WE WILL NOT GIVE IN TO FEAR SAYS PRAYER LEADER AS PARIS MOURNS
A Christian leader has shared his prayer for Paris following six coordinated terror attacks in the city. Dr Jonathan Oloyede, Convenor of the British National Day of Prayer and Worship said now is the time to seek comfort in the Lord. He was speaking after two suicide attacks and a bombing near the Stade de France stadium, as well as shootings at restaurants and a massacre inside a popular music venue killed at least 128 people have been killed. He said: “We pray that fear will not reign, terror and depression and anger or reaction against foreigners will not spike. “We pray that this will not create racism or xenophobia in any form in Paris, across Europe, we pray that humanity will come together at this time.”
He said that: “As Convenor of the National Day of Prayer and Worship, I want to urge Christians to pray, pray, pray following the events in Paris. “At our recent National Prayer Retreat which co-incided with the terrorist attack in Paris and which was attended by over 200 delegates from across the whole of the British Isles, we prayed for the events in Paris as news began to break on social media. As the night became day, we were awaken to the full extent of the tragedy which happened as hundreds have innocently lost their lives on multiple sites across Paris. Even within the first couple of hours of the day, the number continued to rise. News of what happened in Paris is both graphic and cruel for people simply going about their daily lives.”
“Many people, even Christians woke up numb and confused about what was happening asking questions of where was God in Paris and what was the motivation for the attack? As yet, we don’t know. However, the one thing we do know is that God was and is in the midst of what is happening in Paris. Wherever we gather as Christians let us pray, pray, pray for Paris – we need to see this ripple effect across the whole world. Fear divides people but I am calling on Christians not to fear and come together in unity. “As we struggle to come to terms with events, we need to be honest with God about how we feel in prayer and know that when we call on heaven, we will gain a perspective on how we can respond individually and collectively to this tragedy.” Dr Oloyede concluded.
The events of the past week have changed Europe forever. People the world over have watched with sadness and wept with the people of Paris, for those who have lost loved ones, and those traumatised by this brutal attack on the city and people. France is a secular nation, where the Church is restricted, and it birthed much of the secular and humanist thought in Europe that set itself up against God. The Sunday Times reports that at the Bataclan concert hall on Friday night it was as the band Eagles of Death Metal were playing a song called ‘Kiss the devil’ that the gunshots started. In many ways France has given up on God. In Zephaniah, the Lord says “here comes upon you the day of the wrath of the Lord. Seek the Lord all you humble of the land, who do His commands; seek righteousness and humility” Zephaniah 2: 2-3.
God has not given up on France. His cry is “turn to me I will comfort you. I will give you peace in your hearts”. Great wisdom is needed at this time. As France responded with bombing ISIS strongholds in Syria, will there be ramifications? On social media, people are already pointing the finger at refugees. President Hollande said ‘this is a declaration of war’. The Archbishop of Canterbury said, “Lord, deliver us from evil. Protect our brothers and sisters on the frontline of this spiritual battle in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Iran, and provide for their basic needs. Change the hearts of the ISIS leaders and persecutors.” This is not just a French problem. Europe was once the Gospel-sending centre of the world – now it is in desperate need of the Gospel again.
* declaring the Supremacy of Christ over France. Pray that He will make a public example of the principalities and powers as He triumphs over them. Declare God’s love for France. Pray the Church in France would be equipped and enabled during this time of mourning. Pray that many would come to Christ as this time. Pray that He would bring hope amongst the hopelessness that many feel.
* asking the Lord to give His wisdom to world leaders and those in government and to the security services searching for the right ways forward. Pray that God would reveal intelligence to the French Police, Interpol and other security services to expose the works of the enemy and for His to light to shine.” Pray too that the Lord would have mercy on France and bring deep comfort to those who mourn. Pray that He would draw close to those in hospital and bring healing.
* asking God to prepare us for the times that lie ahead – humbly, with compassion and grace and that the deep mercy of God and his grace will be revealed in every nation in Europe. Pray blessing upon the refugees across Europe – may they meet with Jesus, their only hope. Pray too for the peoples of Europe ‘let them say among the nations – the Lord reigns.’ 1 Chronicles 16:31.
