News from the PERSECUTED CHURCH

Barnabas Fund

News updates on the persecuted Church


Sudanese Christians rejoice at the abolition of the Islamic apostasy law

Christian leaders urge reversal on decision to turn Turkey’s Hagia Sophia cathedral into a mosque

Indian pastor and Christian families terrorized by radical Hindutva mobs in Uttar Pradesh

Chinese authorities demolish two state-registered churches in Henan province within days

Thirteen Iranian Christians arrested by Revolutionary Guards in raids across three cities

Indian church leaders call for government action after Christian father and son tortured to death in police custody

Nigerian church leader demands urgent action to halt relentless Boko Haram killings, abductions and rapes

Thousands of Chin Christians go hungry as Myanmar Army blockades cut food supplies

Three married couples among seven Iranian converts sentenced for “propaganda against state”

Hindu spiritual leader demands all non-Muslims in India identify as Hindus


Pray for the persecuted Church

 

Daily Devotional – Suffered A While

1 Peter 5:10 – Kisha's Daily Devotional

1 Peter 5:10 (AMP and RVR 1960) 


BACKGROUND:

Some of y’all maybe old enough to remember the song Poor, Poor Pitiful Me, By Linda Ronstadt that was released back in 1977 and later covered in 2009 by Terri Clark in 1996. It is the story of a young singer who heads to Hollywood to make her fortune only to run into the manipulating men running the industry at the time. Here are the lyrics, out of this suffering and abuse somes a story that she just has to tell, in this case by way of a song. 

So too, as Christians, we must be every ready to tell the stories God has given us.

First of course is the Gospel story, this is NOT our testimony it is all about GOD. One of the best summaries of the Gospels I have found is from John Piper, A Six-Point Summary of the Gospel, is easy to remember and simple to communicate. 

Second as Ms. Ronstadt song portrays we need to tell our personal (testimony) story, 1 Peter 3:15.


CONTEXT:

Peter ends his 1st epistle by addressing the church body in two elements, first the elders 1 Peter 5:1-4, and then the younger or more immature believers 1 Peter 5:5-9.

To the elders he exhorts them and encourages them to be strong leaders for the flock they have been given charge of by God’s decree.

To the body of believers, he says LISTEN to your elders, obey them (as long as they are giving command that are biblical), be humble, persevere and cast your woes upon Christ.


BREAKDOWN:

And after you have suffered a little while,  Christians have been promised suffering. WHAT?  I am not going to list the many verses found in the NT alone but here is one example Acts 14:22 …“It is through many tribulations and hardships that we must enter the kingdom of God.”

the God of all grace, Christians have been promised God will intervene, for it is nothing but the Grace of God that will suffice to overcome trials and tribulations

who has called you He will intervene for those whom He has called, 2 Timothy 1:9 and choosen Matthew 22:14 

to his eternal glory in Christ, We have been called not for earthly purposes (yet we are to accomplish things until our time ends here) but for eternal glory in Christ 

will himself Eternity with GOD will be amazing, beyond our comprehension. Peter mentions four things that will happen to us in eternity.

Okay, I want to deviate (JUST A LITTLE), as we look at them and and think for a moment when we have come out of a difficult time of suffering.

restore, The King James says “perfect us” God will make us whole physically, mentally and spiritually.  

confirm, or settle the union of Christ in and with us in glory

strengthen, Both our resolve and any area which we were weak will be gone as we are hence completely renewed in glory 

and establish you. that is to place all our focus and being upon the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Alpha and Omega. Our only “mission” in Glory will be to glorify the King Revelation 22:1-5


APPLICATION:

We have set forth and established 3 things today:

    1. Christians will suffer on Earth
    2. Christians need to be ready to tell the Gospel Story and their own testimony
    3. God has promised Eternal Glory in Christ to all His called and chosen

 

I asked however to look at applying the 4 components of 1 Peter 5:10 to when we have come out of a difficult experience. Even though Peter is referring to future Glory, remember how you felt complete, confirm, strengthen, and established, fully renewed and invigorated in the Lord after coming through a rough patch? That my friends is your Poor, Poor Pitiful Me song. Your testimony, that needs to be shared when someone asks ‘what has God done for you lately.’  

