many are tempted to say, “It’s too much”, “the crisis is too great”, “I want to help, but I feel helpless”. “I don’t know what to pray.”

Stop! Push away whispers of the enemy!

Let’s not perpetuate the misery by withholding our own contribution. As members of one Body in Christ, let us follow the Lord’s command to love one another.

What does all this mean for those of us in the Body who are not facing persecution? It means we must work together, hand in hand, to care for our brothers and sisters who suffer immensely in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Have Hope, don’t lose your blessed Hope. Our hope is in the Lord, not the world. He tells us, I AM the ALPHA and the OMEGA. Let us keep our focus solely on HIM.

We declare the year of 2016 as ‘The Year of HOPE’. Almighty Father, keep us and strengthen our faith. Help Your church endure the storms and trials of this world. Hold us in Your right hand and guide us to be your hands and feet. Give us Your heart for the persecuted and the world. Keep us on the path for Your Kingdom purposes. Protect us from the evil schemes of the enemy. Protect our families and supply our needs. Draw near to us as we seek Your face. As this new year begins, we will reflect on Your Word and promises. We will remember that we can do all things in Christ who strengthens us; knowing nothing is impossible for You. We give all praise to You in the highest and give You all the glory, now and forever. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord—let the Year of HOPE begin. Amen

In today’s communication with our Nigerian brethren.

“We in the camp always pray for you, our friends and well-wishers in 2015. We thank you for all your blessings and all the support from our benefactors.” In English they sang, ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year’. All believers we have helped this year send their love, gratitude and prayers for making it possible for this mission to care for them. They ask God to bless you greatly.

All of us at Voice of the Persecuted wish you a very Blessed and Happy New Year. Thank you for your prayers, encouragement and supporting this mission to bless our persecuted family. We ask that you pray for the mission, that God continues to advance and guide us to help many more in 2016. We are excited to see where God will take us, together, to serve His Persecuted Church.

To our persecuted family, stay strong and we love you! May we all allow God to guide our lives and work through us in the new year!

May the Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

 

Honoring Heroes of Freedom and of Faith

Christian Heroes

Many will be honoring America’s fallen heroes this weekend. We honor all who have served America and given the ultimate sacrifice, their lives for this Country and our freedoms.

However, there are heroes the world has remained mostly silent on. The unsung heroes of faith.

These silent heroes have given their all. They have been tortured, watched their loved ones and children brutalized or killed, and given their lives for their faith in Christ. We have seen many images of the martyred and the suffering survivors of this modern-day Christian Holocaust spreading across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. While the media has given it some coverage, there is one aspect that they leave out—the loss of dignity, the loss of peace and freedom.

Most have lost everything they own. Their properties have been completely destroyed. Many no longer have villages to return to, they been razed to the ground. All they have worked so hard to obtain is gone.  They have lost family members, or have succumbed to their injuries, starvation and sickness due to squalid conditions and little to no medical care. Much physical and emotional suffering begins after the attack, but often goes unseen due to lack of media reports. They are wounded, traumatized and devastated. One look at the faces of those surviving and you can see the loss of dignity and peace, some feel as if lost forever. And the numbers of those who have lost their lives is staggering.

Inspirations of faith, these martyred brothers and sisters including the survivors, are our heroes who deserve our respect and prayers.

They are family, one with us in the Body of Christ. Let us never forget these Ambassadors for Christ. Let us remember their sacrifice in this great spiritual battle. May they inspire and encourage our own faith, as they have shown us what it truly means follow Christ to the end. In adversity and unthinkable situations, with great courage and strength in Christ, may we also be able to say, “I follow Christ, my Lord and Savior…no turning back, no turning back.”

This weekend, join us as we also remember our unsung heroes, the persecuted.

 

Increasing Christian Persecution – Our Responsibility To Protect And Halt Genocide

genocide-definition

(Voice of the Persecuted) In this month of April, the commemoration days of 3 past genocides take place.

April 7th marked the anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. The 1994 genocide resulted in the systematic massacre of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in less than 100 days. The events occurred while the international community closed its eyes.

Last week, April 15th marked the observance of the Jewish Holocaust, genocide inflicted on Jews by one of the most dreaded tyrants in history, Adolf Hitler. When the Nazi’s assumed power in 1933, they used propaganda, persecution, and legislation to deny human and civil rights to Jews. They used centuries of antisemitism as their foundation. By the end of the Holocaust, six million Jewish men, women and children had perished in ghettos, mass-shootings, in concentration camps and extermination camps.

