another Stephen

Just yesterday, while preaching through First Peter 1, I mentioned the martyrdom of Stephen, Acts 6-7.

Today, I came across this video (WARNING:VERY GRAPHIC, NOT ADVISABLE FOR MOST) of the murder of a Muslim Christian (who had accepted Christ and refused to deny Jesus Christ as Son of God and revert to Islam ).

This Muslim martyr was silent before his shearers like his Lord, Jesus Christ; Isaiah 53!

URL: http://www.jihadwatch.org/2012/06/graphic-video-muslims-slaughter-convert-to-christianity-in-tunisia.html

jessica mokdad human rights conference

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHBRJsJXV-A&feature=g-all-u

 

pastor youcef nadharkani

This is an update on Pastor Youcef Nadarkani.

URL: http://www.maghrebchristians.com/2012/04/17/pastor-youcef-nadarkhani-sees-his-family/#ixzz1sy7EFU99

Primary Source: http://aclj.org/Nadarkhani

Last week (actually, 2nd week of April, 2012) Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani spent his 35th birthday in prison in Iran, illegally detained and facing execution for his faith. What we were unable to tell you last week is a rare piece of good news for the persecuted pastor. Our sources in Iran have confirmed to the ACLJ that Pastor Youcef was allowed to see his entire family on his birthday. This was a rare family reunion in the jail where he has been held for more than two and a half years since he was arrested for questioning the …   Continue Reading…

Update: Our (ACLJ) sources in Iran have confirmed to the ACLJ that Pastor Youcef is still alive as of April 17, 2012.

 

Martyr Shahbaz Batti

This post is on Martyr Shahbaz Batti.  I have put together a few videos for easy viewing.

AWAKENING: A tribute to Shahbaz Bhatti and the consequence of Blasphemy (Sharia) Law

 

update on pastor nadarkani

This is an urgent prayer request for Pastor Nadarkani.

This morning, I heard over the KCBI 90.9 FM radio news that Pastor Nadarkani was sighted still alive on Tuesday and that he might be executed any day.

His crime : Apostasy, converting to Christ in Iran.

He was a pastor of a small congregation in Iran for a a decade.

This calls for urgent prayer from all who claim the name of Jesus.

More Details:

Youcef Nadarkhani (born 1977; first name also spelled Yousef, Youssef, or Yousof; last name also spelled Nadar-Khani or Nadar Khani) is an Iranian Christian pastor who has been sentenced to die in Tehran.[1][2] Initial reports, including a 2010 brief from the Iranian Supreme court, stated that the sentence was based on the crime of apostasy, renouncing his Islamic faith. Government officials later insisted that the sentence was instead based on alleged violent crimes, specifically rape and extortion.[3] According to Amnesty International, the Iranian government has offered leniency if he will recant his Christianity.[4]

Biography

Nadarkhani is from Rasht, Gilan. He pastors a network of Christian house churches. He is a member of the Protestant evangelical Church of Iran.[5][6][7] He is married to Fatemeh Pasandideh, and they have two sons, ages 9 and 7.[8]

The above is an excerpt from wikipedia – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youcef_Nadarkhani

The White House condemned the conviction and possible death sentence for an Iranian pastor who refuses to renounce his Christian faith on Thursday, saying the execution would further demonstrate Iranian authorities “utter disregard” for religious freedom.

Youcef Nadarkhani, 32, who maintains he has never been a Muslim as an adult, has Islamic ancestry and therefore must recant his faith in Jesus Christ, the 11th branch of Iran’s Gilan Provincial Court has ruled. Iran’s Supreme Court had ordered the trial court to determine whether Nadarkhani had been a Muslim prior to converting to Christianity.

“Pastor Nadarkhani has done nothing more than maintain his devout faith, which is a universal right for all people,” the statement released by the White House read. “That the Iranian authorities would try to force him to renounce that faith violates the religious values they claim to defend, crosses all bounds of decency, and breaches Iran’s own international obligations. A decision to impose the death penalty would further demonstrate the Iranian authorities’ utter disregard for religious freedom, and highlight Iran’s continuing violation of the universal rights of its citizens. We call upon the Iranian authorities to release Pastor Nadarkhani, and demonstrate a commitment to basic, universal human rights, including freedom of religion.”