 

Grace to You; Series on Contentment

The following 11 articles are from G2Y series on Contentment I hope them are a blessing to you. 

 

News of the Persecuted Church

Barnabas Fund

Christian Newsline

Our Faith in Today’s World

News updates on the persecuted Church

Militant extremists kill 57 villagers in attacks on mainly-Christian north-east DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) Read full article

Fourteen-year-old Indian Christian boy brutally murdered by extremists in Orissa (India)  Read full article

Widowed Chinese Christian told “stop believing in God” or lose welfare support Read full article

Chinese pastor compares second raid on church to “violence of Mao’s Cultural Revolution” Read full article

More news and information


Pray for the persecuted Church

We encourage you to pray as you feel led for the people and situations you read about in Christian Newsline. There are many resources available from Barnabas Aid to assist you in your prayers. Where you can sign up to receive Barnabas Prayer Focus, a monthly resource containing news from the persecuted Church together with associated praise and prayer points. You can sign up to receive these updates direct by email here.

 

 

Approaching COVID-19 from a Biblical Perspective

Approaching COVID-19 from a Biblical Perspective

by Dr. Gary Dull**
Originally posted on the Christian Post website HERE.

In the past few weeks, people all around the world have become familiar with coronavirus (COVID-19), which has resulted in great fear and concern by many. And just when we think we have learned all there is to know about COVID-19, a new day comes, and we find out something else that results in even greater concern. Only God knows how serious this virus is and how many people will be infected by it in the near future.

As a pastor, I have had many come to me with concerns about how COVID-19 can and should be approached. In addition, I have received numerous suggestions from various ministry, medical and governmental sources offering guidelines to adapt what eventually may bring a resolve to this tragic worldwide situation.

I thank God for those in the medical science field who are searching for a solution to COVID-19. I am also grateful for political leaders who are attempting to provide direction that will keep the general citizenry informed, calm and peaceful. But I realize that those of us who are in pastoral ministry have a great responsibility before God to provide the spiritual leadership necessary to guide America through this tragic circumstance.

Certainly, there is no lack of secular advice being given as to how to approach COVID-19. But I believe the ultimate approach should be from the biblical perspective that presents God’s way of dealing with this issue. Yes, we need to look at COVID-19 through the eyes of a biblical worldview.

One passage of Scripture to consider is Psalm 91, which teaches how God takes care of His own. Take time to read all 16 verses of this precious passage. To summarize the psalm, we are told that those who belong to God through faith in Jesus Christ dwell in the inner sanctum of the presence of God, who protects them as a mother bird cares for her young under her wings. The promise is that no evil shall befall them because God will keep them in all of their ways. Through God’s grace, love and mercy, He will “set them on high” and show them his salvation that involves the deliverance through whatever may come their way. This applies to COVID-19 and all other trials of life.

Realizing God’s promise to provide for His own as taught in Psalm 91, and then trusting God to keep His Word, as He always does, will erase the greatest of all fear, anxiety and panic in the hearts of the deeply concerned.

So how does one get to the place of trusting God and seeing His provision? Perhaps remembering the following facts about God will help.

    • God is in control. So depend upon Him to do what is right.
    • God has a purpose. So watch for Him to work.
    • God will provide. So trust in Him to deliver.
    • God has a mission. So declare His truth abroad.
    • God has a remedy. So praise Him for what He will do.

Even though there is a lot of advice being given in the world as to how to approach COVID-19, the sooner one focuses on Who God is, what God expects and how God works, and then is convinced of the fact that God causes, allows and directs all things according to His sovereign plan, the more one will experience the strength, hope, peace, comfort and confidence that only God can provide.

