Wednesday, July 31, 2013

In The Name Of Jesus - Messiah

In The Name Of Jesus - Messiah
Some say that Turkmenistan is one of the most restrictive countries in the world. The government has a monopoly on internet access and uses a computer program to search emails for coded words, and to block suspicious messages. According to the latest available statistics, less than five percent of the population is using the internet. Broadcast media is also under strict government control. There are seven state-owned TV and four state-owned radio networks. Though satellite dishes and programming provide an alternative to the state-run media, officials sometimes limit access by removing satellite dishes.

Given this highly restrictive system, it is not surprising that independent public activity is not allowed, and virtually every meeting is suspiciously monitored. The “quasi-religious personality cult” style of leadership, established by past presidents, has led the nation into a spirit of obedience. Any group considered deviant, or not showing reverence to the president, will come under enormous pressure.

All religious groups are required to be registered with the Council on Religious Affairs; all non-registered religious activity is illegal. According to government records, there are 121 religious organizations and seven religious groups that are registered; of these, 104 are Islamic. Obtaining registration is a long and tedious bureaucratic process which can take years.

Closely watched by the government, there are also informers who infiltrate churches to determine if they are doing anything illegal. Christians have to be careful, even amongst each other, about what they say and how they say it. Raids on church services are common, and even registered groups suffer from searches and questioning. But for Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) all of these challenges are exasperated by pressure from their families and community to recant their faith.

One With Them

Although no Christian bookshops exist in Turkmenistan, Christian radio and television programs have become available via satellite broadcast. Open Doors estimates that today there are around 95,000 Christians in the country. Be One With the young, but growing, church in Turkmenistan praying for believers to have the freedom to openly worship Jesus, the Messiah, without fear or hindrance. And during Ramadan, pray for the Holy Spirit to supernaturally fill Turkmen citizens, who have been indoctrinated with cult teachings, with a hunger for the truth.


Youth across the Muslim world are a wide-open mission field. Consider giving a gift that can help to produce youth-specific multimedia programs for the internet, radio and satellite TV. Media programs such as these can reach many more young lives with the gospel. 


“… anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.”
(Mark 9:41)

In The Name Of Jesus - Lamb

In The Name Of Jesus - Lamb
Brunei Darussalam, which means “Brunei, house of peace”, is a very small country on the Island of Borneo, bordering the much larger Malaysia. It is a young country, gaining independence from British rule in 1984. Due to large oil and gas findings dating back as far as 1924, it is among the wealthiest nations on earth. In terms of GDP per capita, it ranks fifth worldwide and reportedly is one of only two nations without public debts.
Ruled by a Sultan from a royal line that reaches back to 1363, he is a protector of Islam, and promotes Islam in all spheres of life. While the constitution grants religious freedom, only three Catholic and three Anglican churches are recognized; unregistered churches are considered ‘illegal sects’ and are strictly monitored by the government.
Brunei’s legislative council meets once a year in a strict advisory capacity. This means that politics are done largely by the Sultan, and by the addresses he gives. In a recent announcement, he introduced obligatory Islamic religious studies for all schools, pointing the nation toward stricter conservatism.
One With Them

Be One With Them as you join in praying this prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, as the country of Brunei is known as the “house of peace,” we pray today for citizens of Brunei, to embrace Your Son, the Prince of Peace. It concerns us that the children of Brunei are mandated to study Islam. Father, we pray that even with this indoctrination into false teachings, the knowledge of Jesus will be revealed, causing a hunger for truth. Father, Your Son died for all of us, even those who do not know you in Brunei. As we pray on our knees, we ask for the blood of the Lamb to cover them, remove the scales from their eyes… and bring them unto You. Amen.


“‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’”
(John 1:29)

In The Name Of Jesus - The Life

In The Name Of Jesus - The Life

Shedding tears of joy, twenty-members of the Gereja Pantekosta di Indonesia (GPDI) Church were unable to contain their emotions as they waited to greet their 59-year-old pastor, Bernard Maukar, as he was released from prison. Saying that he “grew stronger in his faith” while in prison, Pastor Bernard is praising God for our prayers.
Incarcerated for operating the church without a permit, Pastor Bernard shares, “At first I felt sad, because [I knew] I wouldn’t see my family for three months. But when I prayed, God continually reminded me that He loved me…I had more time to pray and read the Bible while I was in prison, and I grew stronger in my faith in the Lord [as a result].” 
Being in jail didn’t stop Pastor Bernard from sharing his faith with others. On one occasion, two Muslim prisoners asked him to pray for their healing. A few hours later the men were healed – they have since promised to come to Pastor Bernard’s church once they are released.
During his time in prison, an Open Doors worker was able to visit Pastor Bernard and give him a One With Them wristband. It was a reminder to him that he was not alone and that Christians around the world were praying for him. “I was strengthened when I learned that many people, whom I never knew, were praying for me. I really like the wristband. It was unique and many people in prison asked me where I got it,” smiling, Pastor Bernard adds. “Thank you for being with me!” 
One With Them

Indonesia, one of the most populated countries in the world, with around 240 million citizens, is 86% Muslim. This 17,000-island nation has more than 360 ethnicities, and 700 dialects; some estimate that the majority of the world’s “unreached people groups” are located here. But, as tiny as the Christian community is, it is strong! Embracing the “Great Commission,” Indonesian Christians boldly share the gospel message. Be One With Them as you pray during Ramadan for all Indonesians, just like these two Muslims that Pastor Bernard met while in prison, to come to know true Life in Christ.


“‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
(John 14:6)

In The Name Of Jesus - Light Of The World

In The Name Of Jesus - Light Of The World 
Sherif, an Egyptian businessman running a bookshop in Benghazi, Libya, was arrested on February 1, 2013. It has been made know that during his detainment he has been physically abused. While there is no official charge against him, nor has he appeared before court, he remains in custody.

Recently, some Egyptians and three non-Arab workers have also been detained. Libyan police officials have explained that they have been arrested on suspicion of proselytizing, although no formal charges have been submitted against them.

These are among several reported injustices that Christians have endured since the revolution that toppled Muammar Gaddafi. Under the rule of Gaddafi the situation for Christians was already extremely harsh, and foreign workers often faced intolerances. But today, the new central government still does not have control over the numerous armed groups, and the social unrest and intolerance remains at a very high level.

One With Them
Christianity has existed in Libya since New Testament times. With the emergence of Islam, the church was almost obliterated by the 12th century. With 97% of the population Sunni Muslim, the Christian community is facing uncertain times. Today, Be One With Them as you pray for the release of these men and others who have been unjustly accused. But also pray that while in prison, the Holy Spirit will comfort and sustain them… and pray, for the Light of Christ dwelling within them, to pierce Libya’s spiritual darkness.

“’I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
(John 8:12)

Friday, July 26, 2013

In The Name Of Jesus - King Of Kings

In The Name Of Jesus - King Of Kings
Oman, an Islamic country since the seventh century, is the oldest independent state in the Arab World. It is a wealthy, well-educated nation, ruled by a Sultan. While experiencing a degree of religious freedom, Islam is the state religion. So, in order for missionaries to get the gospel message into the country, they have to devise clever methods.
A few years ago a missionary, frustrated with the limited success he was having in spreading the gospel, decided to go where no else dared go. The road was long and tiresome, and he had plenty of time to chat with God. Not knowing the area or the people, he was concerned about how they would react, and asked God to guide him.
As he drove into the village, he saw men sitting, chatting and drinking coffee. He walked toward the group, and before he could even take a seat, an elderly man invited him for a cup of coffee. John accepted the offer and silently thanked God for the swift response to prayer.
The man introduced himself as Ali and asked that he come with him. Walking at a quick pace they took a narrow road that led them into a valley. Eventually they stopped beneath a tree where Ali took out a small pot, filled it with water, and then buried it in the warm sand saying that it would take “just a few minutes” for the water to boil.
While the men were chatting a scrap of a book lodged in a tree branch caught the missionaries’ eye. Ali told him that it was a book of stories saying that he loved reading them, and regularly told them to his visitors; adding that many returned to hear more stories.

Astonished, he saw that it was a portion of a Gospel; well-worn with many pages missing. Explaining to Ali that it was only a part of the Book, he asked Ali if he would like the whole Book. Ali eagerly smiled in agreement. With a quick step, John hurried back to his car to fetch a Bible. Returning to Ali’s “coffee shop,” with the Book clenched under his arm, he proudly presented Ali with his new Bible.  
One With Them

He is the King of Kings! Even when this missionary showed concern over traveling to a remote place, He was already there! Today, take a moment to marvel at His omnipresent presence, that He is everywhere! Be One With Them today in prayer that the true stories of Jesus would come to life in Ali and everyone who hears them. And especially during Ramadan, pray that Omanis, and their Sultan, will recognize, and turn to, the King of kings. 


“… God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords…”
(1 Timothy 6:15)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

July's Praise Report

July's Praise Report

July's Praise Report
For those living in Egypt, Ramadan, the holy Islamic month, has been marred by political upheaval and turmoil. President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, when forced from power on July 3, spun the nation into protests, division and chaos. The uncertain future was cause for concern... but also came hope... and answers to years of prayer! In response, Christians have been given a powerful opportunity to share the love of Jesus to a divided nation.

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Community Behind Bars

Community Behind Bars

Community Behind Bars
Sometimes, when we think of our neighborhood or community, we think of where we shop, work, attend school, and worship at church. This is our home, our refuge, places that are familiar to us. But for most, we would never think of our community behind prison walls! This is exactly what Isaac and Daniel thought when they were arrested. At first stunned that a mere snooker game would turn deadly... and then being arrested, these men, along with 16 others, were unjustly sentenced to prison for crimes they did not commit.

Isaac shares, "Once we accepted that jail was an opening for us to live out our testimonies, the Lord granted us the grace to use our time in prison for His glory." Flogged, beaten and tortured, the men, never succumbed to despair, instead they used every opportunity to bring others to Christ! Isaac adds, "After spending two years behind bars, my heart is at peace."

