Urgent: God Wants to Save Iran

My dear friends, may God richly bless you in this new year. I thank you for all you have accomplished through Iran Alive Ministries in 2015 even as I pray for what God will do through us all in 2016. I pray earnestly for the year ahead because in looking back over what God has done in Iran and the world in the past year, the word on my heart for 2016 is “urgency.”

Major events are happening in the world very fast. Look at ISIS and the spread of terrorism in 2015 alone! Yet there is also another growing trend of which most of the West is unaware. Iran is the most open Muslim country in the world right now to the Gospel. It is the only Muslim country where Christianity is growing and Islam is experiencing its greatest defeat in its 14 centuries of existence. The government is threatened by this, but they haven’t been able to close the door of Christian growth.

“A great door for effective work has opened to me,

and there are many who oppose me.” (1 Corinthians 16:9 NIV)

But because the western Church is afraid of Muslim terrorism and has no working strategy to stop it, many in the Church have stayed spiritually blind to what God is doing in Iran. God wants to save the nation of Iran and make it a light in the Middle East.

We must work with urgency while this great door is open.

“We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day;

night is coming, when no one can work.” (John 9:4 ESV)

I fully believe that Iran will be the first Muslim country to bring the Jews to jealousy according to Romans 11:11 (“salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious”). The Iranian government has continued to proclaim that its greatest enemy is Israel, shouting, “Death to Israel!” and “We will wipe Israel off the map!” But I believe when the Jews see that the country that threatened their existence has suddenly turned friendly and started loving them, they will wake up to Christ’s message and become jealous of Christian faith among Iranians.

This transition is already happening.

In a country where Christianity is forbidden,

Muslim hearts are turning to Jesus

by the thousands every month.

Let us praise God for these Christ connections in 2015:

32,902—Phone and email communications

9,750,914—Total website hits and views on social media

67,810—Evangelistic chat room attendance

8,760—Hours of broadcasts

 

The number of people who have prayed with us

to receive Christ since our first broadcast in 2001:

32,418

 

Praise God for His work in the lives of Persians through Iran Alive Ministries. Our overall strategy is working! Here are a few main parts of that strategy:

  1. We are working toward not just converting people but also transforming lives. We teach not “easy believism” through television (as most Americans think of TV believers) but total surrender of life even unto death.
  2. We are targeting not only the masses to come to Christ but also those at the top: government officials, marketplace leaders, high-ranking military commanders, and top clergy. Yes, these top officials are secretly coming to Christ and sharing with us that they have done so.
  3. We aim not just to train church leaders but also to develop society leaders in government, media, arts, the marketplace, and education. As an example just this past month, a secular media mogul came to Christ. He and his family own the largest network of secular satellite channels in Iran. I am discipling and guiding them to be effective for Christ right where they are.

God wants to save Iran. Pray with me that we can transform it into a Christian nation in this generation!

When Home Is a Prison

I recently was amazed by the deep faith of a lady in Iran who allowed Jesus to help her love the woman who stole her husband. She might be unique in her devotion to love her enemy, but she is not alone in her suffering. Many women in Iran are trapped by marriage laws that turn their homes into prisons.

 

Before the revolution in 1979, the minimum age for marriage was 18 for women and 20 for men. Restrictions against polygamy meant men with special circumstances had to get judicial permission to take a second wife—or face jail time. The first wife also had to give her husband legal written permission before he could take another wife.

 

What does the law in Iran say now regarding marriage?

After the revolution, these protective laws were largely repealed or set aside. The minimum age for marriage fell to 13 (sometimes 9) for girls and 15 for boys. The religious regime, in accordance with the Quran, also abandoned restrictions on polygamy.

 

A man now has a legal and religious right to permanent marriage with up to four wives. He has no need to establish cause for taking another wife or solicit judicial or spousal permission. Therefore, even the requirement that a man establish financial ability to maintain his wives has no review or oversight. He alone can decide what is right for himself.

 

In addition to these permanent marriages, since Iran is a Shiite state, a man can contractually enter an unlimited number of temporary marriages (called Sigheh). The length of these temporary marriages can be from 15 minutes to 99 years. Yes, many view this as merely legalized prostitution sanctioned and supported by Islamic law.

 

In contrast, a wife must obey her husband in everything, and since his marital desire may arise at any time, she may not even leave the home without his permission. If a couple does divorce, the custody of her children is automatically given to her husband. I know many women who are suffering from physical and emotional abuse and have to endure and even quietly serve their abusive husbands because they do not want to be separated from their beloved children—the only source of meaning and joy in their lives. These laws reduce women to property and enslave them sexually while giving men free rein to sidestep moral obligations of faithfulness and love within a relationship.

