Thursday, 31 October 2013

VOM Prayer Points


KENYA: Church Set Ablaze by Rioters Seeking Retaliation

Militant Muslims, angered over the murder of an imam, sought retaliation by burning a neighbouring Salvation Army church on 4 October in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa.
While the attack was taking place, the young militants blocked the main road leading to the church and forced police to use tear gas and gunshots to disperse the out-of-control rioting.
According to the Red Cross, four people were killed and at least seven wounded during the clashes between police and rebels, while the church was burning in flames.
A spokesperson from the country's security forces explained that the day before the church attack, the imam, Sheikh Ibrahim Omar, was killed in a drive-by shooting after preaching in a mosque linked to al-Shabaab, the Somali extremist group responsible for the torturous killing of 67 people in the 21 September attack at Nairobi's Westgate Mall.
The Kenyan government has announced that it will launch a war against the extremists due to their involvement in the horrific atrocities that took place during the mall attack. However, its security leader, Robert Kitor, has publically assured that the security forces were not involved in the killing of Sheikh Omar.
Sources: BBC, Reuters, CP World

Prayer Points

  • Pray for the citizens of Kenya who are suffering grief, shock and devastation. Ask the Lord of all comfort to minister His love and grace to them.
  • Pray for those in authority, attempting to bring an end to the work of this terrorist organisation. Ask the Lord to grant them His favour and protection.
  • Pray many in the terrorist group will be granted an opportunity to hear the Gospel and be transformed by the Holy Spirit.


COLOMBIA: Terrorist Bombing Threatens Christians and Neighbouring Families

Greg Musselman of Voice of the Martyrs Canada, who has recently returned from Colombia, reports that a bomb blast took place near the home of one of VOM￿s in-country ministry partners, causing terrible destruction in the neighbouring area.
This former FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander-turned-evangelist is not sure if the blast was meant as a warning for him to cease his Christian activity.
This particular bombing incident, which took place in the country's Cauca state, has caused injuries to at least nine victims, including children. Police commander Ricardo Augusto Alarcon states that the explosion has also left a six-foot deep hole in the road and damaged at least 10 houses.
The police are blaming Colombia's largest rebel group, FARC, for the attack, specifically the group's 6th Front, which operates in the area and controls much of the marijuana production in Cauca.
Although VOM's dedicated ministry partner is well aware of the dangers he and his family are facing while spreading the message of God's love, such acts of violence and terrorism will not deter him from continuing the work of the ministry.
Sources: Colombia Reports, Voice of the Martyrs Canada

Prayer Points

  • Thank the Lord for this faithful worker. Pray the Lord will protect him, his family and his contacts. Pray for those suffering injury as a result of the blast.
  • Ask the Lord to intervene in Colombia's troublesome areas where different factions of the FARC terrorist group are threatening the safety, well-being and peace of the country's citizens.
  • Pray for the members of the FARC. May the Lord work in their hearts and minds to reveal Himself to many.

NEPAL| Christian Killed While Praying for His Attacker

An elder in the Believers Church in Nepal, which is supported by Gospel for Asia, was killed in the early morning hours of 20 October 2013 during prayer for a sick man.
Debalal, 36, was called to the home of Kumar Sardarat at 3am to pray for his severe pain. Debalal was at first reluctant to go because of the late hour and because Kumar and his family are devout Hindus.
As Debalal prayed, Kumar left the room and returned with a sharp, curved knife called a khukuri and an iron rod. He beat Debalal severely with the iron rod before slitting his throat, killing him. None of the neighbours, who should have been able to hear the attack, intervened.
Kumar is in police custody. Debalal leaves behind a wife and son. According to a VOM worker, Debalal's wife is very depressed.
Sources: Voice of the Martyrs USA, Gospel for Asia

Prayer Points

  • Ask the Lord to be close to Debalal's wife and son as they come to terms with the shock and grief. Pray they will realise that the Lord walks with them during this time of great suffering (Psalm 23).
  • Pray the perpetrator will be brought to justice in this life and to repentance for the next.
  • Pray the Lord will bless Nepali Christians with a spirit of boldness to allow them to continue to serve Him in spite of the dangers.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Praise Point

I just finished my exams and 13 years of school. God saw me through it all, and especially these last exams, so praise him for that with me!

Hoping to get back into blogging tomorrow.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Abort73 Prayer Requests.

  • PRAISE: The new Abort73 vision booklets are finished, ordered and paid for! More than $2,000 was given last week in response to our booklet appeal. Overall October giving sits just north of $7,300—the most we've received since January!
  • Pray the booklets print correctly and serve their purpose in the coming year—to introduce new people to Abort73 and convince them that the active defense of abortion-vulnerable children is of crucial import.
  • Pray for more web visits. Fall traffic has not bounced back as it has in years past. October visits are down 35% from last year. Year-to-date traffic is still slightly ahead of 2012, but is trending down quickly.
  • Also pray for increased shirt sales. Fewer web visits equal fewer shirt sales. Fewer shirt sales equal fewer web visits. Pray we can break the cycle! 
Michael Spielman
Loxafamosity Ministries

Monday, 28 October 2013

Psalm 61

Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.

 From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
 For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.

 I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
 For you, God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

 Increase the days of the king’s life,
his years for many generations.
 May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever;
appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.

