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Tuesday, January 31, 2006Prayers for January 31, 2006
We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure"
(1 Corinthians 4:10-12, NASB).
From The Voice of the Martyrs
The Voice of the Martyrs Visit: Persecution.com
Pray for EGYPT
EGYPT (Compass Direct)
One Christian has died, and at least 11 Egyptians reportedly injured on January 19th when Muslims clashed with security police and set fire to a Christian community center in Upper Egypt. Coptic Christian Kamaal Shaker died of injuries he received when a group of Muslims set fire to an Orthodox-owned building in the town of el-Udaysaat, near the city of Luxor. Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda III plans to send seven bishops to el-Udaysaat tomorrow for Shaker's funeral service, Youssef Sidhom, editor of the Egyptian weekly Watani reported. He said the funeral would be held at a venue unlicensed as a church, in apparent protest against Egypt's restrictive law governing the building and basic upkeep of non-Muslim places of worship.
Pray the Coptic Christians respond with the mind of Christ toward their Muslim neighbors. Pray God will comfort Kamaal Shaker's family and friends and quickly heal those who were injured. Pray God will build His church in Egypt to give honor and glory to Jesus.
Pray for INDIA
INDIA (Compass Direct)
At this time last year, 55-year-old Noor Jehan Ahmed lived peacefully in the village of Nagaon, in the Northeastern state of Assam. Her extended household of 29 people formed a Christian enclave within the majority Muslim community. A Muslim father, angry over his daughter's relationship with a Christian man, hatched a conspiracy to accuse Ahmed of forced conversion. Her family was shattered, and she spent two months in prison. Court cases are still pending, and the community is now clearly divided on religious lines.
Pray Ahmed will have God's special peace, knowing she and her family are established in the truth. Pray the love and power of the Holy Spirit will overcome the Muslim father's anger. Pray the Lord will soften the hearts of both the Muslims and Christians and bring peace to the village and many to salvation.
A pastor and his cousin charged with attempted forced conversion in Orissa state were released on bail on January 24th, leaving five Hindu villagers charged with assault and setting fire to the pastor's house still in custody. On January 15th, Hindu villagers attacked Rabindra Mallick as he returned home from a nearby market. The next morning, a group of about 15 villagers armed with sticks stormed the home of his older brother, Pastor Kulamani Mallick, assaulting him and his family. Pastor Mallick and two other family members required hospital treatment for minor injuries. The assailants set fire to their house, and seven adjacent houses also were burned and destroyed-in total, six homes belonging to Christians were gutted. Shortly thereafter, a village woman accused the pastor and two of his relatives of forced conversion.
Pray Pastor Mallick and all the Christians will forgive those who burned down their homes. Pray the Christians whose homes were spared will provide shelter and aid to their suffering friends. Pray those who see the love of Jesus in action will desire to know Him.
Pray for INDONESIA
INDONESIA (Compass Direct)
On January 17th, judges at Indonesia's Constitutional Court ruled the Child Protection Act is in line with the constitution and should not be amended. The Rev. Ruyandi Hutasoit had challenged Article 86 of the Act, which was used as the basis for sentencing Dr. Rebekka Zakaria, Eti Pangesti and Ratna Bangun to three years in prison on September 1, 2005. The Christian Sunday school teachers were arrested in May 2005, after members of a local Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI or Muslim Clerics Council) in West Java accused them of trying to convert Muslim children. Judge Jimly Asshiddique said Rev. Hutasoit had no right to contest the Child Protection Act, since he had not experienced any "direct losses" under it. (Click here)
Pray God will comfort and protect these faithful and innocent women, giving them patience as all the legal means for their release appear to be exhausted. Pray they will have many opportunities to share their faith with other prisoners. Pray what the authorities meant for harm will work to God's glory.