Today, it is very sad that when asking the question “Have you heard of Adolph Hitler?”—many of our youth/young adults don’t know him, nor the atrocities he committed.

It is also disturbing how many claim the Jewish and Armenian Holocaust never happened. With these horrible and permanent scars on humanity, one would believe mankind would learn from it and ‘Never again, would mean never again. But sadly, genocide kept happening—Cambodia-1975, Bosnia-1991 and Rwanda-1994 to name a few. What massacre will the future hold?

This Friday, April 24 marks the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide also known as the Armenian Holocaust, Armenian Massacres and the Red Sunday. Traditionally, it’s known by Armenians, as Medz Yeghern the “Great Crime” which was the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects inside their historic homeland, within the territory constituting the present-day Republic of Turkey. The total number of people killed as a result has been estimated at between 1 and 1.5 million. Though it began much earlier, the starting date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day Ottoman authorities rounded up and arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. The genocide was carried out during and after World War I and implemented in two phases: the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army conscripts to forced labor, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly and infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian desert.

At least 500,000 Greeks, up to 750,000 Assyrian Christians throughout Mesopotamia were also eliminated. Turks must bear most of the guilt, but Kurds and Arabs were also involved.

Little known fact: Armenia became the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion, in between late 3rd to early years of the 4th century (the official date is 301 AD), becoming the first Christian nation. (source)

In the Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin, Elizabeth Kendal wrote an excellent article, GENOCIDE: THEN AND NOW.

She touched on the point that Britain’s economic interests in keeping the Ottoman Empire united and strong for the purpose of free trade and believed was the key to world peace. And geo-strategic interests in keeping Russia hemmed in. So Britain and France entered the Crimean War on the side of the Ottoman Turks. In exchange for British support the Sultan agreed to enact reforms aimed at improving the situation of his Christian subjects. The reforms, guaranteeing religious freedom and equality before the law, were aimed at bringing an end to the Christians’ status as dhimmis (second class citizens, without rights).

She shared that Muslims rejected these reforms as anti-Islamic. And removing of jizya(protection money) was seen as permission for jihad.

In 1860 some 20,000 Christians were slaughtered in Syria and Lebanon. In 1876 up to 25,000 Eastern Christians were massacred in the ‘Bulgarian horrors’. In 1895-96 as many as 200,000 Armenians were murdered in Turkish Armenia. Keen to maintain its pro-Muslim policies, Britain adopted a ‘conspiracy of silence’ regarding the killings, along with running a campaign of propaganda vilifying Eastern Christianity. So the killings continued.

Then in 1915, as World War I raged and the Ottoman Empire unravelled, Turkish authorities exploited the chaos to launch an orchestrated campaign of ethnic-religious genocide, knowing full well that it was not in the interests of any Western power to stop them.

After the war the remnant Christians were denied their right of self-determination by pro-Muslim European powers who were convinced that the best way to modernise and soften Islam was to ‘dilute’ it with Christians. So it is a story not only of genocide, but of abandonment and betrayal, and the stoking of God’s wrath. Read full article here

Each year, Armenians across the globe remember the dead. Over 20 nations will join them, including Argentina, Canada, Italy, France, Russia, and Sweden, to name a few. The U.S. with the second-largest population of Armenians outside of Armenia—does not. US congressmen—representatives Robert Dold of Illinois, Adam Schiff of California, David Valadao of California, and Frank Pallone of New Jersey—introduced a bipartisan resolution to formally recognize the Armenian genocide at the federal level. Per the press release, the Armenian Truth and Justice Resolution “calls upon the administration to work toward equitable, constructive and durable Armenian-Turkish relations based upon the Republic of Turkey’s full acknowledgement of the facts and ongoing consequences of the Armenian Genocide.”

During his 2008 campaign, Obama promised to recognize the 1915 Turkish massacre of Armenians who were mainly Christians.

He stated,

“The Armenian genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence,”  “As president I will recognize the Armenian genocide.”

This month, forty-nine members of the US House of Representatives wrote a letter to US President Barack Obama urging him to finally recognize the mass killings of the Armenians by the Ottomans in 1915 as genocide.

