Monday, October 31, 2011

The Danger of Silence

This is one of the most powerful videos I've ever seen.  As heartbreaking as it is, please watch until the end.
At the end is a very relevant message that every one of us needs to read.


They are occurring now. Look around. Listen.

And pray for our brothers and sisters.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Persecuted Christians

Last night I put up a link to a website dedicated to helping Christians all over the world who are being persecuted for their faith.  Many of them have been thrown in prison, beaten and tortured for refusing to renounce their faith.  On the website, some of them tell their stories, and there's a place where we can write letters of encouragement and buy a wristband to show solidarity with them.  But most of all we can keep them in prayer.  Eventually it may come to pass that we will share their plight; it's not that far fetched.  Now is the time to strengthen ourselves so that if that time comes we will be able to stand up under it.  One man talked about being in prison for twenty years without a Bible, and how glad he was that he committed so many scriptures to memory.
I can't imagine not having my Bible.  It's the road map that tells us which way to go, how to understand what it is that God expects of us, and reassures us of how much God loves us.  One of the passages of scripture that I have always loved is this:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:  For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35-39

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Romans 8:18

I'm so grateful that we have a God who is good and loves us. That doesn't mean we won't have trials or be tested; of course we will.  Each time we persevere we grow closer to Him and mature in our faith.
Sometimes we grumble and complain about our lives, but really, we do have so much to be grateful for.
Nothing can separate us from God's love!  Except for just one thing: ourselves.  
We can choose to walk away.   The evil one is good at leading us away.  In fact we can expect some troubles when we get closer and closer to God.  But remember, if we are relying on His strength we can't lose.
The battle is already won, thank you God!

I want to start closing these posts with prayer.  So here goes:

Father, I thank you for your great love for us.  Grant us your strength to withstand the trials we go through.
Please send comfort and peace to those who are being persecuted.  Let each one of us feel your presence as we go through our day.  Let us not let any opportunity pass to share your love with others in our life.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Get Invovled - Write to the Persecuted

Get Invovled - Write to the Persecuted:

'via Blog this'

Open Doors USA - Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide

Open Doors USA - Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide:

'via Blog this'

This is an excellent website. The other day I was writing about persecution of Christians increasing here in America, but it is so much worse in other countries.   As we've seen, many are losing their lives for their faith.  Please explore the site and ask God what He would have you do.
At the least, let's remember these Christians in prayer.


Just got my first rejection letter.  Sad, but I was truly expecting it.  Who on earth ever gets a book accepted on the first try?  When I get that acceptance letter, I want it to be the right agent, the one that will help me make the book the most it can be, rather than just another author to make money off of.
But that said...I still feel sad. Silly, isn't it.

A Promise from God

I'm one of those people who love to mark up my Bible.  When I come to verses that have great personal meaning, I highlight them and often write in the margins the date and what the verse means to me.  This morning I came across a passage that I marked on December 15, 2002.
At that time I was having a lot of serious problems with my kids.  I have four; the eldest was six when the fourth was born.  In 2002 they were all in various stages of adolescence.  I was desperate to hear from God about how things would turn out for them (my sons had serious problems) and I was praying for them from the very depths of my soul.

I remember praying, "Lord, I'm going to open my Bible and put my finger on a verse, and whatever it says, I will take as a word for you."  I don't recommend doing this on a regular basis, but in this case I opened the pages and put my finger down on Jeremiah 31:15.  Right below my finger it said, "This is what the Lord says:"
Tears came to my eyes, because I knew this was going to be my answer.  How much more specific can it be than "This is what the Lord says:"?
Here's the rest of the passage-

"This is what the Lord says, A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.
This is what the Lord says:  Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded," declares the Lord.  "They will return from the land of the enemy.  So there is hope for your future," declares the Lord.  "Your children will return to their own land."

Wow.  I was and still am completely stunned that the Lord God of the universe would answer me in such a distinct and personal way.  I consider this a promise.  My children will return to their own land, they will know salvation some day.  No one will ever convince me that my finger landed on that verse by coincidence.
The very God who spoke the universe into being can certainly let my finger land on just the passage I needed to hear.
Now in context, these verses refer to King Herod's orders to kill all the male infants in Bethlehem and it's vicinity because he'd heard that the new king of Israel had been born there.