Pray for TURKEY
TURKEY (Compass Direct)
Following Sunday worship services January 8th, five young men attacked and threatened to kill a Protestant church leader in Turkey's fourth largest city. Kamil Kiroglu, 29, was beaten unconscious twice along the street after leaving his church premises in Adana at about 5:00 p.m. "They were trying to force me to deny Jesus," Kiroglu said. "But each time they asked me to deny Jesus and become a Muslim, I was saying, 'Jesus is Lord.' The more I said, 'Jesus is Lord,' the more they beat me." Wielding a long butcher knife, one of the unidentified attackers threatened to kill him if he refused to deny his Christian faith and return to Islam. The five strangers showed up at the Adana Protestant Church's rented facility 45 minutes before the Sunday service began around 2:00 p.m. The group's leader said that he had "converted" the four Turks with him to Christianity, but he did not know how to teach them. They waited until after the service when everyone had left before confronting Kiroglu and asking him to deny Jesus. Kiroglu told Compass, "I am praising God not because He saved me from death, but because He helped me not to deny Him in the shadow of death."
Give thanks to God that He spared Kiroglu's life. Pray his example of faithfulness will be an inspiration to his congregation and all who hear of his ordeal. Pray the Lord will lead his attackers to seek the Lord Jesus who gave Pastor Kiroglu the strength to endure.
Pray for ERITREA
ERITREA (ASSIST News Services)
The Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church has been forced out of office and officially placed under house arrest. In a report monitored by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), and forwarded to ANS, the Web site states Abune Antonios had earlier been removed from effective control of the Patriarchate and confined to ceremonial duties. His non-appearance at the recent Epiphany celebrations adds weight to reports of his total removal from office. Abune Antonios is said to have been informed of his dismissal last week following secret meetings of the Holy Synod, the church's administrative body. Since his ordination in April 2004, Patriarch Antonios is said to have been increasingly critical of the government's continual interventions into church matters. CSW states: "The meetings were convened by Yoftahe Dimetros, a government-appointed lay person, who assumed administrative control of the Patriarchate in contravention of the church's constitution, which reserves membership of the Holy Synod to ordained Bishops and the chairmanship of the Synod to the Patriarch." (Click here)
Pray Patriarch Antonius will know God's peace as he casts all his cares on Him. Pray Christians worldwide will continue to lift Eritrea in prayer asking God to move powerfully to overcome the repressive authorities. Pray the people of Eritrea will long to know the peace of Christ Jesus.
Monday, January 30, 2006Differences
One day a florist goes to a barber for a haircut. After the cut he asked
about his bill and the barber replies: "I'm sorry, I cannot accept money
from you; I'm doing community service this week." The florist is pleased and
leaves the shop.
Next morning when the barber goes to open there is a thank you card and a
dozen roses waiting for him at his door.
Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and when he goes to pay his bill the
barber again replies: "I'm sorry, I cannot accept money from you; I'm doing
community service this week." The cop is happy and leaves the shop.
Next morning when the barber goes to open up there is a thank you card and a
dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.
Later a Republican comes in for a haircut, and when he goes to pay his bill
the barber again replies: "I'm sorry, I cannot accept money from you; I'm
doing community service this week." The Republican is very happy and leaves
Next morning when the barber goes to open, there is a thank you card and a
dozen different books such as "How to Improve Your Business" and "Becoming
Then a Democrat comes in for a haircut, and when he goes to pay his bill the
barber again replies: "I'm sorry, I cannot accept money from you; I'm doing
community service this week." The Democrat is very happy and leaves the
The next morning when the barber goes to open up, there are a dozen
Democrats lined up waiting for a free haircut.
And that, my friends, illustrates the fundamental difference between, left
Thursday, January 26, 2006How did Judas Die?
For some odd reason I’ve been thinking about the so called contradiction between Matthew’s telling of Judas’s death and Luke’s telling of it in Acts.
I think it is important here to point out that Luke does not say that Judas died from this fall, just that he fall headfirst and his intestines gushed out.
Now most apologists will tell you that Judas did indeed hang himself and the tree branch broke. Critics have often scoffed at this, and I admit this seems to be an over simplistic explanation and this is what got me thinking:
While stationed in Korea, I had the unfortunate opportunity to respond to a hanging. The cops were on scene before us; saw that the gentleman had indeed been dead for quite sometime. When we got there, in order to preserve the “crime scene” they only allowed my captain to enter. Well needless to say firemen can have an almost morbid curiosity, so by the time he got back we had a million questions for him, one of which was what did he look like? As you can imagine it was not a pretty picture, his neck had elongated and the blood had started to pool in his lower abdominal area. They believe he was dead for at least a couple of days.
