No. 8 and 9

8. Believers in Yemen Especially Vulnerable in Civil War and Famine

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Yemen_2006_0260108597-768x480.jpg




An ongoing civil war in Yemen has created one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent memory, making an already difficult nation for Christians to live in even harder. The chaos of war has enabled radical groups to take control over some regions of Yemen, and they have increased persecution of Christians. Even private worship is risky in some parts of the country. Christians are suffering from the general humanitarian crisis in the country, but Yemeni Christians are additionally vulnerable since emergency relief is mostly distributed through Islamic organizations and local mosques, which are allegedly discriminating against all who are not considered to be pious Muslims. Converts to Christianity from Islam face additional persecution from family and society. In Yemen, the small church is composed mostly of Yemeni Christians with a Muslim background who must live their faith in secret. They face persecution from the authorities (including detention and interrogation), their families, and radical Islamic groups who threaten converts with death if they don’t denounce Christ and re-convert.


9. IRAN: Illegal to convert, illegal to preach

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is iran-esther-1024x571.jpg

In this gateway to the Middle East, Christians are forbidden from sharing their faith with non-Christians. Therefore, church services in Persian, the national language, are not allowed. Converts from Islam undergo persecution from the government; if they attend an underground house church, they face the constant threat of arrest. Iranian society is governed by Islamic law, which means the rights and job possibilities for Christians are heavily restricted. The government sees them as an attempt by Western countries to undermine Islam and the Islamic regime of Iran. Leaders of groups of Christian converts have been arrested, prosecuted and have received long prison sentences for “crimes against the national security.” In December, to crack down on Christians sharing their faith, Iranian police arrested 100 Christians in one week, making a blatant statement to both Christians and Muslims. Iran is also infamous for its prisons and inhumane treatment of Christians in places like Evin Prison where well-known house church pastor Yousef Nardarkhani is serving a 10-year sentence.

Dear Reader: Let us remember our brothers and sisters in prayer as they suffer in Yemen and Iran; especially those imprisoned for their faith. May the Holy Spirit fill them with boldness and confidence in Christ, as they live as sheep among wolves. May grace upon grace be upon them.

Thank you for your time spent educating yourself on the state of the Body of Christ in the earth.

Carl

Vietnamese Christians Persecuted

The Christian Post (CP) reported last week that Christians in Vietnam are suffering persecution for the testimony of Jesus. I encourage you to keep the global Christian community in your prayers, as Christians in many nations continue to suffer, even to the point of death, for the cause of Christ. Persecution is projected to increase in 2019. Excerpts from the CP article follow. Carl

Several Hmong Christians were beaten and arrested by Vietnamese government officials after they refused to renounce their faith and worship a Buddha statue, a pastor has revealed.

Pastor Hoang Van Pa told persecution watchdog group International Christian Concern that government officials threatened 33 Hmong Protestants in Phá Lóm village in November if they refused to renounce their Christian faith.

Police reportedly gathered personal information about the 33 believers and carried out an open trial before the community. The officers presented an image of the Buddha and tried to force the Christians to abandon their faith and worship the Buddha statue instead. Four of the Christians were arrested and beaten, and government officials continued to harass Protestants in several other raids throughout November and December.

As Dzung, the representative of the Interdisciplinary Inspection Team, explained that Vietnam has banned the Protestant Christian faith and seeks to expel those who refuse to renounce their faith in Jesus. In 2018, more than 100 believers were expelled from Yen Bai province and Lao Cai province.

Due to its ethnic background and high percentage of practicing Christians, Vietnam’s Hmong community is often targeted and harassed by both the government and neighboring communities,” wrote ICC’s Regional Manager Gina Goh.

In a Communist country where Christianity is often seen as unpatriotic or a threat to the regime, Hmong Christians constantly face discrimination, harassment, land grabs, torture, and imprisonment.”

YOGA: Is It Exercise or Religion – Does It Matter

(Pastor John Lindell of the 10,000 member James River Church in Ozark, Missouri recently preached a sermon on New Age practices including yoga.  I applaud Pastor Lindell for having the conviction to address New Age or New Spirituality practices that are deceiving Christians and our fellow Americans.  Following is a booklet entitled YOGA: Is It Exercise or Religion – Does It Matter by Ray Yungen from Lighthouse Trials.  I pray the article answers questions some are having about this seemingly innocent practice. God Bless.  Carl)

“It is a moment that troubles me even now. Once, when I was giving a presentation at a Christian college about New Age spirituality, I noticed a student roll her eyes when I mentioned the term, Yoga. It was a small gesture, yet it spoke volumes—as if to say, “Give me a break! It’s just exercises!” I surmised from her response that she was a Yoga practitioner or had at least been exposed to the subject and believed that participation in Yoga had no negative impact on one’s spiritual life. After all, the young lady was attending a Christian college, so she likely presumed she was discerning enough to know whether a practice was pagan or not. But she gave no biblical evaluation of Yoga, and rather wordlessly defended it. Unfortunately, this trend to accept Yoga and other New Age practices has only continued to accelerate within Christian colleges, ministries, and even churches.

Just Exercise?