 Then I will ever sing in praise of your name
and fulfill my vows day after day.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Isaiah 51

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness
and who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were cut
and to the quarry from which you were hewn;
 look to Abraham, your father,
and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
When I called him he was only one man,
and I blessed him and made him many.
 The Lord will surely comfort Zion
and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden,
her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

 “Listen to me, my people;
hear me, my nation:
Instruction will go out from me;
my justice will become a light to the nations.
 My righteousness draws near speedily,
my salvation is on the way,
and my arm will bring justice to the nations.
The islands will look to me
and wait in hope for my arm.
 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
look at the earth beneath;
the heavens will vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment
and its inhabitants die like flies.
But my salvation will last forever,
my righteousness will never fail.

 “Hear me, you who know what is right,
you people who have taken my instruction to heart:
Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals
or be terrified by their insults.
 For the moth will eat them up like a garment;
the worm will devour them like wool.
But my righteousness will last forever,
my salvation through all generations.”

 Awake, awake, arm of the Lord,
clothe yourself with strength!
Awake, as in days gone by,
as in generations of old.
Was it not you who cut Rahab to pieces,
who pierced that monster through?
 Was it not you who dried up the sea,
the waters of the great deep,
who made a road in the depths of the sea
so that the redeemed might cross over?
 Those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

 “I, even I, am he who comforts you.
Who are you that you fear mere mortals,
human beings who are but grass,
 that you forget the Lord your Maker,
who stretches out the heavens
and who lays the foundations of the earth,
that you live in constant terror every day
because of the wrath of the oppressor,
who is bent on destruction?
For where is the wrath of the oppressor?
 The cowering prisoners will soon be set free;
they will not die in their dungeon,
nor will they lack bread.
 For I am the Lord your God,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
the Lord Almighty is his name.
 I have put my words in your mouth
and covered you with the shadow of my hand—
I who set the heavens in place,
who laid the foundations of the earth,
and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”
The Cup of the Lord’s Wrath

 Awake, awake!
Rise up, Jerusalem,
you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord
the cup of his wrath,
you who have drained to its dregs
the goblet that makes people stagger.
 Among all the children she bore
there was none to guide her;
among all the children she reared
there was none to take her by the hand.
 These double calamities have come upon you—
who can comfort you?—
ruin and destruction, famine and sword—
who can console you?
 Your children have fainted;
they lie at every street corner,
like antelope caught in a net.
They are filled with the wrath of the Lord,
with the rebuke of your God.

 Therefore hear this, you afflicted one,
made drunk, but not with wine.
 This is what your Sovereign Lord says,
your God, who defends his people:
“See, I have taken out of your hand
the cup that made you stagger;
from that cup, the goblet of my wrath,
you will never drink again.
 I will put it into the hands of your tormentors,
who said to you,
‘Fall prostrate that we may walk on you.’
And you made your back like the ground,
like a street to be walked on.”

Saturday, 26 October 2013

2 Kings 19:14-19

If you've got time, take a read of the chapter preceding this and the one after - they're encouraging chapters and always remind me that I need to trust God more.

Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.

“It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.”

Friday, 25 October 2013

VOM Prayer watch

NORTH KOREA: China Attempts to Block Radio Broadcast into North Korea

Chinese authorities are targeting a Christian radio broadcast produced by North Korean Christians in partnership with Seoul USA and Voice of the Martyrs. Both the Chinese and North Korean governments have unsuccessfully attempted to block the radio broadcast.
This is exciting news for Christians involved in the shortwave radio program because it demonstrates that North Korean and Chinese officials are threatened by the small broadcasting program. When asked why this particular broadcast is such a threat, an analyst noted that it is a purely Christian program voiced by North Koreans.
Most Christian broadcasts into North Korea are voiced by South Koreans, whose accent is more difficult for North Koreans to understand. Authorities assume that North Koreans can't understand these broadcasts or are turned off by the voices of 'foreigners.'
Source: Voice of the Martyrs USA

Prayer Points

  • Praise the Lord, for His word never returns to Him void but accomplishes His desire and achieves the purpose for which it was sent (Isaiah 55:11).
  • Pray for the programmers and engineers who create the broadcasts.
  • Pray all those who hear, may many be granted His gift of grace.

23 Oct 2013

NIGERIA: Sharia Law to be Enforced in Kano State

Kano is one of nine states in northern Nigeria that has introduced Shariah law. Southern Nigeria is mostly Christian and is ruled by secular law. Islamic police in northern Nigeria's Kano state will begin enforcing Sharia law.
Ten thousand officers will be on the streets making sure all citizens, including Christians, adhere to the strict Islamic legal code. Law enforcement has orders to arrest anyone wearing "indecent dress" such as sleeveless T-shirts and pants that cut off just below the knee.
They'll also be watching the city's small, motorised rickshaw taxis for men and women travelling together.
Kano is one of nine states in northern Nigeria that has introduced Shariah law. Southern Nigeria is mostly Christian and is ruled by secular law.
Sources: Christian Broadcasting Network, International Christian Concern

Prayer Points

  • Pray the Lord will give Christians the wisdom and the patience needed at this time.
  • Ask Him to protect His people in Kano state.
  • Pray the Lord will pour out His Spirit on Northern Nigeria to bring revival.

