Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Seven-year-old Anmol Courtesy: Gospel For Asia
This Thanksgiving I'm thanking God for our brothers and sisters in Christ who were martyred recently for their faith in Jesus.
I'll be praying for the families of more than 80 Christians who died last September when crazed Islamists bombed worshippers at All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan. It was the worst attack against Christians since the country's founding in 1947.
I'm thankful for the bold witness of Egyptian Christians who stood firm last August as Muslim militants burned their homes, churches, and businesses. I'm thankful for the two Copts who were killed in Sahel Selim, Egypt when they refused to pay a jizya tax imposed on them by Islamists.
I'm thankful for the hundreds of Nigerian Christians killed this year in attacks by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram.
And there are many other Christian martryrs around the world--all worthy of our thanks. Martyr means witness. They've been bold witnesses, and I feel privileged to have met, talked, and prayed with many of them around the world. I'm encouraged by their overcoming spirit.
My heart especially grieves when the victims are little children like 7-year-old Anmol.
According to Gospel for Asia, he went missing Nov. 17 after attending Sunday School at Believers Church in northern India. Last week, his body was discovered in a pond. Anmol had been tortured and beaten.The coroner reported he had drowned.
Anmol was kidnapped and brutally murdered because he and his family loved Jesus. His father, Harish had reportedly led many Hindus to Christ and had received countless threats from Hindu militants.
Now, little Anmol is in Heaven and his father is without a son.
This Thanksgiving, I'll be thanking God for the sacrifice of His son. I'll also thank Him for Anmol and his family, for their obedience and courageous witness for Christ.
As we Americans gather around the dinner table with loved ones this Thanksgiving, let's thank God that we live in a nation that is free from the type of persecution experienced by Anmol and his family.
That's what I'll be praying.
What are you thanking God for this Thanksgiving?
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
The United Nations is speeding towards worldwide irrelevance. It just can't help taking actions that are outrageous and even laughable--almost something you'd expect to see on late-night television satire.
The U.N. has elected Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and Cuba to the Human Rights Council. They're among the worst offenders of human rights worldwide.
Russian dissidents say human rights have gotten worse under Vladamir Putin. He has llimited the rights of Russians to speak openly and freely against their government.
The recent imprisonment of two members of the Russian feminist punk rock group, Pussy Riot is just one example. They were jailed a year ago for "hooliganism" after protesting the Orthodox Church's support for Putin's candidacy. They're protest and songs were perhaps in bad taste, but why send them to prison for two years for expressing their free speech rights?
In China, periodic raids and arrests of unregistered Christian churches and their leaders continues. Tight controls are in place over free speech and criticism of the government and its leaders.
Cuba still maintains tight control over media, and those who speak out against the Castro government or attempt to practice their Christian faith without government interference.
And Saudi Arabia always places near the top of the annual Open Doors World Watch list of persecuting countries. No church is allowed in Saudi Arabia, and converts from Islam to Christianity are at risk of imprisonment and death.
For a more detailed account of the human rights violations of the U.N.'s newest Human Rights Council members, read this report.
U.N. Watch Executive Director Hillel Neur says the election of these countries undermines the effectiveness and credibility of the UN human rights system.
It's the foxes guarding the henhouse, Neuer says. And electing Saudi Arabia to the council is like, "electing a pyromaniac as chief of the fire department."
Thursday, November 07, 2013
Just about anyone who follows North Korea's underground church can tell you how rare it is to see actual video of North Korea Christians worshipping in their homes in North Korea. Now we have a glimpse of these bold believers doing what they do regularly under threat of discovery and imprisonment.
The Colorado-based ministry that serves North Korean Christians--Seoul USA--recently obtained an exclusive video and has agreed to share it with CBN News.
Each year, North Korea tops the Open Doors Watchlist of the world's worst persecuting countries. That's because the Kim regime--though friendly to former NBA star Dennis Rodman--is unfriendly to North Koreans who practice any faith other than Juche, the state religion.
Seoul USA believes at least 30,000 Christians are currently imprisoned in North Korea.
