Saturday, July 27, 2013

SEVEN MARKS OF A FALSE TEACHER [Excerpts] - The Berean Call

This is copied from an email I received from The Berean Call


No one enriches hell more than false teachers. No one finds greater joy in drawing people away from truth and leading them into error. False teachers have been present in every era of human history....While their circumstances may change, their methods remain consistent. Here are seven marks of false teachers.

False teachers are man pleasers. What they teach is meant to please the ear more than profit the heart. They tickle the ears of their followers with flattery and all the while they treat holy things with wit and carelessness rather than reverence and awe. This contrasts sharply with a true teacher of the Word who knows that he is answerable to God and who is therefore far more eager to please God than men. As Paul would say, "But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts" (1 Thes. 2:4).

False teachers save their harshest criticism for God's most faithful servants. False teachers criticize those who teach the truth, and save their sharpest criticism for those who hold most steadfastly to what is true....Paul's ministry was threatened and undermined by those critics who said that while his words were strong, he himself was weak and unimportant (2 Cor. 10:10).

False teachers teach their own wisdom and vision. God would say, "The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart." (Jer. 14:14). Paul knew, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;" (2 Tim. 4:3).

False teachers miss what is of central importance and focus instead on the small details. Jesus diagnosed this very tendency in the false teachers of his day, warning them, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others" (Matt. 23:23).

False teachers obscure their false doctrine behind eloquent speech and what appears to be impressive logic. Just as a prostitute paints and perfumes herself to appear more attractive and more alluring, the false teacher hides his blasphemies and dangerous doctrine behind powerful arguments and eloquent use of language.

False teachers are more concerned with winning others to their opinions than in helping and bettering them. This was another of Jesus' diagnoses as he considered the religious rulers of his day. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves" (Matt 23:15).

False teachers exploit their followers. Peter would warn of this danger, saying: "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.... And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." (1 Peter 2:1-3). False teachers are concerned with your goods, not your good; they want to serve themselves more than save the lost; they are content for Satan to have your soul as long as they can have your stuff [see also Genesis 14:21.]


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Christian jailed for text messages in Gojra, Pakistan (WorldWatchMonitor)

This article is copied from it’s entirety from WorldWatchMonitor

Christian jailed for text messages in Gojra, Pakistan

Published: July 26, 2013

Islamists demand death penalty for 'blasphemy' as another couple awaits trial 

“Only one punishment for the blasphemer; sever his head from the body... Life imprisonment not acceptable, not acceptable and not acceptable.”


World Watch Monitor

Tensions are high in the Punjabi city of Gojra after a court sentenced a Christian man, Sajjad Masih, to life imprisonment for blasphemy, only weeks before the fourth anniversary of an outbreak of extreme violence against Christians in the same city.

In August 2009, seven Christians from the same family were killed – six burned to death – and more than 100 Christian homes set alight by angry Muslims, again over an accusation of blasphemy.
Now, even as local Islamists demanded that Masih’s life imprisonment sentence be exchanged for the death penalty, a further blasphemy case was lodged on July 20; police arrested a Christian couple who were sent to jail the next day.

On July 13, the Gojra Additional Sessions Court convicted Masih of committing blasphemy under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code; for insulting Muhammad, which carries the death penalty.
Masih had been accused of sending blasphemous text messages in a case first lodged in December 2011. Despite an absence of evidence, the court sentenced Masih to life imprisonment (25 years in Pakistan).

The alleged text messages were sent from a SIM card registered in the name of Masih’s former fiancĂ©e, Roma. Neither the cell phone nor the SIM was recovered from Masih during police investigation. Nor was there any eyewitness or forensic evidence available. 

                 “Only one punishment for the blasphemer; sever his head from the body... Life imprisonment not acceptable, not acceptable and not acceptable.”

--Islamist banner

Analysts say lower court judges, who are provided little security in Pakistan, often concede to pressure from religious groups in blasphemy cases and convict the accused even if little evidence is available.