This spring both of my daughters were baptized, and last week my daughter in law came to believe, and I have no doubt that this promise will be kept.
God always keeps His promises.  What an awesome God we serve! Here are some more promises that we have:

The greatest promise is of salvation:  "That is you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your hear that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.- Romans 10:9

"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God"-John 1:12-13.

The right to become children of God! What an honor.  I can call the great and almighty God my Father.
And He is a good Father, who loves us unconditionally.

And Father, I thank you that some day all of my children will call you Father as well.

Here's a song for you this morning:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.
From the lips of children and
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you care
for him?
You made him a little lower
than the heavenly
and crowned him with glory
and honor.
Psalm 8:1-5
When I am afraid,
I will trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise, 
In God I trust, I will not be afraid.
What can mortal man do to me?- Psalm 56:3-4

There's a lot of wisdom in these verses.  In the two previous entries I was pointing out that the persecution of Christians around the world is increasing.  We're even seeing it here, in the United States.  We're being called intolerant and close-minded.  Jesus even said himself in Matthew 10:22; All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.  He goes on to say in verse 28-30  Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don't be afraid, you are worth more then many sparrows.
The way I see it is that our mortal lives are short; what is important is what we do and who we live for here on this earth.  Death for us is by no means the end, it is reaching the prize that we strive for, to be with our Father in Heaven, where we will be reunited with those whom we love.  That is faith.  Recently there was a pastor in Iran who as born a Muslim.  He was given a chance to recant his faith in court several times, but he did not.
It's not known at this time whether he will be executed or not, but one thing is certain: he has not and will not recant his faith.  This is the kind of faith we must aspire to.  And if we have such a faith that we are not afraid to die for it, then it is the type of faith that we will surely live for.  This is the kind of faith that places God in the number one position in our lives.  Because when we lose our life for his sake is when we find it; when we put aside those things that we think are so important and put his kingdom's work first, we truly find the life that he wants us to live.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Egypt in crisis talks after Muslim mobs attack Christian churches - Telegraph

Egypt in crisis talks after Muslim mobs attack Christian churches - Telegraph:

'via Blog this'

Egypt in crisis talks after Muslim mobs attack Christian churches

Egypt's caretaker government has held crisis talks after attacks by Muslim mobs on Coptic Christian churches in Cairo left at least 12 people dead and drove the country's growing religious tensions to the brink.

Egypt: the two women at the centre of the clashes
A Christian boy in the attacked church Photo: REUTERS
The riots, in Imbaba, a poor, densely populated district in the city, have heightened fears that a power vacuum following Hosni Mubarak's overthrow will lead to a power grab by Islamic fundamentalists, more sectarian strife and a collapse in law and order.
The prime minister, Essam Sharaf, called an emergency cabinet meeting after postponing a tour of Gulf oil states intended to win Egypt desperately needed financial support, three months after the uprising.
Following the meeting Abdel Aziz al-Gindi, the justice minister, said: "We will strike with an iron hand all those who seek to tamper with the nation's security." He promised to protect places of worship from attack.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has ruled the country since Mr Mubarak's enforced resignation on February 11, announced the arrest of 190 people yesterday and said they would be tried before military tribunals.
Muslim protesters had tried to storm the St Mena's church in Imbaba on Saturday evening, claiming Christians were holding against her will a woman who had converted to Islam and married a Muslim.
Stones and firebombs flew over the heads of soldiers who had been deployed in the dusty, narrow street outside the church.
Soldiers also scuffled with Coptic Christians who accused them of not doing enough to protect them after a fire bomb thrown from the Muslim side set fire to an apartment building next to the church.
The troops eventually advanced on the Muslim protesters, a mix of Imbaba residents and hardline Salafi fundamentalists, firing over their heads and forcing them to retreat down the street.
Inside the church, blood pooled on the floor as wounded Christians were rushed in for treatment. Near the altar, the parishioners had wrapped a corpse in a cloth and placed a bible on its chest.
Father Hermania, the church priest, said at least five Christians were killed in the clashes, which lasted into Sunday morning. The government later said 12 people, including at least four Christians and six Muslims, died in the violence.
Soldiers unsuccessfully tried to persuade Christians standing guard outside the church gates to go inside, but they refused, chanting "Oh God! Oh Jesus." The Muslims chanted back: "There is no God but Allah."
Muslim protesters also set fire to a second church in the same district and attacked Coptic-owned businesses.
They insisted that Christians had fired on them when they went to the church to negotiate the woman's release. The Copts denied they were holding any converts.
One of the Muslim protesters, dressed in the white knit skull cap and robes often worn by Salafi extremists, said they would be satisfied only when the church was searched for weapons and the alleged convert.
"We won't leave until they give up their weapons and those who killed us are tried," said the man, who gave his name as Mamduh.
The clashes were the worst since 13 people died in a brawl in March in another Cairo neighbourhood after Christians protested against an arson attack on a church.
The military has promised to come down hard on sectarian attacks, but Christians say that they have too often been left to fend for themselves.
Dozens held a protest outside the American embassy on Sunday demanding that the United States intervene on their behalf.
Coptic Christians account for roughly 10 per cent of the country's 80 million people, and they have long complained of state sanctioned discrimination.
On New Year's Eve, a suicide bomber killed at least 20 people outside a church in Alexandria after a Coptic Mass.
Church leaders spoke out in support of Mr Mubarak, and the recent clashes will confirm the fears of many Christians that his overthrow might unleash powerful and sometimes violent Islamist forces.
Other Christians, particularly the young, joined in the protests against his rule, and claimed that he had himself covertly encouraged Islamic militancy in order to win support for his regime from America and the West.

