Praise Report: The Sweetness of Freedom

Saeed-Abedini

Pastor Saeed and his family: His wife, Naghmeh, and their two children, Rebekkah (now age 9) and Jacob (now age 7).

A personal note from the author:

Hello followers and fellow bloggers! I have some amazing news.

Pastor Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-born pastor from Idaho, USA, traveled into Iran to “visit family and help create plans to build an orphanage” in a city called Tehran. In September of 2012, Pastor Saeed was detained, and imprisoned, in Iran.

Now, over 3 years later, Pastor Saeed has been freed!!! Along with 4 other men of dual-citizenship, Pastor Saeed Abedini was freed from this Iranian prison in the morning hours of January 16th, 2016!!! For all those who have been praying– and for his family and loved ones– this is an amazing, moving answer to prayer!!!! PRAISE JESUS!!!

The ACLJ has said in this video that Pastor Saeed is not currently in the United States, but is in a “safe zone,” along with the four other men who have been freed (Jason Rezaian, Amir Hekmati, Nosratollah Khosrawi, and Matthew Trevithchick [source]). Praise be to Jesus!! The number of days in captivity these men endured have been entirely counted and known by Him– and the days of captivity the Chibok girls, and all other captives, must endure, are in His hands as well. Pastor Saeed being freed has shown me something important: that nothing is impossible with Christ, and that prayer truly does work!

Although Christ has given him victory in this, the fight in Pastor Saeed’s life is far from over. In November of 2015, Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, sent emails to friends, describing Pastor Saeed’s abuse towards her in their marriage, and an addiction to pornography. After writing the emails, they were somehow made public. Naghmeh, a day after they were shared, said that she regretted writing the emails, and was “taking time off to heal and to rest and to spend much needed time with my kids” (ACLJ). Although this is a very dark

saeed-abedini-rebekkah-jacob-300x336.png

Rebekkah and Jacob, Saeed and Naghmeh’s children, ages 6 and 7 (source). 

thing, Saeed is still loved by Christ in and through all of this. Naghmeh believes that Saeed can be freed from these things, too– and truly, this woman of God is completely correct. “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible‘” (Matthew 19:26).

Please continue praying for Pastor Saeed, his wife, Naghmeh, and his children, Rebekkah and Jacob– especially as his wife, Naghmeh, and his children, see their husband and father for the first time in three years. 

As Pastor Saeed has been freed, there are still many in captivity; more than can be numbered. As of January 16th, 2016, thousands lie captive to ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Boko Haram, while many more thousands lie in prison cells because the government above them wants to do away with Christ followers completely. Will you continue to pray for these men and women, including Pastor Lim and the Chibok girls?

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). As long as there are Christians in prison, we must pray for them– not only that they will be released, but that Christ would use them mightily while they are in prison to bring others (even their persecutors!) to Him. As we rejoice in the freedom we have in Christ, and as we enjoy His near Presence, let us do all we can– in prayer, and in action, as Christ leads– to help liberate our brothers and sisters. 

“Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.
(Hebrews 13:3, ESV)

To take further action, you can read, sign, and support these two petitions by sharing:

I praise and thank Jesus for your prayers and support. Let us not give up in doing good (Galatians 6:9)!

Be blessed! 🙂

Saved to Serve

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands…”
(Revelation 7:9, ESV)

It is no secret that Nigeria, especially Northern Nigeria, has been completely ravaged by Boko Haram’s insurgency. It has been a long 7 years since the islamic sect turned violent, killing tens of thousands of people and displacing 2.6 million from their homes. Although the majority of those killed or displaced are from Northern Nigeria, Nigeria has not been the only country deeply affected by Boko Haram.

In 2015 alone, the countries of Chad, Cameroon, and Niger have sustained more than 50 bombings, suicide attacks, and raids. In two of the attacks in Niger alone, the towns of Wogom and Diffa saw at least 100 homes go up in flames, killing 26 people and wounding many others [1]. In January of 2015, an estimated 400 people were savagely murdered in “door-to-door gun and knife attacks” by Boko Haram in Fotokol, Cameroon (source). Yet, these attacks are not the end of what Boko Haram has put these nations through; the three countries have also provided shelter, food and water to 200,000 Nigerian refugees, running from Boko Haram’s attacks in their own towns– in which 100,000 displaced people have fled to Cameroon alone (source). While it is clear that Nigeria has had its own trying time because of the Boko Haram insurgency, the people of Cameroon, Niger, and Chad have suffered horrifically at the hands of Boko Haram (also known as ISWAP: Islamic State’s Western Africa Province) as well. While these countries may be outside of this blog’s focus on Nigeria, they– and their people– are certainly not outside of Christ’s focus, and are in dire need of prayer and support.