As Philippians 4:6,7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Yes, those who follow that comforting admonition from Scripture will surely experience all the provision of God that is needed to face COVID-19 or any other troublesome issue that will come upon us in life.

Remember the words of the old hymn written by Civilla D. Martin that says:

“Be not dismayed what-e’re be-tide, God will take care of you.
Beneath his wings of love abide, God will take care of you.

“Through days of toil when heart does fail, God will take care of you.
When dangers fierce your path assail, God will take care of you.

“All you may need he will provide, God will take care of you.
Nothing you ask will be denied, God will take care of you.”

**Gary G. Dull is executive director of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network, board member of the American Pastors Network and co-host of APN’s “Stand in the Gap Today” radio program. He pastors Faith Baptist Church of Altoona.

Today in Church History

Rutherford Exiled for Publishing

Rutherford Exiled for Publishing

Not many pastors rise at 3 A.M. to be sure they have sufficient time for God and their people. Samuel Rutherford was one who did. Thus it came as a great blow to him when he was compelled to leave the folk he loved.

Rutherford had published an Apology of Divine Grace against the heresy of righteousness based on human works. This work offended the government. On this day, February 20, 1636, Archbishop Laud, who controlled the established churches of Britain, exiled Rutherford to Aberdeen. He forbade him to preach anywhere in Britain.

It might seem Rutherford could not be blamed if he slipped into depression. The years had not been kind to him. In 1630, after barely five years of marriage, his wife died following a painful illness of thirteen months. Their two children also died, and Samuel himself suffered a debilitating fever for three months. Now he was in exile, excluded from the work he cherished most.

But rather than become depressed, he wrote encouraging letters to his friends and his church home. These are full of wise and pithy sayings: “Duties are ours, and events are the Lord’s.” Or, “It is not for us to set an hourglass to the Creator of time.”

The hundreds of letters he wrote in exile became a classic. Full of encouragement and loving devotion to Christ, they showed that Rutherford had an intimate communion with the Lord and was not afraid to talk about it. He always wrote about Christ and the wondrous glory of His Person. Charles Haddon Spurgeon later said, “When we are dead and gone, let the world know that Spurgeon held Rutherford’s letters to be the nearest thing to inspiration which can be found in all the writings of mere man.”

In 1638 Rutherford was restored to his church. His many sufferings gave him even greater sympathy for the suffering in his flock.

During the 1640s, Rutherford represented the church of Scotland in the Westminster Assembly in London. He helped author the Shorter Catechism¹, with its famous beginning, “What is the chief end of man?”

¹= added


ALSO SEE: Samuel Rutherford’s Lasting Legacy

 

News updates on the persecuted Church

Barnabas Fund

At least seven Christians killed as Boko Haram strikes villages in Far North Cameroon

At least seven Christians were killed as gangs of around 300 Boko Haram militants raided five Christian villages in Far North Cameroon, reports a Barnabas contact.

Read full article


Nigerian Christian bride and friends murdered in jihadi ambush on way to wedding

Islamist extremists shot dead a Christian bride and a group of her friends as they travelled to her wedding in Nigeria on December 26.

Read full article


 

Muslim men abduct, assault, rob Norwegian street preacher, demand he convert to Islam or be killed

Four Muslim men abducted, beat and robbed a street preacher in Trondheim, Norway, finally demanding at knifepoint he convert to Islam or be killed.

Read full article


 

Ramiel Bet Tamraz begins jail sentence in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison

Pastor’s son Ramiel Bet Tamraz was summoned to Iran’s Evin Prison, notorious for its harsh conditions, on January 7 to begin a jail sentence for “acting against national security”.

Read full article


More news and information


Pray for the persecuted Church

We encourage you to pray as you feel led for the people and situations you read about in Christian Newsline. There are many resources available from Barnabas Aid to assist you in your prayers.

If you are receiving Christian Newsline you will also receive Barnabas Prayer Focus, a monthly resource containing news from the persecuted Church together with associated praise and prayer points. You can sign up to receive this by email here.