AN INVITATION TO UNDER 35’S TO ATTEND YOUTH PRAYER EVENT IN SOUTH KOREA
We have received the following email from the International Prayer Council which is self-explanatory. If you are under 35 and would like to attend this event please respond by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org letting us know of your interest. We will then connect you with Desiree to register your intent to attend this event.
“Hi, My name is Desiree Salud from the Philippines. I am regional coordinator for the Australia and Oceania Region for the UPRISING. On July 26-30, 2016, we are calling for a global UPRISING– that is, United Prayer Rising– in Seoul, South Korea. In the current crisis this generation is facing, we believe that it’s time to gather and pray, it’s time to see change in our regions and our nations. We believe the convergence of generations in united prayer can reverse the crisis, and potentially give birth to new prayer and missions movements all over the world. Also, on July 29, a worship-intercession event will be held at the DMZ Peace Plaza (the border of North and South Korea) to pray against division, and agree with our Korean brothers in prayer for the unification of Korea.
Below is a brief of what UPRISING is about. We invite you to please hear our hearts and respond if you sense God’s calling to attend. If you believe that this is in the heart of God for this generation across nations, we’d love to hear from you. Our prayer is that those attending will receive a fresh vision for our generation, receive impartation from the older generation, get connected with other emerging leaders from all over the world, and partner with the Holy Spirit in releasing His glory among the nations. For more info on the UPRISING, you may visit www.unitedprayerrising.com Thank you so much for hearing our hearts. God bless you beyond your heart’s desires. Desiree Gaye C. Salud Coordinator, Australia and Oceania Region”
WHAT IS UPRISING ABOUT
Our world is becoming more and more desperate.
. The US Supreme Court legitimizes same-sex marriage.
. There is a rise in the radicalization of our youth to join ISIS.
. There is a growing materialistic and humanistic worldview among the youth.
. There is a breakdown of the family into dysfunctional relationships, causing children to live like orphans in a confusing world.
. There is an ever-increasing rate of abortion, teen suicide, abuse of children, child-trafficking, etc.
. Distractive advertising campaigns lead children and the youth to reject who they are and then pursue an image that they are not, which results in a generation that is confused and without vision.
And the church?
. We are desperately losing our children to media, entertainment, mysticism, existentialist experiences, and now, even extreme fanaticism.
. We are fast losing our ability to inspire the young generation. We cling on to desperate measures to keep them in church, but never really challenge them enough to reach their full potential.
. We are distracted with our useless disunity, non-collaboration, and distrust among each other.
. We are focused on how big the crowd is and not on how deep people believe.
. Our loyalty to our labels have repelled a generation that wants to unite.
. Our faith needs to be re-fired, our energy needs to be re-fuelled, and our love for the next generation needs to be re-ignited.
During desperate times like these, God calls His people to unite and pray. We are calling for a global UPRISING-United Prayer Rising! We will mobilize. We will organize. We will pray. We will not stop until God comes and brings a mighty move in this generation. We want God to use this generation to usher in the greatest revival the church has ever seen. Psalm 24 says that there will be a generation whose DNA is to seek His face. UPRISING believes that the search is over; THIS IS THE GENERATION GOD HAS BEEN WAITING FOR. So, I invite you. On July 26-30, 2016, join me and thousands of others in Seoul to start a global UPRISING! If you find this to be stirring something in your heart and know that this is something you want to be a part of, please do connect with us. I hope to see you in Korea next year!
KURDISH ARMY HOLDING THE LINE AGAINST ISIS FOR THE SAKE OF THE WHOLE FREE WORLD
For more than a year, the Peshmerga, the Kurdish military force in Iraq, has consistently stood up to ISIS. Peshmerga Gen. Karzan escorted CBN News to the front lines for a rare look at the territory these fighters took back from ISIS. We crossed the Euphrates River and passed the Mosul Dam. One year ago, ISIS captured the dam and threatened Iraq with an ecological catastrophe. Destroying the dam would have sent a 60-foot wall of water all the way to Baghdad, killing as many as half a million people. The Peshmerga took back the dam with the help of U.S. airstrikes. Karzan said of ISIS. “They are like a fire. They’re not against a specific ethnic people or religion. They’re against everything.” CBN News passed villagers showing support for the military. Without the Peshmerga, their village would be overrun by ISIS.
