-Christian ‘Forgiving ISIS’ Videos Go Viral in Muslim World and Reports of Revival Among the Refugees


“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Matthew 5:44

Here’s a video of a Christian child, 10 year old Myriam, forgiving ISIS even though her family has lost everything because of the terrorist group.  She said:

“I will only ask God to forgive them.

Now comes the news that the video and several others like it have gone viral in the Middle East demonstrating the teaching of Jesus to ‘love your enemies’ in a culture where ‘eye for an eye’ is the normal response. From Christianity Today:

To date, more than 1 million people have seen her witness online. [Full video at the bottom]

SAT-7’s 5 channels reach an audience of 15 million in North Africa and the Middle East, though it’s impossible to measure how many people watched Myriam. However, numbers can be tracked through the social media campaign, which has reached 25 times its normal audience, with subtitles of the video provided in English, Spanish, Turkish, and Chinese. Word spread not only through SAT-7 affiliates, but also in the local secular press.

Pan-Arabic al-Arabia praised Myriam for confronting ISIS with love. “Everyone who listens to her is astounded,” echoed the Egyptian Youm 7. Leading Lebanese daily al-Nahar called for the clip to be shown in the nation’s schools as a lesson in humanity.

<Read the whole article>

Response: Like I said when I first posted this video on my Answers for the Faith site:

What a lesson in faith! File this story in the  “for such is the Kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16) category. They are far better Christians than I.

Most of us in America wonder what kind of ‘Christians’ these displaced Iraqis really are. Since they mostly attend Catholic and Orthodox affiliated churches many of us have an erroneous impression that they might only be so-called ‘cultural Christians.’ Maybe that is why so few of us are upset or up in arms when we read the reports of their persecution and death. But hundreds of thousands of these Near Eastern Christians have lost everything for their faith and thousands have paid the ultimate price as martyrs. They actually have a greater right to bear the name of Christ than many of us living in safe and comfortable communities in the West.

The video above should transform our thinking about these fellow believers. I know of several missionaries and relief personnel loosely connected with my home church which are working among these refugees in Iraq. The word and reports we receive from them is that there is real revival going on among these folks with abundant healing and miracles in their midst. Please keep praying for these bothers and sisters and those who are ministering in their midst.            *Top

-Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2015

The Real Charismatic Ministry of St. Patrick

Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2015. Here’s the real story of St. Patrick:

image Happy St. Patrick’s Day! A day to go to your favorite pub, eat corned beef and cabbage and wash it all down with plenty of green beer. Oh yes–a day of parades and celebration of Irish nationality.

But who was this Patrick anyway? A man born into a wealthy Christian Roman family in Wales around 385 AD with a given name of Macwyn Succat. He didn’t make it to Ireland until he was kidnapped at age 16 and enslaved by Irish Celtic raiders. He tended sheep for his new masters for 6 years and like David became closer to the Lord in the process. Then he heard a voice from God instructing him how to escape and make it back home.

After he miraculously escaped slavery he went on to study at a Christian seminary and became a Priest. Then one day he had a vision from God commissioning him to return to Ireland as a Christian missionary.

Today a holiday is celebrated in his memory. But beyond the green beer and rowdy drunken debauchery that typically surrounds the occasion is a historical character that was God’s apostle to Ireland—forget ‘Saint’ this guy functioned as an apostle and a power evangelist.

There is all sorts of stories about Patrick that today they call ‘myths’. I believe that a lot of the myths were probably based upon true events that seem far too supernatural for secular folks to accept today.

It is said in documents from that period that he “baptized thousands of people”, and ordained hundreds of priests to lead the new Christian communities and villages he established. He also converted the sons of Kings, noblemen, and chieftains leading to the conversion of an entire pagan nation to Christ.

Legend has it that he was a healer and that he banished snakes from the island though scientists today wonder if there were that many snakes if any on the island at the time.

Here’s an example of the spiritual condition of the church that St. Patrick left behind—part of a prayer attributed to him but maybe written a couple of generations later:

From “Saint Patrick’s Breastplate”:

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ below me, Christ above me, Christ to the right of me, Christ to the left of me, Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I stand, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye which sees me, Christ in every ear which hears me.