23 Oct 2013

EGYPT: Three killed in Attack at Christian Wedding

On Sunday night two unidentified gunmen riding motorcycles opened fire on guests exiting the Virgin Church, located in Warrag, Giza. The gunmen fired automatic weapons as the guests exited the church after attending a wedding ceremony.
According to Reverend Justus, the pastor of the church, one man, one women and one 8 year old girl were killed, and 18 were injured.Reverend Justus said the gunmen were masked and were able to flee despite traffic congestion.
The Director of Giza Security formed a task force to find the gunmen. The Corniche Road leading to the area was evacuated. The attack is yet to be classified as "criminal" or "terrorist."
Coptic Christians make up 10 percent of Egypt's 85 million people, and have generally coexisted peacefully with majority Sunni Muslims for centuries, despite bouts of sectarian tension. But the army's overthrow of elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi on 3 July has been followed by the worst attacks on churches and Christian properties in years.
Sources: Assyrian News Agency, Reuters

Prayer Points

  • Ask the Lord to heal the injured and comfort those who have lost loved ones.
  • Pray He will help the bride and groom along with all their friends and relatives to overcome their shock and grief.
  • Pray the ongoing violence and unrest will be used by God to strengthen His people, bring about church unity and bring more people into His Kingdom.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

True satisfaction.

Image source
John 4:13-14
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
This passage has always been confusing to me. I've never quite understood exactly what Jesus was talking about: why he jumps from topic to topic without directly answering the Samaritan woman's questions and what he meant by saying that anyone who accepted the living water he offers would never have to drink normal water again.

Last night in our family quiet time we read J. C. Ryle's commentary on this passage, and he made a comment that made it a whole lot clearer. Take a look:
Thousands of men have every temporal good thing that heart could wish, and are yet weary and dissatisfied. It is now as it was in David's time--"There be many that say, Who will show us any good." (Psalm 4:6.) Riches, and rank, and place, and power, and learning, and amusements, are utterly unable to fill the soul. He that only drinks of these waters is sure to thirst again. Every Ahab finds a Naboth's vineyard near by his palace, and every Haman sees a Mordecai at the gate. There is no heart satisfaction in this world, until we believe on Christ. Jesus alone can fill up the empty places of our inward man. Jesus alone can give solid, lasting, enduring happiness. The peace that He imparts is a fountain, which, once set flowing within the soul, flows on to all eternity. Its waters may have their ebbing seasons; but they are living waters, and they shall never be completely dried.
What Jesus is saying in this passage is that he can offer the woman, and us, something that the world can never give. Before we put our faith in Jesus we are continually chasing after satisfaction. We keep seeking what we think will make us happy, but in reality none of it lasts. We might feel accepted and loved for a short time, or content with our vast wealth for a moment, but it quickly flies away and we cannot grasp it or keep it close. Soon enough we go out in search of more, we need another fix, another drink. We truly are slaves of sin!

But what Jesus is saying is that he can offer true satisfaction and freedom from the endless cycle we are trapped in. Jesus alone can offer true satisfaction, and it comes through faith in him. At the fall (Genesis 3), the human race as a whole rejected God. Consequently they became sinners and lost their perfect relationship with him. We are exactly the same - we have sinned and we have lost our ability to fulfil our purpose: to glorify God and enjoy him forever. We are lost in a depraved cycle of trying to please ourselves, yet we can never truly be content - we are guilty and broken, slaves of sin and entirely corrupted by it.

That's why Jesus goes on to mention her husband, and then proves he is the Messiah by saying “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” She was searching for satisfaction in her relationships, yet could not find it because they are all broken by sin (we see that everywhere in the world now as well). What Jesus was offering her was far better then anything on this earth - it was forgiveness from sins and the promise of eternal contentment in God's presence, worshipping him in heaven for ever after death.

What do you search for your satisfaction in? If you're honest with yourself, unless it is Jesus, it never has and never can truly satisfy you. (Tell me if I'm wrong in that).

Through Jesus there is forgiveness and grace, a restoration of that relationship we had with God. Consequently we can return to some extent to that perfect satisfaction that Adam and Eve would have had in the garden: the contentment that is one of our basic desires as humans. Of course, while we are still on this earth it is still marred by sin and we are still flawed, but we look forward to when it will be complete in heaven.

I think that's what Jesus is talking about. As it is we continually need to come back to the things of this world to be 're-satisfied', but then we get thirsty again, and need to drink again. And again. And again. And again. And again, until our lives are gone. Jesus offers the drink that we only need to take once. He offers salvation to us, as the ultimate sacrifice, and when we put our faith in him we don't have to keep coming back for more. There is complete forgiveness in Jesus for everyone who truly puts their faith in him and repents. We don't need to continually be forgiven every time we sin - we don't need another sacrifice. That "Spring of water" - that salvation - doesn't just go away. Instead it "will become in [us] a spring of water welling up to eternal life" - it will continue and grow as we live for God in this life, and it will come to completion in heaven when we will be truly holy, truly satisfied in God alone and with him for all eternity.

In short the living water Jesus is talking about is salvation: his death and resurrection for us so that we can be forgiven. And it grows and becomes more and more satisfying as we continue to trust and obey him in our lives, both of which help us glorify and adore God for who he is and all he has done. That's where true satisfaction comes from: from fulfilling our purpose and both glorifying and enjoying God.