Watch the rare video included in my Skype interview with Seoul USA CEO Rev. Eric Foley. Foley discusses the video and provides some insights on the North Korean underground church. The identities--faces and bodies of the North Korean Christians--are blurred to protect them from harm.
Also, pray this Thanksgiving season and thank God for the bold example of devout faith demonstrated by our North Korean brothers and sisters in Christ. With His help, they are honoring Jesus and keeping the faith alive in the most restricted nation on Earth. May we be more like them!
Friday, October 25, 2013
Imagine you're awakened at 3 a.m. with an urgent request from an acquaintance--one you've ministered to for months who is in desperate need of prayer for healing and deliverance. What do you do?
Nepal evangelist Debalal faithfully arose from his bed and traveled 30 minutes away from his village to the home of 29-year-old Kumar.
He had prayed with Kumar many times before -- for healing and comfort. That is what God expected from Debalal.
But Nepal is a Hindu nation, and many people--especially those residing in rural villages--despise Christians.
When Debalal entered Kumar's house to pray, Kumar allegedly beat the evangelist with an iron rod and slit Debala's throat with a khukuri (a popular Nepali knife with a curved blade).
Debalal had shared the Gospel message with villagers and some had warned him to stay away--they didn't want to hear his message or prayers. None of them responded to his calls for help when Kumar attacked.
Debalal obeyed God's call to minister to the lost and sick. It cost him his life. His wife is now a widow and his two sons are fatherless.
Gospel For Asia is requesting prayer for:
- Debalal's family, as they grieve the loss of their husband and father
- All Nepal believers to stand firm during this time
- Kumar and his family
Many faithful Christians worldwide pay a price daily for their faith in Christ. Please commit to pray for the persecuted church next Sunday, Nov. 3.
And watch this remarkable video from VOM about Victoria, a girl who tragically lost family members when Islamic terrorists attacked her church:
Our thanks to Gospel for Asia and The Voice of the Martyrs for sharing information, photos, and video for this blog.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
American ally, the so-called moderate Muslim nation of Kazakhstan is mistreating an imprisoned pastor.
Sixty-seven-year-old Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev was arrested last May for a second time, and imprisoned in an unknown location.
His crime? Effectively leading Muslims to Christ.
Jeff King, of Washington-based International Christian Concern, says Pastor Kashkumbayev is in ill health and has experienced possible torture during his imprisonment. He's calling on Christians worldwide to pray and to contact the Kazakh Embassy in Washington to demand that Pastor Kashkumbayev be freed.
He also wants Americans to contact their congressmen and ask that they urge the Kazakhstan government to release Pastor B.
Watch my interview with Jeff King to find out more about this persecuted pastor:
Here's contact info for the Kazakhstan Embassy in Washington, D.C.:
- Mr. Nurgali Arystanov (ner-Gall-ee uh-WRIST-ann-awv)
Counselor for Political and Media Affairs
1-202-232-5488, ext. 115
Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Anyone who tells you miracles don't happen today needs to meet Nigerian Habila Adamu. Members of the Boko Haram terrorist group stormed into his house last November and shot him in the face after he repeatedly refused to renounce his faith in Jesus Christ.
Everyone--including his Boko Haram assailants and his wife thought he was dead. But Habila survived and gives all honor and praise to Christ.
He told me his story today, and I had to share it with you. It's an amazing miracle that he survived.
Watch and listen. You'll be encouraged and I hope moved to pray for peace in Nigeria and God's protection and provision for our Christian family there.
Friday, October 04, 2013
Reading through the Wall Street Journal, I learned about a new holiday--one that hasn't occurred since 1888. It's now being called "Thanksgivukkah."
What is Thanksgivukkah you might ask?
It's one of those rare days when America's Thanksgiving Day falls on the first day of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights.
It seems appropriate that on a day when most Americans will gather around the dinner table to thank God for our blessings, Jews will celebrate God giving them victory over the Greeks in the second century B.C..
Hannukah is a joyous holiday of spinning dradles and singing songs. One candle of the Menorah is lit each night for eight nights representing the eight days of miraculous light God provided the Jews, though they only posessed one day's worth of lamp oil.