“They are very glad to live under the control of the Kurds,” the general explained. “This is the most dangerous place for all of us and ISIS,” he continued. “These places that you see weren’t captured easily.” As we approach Peshmerga’s base, we’re cautioned not to take any video inside. This is the front line between ISIS and Peshmerga. ISIS fighters are about 500 meters from where we are. A lot of people say this is a key sector because it controls the Mosul Dam. But more than that, many people say this is the battle line between the free world and ISIS. “These villages that you see belong to ISIS,” he said. “They believe that this is the line of the free world,” he explained. “This is why when ISIS comes to fight against the Peshmerga, they believe they’re crossing the border into Europe.”
Back at headquarters, we spoke with Maj. Gen. Bahjat Arab. “The Peshmerga are fighting for the sake of the whole free world,” he said. “If you want to look at the whole world, no one stands against ISIS. Look at what happened to the Iraqi army. No one fought ISIS, only the Peshmerga. If the other people in the world want to know or to see how dangerous ISIS is, let them come and go to Mosul,” he said. “See what happened to the Yazidis or the Christians.” He blamed the Baghdad government for the lack of advanced weapons they need to fight ISIS. He described a picture of how they need to maintain their weapons. “Sometimes we have to repair one weapon with another,” he explained. ” This is how we’ve used the old weapons to fight against ISIS.”
Despite the old weapons, retired U.S. General Jay Garner says the Peshmerga are taking the battle to ISIS. “There are 4.5 million people here who are totally pro-American. He explained, “To their east is our enemy, Iran; to the south is our enemy, Shia, Iraq; to the west, our enemy, Syria, and to the north is what we call a NATO ally, Turkey.” Garner says Kurdistan is a military man’s dream. “You’re in a perfect place where you can strike out at any of your enemies, but you’ve got support in the north with an ally,” he said. Gen. Arab added how grateful he was to the U.S. “The Kurds are the only true friends America has in this area,” he said. The Peshmerga say a decisive factor in the battle against ISIS has been U.S. airstrikes. But with more arms, they say they could make even further advances against the Islamic State.
FLEEING BOKO HARAM – NOWHERE TO RUN – NOWHERE TO HIDE
A report by UK based Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), reveals an unprecedented humanitarian disaster in Northern Nigeria where the military has re-taken many areas from Boko Haram. Displaced Nigerians have relatively little help and find refuge where they can, says the report. Some walk hundreds of miles, crossing the border into neighbouring Chad, Niger or Cameroon. The majority remains as internally displaced people (IDP) in Nigeria, reliant on the kindness of friends or extended family to get by, or crowded into unsanitary camps. More than 25,000 people have lost their lives in the past 6 years, and more than 2.5 million others have been displaced in Northern Nigeria since May 2013 – around four times the number of migrants and refugees that have arrived in Europe so far this year.
Many of the displaced are Christians. Many of the kidnapped Chibok School girls are members of the Church of the Brethren (EYN) which is based mainly in the north of Nigeria. EYN is the Church worst affected by the insurgency.
Boko Haram has almost wiped it out of existence in the three most affected states. The President of EYN, Rev Samuel Dali, recently said that more than 8,000 of his church members have been killed. The church which has over one million members has seen about 700,000 of them displaced and now scattered in many places. Some 15,000 others have sought refuge in neighbouring Cameroon. World Watch Monitor was told heart breaking stories of displaced people who fled from Mubi to Cameroon.
While running away with Boko Haram chasing after them in the night, one child running with his mother was bitten by a snake. The child started bleeding severely and getting weaker. The mother had no choice but to leave the child behind to die and run with the others to save her life. A man running with two children suddenly fell and died from a heart attack. The children tried to wake him up, calling “Daddy! Stand up, let us run!” But he was dead. None of those running away could stop to help: the children were left behind with their dead father. Another account is of a pregnant woman who, while running, started having labour pains. The other women with her could not stop to help her. But one of them threw her a cloth saying “if you deliver, wrap the baby in this cloth”. Then they ran away, leaving her in labour.