Rep. Robert Dold, the initiator of the letter said, “As the world’s greatest advocate for freedom, the United States’ has an obligation to fully acknowledge one of humanity’s most horrific crimes. An unequivocal statement of recognition would not only reinforce our own resolve, but it would also help prevent future genocides by reaffirming that we will not tolerate affronts to human dignity.” View letter HERE

To this day—disappointing many, Obama has not kept that promise. And this year will be no different.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Chairman, Ken Hachikian said, “President Obama’s surrender to Turkey represents a national disgrace. It is, very simply, a betrayal of truth, a betrayal of trust,”

“With the world’s attention drawn this April 24 to worldwide Armenian Genocide Centennial commemorations, President Obama will, tragically, use the moral standing of our nation not to defend the truth, but rather to enforce a foreign power’s gag-rule. He has effectively outsourced America’s policy on the Armenian Genocide to Recep Erdogan,” said Hachikian.

“As Americans of Armenian heritage–despite the repeated surrender of President Obama to foreign pressure–we will, with our allies, continue to work, with increased vigor and determination, to build American support for a truthful and just resolution of the Armenian Genocide,” he added.

According to Jake Flanigan, a journalist who writes about foreign affairs and human rights reported,

what’s kept the US government from recognizing the Armenian genocide all these years is: the Republic of Turkey. The successor state to the Ottoman Empire has adamantly denied the Armenian genocide for decades—preferring to characterize the violence as part of the broader chaos that broke out in the wake of World War I. (Read the full report here)

Time does not erase the scars of mass murder. If mankind is to to affirm, “Never Again,” devoted to preventing future genocide—knowledge, remembrance and support are imperative for all generations. And silence is not an option.

Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel said, “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

In 1996 Gregory Stanton, the president of Genocide Watch, presented a briefing paper called The 8 Stages of Genocide at the United States Department of State. In it he suggested that genocide develops in eight stages that are “predictable but not inexorable”.  

The Stanton paper was presented at the State Department, shortly after the Rwanda genocide and much of the analysis is based on why that genocide occurred. The preventative measures suggested, given the original target audience, were those that the United States could implement directly or use their influence on other governments to have implemented. source

The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was signed in December 1948, and has been in force since January 1951.[1] Article II of the convention defines genocide as ANY of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:[2]

(a) Killing members of the group.

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group.

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.

(e) Forcibly transferring children of one group to another group.

The United States ratified the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1988.[3]

Many fear we will witness a Christian genocide. And some believe it has already begun.

Last Friday, a conference was held at the United Nations titled, “Not Peace but a Sword: The Persecution of Christians in the Middle East as a Threat to International Peace and Security. Religious leaders also attended and the threat of genocide was discussed. Recorded conference (5:20:56) 

Silence-in-the-face-of-evilQuoting in part the Pope’s recent statement regarding the execution of Ethiopian Christians in Libya, he said,

“It makes no difference whether the victims are Catholic, Copt, Orthodox or Protestant,” The Pope added to his message, “Their blood is one and the same in their confession of Christ!”

Every Christian should be concerned for ALL believers in Christ suffering in the world, today. They are our ‘family’ in Christ. We should ardently defend, support and bring hope through aid for their survival. We must be their VOICE when their cries are not heard. We must work to shield them from a possible genocide. The rest of the world may remain silent, but we cannot.

The numbers of persecuted are staggering. Too many are still unaware that Christians are persecuted or at risk of extreme persecution in these modern times. Sadly, too many Christians know nothing of their brethren suffering to the extreme or losing their lives. Yes, it can be tough to hear of the abuse or read the news of a new attack. But we can no longer look away. And we certainly must remember them daily in our prayers. When we have been injured, we do what we can to care for and protect the wounded body part. Folks, the Church is being attacked. We, as the Body have been injured and the wound must be tended, not ignored.

We are our brother’s keeper.  Stand as ONE with them! 

thebodyofChrist1 Corinthian:s 12:12-24

12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.-

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

14 For the body is not one member, but many.

15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.

25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Voice of the Persecuted

Urgent Call For Unity & Prayer

(Voice Of The Persecuted)  Truly truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
A few days ago, 21 precious saints passed away into the presence of Christ.  Their last words were “Jesus help me.” None of the saints denied their faith in Christ, as they confessed Christ before those who took their lives. So Jesus is confessing them before His Father in heaven.

