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If Not For God - The Voice Of Todd Nettleton

If Not For God / Mike Zwick
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September 5, 2020 12:30 am

If Not For God - The Voice Of Todd Nettleton

If Not For God / Mike Zwick

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September 5, 2020 12:30 am

Woah!  What a blessing to have Todd Nettleton from The Voice Of The Martyrs Radio sit down with Mike & Robby.

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Stories of hopelessness that turn to hope.

Your host Mike swing. We have another great show for you today on not you know so Todd Nettleton is the host of the voice of the martyrs radio heard on by more than 1000 radio stations and by thousands of podcast listeners weekly. Todd asserted with the voice of the martyrs for more than 20 years. He has traveled the world and conducted face-to-face interviews with hundreds of Christians who have endured persecution in more than 30 nations as the voice of the martyrs principal media spokesperson Todd has done more than 3000 interviews with media outlets ranging from movie radio to the BBC to the Los Angeles times his book when faith is forbidden.

40 days on the front lines with persecuted Christians will be published in March, 20, 21 by Moody publishers and Todd Nettleton this morning. We actually actually said you have some stuff on your mind. One of the things that you are talking about was that Cove did 19. He said it's actually increased ministry opportunities in several countries as it is at right.

That is correct, you know there there is great news that that even a pandemic cannot stop the kingdom of God were marching forward. Let me just share stories from three countries where of the Christians in those countries and all three of them are our restricted nations places where you will get into trouble with the government for being a Christian at all three places are places Christians have seen opportunities in the midst of covert wanted in China you know China the place where the disease apparently started everyone in China has been forced to wear masks because of the pandemic. One of the churches, though, has has look at that as an opportunity. They said hey China has this amazing surveillance system cameras everywhere. Facial recognition software everywhere to monitor every single person in China. Everywhere you go. But this particular church that hey right now. Everyone in the country is wearing masks. The cameras don't recognize us that the government can't tell who we are, and go out and use this opportunity. Let's be more bold for the gospel in the nation of Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran. Christians there have have a look at covert as an opportunity, they have decided hey working to knock on the doors of our neighbors, especially our older neighbors that are more affected by the disease working offer to go to the store for them and offer the just checking on them see how they're doing work and offer to pray with them and when they schedule why are you doing this. Don't you know there's a pandemic. Don't you know how dangerous this is, will have an opportunity to share the gospel with that will have an opportunity to share were doing this because Jesus loves us and he loves you and we wanted to tell you one more example in the Middle East. We have a partner ministry here at voice the martyrs that is working to evangelize Muslims in the Middle East. They are working to disciple new believers and train them up in the in the kingdom. All of their activities had to be shut down when there there their entire country was put on lockdown. Everything had to close down nothing. None of their outreach. None of their discipleship, no meetings, no nothing. They went online though and they found that during that period of time. There traffic to their website there.

The number of Muslims asking questions on their Facebook page increased dramatically and so they actually were ministering to more people during the pandemic during the lockdown than they were before the lockdown because all of this traffic happening online. All of these Muslims who had to stay home as well. Suddenly they could ask some questions that that maybe if they'd had people in their houses, they wouldn't invest they wouldn't of been willing to say publicly. Hey, I'm interested in knowing more about Jesus Christ. So even the Mr. pandemic in hospital restricted nations that the kingdom of God is marching forward. Yet the Genesis chapter 50 verse 19 through 28 says that Joseph said to them, don't be afraid am I in the place of God you intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives such a great verse for this period of time being because, like you say, even in the midst of a pandemic know there is so much suffering.

There is a lot of people going on in the world, but God is turning that for good, for his kingdom is turning that for good for the church in hospital restricted nations. And that's certainly something he could do for the church in America as well. While it says in Romans 828 it says that we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and for them who are called according to his purpose. I hear I heard a story one time it said that there were two men in one of the men woke up and said all God another day and the second man woke up and said thank God another day so you know II know you see a lot of bad stuff. Todd you hear about a lot of bad stuff but it sounds like even in the midst of the bad stuff that God has his hand and this is well and he's working towards his good one of the things that you told me about two was you said something was going on in India that right there has been a A wave of persecution in India over the last couple of months and we have seen in in the last three months we have seen five different Christians martyred for their faith in Christ in India in four different states.

