Tag Archives: india gospel outreach

Pray for Persecuted Christians

India-ChurchAround the world, in many ways, the gospel of Jesus Christ is under assault. With recent headlines, we tend to equate this with Islamic attacks upon Christians in the Middle East and Africa, but the enemy wars against Jesus Christ everywhere and in many ways. This includes India.

Open Doors International reports that the Word Watch List of persecuted Christians, based upon the number of attacks between November 1, 2012 and March 31, 2014, places India at #8 of the top 10 nations undergoing the heaviest persecution of Christians. That list was made up before the accession of a BJP majority in India’s parliamentary election of May 2014.

Since that election, the number of incidents involving persecution of Christians has increased at least 55% under the fascistic BJP government of Narendra Modi. The goal of the BJP and its af liates is to unite India under a Hindu religion and culture. They encourage violence against Christians, and many misguided people comply. Persecution takes place in every state of India.

Persecution comes in many forms. BJP-controlled governments enforce anti-conversion laws. Mobs raid churches, beating and killing church members, burning Bibles, raping women, erecting Hindu idols. Some villages forbid Christians from earning a living and using village wells. Policemen arrest Christians on false charges. Spies enter churches to monitor Christian activities. Christian children are seized and indoctrinated into Hinduism.

All of this comes just as the Spirit of God continues to enlarge the scope of the gospel in India through IGO and other like-minded ministries. In the past year, IGO has made great strides in Odisha, Darjeeling and Mizoram in addition to our main training center at India Bible College and Seminary. God gives us new opportunities to enlarge our witness through ministries that uplift those in poverty—schools in the slums, sewing ministries to women, and others.

God continues to enlarge His harvest force in all these places, and to give us new means to communicate the gospel to greater numbers of people. But we must always engage in spiritual battle with an enemy who will not give up though one day he must lose.

At the heart of opposition to the gospel is a spiritual enemy who darkens sinful hearts with lies. Paul, who experienced persecution many times, warns us that we struggle “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” As we engage the enemy on our knees in prayer, we will gain the victory even as the early church gained the victory.

Pray for our brothers and sisters in India’s persecuted church. Let us “remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are ill-treated as if you yourselves were suffering.” (Hebrews 13:3). Let us also pray that God continues to bring opportunities our way in the midst of trials and opens the door for an unprecedented Great Awakening.

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The Finger of God

All of us need a special healing touch of God upon our lives that renews as well as purges out what is unnecessary or harmful.

The ancient Egyptians of Moses’ day referred to this as “the finger of God.” This is a colorful term that refers to God’s direct and miraculous intervention in human affairs. The Egyptians were referring to how God miraculously freed the Israelites through the judgment of plagues upon Egypt. At the same time, the finger of God brought freedom to His chosen people.

We also see “the finger of God” in judgment upon the corrupt Babylonian monarch, Belshazzar, as a large hand appeared and spelled out his imminent doom.

But “the finger of God” appears also in God’s acts of grace and mercy as He writes the Ten Commandments for His chosen people, Israel. Later, Jesus frees people from the power of demons by “the finger of God” (Luke 11:20).

Today, we experience “the finger of God” most notably through the work of the Holy Spirit. Before He departed His earthly ministry, Jesus promised His disciples—and us—the privilege and blessing of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit—God’s very presence—is our guarantee all that He intends to miraculously work in us.

The Holy Spirit is more than a force or power. The Holy Spirit is God Himself dwelling in and through us. The Holy Spirit is the same One who created the heavens and the earth, the galaxies and stars, and all the millions of species of plants and animals. None of us has fully grasped or experienced the full power of the Holy Spirit that is our awesome privilege.

The Holy Spirit guarantees our inheritance in God’s kingdom. The Holy Spirit is our constant companion. The Holy Spirit does battle for us and gives us protection and victory. The Holy Spirit sets up divine appointments for us, guides us into truth, and gives us heavenly power. The Holy Spirit enables us to display the life of God to a world who does not believe in God.

