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Wednesday, November 30, 2005My Wife and I
The past couple of nights I have had the most pleasurable experience in bed with my wife, before I tell what it was let me give you a little history on my wife and I.
We actually met thought a dating service, we dated for a couple of months and then I got deployed to the dessert for four months. While there Zena called me and told me she was pregnant, which to me was great news, I’ve always wanted to be a father.
Well the time came for her to have her first ultra sound, I called her or she called me, I don’t remember now but this is how the conversation went…
Me: So how’s the baby
Her: The babies are doing fine
Me: *long silence, than stuttering* bbbaabbbies
Her: we’re having twins
Her: hello any one there
After that I didn’t call her back for awhile, I was afraid there would be more good news.
So anyway, I get back from my TDY and we got an apartment together. But I wasn’t ready to be tied down, you know what I mean, I had more wild oats to sow.
Toward the end of Zena’s pregnancy the doctors put her on bed rest in the hospital. On the way home from visiting her I stopped in to my favorite bar and have a beer. Well one thing leads to another and I hook up with this lady that I don’t even know. Can you believe that my future wife is in the hospital, in pain, with my children and I’m shacking up with someone I don’t know!
Well that relationship went on for about a week and ended with me getting caught. Thankfully Zena forgave me for that. Sad thing is, back then if I thought I could get away with it, I probably would have did it again. That is how evil I was.
Ok, so let’s skip ahead a little. I get this new job, we move, from Anchorage to Valdez. Things aren’t going well; I’m working two weeks on, two weeks off, when I’m working its 12 hours at a time. Zena is home with twin boys, in a place were she knows no one. I didn’t know it at the time but Zena was in a deep depression, she wasn’t feeling like she was worth anything and I didn’t notice and sure wasn’t giving her the love she needed. We fought a lot, one memory that sticks out to me was a fight we had where I ended up sticking a kitchen knife thought an overhead cabinet. You see I have always had a violent temper, there just something in me that feeds of anger; it’s almost like a high.
My wife and I have been thought a lot of ups and downs, in the short time we’ve been together. For some unknown reason Zena has stuck by me. We got married when the boys where two. It’s been a total of 7 years since we’ve been dating; I think five years of that have been as man and wife. I can tell you thought that we are stronger now than we’ve ever been before. You see about three yrs ago I became a follower of Christ. It hasn’t always been easy, as a matter of fact it can get down right hard at times, but God has been faithful and the work that he has begun in me, while far from being complete, has changed me. I am not the self consumed person that I was all them years ago, don’t get me wrong I’m not perfect and I still struggle, sometimes I fall flat on may face. But the times I fall God is there to pick me up.
So what have my wife and I doing these past few nights that been so great, well for the first time we’ve been praying together. That may not sound like a big deal to you, but to me it’s the greatest thing. You see up until a couple of weeks ago, I would have told you that my wife was not a Christian, but I just don’t know anymore. I try to remember that growing in Christ can be a slow process; it sure has been for me.
"Surely my soul remembers And is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I have hope in Him.' The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him."(Lamentations 3:20-25, NASB)
From The Voice of the Martyrs
CHINA (ASSIST News Service)
China Aid Association (CAA) reports eight Chinese house-church leaders in Henan province were released early November 19th, after being arrested and imprisoned November 3rd, at midnight. None of the confiscated church property was returned. Among those released were Pastor Huang Hailang (aged 40) and Pastor Wei Lin (20s) who, China Aid Association reports, "were tortured with their legs wounded by the interrogators on November 3rd." According to a CAA field reporter, all of the released are in good spirits with thankful hearts to God and to those who prayed and helped in their release. Meanwhile, CAA learned kidnapped house-church leader, Pastor Zhang Mingxuan, was sent from Beijing to an unknown location in Sheqi county, Henan province November 19th. According to a reliable source, the action to move Pastor Zhang from Beijing was to prevent him from meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush during his visit in China.
Pray believers worldwide will continue to lift the Chinese government before the Throne of the Almighty, pleading with Him to relieve our suffering brothers and sisters. Pray God will help authorities understand they are fighting a Power much greater than they realized. Pray Christians in China will rejoice in their freedom in Christ Jesus.