As the world is reeling and rocking to and fro, thinking we’ve witnessed all the terror and horror that we can, the king of evil shows more execrable images to the world.  While we as Christians do not have a spirit of timidity, we are saddened and mourning with our brethren.  The Bible also tells us we are not to mourn as those who have no hope.  1 Thessalonians 4:13  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  We do however share in their sorrow and in their suffering, as if we are in the body with them.  We can not splinter the Body of Christ.

Now more than ever we must put on the armor, take a stand and stand firm linking arms and prayers in this tribulation that has fallen upon the Earth.  The Revelation of Jesus Christ is very explicit about the trials we are to face.  But our hope is in Him, and when we overcome, we will receive a crown of righteousness.  We must not lose sight of this.  The words have been written, the story has been told, we were warned and instructed to watch and be ready. And we know how the story ends.  Do not be distracted, we must keep our eyes focused on Christ and Him alone.  As Peter learned how important that is when he attempted to walk on the sea. The moment he took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink.  Focused on Jesus, we must stand as one in the Body of Christ.  We can’t scatter the body and go off to our own desires, whether it be ignoring the coming storm, or spreading hatred. It’s time to stop calling each other names, does it really matter what denomination we are?  Are we not one in the Body of Christ?  There is only one definition of Anti-Christ and that is “he who denies that Jesus is Christ.”   Christ gave us a commission and that was to spread His light and make disciples of all men, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

We are witnessing a annihilation, the genocide of Christians in immeasurable numbers.  And it will only get worse. We condemn these unspeakable acts of evil and barbary, we condemn an ideology that preys on the poor, the weak and the innocent.  We condemn any entity that exhibits such blatant disregard for human life, and the basic of human rights such as dignity.  We call on the Body of Christ to unite and support one another as the early church did when faced with tribulation. We call on our governments to condemn such evil attacks on the same poor, widowed, the infirm, the orphaned or those who don’t respect religious beliefs of others.

When the sea turns red with the blood of Christian Martyrs it’s time for the Body of Christ to speak out as one. It’s time for us to raise our voices in our churches and to our elected officials to denounce these acts.  It’s time for our Government to recognize what has happened, what is happening and what will happen if the world remains silent.

Satan wants to instill fear. He wants us to believe he is all powerful, we are crushed and he will triumph. But the history of the persecuted church has shown that through martyrdom, the gospel has gone forth. Tertullian said that the blood of the martyr is the seed of the church. When the blood of our Egyptian brothers spilled into the sea, may it not be in vain, but expand the Church to spread the Good News of Christ to all shores. Therefore let us pray for God’s victory to be manifested in the death of His precious saints.  Let us pray for much fruit to come from the martyrdom of these precious brothers. And let us put away the photos and propaganda stories meant to paralyze us in fear. Let us turn it around and encourage each other with the promises of our Savior, our Lord, our King, Jesus Christ.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Romans 8:35-37
conquerors

Come Let Us Reason Together, Let Us Be One Voice

Is Unity in the Bible?  Did God speak of unity to His prophets?  Yes, yes He did.  David said this of unity in Psalm 133:  Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!  There are many mentions of unity in the Bible.

  • 1 Corinthians 12:12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
  • Romans 15:5-7 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
  • Amos 3:3 “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?”
  • Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus
  • Acts 20:28  Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
  • John 17:11-23 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.

In Genesis we find the very first mention of unity where God was teaching Adam and Eve about surviving and uniting as one in the flesh.  Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

They were taught to cling to one another as one, not only in themselves but in their belief and faith in God. Unfortunately satan drove a wedge between them and God. He’s been whispering the very same thing in all of mankind’s ears ever since.

The Gospels teach us of unity also.  Christ’s words the night before he was crucified tells us all to unite as one with each other even as He and God are one.  So we must obey and rebuke as Jesus did when He told satan  “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”

send_me_2We can not serve God unless we remember those persecuted.  Those who have faced the ultimate choice of “Whom shall you worship?”  Who shall I send?   As Isaiah, Joshua and the other prophets decided, we must also decide.  As Christ told us to take up our cross and follow Him. Are you willing to do this as many of our brothers and sisters are?

What is my point?  There are many in prison facing death daily for their faith in Christ. There are many facing prison for their faith in Christ.  Like Pastor Saeed Abidini, Kenneth Bae, Asia Bibi, Miriam Ibrahim, Iranian Pastor Matthias Haghnejad and layman Silas Rabbani and many, many others.  Yet, too often we forget to remember these dear brothers and sisters in our prayers.

