‘perception is reality, but perception can be wilfully blind’

Photo- courtesy of the New York Times

On November 26, 2008 terror struck Mumbai India killing more than 180 people, including at least 22 foreigners.  At the time of this writing, it is uncertain as to the final number of deaths associated with the rampage and who is responsible for the terror. It is with strong inclination that it is from extreme radical Islamist out of Pakistan.

The Mumbai attacks, the worst in a country with a long history of terrorist violence, ended on Saturday when Commandos killed the last Islamist gunmen holed up at Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel after a three-day killing rampage.

The savage killing of innocent people across Mumbai has wrought a public outcry for the politicians of India to “wake up” to such atrocities and do something to protect the innocent civilians of India.

 

indian protest

Protesters critical of the Indian government’s response to this week’s attacks outside the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel on Sunday. Photo- courtesy of the New York Times

Most Americans reading this post can fully appreciate the feelings pictured above as we have walked in these same shoes. On September 11, 2001 Islamist extremist killed  2,974 people in the attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and the United Airlines Flight 93 that was crashed into a field in Somerset County Pennsylvania. There are another 24 are missing and presumed dead, yet the Lord knows each one.

The overwhelming majority of casualties were civilians, including nationals of over 90 different countries. Yes, what we experienced in America was the greatest act of terror and violence against innocent people.

What I can not appreciate is that the people of India can be so upset with the killing of innocent people by these Muslim extremist while overlooking the blatant acts of aggression against Christians in their own back yards by the Hindu fundamentalists.

It is estimated that over 250,000 Christians are killed for their faith each year. Millions more are aggressively persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ.  Many of these are beaten, imprisoned, battered and homeless.  Source- focus persecution.com

The number of persecuted Christians is on the rise worldwide, according to Professor Thomas Schirrmacher, director of the Religious Liberty Commission of the German Evangelical Alliance.

According to Schirrmacher at least 55,000 Christians are killed each year for religious reasons. Christians in India, Indonesia and Pakistan run the highest risk of losing their lives. Source- John Mark Ministries

 

At least 500 Christians killed in Orissa, government sources say

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – A representative of the local government in Orissa estimated that more than 500 people died as a consequence of the anti-Christian pogrom launched by Hindu fundamentalists. He said he personally authorized the cremation of at least 200 bodies.

Extremists Demand End to Christian Activity in Orissa 

 

Photo- courtesy of the Global Council of Indian Christians… Gospel for Asia

Three More Christians Killed in Orissa; Opposition Reported in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar 

Three more believers were martyred and twelve others were severely wounded in a fresh wave of violence in Orissa, India, on September 30. The latest attacks occurred in villages near Kandhamal, which has been the epicenter of violence against Christians since August 22.

 

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Thousands of Christians, like this woman, were made homeless by attacks led by Hindu extremists in Orissa, India… Gospel for Asia

Where are the protestors we mentioned above? Where is the public out cry and demands on politicians to “wake up” and stop these violent atrocities?

It is true that ones perception is ones reality, but in this case, India’s perception as to these senseless attacks against the Christ and His body is met with nothing more than a  ‘blind eye’. This is not unique to India, Pakistan and Indonesia, it is a pervasive blind eye over all of Asia.

Thanks to Gospel for Asia for keeping the Christian community abreast of what our brothers and sisters are enduring for the cause of Christ. Please keep all of the persecuted Body of Christ in your prayers, that He will under gird them by His Spirit as they stand upon His faithful word.

malachi

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‘standing upon a foundation that is unshakable’

vietnamesechristian
 
Friday November 21, 2008

VIETNAM: AUTHORITIES PRESSURE NEW CHRISTIANS TO RECANT

Converts from ancestral animism threatened with violence, imprisonment.

HO CHI MINH CITY, November 21 (Compass Direct News) – In violation of Vietnam’s new religion policy, authorities in Lao Cai Province in Vietnam’s far north are pressuring new Christians among the Hmong minority to recant their faith and to re-establish ancestral altars, according to area church leaders.

Local authorities have warned that on Sunday (Nov. 23) they will come in force to Ban Gia Commune and Lu Siu Tung village, Bac Ha district, where the Christians reside, but they did not say what they would do.

When the authorities in Bac Ha district in Vietnam’s Northwest Mountainous Region discovered that villagers had converted to Christianity and discarded their altars, they sent “work teams’ to the area to apply pressure. Earlier this month they sent seven high officials – including Ban Gia Deputy Commune Chief Thao Seo Pao, district Police Chief A. Cuong and district Security Chief A. Son – to try to convince the converts that the government considered becoming a Christian a very serious offense.

