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Archive for the ‘Persecuted Church’ Category

Reflect first that a Church exists.

What a wonder this is!

earth

It is perhaps the greatest miracle of all ages that God has a Church in the world… Always a Church!

When the full force of the Pagan Emperors came like a thundering avalanche upon her, she shook off the stupendous load as a man shaketh the flakes of snow from his garment, and she lived on uninjured.

When papal Rome vented its malice yet more fuioursly and ingenuously; when cruel murderers hunted the saints among the Alps, or worried them in the low country; when Albigenses and Waldenses poured out their blood in rivers, and dyed the snow with crimson, she lived still…

photo

…and never was in healthier state than when she was immersed in her own gore.

When after a partial reformation in this country, the pretenders to religion determined that the truly spiritual should be harried out of the land, God’s Church did not sleep or suspend her career of life or service.

Let the covenant signed in blood witness to the vigour of the persecuted saints.

Hearken to her psalm amidst the brown heath-clad hills of Scotland, and her prayer in the secret conventicles of England.

Hear ye the voice of Cargil and Cameron thundering among the mountains against a false king and an apostate people; hear ye the testimony of Bunyan and his compeers who would sooner rot in dungeons than bow the knee to Baal.

bunyan

Ask me, “Where is the Church?” and I can find her at any and every period from the day when first in the upper room the Holy Ghost came down even until now. In one unbroken line our apostolic succession runs; not through the Church of Rome; not from the superstitious hands of priest-made popes, or king-created bishops (what a varnished lie is the apostolic succession of those who boast so proudly of it!), but through the blood of good men and true, who never forsook the testimony of Jesus; through the loins of true pastors, laborious evangelists, faithful martyrs, and honourable men of God…

…we trace our pedigree up to the fishermen of Galilee and glory that we perpetuate by God’s grace that true and faithful Church of the living God, in whom Christ did abide and will abide until the world’s crash.

The chief wonder is that she abides perfect.

Not one of God’s elect has gone back…

Not one of the blood-bought has denied the faith…

Not one single soul which ever was effectually called can be made to deny Christ, even though his flesh should be pulled from his bones by hot pincers, or his tormented body flung to the jaws of wild beasts.

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All that the enemy has done has been of no avail against the Church. The old rock has been

washed,

and washed,

and washed again by stormy waves,

and submerged a thousand times in the floods of tempest, but even her angles and corners abide unaltered and unalterable.

rocks

We may say of the Lords’s tabernacle, not one of the stakes thereof has been removed, nor one of her cords been broken. The house of the Lord from foundation to pinnacle is perfect still: “The rain descended and floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house and it fell not”; nay, nor a single stone of it, “for it was founded upon a rock”.

C.H. Spurgeon
The Forgotten Spurgeon, pgs. 31-32

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I had the privilege of sharing Padina’s story on IDOP and it’s a very beautiful and moving testimony. Brings tears to my eyes everytime I watch it. Maybe you could spare 5 minutes to view it and then pray for Padina and her mom? Pray for their strength as they minister to others and share their faith in Jesus at the possible expense of their lives.

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There are 7 images in this post that are quite large. Please wait for them to load as they contain the entire blog post. Thank you for your patience!!

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Please pray for the believers in North Korea, and thank you for reading. If you are interested in purchasing VOM’s book on NK, please click HERE (its only $7!).

God bless you!

In Christ,

Joy

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I have been told that Christians in themselves were never meant to change or save the world. At first I was a bit offended at this, but after some reflection realized this to be true.

Christians know that true peace will never come on this earth until its Creator, Jesus Christ physically comes back to reign and rule on it in accordance with Biblical prophecy. His return is our living hope.When there is an injustice so vile that it sweeps across entire nations, Christians should be the FIRST ones to stand up and say,

This. Is. Wrong.

Why? Because Christians, who follow in the footsteps of Jesus, always work to do the will of the Father! In an abundance of scripture passages we can be confident that God’s heart is *for* the poor, the needy, the oppressed, the widow and the orphan.

Psalms 82

1 God stands in the congregation of the mighty;
He judges among the gods.
2 How long will you judge unjustly,
And show partiality to the wicked?  Selah
3 Defend the poor and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4 Deliver the poor and needy;
Free them from the hand of the wicked.
5 They do not know, nor do they understand;
They walk about in darkness;
All the foundations of the earth are unstable.
6 I said, “You are gods,
And all of you are children of the Most High.
7 But you shall die like men,
And fall like one of the princes.”
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth;
For You shall inherit all nations.

