Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Persucuted Church Prayer Alert

I know it is almost overwhelming to try to pray into all these situations as well as considering a letter writing campaign, but all it takes is a few minutes to lift them up to Jesus in prayer and you have added your voice to thousands. My wife and I commit one night a week to pray for the missionaries from our church and the Christians in the persecuted church around the world. This is an awesome way to keep our hearts connected to the wider global reality of the church.
Please don't forget to pray.

Pakistan:Walter Fazal Khan, who was charged under Pakistan's blasphemy law and jailed for allegedly desecrating the Quran on May 9 (click here for more details), was granted bail on May 29. According to a May 29 report from the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement, Khan was taken to a safe location.

Photos from Compass Direct
Egypt:Bahaa el-Din Ahmed Hussein el-Akkad (57), a former Muslim leader who converted to Christianity and was jailed in April 2005 (click here for more details), was released without charges on April 28, according to a May 24 report from Compass Direct. No official reason was given for his unexpected release. A week earlier, his lawyer's appeal had been denied by the Emergency Court. Only hours before he was freed, authorities reportedly told him that he would remain in prison for another ten years if he did not return to Islam.
El-Akkad is currently at home with his family. He returned to find hundreds of letters and cards waiting for him that had been mailed over the past few months in a concentrated letter-writing campaign from Christians around the world. According to local Christians, he is being closely monitored by authorities and continues to be under threat.

Malaysia:On May 30, the federal court of Malaysia denied Lina Joy legal recognition of her conversion from Islam to Christianity in 1998 (click here for more details). According to a May 30 report from Asia News, it was decided that only the Islamic court may remove the word "Islam" from her documents. Her case has been the subject of internal debate and pressure from Muslim militants. Following the ruling, hundreds of Islamic demonstrators celebrated outside the courthouse.
The feature article of the July edition of The Voice of the Martyrs Newsletter will focus on the difficulties facing Christians in Malaysia. To subscribe today, click here.

Isn't It Interesting....

Isn't it interesting that in a formerly Christian country like Canada you can freely set up a Buddhist temple or a Muslim mosque and yet in Muslim or Buddhist countries Christians are persecuted and martyred.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How Do Ya Embed These Things???

I tried unsuccessfully to embed these, but to no avail. It was good to see media attention given to these incidents. I have not (except on Christian TV) seen these kinds of reports on the tube here. It is a lot different than worrying about a dirty look at work because you mentioned Jesus instead of the Stanley Cup.
Let us not forget to pray.

This is another link to a separate story, also from India.

Isn't It Interesting....

Isn't it interesting how hard it can be to see the level playing field we stand on before God?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Isn't It Interesting....

Isn't it interesting that it was only after it became impossible for Abraham to produce an heir that God counted his belief as righteousness. (Gen 15:1-6 not Gen 12:1-5)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Isn't It Interesting....

Isn't it interesting...

that those who reject the gift of tongues because people might not understand what they are saying never pray in tongues to God who will understand?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Persecution Prayer Alert

I will be featuring these alerts as part of my blog from now on. It is a reminder of the cost of our faith and those who pay the greatest price. Let's lift them up in our prayers and speak out for those whose voice the media rejects. Let us use our media to make them known.

Evangelist Attacked, Arrested in Madhya Pradesh, India

Pastor Kunal Pariacha, an evangelist from the Indian Evangelical Mission, was attacked by members of the Siva Sena Hindu militant group in Narayanpur village, Madhya Pradesh while he was preparing show the Jesus film on the evening of May 14. The militants beat Pastor Pariacha and dragged him to the local police station where a complaint was registered against him under Section 153 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 4 of the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act. He was brought to court on May 15 but denied bail.
Dr. Joseph D'souza, president of the All India Christian Council, has written an open letter to the leaders of India urging action in the face of increasing persecution of Christians in the nation. To read the letter, click here. The Voice of the Martyrs would urge you to write to India's Prime Minister as well, using the address supplied in this letter.
Pray that all charges against Pastor Kunal will be dropped and that he will be released. Ask that his persecution will embolden his faith (Acts 4:29 -31). Ask God to enable Indian Christians to proclaim the Gospel even while suffering (2 Timothy 4:16-18).
For more information on the persecution facing Christians in India, click here.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Say What??

Funny thing from today. I was talking to someone about a guy they knew who was fighting a drug addiction. During the conversation I was told that the guy had said he was not interested in something like NA because it was too religious. I almost fell off my beach towel. I then told them that it was funny because all the Christians I know who have never been to (but seriously need to go to) a meeting say they don't like it because it's not 'religious' enough.
So who are these people in the no-man's-land??? Veeerrrrryy scary.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Responsibility Of The Presence

I must be honest, the word responsibility has always made me cringe a bit. It is a word that carries with it the idea of duty and obligation rather than whimsical freedom, and that alone can cause the sour response. Sometimes it may carry a reward, but most often the reward is simply an inducement or the byproduct of carrying out the task. Like some people say that the reward for a job well done is.... more work. Responsibility is just that; work. So tying responsibility to the presence of God can cause a bit of a reaction. The reaction usually comes from my free gift, grace side of things and wants to accuse me of legalism and a works based salvation. I'm OK with that.

This sense of responsibility really struck me last night when I heard a speaker bring up the Matthew 7:23 passage where Jesus confronts the issue of works. Here He says that even some real good works are not the key and implies that it is knowing God that is the key. From here the speaker took us to 1 John 4:7-8 and said that love is the true test. Loving your enemies and praying for those who hate you is a true test of the knowledge and power of God in our lives. Loving the brethren (and the sistern by implication, of course) is also a test of our salvation. Ouch, maybe we should call it an acid test. Anyway, the point that I got from this was that the presence of God bears with it a responsibility. If I want the presence of God then I will have to love others. It will be impossible to walk in the presence of God and be hating others. It is ongoing as well. When I am at work and someone gets under my skin I must choose whether I want the presence of God or not. If I do then love must rule. The 'must' simply means that I cannot do this without God and therefore His presence and love are synonymous. You can't have one without the other. Call it works if you want, but James was OK with that as well. I think this is what he was getting at anyway. Ever try loving someone who bugs you without the active presence of God; eewwww. Faith in God demands things that are beyond our own abilities. Faith in God brings His presence, obedience to His presence sustains us in all things. Disobedience to His presence unplugs us, and the evidence of a Christian with a dangling plug is painfully evident. Thankfully He continues to woo us to repentance and the partaking of the Divine nature once again.
So really responsibility isn't so bad, just when I try to do it without God. Living without His presence is what is truly unbearable.
I don't think this short post does this justice, but I don't want to write a dissertation here and maybe it'll spark some thought; that's good enough.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Through A Glass Darkly

It has been a hard week and that is usually the time that I start to ponder the relative ease that is my life. The days when I find myself whining about how hard things are and wishing I could just fly away somewhere are the days that I end up thinking about how much harder it could be. Actually if I were honest here I would have to say that it probably is not me who digs up the memories of the last issue of Childview I read or the latest reports from China Aid and Voice of the Martyers. I'm pretty sure it is God who provides that service. It would also be Him who brings to mind all the other times that I can now comfortably look back on where He molded character and proved His love to me.

I was going to try and write some profound stuff after this intro, but it just seemed weak right now. I'll get back to you when there's a little more substance to it.