Recently a VOM team visited with persecuted Christians in Nigeria, where they met with and ministered to persecuted Christians, including children and widows. Included in the team was a group of women specially trained to minister to and encourage widows.
Here are some highlights of their trip.
Please pray for Christians in Nigeria.
On this episode of ID the Future, hear a recent debate between Dr. Stephen Meyer and Rev. Michael Dowd that took place on the Michael Medved Show. Rev. Dowd is an advocate of Evolution Theology, or "Religion 2.0" (see his personal credo here), and author of Thank God for Evolution.
Pastor Behnam Irani has endured a number of trials and suffered during his imprisonment at Ghezel Hesar Prison located in Iran. After nearly two years of suffering from an intestinal disorder and being very ill, Pastor Behnam was finally taken for surgery on Feb. 22 and he is reported to be doing well as he continues to recuperate in his prison cell — where he was taken about four days after the operation. And as he has been in recovery, secret police seized his only Bible as well as other Christian books.
Just a few days ago, we also heard from readers who have reported that the letters they have sent to Pastor Behnam are being returned. Although marked “insufficient address,” our contacts assure us that the address is correct. They implore you to continue to write to the pastor.
But why write if my letters aren’t going to get there?
Even while your letters may be returned, we know from other prisoners like Maryam and Marziyeh, who were held in the women’s ward of Evin Prison, that the guards may report the volume of letters to Pastor Behnam. Though he may not be able to hold the letter and read it for himself, news of your love will encourage him.
The letters also tell officials that Christians are watching how the pastor is being treated. The letters and your prayers may have helped to convince authorities to ensure that Pastor Behnam was treated for his abdominal problems, where medical problems are often overlooked. Prisoners, especially Christians, are treated poorly.
The pastor has a wife and two young children. His daughter and son both miss their father, who has been in prison since May, 2011. Prisons in Iran are dark places. In a letter to the church dated October 2012, Pastor Behnam wrote, “Here in the jail, most of the prisoners are addicted to many types of illegal drugs, especially crystal meth.” Very few have hope of any kind.
He goes on in his letter and exhorts the church to remember, “No matter how dark it is around you, it is important for you to keep shining, and to let the light of your love be generously offered.” This light, he says is truly found in Jesus.
Pray that although Pastor Benham’s Bible has been taken he will continue to be a light to those in a very dark place, both his fellow prisoners as well as the guards. Pray that guards would report to him the letters he is getting and would take notice that Christians are watching.
Write a letter today at prisoneralert.com in hopes that he is able to receive encouraging words from you.
“Ann Kay” is a writer for VOM. She learned about VOM five years ago when she read Tortured for Christ and began receiving the newsletter. She is passionate about reaching the world for Christ and sharing stories of the persecuted church.
In Exodus 8 we read about the plague of frogs God inflicted upon Egypt.
- Frogs were over the entire country (v.2).
- Frogs blanketed the land (v.6). Everywhere you looked you saw frogs.
- Frogs were in the homes, bedrooms, on people—everywhere (v.3-4).
- Pharaoh’s magicians duplicated what Moses and Aaron had done (v.7).
Interestingly enough, the Egyptians worshiped a frog goddess named Haquet.What “Frogs” do You Worship?
Each of us have our own “frogs” (sin issues) that are making us miserable. We have frogs affecting everyone around us. We have sins we consider “sacred”— worshiping them in the place of God. If we don’t choose to deal with them right here, right now, they will multiply and begin to cover (take over) every aspect of our lives.Your Frogs Aren’t in Just One Area of Your Life!
Satan wants to convince you that your sin issue is in just one isolated area of your life. “It’s not like it’s impacting every part of my life.” Oh really?
One of my major “frogs” was porn addiction. I thought I had it under control. I thought it was something that I could keep secret. I believed that I could pull out my “frog” in the secret spot of my life and play with it any time I wanted, enjoy it for a while, then put it back in its box until later.
Just like the frogs of Exodus 8, my frog multiplied. It began to hop into other aspects of my life. My frog began to invade my home life. It crept into my bedroom, and into my bed. It was on me—I carried it around with me everywhere I went. I was foolish enough to believe that I still had it under control.
God allowed it to continue to grow until it became so big, so noisy in my life, that everyone around me was deeply impacted. I nearly lost my marriage, I nearly lost my family, I lost my job—twice—and I attempted suicide. But God had other plans. He lovingly, patiently worked with me. He helped me get rid of my frog goddess!When Will You Get Rid of Your Frogs?