Here's another quote from Ryle to finish up, and I think it fits in:
The infinite willingness of Christ to receive sinners is a golden truth, which ought to be treasured up in our hearts, and diligently impressed on others. The Lord Jesus is far more ready to hear than we are to pray, and far more ready to give favours than we are to ask them. All day long He stretches out His hands to the disobedient and gainsaying. He has thoughts of pity and compassion towards the vilest of sinners, even when they have no thoughts of Him. He stands waiting to bestow mercy and grace on the worst and most unworthy, if they will only cry to Him. He will never draw back from that well known promise, "Ask and you shall receive--seek and you shall find." The lost will discover at the last day, that they had not, because they asked not.
Do you have this living water? Have you asked for it? Put your faith in Jesus and give up your sin! He is always willing to forgive!

I hope those thoughts were encouraging and challenging for you!
God Bless!
Nat.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Abort73

Abort73, an organisation that works to inform people about abortion and the wide-ranging the effects of it, has just released a new booklet to describe their site, and I thought it was worth mentioning.

You can view the booklet here.

I've found the website helpful in looking at a biblical reason to stand up against Abortion, and also just for simple facts and resources - I hope you'll take a look and find it helpful!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Psalm 19



The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
 Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.

 The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
 The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
 The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.

 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
 By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
 But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Isaiah 41



“Be silent before me, you islands!
Let the nations renew their strength!
Let them come forward and speak;
let us meet together at the place of judgment.

 “Who has stirred up one from the east,
calling him in righteousness to his service?
He hands nations over to him
and subdues kings before him.
He turns them to dust with his sword,
to windblown chaff with his bow.
 He pursues them and moves on unscathed,
by a path his feet have not traveled before.
 Who has done this and carried it through,
calling forth the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord—with the first of them
and with the last—I am he.”

 The islands have seen it and fear;
the ends of the earth tremble.
They approach and come forward;
 they help each other
and say to their companions, “Be strong!”
 The metalworker encourages the goldsmith,
and the one who smooths with the hammer
spurs on the one who strikes the anvil.
One says of the welding, “It is good.”
The other nails down the idol so it will not topple.

 “But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
you descendants of Abraham my friend,
 I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 “All who rage against you
will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
will be as nothing and perish.
 Though you search for your enemies,
you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
will be as nothing at all.
 For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.
 Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob,
little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
 “See, I will make you into a threshing sledge,
new and sharp, with many teeth.
You will thresh the mountains and crush them,
and reduce the hills to chaff.
 You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up,
and a gale will blow them away.
But you will rejoice in the Lord
and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

 “The poor and needy search for water,
but there is none;
their tongues are parched with thirst.
But I the Lord will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
 I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
and the parched ground into springs.
 I will put in the desert
the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers in the wasteland,
the fir and the cypress together,
 so that people may see and know,
may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

 “Present your case,” says the Lord.
“Set forth your arguments,” says Jacob’s King.
 “Tell us, you idols,
what is going to happen.
Tell us what the former things were,
so that we may consider them
and know their final outcome.
Or declare to us the things to come,
 tell us what the future holds,
so we may know that you are gods.
Do something, whether good or bad,
so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.
 But you are less than nothing
and your works are utterly worthless;
whoever chooses you is detestable.

 “I have stirred up one from the north, and he comes—
one from the rising sun who calls on my name.
He treads on rulers as if they were mortar,
as if he were a potter treading the clay.
 Who told of this from the beginning, so we could know,
or beforehand, so we could say, ‘He was right’?
No one told of this,
no one foretold it,
no one heard any words from you.
 I was the first to tell Zion, ‘Look, here they are!’
I gave to Jerusalem a messenger of good news.
 I look but there is no one—
no one among the gods to give counsel,
no one to give answer when I ask them.
 See, they are all false!
Their deeds amount to nothing;
their images are but wind and confusion.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

"...Hate what is evil; cling to what is good."

Romans 12:9
"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good."

Image source
The last two commands in this passage are basically opposites of the same coin. By doing one we have to do the other. If we hate evil, we need to cling to good. I we are clinging to good, we must hate evil. (Note: I've done a post on the first command here)

Hate what is evil

We are called to hate sin. As Christians, how do we do this? i think it comes from knowing God. When we know God and all he has done for us, we will love him sincerely. As a result of knowing God we will realise both how holy and perfect he is and therefore how much he hates sin. I think hatred for sin naturally comes from genuine love for God.
So how do we develop that love for God?

  • Know him better. We do that by reading his word and spending time in prayer asking for his help. We need to know who God is to be able to love him, and he has revealed who he is through his word - not through anything else at this time.
  • Know what he's done in the world and for us. Know what he did through Jesus for us. We do that again by spending time in his word, and reflecting on it. Through God's works we see his character more clearly. It's easy to know that God is love, but that becomes so much clearer when we see that he (The son) came to earth as a man, suffered and died in our place.
  • Obey. Our obedience to God needs to come out of our love for God, but I think by obeying with the intention of growing in love for God then we begin to develop that love. I may be wrong on that, but we most certainly are called to obey out of love, and it seems to me that we also learn to love God more as we trust him enough to obey him.
But there are also other things we need to do to hate evil. We need to get rid of sin in our lives. We need to pray for God's help to hate our sin. We all have different temptations that we fall into and different sins that we love. For me there are many, but especially pride, selfishness and idolatry in putting both myself and my friends before my love for God. 

