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Listen carefully, I have so much more to tell you -Jesus

Listen carefully I have so much to tell you – Jesus

All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 

They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.

 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 

I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the begtinning because I was with you. John 16:1-4(NIV)

Our Lord Jesus Christ didn’t leave us his children under any illusion about the consequences of following him. He urged us to be prepared for what is ahead of us

Are you prepared?

Jesus didn’t call us out to keep us stranded. He knew what we are going to face in these stormy times, He knew that churches would be under lock down

Jesus earlier told us in John 14:20-24, when he met the Samaritan woman at the well. You could remember that.

 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.

 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 

23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 

24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

My question is, my dear brethren, are you a true worshiper or you believe in church going?

Jesus reveals the cure of this situation/pandemic

but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’

 Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things.

 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 

about sin, because people do not believe in me; 

10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 

11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.

 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 

15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

Jesus itemizes the holy spirit’s ministry in the life of the believerd. Meditate on them again.

How does this impact our lives?

Joy after sadness

16 Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”

17 At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 

18 They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.”

19 Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’?

 20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 

21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 

22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

 23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.(John 16:16-24)

And then after a little while, sorrow will turn to overwhelming Joy to the children of God while the world celebrate their victory, but the believers brief, temporary sorrow will turn into Joy.

In similar way, we are in anguish and suffering today as we continue to await Christ’s return and deliverance from this evil age.

Paul also describes it as a light momentary affliction preparing us for an external weight of glory beyond all comparison. (2 Corinthians 4:12)

So, let us fix our eyes and thoughts on the return of Jesus Christ.

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His Exile Extended 11 Months, Christian in Iran Finds Warm Welcome

(Morning Star News) – When a convert from Islam in Iran was sentenced to two years in exile in Sarbaz last year, the judge warned him that religious extremists in the remote desert town would treat him harshly.undefined


When Ebrahim Firoozi arrived in November to southwest Iran near the border with Pakistan, though, he discovered the fear the judge had tried to instill in him was unfounded – local Muslims were helpful, open and hospitable, the Christian said in a recent online interview.

This discovery was all the more welcome as in March his term of exile was extended by another 11 months.


Upon his arrival in Sarbaz, one person invited Firoozi to stay at his home the first night; others quickly found him a place to live. Local people’s kindness only increased, he said, when they learned he was exiled for his Christian faith rather than for a crime.

“I found these people to be very noble,” Firoozi, 34, told Joseph Hovsepian of Hovsepian Ministries in an interview posted on YouTube in which he opened up about his conversion and his years in prison before exile.

Firoozi and advocates believe this kindness was an answer to the prayers of worried friends, family and others.

“The reason people were nice to me wasn’t because of my own character or my goodness. It was all because of God,” Firoozi told Hovsepian.undefined


Released from Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj on Oct. 26, Firoozi was ordered to report to Sarbaz following a brief period to order personal matters. Shortly after arriving, though, he sought permission to leave the area to settle family affairs in Hamedan and, receiving no response, in December he departed.

As a result, he received an additional eight months of exile for violating terms of the sentence and three more for failing to show for a daily check-in, according to advocacy group Middle East Concern (MEC).

Besides punishment, the purpose of exile is to keep people from continuing to be an influence in their areas, a researcher at MEC told Morning Star News. He added, however, that Firoozi has been an inspiration to Christians in his desire to stay in Iran, rather than fleeing in the face of persecution, and in his attitude throughout the process.

“His faithfulness in the midst of persecution is an inspiration to others,” he said.

Firoozi’s lifestyle in exile is simple, the researcher at MEC added, and he spends much of his time reading Christian literature.

It is unknown whether Firoozi has found work in the area, but Hovsepian told Morning Star News, “He is not alone, and he will be taken care of.”

Prison

Before exile, Firoozi had spent almost seven years in prison, starting in 2011, when agents searched his house, arrested him and presented tracts and other materials as evidence against him, he said in his online interview.

The judge initially sentenced Firoozi to 10 months in prison. When Firoozi was released, he continued to share his faith, and in 2013 he was given a one-year sentence and two years in exile.

Five years were added to the one-year sentence. As he was preparing to turn himself in to serve the initial one-year sentence, Firoozi said, he met with people to say goodbye, during which agents entered and interrogated them and accused him of conducting a Bible study group, and five years were added to his initial one-year sentence.

He was sentenced to five years under charges of “crimes against national security,” “participating in illegal gatherings” and “colluding with foreign entities.” Criminal charges are given to Christian converts for involvement and fellowship with Christian groups and activities. The sentences, Firoozi said, are rarely put in writing to avoid evidence of unjust convictions.