Our bi-monthly prayer diary, Barnabas Prayer, helps you lift up in prayer the needs of our suffering brothers and sisters each day. A printed copy of the Barnabas Prayer diary is included as an insert in our free bi-monthly Barnabas Aid magazine, which you can sign up to receive here.

The Barnabas Fund Daily Prayer can be viewed on your smart phone or tablet device by visiting our Twitter and/or Facebook pages. The Barnabas Fund Daily Prayer is also available on the PrayerMate app.

Today in Church History

Alexander Whyte Overcame Illigitimacy

Alexander Whyte Overcame Illigitimacy

On this day, January 6, 1921, Alexander Whyte died quietly in his sleep. The eighty-five-year-old Scotsman had risen from poverty and illegitimacy to become one of the most prominent pastors in Scotland. His faith began when he was young. Sunday mornings, his hardworking mother, Janet Thomson, took him to the Free Church. In the afternoon, he attended the Relief Church with his grandmother. He capped off Sunday by attending the Auld Licht (Old Light) Church by himself in the evening. He dreamed of becoming a minister.

Although his mother could not afford to pay for his education (those were the days before governments educated everyone), Alexander was determined to learn. He subscribed to a magazine on self-education and paid a younger boy to hold up borrowed books for him so that he could read while be made shoes as an apprentice.

With this learning under his belt, he became a teacher. To keep ahead of the more advanced pupils, he studied late at night after class was done. The following year, a sympathetic minister taught him Latin and Greek so that he could go to university–if the funds could miraculously be found.

Alexander swallowed his pride and wrote to the man who had fathered him and then abandoned his mother. John Whyte had become a successful businessman in New York. He sent Alexander the money. Teaching factory workers to cover his living expenses, Alexander threw himself into his studies. He graduated second in his class. Because of his own experiences, he never forgot the poor.

Eventually, Alexander headed the largest Scottish church and was a college president. A powerful speaker, in his very first sermon he emphasized the need to focus one’s attention on Christ. Throughout his life, he always stressed the importance of a personal religious experience. Christianity was not just a matter of keeping commandments. Many of his sermons, with vivid illustrations, found their way into print.

A sermon he preached on prayer is a good sample of his style: “We hate God, indeed, much more than we love ourselves. For we knowingly endanger our immortal souls; every day and every night we risk death and hell itself rather than come close to God and abide in secret prayer. This is the spiritual suicide that we could not have believed possible had we not discovered it in our own atheistical hearts. The thing is far too fearful to put into words. But put into words for once, this is what our everyday actions say concerning us in this supreme matter of prayer. ‘No; not tonight,’ we say, ‘I do not need to pray tonight. I am really very well tonight. And besides I have business on my hands that will take up all my time tonight. I have quite a pile of unanswered letters on my table tonight. And before I sleep I have the novel of the season to finish, for I must send it back tomorrow morning…”

Alexander was buried in Edinburgh. On his coffin were inscribed David’s words, “‘I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness” (Psalm 17:15).

Today in Church (and U.S.) History

Inimitable Peter Marshall Took on the Senate

Image result for Chaplain Peter Marshall

As a matter of fact, as I think back over the evidences of the Lord’s guidance in my own life, I feel ashamed that my faith is not a more radiant, contagious thing.”

Would you be able to say that if your father had died when you were four? If your stepfather had been a jealous alcoholic who made life so miserable you tried running away to sea at fourteen?

Peter Marshall, the man who wrote that line, was born a few miles from Glasgow in Scotland. As a boy, he was inspired not only by heroic tales of the sea, but by the life of the missionary David Livingstone. Shortly after his stepfather kicked him out of his home, he offered himself for mission work in China.

Without financial support, he could not fulfill his educational requirements. But he had made a definite commitment to work full-time in the Lord’s service. He began taking night classes. It was hard. Sometimes he failed courses, having to work nine hours a day.

