Friday, June 19, 2009

they tell me, "return!" but to whom can i return...?

I was listening to Afshin Ziafat a few nights ago and heard about Mehdi Dibaj for the first time. (You can hear all of what Afshin said HERE.) Below is the end of his message where he gives a little of Mehdi Dibaj's history, and then quotes directly from Dibaj's confession:

Mehdi grew up a Muslim, converted to Christianity, and was imprisoned for ten years when they found out about him. At the end of his ten years, they issued a death sentence for him. There was another pastor, Haik Hovsepian, who found out about Mehdi’s death sentence and decided that he’s going to throw himself out there. He started making a stir, and he brought it before the international community, before the UN. And because of pressure from the outside world, the Iranian government was forced to release Mehdi Dibaj. Three days later, there was a price to pay. They found pastor Haik and they abducted him and killed him for doing that. I saw a video of Mehdi Dibaj at pastor Haik’s funeral service in tears saying, "I know how Barabbas feels now, because I was set free, because someone died in my place.” Five months later they found Mehdi, abducted him and he was martyred for his faith. Mehdi Dibaj, one of the greatest leaders in the Iranian underground church.

I want you to hear his confession before an Islamic judge who called him to renounce Christ:

"With all humility I express my gratitude to the Judge of all heaven and earth for this precious opportunity, ...I am a Christian. As a sinner I believe Jesus has died for my sins on the cross and by His resurrection and victory over death, has made me righteous in the presence of the Holy God. The true God speaks about this fact in His Holy Word, the Gospel (Injil). Jesus means Savior 'because He will save His people from their sins.'

"...In response to this kindness, He has asked me to deny myself and be His fully surrendered follower, and not to fear people even if they kill my body, but rather rely on the creator of life who has crowned me with the crown of mercy and compassion. He is the great protector of His beloved ones as well as their great reward.

"I have been charged with 'apostasy!'...They say 'You were a Muslim and you have become a Christian.' This is not so... People choose their religion but a Christian is chosen by Christ. He says, 'You have not chosen me but I have chosen you.' Since when did He choose me? He chose me before the foundation of the world. People say, 'You were a Muslim from your birth.' God says, 'You were a Christian from the beginning.' He states that He chose us thousands of years ago, even before the creation of the universe,... The eternal God who sees the end from the beginning and who has chosen me to belong to Him, knew from the beginning those whose heart would be drawn to Him and also those who would be willing to sell their faith and eternity for a pot of porridge.

"I would rather have the whole world against me, but know that the Almighty God is with me. I would rather be called an apostate, but know that I have the approval of the God of glory, because man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart... They tell me, 'Return!' But to whom can I return from the arms of my God? Is it right to accept what people are saying instead of obeying the Word of God? It is now 45 years that I am walking with the God of miracles, and His kindness upon me is like a shadow....

"This test of faith is a clear example. The good and kind God reproves and punishes all those whom He loves. He tests them in preparation for heaven. ...The God of Job has tested my faith and commitment in order to increase my patience and faithfulness. During these nine years he has freed me from all my responsibilities so that under the protection of His blessed Name, I would spend my time in prayer and study of His Word, with a searching heart and with brokenness, and grow in the knowledge of my Lord. I praise the Lord for this unique opportunity. God gave me space in my confinement, brought healing in my difficult hardships and His kindness revived me...

"They object to my evangelizing. But if one finds a blind person who is about to fall in a well and keeps silent then one has sinned...

"Jesus Christ says 'I am the door. Whoever enters through me will be saved.'...He is our Savior and He is the (spiritual) Son of God. To know Him means to know eternal life... I have committed my life into His hands. Life for me is an opportunity to serve Him, and death is a better opportunity to be with Christ. Therefore I am not only satisfied to be in prison for the honor of His Holy Name, but am ready to give my life for the sake of Jesus, my Lord, and enter His kingdom sooner, the place where the elect of God enter everlasting life... May the shadow of God's kindness and His hand of blessing and healing be and remain upon you for ever. Amen.

With Respect,
Your Christian prisoner,
Mehdi Dibaj"


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