Youcef Nadarkhani, the Iranian house church pastor, who was sentenced to death for apostasy, has just been released from prison. 
Youcef went to court early this morning (Saturday) and was acquitted of apostasy, but found guilty of evangelizing Muslims.  He was sentenced to three years, but released because of time already served.  Youcef was arrested in October 2009, but is now home and reunited with his family.

After he was sentenced to death, Youcef was told repeatedly during court appearances that he would be released, if he would only renounce Christianity.  He refused to renounce Christ and laid his life down for his faith! 

Youcef was sentenced to death for apostasy under Sharia law in 2010, after being convicted of converting from Islam to Christianity.  Youcef has always maintained that he never embraced Islam, the religion of his parents.  Under Sharia law, however, the children of Muslims are automatically considered Muslims. 

Youcef's release is truly a miracle, in that many people are still martyred in Iran for their Christian faith.  The American Centers for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has been instrumental in raising awareness of Youcef's death sentence in Washington, throughout America and the world.  ACLJ and Voice of the Martyrs have worked tirelessly in getting the message out, demanding his release, and providing support for Youcef and his family. 

Millions have prayed for Youcef's release over the last three years.  He is on my prayer list and I have prayed every morning for him, sometimes several times a day, since I heard of his plight about two years ago.  I am so thrilled.  I can't say how many times I asked the Lord to allow my eyes to see Youcef leave that prison.  Many, many times I asked the Lord to lift Youcef out of prison, just as He did for Peter, Paul and Silus. 

Today I was searching for a different article about an unrelated story on the internet and I suddenly spotted a picture of Youcef leaving the prison (my eyes did see it!), with the heading: Youcef Released from Prison!  


In the hostile atmosphere toward Christians in Iran today, this is truly a miracle and I am certain that multitudes are giving God glory, honor and praise for this landmark decision, as they hear the news. 

God also miraculously answered many of our prayers that went up for the release of Gilad Shalit.  He was held in captivity for five years after being kidnapped and taken hostage by Palestinians.  God is a prayer answering God!  We are not to give up.  Jesus said, "All things, whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive" Matthew 21:22.  Of course, it is important to pray according to God's will, and not "pray amiss" (James 4:3). 

We need to continue to pray for those being slaughtered and persecuted still in Iran and other Muslim nations throughout the world. 

Only last month, Christians were crucified, yes, crucified naked on trees in Egypt for "demonstrating their opposition to the new president," a member of the Muslim Brotherhood!  Killing someone in this horrific manner is satanic, yet these people actually believe they are doing God a service!

We are living in the last days and Jesus said there would be much persecution before He returns, "They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time will come that whoever kills you will think that he does God's service" John 16:2.

Youcef made a statement upon his release, "Thank you everyone who has supported me with your prayers."

God bless Youcef and his family!