We could use this kind of spiritual maturity today. What a great declaration to live by–an example for those seeking a Kingdom culture and economy.   

Rather than a day with a built-in excuse to get drunk, I believe that it is a day for Christians to celebrate the reality and continual miracles of the Christian faith. A day to celebrate that God continues to give visions and directions to missionaries even today.

St. Patrick transformed an entire nation bringing the Gospel to an Island in darkness. Missionaries continue to leave the comforts of home and family to spread the word of Jesus Christ to every nation in the world.  Praise the Lord!        *Top

-Beginning of Revival in L.A. High Schools

There is the beginning of an extraordinary revival in some L.A. and Orange County high schools in Southern California. Here’s the story from God Reports:

About 2,500 students at 15 high schools hear the gospel each week through campus Christian clubs, which invite One Voice representatives to speak, Giglio says. Kids have been saved from drugs, violence, sexual sin, and hopelessness.

The move of God began in Roosevelt High School two years ago. A watershed moment came when opposing gangs put down their weapons and met each other in the gym for prayer, along with 400 other students who had gathered to hear a heartfelt and compelling message. Giglio says the Holy Spirit came into the room and the kids just broke down weeping. …

On-campus Christian clubs, run by students, have a right to use facilities and invite outside speakers, Giglio said. Principals have been known to monitor these meetings but usually are happy to see students hearing positive messages about getting out of gangs, drugs and other life-ruining traps.

<Read the whole article>

This is just the beginning but it is spreading to other schools in Southern California including several Southern Orange County high schools that I know of where kids at our local church come from. I have also heard some antidotal evidence that it is also spreading to some of our area colleges and universities. Somewhat under the radar at the present time but a real move of God none the less.            *Top.

-The Call for Prayer in 2015

CALL TO PRAYER

2015 has begun with a number of different calls for prayer for America. Following the slaughter of two New York policemen Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. of the Church of God in Christ issued a call for justice and prayer. Following that George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, issued a supporting call to prayer for the first week of January. Now beginning Jan. 10, 2015, the Church of God Prayer Ministries is calling for 21 days of prayer and Fasting for revival in the church and awakening in the nation.

This is the first time I can remember any year beginning with such urgency from so many different church leaders seeking to call the American church into prayer for our nation.

Add to that the over 20,000 mostly youth who recently attended the Onething Conference in Kansas City where Reinhard Bonnke called out a new generation of Christian leaders to pick up their mantle and save America and the world and then another 20,000 or so youth meeting at the Passion 2015 Conference in Atlanta and you begin to get the feeling that 2015 may be the beginning of something very different for America and the Christian community.

What I am talking about is the sheer number of Christian leaders that feel that it is important start the year- 2015 by crying out to God for America and Christians all around the world.

2014 was one of the most difficult for Christians both in this country and around the world. According to a report that Open Doors came out with this week, last year was the worst ever for the persecution and killing of believers around the world and yet they expect that the worse is yet to come from the rise of Muslim extremists. Seeing what just happen in France we should all be concerned.

Meanwhile in our own country, Christians are being fined and sued out of business and fired from their jobs over their Biblical faith. Just a couple pf months ago the city of Houston, Texas was demanding pastors to turn over every sermon or speech where they mentioned homosexuality. Later that was dropped but the lawsuit goes on. Most American Christians are still asleep and unaware but we are seriously in danger of losing our freedom of religion in this country or having it re-interpreted to merely be ‘freedom of worship’ within the four walls of an official church or house of worship.

If there was ever a time to pray for America, now is that time.

*Top

-Merry Christmas 2014

04567_Christmas_nativity_scene_at_the_Franciscan_church_in_Sanok,_2010

(Image via Wikipedia)


Merry Christmas to you and yours and may God truly bless you this Christmas Day.

The Real Christmas Story

When our children were growing our family had a Christmas Eve tradition to read about the ‘real’ Christmas story in the Bible.