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In The Name Of Jesus - King

In The Name Of Jesus - King 
It has been three years since Laleh accepted the Lord Jesus as her Savior. “I came to know the Lord through several crucial events in my life. It all started when my sister-in-law gave me a Bible. Shortly after, I became interested in what I was reading and started watching the weekly teachings on satellite TV.  I was so captivated by what I heard through these teachings, that I began to participate in a small house church.” Joyfully, Laleh added, “I finally experienced the Lord’s peace. It was what I had been searching for all along! I know now that I found the real God.”
Laleh comes from a large Muslim family. While her conversion to Christianity would have caused controversy and strife within most Muslim households, Laleh has had a very different experience. “They are not hostile towards me,” she assures. “My family is accustomed to praying together; and also fasts together during Ramadan.” However, though Laleh is blessed to live in relative peace, her conversion has made life difficult. As a result, Laleh continually seeks to find ways to share the Gospel with her family. “I am committed to pray for my family members,” she states, “and I daily ask God to reveal to me an acceptable way to witness to them about Jesus.” One day, during her regular time of intercession, Laleh was struck with a creative solution. The Lord had answered her prayer!

Inviting her family for a tea party, they spent the afternoon chatting, eating cookies and fruit, while drinking tea. “Just before the end of the party I thanked my family for visiting my home as this is a normal custom in Iraq according to the rules of hospitality," Laleh shares. "Then I proposed that we pray for the relatives and friends we had been talking about during the party. At first everyone was quiet. After answering their questions, I again proposed that we sit down and pray. Surprisingly, they agreed! As they prayed, they struggled to find the right words. However, despite their hesitancy, I was excited to notice that everyone had experienced a new kind of joy through this time in prayer. This experience has encouraged me to invite my family members regularly. It is my deepest desire to share with them about Jesus, so that they too can know the real God.”

One With Them
Thank God that the tea party was such a success! Be One With Them, one with believers like Laleh, whose boldness to share about Jesus during Ramadan impacted her family for the Kingdom of Christ. As little as one decade ago, Iraq was home to one of the largest Christian communities in the Middle East. But today, due to war and oppression, a mass exodus is taking place. Christianity is on the verge of extinction. Join in prayer with our brothers and sisters in Iraq for a revival to take place. Pray that many Muslims will once again worship the true King!


"See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey.”
(Zechariah 9:9)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


In The Name Of Jesus - Immanuel 
As the plane neared Male, the capital city of the Maldives, the team gazed out its windows. The water was even more beautiful than imagined, the white sand almost blinding. “Is this really a mission trip?” was the question that was etched across all of their faces.

Passports in hand each team member nervously waited alone in the customs line. Thinking if one was caught, the rest might still be able to escape exposure; they separated and silently prayed.

Tom was the first to approach the counter. The customs official asked him to unbutton the top buttons of his shirt and pull his collar aside. A small cross on a chain lay flat across his chest. The official requested that he remove it, assuring him that he could claim it when he exited the country. 

As the team assembled outside the airport they were grateful that each person had safely entered the country, although every outwardly reminder of Christianity had been taken from them.

“No problem,” the leader said, “our prayer trip begins now! The first thing we can do is to pray for the items that were taken from us – that they will fall into a person’s hand, who is seeking Jesus.” They all smiled. Their materials did get in! No way were they going to claim them upon departure. “Thank you Jesus!”  
One With Them

These remote islands, surrounded by turquoise blue water and glistening white sand beaches, is a dream vacation destination. This is the picture that Maldivian authorities want to give to the outside world. The harsh attitude the government takes towards Christianity is less known. Every citizen has to be Muslim. Churches are forbidden, evangelism is banned and the import of Christian literature is prohibited. “Immanuel,” Hebrew for “God with us,” seemingly does not apply to the Maldives as no visible evidence of Him exists. But as you pray during Ramadan, pray for a divine knowledge of salvation, through Jesus to be known to its citizens – for this country to be claimed by Immanuel!


The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
(Isaiah 7:14)


In The Name Of Jesus
Bordered by countries such as Algeria, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Mauritania, Mail is a landlocked nation located in the vast Sahara Desert. As a secular state, Mali has traditionally offered relative freedom for Christians. Although sometimes challenging, believers in the North mostly enjoyed peace, and could worship openly. The country overall was an encouraging example of religious tolerance unlike other countries in the region.  
Then, in April 2012, Tuareg separatist rebels and Islamist fighters captured northern areas proclaiming an independent state and announced that it would be governed by Sharia law. Mali, once hailed for being a beacon of hope in Africa, was now torn apart and fast becoming a Jihadist hub. Christians fled as people were killed and churches were captured. Moderate Muslims faced similar realities. Even the age-old Muslim shrines in Timbuktu, a world heritage site, were destroyed.
And now, presidential elections are set to take place on July 28, 2013, with a second round planned in August. There are widespread fears that pressing ahead will result in technically flawed elections and a low turnout, which could lead to a contested result. In the final two weeks leading up to the elections the government has distributed new identity cards to all registered voters, prepared a voter list, and put security arrangements in place to hopefully ensure a fair election.
One With Them
Stand One With Them, with Christians in Mali, praying that the coming elections will pave the way for religious freedom which will  allow the Church influence in the wake of growing Islamic  extremism. Pray that a stable government will be implemented, and that the nation’s society, left in tatters by the recent political crisis, will be restored economically and socially. Pray also for revival among Christians, that they will stand faithfully in the name of Jesus and be a witness during Ramadan and beyond, drawing unbelievers to Him. 


