VOM–Prayer Update for week of Dec 24, 2010

VOM–USA Prayer Update for December 24, 2010
The Voice of the Martyrs USA: www.persecution.com
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

INDONESIA—House Churches Closed— VOM Contacts

Hebrews 10:32–39
But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; 34 for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:
“For yet a little while,
And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.
Now the just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

On Dec. 12, seven house churches were forcibly closed in West Java, Indonesia, by Muslim extremists who claimed the buildings were being used for “illegal church meetings,” according to VOM contacts. Between 200 and 300 extremists from the Islam Protector Front, Moslem Forum and Islamic Reformation Movement gathered outside the houses and demanded to inspect the buildings. The extremists said the buildings, which were being used by the Protestant Batak Christian Huria Church, could not be used for Christian worship services, and they told the congregation to meet elsewhere. The owners of the houses were told they could remain in their homes but could no longer open their homes for Christian worship services. Ask God to use this incident to strengthen the members of this church. Pray that they will demonstrate Christ’s love to those who oppose them and that their faith will be a light that helps guide others to the Lord. Pray that persecuted Christians in Indonesia will keep their eyes on Jesus, persevere in faith and not grow weary or lose heart.

CHINA —Worship Service Raided in Hunan Province— China Aid Association

Hebrews 10:23–25
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Chinese authorities raided a house church on Dec. 12 in the city of Changsha, Hunan Province, according to China Aid Association. Dozens of believers from the Hope Church in Changsha were gathered for worship when police officers and government officials arrived and forced them to disperse. Authorities confiscated several items belonging to the church, including the podium, chairs and air conditioner. Pastor Zing Jinfu and Minister Le were taken to a local police station and questioned for a couple of hours before being released. Pray that members of the Hope Church will be encouraged to continue worshiping together despite government harassment. Ask God to embolden all believers in China to proclaim their faith boldly and demonstrate God’s love to others in the nation.

INDIA—Priest Attacked— VOM Contacts

Psalm 91:1–5
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day…

On Dec. 16, Fr. Thomas Chirattavayalil was attacked by a group of unknown men at his parish house, according to VOM contacts. When Fr. Thomas opened the door of the parish house, armed assailants wearing masks hit him on the head and continued to beat him as they chased him. Fr. Thomas sustained two deep wounds on his head and also received injuries to his shoulder and other parts of his body. Pray that Fr. Thomas will recover completely and that the assailants will be brought to justice.

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Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


The Christmas Child (movie)

Christmas Child is a 2003 American Christian film directed by William Ewing and starring Steven Curtis Chapman. The film is based on "The Christmas Cross," a short story by Max Lucado, and is a story about a Chicago journalist who finds himself in Clearwater, Texas around Christmas time to discover his past. "Christmas Child" is based on the Book The Christmas Child : A Story of Coming Home by Max Lucado. (Wikipedia)


The Birth of Jesus (Gospel of Luke)

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

Luke 1
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you![d]”

29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel[e] forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.[f]”

38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town 40 where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

42 Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. 43 Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44 When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”
The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise
46 Mary responded,

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
47 How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
49 For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
50 He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
51 His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
52 He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
54 He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
55 For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home.

The Birth of Jesus
Luke 2

1 At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, his fiancĂ©e, who was now obviously pregnant.

6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
The Shepherds and Angels
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

VOM-Prayer Update for week of Dec 17, 2010

VOM–USA Prayer Update for December 17, 2010
The Voice of the Martyrs USA: www.persecution.com

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

PAKISTAN — Mullah Offers Reward for Killing Asia Bibi — VOM Contacts

Matthew 5:10
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

On Dec. 3, 2010, a mullah in Pakistan offered more than $6,000 (U.S.) to anyone who kills Asia Bibi, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts. In the past, Christians have been killed in jail, on their way to court and even after being released from jail. “There is threat that she can be killed even after her releasing from the jail,” said VOM contacts in Pakistan. “It’s not just a statement by mulana, but we have examples of previous blasphemy cases.” Following the mullah’s statement, Muslims protested against Asia and a proposed amendment of the blasphemy law. Protests were held in many major cities in Pakistan. Pray for Asia’s release from prison and for her safety after her release. Ask God to minister to her family, especially her children.

AZERBAIJAN — Government Considers Stiffer Penalties for Religious Activity — Forum 18 News

2 Thessalonians 1:4–6
…so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you…

Less than two years after increasing penalties for illegal religious activity, parliamentary deputies are about to consider even harsher penalties in proposed amendments to the Code of Administrative Offences, according to Forum 18 News Service. “Minimum fines for individuals violating the Religion Law, such as by holding unregistered religious worship, could be increased fifteen-fold,” Forum 18 reported. Rabiyat Aslanova, chair of parliament’s Human Rights Committee, told Forum 18 News, “This is connected with religious communities which have failed to gain re-registration but still function. It’s so that they realize the responsibility for their actions. People are not fined just for praying to God. This is a question of national security.” Pray that these amendments will not pass. Ask God to protect believers who continue to worship him openly despite oppressive government restrictions.

CHINA — Christian Lawyer Still Missing — China Aid Association

Matthew 5:44
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…

Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng has been imprisoned by Chinese authorities for more than two years, and his whereabouts are currently unknown, according to China Aid Association. In an October radio interview, Gao’s wife, Geng He, expressed her family’s eagerness to find him. “My family only wants to get some news of him,” Geng He said. “When I talked with his sister, she said, ‘He is a member of the family. No matter what he does, such as eating the daily meals, sleeping or even taking a walk outside, anything would make us miss him. Where on earth has he gone? The entire family of mine is puzzled and we have been looking for him ever since.’” Pray that Gao will continue to look to the Lord for strength and guidance, and pray that God will comfort his family and enable them to persevere in hope and faith. Pray that the Church in China will continue to shine the light of God’s love and truth and that it will continue to grow despite opposition from some government officials.

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Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.