Sermon Sunday – Charles Spurgeon – The Rent Veil

March 25, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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The Rent Veil

March 25th, 1888

by

Charles Spurgeon

(1834-1892)

 

Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom—Matthew 27:50-51.

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which be hath consecrated for us, through the, veil, that is to say, his flesh—Hebrews 10:19-20.

The death of our Lord Jesus Christ was fitly surrounded by miracles; yet it is itself so much greater a wonder than all besides, that it as far exceeds them as the sun outshines the planets which surround it. It seems natural enough that the earth should quake, that tombs should be opened, and that the veil of the temple should be rent, when He who only hath immortality gives up the ghost. The more you think of the death of the Son of God, the more will you be amazed at it. As much as a miracle excels a common fact, so doth this wonders of wonders rise above all miracles of power. That the divine Lord, even though veiled in mortal flesh, should condescend to be subject to the power of death, so as to bow His head on the cross, and submit to be laid in the tomb, is among mysteries the greatest. The death of Jesus is the marvel of time and eternity, which, as Aaron’s rod swallowed up all the rest, takes up into itself all lesser marvels. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – Charles Spurgeon – The Rent Veil…

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Persecution Fridays – China – Grateful for Bibles

March 23, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

China: Grateful for Bibles

The Voice of the Martyrs recently received several hundred letters from believers in China who were given Bibles through VOM’s Bibles Unbound program.

“Your love and contribution have encouraged many people’s hearts,” wrote a Chinese pastor whose church received 1,050 Bibles. “We believe these Bibles will become a strong power in the church.”

The power of God’s Word has already touched a college student who received a Bible in his language. As an atheist, he had never had the opportunity to read a Bible. “I got a Bible today, so I started to read it,” he wrote. “My heart felt joyful. It is really different from any book I have read before. I heard believers say that it is God’s Word. It really filled my heart and confirmed this belief. God is calling me.”

There is still an urgent need for Bibles both in China and in other countries where VOM’s Bibles Unbound program operates. After one church received Bibles through Bibles Unbound, it decided to work with another church to share the gospel. The congregations worked together, and a revival soon started in the area. However, their supply of Bibles was limited, and they quickly ran out.

“With your selfless devotion and silent work, I believe that China will become a land of God,” wrote one believer after receiving her Bible. “The gospel will be spread all over China. … May we glorify God together!”

Sermon Sunday – Samuel Davies – The Nature and Necessity of True Repentance

March 18, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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The Nature and Necessity of True Repentance

by Samuel Davies, May 22, 1757

“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men everywhere to repent!” Acts 17:30

We here find Paul in as learned an assembly as, perhaps, he ever appeared in. We find him in Athens, a city of Greece, famous all over the world for learning; a city where Socrates, Plato, and the most illustrious philosophers of antiquity, lived and taught. We find him in the famous Court of Areopagus, or Mars-Hill, where the wisest men and best philosophers of this wise and philosophical city were met together.

And how does the apostle conduct himself in these critical circumstances? Why, instead of amusing them with a learned harangue; instead of confirming them in their idolatry, and vindicating himself by publicly professing that he worshiped the gods of the country, and sacrificed at the established altars; instead of this, I say, the apostle boldly, though in a very wise and kind manner, exposes their superstitions, calls them off from their idols—to the worship of the one true God, the Maker and Ruler of heaven and earth! And, having asserted these fundamental articles of natural religion, he introduces the glorious peculiarities of Scripture revelation, and preached Jesus Christ to them as the Savior and Judge of the world. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – Samuel Davies – The Nature and Necessity of True Repentance…

Persecution Fridays – Pakistan – New Blasphemy Charge

March 16, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Pakistan: New Blasphemy Charge

Dildar Yousaf, 28, was arrested and charged with blasphemy after defending his 8-year-old nephew from a group of Muslim boys on June 10, 2011. That morning, Dildar’s nephew, Ehtasham, was taunted by a group of boys as he passed the madrassa on his way to the market. A madrassa is a school where Islamic students study the Quran.

As Ehtasham walked by the madrassa, seven boys gathered around him and tried to force him to become a Muslim by repeating the phrase, “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.” Ehtasham refused, and the boys began to scream at him and beat him.

Ehtasham’s uncle, Dildar, happened to pass by at that moment. Dildar pulled his nephew away from the boys and took him back home. Dildar then went on to his job. That afternoon, the news spread that Dildar had disgraced the Muslim proclamation of faith; the news was repeated from one mosque loudspeaker to another. Soon Muslim crowds began to shout, “Kill him! Death for the blasphemer!”