“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
(Matthew 1:21) 

Monday, July 22, 2013

In The Name of Jesus - I Am

In The Name of Jesus - I Am 
The body of Christ in Yemen is small in numbers. Most keep their faith a secret as there have been several hostile situations against Christians. Concerned of being discovered, or being publicly exposed, they are cautious. Fortunately contact with foreigners is possible. A person who works in the country recently shared his thoughts:
“Most believers in Yemen are first-generation Christians. This means that their family and clan are Muslim. The tribe is the most important relationship a person can have. Its laws and traditions are more important than government rules. If there is a dispute inside a tribe or clan, the government will typically not intervene. Caution, and keeping a low profile, is part of daily life for a Yemeni Christian.
“Over the past few years we have seen and heard reports about both local believers, as well as foreigners being kidnapped or even killed. For foreigners, they are generally deported by the government. Muslim Background Believers (MBB) on the other hand can be ‘dealt with’ within their own tribe. In that sense, the tension for MBBs is very high. Family and extremist groups threaten apostates with death when they do not come back to Islam. Evangelism is prohibited, but there is some religious freedom granted by the government.”
One With Them

For Yemeni Christians, being set apart for Christ is a journey down a difficult path. Please pray for encouragement and strength as you stand One With Them during Ramadan. Tensions often run higher during this time, but also many are seeking the truth, pray for Jesus to reveal Himself to all Tunisians, drawing them to the great I Am.


“’Very truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’”
(John 8:58) 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

In The Name of Jesus - Holy One

In The Name of Jesus - Holy One
Tunisia is rich in Christian history. Some of the early church fathers, Augustine and Tertullian, lived in this country. Also many churches had been established. Sadly over the centuries, most of its memory was destroyed when Islam was introduced. But, in the early 20th century a reemergence of the church began and a few churches for foreigners were built. And, by the end of the century there were a handful of local believers.
Since then the number of believers has grown. Marked by a tolerance for Christians, in 2005 local believers were even allowed to meet for worship in the buildings of the expat churches. Now there are several local groups worshipping in Tunis. There are also groups in Sousse and Sfax, and individual believers are scattered throughout the country. In other words, the church in Tunisia is growing!
Tunisians are showing an interest in the Christian faith. Through Bible lessons and sermons, made available on radio, television, and the internet, and from personal witness, many have come to faith. But as quickly as they accept the new faith, some fall away. Backsliding is a problem that persists. Many say that the concept of being part of the body of Christ is hard to comprehend. Currently it is estimated that there are 1000 - 1500 Muslim Background Believers, the majority are between 18 and 35 years old. The Christian community also consists of a larger group of expat believers, and a small group of native-born citizens of European and Arab descent. The total number of these groups is estimated at 24,000.
One With Them
Home of the Jasmine revolution which gave rise to the Arab Spring, Tunisia was the country where democratic transition seemed to have the greatest chance of success. However, elections in October, 2012, were won by the Islamic Ennahda party, which announced its intention to transform Tunisia into an Islamic state. Foreign Christians have reported increased surveillance. During Ramadan, be One With Them, the Tunisian Christians. Pray for courage and discernment in sharing the gospel; and for many to turn to Jesus, the Holy One, making Him the foundation of government and life.
Every year, Open Doors produces the World Watch List of countries where Christian persecution is most severe. Tunisia is currently ranked #30. Learn more about being a Christian in Tunisia at the WWL website. Click here.


"You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you.”
(Acts 3:14))

The Good Shepherd Never Lost A Sheep

The Good Shepherd Never Lost A Sheep 
With concrete barricades, walls made of oil barrels and armed guards standing sentry, it looks like a normal border crossing in the Middle East. But what was once a busy crossing between Lebanon and Syria, today, it stands quiet. Only now and then a car or a bus passes.
On one side of the border, President Assad’s army is lashing out against everyone opposed to him. On the other side, rebel fighters gather in preparation to retaliate against the oppression. Christians are stuck in the middle between the fighting factions.
Marcus from Al Qamishli once had a house and owned a business. “There were bomb attacks in our city, but the most important reason to leave was that life was impossible. We had no water, no electricity, no telephone, nothing. The risk of being kidnapped dominated our decision to leave. I was afraid that my 15-year-old daughter would be kidnapped. I brought her to school and stayed waiting till the lessons were over and took her home again.”
Living in the peaceful ambiance of a monastery over the border in Turkey, more than 40 Christian families, including Marcus and his wife and children, have found refuge. Hoping for a visa to travel to France, he assures that it is “only temporary. I hope to return to Syria when there is peace again.”
But Marcus is worried about his children. “We were building our lives and then, all at a sudden, everything turned upside down. They are depressed.” Wiping a tear from his cheek he adds, “We pray every day to God that He will save Syria from ruination. We pray for peace. We trust that through prayer things can change, that things will get better in Syria.” 
One With Them
Wars destroy and uproot so many lives. The war in Syrian is more than two years old and the number killed, the number internally displaced, and the number of refugees is staggering. It’s easy to wonder if God is still in control. Rest assured that He is. Be One With Them, with Syrian Christians, whom Jesus the Good Shepherd has claimed as the sheep of His pasture. His flock in Syria has been scattered but He promises to never lose a single one of us; pray with them that they might one day be able to follow the voice of the Shepherd back to Syria. 

