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Heirloom Love: Authentic Christianity for this Age of Persecution – Study of the 1st century Persecuted Church

dominic-heirloom-love

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.

For example:

  • 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 info@voiceofthepersecuted.org 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:

dominic-sputoDominic Sputo is a passionate voice for the poor and persecuted. He’s actively engaged in teaching biblical stewardship and stimulating his fellow American Christians to remember those in genuine need, especially the persecuted.

He has authored two books which are scheduled to be released. In Prodigal’s Progress: From Love of Money to Love of God … A Radical Confession, he shares his personal story in overcoming the love of money for the sake of helping the weak. And in Heirloom Love: Authentic Christianity for this Age of Persecution he presents a solid biblical case for helping the persecuted as a New Testament mandate for Western Christians.

Dominic is the founder of Mute No More, a nonprofit that educates, encourages and equips American Christians and churches to respond to Jesus’ new command (John 13:34-35) by praying, advocating and providing relief for persecuted Christians in foreign countries. He also serves on the National Christian Foundation–Tampa Bay board of directors and is a pastor at Lakeshore Bible Church in Tampa, FL.

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.

orphan-306x4601While 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

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

Cairo Bishop Urges Church To Be Ready For Martyrdom

Archbishop   Mouneer Anis.  Michael Adel, Bridges Cultural Center

Archbishop Mouneer Anis. Michael Adel, Bridges Cultural Center

(World Watch Monitor) A senior Anglican archbishop from the Global South called for the Church to be “ready to sacrifice their lives for the sake of Christ” in the face of persecution, restrictions, terrorism, and violence carried out in the name of religion.

Archbishop Mouneer Anis of Cairo was addressing archbishops and bishops from some of the most difficult places in the world in which to practise the Christian faith: Sudan, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, Southern Africa, West Africa, Indian Ocean, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and South East Asia.

More than 100 delegates also discussed the importance of ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue. Guests* at the opening session included representatives of the Vatican, Coptic Orthodox Church and Al Azhar University in Cairo, the seat of Sunni learning.

The leaders of the Anglican Communion’s Global South (the world’s third largest Christian denomination, after the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches) – which is home to 72 per cent of the worldwide Anglican population, or about 62 million people – discussed critical challenges facing them, including poverty, the refugee crisis and religious violence.

Archbishop Anis said the Church in the Global South had many challenges and weaknesses, and highlighted the prevalence of disease and “polygamy, tribalism, corruption, and harsh treatment of women”, as well as false teaching.

He also warned of an “ideological slavery” resulting from “some Western churches and organisations us[ing] their wealth and influence to push their own agendas in the Global South”. He continued: “We need to be aware of this, and resist all kinds of slavery, whether financial or ideological”, or else face “cultural defeat and captivity”.

While the archbishop and other speakers stressed fidelity to the teachings of Christ and criticised provinces they accused of departing from them, Anis added: “We cannot continue to focus on the faults of others while neglecting the needs of our own people.”

A former Bishop of North Africa, Bill Musk, noted that North African Christians were persecuted in the early centuries of Christianity as they are now, and said unity was vital to withstand such challenges. A communiqué from the talks reported: “The Arab invasions eventually overwhelmed the Church [in North Africa], but the seeds of its demise were sown long before.”

Bishop Emeritus Musk also praised the fifth-century Council of Carthage, which took place in what is now Tunisia, at which it was decided that no diocese had the right to discipline leaders in another, despite a deep cultural divide within the Church. Bishop Musk described the Church at that time as being riven between a Latin elite that advocated a compassionate response to Christians who denied their faith under persecution, and local Berbers, who insisted upon faithfulness to Christianity until death.

Speakers at the conference emphasised the Church’s North African heritage, challenging the view of the Church as a foreign imposition foisted on Europe’s former colonies. American Canon Dr. Ashley Null, highlighted the “deep dependence” of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, one of the architects of Anglicanism, on St. Augustine, whose bishopric of Hippo lies in modern-day Algeria.

Dr. Null, who is writing a five-volume study of the private theological notebooks of Archbishop Cranmer, noted that “in his day, Augustine was derided as the son of a Berber who spoke Latin with an African accent”.

On the second day of the conference, the bishops had a 90-minute audience with President Fatah Al-Sisi, who told them Egypt was keen to guarantee freedom of belief and worship for all its citizens. Egypt’s Coptic Christians have complained of targeted attacks worsening again this year.