It's hard to hate these things that we love. But we need to hate them, and through the Holy Spirit, God can change us and help us to love him more. It's only through his grace that we can do this. But we have to work at it.

Cling to what is good.
As I said before, this is the flip side of hating what is evil. As part of hating evil, we need to cling to what is good. These two things work together. As we hate evil we will naturally love what is good. As we love what is good, we must hate evil - otherwise we cannot truly be loving good. The two are opposites: evil and good cannot ever both be loved by us. They are like opposing sides of a magnet that repel one another - they cannot be forced together

So what does clinging to good look like? God is good. He is the definition of goodness. He creates the standard for what is good. Therefore clinging to good is clinging to God and relying on him. In our society we love independence. We love being ourselves and living how we want. But God calls us to submit entirely to him, to rely on him and his grace.
The only way to cling to what is good is to cling to God.

But clinging to good does look a bit more specific then just saying you're a Christian. We need to obey God if we are relying on him and trusting him. If we hate evil, we need to do good - and as I said before, goodness is God's standard. Therefore we need to obey God. 

How do we know what God wants us to do? From his word again. We need to be pending time reading and thinking about and applying the bible to our lives. Thinking about where we are disobeying God and doing it.

Our actions do not save us. They don't make us right in God's sight - we have all sinned and cannot save ourselves. Jesus came to earth and he was perfect, and it is only through faith in him that our sins can be removed (that's why he died on the cross and rose again). But if we truly love God and truly trust in him - if our faith is truly in him, we will obey his commands. We will hate what is evil (our sin, which meant we deserve hell) and cling to what is good - to our saviour and to God's perfect standard.

I hope those thoughts were helpful - feel free to post any comments or thoughts below!
God Bless!
Nat.

Friday, 18 October 2013

A prayer point.

Over the last few days there've been fires all across the state I live in here in Australia and hundreds of people have lost their homes and all their possessions. As far as I know only one man has died, but there are a few in hospital.
  • Pray for those who have been injured or have lost a family member - pray that God's will will be done in these situations, and that he will work all of this for his glory and for the good of his people (Romans 8:28), comforting those who mourn and protecting those who are injured. Pray also that it will be a good time for the gospel to go out to these people.
  • Pray for the firefighters, who are risking their lives either voluntarily or because it is their job to do so. Pray that God will protect them and make their work effective, and thank God for their efforts to protect us. Pray also that God will work these fires as a way for his gospel to be spread to the firefighters.
  • Pray for those who have lost their homes and possessions - I cannot fathom what that would be like, but pray that they will be provided for by their communities, an especially that our churches will use the opportunity to show the gospel through lovingly helping those in need.

"Love must be sincere..."

Romans 12:9
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Image source
Here we have three commands. They're short and simple, but so full of depth and application if we take them on board. Today I'll just be looking at the first one.

Love must be Sincere.

The word used for love here is "agape" which means unconditional love. Love that is entirely selfless like God's love for us.

I've heard this love paralleled to the stretching out of a limb to it's fullest extent and then going further. We need to love people so much that we will go further then we think we possibly can to help them and to show that love to them. This love is meant to be the same as the love God has for us. How did he show this love?
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)
Jesus, who is God and was with God before time began, who was there at creation (John 1) and who is perfect and holy and cannot stand sin, willingly came to earth as a man. He was born in a stable - rejected from birth - and lived among us: sinful men and women. He suffered and was murdered by us. But that was his plan - so that he could be the sacrifice for us, taking our sin and God's wrath for that sin on himself. Because Jesus was God he could pay for our sins. Because he was perfect and yet human he could take our sins on himself and be the "lamb without blemish" that we needed. On the cross Jesus suffered what every christian rightfully should have suffered for eternity in hell. Then he died and was buried. On the third day he rose again to prove that he really was God and had truly paid for our sins, and now he has gone to heaven to prepare a place for us and to intercede for us before God continually until he returns to judge and brings all his people (Christians) to heaven.

That is sincere love. It is the type of love we are commanded to have. How does that compare to you and me? I find it hard to love people enough to give up my time money and energy to hang out with them when they need company. Jesus came and gave his life for sinners who hated him - would we die for people who hated and rejected us?

Firstly we need to ask this question: Do I even love God that much? Do I love him enough that I would die for him?
If the answer is yes, then do you love him enough to live for him here and now? To share the gospel even if it means people hate you for it? To be godly even if it means missing out on the "good" things in this life?
Without his mercy and grace we cannot even love God this much. Yet we are commanded to do so, and through the Holy Spirit God can work in our lives to change us and to create this unconditional love in us. He commands us not only to love him who has done so much for us, but to also love others that much.

What about loving those who are 'unlovable'? Those we just get annoyed at? Those who we clash with whenever we're around them?
We need to love them sincerely. That's hard! This isn't easy work - God doesn't call us to an easy life. It's so hard to love people, especially those we don't already get on with. And it's even harder to love them selflessly - not wanting anything back from them and not based on anything good about them. We need to love them because God loved us, because he loves them and because he has called us to love them. And we need to work hard to be sincere and honest in that love.

