THE BOSTON BOMBINGS AND THE IMAGE OF GOD
In light of the horrible tragedy at the Boston Marathon, many pundits on both sides of the aisle are voicing their opinion regarding the root cause of the incessant societal violence we face in America. One of the more salient liberal responses came from stand-up comedian Jay Mohr, who tweeted Monday night, “What bothers me most about today is that we’re getting used 2 it. ENOUGH. Violence has 2 stop. Culture MUST change.” So what has changed in our culture in the past generation that has opened the door to such violence and how do we deal with it?
In our opinion, Genesis 9:6 gives us the root cause of our culture of violence. It says, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image” (ESV). Essentially, this passage is teaching us that when we shed human blood, it is a direct attack on our Creator because humankind is made in the image of God. (Read Genesis1:26-27.) This is why human murder is so serious. Consequently, the more we remove God from the public square, the more respect for human dignity as the highest form of all creation is diminished, because God’s image and respect for human life are inextricably connected.
Furthermore, when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973, it pushed our nation as far from the biblical worldview and image of God as possible and desensitized society to the shedding of innocent human blood. Jesus called His followers the “salt of the earth” in Matthew 5:13 because the church has been commissioned by Jesus to disciple nations as His representatives (Matt. 28:19). Since salt acts as a preservative, the more society marginalizes Christianity and Scripture, the more likely society will self-destruct because the basis for valuing human life is found in the teachings of Scripture (John 3:16).
You can get rid of all the weapons in the world, but until humanity connects itself back to the image of God, people will continue to abort babies and find ways to degrade and murder their own until whole societies collapse under the weight of their own sin. The only way to reverse this culture of death is to move our nation back toward its Judeo-Christian roots and to again place a high value on Scripture in public schools and homes. Only then will the self-centred ideals that objectify fellow humans be eradicated from mainstream culture so that young people will value loving their neighbour as they love themselves as one of their highest ideals of life.
Source: Charisma News Editorial
CHRISTIANS IN AFRICA TARGET OF AN ALARMING NUMBER OF ATTACKS
There has been an alarming number of attacks against Christians in Africa in recent months. Several incidences highlight the growing levels of persecution faced by the church in the region, and shows once again why so many African nations have risen in their rankings on the World Watch List of persecuted nations in 2013. In northern Cameroon two Christian converts known as Abdoulaye and Abakachi were shot dead when a group of Islamists opened fire on them as they walked home after attending a three-day church seminar. They had previously been subjected to death threats.
Abdoulaye’s father had declared him a “traitor” for leaving Islam. Abdoulaye leaves behind a wife and 13 children – Abakachi a wife and four children. Violence also erupted in Tanzania after a non-Muslim butcher prepared meat for a funeral. Protestors took out their anger on the Assemblies of God Church, killing Pastor Kachili. Two armed men on a motorcycle also shot dead Father Evaristus Mushi as he was on his way to lead a church service on the island of Zanzibar. Two days later, arsonists set fire to the Evangelical Church of Siloam. The incidents are the latest in a string of attacks against church leaders across the country.
There has also been a massive wave of arrests against Christians in western Eritrea. Eritrean authorities rounded up at least 85 Christians from their homes and work places, marching them through town to the police station in broad daylight. This brings to 125 the total number of Christians arrested since January. Eritrean Christians are deeply saddened by their government’s continued hostility against them. “Christians in general love their countryand desire an opportunity to help build a fruitful society,” said a representative from Open Doors. “But they want to do so without having to abandon their religious beliefs.
* Please pray for Christians to have the grace to respond to these challenges in a way that glorifies God. Please also pray that God will comfort the families of those killed in Cameroon, Tanzania and Zanzibar, provide physical and spiritual healing for those in hospital and enable the church in these regions to stand strong.
* Pray that Christians in Eritrea will continue to respond in love and grace to the false accusations against them, and that the government will allow them to worship in freedom once again.
* Pray for all those looking to persecute believers in Africa – that they will come to know God’s Word through the strength and courage of Christians they encounter.