“The kidnapping of women, children, church leaders and school girls has become genocide of Christians” said Rev Dali. Scores have been killed in the last few weeks in a string of suicide bombings in the cities where they seek refuge. The insurgents are even starting to strike the displacement camps where the most desperate seek help. The situation is volatile as abandoned vehicles, burnt buildings, destroyed farmland and the stench of decomposed bodies provide constant reminders of the past and what could happen again. Few government institutions are functioning. Most health centres remain closed, while schools have been abandoned. EYN says about 70% of its properties have been destroyed. The IRIN report asks “where should these uprooted refugees go?” It’s not an easy question to answer.
Hamtramck (Michigan) residents have elected a Muslim majority to its city council. In the recent election-with six candidates running for three seats-the top three vote-getters were Muslim, while the bottom three were non-Muslim. Two of the Muslim candidates, Anam Miah and Abu Musa, are incumbent councilmen, while newcomer Saad Almasmari, the top vote-getter, was also elected. Incumbent City Councilman Robert Zwolak came in fifth place. Some believe the city is the first in the U.S. with a Muslim majority on its city council. Formerly known for its Polish population, Hamtramck is now about 24% Arab (mostly Yemeni); 19 percent African-American; 15 percent Bangladeshi; 12 percent Polish; and 6 percent Yugoslavian (many Bosnian), according to U.S. Census figures.
The percentage of residents who are Muslim is unclear since the U.S. Census does not ask about religion. Estimates of the Muslim population range from one-third to more than one-half of city residents. Almost all of the Yemeni-Americans in Hamtramck are Muslim, while the growing Bangladeshi-American community in Hamtramck has Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists. The city has a Bangladeshi Hindu temple and Bangladeshi mosques. Gov. Rick Snyder recently attended the opening of Bangla Town, an area that celebrates Bangladeshi-American culture in Hamtramck and bordering Detroit neighbourhoods. About 41% of the city are immigrants, the highest percentage among cities in metro Detroit. Three of the Muslims on Hamtramck’s City Council are of Bangladeshi descent, while Almasmari is of Yemeni descent.
The issue of Islam has come up in recent years as the Muslim population has grown. After contentious debate, in 2004 the city allowed the Muslim call to prayer to be broadcast publicly five times a day from mosques through loudspeakers. This drew complaints from residents who said it was loud and intrusive, waking them up early. City Council candidate Susan Dunn, who came in fourth place, raised the issue during the campaign, prompting a response from Almasmari during a city council meeting last month. “We all want to live peacefully and respectfully,” he said to the council during the October meeting. Almasmari said the call to prayer “is not as loud” as Dunn thinks it is. “We as Muslims respect our neighbours and we don’t like to bother anybody,” he said.
In Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy , has won a landslide victory in the first freely-contested election in 25 years, winning the needed two-thirds of the vote to enable it to nominate the country’s new President. Even though she herself is barred from that role, Suu Kyi has made it clear she will be closely involved in running the government. She will have to negotiate with the military, who hold 25% of the seats in Parliament. Her new government inherits many pressing issues, not least that of the nation’s minorities, which include the Rohingya Muslims, and ethnic groups who are majority Christian, including the Kachin and Chin. The Karen also have a sizeable Christian population. The military government had continued a campaign of oppression against ethnic minorities.
Myanmar is a deeply fractured nation on a political and ethnic level. Some of the world’s longest-running civil wars continue here. In spite of this Myanmar’s Christians are cautiously hopeful. “This election is important for Christians because we have been under dictatorship for over 60 years,” Rev. Dr. Hkalam Samson, General Secretary of Kachin Baptist Convention, said. “The majority of Christians in Myanmar are from ethnic minorities. We need permission for church buildings in those areas. And we also need special permission for any celebration or to preach openly in areas outside of the church. We are allowed to preach only on Sundays and inside church buildings” Samson said. “Aung San Suu Kyi has not yet spoken of her response to the issue of ethnic minorities so that makes us a little wary.”