When I sat out to write this, I was going to make the argument that gravity took its course, and his body stretched out and laid out flat at which point his bowels spilled out. But then I thought about it, I realized that position would be hard to defend. I mean not knowing how tall Judas was, how big of a tree he chose or how rigimortus may affect my theory.
That is when it dawned on me; the explanation was so simple I almost kicked myself. Just how do you get a dead person out of a tree, especially one that wasn’t a very popular person? After all, I’m sure the remaining disciples were not running out there to let him down, not to mention that the Jewish people had very strict rules regarding the handling of dead people:
So let me tell you how I picture it. I see people complaining of this awful smell coming from this dead corpse. Now who were they complaining to? Well that would be the people that were in charge back then, and that would be the Romans. And how do you think the Romans dealt with this? Well having spent eight years in the military I know who they sent, the lowest person on the totem pole. So back to the question at hand, how do you get a dead person out of a tree? Well lets just say if I was the person send out to do this job that no body wanted I’d cut the guy out of the tree. So what to you think happens to a rotting corpse when you cut him out of a tree, well for one, he falls and after his legs hit the ground he would naturally fall head first, rather it was on his face, on his back or to the sides. So here’s my second question for you what happens to a rotting bloated corpse after its taken a fall from some height? My guess is that something gives and it sure isn’t the ground.
Is this what happened? Heck I don’t know, nobody on this earth knows for sure. The point I’m trying to make is if you want to you can easily make the case that the Bible contradicts it’s self in many places. But I can just as easily make the case that the sky is green and the grass is blue, it doesn’t make me anymore right.
It’s so easy for people to key in on these so called contradictions, that they never take a look at the bigger picture. The Bible is not merely one book written in somebody’s spare time, but 66 books written by around 40 different humans over a matter of thousands of years, yet stills maintains a central theme, has been found to be factual by many an archaeologist, and has foretold of future events that later came true.
Many people can take what I have just written and explain it away in a matter of minutes, but the truth of the matter is that there is truly only one author of the Bible and that is God himself. The same God that created you in the womb and gave you life is the same God of both the Old and New Testaments. You see the same God that people call harsh and unforgiving in the Old Testament is the same God that humbled himself and came to earth in human form in the New Testament, He is unchanging.
Okay let me wrap this up; I know I’ve gotten way of the topic. Let me just conclude with this, what do you think happens when you die. Are you like many people and think that as I’ve been a good person and I’ll go to heaven. Well I’ll challenge you take this quick test and find out if you good enough to get into heaven, I promise you it’ll only take a few minutes out of your day to complete. You now life is so funny one minute you’re on top of the world, the next your gone, to be heard from no more, so take the test and find out if you’ll get to heaven.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.... By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Hebrews 11:1, 5-6 NASB).
From The Voice of the Martyrs
The Voice of the Martyrs Visit: Persecution.com
Pray for CHINA
Gao Zhisheng, a prominent lawyer who had his legal license suspended by Chinese authorities for representing religious rights, faced an attempt on his life January 17th. China Aid Association reported Gao was traveling in Beijing when a vehicle with an obscured license plate suddenly stopped in front of him. He narrowly missed hitting the vehicle, stopped and got out to investigate. The driver of the other car then attempted to run down Gao, but he was able to dodge out of the path of the vehicle. As the car sped away, the newspaper covering the license plate blew away and the plate number was reported. It is believed the driver was a security agent of the Chinese government. Throughout the incident, a military vehicle was observing nearby.
Pray Gao will continue to experience God's protection even though his work angers those in authority. Pray Gao and his friends within the house churches will continue to share Christ with boldness and even share their faith with their persecutors. Pray with confidence for Chinese authorities, knowing God's hand is not shortened that it cannot save.