Some say this is the reason the judge awarded Masih life imprisonment (though not the death penalty) rather than acquitting him.

The day after the verdict, hard-line Islamists staged a sit-in on Mankanwala Crossing in Gojra and condemned the court’s decision.

The protestors demanded Masih’s death, chanting that nothing less than the death of a ‘blasphemer’ was acceptable.

Banners were hung across the city which read: “Only one punishment for the blasphemer; sever his head from the body... Life imprisonment not acceptable, not acceptable and not acceptable.”
This slogan has been promoted in recent years by Lashkar-e-Taiba (currently known as Jammat-ud-Dawa after the US State Department branded Lashkar-e-Taiba a “foreign terrorist organisation” in 2001).

Inter-communal relations in Gojra are tense, especially with the approach of the fourth anniversary of the 2009 attacks. Christians told World Watch Monitor the area’s radical Muslims were again seeking a pretext to attack Christians.

Shafqat & Shaguftah
A local police officer told WWM that Islamic clerics were so enraged they remained in the police station until this FIR was written.

World Watch Monitor

Catholic couple Shafqat (43) and Shaguftah (40) Masih* have also been accused of texting blasphemous messages to Islamic clerics.

Complainant Muhammad Hussein says he was offering tarawih (special prayers offered in Ramadan after the breaking of the fast) on July 18 in Talabwali mosque at around 10pm when his cell phone vibrated. He states that after finishing prayer, he checked his cell phone and found blasphemous text messages insulting both Muhammad and the Qur’an.

Gojra City Police Station House Officer Muhammad Nisar told World Watch Monitor that Hussein’s call data revealed the messages were sent from Shaguftah’s cell phone number.

However, she told them that the cell phone had been lost for a month, and that she did not know who might have sent the alleged messages. Nevertheless, the Gojra City Police detained the couple, along with their four children, and pressured them to name someone who could have sent the messages.

Nisar told World Watch Monitor that a large number of Islamic clerics had been enraged when they heard of these text messages, and that they remained in the police station until the First Investigative Report (FIR) was lodged.

In what some say was an attempt to show that progress had been made, the police formally arrested the couple on July 20 and sent them to Toba Tek Singh District Jail the next day.

“Shafqat has admitted to the police he sent the blasphemous messages and gave this statement to the judicial magistrate,” Nisar said.

Riaz Anjum, who is representing the couple, said the police have lodged the case under Section 295-B and 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which recommend life imprisonment and the death penalty, respectively, for blasphemy.

                               “The police have extracted a confession from Shafqat, which is illegal.”

--Riaz Anjum, the couple's lawyer

Anjum said the police had made stronger the case against the couple by recording Shafqat Masih’s judicial confession. “Investigation should have been done by the senior superintendent before lodging the case, but here the police have extracted a confession from Shafqat which is illegal,” he said.
He said the police have also charged the couple under 25-D of The Telegraph Act of 1985 which recommends a maximum of three years for intentionally “causing annoyance”.

Islamists again staged a sit-in on Mankanwala Crossing on July 23 and demanded death for the couple.

Shafqat Masih’s backbone was fractured in an accident in 2004. Since then he has been restricted to a wheelchair due to the paralysis of his lower body. He is also fitted with a catheter.

Since his accident, Shaguftah Masih has been the only breadwinner for the family’s four children, Ambrose (13), Danish (10), Sarah (7), and Amir (5).

Her brother Joseph told World Watch Monitor she is the eldest of six siblings.


At least three other cases have been registered previously against Christians based on blasphemous text messages.

In May 2006, Qamar David was accused of sending blasphemous text messages to various Islamic clerics  in the city of Karachi. He was convicted in February 2010 and died in prison on March 15, 2011.

In January 2009 Hector Aleem and Basharat Khokhar were accused of sending text messages that hurt Muslims’ religious sentiment. They were acquitted of the charge on May 31, 2011. 

