Scripture of the Day

Colossians 3

4. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
5. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
6. For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
7. In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
8. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
9. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
10. And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
11. Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
12. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
13. Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
14. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
15. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

UPDATE: Eldos’ Struggles Continue

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Last fall, we reported that Eldos Satar Uluu—a young Kyrgyz man—was attacked by three radical Muslim men who tried to force him to convert back to Islam. He sustained severe physical injuries and suffered emotional trauma. Since the attack Eldos has continued to receive violent threats from people in his village, reportedly including high ranking officials.

Recently, there was a trial in Eldos’ case. Tragically, the trial did not focus on holding these men accountable for their violent attack. Instead, Eldos was accused of listening to loud religious music and distributing religious materials and religious propaganda.

To make matters worse, the Christian attorney who has been helping Eldos since the beginning of his case also had a heart attack during the trial and is currently hospitalized. She initially tried to stay up to date on what was going on in court by using her phone, however, the police eventually confiscated the device.

Please pray Eldos’ faith will be strengthened and that he will grow deeper in his knowledge of Christ. He is very new to his faith.

Pray for the health and safety of Eldos’ attorney.

Pray a safe place for Eldos to live would be found quickly.

Pray there would be justice in Eldos’ court case.

After you click “Pray” below, if you’d like to write Eldos a letter of encouragement, please CLICK HERE.

*Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.

UPDATE: Shamiram’s Appeal Hearing

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We recently requested prayer for Assyrian Christian Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh who was facing an appeal hearing on February 19th. She was appealing a five-year prison sentence for acting against the regime by organizing Christian small groups, attending a seminary abroad and training church leaders and pastors to “act as spies.”

Reportedly, at the appeal hearing, the judge was confused as to whether Shamiram’s case should be combined with two other cases. The other cases involve her husband Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz, their son Ramiel Bet-Tamraz, as well as Christian converts Amin Nader Afshari, Hadi Asgari and Kavian Fallah Mohammadi and two others.

The judge set a next court hearing for March 21st—the Iranian New Year—and is still determining whether the cases will be combined. In the meantime, Iranian Christians are thankful that the appeal hearing went reasonably well and the judge appeared to be seriously examining the case. They request continued prayer.

Please pray the Lord will direct the judge as he prepares for the hearing in March.

Pray justice will be upheld in the appeal hearing for Shamiram and the other five defendants and that they will be acquitted of all the charges against them.

Pray the Lord will strengthen and encourage Shamiram, Pastor Victor and all Iranian Christians who are falsely accused of acts against national security simply because of their Christian faith and activities.

*Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.

Scripture of the Day

Leviticus 26
1. Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.
2. Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.
3. If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
4. Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
5. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
6. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.
7. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
8. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
9. For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.

Scripture of the Day

Psalm 57

To the chief Musician, Al-taschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave.
1. Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.
2. I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.
3. He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.
4. My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.
5. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.
6. They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.
7. My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
8. Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.
9. I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.
10. For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.
11. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.

Scripture of the Day

Psalm 54
To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David, when the Ziphims came and said to Saul, Doth not David hide himself with us?
1. Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength.
2. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.
3. For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah.
4. Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.
5. He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth.
6. I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good.
7. For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.

Lies and Deceit

Morning coffee, work day looming with the breaking sun. Perusing the newswires, both secular & religious, seeing two attributes of humankinds sinful nature burning across most of the headlines.

Those two are lies and deceit.

I could ramble on that our world is worse today than earlier ages, I prefer to think its only because all of our dung/news is instantly thrown in everyones face, there’s very little that goes on in the world today that cannot be read about or seen in short order.

From the sins of the Catholic Church to transgressions across the Protestant & Evangelical congregations; sin abounds. From fake hate crimes to environmental absurdities lies foment discord. From the halls of educational establishments throughout the corridors of law & government, lies and deceit rule the day.

