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Discussion Forum : Devotional Thoughts : In the Shadow of His Cross...Pt. 2

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bearmaster
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 In the Shadow of His Cross...Pt. 2

2 Corithians 11:25

Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned,

Galatians 6:17

From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand marks of Jesus.


The physical afflictions that the Apostle Paul suffered for his faith in Christ left scars on his body. He must have thought about the wounds that the Lord Jesus Christ also received. Those wounds that Jesus received for our brother Paul. Those wounds that Jesus also received for our salvation.

No wonder our brother Paul could declare to the Colossians that he rejoiced in his sufferings for their sake. Paul goes on to say that in his flesh he does his share on behalf of the body of Christ. He fills up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions. Not that Paul is saying that what he is suffering surpasses the sufferings of Christ. But to realize that he is called to suffer for the Lord Jesus Christ as we all are.

Even now our persecuted brothers and sisters in the shadow of the cross are filling up that which is lacking in the afflictions of Christ. They are suffering for Him and count it a joy to endure hardship for His name.

A follower of Jesus shares about an attack that was made on his body. He says below,

"The attack help me get closer to God," he said. "I was away from the Lord. I was doing bad things, living a life of sin. While I was healing, I was always asking the Lord to change me, to make me more perfection in my heart."

This brother has a shattered jaw that had to be anchored with screws. His stomach is scarred from a bullet that was removed from him. Yet his heart has been transformed from the scars of sin.

Our brothers and sisters in restricted nations carry the brand marks of Jesus. Yet they rejoice in their sufferings and consider it an honor to suffer for him. The marks on their bodies or a reminder of His marks for them. For these dear saints are in the shadow of the cross.

Let us please remember our persecuted brothers and sisters and keep them in our prayers.

Bro Blaine


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 Re: Wed. Midday, 3/1/17

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Matthew 10:32-33

Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess Him before my father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven.


From the movie God is Not Dead Part 2

I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God.



This morning we learned that two brothers were found guilty for quoting the Bible in Great Britain. The verse they quoted was John 14:6 

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the father but through me."

For declaring the truth that Jesus is the only way the salvation, these two men were charged with the hate crime of quoting the Bible.

The trial went four days. Ian Jackson the prosecutor said,

"To say to someone that Jesus is the only God is not a matter of truth. To the extent that they are saying the only way to God is through Jesus that cannot be a truth."

After reading the above statement I almost want to do a duh huh???   It sounds like what Mr. Jackson is saying is that there is no absolute truth.  Thus everything is reduced to relevance. Translation would be all roads lead to God.  To declare that there is only one way to God. And that being Jesus Christ can' very well land one in trouble.

Yet down through the ages the witnesses of Jesus have always declared that He is the only way by which men can be saved.  There is no other way one can come to God except through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Because this happened in Britain this will certainly happen here in America. The issue may be Islam.  But it could also be the LBGT.  But we as believers in the shadow of the Cross need to ask ourselves what will our response be. Will we dare to confess Christ and be prepared to pay the consequences for saying such.  Or will we deny him and run the risk of eternal condemnation.

Dear saints, our persecuted brothers and sisters, face this issue on a daily basis in restricted Nations. Those in the shadow of the cross pay the price, some even with their own blood, to confess Jesus Christ as Lord. To say that He is the only true way to salvation.

It is one thing to go watch a movie like God is not Dead and cheer the hero on when they have stood up against the evil of an atheist professor or an ungodly school board.  Then we walked out of the theater and knowing that God has triumphed.  But this is Hollywood. 

Those who are in the shadow of the cross do not have a Hollywood ending. They do not have the Goodnews Boys singing God is on the inside roaring like a lion.  The victory of our persecuted brothers and sisters is found in the blood of the Lamb and their testimony in Jesus and they not loving their lives even when faced with death.

The question to us now in the Americs is this. Will we stand with God and be judged by the world or will we stand with the world and be judged by God?  Or to put it another way. Will we choose to stand with our persecuted brothers and sisters who are in the shadow of the cross.