Source: Open Doors
SAME-SEX MARRIAGE BECOMES LEGAL IN NEW ZEALAND
The New Zealand Parliament has voted by a margin of 77 votes to 44 to legalise same-sex marriage, a move Australian campaigners said would encourage same-sex couples in Australia to travel overseas to formalise their relationships. Now that marriage equality is only three hours away, there will be a flood of couples flying to New Zealand to tie the knot and spend their money. The national director of Australian Marriage Equality, Rodney Croome, said as many as 1000 couples had indicated to his organisation they were prepared to travel to New Zealand to marry.’
‘Most Australian same-sex partners would prefer to marry the person they love in the country they love but, now that marriage equality is only three hours away, there will be a flood of couples flying to New Zealand to tie the knot and spend their money,” Mr Croome said. Opinion polls taken before the vote in Parliament had shown strong support for the bill. Its passing makes New Zealand the 13th country to legalise marriage for gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and intersex couples. The bill is particularly meaningful for transgender people who had been forced to divorce when they changed their gender. Under the changes, they will no longer have to do so.
Australian same-sex couples will be free to marry in New Zealand because marriage laws have no residency requirement. However, Australian law does not recognise same-sex marriages entered into overseas. The Australian Federal Parliament last year voted down a private member’s bill sponsored by Labor MP Stephen Jones, which would have legalised same-sex marriage in Australia. Labor MPs were allowed a conscience vote on the bill but Coalition MPs had to vote according to the party position, which was to oppose same-sex marriage.
Source: Compiled by APN from media sources
THE BOOK THAT CAN SAVE
When I was a child I worshipped Buddha. I tried to do as many good deeds as possible, because I believed that if I didn’t, I might be an animal or a ghost in my next life. But I wanted a better future life. There was always this question in my heart about whether my good deeds would be enough. I was so afraid of dying! One day, I had a strange dream. In my dream, I went to a village. But it was so quiet in this village, nobody was there. I started shouting, ‘Hello, is anybody there?’ Suddenly, a man appeared in front of me. In his hand, he held a book. He told me that all the people had died already. So, I found myself asking him a stupid question. ‘Did you kill them?’, I asked.
He assured me he did not, and then he observed, ‘I think you are afraid of dying, aren’t you?’ I was very surprised that he knew and I had to admit it was true. He said to me, ‘If you don’t want to die, read this book’, and he gave it to me. When I started to open the book, suddenly many people who had died rose again and became alive. But the man suddenly disappeared and Iwoke up. After this dream, I always wanted to find out about this book. I knew that it could save me. About three months later, I joined some English classes on Sundays and after a while, I decided to stay back for what they called a Sunday service.
It was during this time that one day, I realised the book I had dreamt about was the Bible. At first, I did not dare tell anybody about my discovery. I simply prayed and I asked God to touch me if He was real. As I did that, I heard God calling me.
* Please pray for the many young people who go to English classes at different meeting places, that God will reveal himself to them as He did to the girl who shared her story and who now faithfully serves her new Lord.
*Please also pray for their families, as they often find it very difficult when one of their children chooses a new way of life.
Source: Pray for Myanmar
PAKISTANI CHRISTIANS COME UNDER ATTACK
Pakistan’s government should take legal action against Islamist groups and others responsible for threats and violence against minorities , Human Rights Watch (HRW) demanded in the aftermath of attacks on the Christian minority in Lahore. International and Pakistani human rights groups have long called for the repeal of the blasphemy law. It has come under renewed scrutiny after a mob torched dozens of houses located in a Christian neighbourhood in Lahore, forcing hundreds of Christians to flee. An enraged mob attacked the houses following allegations of blasphemy against a Christian man. “
The Punjab government has spent almost its entire 5-year term in office denying the threats to minorities,” said Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan directorat HRW. “Law enforcement authorities must put aside their prejudices and protect religious minorities who are clearly in danger,” he said. Persecution and discrimination against religious minorities has become particularly widespread in Punjab. The HRW has urged the provincial government, controlled by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), to investigate and prosecute as appropriate campaigns of intimidation, threats, and violence against Christians and other minority groups.
The HRW has also urged concerned governments and intergovernmental bodies to press the Pakistani government to repeal sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, which includes the blasphemy law. Pakistan’s “Blasphemy Law,” makes the death penalty effectively mandatory for blasphemy. “The ugly fact is that the blasphemy law is an enabler of mob violence against vulnerable groups,” said Hasan. “As long as such laws remain on the books and the authorities remain unable to rein in mobs playing judge, jury and executioner, Pakistan will remain plagued by abuse in the name of religion”, he added.
