NORTH KOREAN CHRISTIANS CALL FOR PRAYER SUPPORT AS NATION PREPARES FOR WAR
North Korean Christians have sent a desperate plea for prayer to Christians around the world. As borders close and the heated rhetoric increases from North Korea, Christians inside this nation are finding the already existing pressure increasing. Revelation 3:2 calls to us to, “Wake up and strengthen what remains and is about to die”. For 11 years in a row, North Korea has been the Number 1 Persecutor of Christians in the world. As Christians, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, powers,and world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” ( Ephesians 6:12 )
As the Body of Christ, we can take authority over these demonic spiritual rulers and influence change in the nation of North Korea.With this in mind, North Korean church leaders can only keep watch and ask Christians worldwide to continue to pray for their country. Underground Christians describe the current atmosphere in North Korea as warlike, with many cars on the road concealed under camouflage nets and soldiers carrying guns and wearing helmets covered with dried branches. Despite Kim Jong Undeclaring all citizens need to be “combat ready”, the citizens of North Korea greatly fear war and its consequences.”
Many people are in a hurry to purchase emergency food supplies and daily goods just in case,” says an Open Doors source. “The prices of goods, including food, are skyrocketing.” Prayer for North Korea is now more important than ever before. Underground Christians in the country are grateful for the strength they receive from believers around the world and urge them to continue upholding North Korea in their prayers. “I would like to thank the many brothers and sisters around the world for their continuous love and support,” reads a letter recently smuggled out of North Korea, written by an underground Christian there.
The letter continues “We know that our journey will not be an easy one, but we are sure that our faith, desperate hope and passionate desire will someday bear much fruit. No matter how difficult life is for us, we never apportion blame nor complain about our circumstances. God has promised us in the Bible that if we seek His Kingdom first, all other things will be given to us. Please pray for us.” There are an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 Christians in North Korea with between 60,000 to 80,000 of them in harsh political prison camps.
* thanking God for the bravery of all Christians in North Korea, to stand boldly for Him in a country where discovery of their faith can mean death. Pray for the protection of Christians in North Korea, especially those imprisoned in labour camps, and all those assisting believers who have escaped into surrounding countries.
* for a calm resolution to the current crisis – that it will result in the peaceful release and restoration of the North Korean people, rather than war.
* for the leadership of North Korea, that Kim Jong and those around him will come to know Jesus as their Saviour.
Source: Open Doors
EGYPT: SIEGE ON COPTIC CATHEDRAL HIGHLIGHTS ESCALATING SECTARIAN VIOLENCE
At least 2 people were killed and over 90 injured during a siege on St Mark’s Coptic Cathedral in Cairo, in the aftermath of a funeral for four Coptic men. Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of the men who died of gunshot wounds during a recent attack on a Christian community in a suburb10 miles north of Cairo, following unsubstantiated claims that Christians had daubed offensive imagery on the walls of an Islamic institution. When the mourners attempted to leave the premises, they were pelted with stones, petrol bombs, and Molotov cocktails, forcing them to seek shelter in the grounds of the Cathedral.
As stones and other missiles were hurled from the roofs of surrounding buildings, young Coptic men took up sticks and rocks to retaliate. When police eventually arrived, they fired teargas into the grounds of the Cathedral, but did not intervene as the attack continued for five more hours. A marked escalation in sectarian violence that began with the 2011 Uprising has continued under President Morsi’s tenure without effective official intervention. Members of Egypt’s Coptic community have been physically attacked or killed; their homes, businesses and church buildings destroyed and several young women abducted.
In a comment on the violence His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom said, “Egypt has seen an unprecedented mob attack on the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate in Cairo, with the police doing very little, if anything at all, to prevent them. Egypt’s president, Mr Mohammed Morsi had made telephone contact with the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, saying that ‘the protection of the lives of all Egyptians, Muslims and Christian, is the responsibility of the state.’ It is now clear that the state needs to take that responsibility far more seriously.”