How do we develop this love?

  • It has to flow from our love for God. So the first step is loving Him more - knowing who he is and what he has done and praying for his help to love him more. We show our love for God through obedience to him, and we also build it through trusting him enough to obey him even when it costs us. He will enable us to do so as we trust in him, pray, read his word and start putting it into practice.
  • We also need to pray for his help to love others, realising that they are just as sinful as us, and yet Jesus died for them. There's no room for pride in sincere love, there is no room for selfishness. 
  • It also comes down to just doing it. It's easy to say we don't love people as much as we should. But when we realise that, we need to work immediately to change it and start loving people in our actions. As we do that we pray that God will help us through the Holy Spirit to sincerely love those people like he loved us.
What does this love look like?

Image source
Between Christians it looks like having a genuine interest in the lives of fellow Christians. Being deeply involved with them and ready to help them however we can and whenever we can. When people are sick, we should get along side them and help them. When they're struggling we should do the same. We should be praying with them and for them, listening to them, encouraging them and sharing God's word with them lovingly. We should also be ready to lovingly rebuke them for sin and challenge them, while also being ready to be corrected ourselves for where we are falling short of God's standard.

For us and Non-Christians it primarily has to be sharing the gospel. The result of rejecting God is his wrath eternally - we all sin, and his standard is perfection. Jesus is the only one who could take our sin and God's wrath for it. Therefore, if we love these people we need to share the gospel with them - tell them that they are dead in their sins, and cannot save themselves. And tell them that God provided a way for them to be saved: He sent his one and only son into the world, so that whoever repents of their sins and puts their faith in Jesus will be forgiven. he will take their sin and they will be saved by God's limitless grace. 

We also need to share the gospel with them by living it: By loving fellow Christians and obeying God. In doing so we prove that God does in fact change lives and we should that we are different. Being salt and light involves both words and actions.

How are you going with love? Do you love God as you should? Do you love others as you should? How about those people you just really dislike? 

"Love must be Sincere"
Soli Deo Gloria!
Nat.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

VOM Prayer Watch

16 Oct 2013

KAZAKHSTAN: Update - Pastor Under House Arrest Pending Trial

Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev, who has been imprisoned for nearly five months in Astana, has been placed under house arrest for the remainder of his pre-trial detention, according to a court decision.
The 66-year-old pastor has not seen his wife, Alfiya, or other family members since his 17 May arrest.
While under house arrest, Kashkumbayev is 'banned from associating with anyone apart from close relatives living with him, receiving and sending letters, holding conversations with the use of any communication devices, and only able to leave his home for medical appointments.'
Pastor Kashkumbayev was arrested on charges of 'causing considerable harm to the psychological health' of a church member and was accused of using 'stupefying substances' on church members, a reference to the red tea used as a non-alcoholic Communion wine.
A church member insisted that Pastor Kashkumbayev 'is totally innocent and has not harmed my health at all.'The pre-trial detention is scheduled to last until 17 November.
Source: Forum 18 News

Prayer Points

  • Thank the Lord for the opportunity for Pastor Kashkumbayev to return home.
  • Pray the Lord will intervene in this case to ensure a favourable outcome.
  • Ask the Lord to strengthen the faith of Pastor Kashkumbayev, his family members and his congregation members.


IRAQ: Trusting God Amidst Escalating Violence

The following is an urgent update received recently from Canon Andrew White, known as the Vicar of Baghdad:
"I returned to Baghdad following a trip to the US and Canada. Whilst the trip was very good...when I arrived, I found things the most desperate they have ever been. The violence and murders have ascended to such levels that scores of people are being killed each day.... Things are so awful, the Lord is our only hope.
"Violence is all around us. Today alone, there have been 15 suicide bombs. Yesterday, there were even car bombs in the safety of the Kurdish city of Erbil. In the past day alone, one bomb at a funeral killed [at least 60] people. Most of what really happened has not even been on the news. Yesterday, I preached on the hope of the Second Coming. That is all we have to hold on to, for 'soon and very soon we are going to see the Lord.'
"It is so painful to have person after person come to me and say they have got to leave, including my son who has been with me since he was ten. With him leaving...I confess I thought, 'How on earth will I cope?' Then I remembered that (God) who has called me to this place will never fail me. As He remained with Daniel, so He will remain with me. You cannot leave those you love, and you cannot make those you love stay, when in reality you know how dangerous it is for them.... Thank you for standing with me in the midst of such pain. May God bless you much."
Sources: VOM Canada, BBC

Prayer Points

  • Pray Canon White and the remnant of believers in Iraq will be reminded that they are surrounded by God's mighty army of angels and, more importantly, His powerful presence.
  • Pray that they will also be given opportunities to minister His hope, provision and healing to the unsaved, needy, bereaved, hurting, fearful and despondent.
  • Pray the Lord will bring peace and stability to Iraq; commit to the Lord all those in authority in this nation.