So this is not all in in one little area. This is happening across the country. One of the things to understand about India that the government of India under Prime Minister Modi is a Hindu nationalist government. In fact, some of the government leaders within that government have started to call India Hindustan literally the land of the Hindus and their teaching is India is a Hindu nation literally the soil of India is Hindu soil. And if you're not a Hindu, you really don't belong here, you should either become a Hindu or you should leave and go find somewhere else to live. We are seeing that play out in. You know I can take five Christians killed in just a three month span of time.

One of those, who was killed was a man named Condi, and I am really been impacted by his testimony and by his courage. He came to the Lord in 2018 and from from the very first day. He was an evangelist. In fact, the first people he led to the Lord were his three brothers and once he did that once their family was in our Christian family. The Hindu leaders of the village brought them before the village elders. They basically sat them down and said hey you can't do this to you know this is a Hindu village you can't be Christians, and you certainly can't tell other people. They should be Christians as well.

Condi's house was attacked shortly after that he and his wife moved into a different house in all of this you know this is 2018 is only two years ago in June. The house was attacked again and Condi told his wife he said listen, they're not going to give up and on June 7 mob of radical Hindus came to the house. They took Condi away. The last thing he said to his wife as he was being led away by this Hindu mob was honey even if they kill me. I want you to stay strong in your faith in Christ while even if I'm gone, you will be courageous. You stay strong in your faith. The mob took away Condi. His body was found the next day, but his wife has honored his request.

She has stayed strong in your faith. Interestingly, with her husband killed her and their daughters moved back into her father's house, her father still Hindu. He said listen, you brought this trouble on yourself, your husband wouldn't of been killed if you had been Christians since you caused this because I and his wife and said you know here. Her father was pressuring her give up your faith. She wouldn't do it. Thankfully voice of the martyrs has been able to help her move into a safer location where she won't have that kind of pressure about pray for her. Her name is Bindu. Pray for her.

Pray for their kids who are now being raised without a father and pray for the church in India because you know this is one story, but it is happened repeatedly in recent months while Robbie Robbie here with me and he was actually just telling the story because it sounds like in a lot of different places around the world. There's there's a lot of people who were going through a lot of tough things that Robbie actually had a story where he was hit by a car going 70 miles an hour but you Robbie you said in the midst of that you felt a piece. Is that right yeah and in you know that's the thing I guess we can kind of hope that you know Stephen was being stoned. You know the you know he got to see Jesus enough standing, which is the only person actually I just get the ceased standing up this at the side of the fathers he was receiving him and I know that in two or three different instances my own life of great physical distress. Like the time is crucial to Jeep one of the times that I had a brain abscess that when called upon. Jesus gives you this piece that transcends all understanding and and and so there is a lot of hope but also there's others. Those of the people in India that saw his faith and they saw his piece which taught I know this you know this is part of the power of the gospel run. It absolutely is and you know that the church historian, Tertullian has the famous quote.

The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church and as you say, there were certainly people watching as Condi was letter by the way by this mob. There were people in the mob who saw the way he responded. They saw that he didn't fight back. They saw that his last words to his wife were stay strong in your faith.

Stay strong in your faith. Who knows what seeds were planted that day. Who knows what fruit will be harvested in eternity because of his sacrifice. But as you say. Certainly the Lord was with him and I reminded Ed as you tell your story. I met a young lady in China several years ago who was hosting house church and unregistered church service in her apartment and I you know I said to her.

Are you afraid because at that time, you know, house churches were being rated just as they are now the people who hosted them were being taken off to prison and this was a girl of probably 20 2122 years old. I said are you afraid and she said yes and I was sky well late because normally when I asked that question they say no, I'm not afraid and she said yes, I'm afraid. And as I was talking afterwards with her pastor who had taken me to meet with her. He said you know she's afraid because she hasn't been arrested yet. He said once you get arrested and you see how God works and you see how God gives you courage and how God guides you as your answering the interrogators questions once you go through that and you see how God can protect you, then you're not afraid anymore, but she's never been arrested before, she hasn't gone through that. That's why she still afraid while in there. There's probably some people right now harassing rule there's so much stuff going on how I get involved on what one of the things you can do is you can sign up for the free monthly magazine telling the stories of persecuted and in I don't think you know Stu Epperson is that right Todd I do on Stu Epperson. It actually just given me a book on and I read it I believe it was Peter J sick. Yes, periodic okay what can you tell us about his story because it kind of reminded me a little bit of what you were just talking about because he had an interesting story, I believe, was he in the Sudan. He was in Sudan. He is a actually my coworker here at the voice of the martyrs at that time he was our Africa regional director so he oversaw all viewing work in the on the continent of Africa. He went to Sudan to meet with pastors to meet with church leaders and really explore okay. How can voice the martyrs help you. What can we do to support the church year and I as he went to the airport after four days in the country they gave him his boarding pass, and as he stepped away from the airline counter security man put his hand on his shoulder and said hey come with me at Peter thought, you know, this is just a little extra screening and I'll be on my plane in no time.