Pray for INDIA
On January 14th, approximately 40 Hindu militants opposed to a children's home and school being constructed in the Northeastern Indian village of Tikri in Uttaranchal came to the construction site and threatened to kill the workers who were building the new facility. The workers all fled for their lives. Ashish Massey, head of the North India Evangelistic Association (NIEA) funding the project, has also been similarly threatened by the militants. Khumi Massey, a staff member of NIEA, reported some of the local villagers allegedly complained to the activists that the Christians had come to their village to convert them. In a separate incident in West Bengal, the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority demolished a church building and orphanage on January 16th, despite on-going legal proceedings. According to Indian Express, the development authority claimed the buildings were impeding a planned road expansion. At the time of its destruction, the orphanage was home to 30 children and 20 women.
Pray those who are serving these little ones in the name of the Father will know His protection. Pray the displaced children and women in West Bengal will find housing even better housing than what they had before. Pray God will prove Himself strong on behalf of His children and many Hindus will find joy in Jesus as their Savior.
Hindu extremists attacked Christians in two incidents in Andhra Pradesh state on January 12th and 13th. Seven Christians, including two pastors, sustained injuries. In Nizamabad district on January 12th, a mob of about 100 extremists attacked a group of Christians led by the pastor of a Pentecostal church as they distributed Christian pamphlets near a bus stand. Police intervened before they could burn the pastor alive. On January 13th, in the same district, members of the Hindu extremist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh dragged five people from a 5-year-old girl's birthday party and beat them. Among the victims was Pastor Nagani Swami David, who was kicked unconscious and left at a Hindu temple.
Pray God will comfort and heal those who were injured in these attacks. Pray the Christians will forgive their enemies and make Jesus' love known among the Hindus. Pray God will work a miracle of His grace and power to stop these Hindu extremists from any further attacks on Christians.
Pray for INDONESIA
INDONESIA (Compass Direct)
Government officials in Bandung, West Java, ordered eight house churches in the Rancaekek Kencana housing complex to cease meeting in private homes starting Sunday January 15th. Each church received the order by letter last Friday the 13th, following a meeting the previous day attended by local government officials, police, the commander of the local military and the leader of a local Muslim forum. Several of the churches in the complex met for worship that Sunday anyway, saying they had no alternative venue. The churches first applied for permits in 1993, but were rejected. Under a ministerial decree issued in 1969, all religious groups must apply for permits-and since neighbors must give their approval before a permit is granted, the decree is a huge obstacle for churches meeting in Muslim majority communities.
Pray God will give His strength and courage to these believers as they continue to meet and willingly face the consequences. Pray Christians worldwide will offer fervent prayers to the Lord God on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Indonesia. Pray the Holy Spirit will move in power to bring Muslims to a saving knowledge of Christ.
Pray for LAOS
LAOS (Compass Direct)
An itinerant evangelist, pastor and father of four children, was brutally murdered in southern Laos the week before Christmas. The body of Aroun Voraphorn was found on December 23rd, abandoned on a jungle road near his home village of Huaysiat. His wife last heard from him on December 18th, when he told her by telephone he would arrive late for his youngest daughter's birthday party as he was buying a birthday cake. Religious motives for the killing cannot be ruled out, as the evangelist had been imprisoned for his faith in 1996. At a funeral service on Christmas Eve, his wife Metta Voraphorn pleaded with Christians in Laos to continue preaching the gospel fearlessly, as her husband had done.
Pray God will comfort Vaoraphorn's family with His special peace. Pray the murder of this innocent man will increase the zeal of his Christian friends to spread word of our God of peace. Pray the light of the Holy Spirit will overcome the spiritual darkness in Laos.
After becoming believers in Christ a few months ago, six families were verbally ordered by the local chief and police of the village to relocate to another village. They were told villagers did not want any Christians living in their village of Nongthorn, Lowngam district, Saravan province. In addition, several Lao Christian leaders and their wives are missing for no apparent reason. They have disappeared with no trace of their whereabouts.