Attorney Mohammad Ali Dadkhah told The Associated Press on Thursday that his client has appeared before the appeals court over the past four days and expects a ruling by the end of next week. Dadkhah said he believes there’s a “95 percent chance” of acquittal for Nadarkhani.

Dadkhah said neither Iranian law nor clerics have ever stipulated the death penalty as punishment for converting from Islam to Christianity.

The judges in the case, according to the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), demanded that Nadarkhani recant his Christian faith before submission of evidence. Though the judgment runs against current Iranian and international laws and is not codified in Iranian penal code, the judge stated that the court must uphold the decision of the 27th Branch of the Supreme Court in Qom.

When asked to repent, Nadarkhani stated: “Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?”

“To the religion of your ancestors, Islam,” the judge replied, according to the American Center for Law & Justice.

“I cannot,” Nadarkhani said.

An unnamed source close to Nadarkhani’s attorney told the American Center for Law and Justice that a judge has agreed to overturn Nadarkhani’s death sentence, but the report could not be independently confirmed.

Even if the sentence is overturned, Jordan Sekulow, the executive director of the ACLJ, said the message is that it would be unlikely that Nadarkhani would be set free.

Nadarkhani is the latest Christian cleric to be imprisoned in Iran for his religious beliefs. According to Elam Ministries, a United Kingdom-based organization that serves Christian churches in Iran, there was a significant increase in the number of Christians arrested solely for practicing their faith between June 2010 and January 2011. A total of 202 arrests occurred during that six-month period, including 33 people who remained in prison as of January, Elam reported.

An Assyrian evangelical pastor, Rev. Wilson Issavi, was imprisoned for 54 days for allegedly converting Muslims prior to his release in March 2010, Elam officials told FoxNews.com.

Nadarkhani, a pastor in the 400-member Church of Iran, has been held in that country’s Gilan Province since October 2009, after he protested to local education authorities that his son was forced to read from the Koran at school. His wife, Fatemeh Pasandideh, was also arrested in June 2010 in an apparent attempt to pressure him to renounce his faith. She was released in October 2010, according to Amnesty International.

Nadarkhani was sentenced to death for apostasy last September based on religious writings by Iranian clerics, including Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, despite the fact that there is no offense of “apostasy” in the nation’s penal code, Amnesty International reports.

In June, the Supreme Court of Iran ruled that a lower court should re-examine procedural flaws in the case, giving local judges the power to decide whether to release, execute or retry Nadarkhani. The verdict, according to Amnesty International, includes a provision for the sentence to be overturned should Nadarkhani renounce his faith.

Elise Auerbach, an Iranian analyst for Amnesty International USA, told FoxNews.com that an execution for apostasy has not been carried out in Iran since 1990. Nadarkhani’s sentence is a “clear violation of international law,” she said.

“The key is to keep up the pressure and to publicize the story because it obviously outrages most people,” Auerbach said. “It’s part of the pattern of persecution based on religion in Iran.”

Kiri Kankhwende, a spokeswoman for Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a human rights organization that specializes in religious freedom, told FoxNews.com that Nadarkhani was asked for the fourth time to renounce his faith during a hearing early Wednesday and he denied that request.

“We’re waiting to hear the final outcome,” she told FoxNews.com. “We’re still waiting to hear what they’ve decided.”

Kankhwende said Nadarkhani could be executed Wednesday or Thursday.

“Iran is unpredictable,” she said. “We can’t say when it might happen. It’s a very real threat, but we can’t say when exactly.”

Officials at the U.S. State Department declined to comment when reached on Wednesday.

House Speaker John Boehner said Nadarkhani’s case is “distressing for people of every country and creed,” according to a statement released on Wednesday.