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
(John 10:11) 

Friday, July 19, 2013

God Has Work Just For You

God Has Work Just For You 
Located in the north-east corner of the Arabian Peninsula, Kuwait is one of the smallest countries in the world in terms of land area. The flat, sandy Arabian Desert covers most of Kuwait. Owning some of the world's richest oil fields, Kuwait is a wealthy nation. Islam is the national religion. And, although almost 100 percent of its citizens are Muslim, there are a few hundred Kuwaiti citizens who are Christian, or are of other faiths. In addition, the country has a large community of expatriate Christians.
Christians who belong to groups recognized by the government are allowed to build places of worship, although there are restrictions. The government imposes quotas on the number of clergy and staff that recognized religious groups can bring into the country. Members of unrecognized congregations have reported that they are able to worship without government interference, providing they do not disturb their neighbors or violate laws regarding assembly and proselytizing.
Some would argue that Kuwait is one of the most progressive nations in the Arabian Peninsula. Education is important for its citizens… even education for women! In 2008 the adult literacy rate was listed at 93.9 percent. In addition, the Kuwaiti government offers scholarships to students accepted in universities in United States, United Kingdom and other foreign institutes. This quest for knowledge brings great hope for the Kuwait of the future. 
One With Them

Please be One With Them, the Kuwaiti Christians, in giving thanks for their freedom to worship and practice their faith. Let’s pray that God uses them for good works that He prepared for them long ago, and that these works during Ramadan, will draw others to open their hearts to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.


A voice of one calling: "In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God."
(Isaiah 40:3)-25)

The Everlasting Father, Always At Work For His Children

The Everlasting Father, Always At Work For His Children 
The visiting team of travelers sat huddled on wooden benches in the mud-constructed home. Feeling the intensity of the Ethiopian noonday sun, the group listened closely as a teen quietly recounted her story.
Just a few months prior she had been hard at work in the marketplace, selling goods for her family income. At the end of the day she wrapped up later than usual. The group she normally walked home with had already left for the day, forcing her to walk alone. Suddenly she found herself surrounded by young Muslim men. Confiscating her cart and remaining goods, they captured her and one of the men forced her to be his wife.
Spending a week in her captor's home, constantly under guard, she saw no means of escape. Still determined, she employed a tactic like the biblical David in 1 Samuel 21. She pretended to accept the marriage and Islam that was being forced upon her. The captors gradually began to believe her and lightened the guard surrounding her. This gave her the opportunity to slip out late one night when her guard fell asleep.
Running down dirt road after dirt road, trying to find her way home, she suddenly came across a pack of hyenas. In the terror of the moment she cried out, "The God who helped me escape, help me escape these hyenas too!" Miraculously, the hyenas moved into a line behind her and began following. They left only after she found the right road home.

Laughing, the young girl said she believed that the hyenas became her protector that day, adding that her captors would not have chased her down a road filled with hyenas.
One With Them

Ethiopia’s population is two-thirds Christian, and yet persecution exists. Authorities seem powerless to stop attacks on Christians or to bring the perpetrators to justice. Stand One With Them, praying in the name of Jesus, that the Everlasting Father will go ahead and come behind Ethiopian Christians, hemming them in and keeping them in the center of His Will. Praying for Muslim extremists persecuting Christians; they too need the grace that only Jesus can provide.


Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:28-31)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

