Friday’s Prayers for Prisoners (10/31/2014)

Each Friday I pray and fast for nations where Christians suffer the worst persecution around the world. This week I am praying and fasting for:

Iran. 77.2 million people with 450,000 Christians (o.6%).

Since Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s warning in 2010 of the ever-expanding influence and numbers of house churches, the treatment of Christians has rapidly worsened. The regime tries to destroy those who reach out to converts and seekers by monitoring services, arresting converts, banning Farsi language services and closing some churches. Attacks against Christian communities have increased, and the prohibition of house church activities is enforced more strictly. Yet the regime’s harsh treatment of Christians only further fuels the flames of church growth. (Open Doors, World Watch List)

 

Iran is a constitutional, theocratic republic that discriminates against its citizens on the basis of religion and belief. Attempts to force political reform in 2011 were quashed by the government, but discontent remains. Young Iranians, who make up a majority of the population, are dissatisfied with both their religion and government. They are very open to the gospel… The evangelical church in Iran is the fastest growing church in the world, according to Operation World. Conservative estimates place the number of Christian Iranian nationals at more than 100,000. Persecution has intensified since 2005. Iran’s state religion is Shiite Islam, and the followers of all other faiths are treated harshly. Protestant pastors are forbidden to preach in Farsi (the official language), restricting them to the Armenian or Assyrian language. Mission organizations are not allowed to enter Iran, and witnessing to Muslims is forbidden. Believers are discriminated against in education, employment and property ownership. Apostates from Islam face the death sentence. Authorities raid house church services, detain worshipers and threaten church members. The publishing, importation or reprinting of Bibles or Christian literature is illegal. But technology is aiding the spread of the gospel. God’s Word is being shared via Internet chat rooms and Christian satellite TV. (Voice of the Martyrs)

Today, I prayed:

Lord, I pray when my brothers and sisters in Iran pass through the waters, that You are with them; that when they walk through the fire, they shall not be burned and the flame shall not consume them. I pray that my brothers and sisters in Iran know that they are precious in Your eyes and are loved and honored by You. (Based on Isaiah 43:2, 4)

Join with me on Fridays to fast and pray for prisoners, according to Hebrews 13:3.

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Praise the Lord…Pass the Ammo (Part 6)

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Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
thy angels watch me through the night,
And keep me safe till morning’s light.

(Childhood prayer)

For four hundred and fifty years, angels were seldom mentioned by Evangelical Christians, except as guardian angels for children. The reason? It was considered too Catholic by Protestants because there were so many Catholic prayers, referring to angels in one way or another.

Then the Charismatic Movement arrived on the scene in the late 1960s with its spirituals gifts, lively praise music, and visions/dreams, some of which were about angels. Charles Capps wrote Angels: Knowing Their Purpose, Releasing Their Power. His book sold 250,000 copies and helped to open our eyes to the importance of angels once again.

Frank Peretti followed up by writing This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness, which have sold over 3.5 million copies to date. These two books opened up a new realm of thought for us: spiritual warfare, involving God’s angels versus Satan’s demons.

So, we know a little more about angels than we did fifty years ago, but still, what were God’s angels doing for four hundred and fifty years? Watching I Love Lucy reruns?

One preacher stated that he had a vision of God’s angels standing around and eating chocolate bonbons and pizza. They were fat and getting fatter while they waited for us Christians to put them to work.

We Christians can put angels to work? How do we do that?

(Continued in Part 7)

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Islamic Terrorists versus Radical Christians: New Game. New Rules. (Part 4)

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I happened to listen to Bryan Suits on the radio while I drove the car yesterday. His show, Dark Secret Place, deals with terrorism, fighting in Iraq, and other related stories.

He talked about when he was an officer in Iraq and how the loss of one of his soldiers via an IED  (improvised explosive device) led him to a discussion with an Iraqi cleric.

“Do you want to know how to stop IED’s and roadside bombs?” said the cleric.

“Sure,” said Lt. Suits.

“When you enter a town, grab a ten-year old boy and tie him to the front of your Humvee. Then , when you’re leaving the town, untie the boy, and let him go. The IED’s will stop.”

Suits said that he was shocked by the cleric’s statement, and told him that American soldiers would rather die than use an innocent boy as a shield. It was a barbarous, cowardly act.

The cleric shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “Okay, that’s up to you.”

No matter how the news media and the anti-war movement have portrayed our American soldiers, our military will not resort to any means possible to win the war against radical terrorists. And sadly, the terrorists use this noble characteristic as a weapon against us.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)

(CONTINUED PART 5)

 

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Tuesday’s Prayers for America (10/28/2014)

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Once a week, a simple-minded Christian friend dropped by a particular used car dealership where I was employed. He walked onto the sales lot and I went out to greet him. He asked questions about each car. I did my best to tell him what I knew about the vehicles. He had no money to buy one, but even so, he didn’t have a driver’s license. It was just a fun game of make-believe for him.