“While Iran’s government claims to promote tolerance, it continues to imprison many of its people because of their faith,” the statement read. “This goes beyond the law to an issue of fundamental respect for human dignity. I urge Iran’s leaders to abandon this dark path, spare [Nadarkhani’s] life, and grant him a full and unconditional release.”

Father Jonathan Morris, a Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of New York and an analyst for Fox News Channel, said Nadarkhani’s case is “unmistakable evidence” that Iran is executing Christians simply because they refuse to become Muslims.

Morris continued: “Will President Obama, and the free world, allow the United Nations to continue in its cowardly silence on this matter?”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/09/28/iranian-pastor-faces-execution-for-refusing-to-recant-christian-faith/#ixzz1nJIJExQd

The above excerpt is from foxnews

 

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life

Today we are dealing with Kings1 18.  The key for chapter 18 is in verse 37.  He just

Soon after a day of public victory, Elijah had a day of personal defeat.  Indeed, it was a day of personal introspection and learning in the presence of the Lord for him.

So, it is clear that in the life of any a servant of God that ministrial success is not a guarantee that the man of God is as robust in his personal life too.  Success in ministry is not evidence that one is successful or perfect in his personal walk with the Lord.  Isn’t that a beauty of the Bible record of biographical history?. In fact, chapter 19 is complete opposite to chapter 18.  In 18, we see nothing of the personality of Elijah but 19 reveals a great deal about his feelings and state of mind.

Enter God to the rescue in chapter 19.  The LORD was with him through the ups and downs of his life.  Also, thankfully, Elijah was as open (with his feelings) as a faithful and obedient prophet that he is despite his ‘feeling defeated, ‘ personally.  The Lord never gave up on Elijah and grant him his wish for ‘death.’  The Lord simply reminded him that He still continues to be faithful to Israel becasue of His covenant with Israel and chapter 19 is just that.

So, in conclusion, it is the Lord that we need and should go back to in a day of success and as well as in a day of defeat.  In a day of desparity, we all tend to run/retire to a place of defeat, forget the Lord’s presence, take desperate measures, retire to old habbits/sins, conclude wrongfully, etc….  In his case, 1) he thought he was the only faithful left in the land, 2) he walked to Mount Horeb 40 miles, and the Lord’s advice to Elijah was “go back the way you came to the desert of Damascus” in verse 15 and revealse that he was not the only one faithful left in Israel and wrongfully concluded (though based on partial truth) that Israel had forsaken the covenant, broken the altars, and put to death His prophets, verse 19:10.  The Lord had 7000 faithful people who had not bowed their knee or kissed the Baals in worship.  Elijah simply did not know it.

No wonder the Lord asked him, not once but twice, “What are you doing here?” First time in verse 19:9 and second time in verse 19:13.  The Lord answered his question perfectly well, but Elijah did not answer the Lord as well because he had no explanation for his ‘desperate conclusions.’

Let us not fall into the same temptation and not judge things before hand;  conclude only after a careful analysis; dthe needful research;aask and learn; keep our mind open as the heart is open to the Lord.

Update on pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

Now the fate of pastor lies in the hands of ayatollah khomini

Excuse me for the spelling errors, as the original post was uploaded from my mobile.

As of now, 80 have signed the congressional letter.

Youcef Case Still in Ayatollah’s Hands

More about Ayatollah Khameini.

Sureme leader of Iran
Supreme leader of Iran

Here is the link to Ayatollah Khameini on wikipedia.

The following extract from wikipedia, explains why the decision was rolled over to the supreme leader of Iran:

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The concept that the ruler of the land should be an Islamic jurist serving as “guardian” (Vali faqih ولی فقیه in Persian), was developed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in a lecture series made book. In this kind of theocratic “guardianship” leadership (Velayat-e Faqih, ولایت فقیه ), no political decision is lawful until it is approved by the guardian jurist who is called Supreme Leader (رهبر Rahbar in Persian) by the Iranian constitution. Even the taking of office by the democratically elected president is subject to the approval of the Supreme Leader.

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