Voice of the Persecuted is on the ground in Nigeria to care for our Christian brothers and sisters experiencing brutal persecution.

We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief, and encouragement. We have committed to a long-term mission in Nigeria. When they are able to return home, we will be there to encourage and help rebuild villages and their lives. They will not be forgotten!

We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on orphan-306x4601them. They have been so encouraged and thank God 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

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

If the Lord is placing it on your heart and you are able, please help us to continue the mission in Nigeria. It will be a long term project. Donations always desperately needed

EUROPE: Report claims one in eight Christian refugees are attacked for their faith

 

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We have been warning of the persecution Christians are facing in refugee centers in Europe, Markus Rode head of Open Doors Germany said, the figures show “fear and panic” among Christians migrants.

Christian refugees have fled refugees centers after extreme intimidation and at times physical violence by Muslim refugees.

“Discrimination and violence against people of different beliefs exist in refugee centres much more extensively than authorities want to believe,” Rode said. “Converts are most exposed. They are seen as traitors by radical Muslims.”

231 Christian migrants residing in Germany were interviewed. The majority being  from Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. 42 percent have reported insults, 37 percent said they suffered a physical injury, and 32 percent allegedly received death threats.

According to the survey, 88% said they’ve been targeted by other migrants because of their religion.Nearly half surveyed accused guards of discriminating against religious minorities or harassing them. In Germany’s refugee housing, both the migrants and the security are mostly Muslim.

The L’OBSERVATOIRE DE LA CHRISTIANOPHOBIE reported Cardinal Rainer Woelki said at an ecumenical meeting in Düsseldorf Saturday 13 February, “The fear increases that politicians and the authorities do not take seriously enough such threats [against Christians in refugee centers]. The persecution of Christians is not a thing of past ages.”  He demanded that Germany defend greater religious freedom. For his part, Pastor Gottfried Martens said the “harassment” against the Christian migrants in refugee centers in Germany has increased. He affirmed that Christians were forced to watch beheading videos, were banned from the common kitchen because  they were”unclean”, beaten and Christian necklaces torn from their necks. The pastor suggested Christians and Muslims needed to be housed in separate shelters. “When I talk to politicians, they tell me that the churches do not consider that necessary accommodations are separated and I look ridiculous (…) Our efforts to be tolerant, which is in itself praiseworthy, are not so far allow us to let Christians become a kind of guinea pigs. ”

World Watch Monitor reported Christians among the thousands of Middle Eastern migrants who have fled to Europe have discovered that a familiar burden has followed them: religious harassment.

Voice of the Persecuted shared last August how Christian refugees moved from asylum accommodation after threats by Islamists in Sweden. The Christians feared for their safety after it was demanded that they stop wearing Christian symbols, like crosses around their necks. And that they were not welcome in common areas when the aggressive Muslim group was there. After receiving no help when the atmosphere became intimidating, the Christian refugees dared not stay and decided it would be safer to find other accommodations.

Many Christians have left their homelands fleeing persecution and discrimination. They are already traumatized by their experiences. Imagine what it’s like to realize you will suffer the same discrimination and hate in a place of refuge.

Discrimination follows Christians not only from the Middle East, but those from Asia. Pakistani Christians seeking asylum in Thailand are living through extreme hardships in the UNHCR process which takes years, painstakingly long. Unable to legally work, send their children to school, constant fear of arrest and without a program to aid their basic survival and medical needs. They are trapped in a system that often fails them. Remember the horrific atrocities Nigerian Christians are facing. A staggering amount of Nigerian Christians suffer as internal refugees. They too face extreme discrimination from Muslims in the camps.  Let us shine as the Body of Christ and do more for them. Please consider partnering with us to care for those detained with their children in Immigration Detention Center and in refugee camps. To support those without means to care for their families. To give hope that they have not been forgotten by their brothers and sisters in Christ.

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

 

Boko Haram Strikes Terror In Adamawa State

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17 Feb. 2016: Voice of the Persecuted received an urgent request for prayer from Nigeria Christians. We were notified that Boko Haram is suspected to have carried out an attack in Adamawa State which killed at least six people. Insurgents stormed Kuda village around 9pm on Monday and shot at fleeing villagers, which killing five and injured several. The extremists destroyed more than 20 houses. Reports claim an elderly woman burned to death when they set fire to her home. Witnesses claim the 30 heavily armed insurgents came on foot and looted valuables.

