Archive for the ‘persecution’ Category

Please, take a moment to pray for our brother in Christ, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who just yesterday was sentenced to execution in Iran for converting to Christianity.

Fox News reports:

Supporters fear Youcef Nadarkhani, a 34-year-old father of two who was arrested over two years ago on charges of apostasy, may now be executed at any time without prior warning, as death sentences in Iran may be carried out immediately or dragged out for years.

It is unclear whether Nadarkhani can appeal the execution order. …

Nadarkhani was arrested in October 2009 and was tried and found guilty of apostasy by a lower court in Gilan, a province in Rasht. He was then given verbal notification of an impending death-by-hanging sentence. …

The court then gave Nadarkhani the opportunity to recant, as the law requires a man to be given three chances to recant his beliefs and return to Islam.

His first option was to convert back to Islam. When he refused, he was asked to declare Muhammad a prophet, and still he declined.

Pray that our brother would be strengthened by the Father through the Spirit to hold fast to the word of life, confident that though Christ’s enemies may kill his body, his soul is secure in mercy and grace of God his Father, the only Lord of the universe who works all things according to the counsel of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace.

Please, beseech God for his mercy and sustaining power, that Pastor Youcef would be strengthened by the fact that God has granted him the great honor of not only believing in Christ, but also suffering for his name.  Pray that Pastor Youcef would fight the good fight of faith, and that he would confidently take hold of the eternal life granted to him through his good confession of Jesus Christ.

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Youcef Nadarkhani

International Business Times:

Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who is facing the death penalty, again refused to convert to Islam to save his life.

Nadarkhani was arrested in 2009 for the crime of apostasy because he allegedly abandoned Islam for Christianity. As a pastor, Iranian clerics believe that Nadarkhani was preaching in order to convert Muslims.

Before his last hearing Wednesday, Nadarkhani had been given three previous chances to repent, and all three times he has refused. After his final refusal Wednesday, no verdict has been announced, but many expect that he could be put to death as soon as Friday.

The case has slowly garnered international attention, and there are a number of Christian rights groups advocating for his release.

Let all of those who read this post pray for our brother in Christ – that the Spirit would strengthen and encourage his faith, reminding him of the glory and joy that awaits, in the presence of our faithful and loving Father.

Charisma News:

On Tuesday, high school freshman Dakota Ary was given in-school suspension for stating in class that he believes homosexuality is wrong because of his Christian faith…

“I’m a Christian and, to me, being homosexual is wrong,” Ary said to one of his classmates during a class on religious beliefs in Germany.

When the teacher overheard Ary’s comment, he was written up and sent to the principal’s office. The discipline referral form says the comment was out of context, even though the lesson for the day was on religious beliefs. The teacher charged Ary with “possible bullying” and said, “It is wrong to make such a statement in public school.”…

Noteworthy is the fact this same teacher last week displayed a picture of two men kissing on a “World Wall” and told the students that homosexuality is becoming more prevalent in the world and that they should just accept it. Many of the students were offended by the teacher’s actions and his continually bringing up the topic of homosexuality in a German language class…

“The double standard advocated by homosexual activists is mind boggling. Jerry Buell was suspended for opposing same-sex ‘marriage’ outside of class,” says Harry Mihet, senior litigation counsel for Liberty Counsel. “This teacher in Texas is actually bullying his students into accepting the homosexual lifestyle inside the class, and yet it is his student, not him, that gets suspended. We will vigorously defend and restore Dakota’s constitutional rights.”

Vote responsibly to preserve our constitutional rights!  But also remember Jesus’s words: “You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.”

Compass Direct News:

NAIROBI, Kenya, September 12 (CDN) — A kidnapped Christian convert from Islam was found decapitated on Sept. 2 on the outskirts of Hudur City in Bakool region, in southwestern Somalia.

Juma Nuradin Kamil was forced into a car by three suspected Islamic extremists from the al Shabaab terrorist group on Aug. 21, area sources said. After members of his community thoroughly combed the area looking for him, at 2 p.m. on Sept. 2 one of them found Kamil’s body dumped on a street.

The kidnapping and subsequent manner of murder suggests that al Shabaab militants had been monitoring him, Christian leaders said. Muslim extremists from al Shabaab, a militant group with ties to al Qaeda, have vowed to rid Somalia of Christianity, and they control the area some 400 kilometers from Mogadishu.

A Christian who saw Kamil’s body said it bore the marks of an al Shabaab killing, according to a leader in Somalia’s underground church who lives in another city.

“It is usual for the al Shabaab to decapitate those they suspect to have embraced the Christian faith, or sympathizers of western ideals,” the leader said. “Our brother accepted the Christian faith three years ago and was determined in his faith in God. We greatly miss him.”

Let us pray for our brothers and sisters around the world, especially those living in Islamic countries hostile to the Gospel.  May Christ strengthen and encourage them in the midst of their suffering, for his glory and their glorification.

HT: Zionica

Friend, anyone who told you that being a Christian requires nothing more than saying a few words or praying a prayer as if it were a magic spell, was dead wrong.  Anyone who told you that coming to Jesus would make your life easy, pleasant, and fun, was dead wrong.  Anyone who told you that Jesus wants you to be rich, was dead wrong.  No, following Jesus means picking up your cross.  As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”

– Mike McKinley, Am I Really a Christian?, p. 117, emphasis mine

Letter to Monsieur De Falais
Exhortation to glorify God amid poverty and persecution.

…It is time to show in reality that when you have set yourself frankly to follow Jesus Christ, you have not done so without being resolved to hold fellowship with Him at the cross, since He has done us that honour to be crucified in us, to glorify us with Himself…But, forasmuch as it is very reasonable that one should be taught by experience discernment of what our affection is most set upon, you are to consider that it has been the Lord’s will to give you to many others for an example, and, by this means, to glorify His name in you.

On the other hand, we know not what it is to part with everything for the love of Him, until He has brought us to the test.  True it is, that he who has taken off his affection from the goods of this world has already sold all, and has made himself poor, so far as depends upon himself; but the fruit and proof of this spiritual poverty are, patiently to endure the loss of worldly goods, and without any regret, when it pleases our heavenly Father that we should be despoiled of them…

The time then is arrived when you must manifest that you reckon all things no more than dung, that you may reach forward to Him who not only has bestowed on you all His benefits, but also Himself.  And since God has permitted that you should be disburdened of a part of your worldly goods, you are to consider that He has clearly perceived that, for the present, they would prove a useless burden for you…

In short, you have not been lessened one whit, seeing that our Lord, while teaching you that your inheritance is in heaven, has made provision for what might be useful for the life of the body, by bestowing contentment upon you, and, as regards poverty, more than was needful to make you contented…It is certain, that having the Son of God, we suffer no injury in being deprived of all else: for thus highly ought we indeed to prize Him.

…I pray our good Lord that He would so work in you now more powerfully than ever, to make you despise all that is in the world, and to make you breathe upwards direct to Him with your whole heart, without being turned aside by anything whatsoever, making you taste what is the worth of the hope which He reserves for us in heaven…

– John Calvin, Letter to Monsieur De Falais (1545), Letters of John Calvin, p. 76-77

HT: Desiring God