So what does this have to do with saving the world? Well, in my studies on North Korea, I’m finding myself very discouraged and in a place of low hope. I don’t like to be in that place because oftentimes I take my eyes off of God and His majestic power. Unfortunately, when a whole nation is held hostage, what can a single person do? How do we defend the helpless, or right injustices when we seem so small? Even though we know peace will not come until Jesus does, what can we do now?

In the midst of asking these questions during prayer this morning, it was then that I was reminded of Moses. With God’s power, the children of Israel were released from Pharoah’s grip, and if there was ever a time when all seemed hopeless, it was then, when Israel had been slaves in Egypt for over 400 years. Things weren’t as hopeless as it seemed after all when God stepped in and said, “Enough. It is time to let my people go.”

After that realization, all I could do was simply pray that God would raise up another Moses. Only this time, a Moses for the North Korean people. As I read and soak up the information on NK, it seems as if the whole world is turning a blind eye to the unspeakable horrors that go on behind the borders there. Its so bad that whole generations (up to 3) of families are being slaughtered for the pettiest of crimes. Where is the world? When I ask this, I’m reminded of the young lady, Alicia in the “180 Movie” who commented about the extermination of the Jews during the Holocaust. She asked a very poignant question:

Where was the world?

Indeed. Where is the world now? Where are those who will stand up for the North Korean people that are literally starving to death, or committing suicide to avoid painful torture and executions. If you are not familiar with the conditions in the Hermit Kingdom, I can’t recommend highly enough National Geographic’s documentary, “Inside North Korea”. It is hosted by Lisa Ling, who does an excellent job and it can be viewed on YouTube HERE for free (it’s only 46 minutes long and well worth it).

Back in July of last year, I was priviledged to participate in a teleconference call praying for the people of North Korea. Its kind of what stoked a fire in my heart for this country. It was at this time that I first heard about a single missionary man crossing over the border into NK illegally and was quickly caught and imprisoned. It was sort of “hush hush” at the time due to legal issues, so I didn’t have a lot of information. Either way, I was intrigued.

It is just now that I am finding interview’s of this man and his name is Robert Park. The best interview I’ve found was on CBN, posted below:

Robert Park is a man on a mission. He says he’s called to continue to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.” (Proverbs 31:8-9)

Nearly a year has passed since the Korean American missionary crossed the frozen Tumen River and walked from China into North Korea. Attentive border guards immediately arrested Park and took him to a North Korean prison where he suffered sexual abuse and torture.

Many of Park’s friends are North Korean defectors–they told him how Christians and others are sent to concentration camps, tortured and left to die. Park knew what he was up against before crossing the border, yet he was willing to pay the price.

Whether or not you agree with his conduct (crossing borders without permission is illegal), one cannot help but admire his passion, advocacy, and commitment to Christ. Tired of Christians “talking the talk” but not “walking the walk,” Park decided to do something to draw attention to the plight of Christians in North Korea. As a result, he suffered excruciating pain and suffering at the hands of the brutal totalitarian regime. He doesn’t like to talk about it or give much detail of the torture he experienced, but he reportedly told one reporter that he would “never be able to have a marriage or any kind of relationship.”

How are Christians faring in North Korea today and what does he think about those who are evangelized in China or South Korea and then sent back to the North? He responds to those questions in clip[s] one of our CBN News interview.

In clip two, Park explains what he did when he first crossed the border into North Korea.

In clip three, he discusses how he was treated by his North Korea interrogators and what he said to them.

In our fourth and final interview clip, Park explains what Christians can do to make a difference for our North Korean brothers and sisters in Christ.

Please take the time to view all four clips and then pray. Few Christians suffer worse than those in North Korea.”

The video clips can be found HERE please watch them when you can so that you can pray more effectively for the church in NK.

My heart goes out to Mr. Park. Nobody seems to want to listen to him. He has suffered terrible permanent injuries for doing what he did. I have no doubt of his love for the North Korean people and I praise God for that. I also praise God for his bravery and attempt to help. But apart from this, we look over to Lisa Ling who does an indepth documentary with the world reknown National Geographic and still, nothing seems to change. So, what can I do? Just sit back and criticize? No, I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to do nothing. And most of all,

I don’t want to be a weak-hearted Christian.