You’ve probably seen a dozen or so ‘Christmas stories’ on TV in the last couple of weeks but the real Christmas story is found in Matthew (Matt. 1:18-2:18) and in Luke ( Luke 1:26-56, 2:1-40). However, Isaiah should never be ignored:

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Matthew gives us the story largely from the perspective of Joseph, including the dreams that he had and his family genealogy. In this gospel the ‘Kingship’ of Jesus is the major topic. Starting with the Davidic Kingly genealogy through Joseph and the coming of the Magi (Wisemen) who are looking for the new king. Also King Herod’s reaction is in Matthew.

The events in Luke are given to us from Mary’s view. The angel Gabriel appears to Mary and announces the coming of the child. Mary’s genealogy is also given in Luke (Luke 3:23-38), she was also a descendant of David, but not in the ‘Kingly’ line. Chapter 2 begins with the Christmas story that everyone is familiar with:

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

However, nothing explains the real reason for the season better than John 3:16-17:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  -KJV

*Top

-Messianic Jews Making Gains in Israel

Flag_of_Israel.svg

Messianic Judaism is a movement of Jewish folks who have accepted Jesus (Yeshua) as their savior and Messiah. Yet they continue to maintain their identity as Jews and embrace many of the traditions of their people. A recent article by Rabbi Barry Rubin in Ministry Today Magazine celebrates the gains that Messianic groups have recently made in Israel- “Messianic Judaism Gaining Momentum in Israel.” The following are a few quotes:

The primary evangelistic work in Israel is not through missions. It is being done through local Messianic congregations. … There are 150-plus congregations in Israel with as many as 15,000 Messianic Jewish believers…

The growth in the number of congregations has increased over the last 20 years…Nearly every year, another indigenous congregation or two springs up, and as more and more Jews from around the world return home, this will only increase.

Israel is a small country—about the size of New Jersey—so these congregations are easily noticed by their fellow Israelis. More and more, Israel is increasingly aware that there are Jews who trust Yeshua as the Messiah and savior, much as it was in the New Testament era.

These Messianic Jewish congregations are now led by Israelis, even though they may have a mix of Jews and Gentiles. Most services are in Hebrew (sometimes Russian, Amharic, French or Spanish). The music too is indigenous, as is the style of worship —very Israeli. The melodies have a distinctly Middle Eastern tone to them. Most meet on Saturday when Jews generally hold worship services. These congregations of Yeshua-followers are clearly Jewish.

Messianic Jews are gaining more acceptance in Israel. Instead of being perceived as threats to the Israelis, due to prejudices going back 2,000 years, they are recognized as friends, fellow citizens, and an active part of Israeli society.

<Read the whole article>

Response: This is really good news and we should remember to pray for our fellow believers in Israel. For years the Messianic Movement was opposed in Israel but now because of the faithfulness of the Jewish Israeli believers they are increasingly being accepted as never before. You can add Israel to the many nations that are seeing an exponential growth in the number of believers and  groups.

Meanwhile the enemy is trying to destroy Israel but the Lord has plans of His own for that land and people.            *Top

-Happy Thanksgiving 2014

300px-Thanksgiving-Brownscombe

       ("The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth": Wikipedia)

Happy Thanksgiving 2014 to you and yours. Our traditional Thanksgiving message follows:

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American celebration that began nearly four centuries ago with a deeply religious people, the Pilgrims, giving thanks to God for preserving them though a very hard year and bringing them their first bountiful harvest which they gratefully shared with their indigenous neighbors.

It was our first President George Washington who proclaimed that our first official national day of public thanksgiving should be dedicated by observing and:

“…by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.

In recent years the ‘politically correct’/secular crowd has rewritten the history of the first Thanksgiving placing an emphasis upon the hand that the indigenous American Indians played in helping the original Pilgrim community to survive. In the process they have redirected the emphasis on thanks towards neighbors and friends and away from the providence of Almighty God.

While it is always good to be thankful for others who have enriched our own lives and certainly that has a good part to play in the celebration. Nevertheless the major emphasis of Thanksgiving should always be upon God as it was on that very first occasion.