Christ’s Witnesses

In Isaiah 43, Jesus, through Isaiah, says, “‘I will say to the north, Give [them] up, and to the south, Do not withhold;/ bring my sons from afar/ and my daughters from the end of the earth,/ everyone who is called by my name,/ whom I created for my glory,/ whom I formed and made‘” (Isaiah 43:6-7, “them” mine). Although this passage, in context, is clearly speaking about Israel, Gentiles, through the blood of Christ, have become God’s people and children, as well (Galatians 3:26). As on reads further in Isaiah 43, Jesus’ reason for gathering all of His children becomes clear.

“‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lordand my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lordand apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?‘”
(Isaiah 43:10-13)

The people of Chad, Cameroon, and Niger, in the midst of warfare and displacement, need hope: that there is a God of Justice, watching over the situation, who in the end will mete out perfect Justice on their behalf. More than anything, though, the people of Cameroon, Niger, Chad, and Benin need to hear the Good News: that this God of Justice is also a God of Mercy; and, by the power of Christ’s blood, wants them to receive His gift of grace, forgiveness, and eternal Life with Him. Not only does this God want them to have life eternal, with Him; He wants them to have life abundant here, on earth, even in the midst of such desolation. But, as Romans 10:14 points out, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?”

Jesus’ Command, Our Delight

The next verses in Romans confirms what is being suggested: that men and women need to be willing to go out, and tell others about Christ (Romans 10: 14b-15). But this concept is more than just a suggestion; it is Jesus’ command to all believers. It is found in Matthew 28: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV). While following this commandment– just like any other work– will not make you more “righteous,” and will not “get you to heaven” (Salvation is by grace through faith, not works, lest any man should boast [Ephesians 2:8-9]), to truly love Jesus is to obey Him (John 14:15). Christians are called to grow in, and tell others about, Jesus Christ.

While this has not been the Church’s aim (at least in the majority of churches in America), in revival– truly coming back to Christ afresh, or coming to truly know Jesus for the first time ever– Christ’s Love in the heart of the believer should make one both truly compassionate, and zealous for others to come to know Christ, as well. Truly, Jesus wants deep, abiding relationships with His children, so that they might be full to overflowing with His Love. When the heart of a person truly responds to Christ, they exhibit the fruits of His Spirit in their lives: “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). As a Christian’s cup “runneth over” with these things, one can’t help but want to pour into others the Good News they have received.

Sharing the Bread of Life

While one can, and should, provide humanitarian relief to those in these countries, Christians should be aiming to fulfill a deeper need: for those they come in contact with to meet “the Bread of Life,” and “Living Water,” Jesus (John 6:35). All over the world, in every tribe, tongue, and nation, Christ is calling out to people to receive what only He can offer: true fulfillment, Perfect Peace, true rest, and divine guidance and insight, among countless other blessings. As His children, filled with His Spirit, we should be calling out, too; if not in those countries, physically, then in prayer, for others who do so. Because, in Chad, Cameroon, and Niger, we cannot fathom how badly they need it– need Him.

[1] sources: http://news.yahoo.com/18-killed-boko-haram-attack-southeast-niger-134025219.html and http://news.yahoo.com/boko-haram-jihadists-torch-50-homes-kill-four-153919840.html

***
On January 31st, 2015, Hyeon Soo Lim, a Korean-Canadian and pastor of a church in Toronto, Canada, was arrested by North Korean officials for “subversive plots” against the North Korean government– no doubt for missionary and “religious work” in many parts of North Korea. In December of 2015, he was sentenced to life in a hard labor prison; and although Canada’s government has caught wind of the story, it has done little to nothing to help free Pastor Lim.
Please pray for Pastor Lim, as he goes through this horribly difficult time. Pray that Christ would use him, as He used Paul and the other apostles, even in prison, to share the Gospel and bring others to Christ. Please also pray for his health, well-being, and that He would keep His eyes on Jesus. Of course, pray for His release, in Jesus’ way and timing. 
If you feel led, please also read, sign, and share this petition to Canadian officials, that they would seek negotiations with North Korea to free Pastor Lim. Thank you; Be blessed in Christ. 