Sixteen-year-old Ryan Stanton was charged with sending blasphemous text messages on October 10, 2012. He fled the country for refugee status in Sri Lanka.

Pastor Zafar Bhatti was accused of the same crime on November 11, 2012.

At least two Muslims, Abdul Sattar and Irfan Rafique, have also been charged for sending text messages.

Pakistani minorities and international bodies have long demanded an amendment or repeal of the blasphemy laws to avoid their misuse.

*'Masih', which derives from 'Messiah', is a common name among Christians in Pakistan.

Friday, May 17, 2013


Prisoner Profile

PRISONER NAME         LOCATION                          ARRESTED      REVISED
Naser Zamen-Dezfuli  Iran (Islamic Republic of)  May 2013      May 17, 2013

On Dec. 23, 2011, Iranian authorities raided the Assemblies of God church of Ahvaz as church members gathered for a service. Everyone at the church was arrested, including children. All those arrested were released several hours later, with the exception of the pastor, Farhad Sabokrouh, his wife, Shahnaz Jayzan, and two church ministers, Davoud Alijani and Naser Zamen-Dezfuli. The four were transferred to a detention center for further interrogation.

Shahnaz was released on temporary bail on Jan. 1, 2012, after spending nine days in prison. The pastor and the two men were held until Feb. 21, 2012, when they were also released on temporary bail. Granting prisoners release on temporary bail is a common tactic employed by the government in Iran. It allows the government to recall those previously arrested at any moment for more interrogation or to serve longer prison sentences. Those released on temporary bail live in constant fear of being called back to prison.

At his release, Pastor Farhad was denied the right to hold any kind of a church service or visit Christians in Ahvaz,
his hometown. He was also banned from living in Ahvaz and forced to move to Tehran.

In October 2012, the four were each sentenced to serve a year in prison for the charges of "converting to Christianity, inviting Muslims to convert and acting against state security through evangelistic activities."

On May 1, the court summoned the four. When they appeared, they were each arrested. Davoud Alijani was sent
to Karoon prison in Ahvaz.

Pastor Farhad, Shahnaz and Naser were transferred to Sepidar prison.

Address for Naser Zamen-Dezfuli
Sepidar Prison
Ahwaz, Islamic Republic of Iran

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I gave thanks for you when I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray the eyes, ears and hearts of those who persecute you
may open to Jesus. Philippians 1:29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to
suffer for His sake. Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the
glory which shall be revealed in us.

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

HOW LONG? Open Doors USA April 25 2013

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them?’” – Numbers 14:11

Prisoners in North Korea

*Drawing by a former North Korean prisoner, depicting North Korean prisoners eating plants in a labor camp.

Imagine yourself a Christian living in North Korea, a land that is barren... a land that is silent. You have no church, no freedom to share your faith, no Bible, and no contact with other Christians. You are alone. 

We can only imagine that Christians in North Korea today are echoing these exact words found in Numbers, but instead of God crying to Moses, they are crying to God! “How Long?” In our perspective, Christians in North Korea have been suffering for long enough. But they are not without hope. In the book of Isaiah God tells us through His Word some of His plans and promises for His people, including His people in North Korea.

How Long?

Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, was once called the Jerusalem of the East. Beginning on January 14, 1907, when a group of Korean Christians and Western missionaries met in Pyongyang for a Bible study …God began to move. Realizing their sin, and the need for Jesus, the group fell on their knees in repentance. In that instant a revival began that lasted 40 years.

When Japan was defeated in 1945 during World War II, Korea was divided into the North (under Soviet Union rule) and the South (under US rule). After the North established the Democratic People’s Republic (DPRK) in 1948 severe persecution began. That was over 65 years ago…in comparison the Israelites wandered in the desert for only 40 years.