One morning, after my friend left, I walked back inside the dealership just in time to hear a salesmen make fun of my friend. The other salesmen guffawed along with the jokester.

The Holy Spirit came upon me at that moment. “Don’t you ever make fun of my  brother again,” I proclaimed in a loud voice.

“What? He’s your brother?” asked the jokester.

“Yes! He’s my Christian brother and don’t you ever make fun of one of my Christian brothers again!”

“Even Jerry Falwell and Jimmy Swaggart?”

“Yes, they’re my brothers, too. Don’t you ever make fun of them again. Do you hear me?” I proclaimed.

Every salesman turned around and walked into his office. No one ever made fun of a Christian around me again at that dealership.

Today, I prayed:

Lord, help us American believers to be patient with our brothers and sisters in Christ, to make allowances for each other’s faults because of Your love, and to make every effort to keep ourselves united in the Spirit.   (Ephesians 4:2)

What do you think and did the Lord speak to you today?

Join with me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for America.

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2014 International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP)

On November 2 (or any Sunday in November), join churches across America in lifting up the persecuted church through unified prayer. If you want, share this video with your congregation or small group, and let them see how their prayers can strengthen believers and expand God’s kingdom into the most unreached places.

Here are the prayer requests mentioned by Pastor Roshan in the above video:

1. Pray that Satan will not discourage the pastors and ministers from serving the Lord.

2. Pray that the Lord will give the pastors and ministers grace to serve Him faithfully.

3. Pray that ministries will grow, with many coming to know Christ and many villages learning about Him.

Just remember: If the effective prayers of one righteous person can accomplish much, then how much more can be accomplished by the effective prayers of thousands of righteous people joined together in agreement. It could be kingdom shaking and life changing.

So, let’s use our faith to pray for the persecuted church on November 2, 2014. 

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Inside Israel

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Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …

Greetings dear sisters and brothers,

May you be blessed and may The King of kings and Lord of lords be blessed and glorified.

My husband coined a word years ago: “looksee.”  I love it.  I was thinking of that as I completed my time in The Word this morning with waiting on Him in the portion of scripture that was for me today:

10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lamp stands (Revelation 1:10-120

Yes Lord, may these letters be − “hear and looksee to us.”

So I thought about what I have been seeing and hearing.

The holidays are past and life has poured on us again, fast and furious.  Just before it did, however, we saw a most wonderful thing.

I have described simchat torah to you before (literally joy of the Torah or Word).  It is the very last day of the fall feasts and marks the end of the yearly cycle of scripture reading for the Jews.  The scriptures are read by Jews everywhere, according to a prescribed schedule.  It is announced in the newspapers and on bulletin boards and expounded upon there as well as in synagogues, on the radio etc.  Simchat torah marks the time to begin once again in Genesis 1:1… “IN THE BEGINNING…GOD…”

As my husband and I sat and read, I suddenly heard singing and said, “Listen! There is singing. Come…let’s go and see.”

I opened the doors to our merapeset and there across the street from us, under my husband’s hair dressing shop, in the square below, were many people dressed in white.  As we watched, 3 beautiful Torah scrolls appeared in their elaborate casing and were lifted high above the heads of the people.  Three very elderly leaders held them up and people began to dance joyfully around them.  Songs of thanksgiving to God for His Word rose with a reverent, worshipful joy.  More and more people joined in.  Soon several fellowships were at the core and many individuals from the neighborhood emerged from apartments and joined in. The women danced in a circle to my right and the men danced around the scrolls to my left.  It went on for a full 1 and a half hours non-stop.

The very elderly men did not slow down and their worshipful joy was contagious. I stood on my merapeset, with my hands lifted to The Lord and worshipped and prayed for the full revelation of Yeshua The Living Word, to come to them. It was evident that many of them truly love The Word. May they meet HIM Who IS The Word and embrace Him with such delight.

What a wonderful end to the holiday.

In the past, at our other apartment, small groups of worshippers would pass by our window singing and dancing, but they were small groups.  Only at the wall had I seen this many outside…and even at the wall they were smaller groups.  I felt as if The Lord had given me a special gift.  I share it with you.

And at sundown the train rang it’s now familiar bell, putting us back on schedule. It was all over for another year:  The days of preparation, Rosh h’shana (trumpets), the 10 days of awe leading to Yom Kippur (the day of atonement) and finally the 7/8 days of Sukkot (feast of tabernacles) ending with Simchat torah.  Whew!  By this time everyone local is holidayed out.