Christian leaders in the area said threats included being cut off from any government services. When this failed to deter the new Christians, they said, the officials threatened to drive the Christians from their homes and fields, harm them physically and put them in prison. READ FULL STORY

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 1 Timothy 2:1-6

Please pray that God will under gird our Vietnamese brothers and sisters as they stand upon His faithful word.

malachi

‘imagine….. life without Christ’

Vatican forgives John Lennon for Jesus remark
11/22/2008 3:00 PM, Reuters
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican’s newspaper has finally forgiven John Lennon for declaring that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, calling the remark a “boast” by a young man grappling with sudden fame.

The comment by Lennon to a London newspaper in 1966 infuriated Christians, particularly in the United States, some of whom burned Beatles’ albums in huge pyres.

But time apparently heals all wounds.

“The remark by John Lennon, which triggered deep indignation mainly in the United States, after many years sounds only like a ‘boast’ by a young working-class Englishman faced with unexpected success, after growing up in the legend of Elvis and rock and roll,” Vatican daily Osservatore Romano said.

The article, marking the 40th anniversary of the Beatles’ The White Album, went on to praise the pop band.

“The fact remains that 38 years after breaking up, the songs of the Lennon-McCartney brand have shown an extraordinary resistance to the passage of time, becoming a source of inspiration for more than one generation of pop musicians,” it said.

Lennon was murdered in New York in 1980.

(Writing by Deepa Babington; editing by Keith Weir) music.yahoo.com

The events of the Apostle Paul’s third missionary journey are recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. In the 19th chapter, we find he spent 2 years in Ephesus preaching the gospel, healing those with physical infirmities and those possessed of demons. The Spirit of God was doing a mighty work.

The word of God tells us that…

“Many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver”.          Acts 19:18-19

This reminds me of what took place in America and South Africa in 1966, when John Lennon made a comment to a British reporter that…. 

“Christianity was dying and that The Beatles were “more popular than Jesus now”.

Under tremendous pressure from the American media, Lennon apologized for his remarks at a press conference in Chicago on August 11, 1966. One can not know for certain, but it would stand to reason that Lennon’s apology came from a marketing perspective instead of a true spirit of repentance.

I would tend to agree with the spokesperson from the Vatican that Lennon’s comments…

“sounds only like a ‘boast’ by a young working-class Englishman faced with unexpected success”.

Which one of us are not guilty of making stupid comments at that age? So the statement on forgiveness that the Vatican has made public some 42 years after the comment was made is quite admirable from a biblical perspective.

Peter came to Jesus asking…..

“How oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

Clearly from Christ’s admonition to Peter we can see He wants us to forgive those who do us wrong or sin against us. It the way of the Master, my friend.

What we don’t need to confuse here, is that what the Vatican has done is nothing more than what Christ has exhorted all of His disciples to do… and that is to manifest a forgiving spirit. And that not in word only, but in deed. The fact that the Vatican has forgiven John Lennon for a comment made over forty-years ago may be admirable but is not the crux of the matter. What is paramount is whether John Lennon has found forgiveness by the Christ? 

One can rest assured and find comfort in the fact that no matter how gross the sin or how violent our words against Him, Christ desires that we all come to repentance. His longsuffering is vast and He will abundantly pardon, but there MUST be repentance.

 

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

There is one thing that one does not have to ‘imagine’… there is life after death, and that it is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgement.

malachi

Thanksgiving; not a season, but a spirit….

   

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.          Philippines 4: 4-7

Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, at the end of the harvest season, is an annual American Federal holiday to express thanks for one’s material and spiritual possessions.

Most people celebrate by gathering at home with family or friends for a holiday feast. Though the holiday’s origins can be traced to harvest festivals which have been celebrated in many cultures since ancient times, the American holiday has religious undertones related to the deliverance of the English settlers by Native Americans after the brutal winter at Plymouth, Massachusetts. en.wikipedia.org

We in America have just celebrated another Thanksgiving season. For those that are familiar with the celebration in the states,  the above picture pretty much sums up the experiences of that Thanksgiving Day.

The very ascription of the holiday’s name, conjures up a spirit of gratitude, appreciation, or thankfulness which is a attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. Therefore this gratitude, appreciation, or thankfulness has a strong affinity towards material blessings. What happens when the ‘material blessing’ is not evident, does that mean that we don’t have anything to be thankful for? If one considers the spirit associated with Thanksgiving in America today, one might surmise.