Do you know Jesus?

The verse in Revelations 7, mentioned at the beginning of this post, is an incredibly powerful look at the future glory all believers will experience. Verse 10 describes something incredibly wonderful, and powerful:

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!‘”
(Revelation 7:9-10, NIV)

 This description may sound odd or hard to understand, but truly, Jesus is the Lamb the great multitude is worshiping. 

2,000 years ago, Jesus, God in human flesh, came into the world to save mankind from sin’s power and eternal damnation– separation from God (2 Thessalonians 1:9). Why do we need saving, you might ask? We were all born, because of Adam and Eve’s decision to disobey God, with an innate sin nature; that is, our nature was poisoned by sin, making us evil from birth (Genesis 3:6; Psalm 51:5). God, being a God of Justice, could not let any sin go unpunished; therefore, mankind deserved to die for their sin (Ezekiel 18:20).

For centuries, God’s chosen people, the Israelites, paid for their own sin by the blood of birds, lambs, goats, and bulls, especially on “the Day of Atonement” (Leviticus 16). While this covered the sin of the people, God’s way, it did not remove the sin (Hebrews 10:4). “[But] God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Although Jesus was perfectly sinless, “humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross,” becoming the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of all mankind (Hebrews 7:27). But He did not stay dead! No, He rose again, three days later (1 Corinthians 15:4). In doing so, he has forgiven the sins of any person who believes that He is God, and died for their sins– giving them the free gift of Eternal Life in heaven, with Him (Romans 6:23).

Jesus’ free gift to all mankind must be received to forgive and save a person, though.  The bible says we must “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved,” and “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). 

Do you want Jesus, the Perfect Lamb of God, to forgive and save you of your sin? If so, you can say a simple prayer to Jesus right now, like this one:

“Dear Jesus, I believe that You are God, and that You died on the cross for my sin. I believe You rose three days later, forever conquering sin and death, and gave the free gift of Eternal Life with You to all who believe. Lord Jesus, I have sinned against You in word and deed; and I need You to save me from my sins. Please, Lord Jesus, come into my life and be my Lord and Savior– and help me to live for You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

If you have truly and sincerely asked Jesus into your heart and life as Lord and Savior, congratulations!!! You have made the best, most important decision of your entire life– both for here, and after. The Bible says you are now a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)! If you would like to tell me of what Christ has done in your life, and/or of your new decision, please click here!

Be truly blessed in your walk with Jesus! 🙂




Please pray for…
– The people of Chad, Cameroon, and Niger– 
both those displaced and citizens in the country.
Those in Internally Displaced Peoples’ (IDP) camps. Please pray that these men and women would hear the Gospel while in these places. Please also pray for their physical needs, and that they would be kept from harm and abuse.
– The governments of these countries. That their leaders would come to know Jesus Christ.
– Men and women all across the globe, especially in these nations, to rise up to spread the Gospel in these traumatized areas. Pray they would experience this call of Christ on their lives, and would be given all they need to answer it, including bravery.
– Pastors and other church leaders in these areas. Pray that these brave men would be upheld and strengthened to minister to those Christ has entrusted them with.
– Muslims and other nonbelievers in these areas. Pray they would come to know Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and would have the blindfolds taken off their eyes, in a real way.
These countries’ militaries. Pray that members would come to know Christ, and that Christ would give them favor as they continue to fight Boko Haram alongside Nigeria.
– Boko Haram members. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…” (Matthew 5:44-45, NKJV). Please pray that these deceived people would know Jesus– and that the Boko Haram insurgency that they’re apart of would be annihilated.
The Chibok girls of Borno, Nigeria. Please pray that they are located, and rescued, very soon! As you are led, please read, sign, and share this petition, asking President Buhari to locate, and officially report, the whereabouts of the Chibok girls by the second anniversary of their kidnapping, April 14th, 2016.

Thank you for your prayers, and Jesus bless you. Let us not stop sharing Jesus with others until the whole world knows!