I want to help and I want you to help too. If you don’t feel that its necessary or appropriate for you, here are some bullet point facts as reported through VOM:

  • It is nearly impossible to overstate the desperation of NK’s people during the famine years of 1995-2000 (up to 21% of the population perished).
  • Refugees leaving the country testified that each morning during the famine, they would wake up to check on all their neighbors to see who was still alive.
  • Cannabalism is/was rapant and if caught, punishable by immediate execution (shot on the spot- this includes children).
  • Cholera outbreaks/deaths are epidemic.
  • Entire families have been known to eat poison in order to die quickly to avoid starving to death.
  • Two-thirds of the children suffer from stunted growth. An entire generation of children will never develop to their full physical or mental capabilities due to malnutrition.
  • The entire population was (I don’t know about now) dependant upon a precarious government rationing system for food (get it? Not allowed to grow or acquire any other food source. Sentence for this crime? Work camp, or death camp).
  • The government has advocated the making of “substitute food” which includes, tree bark, leaves or even sawdust.
  • Thousands risk death and torture to flee across the border into China. However, China has not been accomodating to these refugees and are offered rewards by the NK government for their return. When they are dragged back into NK, it is often iron wire run through their noses or under their collar bones.
  • For those who successfully defect, often their left-behind families are put in prison camps or executed up to the 3rd generation (“The regime believes that to eradicate the opposition they must deal with three generations”).

Truly, this is just a taste of the horror that goes on. I haven’t even mentioned what happens if you speak unfavorably of their “Dear Leader”, Kim Jong Il. For instance, every citizen must wear a pin bearing his image, and you cannot photograph or video tape any image of him unfavorably, or have it cut off at certain points (for instance a photo of half his face). He is taught to the people from the cradle to the grave that he is, “divine, immortal, and worthy of all prayer, worship, honor, power, and glory.” I truly believe that NONE of us can fully fathom what its like to live so oppressed. Lord Jesus, let us never lose our humanity.

In closing, I want to share how to become better educated regarding North Korea, or how to pray more effectively, I highly recommend VOM’s book, “North Korea” found HERE. Its only $7 and contains lots of useful information including statistics and how you can help. You can also contact the NK government directly HERE.

But above all, please ask God how He would want you to help, including asking for His heart for the persecuted. Ask Him to show you which restricted/hostile nation He would want you to pray for if NK isn’t the one (there are over 50 others!).

For those believers still on the inside of the closed borders, their message to us is TELL THE WORLD. Thank you for allowing me to share my burden. I’m working on telling the world the best way I can.

Yours forever in Christ,

Joy

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Reporting from Persecution Blog on 11/7:

There is still time to get your church involved for this years International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, which is this Sunday, November 13th.

The Voice of the Martyrs, as well as other ministries dedicated to helping the persecuted church, will be joining together with thousands of Christians on Sunday to pray and remember the suffering of our beloved family in Christ.

Please join us and please tell your friends.  May the Lord bless you as you remember those who are in chains.

Click HERE to view blog source.

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This is a very difficult video to watch, but you must. You must be aware of the persecution that goes on in other countries. Heb. 13:5 is a command to pray for those who suffer for the name of Christ, and we are to help the household of God *first* according to Gal. 6:10. The enemy tries very hard to keep a lid on the truth of persecution, why is this? Please, pray to Jesus Christ that He would give you a heart to feel for those who suffer, pray that He gives you the eyes to see the truth of John 15:19 –

If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

 

 

Please pray for them.

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Hi everyone! I have two items I want to tackle today: 1) my husband’s diagnosis, and 2) the title above.  So, off we go!

In mid-June we had our appointment with a new neurologist. Let me tell you, she was in the room asking questions and within a ten minute period had it pretty much figured out. Her diagnosis- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). After the appointment, we did our own research and feel that after four months, this is it.

Finally.

I’ll do my best to give a brief run-down of this disease in accordance with three main informational web sites (references listed at the bottom of this post):

Definition:
CRPS is an uncommon form of chronic pain that usually affects an arm or leg (Brian is affected in his left leg) due to nerve damage whether known or unknown (his is unknown). It is a chronic progressive disease characterized by severe pain, swelling and changes in the skin. The cause of complex regional pain syndrome is currently unknown. Treatment  is most effective when started early (Brian‘s been diagnosed within the 1st stage (1-3 months) which is a good thing, however we have until July 15th to know what the treatments will be). In such cases, improvement and even remission are possible.