Source: Masanku Network
NORTH KOREA THREATS CONTINUE
North Korea has encouraged all foreign companies and tourists to evacuate South Korea and suspended operations in the Kaesong industrial centre located in South Korea. It has also put the international community on alert by openly displaying a missile which they have threatened to fire on U.S. bases in Guam and Hawaii while hinting at war with South Korea. International reaction has been low key and restrained. Russian President Vladimir Putin said, “A conflict on the Korean Peninsula would make Chernobyl look like a children’s story”. North Korea is believed to have some crude nuclear weapons. South Korea has stated the North plans to launch a missile soon.
Michel O’ Hanlon a US foreign policy expert said, “We need to try and give President Kim Jong Un an incentive to walk back from the brink even as we show firmness in our response.” In Rome, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the situation in North Korea as “very dangerous”. Any small incident caused by miscalculation or misjudgement” could “create an uncontrollable situation.” The boisterous statements by President Kim Jong Un of North Korea are striking fear into the hearts of people throughout the region and in the West. We must react in faith with prayer, crying out to God intervene in this situation.
PLEASE PRAY FOR:
* the deliverance of Christian Believers in North Korea who are tortured for their faith. Pray for their protection from the Korean State and leadership.. Pray for food, water and decent living conditions for the people of North Korea who are believed to be living in desperate conditionsof squalor and poverty..
* North Korea to be at peace with South Korea and other nations and for North Korea to open its doors to the preaching of the Gospel. Pray too for the salvation of President Kim Jong Un.
* The protection of the targeted nations (South Korea, Japan, and USA).Pray that Christian Believers in the nations threatened by North Korea’s leadership to humble themselves before God and pray for divine intervention.
Source: Windows International Network
GERMAN BANKER SAYS ONLY JESUS CAN SAVE THE EUROZONE
In a shock speech made recently by Deutsche Bank’s global head of Foreign Exchange strategy, Bilal Hafeez, he stated that only Jesus Christ can offer a positive “role model” and save the Eurozone from disaster. In his speech Hafeez said “Who else has entered the terrible teens? The Euro-Area! It was born in 1999 and so is currently fourteen years old. It has all the hallmarks of teenage angst. It is ridden with internal conflicts, it is groping around for structure, and it is suspicious of authority. So who can be a positive role model for the Euro-Area?” he asks.
“Well, it cannot be the ‘fathers ‘- Germany or France. It has to be an external figure that all Europeans respect and whose character was beyond dispute. That rules out anyone living, as even the most competent person will have made mistakes or have something from their past dredged up to undermine them. That leaves us with historical figures whose lives have been judged by history. I can only think of one that is respected by most Europeans and has never sinned,” he concludes. “Jesus!” Hafeez went on to suggest that if everyone lived by the injunction to not be the “first to cast stones unless they were without sin” then the “constant accusations would stop.”
Source: Business Insider
MIRACLE RESURRECTION RECOUNTED BY DOCTOR AND HIS PATIENT
Ken suffered a massive heart attack and was rushed to a nearby hospital. Meanwhile Tina, his wife gathered with her family, pastor, friends, and intercessors at the hospital to pray. For 45 minutes Ken did not have a pulse. At the behest of the attending Doctor prayer was called for. Then, out of nowhere, the team detected a pulse. “This is remarkable. This was a man who the day before had been purplish blue from the waist up. By all measures he should have died” said the Doctor. “But he didn’t. He physicallyand mentally survived and was talking the next day. I can’t imagine that this is anything more than divine intervention” he said.
GEORGE BEVERLY SHEA GOES HOME TO JESUS
George Beverly Shea, 104, of Montreat, North Carolina, the beloved soloist of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, died on Tuesday, April 16, 2013, following a brief illness. Since George Beverly Shea first sang for Billy Graham in 1943 on the Chicago radio hymn program, “Songs in the Night,” Shea has faithfully carried the Gospel in song to every continent and every state across America. Graham’s senior by ten years, Shea devotedly preceded the evangelist in song in nearly every Crusade over the span of more than one-half century.
Source: Billy Graham Evangelistic Association