In court he was pressured to ask for forgiveness and renounce his faith in exchange for a lighter sentence, he told Hovsepian.

“But that was absolutely not an option for me,” he said. “I could never turn my back on my faith and submit to this, and by God’s grace I encountered a few years in prison in exchange for an eternity with him.”

Faith

At the beginning of his faith journey, Firoozi said he knew that he would face this type of persecution.

His journey began at age 20, when his family moved from Hamadan to Tehran. Through Christian media, he was introduced to a Christ much different than the one he had heard of while growing up.

When the friends he had been staying with blocked the Christian programs, he listenedto short-wave radio broadcasts with headphones on the roof of the house, Bible in hand, until he could find his own place. Through subsequent contacts with Christians, he said, “I came to accept him as my Lord and Savior.”

After his conversion, he openly shared his faith and gave people Bibles, and even declared himself as Christian on official forms.

Staying in Iran

While emphasizing that his experience in prison was not necessarily like that of all Christian inmates, Firoozi said he was not mistreated. He was eventually allowed to have a Bible, to build a small library, and when all Christians were transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison in 2013, he was able to be with fellow believers.

He told Hovsepian that in prison he realized the value of freedom, love and grace toward others as well as the endurance and submission required of biblical heroes like Job.

While serving his sentence, his mother died. Hovsepian said the fact that Firoozi’s heart is not filled with bitterness is a testament to his character.

“In a way I would say maybe he is an icon of the young generation of persecuted believers in Iran,” said Hovsepian, 46.

While there is hope that in future generations Christians will not be imprisoned for their faith, Hovsepian noted that persecution often strengthens the church.

“I have seen that wherever there is persecution, the church grows fast,” he said. “The church purifies. The church unites, and the opposite also happens wherever there is no persecution.”

While some might use their conversion as a means to request asylum abroad, Firoozi told Hovsepian that he has no intention of doing so. Instead, he wants to stay, bring change and spread hope and the gospel to Iranian people.

He asked for prayers that Iranians would be granted human rights, that those in prison would feel supported and that the leaders of the country would have a change of heart.

“I don’t want people to be discouraged by stories of people like myself being imprisoned or other believers being persecuted in Iran or other countries,” Firoozi said, “but instead I want them to emphasize the fact that God is with the church in Iran and gives the church grace and strength to endure in difficult times.”

Iran was ranked ninth on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

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CHRISTIANS RISK THEIR LIVES TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS IN SECRETE UNDERGROUND TUNNEL IN NORTH KOREAN


Christians in North Korea “celebrated Christmas as others did around the world, but in underground tunnels that are hidden from the authorities. They risked their lives, and continue to risk their lives every time they pray.

North Korean Christians celebrate Christmas in secret underground tunnels
Christians in North Korea “celebrated Christmas as others did around the world, but in underground tunnels that are hidden from the authorities. They risked their lives, and continue to risk their lives every time they pray. Although here in South Korea there are many churches, Christians in the South have no idea how fervent the prayers of those in the North are,” said Han Min, a North Korean who fled Pyongyang’s Stalinist regime. With the help of a Protestant Church, he was able to escape persecution and converted.

Han is a member of the Durihana Church in Seoul, which is run by Rev Chun Ki -won. For over 14 years, this community has been committed to helping those who want to leave the northern part of the peninsula.

 

According to his estimates, the congregation has helped about 1,000 North Koreans flee over this period of time. After escaping to China, they usually travel to Southeast Asia and then South Korea, according to Asia News.

The clergyman is convinced that the aid his Church provides these desperate people “naturally” leads them to Christianity.

“In North Korea, a virtual cult is in place,” he said. “Everything is focused on Kim Il-sung, the way a religious believer would focus on God. Exiles know this reality and so can easily adapt to the Christian system.”

In one of the last totalitarian regimes in the world, some state-controlled churches exist, but “just for propaganda, to show the world that they have freedom of religion.”

North Korea More Afraid Of Christians Than Nuclear Weapons

“I do not recognise these churches because their intentions are not sincere. But in North Korea, there are places that we could call churches but they are underground, places where two or three gather in secret, risking their life, to celebrate religious functions.”

This Christmas, about hundred people celebrated the holy day together with Han Min in freedom, in Rev Chun’s church.

“This is a time when one should be with those one loves, especially one’s family. For me, it would be enough to know if my family is still alive, since I have not heard from them for about 16 years.”