Symptoms: (Brian has all symptoms but one)

  • Burning and electrical sensations, described to be like “shooting pain” in the affected limb.
  • Muscle spasms, severe jerking/twitching/convulsing.
  • Swelling, changes in skin tone (blotchy, mottled, darker coloring).
  • Joint tenderness or stiffness (movement is very restricted due to pain).
  • Muscle atrophy/wasting.
  • Pain is continuous, unrelenting and may be heightened by emotional or physical stress.
  • Moving or touching the limb is often intolerable (even the hair being moved by air or light touch is painful).
  • Extreme sensitivity to heat or cold.
  • Changes in hair/nail growth (this is the one that doesn’t seem to be a symptom for him).

Prognosis – Treatments:
There is no cure for CRPS, but the disease can be slowed (reading the “no cure” part was disheartening to say the least as Brian is unable to walk unaided). The main focus is on relieving the symptoms and helping people with this syndrome live as normal a life as possible. If the condition is not diagnosed quickly, changes to the bone and muscle may get worse and may not be reversible (worst case scenario: amputation). There is a range of treatments but again, we won’t know exactly what they will suggest until his next appointment on July 15th.


Mentally, physically and spiritually we’ve all been in a tailspin. Sadly, some family members just can’t seem to grasp it at all (I don’t blame them, we can’t really grasp it either).

During these past four months what we continuously kept in our hearts was the hope that this could be “fixed” someday; whether that be through surgery, therapy, medicine, etc. Now we are faced with the possibility that this is like, forever.

Nevertheless, Brian’s fighting spirit remains… Don’t count him out yet! He vows to walk again, get rid of that walker/wheelchair and even play baseball! Gotta love him! So I still covet your prayers- for wisdom, clarity, making the right decisions in regards to therapy. And above all of this, would you pray that God would bless all the family and friends and church members who have so diligently bestowed upon us their time, love, care, cards, visits, financial assistance, concern, prayers, food, and clothing. I am humbled more than I could EVER say for the support system that God has graciously bestowed upon us!!! And I mean that!!! With tears in my eyes, this verse comes to mind:

“By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35

We have been shown more love than any family could ever ask. Truly, the love of Jesus flows wide and deep all around us!

____________________________

Part 2 – Persecution in America

I’m learning a new term! It’s: “No-Go Zone”.

Did you know that in America, we have these here? In Dearborn, Michigan the very state I live in? Wikipedia defines it as follows:

“A ‘no-go area’ or no-go zone is a region where the ruling authorities have lost control and are unable to enforce the rule of law.” (source)

The authorities are unable to enforce the rule of law… because… there is a *new* authority. Can you guess what type of group would incorporate this? The answer would be, Muslim.

Pamela Gellar of Atlas Shrugs writes in an article dated, June 18th:

“Two Christian groups, both under attack in a no-go zone in Dearborn, Michigan, in an increasingly Shariah compliant America. Dearborn, the same city that refused to run my bus ads offering help to apostates (despite our win in the courts). On Friday, two separate groups were threatened and attacked because they came to Dearborn to stand for their beliefs. Whether you like their presentation or not is irrelevant. It’s free speech. Period.” [emphasis mine]

Also, in August 2010, a Tea Party group in Dallas, Texas reports:

No-Go Zones, aka “Muslim-Only” Enclaves — IN AMERICA!

Their intentions are clear; the establishment of “No-Go Zones” or “Muslim-Only” enclaves is an unmistakable goal of Islamists. For many years they have been hard at work establishing these autonomous regions where the host government has little or no control over Muslims living there. They wish to institute Shariah law, creating their own social, economic and political structures. There is evidence that Ummah mosques in the Detroit area have maintained armed militias. Others have provided training in martial arts, and guerilla warfare… Muslim groups are working to create these communities across the country in both urban and rural areas.”

Yes, almost a year ago this article was written referencing Detroit, MI. Are Muslim-Only enclaves alive and well outside Michigan? There are. I found an even earlier article from Family Security Matters. They report in May, 2010:

“So far Americans have shelled out $1.6 billion in federal grants, loans, and “charitable” gifts to create an alleged “Muslims-only” community [this is in Philadelphia, PA]. A convert to Islam, [Kenny] Gamble, now known as Luqman Abdul Haqq, is affiliated with the National Ummah Movement which seeks to establish sovereign Islamic enclaves ruled by Shariah (Islamic) law within major cities throughout the U.S.A. The movement was started by Jamil al-Amin (the former H. Rap Brown), who is now serving a life sentence at a maximum security prison for killing two police officers in Atlanta.”