The significance of a direct and sustained assault on the heart of the Coptic Orthodox Church cannot be overemphasised, and is symbolic of the official failure to adequately protect the Coptic community. The seeming unwillingness of the security services to protect both the church and the mourners is wholly unacceptable. Perpetrators are rarely apprehended; encouraging an atmosphere of impunity. Egypt’s progress as a democratic state will be measured by the government’s ability to guarantee security, equality and fundamental freedoms to all of its citizens, and it is time for words to be matched with actions.
Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide
CANADA SUPREME COURT RULES RELIGIOUS COMMENTS NOT HATE SPEECH
The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has released a unanimous decision in a case brought before it which challenged the right to expression of controversial and unpopular religious comment in public policy dialogue. “The SCC seized this opportunity to clarify and narrow the understanding of ‘hate speech’ as set out in a 1990 decision” explains Don Hutchinson, vicepresident and legal counsel with The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC),an intervener in the case. “In doing so the court affirmed that a Supreme Court of Canada decision made 20 years ago, remains binding law in Canada. This is vital to the stability of Canadian law.”
“To clarify the understanding of hate speech, the court struck out terms used in the hate speech provision in the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code (Code) that related more to people’s feelings being hurt.” Hutchinson continued “The standard is clearer, from the legal perspective, that speech may only be deemed hateful when assessed to be so from the perspective of a reasonable person, with full consideration of the circumstances, and when the expression is likely to expose a person to detestation and vilification on the basis of prohibited grounds of discrimination that are attributable to an identifiable group in the speech at issue.
In 2001, flyers were distributed to neighbourhoods in Saskatchewan. Vehement in tone and language against homosexuality, the flyers offended some individuals who filed complaints with the Human Rights Commission. The Supreme Court found two of the flyers contravened the Code because they promoted hatred directed towards homosexuals and two of the flyers did not.”The Court concluded quite clearly that Bible passages, biblical beliefs and the principles derived from those beliefs are not hate speech and can be legally and reasonably advanced in public discourse” Hutchinson said.
Essentially, the court affirmed the biblical principal of telling ‘the truth in love,’ while cautioning as to where the line is drawn that would result in telling the truth in a hateful fashion. The court even offered some examples of means by which anti-homosexual beliefs could be advancedwithout violating the Code. EFC Legal Counsel Faye Sonier adds: “The decision is very helpful in its affirmation that Supreme Court precedent is not undone by the passage of time. This is very important in light of other cases in the court system where parties are demanding that previous Supreme Court decisions be overturned for that very reason”.
Source: Charisma News
GROWING NUMBER OF WOMEN ADDICTED TO PORNOGRAPHY
After 27 years in counselling ministry, Dave Carder was not prepared for a sharp rise in his caseload of women addicted to pornography. “If someone had told me 10 years ago that I would be seeing rapidly escalating numbers of young women involved in pornography, I would not have believed them,” says Carder, a Pastor at First Evangelical Free Church in Fullerton, California.”There is a growing body of observation and research that suggests that women’s sexual appetites and level of desires are changing,” he notes. While men are considered more visual than females, there seems to be a transformation underway.
“Desire for women used to be for closeness and affection; it was more the desire for intimacy,” Carder says. “Women are much more sexually aggressive than they used to be,” Carder notes. “The whole sexualisation of the culture is bringing about these changes.” Radio commentator Dennis Prager observed that at the last Academy Awards ceremony, many of the jokes and songs featured strong sexual innuendo. Even sporting events, which used to be a family-friendly viewing zone, are dripping with sexuality. Pastor Carder finds common backgrounds in the women he counsels about pornography addiction.
“There is a lot of molestation history in the women’s lives as children or teens.” Some come from broken families, with mums who had several boyfriends. “Many of the women who struggle with pornography also struggle with alcohol and obesity,” he notes. Two recent books suggest the neurological wiring for pornography addiction may be changing in women.”These books suggest women have the potential to develop the same arousal response to visual stimulation as men,” Carder notes. Another disturbing trend is that more and more Christian couples are watching pornography together.