In The Name of Jesus - Creator

In The Name of Jesus - Creator
Maheen and her husband lead several house churches in Iran. But after her husband’s arrest she feared the same for herself. Bringing her petition before God she pleaded, “Dear Lord, I am not ready to go to a solitary confinement because of my faith. As you know, I was born and brought up in a wealthy family. Please don’t test me beyond my ability.” Three days later, the secret police knocked on her door.
Arguing with God Maheen avowed, “I have already asked you not to put me in this temptation. So whatever happens, it’s not my fault.”  But, to her surprise, when she arrived at the prison, “I felt God’s peace come down on me and my fear went away.”
That night she was taken before the high official. With the help of the Holy Spirit, Maheen shared, “It is an honor for me to talk to people about Jesus. Like all other people and Muslims, you also need Jesus in your life. Without Jesus, a person doesn’t have peace and life is hopeless and without purpose. Jesus laid his life down for you too, so that you can have salvation and not perish.”
The official responded in anger, “Do you know the consequence of all this? You cannot evangelize me. It will cost you a heavy charge.” Maheen responded, “If I don’t share the truth with you, I will be accountable to God about it. Therefore I can’t keep silent.”
Taken back to her cell she was unable to sleep wondering what would become of her. Then suddenly she heard a key in the lock. As she watched the door slowly open, to her surprise, standing in front of her was the high official!
“Don’t be afraid of me. I need your prayer.” He continued telling her how her testimony in the courtroom had a powerful impact on his life. “I need to be saved,” he pleaded. “I need Jesus in my life. I believe God has sent you to this prison so that you can share about salvation with me.” For three hours, Maheen talked to the official about Jesus. Repenting his sins he committed his life to Christ. A few days later, Maheen and her husband were released from prison.
One With Them
Be one with believers like Maheen, who share the gospel in spite of the costs. Pray during Ramadan that Iranian Christians will find solace in Jesus; that through the power of His name, many will be drawn to the Creator of all things. Pray also that God will continue to touch the hearts of Islamic leaders and officials so that they too will come to know God as their Savior.  


“Through him all things were made.”
(John 1:3)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Never Alone, Never Forsaken

Never Alone, Never Forsaken 
The following was written by a Christian leader in Egypt:

This morning, as I prayed, I was reminded of the shipwreck recorded in Acts 27. Explaining a hopeless situation, Paul wrote in verse 20, “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.” The verse reflects a state of despair, tiredness and failure of human wisdom. Hope has left the scene, leaving anxious and worried men wondering if they will never make it back to the shore again.
The atmosphere around that scene portrayed by Paul, and the heavy feelings felt on board that boat, are similar to the feelings many Egyptian Christians experience today. We wake each day to more taxes, skyrocketing food prices, salaries frozen or reduced, shortages of electricity and water. Tensions between Muslims and Christians are common. Any small conflict between a Christian and a Muslim can easily get out of control. People get injured; houses, small shops and churches are burned down, and people are killed. Most of the time, it seems the authorities are powerless to bring order from the chaos.
Just as in Acts 27, this is a time where Egyptian Christians can see neither sun nor stars appearing for many days, and the storm continues to rage. It feels as if communication with heaven seems to be on hold as we cannot see God responding to the cries and worries of His people.

But in the midst we are learning the lesson. One pastor recently said these encouraging words, “Though many things are going wrong in Egypt, the spiritual situation of the church, and the numbers of people coming to the Lord and searching for the truth, from both Christian and non-Christian backgrounds, has never been greater! It’s a time of real victory and joy for us, and we are honored to live today and see what God is doing.”
God sent an angel to stand beside Paul and encourage him, assuring him that they will survive. On a different boat, in a different storm, it was Jesus himself who showed up to assure His disciples. Christians today are also blessed. We have the Holy Spirit living, not just by our side, but dwelling within us. That is the very reason of joy, victory and real hope for the followers of Jesus in Egypt!
One With Them
Praise God that He is in control. Even when events seem to be going way off course, God has something better in mind for His people. Praise God for glorifying Himself in Egypt right now, where testimonies show the larger number of Muslims coming to Christ. Still, times are very difficult and believers are suffering for Christ. Please stand One With Them - believers in Egypt - praying that in the midst of their current storms, they will continue to dwell in the comfort and power of our Wonderful Counselor. Let’s pray also for the new believers, that in these storms they continue to grow in their faith and the church will grow stronger. 

“For to us a child is born…And he will be called Wonderful Counselor.”
(Isaiah 9:6)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Christ, The Cornerstone Of The Church

Christ, The Cornerstone Of The Church
Hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the violence in Syria live in camps just across the border inside Turkey. So, the news announcing the creation of two more camps in the Turkish town of Midyat, just beyond Syria’s northeastern border, didn’t seem like much—at first. But the camp is being built specifically for Syrian Christians! Nowhere in the Islamic world has a refugee camp been built just for Christians fleeing from a neighboring country.
Currently most Christian refugees in Midyat are staying at the Syriac Orthodox monastery. Others live in apartments or in temporary shelters. The refugees say they each have received 150 Turkish Liras, about 80 US dollars, from the Turkish government, adding that it is the first government support they have ever received. While appreciative, most of all they’d like to have work permits; assured that there will be a need for interpreters, and people with professional skills, once the camp is completed.
In addition, several Christian organizations are helping build the camp in what the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls “a state-of-the-art refugee camp with sports grounds, food stores, health care and many other facilities lacking in similar camps.”
To avoid Muslim/Christian conflicts, a building official has assured those who are against the project that “the agreement with the government is that only Christians will be allowed to stay in the camp located near the monastery. Besides, should anyone commit a crime or create problems, that person will be sent back to Syria.” He adds; “We hope and pray that there will be peace in Syria and the situation for Christians will improve. The camp will be there if the situation gets worse… just in case.”  
One With Them
Turkey has always had the unique strategic position of straddling Europe and Asia. It has also been a melting pot of religions. Once a hope of the Christian world, it is now 99.6% Muslim. Please come alongside the believers in Turkey – Be One With Them - both the natives and those pouring in from Syria seeking refuge. Let’s lift them up for the Father’s protection and provision. Pray that these Christians will be the light on the hill and that God will use them to glorify the name of Jesus, the Cornerstone of His Church, in Turkey. 


