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This Sunday, as we are going through the seven letters that Jesus wrote to the church, I will be teaching about the church in Smyrna. This is a church that suffered greatly. They endured tremendous persecution. My heart has been stirred greatly this week for our brothers and sisters who at this very moment are being beaten, thrown into prison, or seperated from their families becuase of their faith in Jesus Christ.
As the Lord would have it, the persecuted church has been in the news recently. You may have heard of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. He is an Iranian pastor who was arrested back in October 2009. Just yesterday, it seems like an order was issued for his execution. Read the story here.
Here is a Christian brother, married with two small children, serving Jesus and pastoring people and very possibly will be executed because of it.
No doubt we must pray for him, his church, and his family. Let’s also pray that through his witness, there will be very strategic conversions in the government of Iran.
To learn more about what is happening among the persecuted church today, click here.
I waited patiently for the LORD to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the LORD. (Psalm 40:1-3 NLT)
Jesus changes lives. You are never the same having believed in Him.