As if to make it clear that we need to get on with it now, there have been intermittent heavy rains and winter weather.  The city, filled with Christian visitors from around the world, emptied once again while the empty grocery shelves are filling up. There is a different feeling in the air.

Have we gained His strength from being renewed in His eternal promises?  It gets put to the test immediately.

Ebola drills having started are stopped as 3 young Israelis die in an avalanche at Katmandu, Nepal, and many others are injured.  Israel loves her young people and this turns into national mourning, particularly as one of the fatalities was the first religious woman air force pilot with whom we all celebrated such a short time ago.

America’s John Kerry again makes statements, which we actually saw him say it on film. It was NOT misread as the government spokeswoman said. His words are terribly damaging to Israel, basically accusing our stubborn stance about the land as the reason that people from around the world are joining ISIS.  And speaking of ISIS, an Israeli Bedouin medical student was killed in Syria fighting against that group.

Thankfully his family was horrified and asked forgiveness of the nation and said that he had lost his way. So much grief, as awful wars rage around us, and as world pressure intensifies on every level.  God is the only answer and so few want Him.

One thing has become very plain during this season: it is no longer speculation but the world HAS indeed turned the corner into the path of God’s divine judgment… or so it seems to me. We have the cry-prayer of Habakkuk’s heart, “Lord, in judgment remember mercy.” But we also have the very clear understanding through Scripture that judgment does indeed include the suffering of innocents.  From the very beginning of scripture, this is evident all the way through to the end. How do we walk in the Day of Judgment? How do we stand?  I believe it is time to know.  It is time to hear…to look…and to see.’

A friend of mine, a pastor’s wife, called the other day and told me that she was awakened in the night by a loud knock.  She got up and went to the door and there was no one there.  She asked her husband if he was knocking on something and he said no.  It happened again the next night and she realized that The Lord was waking her.  “I don’t know what He is saying to me.  I get up and wait but nothing…what do I do?”

I said, “You do just what Samuel did. You say, ‘Here I am Lord, speak for your servant hears.’  It isn’t OUR job to do anything but to present ourselves. Moses turned aside at the bush.  It was THE LORD Who initiated the talking.  He was to turn to The Lord and wait.  It is not up to us to work up a word (usually from our flesh…) but to stand before Him, turn to Him and trust Him.”

May we learn God’s ways in judgment that we may become the body He called us out to be.

It is time to sleep and begin another week on the bus and train…back to normal in the midst of Jerusalem.  I thank you so much for your gracious prayers and loving care.  God be with you dear sisters and brothers.

Your sister  J

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How Do You Change a Nation in One Generation?

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If everything would have gone well, Moses would have led Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land within thirty days. But the Israelites could not grasp God’s faithfulness after suffering such deep anguish from their cruel bondage in Egypt. So, many months were spent traveling between Mt. Sinai and the Jordan River.

When the nation finally arrived at Kadesh Barnea, they sent twelve men to spy out the Promised Land. The spies returned forty days later. Ten men gave a bad report and two a good one. Sadly, Israel believed the bad report.

But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which I swore I would make you dwell in. (Numbers 14:31)

God required Israel to spend one year in the wilderness for each day the spies spent searching out the Promised Land, or forty years. And except for Joshua and Caleb, God did not allow any person over the age of twenty to enter Canaan.

Thus, God trained and changed Israel in forty years or one generation.

How do you change a nation in one generation? You do it through the youth.

In No Longer A Slumdog, K. P. Yohannan wrote about his vision of vast wheat fields, ready for a harvest. He ran toward the fields, knowing they represented millions of souls for the kingdom of God. But Yohannan came to a raging river he could not cross. He stood there and wept.

All of a sudden there appeared before me a bridge reaching from one side of the vast river to the other. It was not a narrow bridge, but one that was very broad. It was completely filled with little children from all over Asia − poor, destitute children, like those I’d often seen on the streets of Calcutta, Kathmandu and other Asian Cities.

Then it was as though someone spoke to me and said, “If you want to have this harvest, it’s all yours. But this is the bridge you must cross to get it.” (No Longer A Slumdog by K. P. Yohannan, Copyright © 1982, page 90)

Yohannan’s vision is now coming to pass through Gospel For Asia’s Bridge of Hope ministry. 70,000 children are now being educated and trained to reach their families, communities, and India with the love of Jesus. And it is working because lives are being changed.

But remember this: there are 1.2 billion people in India.

So, Gospel For Asia is praying for their Bridge of Hope ministry to grow to 500,000 children.

Like Israel, we can either believe the bad report that India is too big to ever change or we can join in with Gospel For Asia and help change the nation in one generation.

If you are interested in sponsoring a Bridge of Hope child, go here, but if you just want to make a one time gift, click on the MyGFA photo below.

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