EGYPT (Compass Direct)
At the risk of losing family honor, an Egyptian Christian couple went public last week reporting the questionable, sudden disappearance of their daughter. After highlighting 21-year-old Heba Nabil Narouz Ghali in "missing persons" reports in the newspaper and over national television, the Ghali family has identified a Muslim man they are accusing of kidnapping their daughter seven weeks ago. A November 10th article in the weekly El-Wafd newspaper stated the young woman was last seen September 28th leaving work at a local supermarket in Sheikh Zayid, a suburb of Cairo. The Ghali family also released their daughter's picture and a request for information in a November 11th broadcast on TV Channel Three. Athanasius William, the family's attorney, plans to file a kidnapping report next week. He hopes this will obligate the police to produce Nabil Ghali's daughter. However, he said in similar cases in the past, "I only know of one where the girl had the courage to say that she was taken by force."
Pray God will protect Heba Ghali and keep her aware of Jesus' presence with her. Pray the Lord will remove her fear of retaliation and give her courage to admit she was kidnapped. Pray the Holy Spirit will "kidnap" the hearts of Muslim men and bring them to their Savior.
INDIA (Compass Direct)
Members of the Believers' Church in India (BCI) in Himachal Pradesh state met peacefully on Sunday, despite death and arson threats issued by Hindu extremists November 4th. The extremists from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP or World Hindu Council) and its youth wing, Bajrang Dal, assaulted the pastor and threatened to burn him and his 60 church members if they failed to take part in a November 20th "reconversion" ceremony. The planned reconversion ceremony was apparently dropped due to police intervention. "About 20 people came for the (church) service. This was lower than usual as some villagers were facing opposition, but at least we were able to meet without incident," said Ramesh Masih, son of Pastor Feroz Masih.
Give thanks to God for the testimony of the 20 members of the Believers' Church who trusted their Father enough to attend the service despite Hindu threats. Thank Him the meeting was not hindered by any opposition. Pray for God's grace to Hindus and that He will draw them to Himself.
INDONESIA (Compass Direct)
Indonesian Christians are in shock as details emerge of two vicious attacks in the town of Palu, Central Sulawesi. On November 19th, motorbike riders shot a man and woman at close range shortly after they left a church service. Palu is near the town of Poso, where machete and shooting attacks have killed four teenage girls and seriously injured two others in the past month. The victims of Saturday's shooting were identified as Novlin Pallinggi, 37, and her husband Pudji Laksono, 45. Pallinggi remains in critical condition, while Laksono is stable. Two women and one man were attacked with machetes, killing one of the women November 18th in the same town. Officials have refused to comment on the religious affiliation of the three victims.(Click here)
Pray God will release His merciful healing power to restore Pallinggi and Laksono to perfect health. Pray Jesus will comfort all whose loved ones have suffered severe attacks because of their faith in Him. Pray Muslims will personally come to know the Lord is God and there is no other.
PAKISTAN (Religion Today)
Sparked by allegations that a Christian had burned pages from the Koran, an enraged mob of 2,000 men, armed with sticks, hammers and flammable substances, attacked the Catholic parish compound November 12th, in Sangla Hill. Father Samson Dilawar watched from the roof as the crowd destroyed the mission that had taken almost a century to build. They broke into the Church of the Holy Spirit, smashing the marble altar and shattering the stained-glass windows. Father Dilawar's house was set on fire before moving on to St. Anthony's Girls School, where the students had already been sent home. Father Dilawar retreated into the locked room where nuns were praying. The attackers "tried to break the door down, but did not succeed. Otherwise, we could have all been killed." Two other churches-one Presbyterian, one Salvation Army-as well as at least half a dozen houses belonging to Catholic families were also burned. The violence has shocked Pakistan's Christian community and highlighted the failure of authorities to protect religious minorities.
Give thanks to God no one was killed in these destructive attacks. Pray all those in Pakistan who claim salvation through the blood of Jesus will remember they are ambassadors for Christ. Pray those who attacked these churches will come to repentance and seek forgiveness from our loving and merciful Father.
