A Spiritual Revolution in Iran

Oh, my, the gospel is indeed the power of God unto salvation for those who believe!

I read this report today in Voice of the Martyrs’ Newsletter, December, 2009 issue about the current spiritual climate in Iran, third on the world watch list of countries most likely to persecute Christians:

There is a revolution going on in Iran, but it is not a revolution at the ballot box or among marchers on the streets. It is a revolution embedded in the soul of many Iranians.

Iranians are coming to Jesus Christ. Not just a few, but thousands. Recently one of our Iranian contacts told us that if Christians say the name Jesus out loud in a public place, people will come up to them and ask more about him. Many are so hungry for Christ that they will pray to receive him as soon as the gospel is presented to them. Some estimate that there are now more than 1 million Christians in Iran, and the number grows daily (p. 12).

The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14)! The gates of hell shall not prevail against the church Jesus builds (Matt. 16:18)!

J. C. Ryle on Heb. 11:24-26

I neglected to mention a quote by Bishop Ryle regarding Moses and his astonishing choices in this morning’s sermon text.

Wonder not that he chose affliction, a despised people, and reproach. He beheld things below the surface. He saw with the eye of faith affliction lasting but for a moment, reproach rolled away, and ending in everlasting honour, and the despised people of God reigning as kings with Christ in glory.

On this International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church we are reminded that many of our brothers and sisters around the world in 2009 must make similar choices born of their faith in God and convictions based on His word.

To learn more about the plight of the persecuted church, visit the Voice of the  Martyr’s website. By clicking on here you can request weekly prayer updates by email so that you can pray regularly for specific needs within the persecuted church.

Again I recommend you keep the prayer guide for the top ten persecuting nations from this morning’s worship bulletin in a handy place this year so you can pray for spiritual breakthroughs in these dark places.

May the Lord give strength to those who suffer to stand firm in the faith. And may He open doors for the gospel in lands like North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Somalia, Eritrea, Afghanistan, and many, many more.

Another IDOP for the Persecuted Church

As with every year, this Sunday we will observe the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

All 9:30 Hour classes Middle School and above are cancelled for a prayer meeting in the fellowship hall on Nov. 8 for our brothers and sisters in chains.

Here is this year’s world watch list of the ten worst countries in the world for persecuting Christians. This comes from Open Door’s website.

This year’s number one on the World Watch List is no stranger: North Korea has topped the list for seven years in a row. There is no other country in the world where Christians are being persecuted in such a horrible and relentless way. The Wahhabi kingdom of Saudi Arabia holds a solid second place, sharing the same amount of points with a country that’s also ruled by Sharia law: Iran. Islam also is the official religion in Afghanistan, Somalia and the Maldives; the countries in the fourth, fifth and sixth position. Afghanistan rose from seventh to fourth place. The country moved up on the list as a result of increased pressure from the Taliban movement during 2008; the situation in the country is tense. On seventh place we come across Yemen, whose position changed from six to seven, but there was no major change in the lack of religious freedom for Christians in Yemen in 2008. There was no big change to the status of religious freedom in Laos; the country is still number eight on the list. Two new countries have entered the top ten: Somalia and Eritrea. For Eritrea the total number of points did not change compared to last year, but other countries dropping off the top ten made it go up. Nevertheless, the deplorable situation of Christians in this country very much justifies a position in the top ten. In Somalia the number of incidents against Christians increased dramatically in 2008, explaining its rise from twelve to five.

Islam is the majority religion in seven of the top ten countries: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Maldives, Yemen and Uzbekistan. Two countries have communist governments: North Korea and Laos. Eritrea is the only dictatorial country in the 10 highest countries on the list. 

Hebrews 13:3 commands us: Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them. And those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. 

May we do just that this Sunday at OGC.