Dec. 23, 2016

Acts 2:1-13

Andre, who lives in Isfahan, is an Iranian Christian. The Observers website quotes Andre saying, “Since the last elections, the social atmosphere is much more relaxed. In the years before, the government had become quite strict when it came to holidays, particularly Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Shops were not allowed to sell Christmas decorations, except in Christian districts. Today, they’re sold everywhere.

“Nobody here wants to be behind the rest of the world, particularly the youth who want to stay up to date with international trends. I feel that my non-Christian friends are more enthusiastic about celebrating Christmas than Christians like me! But they look to us to see what we do, and do the same thing, like buying Christmas trees and presents.”

It’s unclear how many Christians live in Iran. Acts 2:9 and 11 make it clear that Iranians (Parthians, Medes, and Elamites) were among the first to receive Christ as Peter preached at Pentecost. The human rights organization Open Doors has said there are as many as 500,000 Christians in Iran today from many different denominations, including Protestants, Armenian-Apostolics, Chaldeans, and perhaps some 15,000 Roman Catholics.

However, Iranians are under the control of an increasingly unstable government that makes following Christ difficult and, in most cases, life-threatening. Today, pray for people and leaders of Iran. Pray the Spirit of God would again fall on the Middle East and, specifically, the country of Iran. Pray many would put their trust in Jesus.