This year as you stuff the turkey (and your stomach) with the fruits of the Fall harvest, and as you settle in to watch the Lions beat the Packers, or the Cowboys lose to the Raiders, remember how God did a miracle to deliver the Jews from the Greeks. Thank Him for blessing you--and this great nation. Think about how He blesses individuals and nations who obey Him.
Enjoy it while you can. We won't get another chance in our lifetimes to celebrate Thanksgivukkah. It won't happen again for another 70,000 years!
So, as you await the arrival of this rare, merged holiday, enjoy an all-time classic from comedian Adam Sandler singing the Hanukkah Song!
Monday, September 23, 2013
Sunday’s attack on All Saint’s Church in Peshawar is not just another attack against Pakistan’s Christian minority.
Yes, it seems that church attacks occur frequently in the Muslim-dominated nation. But this one is different. It was the worst attack against Christians since the founding of the nation in 1947.
More than 80 people—mostly women and children were killed.
But because Muslims are joining with Christians in protest, perhaps the Pakistani government will finally get serious about combatting Islamic terrorism. Perhaps it’s no accident that the double-suicide bombing occurred shortly after the release from prison of a top Pakistani Taliban commander. Can you negotiate with those who are committed to destroying a democratic way of life?
Christians and many Muslims have united to stage protests against the militant Islamists and their acts of terrorism.
Perhaps Pakistanis will finally realize they are not an exclusive Muslim nation--Christians and Hindus are also citizens who deserve equal rights. At least for now, they are acting as one nation growing tired of the violence, finally demanding that their government respond responsibly to bring it all to an end.
Watch my full interview with Javed Rauf, manager of Jesus Christ Television in Lahore.
He gives a perspective you’ll unlikely hear elsewhere in the American media.
Friday, September 20, 2013
If you grew up in America--like I did-during the 1950s and&1960s, then you'll remember the television shows The Lone Ranger, The Rifleman, Bat Masterson, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and Roy Rogers. Yes, plenty of westerns in those days.
It was clear who the good guys and bad guys were in&each episode: good guys wore white hats, bad guys wore black hats. Americans have always liked stories of good vs. evil, black hats and white hats.
VOM's Todd Nettleton has just returned from the Middle East where he attended a series of meetings with Syrian pastors. They're in urgent need of our help.
In our recent interview, Nettleton said something profound that is likely to stick in my mind for quite some time.
He said, "As Americans, we like the good guy and the bad guy story... Well, in Syria there aren't any guys wearing white hats."
Seems that's the problem America and Syrian Christians now face as this war continues into the fall of 2013. When it comes to Assad vs. the rebels, there are no "white hat" choices here.
How should American Christians respond when our choices are limited to supporting differing shades of black?
We need to assist refugees and encourage Christians remaining inside Syria to be salt and light! Our Syrian family members are in urgent need of our help and those types of prayers.
They also need us to be their voice in America and around the world.
Here's one voice speaking on their behalf. Watch my full interview with Nettleton:
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Islamic extremists have maimed another Christian with acid on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar.
Last month we told you about an acid attack against two young women from the United Kingdom. They were doing volunteer work with the Anglican church when they were disfigured in Stone Town.
The latest victim is a Catholic priest.
According to sources in Zanzibar, Father Mwang'amba was patronizing an Internet cafe when he received a phone call. As he stepped outside to talk on his cell phone, two attackers passed by and threw acid on his face, chest, stomach, and legs.
In a panicked attempt to stop the burning of his skin, Father Mwang ran back inside the Internet cafe and urgently requested some water to wash the acid from his body.
Zanzibarian Christians allege the Muslim owners of the shop had advanced knowledge of this deliberate attack and intentionally delayed providing the priest with water to dilute the acid.
The priest was reportedly taken to a Dar Es Salam hospital for emergency treatment.
This is the second acid attack against Christians in the last month. It's time the Tanzania and Zanzibarian governments take agressive action against the perpetrators and advocates of this horrid practice.
If not, perhaps American and European tourists should be more resolute about spending their vacation time and money elsewhere.