‘when the religion of peace turns violent?’

islamist-terrorist 

Pakistani Christian couple refuses to convert: husband is burnt alive, wife raped by police
Fareed Khan (“AsiaNews,” March 22, 2010)

Islamabad, Pakistan – Arshed Masih, 38, is still fighting for his life in Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi, a city not far from Pakistan’s capital. With the help of police, Muslim extremists last Friday set him on fire for refusing to convert to Islam and raped his wife, local sources told AsiaNews. The incident occurred in front of a local police station.

In 2005, Masih and his wife began working for a wealthy Muslim businessman, he as driver and she as his wife’s maid. Recently, the two fell out of favour with their employer and his family because they insisted on remaining Christian.

During the incident, Masih’s wife, Martha, “was raped by police agents,” local sources said. The couple’s three children, ranging in age from 7 and 12, were forced to watch their parents being brutalised.

“Masih and his wife are currently being treated in hospital,” Holy Family Hospital officials said. “He was listed in serious condition with about 80 per cent of his body burned,” the BosNewsLife agency reported. With that kind of burns, hospital officials said the 38-year-old victim is not likely to survive.

On Sunday, the Government of Punjab government announced an investigation into what happened. “The matter will be investigated and the culprits will be arrested,” Punjab’s Minister of Law Rana Sanaullah said.

The Christian couple lived with their children in the servant quarters of Sheikh Mohammad Sultan’s estate in Rawalpindi. In January, religious leaders and Sultan reportedly told Arshed to convert to Islam with his whole family. After he refused, they threatened him with “dire consequences”.

Arshed offered to quit his job, but the businessman allegedly said he would “kill” him if he were to leave.

Last week, tensions rose after Sultan reported the theft of 500,000 Pakistani rupees (almost US$ 6,000), and an official complaint (First Information Report) was filed with police.

Although the Christian couple was not named as suspect, the businessman offered them to drop the case if they converted to Islam or “else that both would not see their children again.”

The rest is known. Arshed Masih chose to remain loyal to his Christian faith, and last Friday he was set on fire and his wife raped by police.

Federal Minority Minister Shahbaz Batti, a Catholic, has so far refused to make any comment because he was “busy”. He did say however, that he would issue a statement in the next few days.

Christian organisations in Rawalpindi and Lahore planned protests for today.

__________________________________________________

Courage- Fuel For The Believers Life

Courage is the bridge that carries us from a nominal existence on earth to an inexplicable longing for a heavenly future. Those who fully understand the certainty of heaven’s existence find it easier to exchange their comparably paltry lives on earth for eternal citizenship in heaven. Courage helps us to let go of all we cling to on earth—all the things that make us long to stay here. It takes courage to believe in a life after death. After all, life on earth is all we really know until the moment we die. We are courageous when we launch out in faith, believing Christ has made it possible for us to cross into eternity with him. Once we have made that firm decision, we can face life with purpose and death with courage….. voice of the martyrs

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
— Philippians 1:21

“Kindness is the way to our enemies’ hearts. And it may do something for their souls. God uses kindness as his strategy of choice when dealing with us. Instead of giving us exactly what we deserve for our offenses against him, he deals with us kindly. His kindness is an example of how we should fashion our own approach to those who offend us. Kindness arrests their attention. It is as unexpected as it is undeserved. However, regardless of their response, we must follow the example of our Lord when dealing with our enemies. Who needs your kindness today?” extreme devotion -vom

When we love our enemies, those that spitefully use us, (matthew 5:44) it really confuses them. This confusion will lead one to clarity in life, and that in Christ.

Pray that God will under gird His people as they stand with Him and upon His word.

malachi

‘the invincible will of God’ – continued

boatstormtossed

 

A prelude to this post can be found at ‘the invincible will of God’ and preferred reading before continuing.

Before expounding this truth any further there are three scriptural text that we must consider:

 

Proverbs 21:1

The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water, He turneth it whiter so ever He will.

 

Nahum 1:2-8

The Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. The mountains quake at Him and the hills melt and the earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world and all that dwell therein. Who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire and the rocks are thrown down by Him.