The head of Krichinga, Abubakar Kanuri, a nearby village, said the insurgents came through Malakwaya, a section of the Sambisa Forest.

He said, “Today, they will invade our villages as rustlers, another day they stormed our villages in convoy of vehicles and some time they will use cattle to deceive us that they are normal herdsmen only to start killing people.

“We need help in our area. Many are beginning to return but with current security situation, they may not return to these areas.”

He said that they are still hiding in caves inside Sambisa Forest.

The Nigeria government has offered no detailed proposal to rebuild the northeast razed by the Islamic terror group. Borno State has suffered most at the hands of the Boko Haram. Estimates to repair damage total more than $1 billion in Borno alone. Plunging oil prices have hurt revenue and further the Nigerian government’s economic woes.

Please keep our Nigerian brothers and sisters in your prayers.

Voiorphan-306x4601ce of the Persecuted (VOP) is caring for internal refugees from Christian villages hardest hit by the Boko Haram. Many children reside at the camp, including those orphaned and women made widows in the insurgency. Their needs are immense. Please consider supporting this mission to care for those suffering great physical and emotional trauma. VOP is on the ground in Nigeria, GO with us on the mission through your gifts.

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 thank God for each one of you who have joined this mission through your support and they keep you in their prayers.

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

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

If the Lord is placing it on your heart and you are able, please help us to continue the mission in Nigeria. It will be a long term project.

2015: In The Eyes of an Advocate for the Persecuted Church

Barbed Wire Heart Vocie of the Persecuted

(Voice of the Persecuted) As we walk through the pages of 2015, trying to make sense of all the persecution suffering, death, and destruction—our thoughts turned towards the joy, and faith witnessed throughout the year. There were many days consumed with prayer, tears, and at times feelings of helplessness. Helplessness as we looked at the larger picture and magnitude of suffering, we feared for the situation. Fear that we couldn’t help so many. But at these times, we go before the Throne of God.

Recalling 2015, one VOP Advocate shared,

“Many times I’ve asked to be relieved of my position as a voice, and advocate. Why, because I couldn’t witness the suffering without means to help every single victim. Many times I was told, “No, My Grace will see you through”. Prayers were answered, others joined us in the mission of helping the persecuted. Tears were turned into joy and in some instances shame, as I learned that those suffering had the faith of Job.  Faith that I lacked. I felt ashamed of myself, and my Faith was increased.  I learned so much from those I was trying to help, so much about love, about faith, and God. I learned they were praying for me and my heart broke.”

A dear persecuted Brother doesn’t celebrate his birth on earth. He celebrates his birthday as the day He was born again! This brought so much joy to my heart. Another dear Brother had prayers answered and found a mate who shares his Faith and love for God in the middle of war and persecution. They are now excitedly expecting a child. Such joy! In the refugee camp where Voice of the Persecuted brings relief, we’re invited to share in the excitement when a baby is born. They ask us to PRAISE GOD and REJOICE with them for the gift of new life. The entire camp celebrates this wonderful miracle. In the middle of slaughter and suffering comes rejoicing and new life!

Project 13:3 Nigeria sees refugees (IDP’s) in the camp sick with Cholera, an outbreak caused by an overused water source. Soon we hope the temporary well project will be completed and bring fresh drinking water. The need for food and medicine is always extremely great. Some must sleep on the ground, not even a mat to lay on. Though we have purchased mats and mattresses, we hope to get everyone off the ground, this year! It has been confirmed by our Nigerian sources that Boko Haram has not been subdued and the crisis in Nigeria is far from over. The risk is too great for IDP’s to return to villages still vulnerable to the radical militants. From one day to the next, these brothers and sisters don’t know if or when another attack will happen. Yet, there is joy in their hearts and their faith increases. They still want to encourage us in the West.

As we watch the starving and homeless in war torn regions, we see their enduring faith, they too encourage us. We see the celebrations of just being able to worship, be it in a jungle, a burned out building, or even a makeshift tent—they are always joyous and grateful. They have hope beyond measure.  Hope in God’s Word and what He has promised.  A Blessed Hope in God who loves and will provide our needs.

