Category Archives: Faith

-Letter of Thanks From Iranian Pastor

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Here’s a letter of thanks from Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani to God for the blessings and provision provided to him during his time in prison and thanks to fellow Christians for their prayers and support. A tremendous testimony from one who has suffered greatly for his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ:

Salaam! Peace be upon you!

I glorify and give grace to the Lord with all my heart. I am grateful for all the blessings that He gave me during my whole life. I am especially grateful for His goodness and divine protection that characterized the time of my detention.

I also want to express my gratitude towards those who, all around the world, have worked for my cause, or should I say the cause that I defend. I want to express my gratitude to all of those who have supported me, openly or in complete secrecy. You are all very dear to my heart. May the Lord bless you and give you His perfect and sovereign Grace.

Indeed I have been put to the test, the test of faith which is, according to the Scriptures ‘more precious than perishable gold.’ But I have never felt loneliness, I was all the time aware of the fact that it wasn’t a solitary battle, for I have felt all the energy and support of those who obeyed their conscience and fought for the promotion of the justice and the rights of all human beings. Thanks to these efforts, I have now the enormous joy to be by my wonderful wife and my children. I am grateful for these people through whom God has been working. All of this is very encouraging.

During that period, I had the opportunity to experience in a marvelous way the Scripture that says: ‘Indeed, as the sufferings of Christ abound for us, our encouragement abound through Christ.’ He has comforted my family and has given them the means to face that difficult situation. In His Grace, He provided for their spiritual and material needs, taking away from me a heavy weight.

The Lord has wonderfully provided through the trial, allowing me to face the challenges that were in front of me. As the Scriptures says, ‘He will not allow us to be tested beyond our strength….’

Despite the fact that I have been found guilty of apostasy according to a certain reading of the Shar’ia, I am grateful that He gave the leaders of the country, the wisdom to break that judgment taking into account other facts of that same Shar’ia. It is obvious that the defenders of the Iranian right and the legal experts have made an important effort to enforce the law and the right. I want to thank those who have defended the right until the end.

I am happy to live in a time where we can take a critical and constructive look to the past. This has allowed the writing of universal texts aiming at the promotion of the rights of man. Today, we are debtors of these efforts provided by dear people who have worked for the respect of human dignity and have passed on to us these universal significant texts.

I am also debtor of those who have faithfully passed on the Word of God, that very Word who makes us heirs of God.

Before ending, I want to express a prayer for the establishment of an unending and universal peace, so that the will of the Father be done on earth as it is in heaven. Indeed, everything passes, but the Word of God, source of all peace, will last eternally.

“May the grace and mercy of God be multiplied to you. Amen!”

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-Kingdom Culture: God Promises Peace of Mind and Joy in Your Life

Jesus on the wall of the senior Home
(Image by freestone via Flickr)

Phil 4:4-7

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;

6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  -ESV

Everything around you might be chaotic and falling a part but God offers you peace of mind and joy in the midst of it all. One can live in full confidence and faith that everything is going to turn out for the best for you and yours (Rom 8:28) in Christ Jesus.

God the Father personally offers to give you His peace and joy—a peace that the world outside of Jesus does not understand or comprehend. It is available to you for the asking, no matter what your circumstances.

You may be engulfed in a nasty divorce and see no daylight at the end of the tunnel. You may have lost a child and you are even blaming God for it. That good job that you had for years is gone and you can’t seem to find another. You may be behind in all of your bills and the family car was just repossessed. It doesn’t matter—God promises you peace and joy in your life regardless.

You say Michael that is just crazy—there is no way that I can have any peace while I am going through this or that.

That is the point of course, God the Father offers all Christians a peace that doesn’t make sense in the ways and understanding of this world.

Here’s how it works. Every Christian has the Holy Spirit actually living inside them even though most of the time we ignore that presence. How incredible it that?  The creator of the universe actually has placed a part of himself inside of each one of us. It is that Spirit which can transform our lives and bring us peace and joy, faith and confidence, in the midst of sorrow and chaos.

It all begins when we choose to worship and praise God no matter what—in bad times and good. The Holy Spirit will flood our lives with peace and joy if we choose to take everything to him in prayer and then praise and thank him for everything regardless.

I once read a book that demonstrated this principal in the life of a prisoner who was transformed by the power of God and later became a minister that touched the lives of millions: Prison to Praise by Merlin Carothers. I highly recommend the book.