 

What does the God of the Bible say?

Although these women are trapped in loveless and abusive marriages with no legal recourse, they are not unloved. Jesus loves them. And as each woman begins to understand that only Jesus’s love and presence can truly fill her heart—and as she receives that love—she is able to endure the rejection and even forgive her husband. We have many testimonies where the wife’s forgiveness and a heart filled with the joy of Jesus have caused the husband to take notice and also seek salvation in Jesus. The love revolution that begins in the hearts of these rejected women plays a significant part in transforming Iran into a Christian nation in this generation.

 

Did you know that Iran Alive takes special care to broadcast several satellite television programs addressed specifically to women so that they can hear the Gospel within the safety—and sometimes the prison—of their own homes? Please keep praying for the millions of Persian women who do not yet know the love of Jesus.

Related Articles: I Want to Share My New Husband with You

Should the US Accept Syrian Refugees?

As fallout from recent Islamic State (ISIS) attacks in Paris continues, more than half of the United State’s governors have said they will bar Syrian refugees from coming to their states because they pose a great risk to national security. New Jersey governor and presidential candidate Chris Christie declared his state would not take in any refugees—“not even orphans under the age of five.”maxresdefault

Congress has also joined in, voting on November 26 to make the process for Syrian and Iraqi refugees coming to the U.S. more difficult.

The issue is far from simple, and I respect that even Christians will have varied opinions on the right course of action. Yet this is what is on my heart:

  1. As Christ-followers we must have compassion for those who suffer.

The parable of the Good Samaritan instructs us to be sensitive even to the needs of our enemies (Luke 10:25–27). Many Old and New Testament verses teach us to serve strangers and refugees (Lev. 19:33–34, Heb. 13:2). So as Christ-followers, we must help these refugees. Thank God many Christian organizations are already helping the Syrian refugee camps in Turkey and Europe and because of them, many refugees are becoming Christ followers. Let us also not forget that the United States was founded by refugees.

In terms of mission opportunities, refugees are right now the most open Muslim group to the Gospel. We Christians should share God’s love and the Gospel with them. Many will respond to that. The American Church should step out of its comfort zone and take advantage of this great mission opportunity. Moreover, a good number of these refugees are already Christians. Are we not called at least to help our brothers and sisters in Christ?

  1. Yet we must be wise and alert.

The Lord admonishes us in Matthew 10:16 to be as wise and alert as serpents, understanding the cunning of our enemies. ISIS sends people pretending to be refugees to infiltrate western countries such as the U.S. They come with the mission to start hidden cells for ISIS and to recruit American youth.

I know from experience that some of Iran’s “Christian” refugees have been Islamic government agents trying to infiltrate western countries and Iranian Christian communities worldwide. Iran’s government boasts that they have spies and agents in every western country who are supported by the host country because they entered as a refugee. Not surprisingly, these pretend refugees are usually supplied with false but compelling evidence documenting their torture while many Christians who have truly suffered for their faith have little documentation to verify their stories.

So we must extend compassion with our eyes wide open.

  1. We are already conquered if we let fear rule us.

I think that maybe especially due to the recent events in France, many in Congress and some governors have acted out of fear. A priority goal for ISIS is to spread fear (terror) worldwide. This is how they gain power. If we act out of fear, they have accomplished their objective.

Please pray with me that more and more refugees will hear the Gospel and discover and embrace God’s perfect love.

 

“Perfect love casts out fear” (1 Jn 4:18).

 

Recommended Reading: “Syrian Refugees in America: Separating Fact from Fiction in the Debate”

Cycle of Abuse Stopped Because of Christ!

I often get the question, “What is the most common miracle you hear about inside of Iran?”  While the Lord certainly is revealing Himself to people through dreams and visions everyday, I have to say that the most common miracle is radical life transformation.  Take Mahmoud, for imagesexample.  He admittedly abused his own children for any reason he could find.  However, after hearing about the grace and love of Christ, he stopped, repented and has been utterly transformed.  This is a true miracle of the Lord!

Here is a copy of an email that Mahmoud recently sent our Counseling Center Ministry:

My name is Mahmoud and I live in Iran. 

I am a father of 6 and have been watching your programs for several months. As I watch your programs I feel a sense of security and peace. I realized why I felt this when you talked about the characters of our Heavenly Father. I have been a very angry father to my children, to the point that I would hit my children for any reason. This attitude has developed tremendous fear in my children. As a result, my relationship with my children was destroyed.