Police picked up Dildar from his workplace and put him in protective custody. They also filed a blasphemy charge against him under Pakistani law 298A, which carries the lightest sentence for blasphemers. (Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi, who was charged with blasphemy under 298C, was sentenced to death. Her case is on appeal.)

Dildar remains in prison as his case progresses through the justice system. His blasphemy charge carries a potential three-year sentence, with the possibility of parole. Dildar’s wife, Naseem, and two children have had to leave their home and move in with her family in another village because of ongoing threats. Ehtasham and his family have also had to leave their village. VOM is supporting the family and providing legal assistance to Dildar.

Dildar’s village has a history of persecution. In the past, a Christian’s house was burned, a pastor was killed, and believer Ayub Masih was charged with blasphemy. “Muslims have always looked down on us,” Ayub told VOM workers. “We cannot send our children to school, and we cannot feed our animals because we cannot go into the fields. We live under the fear that anything can happen any time.”

Sermon Sunday – J.C. Philpot – Israel’s Departure and Return

March 11, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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Israel’s Departure and Return

Preached at Providence Chapel, London, on Tuesday
Evening, July 17, 1849, by J. C. Philpot

“O Israel, return unto the Lord your God; for you have fallen by your iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord—say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously—so will we render the calves of our lips. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses—neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, You are our gods—for in you the fatherless finds mercy.” Hosea 14:1-3

Our text is rather a long one; but it presents such a connected chain of blessed truth, that if I were to attempt to make it shorter, I could only present to you broken links and scattered fragments. As it stands, it is complete in itself—a beautiful and blessed exposition of divine truth. But it is only so as taken in its connection. Tear it asunder; take separate verses; and the beauty and sweetness of it are lost. I shall, therefore, as our text is long, and contains much matter, proceed at once to consider its contents. And I think that we may observe in it three or four leading features. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – J.C. Philpot – Israel’s Departure and Return…

Persecution Fridays – Laos – Khmu Christian Life

March 9, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Laos: Khmu Christian Life

For Khmu Christians in Laos, a shortwave radio is a lifeline to the outside world. The Khmu are some of the poorest people in Laos, and they subsist on the simple crops they farm in small, remote villages. Most of them are animists who worship their ancestors. Those who give up the traditional religious practices to follow Jesus Christ are labeled as traitors and followers of an evil, Western religion. Family pressure to recant can be immense, and coupled with pressure from their community and village leaders, some Khmu Christians renounce their faith.

With little money, little possibility to travel outside their village and little opportunity to meet others from outside their village, Khmu believers rely on radio programs to learn about Jesus. In a small village in Luangprabang province, seven families began to gather every evening to listen to a Christian program broadcast by Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC). The families are very poor and face severe persecution, but they gain strength by meeting together and listening to the broadcast. The families often call the radio station, a VOM partner, at 9 p.m. when the program is over. They say, “Thank you so much for your message tonight. It is so good, and we invited unbelievers to listen with us. Sometimes six or seven people come, and they are very interested in the messages.”

In a year’s time, the group has grown by 11 families. Last November, this house church received help in expanding the pastor’s house so there would be enough room for everyone to sit during meetings.

But following Jesus often brings great hardship. One of the group’s leaders, “Jaeh,” became a believer about a year ago after listening to Christian radio programs. This past June, his parents told him that if he did not stop believing in Jesus, listening to the radio programs, leading people to Jesus and holding worship services, he was no longer welcome in their home. So Jaeh and his wife left the family home.

The Khmu grow rice, and at harvest time they save enough for the whole year. When Jaeh left, his parents did not give him any rice, and it was too late for him to plant his own crop. Although Jaeh continued to help his parents with the farm, they did not give him any rice at harvest time.

Shortly afterward, the Lao government decided to relocate the village in order to build a road. When the village moved, Jaeh and his wife were not allowed to move to the new location. So now Jaeh and his wife are separated from their community of believers.

“These are just some of the Christians in Laos today that are facing constant fear,” a VOM contact said. “To be a Christian means to risk their life. But it is worthwhile to risk their life for the true God, who loves them, gives his life to them as redemption, gives forgiveness of sin, salvation and eternal life. What else can be counted! Please pray for Jaeh, his wife and the 26 others, that they would stand firm in the Lord in their faith, and know that Jesus is their powerful God.”

Sermon Sunday – George Whitefield – What think ye of Christ?

March 4, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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What think ye of Christ?
by
George Whitefield
(1714-1770)

Matthew 22:42 – “What think ye of Christ?”