Point is, all of our lives can be transformed for the better by praising God and receiving His peace that can only come to us by His Spirit which is given to us through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

If you’re reading this and not sure whether you have His Holy Spirit within you, sort of always believed in Jesus but never fully committed your life to Christ, now is the time. Pray to God right now…God I want your Holy Spirit in my life, I fully commit myself to your Son Jesus, please help me with my unbelief and help me to change my life. I want to receive your joy and peace in my life through your Son Jesus and by Your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus name, Amen.

*NOTE: This is the final article in the Phillipians 4:4-7 series. Here’s links to the other 4 articles:

1.  Kingdom Culture: Peace in the Midst of Chaos

2.  Kingdom Culture: Be Reasonable and Considerate

3.  Kingdom Culture: The Lord is Always with Us

4.  Kingdom Culture: Do Not Worry, Be Thankful and Pray Instead

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Kingdom Culture: Do Not Worry, Be Thankful and Pray Instead

The Anointing of the Holy Spirit
Image by Loci Lenar via Flickr

Phil 4:4-7

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;

6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  -ESV

Do not be anxious about anything? This comes in the form of a command and surely is relevant for us today in the middle of a major economic crisis and a culture that seems to be leaving us behind. In effect Paul says here—Don’t worry pray instead and be thankful. This is the way of the Kingdom and the path of faith which leads us in an entirely different direction than the dominant culture.

We know that Paul actually lived out this command praising God after being beaten and thrown in prison, ministering to those around him regardless of the circumstances, even writing this scripture and others while he was in custody.

Remember, we have a God who wants only the best for us and we have a Lord who understands what we are going through, and we have a Holy Spirit which is with us in the midst of all of our troubles inspiring us to seek the best—we are not alone, praise God and be thankful!

The passage also remind me of what Jesus said in Matt. 6:25-34 plus the Greek word for anxious is the same in this passage also:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” …

…“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”…

“O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, …For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

The basic message in both of these passages is the same—live according to faith and not like the dominant culture. Praise God, seek His Kingdom, pray continually, remember to be thankful and  it will be well with you and yours for all eternity including the few years lived on this earth and in these chaotic times.

Believe me I know how difficult this may seem sometimes and I certainly am guilty of letting bad circumstances get to me and bring me down for a while. But with God everything is possible and when we let His Spirit to be more a part of our daily lives than it is increasingly fulfilled in us as we actually gain the mind of Christ and peace floods into our daily lives in spite of ourselves.            *Top

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“Get Rid of Your Fear”

image My friends, we live in fearful times and even many of us in the church are caught up in the crisis mode facing this country and many of us have been severely affected by the economic downturn. Sometimes it is hard not to live in  state of perpetual fear when you owe thousands and have only a few hundred to your name—believe me I know. Yet God does not want his children to live in the spirit of fear—which comes from the enemy. Here’s a good story and lesson from John Paul Jackson on this issue: Get Rid of Your Fear

“Over time, I have discovered that God takes our fears very seriously. We often do not. Most of us have been afraid of the same things for so many years that we almost don’t notice how they’re affecting us anymore—or worse, we choose to ignore them.”

<<Read the Rest>>

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God Will Supply!

image Here’s a wonderful faith generating story from Bill Hamon and his wife Evelyn telling of some tough times during the early years of their ministry in 1958 when all they had were 8 pennies and they prayed for the 8 pennies to somehow be turned into $8 so that they could go down the road to their next ministry assignment:

“In the early years, my wife, Evelyn—”Mom”—and I traveled in ministry with our son, Tim. When he was a year and a half old, we were in Muskogee, Oklahoma, doing meetings in a small country church. The congregation didn’t have a pastor, and every night after I would minister they would place a basket on the altar and say, “We know you’re all poor and you don’t have anything, but if you could find something to give to the minister, that would be a blessing.”

After about two weeks of ministering there, paying for our own food, gas and other needs, we were averaging about 50 cents per night in the offering. Even in 1958, 50 cents was not very much money.  …”

<<Read the whole story>>

Side comment: Now some of you younger folks may not realize how much the worth of a US dollar has changed over the years. I can remember going to lots of Saturday matinee movies at the picture show in the mid 50’s as a kid with my 50 cents allowance which not only got me in the door but also a small coke and a popcorn–and I got to see 2 movies, a couple of cartoons, plus a newsreel to help you get seated! So much for the good ol’ days.          *Top 

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