16 Oct 2013

PAKISTAN: Prisoner's Accuser Recants

Zafar Bhatti, accused of blasphemy under Pakistan's 295C blasphemy law, was charged and jailed in July 2012, based on rumours that he insulted Mohammed's mother in text messages.
Zafar worked selling medicines, and he often went door-to-door with his presentation. He also used those opportunities to share Christ in the various homes, reading the Bible and praying with families. He also established a small NGO called 'Jesus World Mission' whose purpose was to assist the poor.
In jail, Zafar has been beaten several times. Someone also tried to poison his food. Several of the Muslim prisoners pressure him, saying if he accepts Islam he will be forgiven.
Good news! Zafar Bhatti's accuser has recanted. However, Zafar is not free yet. He cannot appear before the court and the judge because it's too unsafe for him to travel from the jail to the courthouse. In Pakistan, those accused of blasphemy often face mob justice, even when they are exonerated by the court system. Instead, Zafar must wait until the judge and lawyers involved can arrange to visit him at the prison. This may take some time.
Source: Voice of the Martyrs USA

Prayer Points 

  • Thank the Lord the truth has come to light, pray Zafar will not have to wait too long for freedom.
  • In the meantime pray the Lord will work through him to be the light of Christ to other prisoners.
  • Pray the Lord will protect him from those who may wish to harm him. 

Philippians 4:4-20

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Thanks for Their Gifts
I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Psalm 71

 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
 In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
turn your ear to me and save me.
 Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
 Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.

 For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
my confidence since my youth.
 From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you.
 I have become a sign to many;
you are my strong refuge.
 My mouth is filled with your praise,
declaring your splendor all day long.

 Do not cast me away when I am old;
do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
 For my enemies speak against me;
those who wait to kill me conspire together.
 They say, “God has forsaken him;
pursue him and seize him,
for no one will rescue him.”
 Do not be far from me, my God;
come quickly, God, to help me.
 May my accusers perish in shame;
may those who want to harm me
be covered with scorn and disgrace.

 As for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.

 My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds,
of your saving acts all day long—
though I know not how to relate them all.
 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord;
I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.
 Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
 Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your mighty acts to all who are to come.

 Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
you who have done great things.
Who is like you, God?
 Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up.
 You will increase my honour
and comfort me once more.

 I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, my God;
I will sing praise to you with the lyre,
Holy One of Israel.
My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you—
 I whom you have delivered.
My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long,
for those who wanted to harm me
have been put to shame and confusion.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Romans 8:18-30

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Romans 8:31-39

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:1-17



Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry,“Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Psalm 103

 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.

 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbour his anger forever;
 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.

 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
 Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

A Prideful Blogger

Isaiah 2:11
The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.
I've been coming to realise more and more over time that I get quite proud about my blog. I start shifting the glory away from God and start quietly complimenting myself for it. In fact, I don't just do it over this blog, I do it over almost every aspect of my life. I slowly replace God as the centre of my attention and place myself there - and I hardly even realise it.

I am drawn towards pride quite easily, and Satan sucks me into it without me even realising. In my sinfulness I love being proud, but I also hate it because it dishonours God. God alone deserves the glory, and he alone with have it in the end. I am simply a wretched human who cannot stand against sin even though I have been freed from it. And yet I'm still proud.

What about you? If you're a Christian then how are you doing with pride? How are you doing with other areas in your life that you so often fall down in? If you aren't a Christian then pride is probably one of the reasons: your refusing to put God first in your life and follow his ways. Take a few minutes to be honest with yourself and God.

So how do we deal with pride?

John Piper gives 10 ways we can fight it in our lives. Click here to take a look

God Bless,
Nat.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

VOM Prayer Watch

SYRIA: The New Road to Damascus

The war in Syria is one of the greatest crises seen in the Middle East in the last 20 years. It has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people, both Muslim and Christian. More than 2 million Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries.
In the midst of this crisis, our persecuted family is boldly reaching out. And the reactions of Muslims have been astonishing.  "When you hear about one Muslim coming to Christ, it's a great thing, and everybody rejoices," said a VOM Syrian contact. "Today in Syria I'm not talking about one person. We're talking about hundreds and even thousands of Muslims coming to know Christ." 
Teams of believers are working in the refugee camps, providing Christ's love while sharing material aid, such as medical supplies and Bibles, as well as spiritual aid. Christians, widely considered 'infidels' in Syria, are now often and affectionately referred to as 'the Bible People.'
"This war is like a knife in the heart of the church," said VOM's National Contact. "No human can stand that suffering. But there is God's presence. I can see Christ in the midst of darkness."
Source: Voice of the Martyrs USA

Prayer Points

  • Thank the Lord for bringing many out of darkness and into His marvellous light. 
  • Please pray for Christians who face not only the horrific effects of war but also continued persecution.
  • Please also pray for those who are bravely using this opportunity to advance the Kingdom.

IRAN: Christians Jailed for their Faith

Iranian Christians are requesting prayer for their country following a series of arrests just as the government released some prisoners in an effort to appear more liberal.
At least 20 Christians, mainly from Muslim backgrounds, were detained in Tehran, Karaj, Isfahan, and Tabriz. As a sign that he is politically progressive, the government of incoming President Hassan Rouhani pardoned and then released 11 prisoners of conscience from prison on 20 September.
The next day, the family of imprisoned Pastor Behnam Irani went to meet with a judge in Karaj, Iran. Pastor Behnam's family asked the judge to pardon him and allow him to be released like the other prisoners of conscience. The judge denied the request, and stated that Behnam had to serve his six years of prison and that the only way he would be pardoned and released from prison was if he repented and returned to Islam.
Sources: Voice of the Martyrs USA and Mohabat News

Prayer Points

  • Thank the Lord for the recent release of 11 prisoners. Pray the Lord will protect and sustain those who remain in jail, especially Behnam Irani who is suffering from poor health.
  • Praise God for the growth of the church in Iran. Pray He will use these incidents of persecution to further spread the Gospel and strengthen the faith of His children.
  • Pray for President Hassan Rouhani and all those in authority in Iran.