Monday, November 28, 2005Happy Thanksgiving, a know it's a little late but...
I haven't been around a puter for almost two weeks. My brother thought I should spend Thanksgiving back east, so he paid for my faimly and myself to fly down to the lower 48.
When I left town the little bit of snow we got early had melted. When we got back home this is what my poor truck looked like:
Tuesday, November 08, 2005VOM Prayers for November 08, 2005
"And they sang a new song, saying, 'Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.'" (Revelation 5:9-10)
From The Voice of the Martyrs
CHINA (Religion Today)
Although China allows "belief" in a religion, the Chinese constitution does not guarantee the right to practice that religion. Adults often face severe consequences for religious actions but generally are not required to deny their faith. However, officials attempt to weaken children's faith by encouraging them to deny Jesus altogether. According to Open Doors, Public Security Bureau officers recently burst into a Sunday school room and herded 30 children into a van. Despite the scary situation, one child started singing. The van soon was filled with song. Upon arrival at the police station, the children marched bravely into the interrogation room still singing to the Lord. Threatened with having to write "I do not believe in Jesus" 100 times before they would be released, the children instead wrote: "I believe in Jesus today. I will believe in Jesus tomorrow. I will believe in Jesus forever!" Exasperated, officials called the children's parents, some of whom denied Christ. When a widowed believer came to pick up her twin sons, she refused to deny Jesus. The officers threatened her: "If you do not deny Jesus, we will not release your sons!" The widow replied, "Well, I guess you will just have to keep them, because without Jesus, there would be no way for me to take care of them!" With no avenues left open to them, the officials said, "Take your sons and go!"
Give thanks and praise to God for the faithful witness of these children. Pray the light of their faith will brighten the spiritual darkness around them. Pray God will continue to strengthen them as they face the pressures of adulthood.
GUINEA (ASSIST News Service)
A baptism ceremony in Nzerekore was attacked Wednesday, Ocober 19th, by Muslims. They complained the music from the service disturbed their prayers at a nearby mosque. Ten people were injured, two seriously, and several houses were sacked. The Muslims rioted again that Friday evening and razed a local video store. Elite soldiers had to be deployed to restore order. Several guns were confiscated, and a curfew was imposed. During the weekend some 100 people were arrested, with 56 still detained. Nzerekore is located in the Forest Region of southeastern Guinea, close to adjoining borders of Liberia, Ivory Coast and Guinea. The region is awash with bored ex-soldiers, illegal weapons and illegal immigrants. The wider region, especially neighboring Ivory Coast, is simmering with ethnic and religious tensions. Guinea is 85.4 percent Muslim, 9.7 percent African Traditional Religion (ATR), and 4.7 percent Christian. After decades of Marxist, pro-Islamic persecution of the church, there is now religious freedom in Guinea. The Guinean church has embraced missions, and in the past decade, indigenous workers have begun witnessing cross-culturally to previously unreached people groups. The Guinean church is growing. But in recent years, as Islam has radicalized worldwide, the Christian minority in Guinea has been increasingly on the painful end of a revived Islamic intolerance.
Pray God will protect, preserve and strengthen the Christians of Guinea, blessing their witness for His glory and His eternal Kingdom. Pray the Son will set people free from the spiritual shackles that have kept them in darkness. Pray the Lord will empower pastors, evangelists and all believers with His wisdom, discernment and all-encompassing love as they deal with their Muslim neighbors.
INDONESIA (ASSIST News Service)
Reuters news agency reports that Indonesian police have increased patrols in the violence-plagued Poso area of Sulawesi island. Three Christian teenage girls were beheaded by assailants dressed in black on October 29th, as they walked to school. So far no witness has been questioned and no suspect arrested, according to police. One student survived and described the attack. The three headless bodies of the girls, dressed in brown uniforms, were left at the site of the attack. The remainder of their bodies was found at separate locations two hours later by residents. Television news showed wailing and distraught relatives of the students viewing their corpses in coffins. According to Reuters, Muslim-Christian clashes in the Poso area killed 2,000 people from 1998 through 2001, when a peace agreement was reached. About 85 percent of Indonesia's 220 million people are Muslim. But in some eastern parts, Christian and Muslim populations are about equal. Most Indonesian Muslims are moderates, but there has been an increasingly active militant minority in recent years. (Click here)
Pray the gruesome horror of this attack will cause moderate Muslims to question their faith. Pray Jesus will surround the girls' grieving families and friends with His comforting presence. Pray the girl who survived the attack will recognize that God saved her for His purposes.
