VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

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Tonight on the Persecution Watch: Forgiveness (Nov. 16, 2019)

(Voice of the Persecuted) Dear believers, my heart has been heavy for the love of my siblings. In last few years, we have grown apart. Life troubles, frustration, anger, obstacles … decisions we had to make regarding my sick father, all contributed to distance between us. Once I felt very close to them. We loved each other and I knew I could always count on them. Yet, now we are all divided and as years go by it seems harder and harder to grow close again.

I have reached out many times and asked forgiveness in what ever I had said or done that may have hurt them. I have shown them love in many ways, forgiven any hurt or pain they have caused me, yet to no avail.

This morning I came upon a video of Ruth Gram who wrote a book titled, Forgiving My Father. At first it shocked me, “What, Billy Graham?”

But as I listened to her, she explained how much she had missed her father while growing up. She understood the reason of his absence but through the years, she missed a relationship with him. She later was able to realize and admit that she never forgave her father for the void she felt in the years of his absence. But it was time to forgive him, even if she was not able to tell him.

I was asked by a very dear sister, “Can you love them, my siblings, enough to forgive with no expectation of anything in return?” Yes, I can, I answered her even before she finished the the sentence.

As she prayed for me, I cried letting my Father know that because He loved me first, I loved Him also, for this reason I can love my earthly brothers and sisters, even if it means I receive nothing back from them.

What a freedom it is not to hold anything back. My heart went to our suffering brothers and sister in Christ whom we pray for.

I cry for them, are they able to forgive those who persecute them, their fathers their mothers, siblings, family, neighbors enemies? The trauma they have to overcome because of it?  Are they able to forgive the pain and the torture they have to endure? I pray they can, I pray they will be free, giving it to the Lord and asking Him to help them to love and forgive their enemies, persecutors.

Dear prayer warriors, I invite you to come on the call tonight to pray for them in the Spirit with me. Come as you are.

In Christ love

Nadia Dybvik, Prayer Team Moderator

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What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin has led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also serves as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ.

Meet you on the call!

Modern-Day Martyrs Show Love and Forgiveness

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Two years ago this month Beshir Kamel went on television and thanked so-called Islamic State terrorists for not editing out the last words of his brother and the other Egyptian men they beheaded on a beach in Libya. “Lord, Jesus Christ,” were the last words of the Coptic Christians slaughtered because of their faith. The courage and integrity of their witness strengthened Kamel’s faith. “We are proud to have this number of people from our village who have become martyrs,” he said after his brother’s murder. “Since the Roman era, Christians have… Read more

Muslims Burn 69 Churches; Christians Forgive

Bibles were burned during the violent riot attacks on churches in Niger. Christian homes and schools were also attacked

Bibles were burned during the violent riot attacks on churches in Niger. Christian homes and schools were also attacked

“The Lord is training us; He’s building us. There cannot be increase without hardships. If you want to go to the next level you have to go through hardship.”

Threats continue as Christians in Niger pray for revival and the rebuilding of destroyed churches.

Niger: It took only a few hours, but it was enough time for hundreds of radical Muslims in Niger, West Africa, to destroy dozens of churches and several Christian homes. Ten people lost their lives and hundreds were injured when Muslim mobs went on the deadly rampage in early January.

Now, three months later, Christians living there are moving forward, determined to still preach the Gospel despite the dangers.

CBN News has obtained exclusive, never-seen-before video of dozens of these angry Muslims attacking, then burning Pastor Musa Issa’s church.

“They took pews, Bibles, chairs and sound equipment then set them on fire,” Issa, pastor of Bethel Horizon Church in Niamey the capital city, said. “They did this while chanting, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ I felt so sad. I started to cry.”

Wrestling Against Principalities

The cell phone video also shows the crowd beating a member of Issa’s church. READ MORE

How To Pray For The Persecuted

(Voice of the Persecuted)  It can be overwhelming when learning of all of the suffering, and persecution of Christians in the world today. When the biggest request is prayer from those persecuted how do we Pray? When you pray with your heart and soul before the Throne of God, He hears and know’s your heart for the persecuted.

Some of the prayer requests we hear are,

  • That God won’t bring about the death of those persecuting, but to forgive them and show them the Light of Christ. They ask that their hearts be softened.
  • For endurance to persevere
  • They ask for courage, and strength to face the day.
  • To be comforted and that their immediate needs be met.
  • They ask for those who can help to be guided by the Holy Spirit.

The many survivors of persecution have said they forgive their attackers. You may have heard that when you forgive, you end the conflict. But how? Take the Lords lead.

Jesus said “Forgive those who persecute you, and if your enemy is thirsty give him water.”  One of Jesus’ last words on the cross, was, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” When Stephen was stoned his last words were “ Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”

It’s not easy to forgive tormentors, in fact it’s almost humanly impossible, but when you give it to God He can heal, and He can bring you into forgiveness.

It takes prayer, and seeking the Holy Spirit.  The Apostles talked of this forgiveness and their greatest need as being perseverance.

Collossians 1:11-12

Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

Galatians 6:9

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Revelation 2:10

Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days.Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.

James 1:12

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Matthew 10:22

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Matthew 5:44

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

So with the world in chaos and the genocide of Christians around the globe, here again are the countries we feel need your prayers, pray for God’s mercy also to be spread across the world and for His children to be protected.  You can’t put a number on Countries, all are the same, all are persecuting our brethren.  The following list is in no particular order.

  • Pakistan
  • Nigeria
  • Iran
  • Syria
  • Afghanistan
  • Iraq
  • Egypt
  • Libya
  • Yemen
  • Sudan
  • Somalia
  • CAR
  • Eritrea
  • North Korea

We hope this helps, we hope you will enter your prayer closets and pray with a renewed vigor, for these, our Brethren.  If you are in these countries and have specific prayer requests submit it here and we will put the VOP Prayer Warrior team on it immediately. God be with you dear ones. You are not forgotten.

 

The Greatest Injustice and the Most Powerful Words

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(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.

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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

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