 

Hebrews 13:20-21

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

There are many other scripture references that we could have used to bring home this point, but for the sake of time and space I have selected these three to bring out three truths that permeate in the sovereign realm of God and He operates in these areas in bringing about His divine will.

 

Controls the hearts of men:

Consider His working in King Cyrus of Persia (Ezra 1:1-3)… In the first year of Cyrus, a pagan king, the Lord stirred up his spirit to build Him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Not only did Cyrus release the Jews and allow them to return to Jerusalem, he made sure that they had all the material needs to complete such a task… The decree of Cyrus? The hand of God and Cyrus’ heart in that sovereign hand.

I have found that man is often oblivious to God’s hand and involvement when He is in fact at work. If we consider Pharaoh, Exodus 1:10, Pharaoh enacted a plan that would prevent the seed of Abraham from becoming to great in number and possibly unifying with Egypt’s enemies.

The affliction and oppression of the Hebrews and the killing of the male  children was at least in Pharaoh’s mind a tool to keep the people of God in submission and place of service, but God used these very acts as a tool to bring them out of their complacent service to the Egyptians and to the point of crying out for God’s mercy.

The fullness of time had come, “that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them 400 years”. Pharaoh’s best laid plans to thwart, extort and suppress the people of God had been used of God to bring His people back to Him that He might set His love upon them and bring them out with a mighty hand. What we see here is Pharaoh’s heart is in the hand of the Lord and Him turning it whither so ever He wills.

 

Controls the elements in nature:

I have found this to be the most used tool of God in bringing about His will. From famines and droughts to a mighty tempest in the sea, in order to get a group of fearful mariners to toss His disobedient prophet overboard that He might realign him in a spirit of repentance and service while all along giving us a powerful life lesson concerning the physical death, burial and resurrection His Christ… Yeshua ha Massicah. He has His way in the whirlwind and the storm. They are at His beckoning and control.

 

Controls every intricate detail of His child’s life:

From the selling of a young man into slavery by his brothers, to the rise and preeminence to the highest and trusted position of Pharaoh, Joseph was placed in a divine role to be used of God. His brother’s “intended it for evil but God meant it for good to save much people alive”.

 

 

For an in-depth study of these three spiritual truths one only need to consider the last years of the Apostle Paul’s life; Acts chapters  21-28.

Paul is arrested in Jerusalem and imprisoned in Caesarea. It was this night that the Lord stood by him and told him “to be of good cheer, for as thou have testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also in Rome”. Acts 21:11

Now for the Apostle Paul, I would liken this to when our Lord told His disciples in Capernaum that they must pass over to the other side. Come ‘hell or high water’, he is going to Rome and nothing shall pluck him out of the Father’s hand. Paul’s journey to Rome is… ‘the invincible will of God’

After the Lord appeared unto Paul that night, he was brought before the Sanhedrin, Felix, Festus and even King Agrippa. There were certain Jews that banded together and bound themselves  under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.

Even Agrippa thought Paul’s fate rested in his hands as he stated unto Festus “This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar”. The fate of Paul did not rest in the members of the Sanhedrin, or the soldier’s that counseled the centurion to “kill the prisoners lest they swim out and escape”, or even in King Agrippa, but their hearts were simply in the hand of God and He was orchestrating the events that would land Paul on the other side.

Loaded on a ship destined for Rome, the shipped is tossed to a fro amidst a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. I am sure the occupants of the ship must have been concerned for their welfare, but the Lord sent a messenger to reassure Paul that… “he would be brought before Caesar”.

The tempestuous wind wrought havoc on the ship but all the inhabitants of the ship were spared, just as they had been divinely commissioned by God.

Having escaped to the island called Malta, while gathering sticks for a fire, Paul was bitten by a venomous snake. Obliviously this snake was very poisonous as the barbarians thought Paul would most assuredly fallen down dead suddenly. But to they surprise the venom of the serpent was rendered non lethal, and that without the aid of an anti-venom. How can this be? ‘the invincible will of God’ 

Paul eventually arrived in Rome, but one must agree it was quite a bumpy ride to the other side. The Lord did not promise Paul it would be smooth sailing, just that he would get to the other side.