Bro Blaine 


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 Re: Wed. PM, 3/1/17

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I posted this video of the story of Fatima earlier on the other thread. I thought it appropriate to post it again. The brother from Open Doors tells the story of a young woman who converted to Jesus in Saudi Arabia. He also tells the story of the price that she paid.

I wanted to post the video again in light to the discussion that is taking place regarding the two brothers who were arrested for quoting the Bible. They were daring to challenge Islam in a democratic nation. At least in a nation that once held to democratic values.  

In watching the video below you will see what happens when one dares to convert to Jesus in an Islamic country. When one dares to come into the shadow of the cross and the price that they must pay.

https://youtu.be/-C23vIl0dKw

But then brothers and sisters. Can we as Fatima say, "I am a Christian even unto death."


Bro Blaine 


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 Re: Wed. Evening. 3/1/17

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Psalm 116:15

Precious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His godly ones.

Below is a link to an article which describes Fatima's journey to Jesus. This young sister was martyred at the tender age of 26. Yet her profound experience in Christ is incredible. But it does seem that those in persecution have a far deeper walk with Jesus than we do in the West.

http://www.limerickcitychurch.com/blog/sara-fatima-al-mutairi-christian-martyr-from-saudi-arabia-2008

This dear sister found her fellowship with other believers through the internet, telephone and online forms.  I mention this as there is some discussion which insist one must be a member of a local church.  In restricted nations such as Saudi Arabia this is not always a possibility. Sometimes believers are isolated in hostile environments. Their fellowship with other saints often comes via the internet.

We must realize that those in the shadow of the Cross who endure pereecution have a far different perspective than we do in the West. While we are busy debating theology. Our persecuted brothers and sisters are busy living out the reality of Jesus by carrying His cross. Fatima was one such person.

Bro Blaine 


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 Re: Thurs. AM, 3/2/17

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Imagine you had only two hours to live. Your brother has found out that you are a follower of Jesus. He has said that in two hours he will come back and kill you. That after he has taken your cell phone and locked you in your room. What would you do?

The link below is Fatima's final poem she wrote before her brother horribly tortured and murdered her.  Her brother worked for the Saudi secret police. And he was exonerated of the killing of his sister. At least I believe I read that in a report.

Evidently Fatima have been following Jesus for only a few months. Yet her simple and pure devotion to Christ would expose the shallowness of much of our American faith.

The link below is Tom Doyle telling the story of Fatima's last hours on earth.

https://www.jashow.org/articles/islam/muslims-trusting-jesus/a-martyrs-final-poem/

The dear sister was truly in the shadow of the cross.  But then it is estimated that every 5 to 10 minutes a saint pays the ultimate price by shedding their blood for Jesus. For they truly are in the shadow of the cross.

Let us stand with our persecuted brothers and sisters and keep them in our prayers.

Bro Blaine 


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 Re: Thurs. Midday, 3/2/17

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What is it like to be a Christian in a nation such as Iran?  What does it cost to follow the Lord Jesus Christ?

The short video below is a movie based on true events.  The languages is in Farsi. But there are English subtitles. Please be advised there are reenactments of graphic events.  But the movie is a depiction of what believers in the Iranian underground church endure. But the gospel is going forth in Persia.

https://youtu.be/qY_3H7yQ5CY

After you have watch the video please do keep our brothers and sisters in the nation of Iran in your prayers. For they are truly in the shadow of the cross.

Bro Blaine 


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 Re: Thurs. PM, 3/2/17

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Before the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran there were approximately three hundred or so evangelical believers in that nation.  As a result of the oppression and the persecution that followed the gospel begin to grow and bear fruit in Iran. But it was not without cost.

In 1984 brother Mehdi Dibaj, an Iranian Pastor was arrested. He spent nine years in jail and sentenced to death in 1993. This brother was prepared to lay down his life for Jesus.  The brother says below,

... I have always envied those Christians who are martyred for Christ Jesus our lord. What a privilege to live for the Lord and to die for him as well. I am filled to overflowing with joy. I am not only satisfied to be in prison... But I'm ready to give my life for the sake of Jesus Christ...