This was not the case with the Apostle Paul. While in prison for preaching the gospel of Christ, he wrote the epistle to the Philippines exhorting them not to worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

In this letter of encouragement to the body of Christ at Philippi, we find a ‘thankful spirit’ ruling and reigning in the thoughts and in the words of the Apostle Paul. He was not seated before a fine meal with all the trimmings, nor probably had not slept in a warm comfortable bed the night before and probably a pauper by all economic standards, yet he not only exhorted his brothers and sisters to such, but manifested by his own testimony a ‘thankful spirit’.

The first thing that we must consider is that thanksgiving is not a season. This exhortation came not on the last Thursday in November but in a day in which the body of Christ needed to understand that they could be thankful and content with such things as they had. No matter the circumstances.  

We can also see that gratefulness and thankfulness is not contingent upon our external circumstances. It is a spirit and this spirit is not influenced by what we have or don’t have. It is a spirit that manifest a grateful appreciation and thankfulness understanding that no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in that we have a God who is faithful and we can put every ounce of our trust in Him and His perfect will. It is then and only then that we find ourselves immersed in a peace which surpasses all understanding and shall keep us through the circumstance, and that with a ‘thankful spirit’.

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

malachi

‘many in America oppose the war, but condone murder…’

The majority of voters across America have spoken and we now have a president, vice president, both a majority of senate and house of representatives that have values and visions that see no problems with killing babies while safe and secure in their mothers womb.

Obama Blocked Born Alive Infant Protection Act- CitizenLink.com

Surely all of these politicians which have been rewarded with victory at the polls will have to pay back the lobbyist, political interest groups and their constituents with laws that will facilitate the killing of the unborn. So when I read of the pro-life stance of the people of Ireland, it a spirit of confidence to find a people that still values human life.

Ireland facing ‘Roe v. Wade’ of Europe? onenews.com

Ireland’s ban on abortion is being challenged before the European Court of Human Rights in what is being called a “pivotal case.” The Family Research Council and Alliance Defense Fund are defending the country’s right to life and have presented a brief to the court.

LifeNews.com reports three Irish women were refused abortions in Ireland and traveled to Britain to obtain them. They have filed a lawsuit against Ireland, hoping to overturn the country’s pro-life laws that ban abortion, except to save the life of the mother. One of the ladies claims she had an ectopic pregnancy and needed an abortion, while another one was taking chemotherapy when she became pregnant.

Consider the oxymoronic tone of this challenge before the European court……. The European Court of Human Rights is going to decide  whether the unborn child has the ‘right to live’?

The citizens of Ireland voted to ban abortion, and Saunders says that was partly on the basis of religious convictions. “The Irish people are Christians, and they know abortion is wrong, and so they prohibit it in their constitution,” he adds.

It may be that just because the majority have strong moral convictions concerning life, that it does not necessarily mean their convictions will prevail…How refreshing it is to find a people that believes in life. May God give them the direction and courage to stand for life in Ireland.

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! Psalm 139:13-17

To reveal how ignorant and blind a society can be……

Ask a child say 5 – 10 years of age to tell you what they see in the pictures accompanying this article and I dare you to find one that will answer anything other than ‘a baby’… Should be a spirit of condemnation for those of us that have believed the lie.

malachi

‘prioritization of the baser sort’

 

Congress’ first priority will be revitalizing the economy. That’s as it should be. The signs are unambiguous that our nation is in recession, just as our national debt is now well over $10 trillion and the current fiscal year threatens to add as much as $1 trillion more in red ink. But revitalizing our economy requires making sound investments. And our children are the most sound investment of all.        Colin L. Powell

Retired Gen. Colin L. Powell served as the 65th secretary of State and as the 12th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

I receive a weekly news letter from congress; Roll Call congress.org@capwiz.com where they petition the populace views on hot topic issues in an attempt to assess the thoughts and intents of their constituents heart.

In the November 23.2008 issue, Roll Call gathered some of our country’s leading voices to advise the new 111th Congress and administration on how to address the many serious challenges facing the nation. One of the leading voices to discuss the topic of economic restoration was Colin L. Powell, former Secretary of State. For the full content click on the link below.

To Restore Economic Health, Congress Must Put Children First

Mr. Powell feels that the first and greatest challenge that the 111th Congress will face when the reconvene in January 2009 is how will we revitalize our economy and how this disease stricken economy will negatively impact the “well-being of the children” in our nation.

