This has got to be one of the best promotional videos ever. Whether you are a Duck Dynasty fan or not, you can still help. Operation Christmas Child is in full swing. National collection week is right around the corner Nov 18-25. Samaritan’s Purse has been running this event since 1993, providing gifts for needy children around the globe, and not just practical gifts, but the message of Jesus Christ. Check out the website for more details on how to become a part of this booming ministry simply by filling a shoebox with gifts. This is a great way to get the kids in your life involved as well!
Just another reminder about the 24 hour prayer vigil in honor of International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Christian Advocacy Now is sponsoring the vigil beginning at 7pm Saturday – 7pm Sunday. Please sign up for a time to pray. You can choose one 5 minute time slot or many. Thanks for joining with us!
Here’s another video, produced by Open Doors Australia. This one highlights stories from Saudi Arabia.
Here is another video. This one was produced by Open Doors Australia and focuses on the story of Hea Woo from North Korea. North Korea is one of the worst persecutors in the world and a completely closed country. But God is not held back by human barriers and amazingly, His message of hope is still alive in this dark nation. Pray for these believers who desperately need perseverance and courage.
In today’s bible reading out of Lamentations, it struck me how applicable it was in thinking of the persecuted church. In chapter 3 Jeremiah is basically recounting his sorrows to God, no holds barred. But there is still reason to hope. It is my prayer for the persecuted church that God would remind them of His steadfast love so they would be able to endure the hardships.
“He drove into my kidneys
the arrows of his quiver;
I have become the laughingstock of all peoples,
the object of their taunts all day long.
He has filled me with bitterness;
he has sated me with wormwood.
He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
and made me cower in ashes;
my soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is;
so I say, “My endurance has perished;
so has my hope from the Lord.”
Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man that he bear
the yoke in his youth.
Let him sit alone in silence
when it is laid on him;
let him put his mouth in the dust –
there may yet be hope;
let him give his cheek to the one who strikes,
and let him be filled with insults.
For the Lord will not
cast off forever,
but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for he does not afflict from this hear
or grieve the children of men.”
– Lamentations 3:13-33 ESV
This Sunday, November 3, is designated IDOP (the international day of prayer for the persecuted church). Hundreds of thousands of Christians are persecuted every day around the globe. It is not relegated to one country and sadly, seems to be getting worse. If you thought that Christians were only tortured, imprisoned and murdered in the book of Acts, you are definitely wrong.
If you are a Christian, these are our fellow brothers and sisters. When you think about giving everything up for the sake of Christ, many of these believers have, or they have had everything taken from them, and still stand firm. What an inspiration their stories are and they should not be far from our hearts. God hears their cries and holds their tears as precious.
There are many ways you can get involved this year for IDOP. You can pray on your own or with others. You can make others aware as well, or get your church involved. One very practical way is to sign up for the 24 hour prayer vigil put on by Christian Advocacy Now. We are trying to cover a 24 hour period in prayer for the persecuted church. You can sign up for as little as 5 minutes. Just choose a time, and a country to pray for. There are prayer points listed for each country as well. You will even receive an email reminder. What could be more simple!
For the rest of the week I am going to share a story or video every day highlighting different stories from around the world. I hope these will serve as a reminder of how important this task is. Prayer is our biggest asset and something we can actually do on behalf of our family who is hurting.
I’m am definitely not a big sports fan. I watch games occasionally, but when I saw this sports related story I had to share it. My husband is watching the All Star game as I write this. And it’s great to know that one of the players is doing something for a really great cause. Cleveland Indians pitcher and All Star, Justin Masterson, is teaming up with Bright Hope to feed and educate 1,400 children in the Mathare Valley slum in Nairobi, Kenya through “Feed Their Future.”
Bright Hope is a local organization that helps those living on less than $1 a day. We have volunteered for them before and give regularly. We really love their mission and are so excited to see them get support from someone who has a platform.
You can help too by watching the video and clicking the link to find out more. brighthope.org/feedtheirfuture.
I have mentioned several times already the plight of Pastor Saeed, an American pastor imprisoned in Iran. He has now been in prison for 196 days and counting. His birthday is coming up in May and a letter writing campaign has been started. I can only help but think as his birthday comes that his family will be missing him and he them.
Follow this link to send him an e-letter. It’s super simple and you can customize it or leave it. Either way, I know it will be so encouraging to him to receive letters from around the globe letting him know that he is not forgotten and that he is being prayed for. Let’s encourage our brother to keep fighting the good fight.
March 21 letter from Pastor Saeed. His parents were able to visit him and he was able to get this letter out. It is so hard to imagine how you will react in the face of such a trial, but God promises to never leave or forsake us. He also promises to give us words to speak in times of trial. And I believe, as this man is showing us, that he gives us supernatural strength and power to love and forgive our enemies when we trust in Him. Please pray for this man, this fellow American and brother in Christ.
Please sign the petition to free him if you haven’t already. Get your friends and family to sign. Make everyone you can aware. You can also find more updates and resources on the Save Saeed Facebook page.
Even when I get mad at our government for not doing more and angry at the Iranian government for doing what is so unjust, I know God’s plans and ways are different than ours and I am thankful that He is in control and at work even in the midst of this terrible situation.
Imagine if your brother was originally from another country, but he gets citizenship here. He got married and has a few kids whom you adore. He has a normal American life. He goes back to visit his home country and is arrested. He is sent to a notoriously brutal prison. You know he is innocent of any crime and you are scared for him. You feel terrible for his kids and wife waiting for his return and wish you could help more. You are resolved to do everything within your power to get your brother out of prison and back to America. After all, he’s your brother.
I wish this story were fictional, but instead it is the story of Pastor Saeed Abedini. He is an American citizen with a wife and kids. He visited Iran, his home country and was arrested in September 2012. He was convicted in an Iranian court for endangering national security. However, it is believed that the real reason for his arrest is the fact that in 2000, when he converted to Christianity he helped many Christians in underground churches in Iran. When arrested he was in the process of helping to build an orphanage. He is completely innocent of any crime, but having faith in Jesus Christ.
He has been sentenced to 8 years in prison and is currently serving his sentence in Evin Prison. He has been beaten, tortured and repeatedly coerced to deny his faith. He has been able to get a letter out that details some of what he has been going through. He will never deny his faith and I am so encouraged by his courage and God’s faithfulness to him through this dark period.
If you are a Christian, this is your brother. If you are an American, this is your fellow American citizen. It really angers me to think that an American citizen can unjustly be imprisoned in another country and we can’t do anything about it?! I find that hard to believe. Demand that more be done to save this man! Here is one simple thing you can do.
Get your friends and family to sign. And do it quickly. They are going to present this to UN Council Wednesday. The more signatures, hopefully, the more pressure it will put on them to act on behalf of Saeed.
Us Pastor, Saeed has been imprisoned in Iran for quite some time now. He was able to get out a letter recently which is such a testament to his faith. His only crime is being a Christian and he faces threats, beatings and psychological abuses daily in an effort by the guards to get him to recant his faith. He refuses. Read his letter. Be encouraged. Be challenged. Continue to pray for this brother in Christ.
He is a US citizen, yet it seems that our government is not pushing as hard as it should for his release. Pray that they would work on his behalf as well and step up their game.