Currently, an estimated 24 million people in the United States are regularly involved with some form of Yoga.1 In the town where I live, the high majority of health clubs, including the YMCA, YWCA, and the local community college, offer Yoga classes. According to a new survey by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease and Prevention, nearly ten percent of U.S. adults and three percent of children participated in yoga in 2012.”2 Most of these adults may be vaguely aware of the Hindu component of Yoga but see that as being irrelevant to taking Yoga classes. Many people doing the asanas, or postures, seem to feel that these exercises are devoid of any religious connotation.”

To read the compete articles click here.

Root of All Evil

IMG_0831

This tip jar is at a south Louisiana convenience store.  The clerk modified the scriptural message to fit her need. Some people were taking advantage of her offer.

This image reminds me of the apostle Paul’s instructions to Timothy in I Timothy 6:9-10:

“…but they that after giving the matter mature consideration desire to be wealthy, fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful cravings which are of such a nature as to drown men in destruction and perdition; for a root of all the evils is the fondness for money, which certain ones, bending their every effort to grasp, have been led astray from the Faith and have pierced themselves through with many consuming griefs.  (Wuest Expanded Translation – added emphasis)

May money have the proper place in our lives and not be an idol.

“Let your manner of life be without love of money, being satisfied with your present circumstances. For He himself has said, and the statement is on record, I will not, I will not cease to sustain and uphold you.  I will not, I will not, I will not let you down.”  (Hebrew 13:5 Wuest Expanded Translation)

Bless be God The Father who has redeemed us out of the slave market of sin by the precious blood of Jesus His Holy Son and transferred us into His eternal kingdom in-Christ!

Keep yourself from idols.

Carl

Do You Have Rats In Your Cellar?

“C.S. Lewis takes a lesson from the same observation: “If  there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.”

“In other words, my behavior, when caught off guard, is the best evidence of the sort of person I am.  That being the case, I should never excuse my bad behavior simply because I’m suddenly prodded or provoked. What I am under unexpected pressure is what I am. There’s no way around it.”

Teach Us To Number Our Days —-David Roper

Found Holy and Blameless – Part 3

thN8QCOS8W

(Note: For Part one and two, please scroll down to the bottom of this post or use the search bar. Thank you.)

In our last post we spoke about being “before Him” (Ephesians 1:4) and what that meant, how the Holy Spirit was gazing NOW, into our innermost being to see the reflection of Jesus in our character.  After finishing that post, I felt compelled to share the following.

In James 4: 4 Brother James tells the recipients of his letter “…do you not know that your friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore would desire after mature consideration to be a friend of the world is [thereby] constituted an enemy of God.” (Wuest).

God The Father sent Jesus to the Cross to rescue us from this present evil age (Gal. 1:4) and since the world is Satan’s kingdom (John 14: 30), He, God The Father, is VERY SERIOUS about us not loving the world and the things of the world.  (See Rev. 2:20 – 23)

Through I John 2: 15 (Wuest) He tells us to “Stop considering the world precious with the result that you love it…” The people James is writing to evidently still considered the world precious and their indwelling evil nature was fulfilling its passionate carvings through the things of the world. The Holy Spirit was not in control of their life but their evil nature was.

This why James tells them in verse 5:

“Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: The Spirit which He has made to dwell in us jealously desires us.” (NASB margin note)

Wuest’s Expanded Translation sheds light on what the second half of that verse means:

“The Spirit [Holy Spirit] who has been caused to make His permanent home in us has a passionate desire [to control us] to the point of envy [of any control indwelling sin may have over us]?

Now take a moment and let that sink in. Read it again.

Now, listen to the Holy Spirit through Paul in II Cor. 11: 2-3

“For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin…”

And why was he jealous?

“But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

He, the Holy Spirit, has a passionate desire to sit on the throne of our hearts, giving us the desire and power to say NO to enticements to sin.  As we say NO to temptation, He provides the power to follow through and manifest Jesus in us in the process.  He wants us to stay faithful to our bridegroom Christ Jesus and not be an adulteress by loving Satan’s world. “Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we? (I Cor. 10: 22) says Paul to the Corinthians.

Rick Renner in his Sparkling Gems From The Greek summons up how He feels about us very nicely:

“The Holy Spirit is not a passive Partner. He aggressively and actively pursues you.  He fiercely wants more of you. When you give part of yourself to something or someone else’s control, the Holy Spirit wants to seize that part of your life and bring it back under His divine control….So make your relationship with the Holy Spirit your top priority. Don’t give Him a reason to feel betrayed by or envious of other things in your life that have taken His place.  Get to know the Holy Spirit’s voice in your spirit so He can help you set your life in order. Make sure every area of your life is under His loving control!”

The crowning purpose of salvation is for us “to become conformed to the image of His Son,..”.  That, I believe, is the main purpose the Holy Spirit indwells us. Is that not what this sick and wicked society needs to see? JESUS IN ALL OF HIS LIFE-CHANGING GLORY!

II Corinthians 6: 16 -18 tells us that the Holy Spirit is none other than the Lord Almighty. Oh, how we need to let Him OUT for the lost masses to see! Let that be our purpose in life every day we arise.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless  with GREAT JOY, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24 – 25 NASB emphasis mine)

Carl