After much world attention and prayer brother Dibaj was released from prison and death. But the celebration was short-lived. Five months later this dear brother was abducted and murdered on his way to his daughters birthday. It was believed that he was killed by Muslim extremist.

Another brother in Christ, Bishop Haik Hovsepian, brought the attention of brother Dibaj to the world.  This brother realized to do so would be bringing great risk to himself. But though brother Hovesepian was successful in bringing about the short release of brother Dibaj. Brother Hovsepian was martyred three days after the release of brother Dibaj.  It is believed that Islamic extremists were instrumental in the martyrdom of both men. Probably at the behest of the Iranian government.

To this day we're not aware of any official executions of Christians by the Iranian government. But it is believed that a number of believers in Jesus have been hung.  Thus the country of Persia is covered by the blood of the martyrs. And out of their blood much gospel seed has been sown.  The church in Persia is considered one of the fastest growing churches in the world. Operation World ranks it number one in proportion to its population.  Whereas about forty years ago there were only 300 believers or so in Iran. Now there are tens of thousands who choose to be in the shadow of the cross and follow Jesus.

Below is a short video made by the children of brother Hovesapian.  Based on true events the video reenacts what our brothers and sisters suffer as they carry the cross in Iran. Also the end of the video describes why it was made. The video is entitled  "A Letter From Prison, Iran"

https://youtu.be/vY-JLFpWGgY

For those who are so led by the Spirit we will be praying for Iran tonight on a prayer call. Information for the call is below.

Time of call is.......
9 p.m. Eastern
8 p.m. Central
7 p.m. Mountain
6 p.m. Pacific

Call number and access code are.......

712.775.7035.......281207#

But even if you are not able to join the call please do remember our brothers and sisters in Iran in your prayers. For they are truly in the shadow of the cross.

Bro Blaine 


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 Re: Fri. AM...3/3/17

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In many parts of the world believers in Jesus observe Lent.  This is a period of 40 days leading up to the cross of Christ. This is a time when saints will meditate upon the death burial and leading up to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

For us as evangelicals we often dismiss the idea of observing lent as church dogma or ritual.  Yet this can also be a good time to remember our brothers and sisters who are in the shadow of the cross.

Open Doors has put out a guide called Praying for the Persecuted Church Through Lent.  The guide can be obtained from the Open Foors website. Each day will feature a scripture selection and a country to pray for.  The countries will be drawn from the Open Doors World Watch List.

Lord willing for the next 40 days I will seek to post the 40 countries that OD asks us to pray for.  Since I'm starting a few days late. These daily devotions will not be current with the celebration of Lent. But again this is to encourage prayer for our brothers and sisters who are in the shadow of the cross.

Again you can obtain your own copy of this guide through Open Doors or you may cut and paste and share this through your social media. I would urge you to do this please. As I am about encouraging prayer for our brothers and sisters who are in the shadow of the cross.

___________________________


Praying for Persecutef Brethren Throigh Lent 


DAY 1: PRAY FOR CHRISTIANS IN NORTH KOREA

JOHN 15:20

Remember the word that I spoke to you,, "A slave is not greater than his master." If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you, if they kept my word they will keep yours also.

Worship of the ruling Kim family is mandated for all citizens, and those who don’t comply (including Christians) are arrested, imprisoned, tortured or killed. Entire Christian families are imprisoned in hard labor camps, where unknown numbers die each year from torture, beatings, overexertion and starvation.

PRAY: I pray for my brothers and sisters in North Korea. I pray that you, Lord, would encourage and support them. Protect their secret churches and encourage those in prison. Lord, strengthen my persecuted family in North Korea. – Amen

My brothers and sisters please do keep our persecuted family in North Korea in your prayers this day. Please do remember those who are in the shadow of the cross.

Bro Blaine 


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 Re: Fri. PM...3/13/17

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Dear saints below is a heart moving prayer video for North Korea. As you watch this short video please do remember our brothers and sisters in that nation in your prayers.

For these dear saints are truly in the shadow of the cross.

http://www.prayercast.com/phone/north-korea.html

Bro Blaine 


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