The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone...
(Psalm 118:22)

Christian Prisoner Tells Story of Her Arrest, Persecution and Departure from Iran

Christian Prisoner Tells Story of Her Arrest, Persecution and Departure from Iran

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

IRAN (ANS) -- Just one day after Christmas 2010, security authorities arrested a number of Christian converts in Esfahan, Tehran and other cities across Iran.
According to a story from Mohabat Iranian Christian News Service, unofficial sources announced that 60 people were arrested, some of whom were released later that day.
As they attacked the houses of these Christians, Mohabat News reported, security authorities confiscated their belongings, including computers, books, CDs, etc. They also "mistreated" the Christians' family members.
Fatemeh Yar-Ahmadi ( Yasaman) came to faith in Jesus 10 years ago. She was among the Christians arrested in Esfahan by Iranian security authorities and spent time in prison for her faith. 
Now that she has left the country, she is sharing the story of what she went through.
Yasaman told Mohabat News at the time she was arrested by agents of the Iranian Intelligence Service she was working with many believers across the country.
She commented, "The Iranian regime considered this to be a 'soft war' against Islam and the Islamic regime."
Her Arrest
According to Mohabat Ne ws, Yasaman said it was 7.30 a.m. the day after Christmas, and she was still in bed when several tall strong men broke into her house. She said a neighbor living on the upper floor had apparently opened the exterior door for them.
Hearing all the noise, Yasaman said she initially thought she was dreaming.
Mohabat News reported she said, "They were screaming 'cut the telephone line, spread all over the house and start searching.' There were about 15 men in all. I started shouting, 'who are you?' They did not reply. My mom, who has heart disease was anxious and crying."
Yasaman said she again asked the men what they wanted. She recalled telling them, "'say something! My mom is scared.' One of them who looked to be the oldest among them showed me a paper and said, 'we are here looking for Christians. Who is a Christian here?'"
Mohabat News reported Yasaman said she remembered telling them not to do anything to her mom, as she (Yasaman) was a Christian.
"I turned to my mom and said, 'don't worry, they are looking for me.' My mom was shaking. One of them was filming everything with a camcorder. The older man told me, 'Do you clearly confess that you are a Christian!? You can be killed for this."
Yasaman said she just looked at him and went to get some water for her mother.
According to Mohabat News, Yasaman said they searched all over the house for about an hour and found a lease with her name on it. It was for a house she had rented in another neighborhood to be used as a house church and as a residence for some believers.
Yasaman said a man who seemed to be their boss said to her, "'how far have you gone into this? The lease paper for the house in Malek-Shahr is under your name. Have you started a church? Didn't you think about your poor mother?'"
Yasaman said the other men wanted to take her away with them.
Mohabat News reported she said, "As we were leaving the house, I said to the older man, 'can I take my Bible with me?' He said 'yes.'"
Mohabat News said Yasaman took her Bible and sat in the car. "Then I started to read my Bible to engage my thoughts with the Word of God."
They took Yasaman to the intelligence office in Dastgerd Prison. She said, "I put my Bible in my pocket. They didn't search me. I was thinking to myself, that if they found my Bible I would tell them 'you allowed me to have it yourselves.'"
According to Mohabat News Yasaman said they blindfolded her and took her to a solitary cell. She continued, "There was just a carpet, an old blanket, some empty bottles, a pocket-sized Quran and a Turbah (A clay tablet Muslims use for their daily prayers). After half an hour of silence, I heard a man begging, 'Don't beat me. Don't beat me!' My heart was beating so fast."
Yasaman said after a while the door of her cell opened, and she was ordered to blindfold herself and come out. A man took her to the interrogation room and she waited for what would happen next.
Mohabat News reported Yasaman said two male interrogators main ly asked her who she knew outside the country, who she worked with, why she traveled to a foreign country and from where she obtained the Bibles she had at home.
Yasaman said, "It seemed they wanted to connect me and other Christian converts to Israel and England, and prove that our activities were intended to disrupt national security and ultimately overthrow the Islamic regime of Iran."
According to Mohabat News Yasaman said as the hours passed, she grew tired. "The more I kept quiet the more they threatened and cursed me to the point where they eventually started to beat me. They also threatened to take my daughter away. They knew every little detail about our house church which had probably been obtained by monitoring our phone calls. They had also ... several photos of people coming to and leaving the house church in Malek-Shahr."
Yasaman said her first interrogation lasted 14 hours. 
Mohabat News reported she said, "Of course, the court issued a temporary prison sentence for me so they transferre d me to prison. I had hidden my Bible under a blanket in the corner of my cell. When they took me away from there, I was praying that someone would take that Bible and read it."
Situation in Prison
According to Mohabat News, Yasaman said conditions in prison were very bad. There were 63 in one cell, which was 24 square meters with 27 beds in it. The rest were sleeping on the floor.
She said, "I was occasionally taken for interrogation, each occasion lasting about seven to eight hours."
Mohabat News reported Yasaman said she was eventually released on bail after 37 days. However, authorities said they would call her again for her trial.
Yasaman continued, "Although I was released, I was under the government's watch and sometimes called to report to the Intelligence Office. The mental tortures continued even after I was released. After a while a date was set for my trial. Since I didn't know what awaited me in the trial and what kind of verdict I would receive, I ... left my country in January 2013."
Mohabat News commented, "It is worth mentioning that despite all these persecutions, the Islamic regime of Iran knows that Christianity is increasingly spreading across the country and penetrating the hearts of many Iranians. However, the regime fails to realize that its life span depends on God's will and that oppressing people's beliefs cannot strengthen the shaky pillars of the regime."