But as they interrogated him they began to pull out pictures of all of the meetings he had had in Sudan. All of the Christians he'd met with all of the pastors he'd met with the like who is this guy why were you talking to him what were you doing in and Peter realized they were watching me the whole time and this is not going to go well. He ended up spending 444 days in prison in Sudan and had some very difficult times.

He actually is first prison cell was him and six members of Isis inside the cell together and obviously he was not treated very well there. In fact, they were making plans to water board him with God miraculously stepped in and rescued him. But even in prison. Peter had this experience of God has a plan here. Yes, God is doing something God allowed him to lead some Eritrean prisoners to faith in Christ that God allowed him actually to preach in a chapel inside one of the prison sentence in a kind of mind blowing that they even have a Christian chapel inside the prison, but Peter had the chance to minister to hundreds of men inside that prison and so in the course of that God showed that he had a plan and I would encourage fuel Peter's book is called imprisoned with Isis. I would encourage people get a copy of that book and read it you will be inspired by Peter story.

He has also been my guest on voice of the martyrs radio. You can find and he shared the story actually interviewed him eight days after he came out of prison and came out of Sudan so it was very fresh in his mind, when we sat down to talk in the Czech Republic yeah and I remember there was a part of the book where he said the his prisoners were actually beating him and they were beating him one day and he said all of a sudden he realized he couldn't feel any of their blows. You remember that part I do I do it in the largest stepped in and really amazingly gave Peter the ability to suffer well. The ability to suffer without hating the people who were attacking him the ability to pray for his enemies and one of things he said that he did and I I I was very inspired by this is, he started repeating in his mind, holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty that the passage from Revelation and he said that the spiritual tenor in his cell change when he began to do that on a daily basis many times each day just praising the Lord honoring the Lord's holiness in that prison cell with Isis fighters all around him yeah and in one of the things when you were saying that it kind of reminded me of Matthew chapter 5 starting in verse 43 it says you have heard that it was said love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be the children of your father in heaven.

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get are you are not even the tax collectors doing the same. And if you greet only your own people. What are you doing more than the others do not even the pagans do that. Be perfect. Therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect and one of the things that I've seen, especially in other Christians were, you know, I am talking to them and even before I was a Christian. I remember seeing something different about them even when pert people were disagreeing with them are laughing at them or whatever. It's just like they had this piece and it was almost like it didn't need didn't even bother them in a way you know I think that is one of the things that really separates Christians from nonbelievers is that ability to see another person as someone that God loves someone that Jesus died for and to be able to show that acceptance and understanding and love even to people that the world would say our enemies like to me that's one of the greatest witnesses of the gospel and I think particularly in a hostile and restricted nations as Christians respond to persecution, not with bitterness and anger and but with love for their persecutors. I I'm reminded of a story several years back in 2007. Three men in Turkey. Three Christians were martyred for their faith.

Two of them were Turkish believers in Christ as 1/3 man was from Germany and the next day. The two men who were married there their widows.

The very next day on national television in Turkey offered forgiveness to the young men who had killed her husband. This is no 24 hours after the murders, and in there on national TV saying we forgive the men who did this, we forgive them. They know not what they do, they actually echoed the words of Christ on the cross.

A reporter in Turkey, and this is not a Christian reporter. This is a Muslim reporter in Turkey talked about those two women offering forgiveness on national TV and he said, and again this is a Muslim saying this, he said those two women did more for Christianity in Turkey sees that a thousand missionaries could have done in a thousand years simply by showing forgiveness for their persecutors while in in. It actually reminds me of the story. I believe it was Louise is important him preening. Have you heard of them. I have unbroken, unbroken, and where what happened with him was he was actually beaten.

