Friday June 14, 2013
HOUSE DESTRUCTION TESTS NEW BELIEVER'S FAITH
Syria, May, 2013 (ICR Network)
Daily Christians are helping and reaching out to people in Syria. They use the adversity they face as an opportunity to reveal Jesus Christ.
A Muslim man was suicidal because of his daughter’s terminal illness. He was desperately seeking help. With nowhere to turn, he sought the help of his Christian neighbors; they prayed for the daughter, the lord healed her. Overjoyed, the man decided that he and his family should become followers of Jesus.
As in many Muslim communities, when his friends discovered his conversion, they became angry and tried to convince him to revert back to Islam. His “friends” finally gave him one more chance, revert or have his house destroyed. He stood fast refusing to deny Jesus, he knew the truth of Jesus. His Muslim friends destroyed his house.
During the process of destroying the house, the new Christian did not attempt to stop them, he did not yell or berate them, he just watched. A couple of days later, one of the men who was part of the destruction came up to the new Christian and asked why he did not get mad nor make an effort to stop the men. Who Jesus is, the the love of Jesus was conveyed to the Muslim man. Because of the actions (or inaction) of a new Christian, another person was brought into the Kingdom.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, …” Romans 8:28 NIV
Thursday April 18, 2013
Friday February 22, 2013
The second, better result, is the people of Egypt have had a taste of freedom. One leader stated, “The Arab Spring has allowed many Muslims to taste freedom and that that has given them courage and now they dare question the doubt they had concerning Jesus.”
Although some leave, many Christians feel an urgency to act now. Through all this the church is seeing breakthroughs like never before. A church leader said, “in the crises, people are open to God.” But they need our help.
Take the case of a young Muslim man. He began questioning some of the teachings of Islam, he expressed his opposition to the Imams insulting and speaking against other faiths. This resulted in his father beating him. But a Christian friend at University told him about Jesus, gave him a Bible and prayed with him on a regular basis. The young man had a dream about Jesus that convinced him that He was the light. This courageous decision caused him to be driven from his home and his parents initiated legal steps against him.
He was introduced to Boutros (name can not be given for security reasons) who is helping him with legal advice, spiritual support, and protection from harm.
Because we are here, support can be provided there. In 2012 we partnered with Boutros and provided much needed assistance to 30 people. Each have a name, a face and a story. They all needed help, our lawyer was there.
Are you willing to help? With our INSTANT RESPONSE FUND we are being prepared to react immediately to a call for legal action!
Sunday September 30, 2012
by Pastor Bill H. September 30th 2012 in Indonesia
This morning we heard a personal testimony at CLF in Jakarta from Ribur Manullang, a graduate of a Central Java Training Center sharing how she was beaten by Moslem mobs in Banda, Aceh on May 30th 2012 and imprisoned for 60 days by the Indonesian police. What was her “crime”? She was sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Moslems. There was no arrest warrant issued and neither was there a court decision to be imprisoned. It is an example of unjust suffering of a faithful evangelist sharing the Gospel with Moslems. I cannot imagine how such horrible men can beat up a lady for simply speaking the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She was not hurting anyone and not causing loss to anyone. She was obeying the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ and for this she suffered.
I made a brief study of suffering as mentioned in God’s Word, the Bible and I discovered that the believers are called by God to suffer. 1 Peter 2:19-21, “For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.
I also discovered that God promises to bring deliverance from suffering as stated in Job 36:15, “But those who suffer He delivers in their suffering; He speaks to them in their affliction”.
Ribur testified that God communicated with her in prison and spoke to her through a dream and encouraged and strengthened her.
Another discovery is that God is close to those who suffer and He listens to their prayers. In Psalms 22:24 we read: “For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from him but has listened to his cry for help”.
Ribur testified that she realized that as a disciple of Jesus Christ she could expect suffering because her Savior Jesus Christ was also familiar with suffering and was rejected by men. The servant is not greater than the Master. In Isaiah 53:3 we read that “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces. He was despised, and we esteemed him not”.
I noticed in Acts 5:41 that the Apostles rejoiced when suffering for Jesus Christ, “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ”. In fact after suffering they were even more active sharing the good news!
I realize that we also must rejoice when suffering for Jesus Christ. In 1 Peter 4:12-17 we read, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
God’s Word clearly explains to us:
· Expect suffering to come and don’t be surprised by painful trials.
· Rejoice because you may participate in the sufferings of Jesus Christ.
· There is even greater joy when you meet the Savior face to face in His glory.
· You are blessed when insulted because of your faith in Jesus Christ.
· God the Holy Spirit rests on you so you are never alone in suffering.
· All praise to God when you are allowed to suffer for Jesus Christ.
· God’s Word teaches judgement and suffering for the family of God.
· The suffering will be far greater for those who do not obey the Gospel of God.
Finally I discovered that we must never retaliate when suffering for Jesus Christ. In 1 Peter 2:23-24 we note that, “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed”
Live for righteousness means doing the Will of God. What is God’s will? It is clearly presented in 2 Peter 3:9-13, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”. God wants no one to perish but wants all people everywhere to come to repentance. It is absolutely necessary for all people to hear the Gospel and it is God’s will that all people in every nation of the world hear the Gospel. We may not discriminate against any people or religion when we preach the Gospel. All Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, Shintoist, Christians, Roman Catholics, Mormons, Communists, Animist and Atheists must hear the Gospel. We have been commanded by Jesus Christ in Mark 16:15 to go and preach the good news to all creation. “He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned”. All creation involves all human beings created by God. There is no exception! I realize there is a misunderstanding of these orders of Jesus Christ because even the head of the Christian section in the Department of Religion in Banda Aceh explained to reporters that Ribur was in the wrong for preaching the Gospel to those who were adherents of Islam. Ribur was not in the wrong! She was simply obeying the instructions of Jesus Christ who is above all rulers and governments. She was following the example of the Lord Jesus who also preached the Gospel to religious people.