Your programs have had such an impact on me that I have started to look inward. What I found terrified me. To tell you the truth, I didn’t like who I was.

As a result, I decided that I want to be more like our heavenly Father and began to change my attitude. I gave my heart to Jesus and asked Him to work in me.

I thank you for helping me develop a loving and caring relationship with my children. I owe this transformation to you because you were the vessel that brought the message of Love into my home an help me realize that I need to be like my heavenly Father.

Yours,

Mahmoud

Join me in celebrating the miracle of this transformed life and the peace that has entered this home.  The Lord is about the business of transforming Iran into a Christian nation in this generation!

Emergency Prayer Request Update

Amir’s execution has been postponed indefinitely.  For now, this is very good news, as his execution is no longer imminent and there are no plans to schedule it at this time.  images

I will give further updates as they develop and know that Amir and his family appreciates your prayers.

Emergency Prayer Request Update

Amir’s execution has been postponed. While we are grateful for this development, our prayers are still with him and his family as his future is still uncertain. Please continue to pray for Amir.
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USA and Iran Partnering in Iraq? 5 questions answered – #3

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series USA and Iran Partnering in Iraq?

3.  Who is ISIS?

  1. ISIS stands for Islamic State in Iraq and (greater) Syria.

    ISIS members are painting the Arabic letter N, for “Nasrani,” or Nazarene on homes as a way of identifying unwanted Christians.
    ISIS members are painting the Arabic letter N, for “Nasrani,” or Nazarene on homes as a way of identifying unwanted Christians in Mosul, Iraq.
  2. They are the coalition of Sunni forces in Iraq and Syria.
  3. Their immediate goal is to topple two Shiite governments in Iraq and Syria.
  4. Their intermediate goal is to have a unified Sunni state that covers the whole region including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Israel.
  5. Their long-term goal is to bring back a worldwide rule of Caliphates. They believe that they are mandated by the Quran to do so and use as much violence as needed to accomplish that goal.
  6. They are much stronger than Al-Qaeda in numbers, unity, and finances. They have performed mass executions, even including women and children. They are so violent and brutal that Al-Qaeda looks conservative and moderate comparatively.
  7. When in power, they will be the number one source of terrorism in the world.

Emergency Prayer Request!

This week, we received a distressed call from one of our Church 7 members who lives in Iran.  Her 32-year-old son, Amir, has been in prison for the past two years after being caught with a truckload of Bibles.  On Wednesday, an execution date was set for Tuesday, August 12 for his crimes against Islam and the government.persecution-1

Understandably, she is very upset.  Her only request is for prayers of deliverance for her son.

We are asking you to do two things:

  • Pray
    • Pray for Amir and his family. Pray for deliverance from this death sentence for Amir and for his frightened and grieving family. Pray for his jailers, his judge and his fellow inmates to encounter the love of Christ and receive Him as their personal Savior. Pray for the countless other brothers and sisters, like Amir, who are suffering persecution for their faith in Christ in Iran and around the world right now.
  • Call others to pray
    • Share this story and prayer request with your friends and social media networks.

This is a time when we can take action and beseech the Lord together on behalf of a brother in desperate need. It is the only request this family has made and is by far the most significant and powerful thing we can do to help them.

Crackdown on Satellite Dishes in Tehran

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the purpose of Iran Alive Ministries is to plant churches through the vehicle of satellite TV.  With an estimated audience of 3-6 million viewers at any given time, our network has been the bane of the Iranian government for years.

Although illegal to own, satellite dishes are pervasive inside Iran
Although illegal to own, satellite dishes are pervasive inside Iran

Just today, one of our close friends heard from family inside Tehran that the government is again confiscating satellite dishes.  While illegal to own in Iran, the BBC estimates that 80% of Iranians have access to satellite TV.  In fact, if you look at photos of most Iranian cities, you will notice the pervasive presence of satellite dishes on nearly every rooftop and balcony.  I have mused that the satellite dish is the true “National Flower” of Iran.

Typically, within 24-48 hours of these types of raids, the dishes are sold back the original owners on the black market.  Many people own two dishes for this very reason…one to use and one to keep as a backup.

Satellite TV provides millions of Iranians with their only connection to the outside world and a direct connection to the Gospel.  Join us in praying that the Lord will use this latest crackdown as a opportunity to further strengthen the resolve of the Iranian people to seek the truth and find it in the only One who truly embodies Truth.

GodReports Story on Iran Alive Minstries

Please take a moment to read this encouraging article on GodReports about our ministry to transform Iran into a Christian nation in this generation!Godreports banner