“The finger of God” is still at work today:Image
• The finger invites us and others to become a part of His kingdom and join Him in His work.
• The finger writes His law on our hearts.
• The finger grips us for all eternity.
• The finger points us to the truth. We can depend upon the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom in life’s most challenging circumstances.
• The finger works. The Holy Spirit works in us, and when we give Him permission, He enables us to live and work in ways that display the glory and character of God to the world around us.

Through the Holy Spirit, we may become agents of the Holy Spirit, inviting others into His kingdom. We may write things that move others to respond to Christ. We may faithfully seek out those whom God wants to seal for His kingdom. We may point the way for others to receive Christ. We may do the work that God has given to us, empowered by His might.

Let each of us seek to become better acquainted with the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives that we may better minister to others who await Him.

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The Source of Abundant Life

“Religion…is the opium of the people,” wrote Karl Marx, considered the founder of modern-day Communism and icon of secular humanism.

Opium is a drug one takes when he or she feels hopeless, weak and depressed and has no realistic approach to a better life. To Karl Marx, Christianity was an opiate because it kept a person from fulfilling his own agenda for a “realistic” and better life.

Karl Marx did not know about Jesus’ “I have come” statements. Jesus plainly tells us, “I have come…to fulfill the law…to reveal the Father…to bear witness to the truth…to serve others and give my life as a ransom for many…proclaim freedom…call sinners to repentance…seek and save the lost…give life in abundance.”

I have come Statments of JesusThese are positive statements of purpose, not to deaden our pain and hopelessness, but to give life new meaning, love and fulfillment. Jesus Christ comes to put us back in touch with God who leads us to a life beyond human capacity to think and imagine. He leads us to a loving Father, to the truth that sets free. He leads us to a supernatural power to live full and productive lives in partnership with God the Father that multiplies into hope for those around us.

This is not “pie in the sky, bye and bye,” but for this life as well as the life to come.

God’s abundant life and love is anything but an opiate. As we trust Him, He awakens our senses, lifts us above our circumstances and transforms individuals, families and nations by awakening our dead spirits.

Jesus’ “I have come” statements declare His purpose—to put God’s redemptive plan into effect. Jesus claims a power that no other person can claim because He is the Heaven-sent One.

Karl Marx is right about one thing, however. Religion can become an opiate–if it conflicts with God’s plan for our lives. Both the Pharisees and Karl Marx had their own “religions.” However different they may have been, they had one thing in common—they relied on the opiate of self-sufficiency. This is the false notion that we can “do it alone,” whether we try to obey God’s law or revolutionize society.

These are illusions—drugs that deaden reality of our true condition before God and our ability to transform our situation. These drugs make us “feel good”—while we actually kill ourselves. People who “feel good” hate to be reminded they are following deadly pipe dreams. They may fight back and get nasty and destructive about it.

This is why Jesus said—prophetically, it turns out, “I have come, not to bring peace but a sword.” He foresaw the day when those drugged by the opiate of self-sufficiency would kill Him, persecute His followers, and say all manner of evil against Him and them.

Jesus proved his detractors wrong through His resurrected life which has multiplied itself hundreds of millions of times since.

This Good News of the kingdom, Jesus tells us, will not stop until all peoples on earth have heard it. That includes all of India. Even anti-conversion laws will fail to stop it, and may even help to speed the Good News along.
Let each of us make sure that we live in God’s abundant grace so that we may effectively take that Good News to those who have not yet heard it.

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Christ is All

This past January, the theme of our 89th annual convention was “Christ Is All,” based upon Colossians 3:11.

Read that passage, and also Luke 24:27, where Jesus explains to His two followers on the road to Emmaus how even the earliest scriptures up through the prophets spoke of things concerning Jesus Christ.

fingerHow we all need to daily remind ourselves that “Christ Is All”! The two disciples on the road to Emmaus were terribly depressed and discouraged by the awful events that led to Jesus’ totally unexpected humiliation and crucifixion (though He had warned them of these things beforehand). At that moment, they were so wrapped up in their own grief that they failed to recognize Jesus Himself in their midst.

The reason for their depression was that they forgot how fully Christ really is all. They failed to understand the very scriptures that they no doubt had memorized from childhood.