In the book of Isaiah God tells us through His Word some of His plans and promises for His people.Holding on to these promises join today in intercessory prayer, through His Word, for North Korea.


The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth; “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your Savior comes’! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.’” They will be called the Holy People the Redeemed of the Lord; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted. – Isaiah 62:11-12

North Korea is the most dangerous country in the world to be a Christian. And yet the Word of God continues to go out, especially in the cities near the Chinese border. Every year North Koreans risk their lives to cross into China. If they are fortunate enough to arrive safely, the danger continues. But if they fall under the care of Christian’s operating safe houses, the gospel message is shared… for many this is the first time hearing the name of Jesus. After receiving Christ, many return to North Korea, at great personal risk, to bring the gospel message to their family at home.


…So He became their Savior. In all their affection He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, and He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. – Isaiah 63:8-9b

On the surface, the fruits of God’s work are not evident in North Korea today. The church may be thought of as “desolate” because of its suffering and lack of visible strength. And yet, His Spirit is there, working in silence. Open Doors supports North Korean Christians in secret with Bibles, books, education and relief aid. Often we receive thank you letters from underground church leaders; oneNorth Korean Christian wrote:

“I am very proud to see our believers’ faithful lives becoming more mature. Their lives are in danger and still they follow the Lord. This could have not been possible if it wasn’t for your endless effort and love. Please continue to pray for us.”


“As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from now and forever.”
 –Isaiah 59:21

Imagine not being able to pass on your faith to your children? In North Korea this desire is dangerous for both believers and their children. If their faith is discovered, they, with their children, are sent to prison and forced into hard labor. Other North Korean children may have been abandoned by their parents due to hardships, for others, their parents may have died. Living on the streets struggling to survive; Timothy, shares his story:

“Like so many children, I was separated from my parents. My father had to flee the country in a hurry. For years, I lived on the streets. Every day, I had to manage to find food. I only slept for a few hours each night and tried to stay awake in order not to die of hunger. I survived by helping to carry luggage at stations. After some time, I realized that I had no future in North Korea. While fleeing to China, I was detained by the border police. They took me back to North Korea where the guards tortured me severely. I kept praying to stay alive, because I had discovered that there was a God. After two weeks, I was released but because of the torture, I was no longer able to stand. My grandmother paid a woman to carry me across the river into China on her back. In the end, I gained freedom and I was reunited with my father. Whatever situation you are in, do not give up, but keep praying!”

“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call my name. I said ‘Here am I, her am I.’” Isaiah 65:1

Kim Il Sung, the founder of the DPRK, understood the power of worship and set himself up to be the only one.. Statues of him were erected; people were required to bow down before them. Kim Il Sung created a belief system called Juche which twisted the Holy Trinity of Christianity by teaching that Kim Il Sung is god, his son Kim Jong Il is the Christ figure, and the ideology of Juche replaces the Holy Spirit. Kim Jong Il referred to it as “Kimilsungism.” All North Koreans are indoctrinated with this belief system from cradle to grave.  But God has permitted Himself to be found by people who did not seek Him. That grace… guaranteed on the cross of Jesus Christ… is available to everyone, including the leaders of North Korea.  

Father God, when will the promise, “For they will be a people blessed by the Lord.”(Is 65:23) be fulfilled completely? Will it be upon the return of Your Son Jesus Christ when all earthly kingdoms will be destroyed and only Your Kingdom remains?  Father, we know that we are to wait for Your perfect time, but our hearts break for those in North Korea who are blinded by the lies. Father, remove the scales from their eyes so that they can see Your glory. We join today in prayer for a mighty, overwhelming outpouring of Your Spirit over the Korean peninsula, believing as we come to You on our knees, and petition on their behalf, that the next great revival in Korea will come soon, and that Your splendor will be spread over the entire nation. Praying in Jesus Name, our Redeemer. Amen.
[This has been copied in its entirety from the Open Doors USA Website: 
To find out more about Open Doors USA click here ]