    WHY IS THIS NOT FRONT PAGE NEWS ? Christians being burned in Nigeria « UC Ministries Blog WARNING; EXTREMELY GRAPHIC IMAGES

    WHY IS THIS NOT FRONT PAGE NEWS ? Christians being burned in Nigeria « UC Ministries Blog:

    'via Blog this'

    UC Ministries Blog

    Out of church believers speak out

    WHY IS THIS NOT FRONT PAGE NEWS ? Christians being burned in Nigeria

    Thamsanqa Kitso Ndlovu's Photos. Christians burnt alive by Sunni Muslims in NIGERIA...(Posted by Jillian Becker in Africa,
    NORTHERN NIGERIA (ANS) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has told the ASSIST News Service that it has learned that Muslim rioters have killed more than 100 Christians and burned down more than 40 churches in an attack that began on Monday, April 18, 2011, in response to the election of Jonathan Goodluck, a Christian, as president of Nigeria. The rioters even destroyed the homes of many Muslims who supported President Jonathan Goodluck.
    ICC says that the Muslim attackers allege that the election was rigged and General Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim presidential candidate, is the rightful winner. Yet, impartial observers have called this election the fairest in decades.
    According to the Commonwealth observers’ report, “The elections for the National Assembly and the Presidency were both credible and creditable and reflected the will of the Nigerian people.”
    ICC sources states that it is difficult to know the full extent of the damage. The casualties could be much higher as the attacks took place over many of the 12 Muslim majority states in northern Nigeria. The situation is beginning to calm since security forces were deployed and enforced a 24 hour curfew.
    Christian minorities living in northern Nigeria have faced repeated bouts of violence and discrimination at the hands of the Muslim majority. Since the introduction of Sharia law in northern Nigeria in 2001, tens of thousands of Christians have been killed.
    “Christians in northern Nigeria are being killed and their churches and property destroyed for voting for the candidate of their choice. Why should churches be burned when just it’s an issue of politics? Why should Christians be killed just because someone won an election? Goodluck is not the president just for Christians; he is the president for every Nigerian. Why should Christians suffer because Jonathan won the election?” said a Christian leader in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna.
    Jonathan Racho, ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, said, “We are very saddened by the violence against Christians and their property in northern Nigeria. Disputes over elections shouldn’t have been allowed to lead to religious violence against Christians. We have repeatedly seen Muslims attack and kill those of other faiths at the slightest provocation. We urge Nigeria to fully investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice. As long as these attackers operate with impunity, the attacks will continue.”