“Christian couples set up boundaries and say they will watch this, but not that. But over time, they begin to expand their viewing habits and they are headed for trouble. Addiction erodes all boundaries.” Pastor Carder has the same approach to treating men and women addicted to pornography. He notes “They need the same kind of support as someone recovering from alcohol. They need a group, a sponsor, and at least three months for recovery,” Carder says. The number of Christians battling these issues is astonishing. “Too many women have struggled in silence,” he maintains. With Christ, freedom and victory can be won.”
Source: God Reports
SUDAN: A STORY OF ISLAMIC BELLIGERENCE AND SOARING PERSECUTION
Islamists in Sudan hold President el-Bashir responsible for the loss of southern Sudan. Responsible he is, for he systematically persecuted and fought the predominantly Christian south while trying to impose Islam on them until all they wanted was separation. Eventually in 2011 South Sudan became an independent nation. Hard-line Islamists believe secession should never have been an option, not merely because southern Sudan is resource-rich, but because Islamists do not believe Allah’s land should ever be forfeited. In late 2012, protests that erupted in Khartoum were hijacked by Islamists who attacked Western embassies.
The Islamist discontent pertains to the growing belief that el-Bashir has failed the State by not being Islamic enough! A key opposition figure, Hassan al-Turabi, asserts that el-Bashir’s regime should not be regarded as Islamic. Factions inside the regime are leveraging this discontent to increase their power, leaving el-Bashir under pressure to prove his Islamist credentials. This is the context for the current campaign of systematic persecution. In February this year organisations owned and run by Christians became targets. Sudanese Christians are growing anxious that they will not be able to practise their faith at all.
Security agents recently raided the library of the Sudan Presbyterian Church taking hundreds of books. Numerous church-affiliated institutions have been closed and foreign Christians deported. In January the 54 member states of the United Nations Economic and Social Council elected Sudan as one of four Vice-Presidents, nominating the rogue state to chair the Council proceedings on humanitarian affairs. The U.S. and Canada lobbied strongly against the nomination. France and Australia did not oppose Sudan’s nomination! After further consultations however Sudan agreed to cede the humanitarian segment to Pakistan.
* that the Lord of Hosts will protect his people as a shepherd guides and protects his flock, while providing all their needs.
* that the Holy Spirit will encourage believers, fanning their faith into flame, drawing them near into prayer and dispelling their fears and enabling ‘rest’.
* that our Sovereign, Almighty and glorious God — who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, will intervene in Sudan to establish righteousness and bring forth justice for the sake of the Church and all the peoples of Sudan who are in need of the gospel.
Source: by Elizabeth Kendal, Religious Liberty Monitoring
CONGRESS SENDS HUMAN TRAFFICKING BILL TO OBAMA TO SIGN INTO LAW
An estimated 27 million people worldwide are victims of modern-day slavery. It is estimated that there are 100,000 children caught in the sex trade in the United States each year. The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to pass a Senate-approved version of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), paving the way for President Obama to sign into law the United States’ most important tool in the fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Human trafficking is the second largest criminal enterprise in the world, generating over $32 billion in profits to traffickers annually.
The TVPRA reauthorizes new partnerships with cooperating countries to protect children and prevent trafficking, adds new protections for human-trafficking victims, and provides new tools for prosecutors to go after the traffickers who exploit others. The law expired in 2011, leaving critical programs to fight human trafficking and provide survivor services at risk. The Senate demonstrated overwhelming bipartisan support earlier this month, voting 93-5 for the TVPRA. The House then approved the TVPRA by a vote of 286 to 138.”
Congress’ renewal of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act re-asserts U.S. leadership in the effort to eradicate modern-day slavery, our greatest global human rights scourge,” explained David Abramowitz from the Alliance To End Slavery & Trafficking. “This is an important step toward freedom for the millions of women, men and children around the globe who are trafficked each year.” added Abramowitz. World Vision’s Jesse Eaves, said the passing of the legislation marks “an inspiring shift in the current political rancour of Capitol Hill. To see Congress move past politics and support this bill is truly an incredible day for all of us.”
Source: Charisma News