For two years he resided in Rome “preaching the kingdom of God and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus. The invincible will of God, and a sovereign, almighty God that will bring it to fruition.

malachi

‘the invincible will of God’

boatstormtossed

In the tempestuous seas of distress and hopelessness, God reveals Himself.  Mark 4:35-41  

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them to me is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and md my Father are one.” John 10: 27-30

Shortly after Jesus had ordained the twelve that they should be with Him and that He might send them forth to preach, He uses a very powerful life lesson to show them that though they meet grievous opposition in their endeavors they can stand fast knowing that they are invincible in His will.

The life lesson is found in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, but for our consideration we will look at Mark’s account found in Mark 4:35-41.

The setting is in a city called Capernaum which is located along the west coast of the Sea of Galilee. After teaching four foundational parables concerning the propagation of this kingdom message, He instructs the twelve to enter into a ship and says…

 “let us pass over unto the other side”

Now before we get in to the detailed events that followed, we must understand that the divine will of God for these disciples is to…

 “pass over to the other side”.

For you or I to make such a statement would not carry the same element of certainty as that with which our Lord spoke. For our words are often laden with good intentions that never come to fruition, so we might be better served if we said “if the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that”. For we know not what shall be on the morrow and our life is but a vapor, it appears but for a little time and then it is gone.

On the other hand, understanding the sovereignty of God, and realizing that God not only knows the beginning from the end, but is in fact in control of everything, when He says…

“let us pass over unto the other side”

… this statement carries the absolute fact, no ifs, ands, or buts, that they will make it to the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee… the divine will of God. One thing to note… He did not say that it would be smooth sailing… just that, “they would pass over to the other side”.

 

Now in the midst of the journey, there arose a great storm of wind and the waves beat into the ship and it began to take on water as if it were to sink. Personally I can understand the fear of the disciples… thoughts of perishing… it is the fleshly way of thinking, to which I quite frequently participate.

Looking at the events from the human perspective:

The boat is rocking and a rolling and with hast they awake the Master…

“carest thou not that we perish?”

This is the way the mind works when it is faced with catastrophic uncertainties and the events are viewed as nothing more than coincidences. It is not that way at all. God is sovereign and in complete control of every situation and His people would do well to understand this, or maybe I should say remember this.

It is paramount for us also to understand that the storm did not take the Lord by surprise. If the disciples could have foreseen the turbulent storm they would most assuredly delayed the trip. Yet Christ knew the events that would take place in route to the eastern shore, in fact I can see His hand in it. In these early stages of calling His disciples, He wants them to understand that with their commission to carry this kingdom message, there will be tempestuous seas of distress and hopelessness, but they do not have to be fearful and overwhelmed with the circumstances, for they are ‘invincible in His will’. Consider this; If they are held in the hollow of God’s hand, what possible force is strong enough to remove them? NONE! NONE! NONE!Do we get it?

 

What can we learn from the events of the tempestuous ride across the Sea of Galilee?

1. What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him? He tells us He is much more than a man. The He and the Father are one. He being God in the flesh has total control of the elements, even they must obey His command. He not only is the God of the living, but the dead and they are at His very beckoning. Oh what a Savior. Oh what a God.

2. When we line ourselves up in the center of God’s will, we don’t have to be fearful. We can put our trust in The God that spoke this very creation into existence and it is at His control… It does not have a spirit of rebellion as man but does His perfect will. Remember His words of encouragement when you find yourself in the same.. “peace be still”.

I have attached an old Christian hymn that one might find a source of encouragement when sailing on these tempestuous seas of life……

‘Like A River Glorious’ Frances Havergal and John Mountain

1. Like a river glorious, is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth, fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth, deeper all the way.  
Refrain
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

 

2. Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there. 
Refrain

3. Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do.
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true. 
Refrain

malachi

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    "Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me." Martin Niemoller

    Who will speak for those who can't speak for themselves?

    “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this’, does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who guards your life know it? Will not He repay each one according to what he has done?” Proverbs 24:11-12