He was missed treated horribly and he I believe he was a prisoner of war in World War II and he was that he was a famous runner in America. He was in the Olympics but afterwards when he after he got got out. He actually went back to go visit many of the people who were persecuting him as a prisoner of war, and when he went to see them and he said that I forgive you.

Many of them became Christians, it is it is simply incomprehensible from a human perspective that that someone could do that that someone could suffer that much, and offer forgiveness. It is a an incredible proof of the gospel if if the gospel is not true.

There is no way that you could forgive some of that kind of behavior. So as we forgive it. It is a witness for Christ and it's a proof of the gospel because there's no human explanation for that yet and in what would his you know a lot of the people who were saying we talked about they can go to What can they do to get involved with you guys again first thing sign up to get the free monthly magazine from the voice of the martyrs right right at the top of the page. There's a button that says free magazine, click on that give us your name and address.

That way every month. You kinda know what's going on in the world. As far as our persecuted brothers and sisters. You have names and faces of specific Christians that you can pray for and there are ways to get involved there ways to write letters to Christians who are in prison right now. I'll write letters to encourage them write letters in their own language. There's a link to that on as well.

We have a virtual view of advanced conference and this is something we typically have had conferences around the country this year with with all that's going on with the travel restrictions. We haven't had in person conferences so we have moved it online and this is a chance to hear firsthand from Christians who have gone through persecution from gospel workers who are working in hostile, restricted nations and really learn firsthand what God is doing in the midst of persecution around the world. That's awesome, and in one of the things I know that we can all do is we can all pray. Robbie actually had a story where he was talking about Bernie. He mentioned to Siegel that right Robbie was on vacation this year was a person as I was watching his Siegel fly and I was amazed that he could, you know, just simply stay in place because the wind was underneath his wings and he was he was lofted like that alone was actually praying as I watched my job. How can I do that and and and he said don't you realize that when you pray you to an extent you are flying at an end that essentially the Holy Spirit is under your wings and in your bring brought up right to the to Jesus and the father right there in the throne and and we have that ability at any given moment rights to succumb to this place of intercession for these wonderful people that are facing things that we can't even begin to fathom and and intercede for what document do with their persecutors and and and all the times as we are seeing there's no doubt lots of people that have been praying during covert that did Godwin waste of time if that's that's good and you know, since we have a couple of extra minutes Todd a lot of people see things, possibly turning in the United States have you have you seen any of that or what you think about, you know, our focus is on the 70 nations around the world were Christians face a pattern of persecution.

But what I would say is that you know we that we don't know what were not guaranteed that with that will have freedom and like we always do. Now I think the key for American Christians is to be ready if were ready to endure persecution and to victoriously follow Christ in the face of hardship in the face of opposition, it won't matter if that opposition starts tomorrow or it starts 20 years from tomorrow. If were ready today then were ready to go forward even in the midst of opposition and I think there's a couple ways to get ready. One of them is diving deeply into the Scripture and making sure the Scripture is shaping you as a follower of Christ every day.

Work on your time in Scripture work on your time in prayer. That's how we get ready the other way that we get ready is by reading it and knowing the stories of Christians who are going through persecution and are being victorious. Those are the people you read about in the voice of the martyrs magazine. Those are the people whose stories we share on voice of the martyrs radio every week.

Knowing the stories and knowing how they endured and how they were victorious that helps us get ready in case persecution is coming to our country as well yeah absolutely and in and there are some listeners out there who listen to the Truth Network who are not Christians and don't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If somebody is listening today and if they may not understand this Jesus stuff or don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ. What would you say to them talk, you know, I would say to them the same thing that I would say to a Muslim or to another person of a different faith that was asking them questions. Ask God to reveal himself to you ask Jesus Christ to make himself real to you. We know around the world that God answers that prayer God.

God may send a person your way, he may send book your way, he may send dream or something supernatural your way asked Jesus Lord, I want to know you make yourself real to me.

Help me to be able to know you. I believe God will answer that prayer.

That is awesome and if you've never said yes to Jesus. It says in John 316 for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. If you never said yes to Jesus. Just pray with me right now.

Dear Lord, I enormous center. I know I five is against you. It says in Scripture. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God and I repent. I turn away for my sins and I asked you to forgive me of my sins and I accept you into my heart. In Jesus name, amen and taught me want to thank you for being on the show today in rotting is not God's. This is the Truth Network

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