We don’t hear much about America’s children in our national economic debate. But they are intricately connected to the dire economic consequences we face as a nation — and their well-being must be a critical part of the solution….. excerpts from Colin Powell’s comments: Roll Call- 11.20.2008

This has always been one of the most perplexing dilemmas in our society. The political rhetoric contends that we promote a society that values and promotes the welfare of children yet we are a society that has condoned the killing of some 49,000,00+ babies since abortion was approved as a means of birth control in 1973. Is this perplexing to you my friend? Why is there no outcry for such atrocities?

Powell continues…

Today in America there are more than 13 million children living in poverty and 8 million without health insurance. We have the second highest infant mortality rate among industrialized nations. And for the first time in history, a majority of voting Americans believes the next generation will fare worse than their parents. These are terrifying statistics for a country looking to regain its leading position in the global economy.

Along with poverty, the lack of health care, economic futures where children will fare worse than the parents, is that high schools all across America are experiencing a dismal high school graduation rate, liken to a drop out crisis; Powell says.

Put simply, to move forward as a nation, the 111th Congress must put our children first. This means taking a fresh look at our priorities and ensuring that all children have quality health care, an excellent education and the necessary services to help lift them out of poverty. It means acknowledging that the economic slowdown profoundly affects children, and offering solutions that enable working families to keep their jobs, stay in their homes and prepare children for college, work and life. It means raising awareness of children’s issues and sending a message that our economic future depends on our commitment to investing in our children.

If this prioritization is accurate, as I am sure Mr. Powell and most of Congress feel this is, it is no wonder that our nation is in the shape it is in.

We might do well to heed God’s advise…

If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. 2 Chronicles 7:13-15

malachi

‘let thy word be like the word of one of them and speak good’

dontmuzzleourpulpits

In the 22nd chapter of 1st Kings, King Jehoshaphat (King of Judah) request that King Ahab (King in Israel) seek the will and word of God concerning going to battle in Ramoth-Gilead.  King Ahab petitioned all the prophets, about four hundred men which encouraged King Ahab to go up to Ramoth-Gilead and prosper, but Jehoshaphat requested that they summon a man of God besides, that they may enquire of him.

Ahab agreed to Jehoshaphat’s request and sent a messenger to summon Micaiah the prophet of God, who was in prison by the way. When Micaiah was petitioned to come and speak to the kings, he  was instructed by the messenger…

 “that the words of the prophets had declared good to the king with one mouth: let thy word be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.” 

What we see from this portion of God’s word is that there are those out there that do not want to hear the truth. The fact is, they are vehemently opposed to it and will do any and everything to silence  it. Not unlike today. We see it was true in the case of pastor Stephen Boissoin and his preaching the word of God concerning homosexuality.

Alberta Pastor Fined $7000 and Ordered to Publicly Apologize and Remain Silent on Homosexuality

OTTAWA, June 9, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Friday, the Alberta Human Rights Commission ordered Alberta pastor Stephen Boissoin to desist from expressing his views on homosexuality in any sort of public forum. He was also commanded to pay damages equivalent to $7,000 as a result of the tribunal’s November decision to side with complainant and homosexual activist Dr. Darren Lund. The tribunal has also called for Boissoin to personally apologize to Lund via a public statement in the local newspaper.

What the Alberta Human Rights Commission does not understand is that the will of man can not silence the word of God, and that we ought to obey God rather than man.

The tide is turning in the America and we see the law is on the side of the homosexual and is set for the cause of everything that is godless. For the world knoweth its own and hateth the things of God. If the world hates the Christian, know that it hated Christ before it hated us. If we were of the world, the world would love us, but because we are not of the world, the world hates us. Know this my brothers and sisters, if it hates us, it hates our Lord. If it hates our Lord it hates the Father.

We are living in the day when that which is right is considered wrong. That which is bitter is considered sweet, even when it is blatantly opposed to the clear teaching of Gods word…..

 

Human Rights Commission: “Kill the Christian” Lyrics OK, but Criticize Homosexuality? No Way

Alberta Human Rights Commissioner Lori Andreachuk says “it doesn’t matter if Christians are exposed to hate – they’re not vulnerable. She writes, a Christian cannot be the victim of hate speech,”

The world is liken to Commissioner Lori Andreachuk, in that it wants our word to be like the word of one of them, and let that be good. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith.

malachi