Monday, April 9, 2012

Iran: Christians Cling To Hope In Jesus

Religious persecution is nothing new. Jesus said, "In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world," and He said, "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you" (John 15:18). Trouble is a guarantee in this life. But amid the worst persecution, Christians in restricted countries are clinging to the hope they have in Jesus -- and people of other faiths are coming to Jesus in the process.

Today, I would like to share a few different perspectives on the persecution in Iran. Let's start with an update on Pastor Nadarkhani, a pastor on death row for his faith in Christ. So much has happened in recent weeks and months with the U.S. Congress and both the Brazilian and UK governments backing him and condemning the Iranian government's actions. For all the latest on that, check out the American Center For Law and Justice's updates; they are working very closely on his case. If you have a Facebook account, I would also encourage you to check out the CWUF Facebook page and also Christian Solidarity Worldwide's page where you can get all the latest on the pastor's case. Additionally, this Thursday is the pastor's birthday; CSW is doing what they can to let others know about the pastor and also to let the pastor know that he is not forgotten... Here are some great ways that you can get involved (from an email I recently received from CSW):

But there’s even more you can do to spread the word and pray for him as his 35th birthday approaches on 12 April:
Keep praying for wisdom and protection for Pastor Nadarkhani’s legal team as they advocate against his death sentence. ray the Supreme Leader and Head of the Judiciary would show mercy.
*Write him a birthday card
Use the prayer sheet or leaders’ guide in your small group or church prayer meeting.
We’ve seen an outpouring of support for Pastor Nadarkhani – over 20,000 people have joined CSW’s  Facebook group supporting him and people all over the world have added pictures of themselves with his name written on their hand in solidarity.  It’s easy - you can do it too!

*Send him a card
As a member of the global family, please play your part in supporting Pastor Nadarkhani during the prayer month.  And with his birthday coming up in under two weeks, you can send him a birthday card.  We’re sure it would be a powerful encouragement that he is not forgotten.
Come along to CSW’s Prayer Vigil on 12 April
On 12 April, we’ll be marking Pastor Nadarkhani’s birthday by holding a prayer vigil for him. Join CSW to pray for Pastor Nadarkhani and the wider Iranian Christian community as they face increasing harassment, arrests and persecution. *Register your place today.
His endurance = our endurance
Thank you for the many ways you have supported Pastor Nadarkhani so far.  Let’s keep going, and remember that while he is being called to endure in this trial, we’re called to enduringly commit him to the Lord in prayer (Philippians 4:6).

*While it may be a little late to send out a birthday card, I would encourage you to send a letter his way anyway... Let the pastor know that he is not forgotten and that you are supporting him in prayer! And if you don't live in London, don't let that stop you from committing to pray for the pastor on April 12!

Secondly, I would like to share a story with you about a former Muslim woman in Iran who found Christ. Padina's story is featured in the book Iran: Desperate for God, and was one of my favorites from that book. Here is a video in which Padina shares her testimony:

   

 You can also read this interview that the Voice of the Martyrs recently conducted with Padina.

And lastly, hip-hop artists, Trip Lee and Lecrae have teamed up with the Voice of the Martyrs to write a song about the persecution that Christians endure worldwide. While I am not particularly a fan of this style of music, I am delighted to see people who have influence in the music industry (I love Christian musice ;) ) doing something to make people aware of religious persecution! Check it out:

   

"Remember the prisoners as if chained with them--those who are mistreated--since you yourselves are in the body also" (Hebrews 13:3 ).

1 comment:

  1. Great blog, Christiana!
    Cheers from Argentina.
    HD

    ReplyDelete

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