For my family and I, we will be praising and thanking the Lord God Almighty for the bounties and the providence that he has bestowed upon us this year in the name of his Son Jesus Christ. May Our Heavenly Father bless your family today and continue to bless all of us and this nation during this holiday season and in the year to come.           *Top

-SBC President Calls on Churches to Pray for Another Great Awakening

Dr. Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is pleading, encouraging, and calling the 46,000 churches in his denomination and beyond to “extraordinary prayer” for revival and another Great Awakening. Here’s the message from his blog:

book-pleading-page

<Read the whole message>

He has also made available his complete message in an 16 page e-book which can be downloaded for free:

Pleading-with-Southern-Baptists-Cover-Blog-209x300

Response: Charismatic and Pentecostal pastors and denominational leaders should jump on this immediately and stand as one and add their support to Dr. Floyd and the SBC in prayer and intercession for our nation.

Most of us have been praying for this for quite some time. We should stand together right now, ignore sectarian boundaries, and lift our voices in unity. We have long held that revival and a new Awakening is needed now in America as never before.

The nation is currently going through radical cultural changes that could make it very difficult for conservative Bible believing Christians in the future. Political power and pressure will never bring the nation back to its Biblical foundations. Our only real hope is that the Holy Spirit will sweep once more across our great nation and bring revival and another Great awakening. Now is the time.           *Top

- We Should Be Praying For Our Leaders Regardless

English: President Obama just about to deliver...

                                              (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are very few political leaders right now in America that I whole heartedly agree with particularly the President and the Governor of the state I live in (California).

Nevertheless we should be praying for them regardless. This reminder is for me if no one else. Remember Paul counseled the early Christians to pray for the Roman leaders and as bad as some are in the USA none are in the category of a Nero or Caligula at least not yet.

Here’s a short article reminding us to pray anyway from Citizen Link President Tom Minnery:

“In the Old Testament, in the day of Daniel,” Minnery said, “through the means of directing Cyrus, Nebuchadnezzer and Darius, God handled those despots fairly well to effect His own desires for the Israelites. We saw that in the Old Testament time and time again.

“Obviously, God can, and does, direct the heart of any leader at any time He wills it – even those who don’t believe in Godly principles.”

“Pray for righteousness, pray for our leaders, pray for them to act,” he said. “Do not give up in expecting that God will maneuver human circumstances to accomplish His will.”

<Read the whole article>

Response: While we are at it, remember to pray for our judges and judicial system. Our religious freedoms sometimes are hanging by a thread as cases make there way through the courts. We should particularly be praying for the current Supreme Court justices for their health and for them to receive and accept Godly wisdom.            *Top

-Washington DC: Kick Starting Revival?

U.S. Capitol Building at Night

          (U.S. Capitol Building: Kevin Burkett)

Thousands of folks in Washington DC have reportedly been saved this month during a three week ‘spiritual assault’ on the American capitol called- "Celebrate America."  Here’s the story from CharismaMag.com:

"And we’ve seen over 23,000 people pray the prayer of salvation," Gonyon said of Celebrate America’s overall evangelism efforts.

But these three weeks of street evangelism and nightly meetings are just meant to be a spark. Gonyon emphasized that getting those hundreds of Christians out into the streets of D.C. to witness has been the most crucial part.

"Once somebody wins souls—because most don’t—their heart is broken for the lost," Gonyon explained. "So when Celebrate America is over, this isn’t about, ‘Oh, that crusade is over.’ They’ll continue to win souls in their sphere of influence."

The organizers of "Celebrate America" hope that steam rolls into a move of God nationwide.

"We’re believing God for another great spiritual awakening in America," Gonyon stated. "We’re believing that the church will wake up and fulfill the Great Commission."

<Read the whole article>

Response: Hopefully that spark will lead to a raging fire all across America. So many disappointing policies and decisions have come out of Washington lately that it is great to see something edifying and down right encouraging coming out of there instead.  Praise God!           *Top