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Happy Easter. May each of our journeys lead to a point at which we realize we have a Father who loves us so much He sacrificed His own son so we might never be separated from Him again. For God is love, and I can think of nothing more tragic than spending this life or the next without Love Himself. There is nothing in this increasingly depraved world that could be more worthy of celebration than knowing, through the supreme sacrifice on a hill long ago, Love has us and will never let us go.

He is risen. For us it may seem incomprehensible or even impossible. But our minds are finite. His is infinite. For God, nothing is impossible. He brings new life– literally. He spoke the world into being and He did not allow His son to remain in a stone tomb after being cruelly murdered. He was raised to life on the third day and not only exists but said He would return to this earth to set things right.

He isn’t out to get you. He wants to walk beside you and call you child and friend. He has provided you a hope and a future. When you say, “I believe,” you are covered by the blood and given a new identity and purpose. The way might not be easy, but you are guaranteed victory in the end. Which, by the way, is the beginning of an endless story that will be more wonderful than you can ever imagine.

May He be more real to you than ever before this Easter Sunday. He is risen indeed.

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It made me think that for all the joy and fanfare of the Easter celebrations, for all the mystery of faith in God, for all the billions of words used over centuries to explain it all, Christianity itself has a 6 word autobiography: Jesus is risen from the dead. There are thousands of words in the Bible and none of them make any sense without these 6 words. –Vicar Simon Cutmore

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©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Rajai Shahr Prison, Iran

Rajai Shahr Prison, Iran

Many of you are familiar with the story of Saeed Abedini, an American pastor imprisoned in Iran. The ACLJ has just published a Christmas letter he wrote, and I am riveted by this man’s faith and hope in the midst of the extreme physical hell and torture he’s enduring. As the letter says, this is his third Christmas in prison; America hasn’t yet brought him home.

If a man who is being slowly murdered for leaving Islam can rejoice in the true meaning of Christmas this much, how much more the rest of us?

#SaveSaeed – you can help!

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Rajai Shahr Prison 2014

Merry Christmas!

These days are very cold here. My small space beside the window is without glass making most nights unbearable to sleep. The treatment by fellow prisoners is also quite cold and at times hostile. Some of my fellow prisoners don’t like me because I am a convert and a pastor. They look at me with shame as someone who has betrayed his former religion. The guards can’t even stand the paper cross that I have made and hung next to me as a sign of my faith and in anticipation of celebrating my Savior’s birth. They have threatened me and forced me to remove it. This is the first Christmas that I am completely without my family; all of my family is presently outside of the country. These conditions have made this upcoming Christmas season very hard, cold and shattering for me. It appears that I am alone with no one left beside me.

These cold and brittle conditions have made me wonder why God chose the hardest time of the year to become flesh and why He came to the earth in the weakest human condition (as a baby). Why did God choose the hardest place to be born in the cold weather? Why did God choose to be born in a manger in a stable, which is very cold, filthy and unsanitary with an unpleasant smell? Why did the birth have to be in such a way that it was not only hard physically, but also socially? It must have brought such shame for Mary and her fiancé that she was pregnant before marriage in the religious society of that time.

Dear sisters and brothers, the fact of the Gospel is that it is not only the story of Jesus, but it is the key of how we are to live and serve like Jesus. Today we like Him should come out of our safe comfort zone in order to proclaim the Word of Life and Salvation though faith in Jesus Christ and the penalty of sin that He paid on the cross and to proclaim His resurrection. We should be able to tolerate the cold, the difficulties and the shame in order to serve God. We should be able to enter into the pain of the cold dark world. Then we are able to give the fiery love of Christ to the cold wintry manger of those who are spiritually dead. It might be necessary to come out of the comfort of our lives and leave the loving embrace of our family to enter the manger of the lives of others, such as it has been for me for the third consecutive Christmas. It may be that we will be called fools and traitors and face many difficulties, but we should crucify our will and wishes even more until the world hears and tastes the true meaning of Christmas.

Christmas means that God came so that He would enter your hearts today and transform your lives and to replace your pain with indescribable joy.

Christmas is the manifestation of the radiant brightness of the Glory of God in the birth of a child named Emmanuel, which means God is with us.