God led. A cousin urged him to go to the United States, assuring him he could expect greater opportunities there than in his native land. The cousin would pay Peter’s way. Peter prayed. For three weeks he pestered God about it. Then one day he knew God meant him to go.

In America, things proved tougher than he expected. He had to dig ditches. He had no friends. He had no church. Then God sent him an offer from Alabama. “Within the space of a few short weeks, I had joined the First Presbyterian Church, had been recommended by the Session as a candidate for the gospel ministry, had spoken at a prayer meeting, had been elected president of the young people’s league, had become interested in the Boy Scouts of that church, and had been asked to become the teacher of the Men’s Bible Class.”

God supplied the money for his education. He sent Peter to specific pastorates. The last of them was at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington.

His sermons so thrilled the Capital that hundreds of people had to be turned away from the church each Sunday. There was life in his words, because, as he expressed it, Jesus had tapped him on the shoulder and his life turned around.

On this day, January 4, 1947 the Senate appointed Peter Marshall to be their chaplain. Senators used to come early just to hear him pray. And this is how he prayed: “O Lord our God, even at this moment as we come blundering into Thy presence in prayer, we are haunted by memories of duties unperformed, promptings disobeyed, and beckonings ignored. Opportunities to be kind knocked on the door of our hearts and went weeping away…”

Marshall was chaplain only a couple years. He died of a heart attack in 1949 at the age of just forty-five years.


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Today In Church History

I have often quoted Dr.Jones and consider him the C.H. Spurgeon of the 1900’s. One of my favorite quotes of his is: “Do you think that you deserve forgiveness? If you do you are not a Christian.” You can find out more about, listen to and read most of his 1600+ sermons here at the MLJ TRUST – Mike

Image result for Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Evangelist Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Evangelist Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Cardiff is a seaport and the capital of Wales–a city graced with many historic buildings and overlooked by a castle on a hill. A town of fewer than 2,000 people in 1801, its population multiplied into the hundreds of thousands in the 19th century. Martyn Lloyd-Jones contributed to that population boom when he was born in Cardiff on this day, December 20, 1899.

Martyn’s childhood had at least one highlight: In January, 1910, his home caught on fire while he and his brothers were sleeping. All of them could easily have lost their lives. The family did lose almost everything they owned and their shaky finances never recovered. As a result, Martyn set out with real determination to succeed.

He entered a London medical school, completing all his exams at such a young age that he had to wait for his degree until his age caught up with his education. He became the chief clinical assistant of a leading physician, Sir Thomas Horder. Horder described Martyn as “the most acute thinker that I ever knew.” Martyn faced the prospect of a brilliant and financially rewarding career. But something happened to change that.

Martyn had joined a Calvinist Methodist church when he was fifteen-years-old. Around 1924, he began to seriously consider his spiritual condition. “For many years I thought I was a Christian when in fact I was not. It was only later that I came to see that I had never been a Christian and became one.” Reading the Bible for himself and pondering its meaning, he eventually realized that “What I needed was preaching that would convict me of sin and … bring me to repentance and tell me something about regeneration. But I never heard that. The preaching we had was always based on the assumption that we were all Christians…”

Martyn asked Christ to become master of his life. As soon as he had made that decision, he was overwhelmed with a longing to return to Wales to share his new-found faith with the folks back home.

He took a small church in Aberavon, Wales. Local doctors snubbed him, thinking he was going to poach on their patients. But Martyn wanted instead to win souls. He preached clear, analytical messages. Working men and women came to know Christ. Notorious alcoholics converted to Christ. Other churches invited him to speak.

A few years after Martyn came to Aberavon, a local doctor asked for help with a difficult medical case. Martyn diagnosed the problem at once and proved completely right. After that, demands for his medical assistance increased to the point that they almost threatened his pastoral work.

His name became increasingly well-known. G. Campbell Morgan, another pastor with a powerful ministry, invited him to come to Westminster Chapel. Martyn accepted the Westminster invitation in 1938. Publication of his powerful sermons made him internationally famous. He died in 1981.