If they were members of my own family, I would give thanks every day for the mention of their names before the throne of God. Prayers are what sustains these dear family members, brothers and sisters in Christ.  Our prayers before the throne of God are what strengthens and supports them.  Not only is their faith, pain and endurance, including that of their families been an inspiration to so many, but it blesses and teaches us above all things to unite as one in the Glory of Christ giving praise and Glory to God as one in Christ Jesus.

We’d like to thank everyone who is sharing their testimony about what Pastor Saeed has taught them and how they have been blessed by this dear brother and his family.  Pastor Saeed’s family is very grateful for every prayer or mention of their suffering, as are we.  Let’s unite in the many prayer vigils that are upcoming for Pastor Saeed, his family and the persecuted Church, worldwide.

Click here to find a prayer vigil near you.

Remember to share your testimonies of how this family has inspired you in faith, prayer and unity. Tell them how you are blessed for answering the call “Whom shall I send.”

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Let us answer in one voice “SEND US, WE WILL GO.”  May God richly bless you for your prayers and support for Pastor Saeed and the persecuted Church.

My Prayer for the call to prayer:

Father, we humble ourselves before you at the feet of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Father we know the price that was paid for us, we know the sacrifice given to us.  We have chosen as one to pick up our cross and follow Christ.  We have chosen to unite as one in body, one voice to give you glory, praise and honor.  Father we know the price we pay for following your will.  We ask that you give comfort, strength, courage and protection to Pastor Saeed Abidini and others imprisoned or facing death.  We ask that you touch their families and send caring hands and love to surround them and encourage them.  We ask that you surround Pastor Saeed with your light of protection and love.  We ask that through him you lead others to you.  Use us Father to be a light to the world, to show the love of Christ, and the Gospel to the lost, so that they too may live.  Help us to love and comfort those lost and seeking refuge from the storm.  Help us to lean on your understanding.  Father we give all Glory to you and we thank you for everything you have given us.  Help us Father, to understand, and to show love to the world.  Help us Father to remember that we are one in you though there are many of us and we are scattered throughout the world we are one.  We ask that you give knowledge, wisdom and guidance to our leaders, religious and political leaders alike.  Guide them Father, into your will.  Help us to remember as Jesus said “Not my will but yours.”  Give us all courage, and fill our hearts with the love of Christ and the truth of the Holy Spirit.  Help us to remember that you are ever present in every land and every life.  Help us to know that our Faith and hope rest in your hands.  Strengthen Pastor Saeed and the others persecuted.   May we rest in the knowledge that you are on the throne, and our reward is with you.  Thank you Father, In Jesus name we pray.

 

 

 

 

Why Persecution Is a Social Justice Priority

persecution-social-justice (1)

Brooke Parks at Persecutionblog asks an excellent question: Is Christian Persecution a Social Justice Issue? I believe that it is. At least, I believe that persecution is a justice issue. Parks is correct to note the limits of social justice. Parks points out that the goal of ministry to the persecuted is not to remove inequality. The goal is not simply to make the persecution go away. The goal, according to Parks, is “for the church to be the body of Christ to them and with them.” I completely agree. From the New Testament perspective, “Being the body of Christ to them and with them” is primarily an action of justice.  Caring for the persecuted is a fundamental expression of biblical justice. Perhaps the term “social” can be abandoned, but the idea of justicecannot. And here is why.

In the Old Testament, God Himself proved to be the one who would always “execute justice” and “love” the strangers and aliens among Israel (Deuteronomy 10). The revelation of God as the source of justice and love was supposed to govern Israel. Israel was expected to be like God, executing justice in her own midst, making sure that the poor, the orphans, the widows, and the powerless were not forgotten.  In addition, Israel was supposed to show love to those who came into her midst from the nations around. In this way, Israel, like God, was supposed to model justice and love.

When the time came for Israel to adopt a king, the Lord gave specific instructions for the king: (1) That the king should first read, study, meditate upon, and obey carefully God’s law (Deut 17:18-20); (2) Then, second, that the king would execute justice and righteousness. This function of the king was on splendid display when the Queen of Sheba came to call upon Solomon. She proclaimed,

because the LORD loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness.”(1 Kings 10:9)

According to God, the king’s task was first to be just and, next, to execute laws of justice and righteousness for all of Israel.

