Category Archives: Perseverance

-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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-Responding to the Times?

image Here’s some good council from James Goll on how we should be responding to all of the different situations and problems facing our nation.

He points out that the American church has not really turned to God in a disparate way, that the circumstances may call for more radical responses on our part.

Personally looking over the history of our land, there has never been a time when so many major natural disasters have stricken this country in so short a period of time. Then we are in the midst of 2 1/2 wars while our economy is at its worst point in last 70 years or an entire generation.

What does the future hold?

We are preparing for the worse both naturally and economically out here in California. Too many words have come our way to ignore the possibilities of major trouble. However we are also expecting and hoping for revival in the midst of it all.

How are we to respond? Radical prayer is in order. Read the suggestions for responses to differing situations in Goll’s article: “Responding to the Times”

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“When God Makes Us Wait”

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

Here’s an excellent article by Chris Glazier:

When God Makes Us Wait

It is one of the things that I find so difficult to endure. God’s callings and promises to us don’t always happen immediately. Ask Joseph or David. Also Paul waited 9 years or so before he really became the Apostle to the Gentiles.

Sometimes the wait in my life has been long enough that I begin to question whether it was God in the first place.

God seems to put those that he really loves and destines for ministry through a ‘waiting game’ at times but it should actually be understood as a process for increasing faith, maturity, and perseverance.

Glazier lists Romans 5:3-5 as the relevant scripture for this ‘waiting principle’:

“We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (NKJV).

Collectively, quite a number of Christians in the US have been praying and seeking Revival. The words have multiplied in the last few years that a new awakening was coming soon.

One of the hardest things in the prophetic is the timing. To those receiving the word, it always seems like it is a done deal and will happen immediately. Then the months and years pile on and we are left to realize that God’s timing and understanding of ‘soon’ is far different than ours.               *Top

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Judging According to Appearance?

Britain’s Got Talent started on 11 April as expected with all sorts of folks with a rather inflated and deluded sense of their own talent. Then along came Susan Boyle which seemed to offer more of the same–a 47 year old frumpy woman.

The judges started joking and Simon Cowell was snearing as Boyle took the stage with jeers and laughs from the audience. Then she began to sing and it all changed in a moment!   One week later she is an international sensation.

This was all in the natural–think of what could happen in a moment supernaturally!

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The Plight of Christians in the Middle East

Coptic Altar- Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem -via Wikipedia

I keep track of what is happening to Christians in the Middle east, it is really heartbreaking. I’ve been a supporter of Israel and still am, but let’s face it Palestinian Christians receive persecution from both the Jews and the Muslims. I have no answers for what’s happening except to pray.

Seven years ago, the Lord gave me a burden for the Muslims and for revival in the Middle East and I have been praying ever since. Everyday I search the net for stories about Christians in Muslim countries and unfortunately the reports are nearly always bad–except there is the beginning of a hidden revival going on among the Christian community in a number of places.

As near as we can tell, 200,000 Iranians have come to Christ in the last 5 years or so. Nearly every week I read from Compass Direct News or on the VOM Persecution blog of Iranians being arrested, killed, or their children being taken. In response to the revival, the Iranian Parliament just passed a law that would place an automatic death sentence on all who convert to Christianity.

There is also a revival going on in Algeria as near as we can tell, 50,000-70,000 have come to Christ in that country and persecution has increased to the point that they have made it illegal for Christians to gather together in private homes for prayer–it is only legal in an official church. Like the Chinese revival, the real expansion is going on in house churches and not in the recognized churches. 

Egypt is another story. The Coptic Christian community comprises about 10% of the Egyptian population but persecution is increasing because the Muslims are becoming more radical, but also because more and more folks are coming to Christ regardless–usually in miraculous ways. It is illegal there for Muslims to convert to Christianity, but ok the other way around. If a father converts to Islam, all his children and grandchildren are considered to be Muslims whether they want to be or not!

Presently, churches are illegal in Saudi Arabia and it is also against the law to hold bible studies or worship services in the home, but that is the only place that the 1.5 million Christians in the country can meet together. If caught, Christians are thrown in jail after receiving lashes for their faith (just like the book of Acts). There is hope that soon some churches may be allowed in the country.

I could go on for ever about this subject—here are the two articles that got me going today:

Persecution Blog- "Christians Are Being Persecuted in Most Arab Countries"

Christianity Today-"Listening and Learning in the Middle East"

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