Scripture of the Day

Matthew 7

13. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
15. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Scripture of the Day

2 Peter 1

2. Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3. According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6. And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7. And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

Scripture of the Day

Luke 12

8. Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:
9. But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.
10. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.

Scripture of the Day

Proverbs 16

2. All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
3. Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.
4. The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
5. Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
6. By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

Scripture of the Day

Philippians 1

15. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
16. The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
17. But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.
18. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
19. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
20. According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
21. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
22. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
23. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
24. Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

Pray for New Prayer Campaign

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In the near future, Open Doors USA will be launching our Hope for the Middle East Prayer Campaign that will focus on praying for persecuted Christians in countries like Iraq and Syria. We’re asking God to restore entire Christian communities, homes, schools, churches and ministry centers—in the wake of ISIS—and to bring back hope.

You will be able to access monthly prayer requests and other updates on our Hope for the Middle East prayer center on the ODUSA website.

Please pray that God will continue to be in the details of planning and launching the Hope4ME Prayer Campaign.

Pray that Open Doors staff working on the Prayer Campaign would have wisdom and leading from the Lord.

Pray that God will stir the hearts of His church in the U.S.A. to join the movement of prayer alongside our brothers and sisters in the Middle East.

*Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.

Scripture of the Day

1st Corinthians 8

4. As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.
5. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
6. But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
7. Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.
8. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.
9. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of your’s become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

Scripture of the Day

Romans 8

12. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Iranian Officials Interrogate 65-year Old Christian Woman

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Open Doors is saddened to report that Iranian authorities continue to arrest Christians, including a 65-year old woman who was held in detention and interrogated day and night for ten days.

A few days before Christmas, security officials raided Ruhsari Kamberi’s home in Karaj while she and four other female Christian converts were present, reports Middle East Concern (MEC). The officers also confiscated belongings such as mobile phones, Bibles and Christian literature.

Ruhsari was eventually released on bail of 30 million Toman—approximately $7,000. However, earlier this month, she was still charged with “acting against national security” and was told to receive “instruction” by a religious leader and consider a return to Islam.

It is still not known where the other four women were taken.

Friends of Ruhsari have been shocked by the disrespectful treatment of an elderly woman and report that the experience upset her greatly.

Please pray God will help all Christians who are arrested and interrogated in Iran to stand firm in their faith.

Pray God will bring His peace, comfort and encouragement to Ruhsari and the other women arrested with her.

Pray God will also bring His comfort to Ruhsari’s husband and children and the relatives of the other women.

Pray the people responsible for the mistreatment of the women and the violations of their rights will repent of their actions and find Christ.

*Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.

Scripture of the Day

Hebrews 10

35. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
36. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
37. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
38. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
39. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Scripture of the Day

Colossians 3

4. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
5. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
6. For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
7. In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
8. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
9. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
10. And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
11. Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
12. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
13. Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
14. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
15. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

UPDATE: Eldos’ Struggles Continue

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Last fall, we reported that Eldos Satar Uluu—a young Kyrgyz man—was attacked by three radical Muslim men who tried to force him to convert back to Islam. He sustained severe physical injuries and suffered emotional trauma. Since the attack Eldos has continued to receive violent threats from people in his village, reportedly including high ranking officials.

Recently, there was a trial in Eldos’ case. Tragically, the trial did not focus on holding these men accountable for their violent attack. Instead, Eldos was accused of listening to loud religious music and distributing religious materials and religious propaganda.

To make matters worse, the Christian attorney who has been helping Eldos since the beginning of his case also had a heart attack during the trial and is currently hospitalized. She initially tried to stay up to date on what was going on in court by using her phone, however, the police eventually confiscated the device.

Please pray Eldos’ faith will be strengthened and that he will grow deeper in his knowledge of Christ. He is very new to his faith.

Pray for the health and safety of Eldos’ attorney.

Pray a safe place for Eldos to live would be found quickly.

Pray there would be justice in Eldos’ court case.

After you click “Pray” below, if you’d like to write Eldos a letter of encouragement, please CLICK HERE.

*Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.

UPDATE: Shamiram’s Appeal Hearing

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We recently requested prayer for Assyrian Christian Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh who was facing an appeal hearing on February 19th. She was appealing a five-year prison sentence for acting against the regime by organizing Christian small groups, attending a seminary abroad and training church leaders and pastors to “act as spies.”

Reportedly, at the appeal hearing, the judge was confused as to whether Shamiram’s case should be combined with two other cases. The other cases involve her husband Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz, their son Ramiel Bet-Tamraz, as well as Christian converts Amin Nader Afshari, Hadi Asgari and Kavian Fallah Mohammadi and two others.

The judge set a next court hearing for March 21st—the Iranian New Year—and is still determining whether the cases will be combined. In the meantime, Iranian Christians are thankful that the appeal hearing went reasonably well and the judge appeared to be seriously examining the case. They request continued prayer.

Please pray the Lord will direct the judge as he prepares for the hearing in March.

Pray justice will be upheld in the appeal hearing for Shamiram and the other five defendants and that they will be acquitted of all the charges against them.

Pray the Lord will strengthen and encourage Shamiram, Pastor Victor and all Iranian Christians who are falsely accused of acts against national security simply because of their Christian faith and activities.

*Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.

China hearing gospel via Africa; church growing amid brutal persecution

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As the Chinese economically invest in and build infrastructure in Africa, Africans are evangelizing the Chinese.

In 2014, trade between China and Africa reached an all-time high in 2014, according to the China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University and McKinsey & Company. Billions of dollars in loans from China to Africa in addition to foreign direct investment have increased significantly in recent years.

Meanwhile, as a result of the influx of Chinese resources and approximately 10,000 Chinese-owned companies, the estimated 227,000 to 1 million Chinese working on the continent are hearing the message of the Gospel from African evangelical Christians.

“Many local African churches have reached out to Chinese workers, including incorporating Mandarin into services. A number of Chinese, in turn, have welcomed the sense of community and belonging that these Christian churches offer,” according to UnHerd Wednesday.

“And a small but growing number of ethnically Chinese missionaries from Taiwan and other countries are specifically targeting Chinese nationals in Africa, preaching to them with a freedom they’d never be allowed in the People’s Republic.”