When Christ came to establish His kingdom, He did so in righteousness. Christ was, of course, just. As He announced to John the Baptist, Christ also fulfilled all righteousness (Matthew 3:15).  Christ would later explain that basic discipleship—that is, a basic knowledge of what it means to follow Him—includes learning to be obedient to all His commands (Matthew 28:18-20, commonly called the Great Commission). Being obedient to Christ’s commands is essentially putting God’s justice and righteousness into action.

Christ came as a righteous king to establish God’s righteous kingdom. Consequently, Christ taught His followers that they must pursue righteousnessRighteousness Persecution and the kingdom as matters of first importance (Matthew 6:33).  Christ also taught His followers that their pursuit of justice/righteousness would lead them to be persecuted (see Matthew 5:10-12).

What all of this means is that to live the Christian life is to display God’s justice. Such a display will provoke persecution now just as it did when Christ and the Apostles ministered on earth. When Christ’s followers suffer persecution, they do so on account of righteousness (justice). They suffer for doing what is right in His name. It is His authority and His presence in His people which provokes the persecution.

So, in the New Testament, the first priority for social justice—that is, for feeding the poor, caring for widows, providing for orphans, and showing mercy to prisoners—is to minister to the persecuted and oppressed church. To use a common metaphor applied to the people of God in the New Testament, the first priority is to care for one’s own family—the family of God.

The idea of family first is evident in Paul’s instructions to Timothy regarding the care of widows:

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Christians are to do good to all people, but, especially, we are to do good to those who are of the household of faith, according to the Apostle Paul (Galatians 6:10). Not surprisingly, the New Testament is replete with examples of Christians doing good for fellow saints who are suffering.

Most references in the New Testament concerning feeding the poor actually understand the poor to be persecuted and suffering Christians. The offering Paul took from the churches was collected to care for needy, suffering saints in Jerusalem (see 1 Cor 16:1-4, Rom. 15:25). Paul Himself was partly responsible for the persecution which put these saints in such a needy state (see Acts 9:1-13). Little wonder, then, that after his conversion he felt responsible for their care.

When Paul went before Peter, James, and John to validate his commission to preach to the Gentiles, they gave him the right hand of fellowship and encouraged him to continue caring for the poor believers as he had been doing in Jerusalem (see Galatians 2:1-10).[1] Likewise, the admonitions in the book of James concerning the poor also are references to the brother or sister among you, that is, to the poor and needy Christians.

Further, the care of widows and orphans—which is called by James a “pure and undefiled religion”—is care for widows and orphans in the household of faith. These issues—typically called issues of social justice—are primarily issues of Christians acting rightly toward fellow brothers and sisters of the faith. They are issues of justice within the household of faith.

When the New Testament speaks of visiting prisoners, it means that Christians are responsible to remember (Hebrews 13:3) and care for fellow Christians who have been thrown into prison on account of Christ (cf. Hebrews 10:34). In fact, Peter made sure the early church held to an important distinction in categorizing imprisonment:

Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name (1 Peter 4:15-16; cf. 1 Peter 3:17).

John love persecutionIn the New Testament, issues of justice begin with the household of faith. As the household of faith learns to love one another rightly and, thus, executes the justice of God rightly so that God’s righteousness is on display, the world begins to see what justice and love actually are like. The whole world begins to know that Jesus Christ is present because of the way the Church loves one another (John 13:35). In this way, the Church witnesses to the world of Christ’s love.

So, it is important that the church exercises “justice” in caring for the poor and suffering Christians. In this way, ministry to the persecuted is the first order of “social justice” business. Our love for one another is crucial to our witness before the watching world.

Brooke Parks’ question has to be answered affirmatively: “Yes!” Persecution ministry is the foremost and primary act of social justice. Parks answered the question negatively, but only with regard to the non-biblical idea that justice concerns equality. Parks is correct to say that the goal of persecution ministry is not to bring society back into some arbitrary notion of balance or equity.  Rather, the goal of persecution ministry is to display the righteousness of God in the face of world’s unrighteous desire to be rid of Christ by executing His people.

See also:

http://www.heritage.org/research/commentary/2014/5/christian-persecution-an-injustice-for-all

[1] For fuller discussion, see Thomas Schreiner, Galatians, in the Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, published by Zondervan.

Gregory Cochran

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