Pray God will protect the harassed families and the missing Christian leaders with His strong arm. Pray He will strengthen them to stand fast in the faith. Pray the Lord will guide them and wherever they go their witness will be to His glory.
Pray for UZBEKISTAN
UZBEKISTAN (Compass Direct)
Compass Direct reported a program televised regionally in Uzbekistan last summer has left entire communities convinced that a Protestant congregation is an "extremist" group worse than fundamentalist Islam. Entitled "Zalolat" (Disaster), the 22-minute "exposé" sensationalized a police raid last June against the Full Gospel Church in Urgench, capital of Khorezm province in Northwest Uzbekistan. Interspersing scenes from the raid with interviews with local police, judicial and Muslim officials, the program represented Pastor Ruzmet Voisov and his congregation as "Christian extremists" guilty of breaking the laws of Uzbekistan and trying to destroy national stability.
Pray as Christians in Uzbekistan live in the light of Christ they will see God defeat the plans of the enemy. Pray moderate Muslims will speak up against the violence of Islamic extremists. Pray God will give many Muslims dreams and visions that will open their hearts and minds to Jesus as their Savior.
Monday, January 23, 2006Prayers for January 17, 2006
"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch out Your hand
Against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
The LORD will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands."
From The Voice of the Martyrs
CUBA (ASSIST News Service)
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reported that at least three Protestant churches have been forcibly closed in Cuba since harsh legislation on house churches was announced in 2005. Two of the churches, located in the western provinces of Guantanamo and Holguin, were forcibly closed. The first was confiscated by local authorities in August and the other threatened with demolition at the end of last year. A third church, in a suburb of Havana, was demolished at the end of last year while church members looked on. To justify their closure, all of the churches were targeted by the authorities as being "illegal constructions." When the new legislation was announced in April, requiring all house churches to register with authorities, church leaders expressed concern the registration process was so complicated it was practically impossible. CSW reported many church leaders believed this was really an attempt to shut down the house-church movement across Cuba. Because many churches have grown in the last decade, most existing church buildings are too small to accommodate all their members. The logical alternative for many of these churches has been the establishment of house churches that explains, in part, the expansion of the house-church movement across Cuba. There are now an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 house churches across the island, with each accommodating somewhere between 30 and 200 worshippers who meet weekly.
Give thanks to God that Christian faith is growing in Cuba despite government attempts to stop it. Pray those who are being harassed by authorities will have the mind of Christ as they deal with officials. Pray that as faithful Christians respond in love to their enemies, the Spirit of God will soften hearts and many will accept Jesus and the forgiveness of their sins through His blood.
Aman, an evangelist, was returning from a church service in Meki, 134 kilometers south of Addis Ababa, on January 1st, when a group of Muslims surrounded him. According to VOMC sources in Ethiopia, one member of the group began hitting Aman with a large stick and continued to pound on his body until people passing by intervened. Aman was taken to a hospital in Shashemene, where he remained unconscious for two days. At last report Aman was still in intensive care.
Pray Aman's mind and body will be fully restored so he can continue to share Christ with his friends and neighbors. Pray the attackers will recognize their guilt and turn to Christ for forgiveness. Ask God to comfort Aman and those who are close to him.
INDIA (Compass Direct)
A number of key Christian leaders recently called on the Indian government to ban or strictly supervise a massive Hindu "reawakening" event to be held in the tribal district of Dangs, Gujarat state, February 11th -13th. At least 500,000 Hindus are expected to attend. The Christian leaders fear the event may unleash a wave of violence against tribal Christians and animists. Hindu extremist groups have organized the event and expect it to generate enough momentum to trigger thousands of Christians to turn "back to the Hindu fold." They have also published materials calling for the destruction of the Christian faith in the same way the Hindu god Ram destroyed the demon Ravana in the Hindu scriptures.
Pray the Holy Spirit will move in power to prevent this demonstration from becoming violent. Pray Christians in the area will live in courageous faith and love toward their Hindu neighbors. Pray God will lead many Hindus to forsake the hundreds of gods they fear and turn to the One who loves them.
INDONESIA (Compass Direct)
The Indonesian government has established a new Security Operation Command to investigate violence in Central Sulawesi following a New Year's Eve bomb explosion in Palu that killed eight people and injured 56 others. The bombing is the latest in a string of violent incidents in the past two years, repeating the conflict between Muslims and Christians that claimed over 1,000 lives between 1998 and 2001. The bomb exploded in a marketplace in a Christian area at 6:30 a.m., as residents were buying pork for their festive meals. Pork is offensive to Muslims, and the bombing of what locals call a "Christian market" where the meat is sold may point to Islamic terrorists. Human rights groups immediately called for an independent investigation, but the government responded with the new Security Operation Command, which planned to send 1,100 police reinforcements and an unspecified number of soldiers to Poso and Palu. A member of the Regional Representatives Council who has studied the violence in Palu and Poso said religious sentiment is not the main problem in the area because the bombing of Christian markets and the earlier beheading of Christian schoolgirls "failed to provoke violence" from the Christian community.
Praise God the Christians under attack did not respond with violence. Pray the example of Christian love will cause nominal Muslims to seek the God of peace. Pray our omnipotent God will move to display His glory throughout all the islands of Indonesia.
PAKISTAN (Compass Direct)
Last week in the Punjabi town of Sangla Hill, a Pakistani Muslim dropped formal charges against a Christian he had accused of setting fire pages of the Koran. Last November Mohammed Saleem's accusation triggered a violent reprisal from local Muslims, destroying four churches and landing Yousaf Masih in jail for allegedly desecrating the Koran. As part of a reconciliation agreement reached by local Muslim and Christian leaders on January 5th, Saleem signed an affidavit declaring Masih innocent. Local Christian leaders agreed not to press charges against the mob of 2,000 Muslims who attacked the town's Christian community. Police have held 88 rioters in custody since the assault. It is not yet clear how the agreement will affect legal proceedings. Bail has been denied to the 88 rioters, and Masih also remains under arrest.
Offer praises and thanksgiving for this answer to prayer. Pray Masih will soon be released. Pray the Muslim who made the unfounded charges that caused all the destruction will be led to repent and receive forgiveness from Jesus.
Monday, January 09, 2006Turth
Saturday, January 07, 2006Dinosaurs, dating and the age of the earth
Aig had good question posed to them:
Let me get clear about your beliefs. HOw old do you believe the Earth is? And how do you debunk carbon dating? Dinosaur bones have been dated, based on the half life of certain elements, at millions of years. The earliest human remains found are nowhere near that old. Also, in the bible there is no reference to dinosaurs. I would think that a creature of such threat to life and sheer size would be mentioned, at least in passing. Perhaps I am not familiar with the passage that clearly describes man walking amongst dinosaurs.
I'm only going to post the respone to the carbon dating part of the response, you can read the rest here
Carbon-14 can only give an age of about 50,000 to 100,000 years maximum due to its short half-life of less than 6,000 years. Please see What about carbon dating?
Also, creationists have been using carbon-14 to undermine alleged “millions of years” dates. Since carbon-14 should be decayed so much as to be undetectable within about 100,000 years, then a sample tested by using methods based on uranium decay or potassium argon, etc. which yields a date of 200 million years should not contain measurable amounts of carbon-14 in the sample, and yet such samples have been found! Please see Measurable 14C in Fossilized Organic Materials: Confirming the Young Earth Creation-Flood Model.
Friday, January 06, 2006Did Jesus exist? Court to decide
An Italian court is tackling Jesus -- and whether the Roman Catholic Church may be breaking the law by teaching that he existed 2,000 years ago.
"I started this lawsuit because I wanted to deal the final blow against the Church, the bearer of obscurantism and regression," Cascioli told Reuters.
When I first read this I thought it be something to keep an eye on. That is until I got to this statement:
"In my book, 'The Fable of Christ,' I present proof Jesus did not exist as a historic figure. He must now refute this by showing proof of Christ's existence," Cascioli said
Seems to me that someone wants publicity for their book.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006When the Sabbath was over . . . .
Mark 16:1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought aromatic spices so that they might go and anoint him.
Are these just throw-away words used to set the stage for the arrival of the women to anoint the body of Jesus after His crucifixion? Far from it! These words have something very important to say to us at Christmas.
This was an online Devotional that was emailed to me I didn't know who wrote it, but I still wanted to post it.
By Samuel J. Alibrando
Have you ever taken a look around you and wondered, how everything kinda of fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. Take for example the fact that right now, right this very minute you are inhaling oxygen, and exhaling, as waste CO2. While the plant you have on your desk is doing just the opposite. Kinda of makes you wonder how that happened so perfectly doesn’t it. Sadly there are people out there that will have you believe it all happened by dumb luck.
Nature Never Stops Talking is a series of articles written by the author for a local newspaper. This book takes a hard look at how nature works, all the while asking how did all this happen by chance? For instance did you know that snow isn’t white, I know that threw me for a loop too. And I bet you didn’t know trees “talk” to each other. Don’t believe me here read for yourself in the excerpts from the book's website.
I enjoyed this book immensely. It’s not only very informative, but its also just plain fun to read. One of the great things about it is you don’t need a college degree to understand it. Mr. Alibrando does a great job of showing how ingeniously the earth and everything on it works together and how well thought out its design is.
“Evolution, which I once considered fully credible, lost its appeal for me the more I learned. Specifically, the most obvious is that incredible engineering designing itself accidentally and without intelligence. From the realms of space, our precision solar system, to the effect of delicate weather when temperatures change by few degrees, life in the oceans, forest, jungles and the intricate balance of dependence between so many forms of life. Do I go on? From galaxies to cells, molecules, atoms and electrons we find precise, consistent, often predictable but always amazingly constructed design.
Still believe the earth is here by accident. Then do yourself a favor pick up a copy of this book. If nothing else it’ll give you something to think about.
Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord,
Praise the name of the Lord!
Blessed be the name of the Lord
From this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its going down
The Lord's name is to be praised.
The Lord is high above all nations,
His glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God,
Who dwells on high,
Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in the heavens and in the earth?
He raises the poor out of the dust,
And lifts the needy out of the ash heap,
That He may seat him with princes-
With the princes of His people.
He grants the barren woman a home,
Like a joyful mother of children.
Praise the Lord!
From The Voice of the Martyrs
INDONESIA (Compass Direct)
Following the closure of scores of churches in the past two years, the Indonesian government is revising a controversial law to regulate places of worship. Christian leaders fear the changes will do little to keep Muslim communities from blocking or shutting down churches. The original 1969 decree requires all religious groups to apply for permits before setting up a place of worship. Neighbors in the immediate vicinity of a proposed church, mosque or Hindu temple must give their consent before a permit is granted. Under proposed revisions, community members will serve as "inter-faith forums" to give approval before a church could even apply for a permit. This will give them even more power in establishing the religious make-up of a village. "If it comes down to a vote, Muslim leaders will influence others to vote against churches," Father Antonius Benny Susetyo, a spokesman for the Indonesian Bishops' Council, told Compass.
Pray God will give Indonesian Christians a spirit of wisdom for the present and great hope for the future. Pray they will draw close to the Lord in worship wherever and whenever they meet. Pray Muslims will be frustrated with their inability to stamp out Christianity and come to realize the eternal authority and love of Jesus Christ.
TURKEY (Compass Direct)
For the third time in six months, Turkish Christian Yakup Cindilli has failed to appear at court hearings against the ultra-nationalists who beat him into a coma two years ago for distributing New Testaments in his hometown. The clerk of the Orhangazi Criminal Court near Bursa, in northwestern Turkey, confirmed to Compass last week that Cindilli had not attended a December 15th hearing. Partially recovered, Cindilli had left Orhangazi last June, apparently circulating in various areas of Istanbul over the summer months. With his whereabouts unknown, it is presumed he may not have known about the hearings scheduled on his case. Although his assailants were jailed, one was released a month later and the other two granted bail after three months. The Orhangazi judge has postponed the criminal court hearing on Cindilli's case until March 16th.
Pray Cindilli will be able to have another series of medical tests to prove the severity of his injuries. Pray he will be willing and able to attend the March 16th hearing. Pray that as the time for the trial drags on, the Lord will lead his attackers to repentance and faith in Jesus.
TURKMENISTAN (ASSIST News Services)
After four weeks of holding services in a rented hall in the capital Ashgabad (Ashgabat), the registered Greater Grace Protestant church was banned in late November from holding meetings in publicly owned premises. Registered religious communities cannot rent publicly owned premises or meet in private homes. Obstruction to finding places they were allowed to use for worship was one of the major complaints from registered religious communities at a government-sponsored roundtable meeting in Ashgabad in late October. Greater Grace church signed a rental contract with a geological institution in Ashgabad to hold services there on Sundays. "It was a good hall," church members report. "We invited officials from the city's Religious Affairs Office and they came to the services-it was all done officially and openly." Then, after the fourth service, an official of the city administration's Religious Affairs Office told the church it could not continue meeting in the state-owned hall. The church believes the decision originated with the MSS secret police. The church is planning to write to the Adalat (Fairness or Justice) Ministry to seek clarification. "Other people who want to rent state facilities can do so, but not religious communities it seems," church members complained. "I don't know why-there's no law which forbids this." The Greater Grace church gained official registration from the Adalat Ministry at the end of August after a year of foot-dragging.
Pray the Lord will soften the hearts of officials in the Adalat Ministry and allow this church to continue renting a hall for worship. Pray the healing power of Jesus will bring His life and love into the hearts of everyone in the region.
Seven Christians in Turkmenistan were gathered for prayer in a home when government officials and a Muslim imam raided their meeting. The home belonged to a recent convert named Oguldurdy. The attack took place on December 17th, in the northeastern town of Deynau, according to a report from Forum 18. During the raid, officials searched the home for Christian literature and confiscated two Bibles. The seven were then taken to the Public Prosecutor's office where they were threatened and insulted. They were told they should be publicly denounced as traitors. One woman was threatened with expulsion from her rented apartment.
Pray the Lord will grace His people with the quiet joy that comes from knowing they are falsely accused for Christ's sake. Pray their trust in Christ will overshadow any fear they might face. Ask God to restore the Bibles and Christian literature taken from them.
RUSSIA (ASSIST News Service)
Russia is currently experiencing a resurgence of religious repression similar to that of an earlier period in the country's history. "Our country, Russia, experiences a very difficult time now. In many respects it is very similar to the 1920-1930 period in Russian history," writes Isabel Du Toit, Head of Prayer Ministry for the TBN and Association of Christian Churches "Union of Christians," in an e-mail obtained by ASSIST News Service (ANS). "Today we face a new wave of slander against Christian leaders in Russia. There are waves of gossip to discredit Russian main Christian leaders, i.e. Bishop Sergey Ryahovsky (head of the Russian Pentecostal Union), Bishop Paul Okara (head of the Russian Evangelical Church) and Bishop Igor 'Nikki' Nikitin (head of the Association of Christian Churches' Union of Christians)." Du Toit asks concerned Christians in the United States to "please stand with us in prayer to end this tendency and prevent the repetition of these happenings."
Pray the Spirit of Christ will fill Russian churches and their leaders. Pray God will protect His Body from splits and destruction. Pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit throughout Russia.
INDIA (Compass Direct)
From setting fire to churches to force "reconversion" to Hinduism, extremists persecuted Roman Catholics throughout 2005. In several cases of religiously motivated violence this year, police refused to file charges, leaving the victims with no legal means to pursue their complaints. In other cases desecration of religious objects was recorded only as petty crime or theft. Christian leaders may disagree on whether persecution has increased in India this year, but undisputed are the scars many Catholics bear for the Savior whose birth they are celebrating. (Click here)
Pray the Catholics under attack will draw close to Jesus, their Protector. Pray the suffering of all Christians in India will bring unity to the Body of Christ. Pray the Holy Spirit will draw Hindus to seek TRUTH.