Exodus 8:8 says Pharaoh called for Moses, demanding that he ask God to remove the frogs, promising that the Israelites could then go and worship. Moses responds: “Pharaoh, I’m so glad to hear you want the frogs gone! I’m so glad you finally realize the misery they’re causing not only you, but everyone around you! I’m so glad you recognize that only God can save you from these frogs! So I’m going to give you the privilege of determining when. When do you want God to remove these frogs from your life?”
Have you gotten to that point yet? Have you come to the full realization that your “frogs” are making you—and everyone around you—miserable? Do you realize that the things you’re worshiping, thinking they are your friends, believing they are actually bringing you pleasure, are in reality false gods intent on your destruction? Have you accepted the fact you need to get rid of those “frogs” and only God can help you do that?
I must confess, Exodus 8:10 baffles me. I don’t get it. Here is Pharaoh, miserable, upset, acknowledging that his “god” is making him miserable. He’s finally come to the conclusion that only the One True God can help him get rid of his frogs. Moses gives him the opportunity of deciding when he wants God to remove the frogs from his life…and he says “Tomorrow.” What? Are you kidding me?
I can almost hear Pharaoh saying: “I’m so glad your God is read to help me get rid of my frogs. They’re bad, unclean, unhealthy, making me—and everyone around me—absolutely miserable, they’re causing all kinds of problems for me…but I want one more night with these frogs. Let’s deal with the frogs in my life—tomorrow.”What’s so Special About Your Frogs That You Are Willing to Put Them in the Place of God in Your Life?
What are your frogs doing for you that God cannot do? Don’t be like Pharaoh. You know there are frogs in your life. You know there are specific sins you need to get rid of. You know they are hindering your relationship with God. You know God stands ready right now to help you get rid of those frogs. Please don’t wait until tomorrow to deal with them. Choose right here, right now to give them over to God and let Him help you get rid of your frogs once-and-for-all!
Photo credit: paukrus
Steve Etner is a national men’s speaker, author, and Purity Coach with The Pure Man Ministry. His book, Extreme Mind Makeover: How to Transform Sinful Habits into God-Pleasing Patterns of Life, and his conferences, seminars, and retreats focus on what God has to say about the way we think and the impact it has on our behavior. Teaching men how to live in moral purity by equipping them with Biblical answers, Steve’s goal is for men to have a re-ignited passion for Jesus and learn how to prepare their minds to successfully overcome their temptations and thus live pure lives for Christ.
The post Dealing With The Frogs In Your Life: Getting Rid of Idols appeared first on Covenant Eyes.
Leah stood among the congregation in the church in South Sudan, singing beautiful praises to God. Christian workers visiting the church noticed her right away. They saw that Leah was blind and sickly, and she wore old clothing.
“Leah is a strong Christian,” the pastor later told the visiting workers.
“Why don’t you help her more?” one worker asked some of the Christians in the congregation. “She’s blind and sick, and she needs clothes!”
But God has not left Leah alone. He has given her a very special helper. Leah has a 5-year-old daughter. Leah’s daughter has learned to lead her mother around. She is her mother’s guide.
The visitors saw Leah’s daughter standing faithfully by Leah’s side. The girl held onto her mother with one hand, and she clutched a Bible in her other hand. Close to her mother, she is learning to sing praises to God even in the most difficult circumstances. That can be a hard lesson for any Christian to learn, but God has given Leah’s daughter a very good teacher.
What We Don’t Tell Children
VOM’s Kids of Courage resources have told the story of Leah and her daughter. From the story, children learn that people don’t have to live in comfortable circumstances to joyfully sing praises to the Lord. They learn that God cares for us (1 Peter 5:7), often through others, even children.
When children have already learned about bold believers who suffer, they may not be any less grieved by harsher stories of persecution when they are adults. But they may be less likely to blame God and to have their faith shaken when they encounter the persecution.
After they get older, they can learn more about how Leah’s village was attacked by Muslims from the North about six years before the visiting Christians arrived.
Most of the people in the village fled, but Leah couldn’t see where to run. Her daughter—her guide, her blessing—was the result of the Muslims’ attack on her that day. “Love your enemies” and “Pray for those who persecute you” surely take on new dimensions when you’re forced to bear your enemy’s child.
We don’t tell children that part of the story. But we can help prepare them to hear it later when they can again be reminded that people don’t have to wait until they are in comfortable situations to praise the Lord, and that God cares for us in our struggles.
VOM’s Kids of Courage resources help parents and educators teach children ages 5 to 13 about persecuted Christians around the world, and provide opportunities for children to serve and pray for them. Learn more at www.kidsofcourage.com.