Another dear Brother, persecuted himself, but is trying to help those in prison, those without food or shelter, those needing Spiritual encouragement. His unrelenting work and enduring faith in God brings great Joy to our hearts. Faith and Hope is growing in the face of persecution. Persecution is growing the Body of Christ. While the sleeping western church relishes in monetary gains instead of harvesting and aiding the suffering Body, God is growing the church in persecution, in the midst of extreme suffering and trials.

Our Project 13:3 Thailand sees precious souls fleeing persecution in Pakistan, then hiding from authorities in Thailand. They live in constant fear of being arrested. The Thai government constantly raids their slum-like apartments and arrest all who are found, including children. One poor woman describes covering her babies mouth so the child’s cries wouldn’t alert the police to their hiding place. She prayed the baby wouldn’t choke or suffocate. Praise God that the baby remained quiet and for now, they are safe.

Overstay fines keep them out of the criminal element at the Central jail, but still places them in the horrific Immigration Detention Center (IDC). The Center’s disease ridden, putrid, overcrowded cells with a single toilet, houses as many as 70 people together. Their fed cucumber and rice in hot water, nothing else. We send food into the IDC to supplement their diet to bring them hope and comfort. Overstay fines and exorbitant fees to bail them out of the IDC, takes food, medicine and shelter away from the large numbers hiding outside. Food away from those who remain inside. Often we must choose from the many cases and decide who will receive assistance. Those in jail, those in the IDC, those in hiding, those without milk or food for their babies. It can be a heartbreaking process. But when we are torn in half trying to decide who we can help this month, we take it to the Throne of God and ask Lord to guide us. He always answers!

We encourage everyone to be a voice, join a prayer team, pray in your quiet place, share news, and speak out. Be a Voice! Our prayer this year is Hope for all. Hope that governments will soften their hearts. Hope that aid will increase, so we will help many more. Hope that the killing will end.  Hope that Peace will prevail. Our Hope is in the Lord, and we will not stop or stand down until the last brother and sister is safe and cared for! Our family in the Body of Christ.

Won’t you join us? In 2016 we are believing to see the Lord’s hand in miraculous ways. We believe the Body of Christ will answer the call to move. We believe 2016 will be a Year of HOPE..HOPE in action. The Lord’s hand and the Glory of God revealed!

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

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

HOPE

Pakistani Christian Held in Thai Detention Center Dies

VOP UrgentPrayerRequest

(Voice of the Persecuted) VOP has confirmed reports that Pervaiz Masih, a Christian asylum seeker held in the Thailand’s Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) has died.

Pakistani Christian escaping persecution, oppressive conditions and constant threats of violence by extremists in Pakistan, flee to Thailand. Registered as asylum seekers with the UNHCR, their visa’s expire while waiting for their scheduled asylum interviews which can take years. The Thailand government does work with or not recognize UNHCR asylum certificates and considers these persecuted Christians as illegals.

On September 10, 2015, immigration officers along with Thai military forces and police officers raided a low rent apartment complex known to house Pakistani Christian asylum seekers. Masih was arrested with hundreds that morning and living in the deplorable conditions of the IDC for the past 4 months.

Pervaiz Masih had a heart attack and died after being transferred from IDC to Police General Hospital. Pervaiz Masih died is survived by his wife , 4 children and 2 grandchildren.

Please pray for God to comfort the family during this time of extreme grief.

Voice of the Persecuted is helping to care for persecuted Christians seeking asylum in Thailand, including covering the monthly expenses of the in great suffering and getting nutritional food into the IDC as they are fed nothing but cucumbers and rice in boiling water. The children detained with their parents are also give the same. Help us do more in 2016 to comfort our brothers and sisters suffering in harsh conditions in Thailand.

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

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

 

 

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.

 

When God Calls You To Advocate

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(Voice of the Persecuted) What does it mean Advocate?  According to Merriam-Webster :  A person who argues for or supports a cause or policy; a person who works for a cause or group; one that defends or maintains a cause or proposal.

The Apostle Paul taught Advocacy, in fact this is one of the reasons he and Silas were thrown into prison.  In Acts chapter 17 we see the clear advocacy of Paul and Silas, as they were accused by the Romans of “advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”  They were stripped, flogged and thrown into prison.

