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Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live, even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25 (photo credit: The Passion of the Christ)
I received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord when I was growing up in Fairport, a small town in upstate New York, not far from Rochester. I was eight years old, though it wasn’t until I was 17 that I truly wrestled it all out and decided to follow Jesus without reservation. My father is Jewish. My mother is Gentile. They actually became followers of Jesus before I did, as I describe in my spiritual journey, written several years ago.
Ever since, we have been fascinated by God’s love for all the people of the world, and especially His plan and purpose for the people of the Middle East, the epicenter of the momentous events that are shaking our world and shaping its future. What intrigues me most is that Jesus Christ was born in the epicenter, lived in the epicenter, taught in the epicenter, did miracles in the epicenter, demonstrated His great love by dying for us on the cross in the epicenter, then miraculously rose from the dead again in the epicenter, and that He is really coming back soon to the epicenter to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6). The Bible tells us, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12)
Do you know Jesus Christ in a real and personal way? Have you received Him as your personal Savior and Lord? My prayer is that this weekend you’ll take time to truly consider what Jesus said, what He did, and His call to you, “Come, follow Me.” (Mark 1:17)
Ayatollah Khamenei meeting with senior Iranian officials. (photo released on the Leader's website on April 5)
UPDATE AT 7:00AM TUESDAY:The report on Pars TV last week concerning the Ayatollah Khamenei does not appear to have been accurate after all. The Supreme Leader’s website posted his picture on Monday meeting with “the first deputies of the president, Majlis speaker and the Judiciary, the secretary of the Expediency Council, secretary of Supreme National Security Council, secretary of High Council of Cultural Revolution, secretary and legal experts of the Guardian Council, members of the Judiciary Council, cabinet ministers and heads of parliamentary commissions.” The Islamic Republic News Agency reported on the meeting, as did the New York Times. I appreciate everyone’s patience as we tried to nail down the facts in this. I will tell you that I was conflicted on whether or not to share with you the Pars TV story last Friday since it was not being confirmed by other news services. In the end, I decided that it was worth letting you at least be aware of what was being discussed inside Iran and within the Iranian exile community, while making it very clear that these were unconfirmed, uncorroborated reports. Thanks especially to those of you who have been praying for Khamenei, his family and advisors. Please continue to pray that they call come to faith in Jesus Christ very soon and change the direction of Iran away from the evil in which they are now engaged. Thanks.
UPDATE AT 7:30AM SUNDAY: There has been a strange silence in both Iranian and foreign media for the last few days regarding Khamenei. There has been no news about him at all. No visits. No speeches. No proclamations. Typically, Khamenei’s Friday sermon in Tehran is reported, at least. But it wasn’t this week (one Iranian source tells me Khamenei was curiously absent from his usual Friday prayer service, but I haven’t been able to verify this yet). One interesting tidbit: the most recent posting on the official website of the Ayatollah Khamenei as of Sunday morning does not given any indication of where the Supreme Leader has been since Wednesday, March 31st. On that day, interestingly, the website reports that the Supreme Leader was visiting the region of Dashte Abbas. As this map shows (click on to the link for “Dashte Abbas” and then zoom out), this happens to be the region where the city of Ahvaz is located. Ahvaz is where, according to Pars TV, Khamenei was critically injured in a car explosion. There have been numerous false rumors of Khamenei’s death in the past. Perhaps that is what this is. Let’s pray that Khamenei is safe. But let’s also pray that on this Easter Sunday, the Lord Jesus Christ appears directly to Khamenei and reveals Himself to be the One True God who died on the cross and rose again on the third day, according to the Scriptures. Let us pray that Khamenei gives his life fully and completely to become a follower of Jesus Christ and that the Lord dramatically changes the direction of Iran.
UPDATE AT 10:30AM SATURDAY: Nothing to report yet. I’m not aware of any confirmation or retraction from Pars TV. I will let you know the moment I hear something new.
UPDATE AT 3:00PM FRIDAY:Pars TV, a Farsi-language satellite TV network, first reported that the Ayatollah Khamenei was critically wounded by a car explosion. The reporter was Mr. Morteza Lutfi who broadcasts from Paris using first-hand accounts from sources inside Iran. Akbar Hashemi Mr. Rafsanjani, a top Iranian official, has reportedly travelled to the city of Ahvaz to visit Khamenei. “I just watched Pars TV news at 2pm [eastern],” wrote an Iranian national that I know and trust in an email I just received. “The reporter in the U.S. while talking to Mr. Lutfi in Paris was explaining to the viewers that the explosion report has not been officially confirmed yet and the validity of the report is at this time uncertain….Mr. Lutfi, who is a well-respected reporter, was very offended and reassured the Pars TV reporter and the viewers that his information is always valid otherwise he would not report it.” Another station, Ariamehr, had a person call from Iran reporting the same thing. Apparently the person who called the station has a reporter family member who has reported the same info. Still, as of 3pm eastern, no international news service that I am aware of has reported the story, so I would encourage people to continue treating the story with extreme caution.
ORIGINAL POST AT 11:53 AM FRIDAY:Iranian satellite news is reporting that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is in critical care after his car exploded near the city of Ahvaz, in the southwest, not far from the Iraqi border….so far this is unconfirmed….there is speculation that the explosion was caused by a mine left by the Iranians during the Iran-Iraq war….it may also have been an assassination attempt….it was reported that there were three other people in the car at the time of the explosion who have already died…..Khamenei is reportedly in critical care in Ahvaz and cannot be transported to Tehran….I repeat, these are unconfirmed reports….as of 11:53am eastern I’m not seeing anything on the wires….but I’m getting this from Iranian nationals who are tracking events from Farsi-based news services…..developing…..
PLEASE PRAY FOR KHAMENEI’S RECOVERY, SHOULD THIS BE TRUE, AND FOR HIS SOUL TO FIND JESUS CHRIST EITHER WAY….Jesus commanded His disciples to love their enemies and pray for those who persecuted them….let us be faithful followers of Jesus this Easter weekend.
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