INDONESIA: Update - Two Indonesian Christians Sentenced to Three Years Behind Bars for Evangelism

Two Indonesian Christians were sentenced to three years in prison on 2 August for conducting evangelistic activities among Muslims. The Christians, known as Kashfi Rosyid and Jalaludin, are brothers and were arrested by police on 20 March in Sukabumi, West Java, after an angry mob of approximately 200 Muslims attacked their home.
Last month it was reported that Mr Rosyid, age 58, and Mr Jalaludin, age 65, have both been beaten at least once by fellow inmates since their imprisonment, though the exact motive behind the attacks remains unclear. In addition, the lawyer representing the two Christians has given up on appealing their three-year prison sentence after facing significant pressure from local authorities.   Mr Rosyid's family was "chased out of their village," and that their current whereabouts are unknown. Mr Jalaludin's family was forced to resettle in an undisclosed location in West Java. The families have received some support from outside organisations, but are reportedly still struggling to cope with the imprisonment of Mr Rosyid and Mr Jalaludin.
According to one source, the two men had helped to convert more than 100 Muslims to Christianity in the area around their home before their arrest.
Source: International Christian Concern

Prayer Points

  • Pray the Lord will heal Mr Rosyid and Mr Jalaludin and grant them courage during this difficult trial. Pray the Lord will protect and provide for their families.
  • Commit the appeal to the Lord; ask Him to provide the legal representation these two men require. Pray for their release.
  • Ask the Lord to strengthen the faith of the Muslims He converted through these two men.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Over the next few weeks...

Over the next few weeks I've got my final exams for school. That means two things
  1. I'm going to be super busy and may not have time to post as much. I'll still try to post something every day, but my posts are probably going to be shorter and simpler. I also may just post bible verses - God's words are far better than mine, so that shouldn't be a problem.
  2. I would really appreciate prayer if you are a Christian. I think I've studied hard, and I'm not too stressed for these exams, but there's still a bit of worry there, so pray that I will trust God, do my best and give him all the glory for it. You can also praise God that he has provided a place for me in Uni regardless of my marks, which is a massive blessing and takes a lot of stress off.
Thanks heaps!


Nat.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Ephesians 1

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace,which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Thanksgiving and Prayer
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you,remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Sights to See

Isaiah 26:4
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
Beauty is in the eye of the Bee-holder: I've always loved animals and God's creation, here's some close up of bees. They're pretty spectacular!

Isaiah's upcoming mission trip: This is an encouraging article. "I’ve watched as nurses took blood samples to the words of“He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the Son does not have life!”Doctor’s have made their rounds to the words “God wants you to know that you do not have to die in your sins.”

The Greatest Entertainment Launch in History: GTA V has been coming up everywhere lately (actually, it's probably just all the Spotify ads getting on my nerves). I have never played the game myself, but I've heard enough to know that even if I want too, it certainly wouldn't help me in my walk with God. Tim Challies discusses this a bit more in light of our culture.

Sony's World Photography Awards: I love photography, and these shots are incredible. Take a look!

Seems so long ago, Nancy: Here's another post by Tim Challies, I greatly recommend it!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

VOM prayer watch

Nigeria

Pastors Killed in Extremist Raids

Two pastors have been killed and three churches destroyed, as militants attack yet more civilian targets in north-east Nigeria. Read more

Prayer Points

• Ask God to comfort and sustain all those who have been bereaved in militant attacks.
• Pray that God will raise up new leaders for the two churches who have lost their leaders to extremist violence. Thank God for the strong overcoming faith of His people in Nigeria.
• Pray for wisdom, resolve and courage for the Nigerian authorities as they work to stamp out the extremist threat.

Tanzania

Pastor Severely Burned in Acid Attack

A pastor in Zanzibar, Tanzania, has suffered severe burns after having acid poured on him by one or more Muslims just outside an Internet cafĂ©. Read more

Prayer Points

• Pray the Lord will completely heal Pastor Anselm’s physical and psychological wounds (Psalm 30:2).
• Pray the church in Tanzania will not be fearful as a result of this and similar attacks but instead learn ever more to rely on Him who gives us strength.
• Pray the Lord will frustrate any plans of this Islamist group to harm His church.

Morocco

Update: Christian Tentatively Released from Prison

Mohamed El Baladi has been released from the Moroccan prison where he was held after being sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for the crimes of evangelism and shaking the faith of a Muslim. Mohamed had been held in prison since his arrest in late August. Read more

Prayer Points

• Thank the Lord for answered prayer for Mohamed and ask Him to favour Mohamed with a successful appeal. Pray for Mohamed’s legal representatives.
• Pray this case will serve to encourage the faith of the church throughout Morocco and this incident will result in increased boldness among believers (Acts 5:29).
• Pray for the citizens of Morocco, including Mohamed’s family, ask the Lord to draw many into His kingdom.