Jesus told us to take up our cross and follow Him.  But what does this mean?  God called us to be followers of Christ, Jesus called us to care for those less fortunate.  Paul explains that we are to remember those suffering for Christ as if we were in the body with them.  This is not allegory, this is reality to be followed even unto death.  “And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives even unto death.”(Revelation 12:11)  And again Jesus said:  “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 10 days.  Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.  (Revelation 2:10)

Stephen was stoned because of Christ.  And at the moment of His death he said “I see Jesus standing at the right hand of our Father.”

Western Christians have watered down the doctrine of Christ so much it no longer resembles the original context.  I have heard it said that Christians such as those living in Africa (a people they have no relationship with)are being punished for their roots of paganism mixed in with their Christianity. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Many have left the western influence of the prosperity message and have gone back to the Word of God and live their daily lives to be pleasing to the Father. We have also heard Christians being persecuted are not true Christians, or they would be blessed instead of persecuted. This is heretical false doctrine.

Anyway you get the picture.  Answering the call to fight for those persecuted, downtrodden, and less fortunate doesn’t mean you will have prestige, it doesn’t promise that this will make your living for you, it doesn’t promise to give you cushy offices, and the best of technology.  It promises a long arduous battle, full of roadblocks, full of ridicule & full of sleepless nights.  I recently ran across an ad for another agency who advocates for the persecuted who were advertising a position for Advocacy supervisor.  It started at 40,000 a year.  My immediate thought was, “My God, how many would be fed, how many could be rescued with that amount?

Every Easter as a child, my Father’s church  started in January with a task for Adults and Children alike.  The money raised would go to Missions.  It was called “Thirty pieces of Silver.”  You see, Jesus was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver so our task was to collect thirty pieces of Silver over the coming months for children. It could be nickels or whatever we could scrape together as long as it was silver.  It was both educating and fun that we as children felt like we were really doing something for Jesus.  We were turning his betrayal into a trail of faith and aid for others.  Why don’t today’s churches take up this cause?  It doesn’t have to be Easter, it can be anytime of the year.  If every church in America did this, we could raise millions for the refugee camps and the persecuted across the globe.  We could turn Jesus’ betrayal into a mission of hope and advocacy for those suffering in His name.

In the beginning, I didn’t fully understand my position as an advocate until I was well into this volunteer position.  I never sit down to a meal that I don’t think about those who have nothing.  Those who beg daily because they have no food to feed their children.  No way to provide for their families.  Those who are being tortured and killed for their Faith.

Many are not uneducated people, but were well off, with cars, homes, good jobs, and all the amenities of life that goes with it. They were jerked from their life, and forced to watch as one by one of their loved ones are killed and tortured.  They were suddenly forced from their homes with what they could carry, fleeing to a promise of freedom.

I’ve asked God over and over, “Why have you opened my eyes to this when I felt as if I could do nothing to help?  I have begged him to release me of this burden, just as Paul did, and just as Paul, I got the answer— “You are not finished yet, you are doing your job, your job is to write and educate and advocate, your job is to pray (some call it travail) for those suffering.  You are NOT DONE, I will tell you when you’re done.”  Paul’s answer was similar,

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

I now understand what that means.  I allowed God to take my life, mold it and use it.  I am in constant tune with His spirit.  I am awakened at night hearing cries of those suffering, dreams of suffering and death.  One night I was awakened from a dream about death with the words, “they will die in their sins”.  These words were in response to those doing the killing.  Until I gave my all to Christ, and submitted to His will not mine, my prayers came back empty.

If you are persecuted and reading this, know that God sees every tear you shed, feels every sorrow and suffering you are enduring.  He is calling together His remnant to spring into service for your needs.  If you are reading this and can’t decide what to do, let Christ guide you and join a group that advocates, or better yet start a mission in your church.  Be a church planter so to speak.  Plant the seeds and see what happens.  The betrayal of Christ still exists today and it’s growing like weeds.  Let’s turn this betrayal into a shining beacon of hope.  Not only for those close by, but for the world.  The world is watching Christians like never before, let’s show them the Gospel of Christ and the hope and faith instead of betrayal.  Let’s show them that Christ’s sacrifice does not come back void.  You say you are not a prayer warrior, I say yes you are.  When you answered God’s call and became born again, you became a prayer warrior.  So put on the full Armor of God and get to it.  Join our prayer team, start a prayer team in your church, use the Thirty pieces of Silver or any other campaign to raise money and awareness.  But God say’s “work, while it is still daylight, as the night comes when no man can work.”

By C. Refsland, VOP Advocate

Together with your generous support, 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

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!

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