Sardauna Anaruwa Sashi, once a devout Muslim, became a faithful follower of Christ earlier this year. Having learned of his conversion, the police apprehended him on September 21st. According to an October 31st report by Compass Direct, during four days of detention, the 30-year-old resident of Paiko was severely tortured. He claims that at one point police beat him with their batons and almost killed him. It was only through the intervention of his pastor and a lawyer from his church that he was released. Since he has become an "infidel" in the eyes of his Muslim employer, he can no longer care for their cattle. Besides the loss of income he faces, Sashi's pastor has said that the Muslims will also never abandon their resolve to kill him. Sashi has reportedly received death threats since his release. While he fears for his life and the lives of his wife and relatives who have also turned to Christ, he testifies he will never recant. Paiko is located in Niger state, one of Nigeria's Northern states where Shariah Law has been imposed.
Pray the Lord will strengthen Sashi's faith as He provides for his needs. Pray God will help his wife and family members remain true to the Lord. Pray the love and power of the Holy Spirit will take away the resolve in the Muslims' hearts to see Sashi killed.
SOMALIA (VOM sources)
Dr. Osman Sheik Ahmed, a well-known figure in Somalia's higher education sphere, was shot and killed October 7th, in Northern Mogadishu. Witnesses have confirmed to Dr. Osman's family and members of his house church that he was assassinated by Islamic hit men from Mogadishu's radical Islamic courts. He is survived by his wife, Zahra Ali Hassan and nine children. His wife is in hiding fearing for her life. Reuters reported in 2003, that a top leader of Kulanka Culimada, the Islamic terror group that runs the Islamic courts said: "All Somali Christians must be killed according to the Islamic Law. Such people do not have a place in Somalia and we will never recognize their existence and we will slaughter them." Dr. Osman began assisting a number of Christian NGO's from 1988-1990, as a volunteer. His skills in government relations and pubic service earned him a great deal of respect from Somalis and from the international community he was assisting. It is a tough time for the Christian community in Mogadishu, where three Somali Christians were attacked on October 31st. Rev. Hirsi was shot in the stomach and is in serious condition, hospitalized in a coma. Mr. Nur sustained injury in the arm, and Mr. Mohammed was spared of physical harm.
Pray God will strengthen the suffering Christians in Somalia, making Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. Pray the faithful witness of Somali Christians will bring many Muslims to Christ. Give thanks to God that, contrary to human logic, no amount of persecution can thwart the Christian faith and for church growth in most areas where the blood of the martyrs is shed.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005From the Mouth of Babes
So I come home from work last night, I’m tried and hungry, all I want to do is eat and go to bed. Thankfully my wife had dinner ready and we sat down at the table, something we don’t do enough of, and I start eating.
My six year old son says, “Don’t we need to pray”.
To which I reply, “You should always pray and thank God before you eat”.
Than he says, “What you doing eating, lets pray”.
I just couldn’t argue with that, after all my wife and I have tried to raise them to be thankful to God for everything. So we stopped eating and prayed.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005This Weeks VOM Prayers
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10
From The Voice of the Martyrs
EGYPT (ASSIST News Service)
Three people died during a riot outside a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt. The riot was in protest of a play accused of offending Islam. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reports police used sticks and tear gas to hold back a crowd of around 5,000 protesters, who marched on St. George's church. Dozens of people were injured in the crush. Police report one man inhaled tear gas, was trampled and later died. October 19th, a nun was stabbed by a Muslim, who protested the sale of a DVD of the play, staged at the church in 2003. The demonstration was the latest in a series of incidents at the church related to the 2003 performance of the play entitled, "I Once Was Blind But Now I See." The drama tells the story of a poor young Copt who is drawn to Islamist militants who then try to kill him. Coptic Christian leaders report the play depicts the dangers of extremism, not of Islam. The church's director, Rev. Augustinous, denied the play was offensive to Islam because its Christian hero is ultimately saved by a Muslim friend. Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's 70 million people. Egypt's majority is Muslim.