Christmas is the day that the heat of the life-giving fire of God’s love shone in the dark cold wintry frozen hearts and burst forth in this deadly wicked world.

The same way that the heat from the earth’s core melts the hard stones in itself and produces lava, the fiery love of God, Jesus Christ, through the virgin Mary’s womb came to earth on Christmas to melt the hard heart of sin and wickedness of the world and removes them from our life. In the same process, the work of the Holy Spirit is a fiery rain of God’s Holiness and Mercy that flows into our body, soul and spirit and brings the light of Christ into us and through us making this dark, cold, wintry world into radiant burning brightness. He is turning our world into a world full of peace, joy, and love that is so different than the dark, cold, and wintry world that we used to live in. Hallelujah!

So this Christmas let the lava-like love of Christ enter into the depth of your heart and make you fiery, ready to pay any cost in order to bring the same lava love to the cold world around you, transforming them with the true message of Christmas.

Pastor Saeed Abedini

Soaking in the lava love of Christ

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Please visit the ACLJ’s page discussing this letter.

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A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes…and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent. -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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©2014 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

 

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Saeed Prayer Vigil

Tonight on TBN I heard Naghmeh Abedini, wife of imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini, speak at length about their history and present situation. I learned how they became Christians and Americans despite being born into devout Muslim families in Iran, how they met, and how many other times they’ve been arrested for their charity and faith. Naghmeh was very candid about her struggles with fear and anxiety, but demonstrated that the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) is real.

Evidently Saeed’s faith and passion for the gospel is so vibrant that despite horrific torture he has other prisoners singing praises to God along with him! This is a man who has death staring him in the face, and yet he does not waver from the belief that God is good. How many of us can attest to faith like that? As I listened to Naghmeh I had to ask myself how many of us Americans would be willing to fight for, be imprisoned for, and even die for our beliefs. I wondered how many of us, when faced with beatings, violations, and isolation, would stick to our guns and not renounce our commitments to freedom and our faith.

The church all over the world is under attack. Whether we are brothers and sisters in the Christian faith or believers in freedom and human rights in general, September 26th is a day to unite on these issues and cry out as one. Whether you are a Christian or not, whether you believe in God or not, there are organized forces in this world that are hell bent on subjugating you and forcing you into a life of slavery. These forces are raping, pillaging, murdering, conquering, and enslaving people who are different from them. The crucifixions and beheadings of children in Iraq are a perfect example of how evil these groups are.

Take a stand for free will and the rights of others no matter what they believe, and join millions of others in shouting out that we stand as one for those who are under attack. As someone who puts my faith and hope in Someone infinitely more powerful than myself, I expect that He will reward this petition and do miracles.

Naghmeh Abedini on Twitter

Save Saeed Campaign Reaching New People in Brazil

And yes, I still wear my hot pink #SaveSaeed t-shirt proudly!

Save Saeed Shirt

 

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Wherever there is prayer, there is the danger of His own immediate action. -C.S. Lewis

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©2014 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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This sickening story came to my attention over the weekend:

Obama Ignores Pregnant Wife of American Sentenced to Sharia Death By Hanging for Not Renouncing Christian Faith

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim is the pregnant 27 year-old wife of a naturalized American citizen. She and their 18 month-old son Martin are being held by the authorities in Sudan, who plan to let her give birth, then flog her and put her to death. Martin, who is ill, and the unborn child are Americans. (more…)

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Honor Killings 7

So your worthless wife or girlfriend wants to get a divorce/break up/move on/have guy friends/wants to work outside the home/didn’t heat your dinner up enough/disapproved of you wanting to bring other women in the relationship/looked at you funny/didn’t iron your pants/wants to go to school/didn’t feel like having sex. And you killed her. Because she deserved it.

That is exactly the mentality that untold numbers of Muslim men have, and if you criticize this hateful, evil, egotistical, misogynistic practice, you’re branded an Islamophobe. Do I have your attention? Note that I did not say that if you’re a Muslim, you believe this. What I am saying is that so-called honor killings are a worldwide problem and a growing concern here in America due to some Muslims. (more…)

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From http://www.youtube.com/user/HyperPixelsMedia

Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. When you go to church you are really listening-in to the secret wireless from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going. –C.S. Lewis

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