All of this, the only thing that comes to mind is Jeremiah 5:30. A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;
31. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? Also a why, Genesis 6:5. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Yes, there are stories of GOD’s Grace, of His Love, of mercy & forgiveness. Also stories of heroism & courage, but all of this, in our day, is overshadowed by two sins, lies & deceit. Like dark clouds rising before a tempest, to me, these are forerunners to a greater storm coming soon.

Scripture of the Day

Psalm 53
To the chief Musician upon Mahalath, Maschil, A Psalm of David.
1. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.
2. God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.
3. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
4. Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God.
5. There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them.
6. Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

Centers of Hope Bringing Life Back to Syrian Christians

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Great work is being done at the 15 Centers of Hope that are run by churches in various gathering spaces in communities across Syria. These centers serve as an extension of the church to reach out to people and gather them into a more closely-knit community. Here, “… Christians could feel like they’re more of a family,” says Ibrahim*, an Open Doors staff member.

Besides the usual food donations and house visits, these centers touch on issues that are “customized towards the needs of the congregation,” explains pastor Edmund, another Open Doors’ staff.

One example of programming to help support children who have been traumatized by war is the opportunity to get outdoors and engage in sports and teamwork. The Centers of Hope of Damascus’s and Aleppo’s Alliance churches have highly successful football programs. “We try to include as many church backgrounds in the program,” says Vera, “and the kids are loving it!”

The struggle of the war put a strain on people when it came to staying active, socializing, and receiving quality health care. This is especially true for women who couldn’t leave their homes as often as men and often set aside their wellbeing in order to take care of their families. These struggles were addressed in the first of many medical-awareness lectures that took place at the opening night of a Center of Hope in Damascus.

Please join us in thanking God that the Centers of Hope are helping bring life back to weary Christians across Syria.

Praise God He is using these programs to bring healing to men, women, children and families in these communities.

Pray that this work would continue strong.

*Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.

Scripture of the Day

Psalm 51
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bath-sheba.
1. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
4. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
5. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
7. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
10. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
13. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
14. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
15. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
16. For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
18. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
19. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

China hearing gospel via Africa; church growing amid brutal persecution

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As the Chinese economically invest in and build infrastructure in Africa, Africans are evangelizing the Chinese.

In 2014, trade between China and Africa reached an all-time high in 2014, according to the China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University and McKinsey & Company. Billions of dollars in loans from China to Africa in addition to foreign direct investment have increased significantly in recent years.

Meanwhile, as a result of the influx of Chinese resources and approximately 10,000 Chinese-owned companies, the estimated 227,000 to 1 million Chinese working on the continent are hearing the message of the Gospel from African evangelical Christians.

“Many local African churches have reached out to Chinese workers, including incorporating Mandarin into services. A number of Chinese, in turn, have welcomed the sense of community and belonging that these Christian churches offer,” according to UnHerd Wednesday.

“And a small but growing number of ethnically Chinese missionaries from Taiwan and other countries are specifically targeting Chinese nationals in Africa, preaching to them with a freedom they’d never be allowed in the People’s Republic.”

Scripture of the Day

John 21

19. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
20. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
21. Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
22. Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
23. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
24. This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
25. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written

Scripture of the Day

Psalm 49
To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.
1. Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world:
2. Both low and high, rich and poor, together.
3. My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.
4. I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.
5. Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?
6. They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
7. None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:
8. (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)
9. That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.
10. For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.
11. Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.
12. Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.
13. This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah.
14. Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.
15. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.
16. Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;
17. For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.
18. Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.
19. He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.
20. Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.

Scripture of the Day

Psalm 48
A Song and Psalm for the sons of Korah.
1. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.
2. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.
3. God is known in her palaces for a refuge.
4. For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together.
5. They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away.
6. Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail.
7. Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.
8. As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever. Selah.
9. We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.
10. According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness.
11. Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.
12. Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.
13. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.
14. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.