BOISE -- Saeed Abedini, the Boise pastor imprisoned in Iran, has penned an Easter greeting from his hospital room.
In the message, published by the American Center For Law and Justice, Abedini says he has been praying for his fellow Christians around the world. He also urges believers to resurrect their faith by dying to selfish desires.
Abedini is serving an eight year sentence for what Iran calls national security violation. Family and supporters say he is being punished for practicing Christianity.
He has been in a hospital for the last month, after suffering internal injuries received in prison.
Here is the full text of Abedini's Easter message:
Crucifying the resurrected self with Christ and resurrects our death faith with Christ.
Happy Resurrection Day.
On the Eve of Good Friday and Easter I was praying from my hospital room for my fellow Christians in the world. What the Holy Spirit revealed to me in prayer was that there are many dead faiths in the midst of Christians today. That Christians all over the world are not able to fully reach their spiritual potential that has been given to them as a gift by God so that in reaching that potential, the curtain can be removed and the Glory of God would be revealed.
Some times we want to experience the Glory and resurrection with Jesus without experiencing death with Him. We do not realize that unless we pass through the path of death with Christ, we are not able to experience resurrection with Christ.
We want to have a good and successful marriage, career, education and family life (which is also God s desire and plan for our life). But we forget that in order to experience the Resurrection and Glory of Christ we first have to experience death with Christ and to die to ourselves and selfish desires.
Jesus said to His Disciples: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)
This means that we should not do things that we like to do (that God does not want us to do) and to do things that we do not like to do (but God wants us to do) so that He may be glorified.
So in addition to spending our days and night in doing the works of faith as described above, we should also transform our death faiths into living and active faiths through the resurrection of Christ which is an active and constructive love that is effective.
In conclusion, let us resurrect our Dead faiths to living faiths by first dying to our selfish resurrected self and experiencing the cross of Jesus. Then we are able to experience the Glorious resurrection with Christ.
A Glorious life with Christ starts only after a painful death (to self) with Christ.
We will start with Christ.
-Pastor Saeed Abedini