Pray the publicity surrounding this event will lead many Muslims to view the DVD and question the tenets of their faith. Pray Coptic Christians will be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit as they deal with fanatic Muslims. Pray the Lord will surround Coptic Christians with His love and mercy and protect them from harm.
NIGERIA (Compass Direct)
Christians in the rural areas of Kano are afraid to send their children to public schools, fearing they will be forced to convert to Islam. Students are being forced to study Arabic, Islam, and say Islamic prayers. Moreover, Christian leaders report the government refuses to grant churches permission to establish schools in rural areas. "The strategy is to force Christians to send their children to public schools so they can be forced to become Muslims," said Rev. Murtala Marti Dangora, secretary of the Kano district of the Evangelical Church of West Africa. Rev. Dangora, a former Muslim, said there are still numerous cases of persecution in the state; in one case, 15 Christians were forced to flee Banda village because of Muslim antagonism. Another Christian leader noted that Christians in Kano state have lost religious liberty and are seen as second-class citizens.
Pray Christians worldwide will lift these members of the Body of Christ before His Throne. Pray God will hear their cry and work a miracle of His grace to allow believers in Nigeria to worship freely. Pray many Muslim authorities will seek the true God who loves them and grieves for their lost souls.
TURKEY (VOM sources)
VOM has received word that a high-ranking U.S. official has solidified an agreement for the freedom of the Iranian widow and her children who had been ordered to be deported to Iran where they faced imprisonment and possible execution. The agreement states they "cannot be" deported to Iran. An arrangement is being processed for the necessary paperwork to allow them to leave Turkey very soon.
Join with this family, their friends and intercessors worldwide in praising God for His divine intervention. Pray they will find a good home, Christian friends and suitable employment in the place God has prepared for them. Continue to pray God will move in love and mercy to free Christians suffering from the violent oppression of Islam.
INDIA (Gospel for Asia)
In another delay, the Indian Supreme Court has withheld its decision on the Dalit civil rights case until November. This delay is a positive development, allowing the Court to take seriously this case of discrimination against Dalit Christians and not rush in judgment. It also allows Christians to have more time to intercede with prayer, asking God to guide the thoughts and decisions of the judges. Under the current law, Dalits lose some of their basic constitutional rights when they become Christians; they are no longer eligible for affirmative action placements in education, employment, government and many other areas-rights granted to Dalits who are Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist. According to a government census, some 20 million Dalits have become Christians. Equally important, there are many Dalits whose only hesitation to becoming Christians is fear of this legalized discrimination.
Pray our merciful Father will lead the Supreme Court of India to correct these injustices. Pray fervently on behalf of these millions of Dalit men, women and children who suffer unjust discrimination. Pray the Holy Spirit will open the eyes of Hindus to see every person is of value and precious in the sight of God.
UZBEKISTAN (Compass Direct)
Christians in a remote village of Uzbekistan are being beaten, publicly humiliated and chased out of their homes and jobs for converting to Christianity. A local strongman is orchestrating harsh opposition to the small congregation in Janbashkala village, near Turtkul in southwestern Uzbekistan. Tokhtabay Sadikov has pressured local police and civic officials, the prosecutor's office, the secret police and Muslim clerics to impose punishing measures against every villager known to have "abandoned the Muslim faith of their parents." The water supply to Christian homes in the village has been cut off, and the church of nearly 100 has dwindled to 20.
Pray God will give Christians in Janbashkala supernatural courage, boldness in their faith and love for their Muslim neighbors. Pray the Lord will honor the commitment of faithful believers with His presence and guidance. Pray this overcoming remnant will lead many to Christ.