God’s Word – The Bread Of Life

God’s Word – The Bread Of Life  
Somewhere inside Somalia, secret believers arrive at the agreed meeting place. Carefully, reverently, the leader opens a folded piece of paper and begins to read from it. This is the only copy of the written Word they have. In Somalia, wracked by famine, crime and hopelessness, these believers cling to His Word. 
But there is hope! In 2012, Somalia held its first democratic elections after almost two decades of descent into unbridled violence, corruption and chaos. In addition, the international community has joined in supporting the rebuilding of the country.
As Somalia looks toward the future, they see an increase in Somali nationals returning home from exile. Among them are a generation born, bred and schooled in western countries. Many have thrived living abroad, and are bringing back entrepreneurship and a higher level of education.
“They have seen the benefits of living in freer societies that follow the rule of law, and they have enjoyed freedom of religion, freedom of associations, freedom to live their lives as they see fit without interference. We pray that living in the free world opened their minds and transformed their worldviews and that they have become religiously tolerant,” commented an Open Doors’ East African leader.
For now though, Christians are cautious about celebrating. A new constitution, though not yet completed or ratified, names Islam as the national religion. Religious freedom is granted, but with some limitations, including the prohibition of evangelizing any religion other than Islam. The doctrine of Islam is named as the main source of the laws of the nation.
Threats linger for believers living in the tightly knit communities bound by strong family and clan ties; taking seriously the Hadith instruction, “The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Whoever changes his (Islamic) religion, kill him.’” Because of this danger, and until things change, many Christians have chosen to keep their faith secret. 
One With Them
Stand One With Them, these struggling and suffering believers, praying that soon their nation will be tolerant of all faiths and that there will be a revival of Jesus, the Bread of Life, in Somalia. 


“Jesus said to them …‘it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.’”
(John 6:32)

Friday, July 12, 2013

In The Name of Jesus – Beloved Son

In The Name of Jesus – Beloved Son
It has been almost six years since the violent death of Gaza Christian bookshop manager, Rami Ayyad. On that day in 2007, Rami left behind his pregnant wife, Pauline, and two little boys George, aged 2, and Wisam, 9 months.
God has used Pauline’s grief to lead her to establish a support group for widows. The group consists of six widows, each with their own story. During their time together, they discuss many topics; one in particular is their concern for the children. Pauline’s children, George, the oldest is now 8, Wisam is 7 and little Sama, who never knew her father is 5. It isn’t easy raising three children alone, shares Pauline, “It drains my energy to give them enough attention. The boys are also having trouble studying and have switched schools a few times.” Her biggest hope is that they stay close to the Lord and will live a life of love. She also hopes that their hearts will not be full of anger adding, “I haven’t told them what  happened to their father yet.”
As Pauline visits each widow during the week, she notices that each one processes her loss differently. “Some of the women see no need to come to God for help and others are so hungry for His Word.” Pauline admits that the Lord did not give her an easy task. “Some of the women are really stuck in their grief and are unable to get out. I pray that God will give me wisdom on how to talk to them.” Many people have asked her how she can do this for other women after all that she has been through. “It’s His love,” she replies. “God has put it in my heart to serve Him this way.” 
One With Them
From the days that Jesus walked on earth until today, Christians living in Palestinian Territories have struggled. Today, there are growing fears among Gaza Christians that their rapidly shrinking community could disappear altogether. Please be One With Them today in prayer, reminding them that they, like Jesus, are Beloved. Pray that the peace that is beyond understanding – that peace that only Jesus can provide – will be present in their lives.
In their 2009 book, Prayer – The Real Battle, Brother Andrew and Al Janssen talk about the Gaza Strip; “Gaza is a small strip of land, only 30 miles long and 7 miles wide, containing 1.5 million people, nearly all of them Muslim. Serving the estimated 2,000 Christians is one small evangelical church in the heart of Gaza City.” Caught between Jewish and Muslim worlds, this is a difficult place to follow Christ. Learn more about being a Christian in the Palestinian Territories, ranked number 36 on the Open Doors World Watch List of Christian persecution. Please consider leaving a prayer for our fellow brothers and sisters.


“Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.”
(Matthew 12:18)