We may be called to suffer when we obey the command of Jesus Christ. But even in suffering there is opportunity for sharing the Gospel. Ribur testified that in prison she preached the Gospel to police officers, prison guards, journalists and other prisoners. It was her privilege in prison to lead a person to accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior. Nothing may stop us from sharing the Gospel. We hear a lot about human rights these days. I am convinced that the greatest and supreme human right is for people to hear the Gospel. We all must be human rights activists and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ everywhere with all people young and old. No suffering or persecution or government orders may stop the execution of the command of Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords. We must be as bold as Martin Luther when he was standing in front of Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in Germany in 1521: “Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen." And the Lord almighty will respond and say “I will never leave you nor forsake you”, and “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Tuesday July 31, 2012
In that moment, Ribur says, “I was thinking of the Lord Jesus also being beaten and suffering for me.” She knows that it is her duty to obey God and to share the Gospel with everyone, no matter the consequences. Ribur and Roy are confident in God’s plan for them.
God has answered the prayers for their release. As of July 30th they were both released and now in safety. Roy and Ribur were risking their life in order to share about Jesus and the Good News.
“…I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.” –Philippians 1:13-14
Monday December 19, 2011
Recently the Lord grabbed a hold of my heart and drew me into a deeper understanding and devotion to remembering them in prayer. I'm now amazed at just how much scripture refers to the persecuted, and how often we are told by the Apostle Paul to pray for them, and embrace them. Later, I was introduced to International Christian Response (ICR). I met with an Ambassador of ICR, several times and he encouraged me to read several books on persecution. It was through these readings that I began to have a deeper and clearer understanding of who they are, and why they are so set aside by the Lord. The more I read the more they become alive in my heart and mind - I feel connected to them. I have also had the opportunity to hear different speakers from some of these persecuted countries and again, my heart is blessed
I am now finding that instead of praying 'for' them, I am praying 'with' them as brothers and sisters in the Lord. I am constantly challenged by their deep, deep love for the Lord - their boldness in their witness - their zeal to stand strong before Him. I now see how their persecution has driven them even closer to the Lord, and their numbers are growing because of that. One man put it so succinctly - "Remember, as the idols are smashed, the gospel grows." (Faith that Endures, pg 15). In listening to a persecuted converted Muslim believer, I heard that same kind of thought when she said, "When Suddam's reign collapsed it was the best thing that could have happened for Christian growth in the underground churches, because thousands of people were desperate to find 'light' in all that 'darkness'." It actually made them desperate for God.
Many of us in the West are not desperate for God - instead, we take Him for granted. The persecuted are prepared for and ready to die for their Lord. That thought hasn't crossed most of our minds. We have much to learn from them. The persecuted believer understands that their witness for Christ could very well cost them their very life. In Romans 8:35-37 we read, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." In Romans 8:17-18 we read: "Since I am Your child, O God, I am Your heir, and a joint heir with Christ, if indeed I share in His sufferings in order that I may also share in His glory. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to me." This is how they face their persecution - as an honor!
Many of those who are persecuted say that their most urgent need is prayer. The prayer they desire is not for relief from suffering but for the strength and ability to endure suffering for the sake of Christ. Not all who are persecuted live a victorious life in Christ. Some are beaten down emotionally and physically and return to their Muslim families 'in disguise' - going back to the safety net of family, but worshipping undercover so to speak.. We are not to judge by any means. They as well need our prayers. I was most surprised when I read how the persecuted believer prays for their persecutor! The Lord has time and again responded to those prayers when something was said or done that stuck in the mind of that persecutor, and he then sought out the Lord and found Him. We have so much to learn from the simplicity of their worship - their devotion to their Lord - their boldness in their living for Him - their determination to share this new found faith with family and friends. I urge you to become acquainted with our persecuted believers all over the world. It' an experience you will never forget!
Friday July 1, 2011
A while back I drove with a friend, Alex, from New Delhi to the North of India. We drove past a number of car wrecks along the way and were thankful for God’s ongoing protection. As we drove along a straight stretch, we saw a man on a bicycle riding from a field onto the main road. A motorbike with two riders coming along the main road slammed into the cyclist full force and sent him flying. The two men on the motorbike turned out to be policemen. Alex stopped the car and went to see if he could help. I stayed in the car and had a strong sense that I should pray for protection. The cyclist lay lifeless on the road and the policemen got back on their motorbike and took off. Two people dragged the cyclist off to the side of the road and left him lying in the grass, never giving him another look. Someone suggested to my friend that we should take him to the hospital in our car. Alex said he only wanted to do that if a relative would come along, in order to provide the needed...
Friday July 1, 2011
Frequently, when I visit believers in countries where they are persecuted, I am amazed at the level of solidarity they live out amidst their difficult circumstances. In Vietnam, for example, I observed believers sacrificially sharing the little food they have with a family who had their home confiscated and destroyed. In Indonesia I watched solidarity expressed by those rescuing the wounded at the risk of being shot by Muslim extremists. In China I saw solidarity expressed by those weeping as they prayed for their brothers and sisters in Christ in neighbouring North Korea.
If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.
1 Corinthians 12:26, The Message