They were overcome by circumstances rather than truth. Unknowingly, they allowed events and theological fads of the day to dictate their interpretation of scripture rather than let God speak for Himself.

They allowed themselves to pick apart the smallest details of scripture while remaining blind to the scripture’s overall plan and purpose. When Jesus cleared the cobwebs from their thinking, we are told that their hearts burned within them at their own blindness. As Jesus opened their eyes to truth, their hearts and minds were set free.

This happened, not to godless men, but to the best of men. If it happened to the most spiritual men of that day, it also can happen to you and me. How easily we can allow our own present circumstances to twist the clear teachings of scripture! If you are grieving endlessly over the state of things right now, you share their same weakness!

How quickly we forget that Jesus Christ is at the center of all scripture from Genesis through Revelation! How quickly we forget that Jesus Christ is at the center of history and controls it! Jesus’ life was not snatched from Him by wicked men more powerful than He, but rather, He gave up His life as a ransom for many. It was all part of “The Plan” that leads to a New Heaven and New Earth.

Likewise, all the circumstances that cause our own distress.

Whatever troubles us, Christ is still all and controls all. Like the two men on the road to Emmaus, we all face personal weaknesses of body, soul and spirit. We face economic and political instability, and even collapse. We face persecution and slander from enemies of the gospel.

In short, we face the same challenges faced by the two men 2000 years ago. But Jesus continues to walk the same road with us, eager to open our eyes and cause our hearts to burn within us as He shows us the truth. Will we allow Him to pry our self-imposed scales from our eyes?

When we see and know the truth that sets us free, we will, like the two men, tell others what we have seen and heard until all of India and the world will have the truth that sets free.

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The Theologian in You

There is a general misconception that theology is only for religious specialists who spend years in college and seminary and church pastorates. Not true. In truth, we are all theologians. Theology is the study of God, and whether our beliefs are well-formed or half-baked, all of us have ideas about God and the world in which we live. Our decisions and our attitudes are influenced by those beliefs.

Therefore, the wise person sets out to determine just what his beliefs about God are and to correct those that are wrong.

Some of the sources of our beliefs about God come from the revealed Word of God. There are moments in which God may have indeed spoken to us to clarify truth about Him. At other times, our beliefs come from questionable sources, such as negative personal experiences or cultural influences that tell us lies about ourselves and about God. These unconscious but erroneous beliefs can have a devastating effect upon us and those who must live with us.

At times, we should each clarify what we actually believe about God and whether our beliefs agree with the revealed Word of God. It may be that what we say we believe is not what we actually believe in practice.

Theology is not just for theologians, seminary students and pastors, it is for all of us. We must make a conscious and constant effort to align our beliefs with scripture to help us make wise life decisions and decisions that affect us and those around us for eternity.

The main divisions of Christian theology include (1) exegetical theology (interpretation and study of scriptural texts), (2) historical theology (the history of doctrinal thought), (3) systematic theology (arranging the teachings in a logical order which includes apologetics and ethics, the doctrine of origins to the doctrine of last things) and (4) practical theology (salvation, preaching, education, administration, worship, the Great Commission). To effectively live our Christian lives, we must have strong foundations in each of these areas.

Of course, Christian theology is more than the sum of correct beliefs about God.
It involves our response to the work of the living God in our lives, moving us to act in love and obedience toward him. Our correct beliefs become a living faith as we listen to God and learn to do His will in our lives.

For example, if we say we believe in an omnipotent God, we will trust God to do great things in our lives and the lives of others. We will give ourselves to prayers of faith.
We will not become discouraged when things do not always go our way. We will trust God to be stronger than the circumstances that surround us.

We will also get our priorities straight when it comes to the Great Commission.
We will more readily see the lost world around us and ask God how He can work through us to accomplish His redemptive purpose among the spiritually lost at home and abroad.

In India, millions of people remain in spiritual confusion because of diabolically distorted and darkened perceptions of God. Join us with your prayers and resources to insure that the Bread of Life reaches all who hunger for it.

Blessings in Christ,
Valson Abraham

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