    A charred body a victim of post election violence is seen on a street in Kaduna, Nigeria, Tuesday, April 19, 2011. Burned corpses with machete wounds lay in roads and smoke rose above this city where rioting broke out again Tuesday among Muslim opposition supporters who were angered by the announcement that the Christian incumbent president had won the election
    ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441 or go to their website which is:
    Nigeria, a country of 150 million people, is almost evenly split between Muslims in the north and the predominantly Christian south. The recent bloodshed has been happening in central Nigeria, in the nation’s “middle belt,” where dozens of ethnic groups vie for control of fertile lands.
    The latest killings add to the tally of thousands who already have perished in Africa’s most populous country in the last decade over religious and political frictions. Rioting in September 2001 killed more than 1,000 people. Muslim-Christian battles killed up to 700 people in 2004. More than 300 residents died during a similar uprising in 2008.CBS5
    UC Ministries:  WHY are things like this not FRONT PAGE news.  We might hear the TV mention the politics, but we simply do not see the reality that Christians are being targeted and  mutilated by Islamic radicals. Please continue to pray about this situation.   When you look at the evidence and the numbers involved the danger is that the mind almost closes down. It can almost become numb by the shear scale as to what is happening.
    Hollywood’s films and special effects have produced a generation which is almost desensitised to the horrors of such violence, so that we cease to be shocked. But the reality is that we need to be moved and troubled by what we see.  We can also say that God is not unmindful as to what is happening.
    Rev 6:9- And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:  And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?  And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they [were], should be fulfilled.
    There can be no doubt that this is the time that the book of revelations is talking about.
    2Ti 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

    Gunmen killed 14 members of an extended family in a midnight raid on a village in central Nigeria on Saturday. Witnesses said they were all from one Christian family, and had been shot or hacked to death by Muslim Fulani herdsmen
    We are not without HOPE!
    2Cr 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
    So take comfort that those who have given their lives for the Cause of Christ.  They may have laid down their bodies,but  they will rise again immortal, incorruptible, Never to see death or pain, or sorrow.  He that sits in the heavens will wipe every tear from their eyes. What was lost is nothing compared to what is gained.  Death is not the last word in these matter.
    So be encouraged
    2Ti 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
    Rom 8:38-39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Making amends

    Today's one of those days.  As soon as I walked in the front door someone said something and I got my feelings hurt.  The person didn't mean to, but now I'm acting like a jerk (although I'm in my room, so I don't think they know it.)  So now what, God? My heart is raw and sore, and I feel like I'm going to cry.  Part of it is that I don't have much self confidence as it is, so it doesn't take much to knock me down.
    Okay, so what are the facts?
    1. She didn't mean to hurt my feelings.
    2.  I'm the one being childish.
    Therefore: I'm sorry, God.  I'm in the wrong. Please forgive me and help me to have a better attitude.  In fact, help me to start overcoming this lack of confidence that I have so deeply ingrained.
    Why do I have a low self confidence/esteem?
    That's a long and ancient tale.  I bet a lot of you out there have similar ones involving parents that hurt you way down deep.  Part of my blogging here will be to try and deal with these issues once and for all.
    Here's the thing, though.  God, who is perfect, loves me.  He loves me just as I am.  It's up to me to learn to love myself.  So, another prayer:
    God, please help me to heal.  Thank you in Jesus' name.


    Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.- Hebrews11:1-3
    What does it mean to walk by faith? I believe that it is by believing the word of God and living our lives believing His promises, even though we don't see the evidence of them yet.  Faith is accepting as surety what is in God's Word.  What does he promise? In Matthew 6-25-34 Jesus promises that he knows the earthly things that we need; food, shelter, clothing, and he will provide these things for us as we need them.  He taught us to pray for our daily bread, not necessarily a full refrigerator. And walking by faith means much more than trusting that God will provide for our physical needs.  Most importantly, he provides for our spiritual needs. When we are walking in his will, we have fellowship with him through the Holy Spirit and are able to feel the love that he has for us.
    When we walk by faith, we know when God is giving us opportunity to share the gospel with others.  He will put them in our path.

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Not of This World

    Let me tell you, first of all, why I chose this title for my brand new blog.  
    When I was 16 and a brand new believer, I went with my youth group on a dusty bus with no radio from Stockton, California all the way down to Mexico.  We had a tape recorder, and one tape.  Not of this World, by Petra, was one of the songs on it.  As many times as we listened to it, I loved the haunting music and lyrics.
    I learned a lot on that trip, but most especially that we must maintain a missionary outlook on life all the time, not just an isolated week when that is our assigned task.  The world tends to see us as stereotypes, arrogant, looking down at people.  Show me a person like that and I'll show you a person who is not a Christian.
    A Christian follows Christ.  What did Jesus do?  First and foremost he loved.  He healed the sick, he taught the masses, he ministered.  He was never too busy to take a little child on his lap.  This is my journey to follow him, until I go home.  Take a listen: