An Explanation and a quick plug.

Hey guys.

So lately I’ve been utterly and completely flat out with Uni work and church stuff – which has been great, but it’s made it hard for me to be consistent at blogging. Which is ok – but a little annoying. It’s also made it hard for me to make time to read the bible and pray, so prayer for help with that would be greatly appreciated.

But, on another note, check out Memverse. I was telling Merryn on the Bible Verses page that I really should get back into memorising bits of the bible, and I’ve found this site is extremely helpful.

On another side note: We have a Facebook Page! – Feel free to click on the link and like it.

God Bless guys! 

What can I be praying for you about?

 

Voice of the Martyrs Prayer Watch

PAKISTAN: Christian Girl Abducted and Raped

Maria Sarfraz, 11, was abducted from the town of Distt, Sheikupora and gang raped multiple times.

Her father, Sarfraz Andrew, went to the police station and registered a First Investigation Report on 25 April. The girl was recovered after three days and a medical report declared the she had been forcefully raped for three uninterrupted days. Local police arrested Muhammad Safdar and Muhammad Mehboob.

Like previous cases, the perpetrators of this crime are threatening violence against the Christian family in an attempt to keep them from obtaining justice. The rapists have demanded that the Christian family settle the matter out of court or else they will start a riot in town and burn down all the Christian homes.

This case only continues to highlight the suffering of Christians in Pakistan.

Sources: International Christian Concern, Pakistan Christian Post

Prayer Points

  • Ask the Lord to minister to Maria, to heal her and help her to overcome her pain, fear and humiliation. Pray she and her family will rest in the knowledge that the Good Shepherd walks with them through this difficult time (Psalm 23).
  • Pray the Lord will grant the family justice; pray the actions of these men will not be tolerated. Pray the Lord will raise up fearless men and women to speak out against this kind of targeted violence.
  • Ask God to protect young Christian women in Pakistan. 

 

MIDDLE EAST: Christian Women Killed by Family Members

Three Christian women were killed by their Muslim family members in separate incidents on 30 April and 1 May.

A 38-year-old woman was shot to death by her two brothers shortly after they learned that she had been talking with a missionary over Skype and that she had a Bible. In a second incident, a man stabbed his 22-year-old sister to death when he caught her with a Christian CD. The Christian woman had previously talked with her brother about Jesus. The brother left her body in front of a hospital before seeking treatment for his own hand wound.

In the third incident, a man beat his daughter to death by hitting her on the head with a stone. He turned himself over to police and confessed to the killing, knowing that he would likely not face serious punishment. He reportedly told police that his daughter had continued to attend church despite his warnings.

Source: Voice of the Martyrs USA

Prayer Points

  • Please pray for those impacted by the loss of these sisters in Christ. May God surround those who are mourning with His love and peace.
  • Pray, too, that He will use the legacy of these women in a powerful way, inspiring many others to learn more about Him.
  • Ask especially that the family members who so tragically ended these lives will repent, turn to Jesus and, in time, become bold disciples of our Lord.

 

UZBEKISTAN: Believers Fined for Owning Christian Literature

A court in Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent has fined both Grigory Kasparov and his wife Yelena for “illegally storing” Kasparov’s Christian books in their private home.

This was despite Yelena Kasparova refusing to sign a ‘confession’ police attempted to force from her for this ‘offence’. The verdict in Kasparov’s case states that the books were destroyed even before the Court had found Kasparov guilty and decided what to do with the books.

A court official admitted that bailiffs destroyed the books, but refused to state whether bailiffs are allowed to do this before a verdict.

Source: Forum 18 News Service

Prayer Points

  • Pray for Grigory and Yelena, that they will keep their eyes on Jesus, persevere in their faith, and not grow weary or lose heart (Hebrews 10:32-39; 12:1-3).
  • Ask the Lord to flood Uzbekistan with His word and open hearts and minds to His Gospel.
  • Pray for all in authority in Uzbekistan.

The Sites to See

These first three articles are especially excellent – but take a look at the other sites too if you’ve got time.

The real Proverbs 31 mom does not read the description of “an excellent wife” (Prov 31:10) as a performance list to earn God’s favor. She is not building a spiritual resume to be proud of because her only hope is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no good news or wisdom apart from Jesus.”

How the Abortion Culture Affects Motherhood: “Before the abortion culture turned motherhood on its head, children were considered a source of great happiness.  Now, they are considered nothing more than dream squashers.”

8 Ways to Comfort the Suffering – “I have officiated over forty funerals ranging from suicides to infants. I have buried the young and the old. I have sat in hospitals with the dying as well as in prisons with those who have taken life. For the last two years, I have walked with my Resplendent Bride as she has suffered through Lymphoma, Leukemia, and, as of twenty-two days ago, a bone marrow transplant.”

Resolved: Adam Ford once again delivers with jonathan Edward’s 56th resolution.

War on Women: And again – Adam Ford, this ones definitely worth looking at.

 

 

 

Kings Kaleidescope, New Album!

I don’t know if you’ve heard of this band. But they are excellent! They sing Christian music and it is fantastic – they manage to get so much feeling into their music, and yet it’s still so beautifully arranged.

Take a look at their stuff! 

 

Here’s the lyrics to one of their songs:

FELIX CULPA

“Turn the lights on, look at what I have
See the twisted trophies of a dead man
Countless stories, tell of sin and pain
But they sing the sweetness of my savior’s grace

I’m a torn man, spirit fighting flesh
There’s a battle raging deep in my chest
But all that haunts me, all that leaves a stain
Only sings the sweetness of my savior’s grace

A fortunate fall, my sins are stories of grace to recall
A fortunate fall, I glory in my sins forgiven

Jesus bought me, and now I am His
Dying with Him, in His death I now live
All my vices, to which I’ve been chained
Only speak the sweetness of my savior’s grace

And still I’m a wicked, wretched man, I do everything I hate
I am fighting to be god, I seethe and claw and thrash and shake
I have killed and stacked the dead, on a throne from which I reign
In the end I just want blood, and with His blood my hands are stained
See the God who reigns on high, He has opened His own veins
From His wounds a rushing torrent that can wash it all away
Grace upon grace, upon grace upon grace
Grace..”

Justice

If God doesn’t exist then where does Justice come from?

Micah 6:8 – “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

This verse tells us that God has taught us what is good and just, he alone is both good and just. In Genesis 2 we learn that we were created in the image of God. And even though we sin, we still maintain at least the shadow of that image, and one result of that is a longing for justice.

On one hand we have the bible claiming that we get our concept of justice from God. But then we have the world telling us that God doesn’t exist. If God doesn’t exist, then why does justice exist? It seems to me that the concept of justice is anti-evolutionary. It goes against the idea of survival of the fittest. And yet it is constantly what we are calling for and looking for in our own lives and in the world.

The whole push of social justice is preventing the strong from oppressing the weak. It’s one of those ideas that most people agree with – the weak should be protected and not oppressed. That stands in complete opposition to the theory of evolution.

Evolutionary theory says that the strongest survive. It claims that it’s good for the weak ‘weeded out’ of society so that we can progress. It claims that it is natural and even “good” for the weak to be destroyed so that the strong can continue to improve.

If this is what is natural, then why do we long for and seek justice for the oppressed? It would be right and natural for the weak to be trodden on and for no one to defend them. In fact it would be stupid and unnatural to defend those who cannot defend themselves.

If God doesn’t exist then justice shouldn’t exist because we should accept every injustice as a natural outworking of the survival of the fittest. If we die or are oppressed it would be because we are weaker and it would simply be the way things are. And yet everything in us cries out against injustices. We hate it when we are oppressed or treated unfairly, and we have a great sorrow for those who are suffering around the world unjustly while the ‘stronger’ (politically, economically, etc) thrive on corruption.

The truth is that God does exist and so does justice. He will judge, he decides what is right and wrong, and He will be call us all to account. And that bring up the question of where you stand with God.

The Gospel.

Romans 3:23 tells us that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. We have all disobeyed God. We have all rejected his way. Because he is just and perfect that means we’ve done what is wrong. And since God is perfect he must judge evil. That means we all deserve his punishment for sin: hell eternally.

And yet in his great mercy and love and grace God sent Jesus, his one and only son into the world as a man. Jesus lived perfectly – he alone did not deserve to die or be punished for sin. Yet he took our sin and suffered God’s wrath against it in our place when he died on the cross. Romans 6:23 tells us that “the wages of sin is death”. Jesus took our sins and died when he alone didn’t deserve it. And he rose again. Since the result of sin is death, and Jesus dealt with sin, death could no longer contain him. It had no right to hold him since he had defeated sin.

And that’s why we know that there is complete forgiveness in Jesus. He rose again, proving sin had been conquered. And he tells us to “Repent and believe for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15) – if we put our trust in Jesus as the only one who saves and if we turn from sin then we will be completely forgiven by him. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

God’s justice is satisfied in Jesus so that he can rightly show us mercy, love and grace. Have you put your faith in him? Only he can save!

Voice of the Martyrs Prayer Watch

 

NIGERIA: VOM Volunteer Killed

Boko Haram militants murdered a VOM volunteer in Gwoza, Borno state, in late April as he was delivering hundreds of VOM-Nigeria newsletters. “His death shocked almost all the Christian community,” said a VOM worker in Nigeria.

In his work with VOM, the volunteer had used his own vehicle to transport attack victims to hospitals as part of our VOMedical work; served as a contact person between VOM staff and widows, attack victims, and Christian leaders and pastors in his community; and distributed VOM newsletters. His killers reportedly stole 500 newsletters from his car, and pastors in the area are praying that the newsletters will minister to the militants.

Christians in Gwoza, only about eight kilometres from the Cameroon border, have experienced repeated attacks from Boko Haram insurgents. Thousands have fled the city, and hundreds of homes, churches and businesses have been razed.

Source: Voice of the Martyrs USA

Prayer Points

  • Join with VOM staff and the church in Gwoza in praying for the perpetrators. Pray for all members of Boko Haram, that the Lord will bring conviction and repentance to many.
  • Pray for the staff of Voice of the Christian Martyrs in Nigeria and the family, friends and contacts of the volunteer, pray that God would be glorified as they steadfastly fix their eyes on what is eternal (2 Corinthians 4).
  • Ask the Lord to grant wisdom to the authorities, military and police in Nigeria as they attempt to halt the efforts of Islamic militants throughout Northern Nigeria.

 

PAKISTAN: “Fearless” Lawyer Murdered for Continuing to Defend Man Accused of Blasphemy

Rashid Rehman, 53, took on the case of university lecturer Junaid Hafeez, when no other lawyer in the city of Multan would, because he believed in the universal human right to legal counsel, friends said.

Rehman continued defending Hafeez, accused of defaming the Prophet Mohammed on social media last year, despite receiving death threats from the prosecution itself.

On Wednesday evening, two gunmen posing as prospective clients burst into his office and opened fire. ‘He was shot five times and succumbed to his injuries on the way to hospital,’ The Mail said a policeman told Reuters.

Hafeez had been in prison without being able to find a lawyer until Rehman agreed to represent him in February.

Blasphemy carries the death penalty in Pakistan, but the accused are often lynched or languish for years in jail without trial because lawyers are too afraid to defend them. Rights groups say the laws are increasingly used to seize money or property.

Judges have previously been attacked in Pakistan for acquitting blasphemy defendants and two politicians who discussed reforming the law were shot dead.

On Thursday morning, The Mail reported, an unsigned pamphlet was distributed in Multan saying Rehman met his ‘rightful end’ for trying to ‘save someone who disrespected the Prophet Mohammed.’

‘We warn all lawyers to be afraid of god and think twice before engaging in such acts,’ the pamphlet said.

Sources: Assist News Service, The Mail Online, Reuters

Prayer Points

  • Pray the authorities will concentrate their efforts in bringing the perpetrators to justice. Ask the Lord to use Rashid’s courage as a legacy to encourage other brave individuals to take a stand for justice.
  • Pray Rashid’s family may be comforted by the love and mercy of Christ and the fellowship of believers.
  • Commit to the Lord Junaid Hafeez and all those facing blasphemy charges in Pakistan.

 

SUDAN: Pregnant Mother Sentenced to Death

A Christian mother pregnant with her second child has been formally convicted of adultery and apostasy, punishable by 100 lashes and death respectively.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, a believer from a Muslim background, married to a Christian man of South Sudan, was arrested on 17 February and on 4 March was charged with adultery and apostasy. The government does not recognise the couple’s marriage, hence the adultery charge. The son is with his mother in prison because the authorities regard him as a ‘Muslim’ and will not allow him to be raised by his father who is a Christian.

 Ibrahim appeared in court on 11 May, where she was convicted of apostasy and sentenced to death. There is no known precedent for such a verdict and sentence being issued by a Sudanese court against a follower of Jesus in recent times.

Justice Center Sudan (JCS), a local human rights organisation providing Ibrahim legal defence, has expressed its intent to submit an appeal on her behalf. According to the JCS legal team, Ibrahim has been pressured by Sudanese officials and religious authorities to convert from Christianity to Islam, allegedly rendering promises to reduce, if not eliminate, the charges against her for doing so.

Experts anticipate the sentences against Ibrahim will be carried out following the birth of her unborn child, which is expected to take place next month. According to JCS, Ibrahim has suffered beatings during her imprisonment and has been denied medical treatment.

Sources: Middle East Concern, International Christian Concern

Prayer Points

  • Pray for the Legal team representing Meriam; pray the Lord will intervene so that all charges will be dropped and the family reunited.
  • Ask the Lord for His protection to be upon Meriam, her husband, their son and unborn child. Pray the family will not despair but have the courage to trust in the Lord.
  • Pray the Lord will reveal Himself to many in Sudan and raise up leaders who will love mercy, act justly and walk humbly with the Lord.

The Sites to See

We now have a Facebook Page! Woo! If you want to check it out then click here!

A small god offers no comfort for a big storm – “A god, that does not know, is not able or does not care, is a small and pathetic deity, who is not worthy of worship, adoration or trust. Ultimately a small god can offer no comfort for what happened on Sunday night. None.”

The least sung song: “We all know there is a vertical dimension to our worship, where our songs give us a voice to sing to the Lord in praise or in petition, in expressions of wonder or in pleas for his favour. Most of us think far less about the horizontal dimension of worship, where we worship for the benefit of our Christian brothers and sisters. The least-sung song is the song we sing for one another.”

My Congregation Barely Sings; How can I help? This is a really good article is you lead church music! Church leaders underestimate how deliberately they must push against these cultural trends to get their church singing”. 

Scared: It’s really good to have some true honesty – and here’s a slice of some.

The Gospel – Here’s a good summary of Who God is, who we are, what sin is, why we need Jesus and how we can be saved. Highly Recommended!