So, what’s the connection here? One word: Ummah. An Arabic word meaning “community” or “nation”. It is commonly used to mean either the collective nation of states, or (in the context of pan-Arabism) the whole Arab world. In the context of Islam, the word Ummah is used to mean the Diaspora [citation needed] or Commonwealth [citation needed] of the Believers (ummat al-mu’minin), and thus the whole Muslim world.


Google search “America Ummah” and you’ll get all sorts of hits. There’s even a facebook page! Stated directly from the Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA) web site you can know the fundamental creed, objective, principle and agenda. Taken from the article posted on MUNA titled, “Interfaith or Selling Your Faith” the answer lies in the very last sentence:

“The abstract issues of humanity, human rights, liberty, women’s rights, and democracy, etc. without true divine guidance are the creation of the Western civilization and distorted religions. We have much more under the leadership of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). What we can get and achieve under it is the beyond the imagination of the people. All, we need is the Nizam (System) of Mustafa (Prophet Muhammad, s.a.w.). [emphasis mine]

Nizam of Mustafa, aka System of [the] Prophet Muhammad is SHARIAH LAW (just a simple Internet search will explain- It‘s abundant, folks).  Are you still with me? We all seem to hear this term, “Shariah”. But what does it mean for us, or for those living in or near a “no-go zone”?

“Shariah Law, also known as Islamic Law, is an all-embracing body of religious, social, political, and military duties that was written in the 7th century by Islamic extremists and virtually unchanged today.  It is not “law” in the western sense, but instead a set of rules. The leaders of the Shariah-Islam movement are Shariah “scholars” or Imams who dictate that only Muslims who follow Shariah Law in its entirety are “true Muslims” worthy of going to a wonderful afterlife. Shariah, an Arabic word, literally means “the way”. (source)

Examples of Shariah Law include the following: (taken from the authoritative source Reliance of the Traveller, The Sacred Manual of Islamic Law.)

  • Requirement of women  to obtain permission from husbands for daily freedoms
  • Beating of disobedient woman and girls;
  • Execution of homosexuals;
  • Engagement of polygamy and forced child marriages;
  • Requirement of the testimony of four male witnesses to prove rape;
  • Stoning of adulteresses;
  • Lashing of adulterers;
  • Amputation of body for criminal offenses;
  • Female genital mutilation;
  • Capital punishment for those who slander or insult Islam;
  • Execution of apostates, or those that leave the religion of Islam
  • Inferior status for all non-Muslims, known as Dhimmitude.
  • Concept of Taquiyya: A Muslim may lie or deceive others to advance the cause of Islam.

I know about Shariah through VOM. I don’t have to do severe or strenuous exercises to produce story upon story or case upon case containing brutality, abuse, even judicially reckoned murder of Christians under Shariah. It also doesn’t take much to Google search, “honor killings” in America. There are many. The long and short of it is, while I try to be a voice for those in restricted/hostile nations, is it possible that America will be a restricted/hostile nation against Christianity in the time to come? Many, many Christians would say, Yes! Believe it or not, it’s coming. Jesus’ words ring very true tonight:

“They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” John 16:2

Please don’t think I’m out to slam Muslims or that I hate them. I don’t. It’s the opposite- I love them deeply. Every Muslim needs to hear the Gospel, every single one. They all need the chance, as many are hungry to know about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ but they are just so oppressed. Especially the women and children and my heart goes out to them all.

Learning about all of this is still pretty new to me. I’m continually absorbing much of the articles and videos that Acts 17 has produced in their labor of love in the Gospel toward the Muslim community (four were arrested last year at Arab Fest, all counts were false, their online video proves this. Amazingly, what it truly proves is the fact that preaching the Gospel on American soil will get you arrested in a “no-go zone”).

I pray that this blog is simple and to the point; that point being, Christians will be persecuted in America sooner, rather than later. And it’s only beginning- let us pray.

_________________________

Sources for CRPS:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/complex_regional_pain_syndrome

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/complex-regional-pain-syndrome/DS00265

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