When it pleased the eternal Son of God to tabernacle among us, and preach the glad tidings of salvation to a fallen world, different opinions were entertained by different parties concerning him. As to his person, some said he was Moses; others that he was Elias, Jeremias, or one of the ancient prophets; few acknowledged him to be what he really was, God blessed for evermore. And as to his doctrine, though the common people, being free from prejudice, were persuaded of the heavenly tendency of his going about to do good, and for the generality, heard him gladly, and said he was a good man; yet the envious, worldly-minded, self-righteous governors and teachers of the Jewish church, being grieved at his success on the one hand, and unable (having never been taught of God) to understand the purity of his doctrine, on the other; notwithstanding our Lord spake as never man spake, and did such miracles which no man could possibly do, unless God was with him; yet they not only were so infatuated, as to say, that he deceived the people; but also were so blasphemous as to affirm, that he was in league with the devil himself, and cast out devils by Beeluzbul, the prince of devils. Nay, our Lord’s own brethren and kinsmen, according to the flesh, were so blinded by prejudices and unbelief, that on a certain day; when he went out to teach the multitudes in the fields, they sent to take hold of him, urging this as a reason for their conduct, “That he was besides himself.” Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – George Whitefield – What think ye of Christ?…

Persecution Fridays – Pakistan – Praying in Prison

March 2, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Pakistan: Praying in Prison

What do you do while imprisoned in solitary confinement for more than two years? The answer for one Pakistani Christian is “pray.” Asia Bibi has spent almost three years in prison on charges that she blasphemed Islam’s prophet Muhammad. She was convicted and sentenced to death, and she now awaits the ruling on her appeal. To protect her from other inmates, she has been kept in solitary confinement. She cooks her own food to ensure that no one tries to poison her.

VOM has supported Asia’s family during her long imprisonment and has stayed in touch with Asia through her faithful husband, Ashiq. In January, a VOM staff member was able to visit Asia in prison for the first time since she received the death penalty. Ashiq and the VOM worker spent 25 minutes with Asia, but they were separated by a tight metal screen.

“She had a smiley face full of joy and thanksgiving,” said the VOM worker. Asia said she was thankful for the visit and that she was happy and fine. She reported that jail officials were taking good care of her and that the superintendent, sympathetic to her extreme loneliness, promised to bring her any books she wanted. A female guard is with her at all times.

Asia told the VOM worker about another way she has been blessed. “There is a beautiful thing that happens every day in my cell. Two days after they announced my death penalty, I was brought into the death cell [death row]. Every morning around 3:30 or 4, a brown bird with a long beak appears and sits on the boundary wall. This bird also comes every evening around 5. He sits there for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening. Later on he became my friend. I talk to him and he also talks to me.

“As I watched this bird every day, I tried to understand the meaning of him coming day after day. I think this is a messenger from God giving me his message. When the bird comes, I feel encouraged and peaceful. I feel comforted after his visit. I think this is very significant sign from God.”

Asia is allowed to walk in the courtyard every day for a few minutes, but she is always accompanied by guards. Other prisoners attend religious services in the jail every week, but Asia is not allowed to attend. So in her loneliness, she prays.

“I am praying every day,” she said. “I am strong in my faith. I know that this is a test of my faith and I know to make gold, it must be purified; it has to be put in the fire.

“I am not worried about myself, but I am worried about the VOM workers who are helping me, which is very dangerous. I pray for them every day.

“I don’t know the names, but I know the people from USA are helping me; I pray for them also. I pray for the people around the world who are praying for me.” Asia also prays for the families of two men, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, both of whom were killed for their support of Asia.

“I am very thankful to them that they sacrificed their lives for me,” Asia said. She is also thankful for the financial support provided to her family. “I know you are the people helping me and my family and fighting my case in the court. I am very thankful to Lord for this.”

Asia asked how her two young daughters are doing. She wanted to make sure they are going to school and church, concerned they might stray from what she wants for them. Ashiq assured her that the girls are attending school and church. “I am thankful they are doing this,” she said.

Asia, Ashiq and the VOM worker finished their time together with prayer. They prayed for the court, the judge, the attorneys and the jail’s staff. And Asia prayed that God would bless her and make her life an example to the other prisoners.

She ended with, “I pray that God will forgive the people who blamed me. … I know God helps his people and he will release me. I want to appeal to the world to pray for a miracle to release me from jail and that I stand strong in my faith.”

Please join Asia in her appeal for release by signing the petition at www.CallForMercy.com. And above all, pray.


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