Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Disobedience: A Humbling Experience

I was helping little Robert with his homework today and it was going so well, he had to look for and paste words that start with the letters m and a (in that order). He would look for the words and I would cut them out and paste them on his notebook, seemingly a simple task. After a while and as it is expected, he started to get really distracted with just about anything but I tried to quiet him down and get him to pay attention. At one point he went to the bathroom and came back, I asked if he had washed his hands (always ask children this) he was honest and said no (I was so happy to know that he chose not to lie, don't be surprised children DO lie) and then said he would do so immediately. He came back again drew his hands near the tip of my nose and said "all done" I smelled his hands and said "hmmm nice" well that gave him the crazy idea of wanting to go back and put some cologne on (he likes to dress nice and smell nice so people will compliment him..what a kid!) but I told him not to, I told him to save it for tomorrow when going to school. Of course after that he was really discouraged and not interested at all in continuing the homework. After struggling with him for a while, he went to throw something to the trash as an excuse of course because when he came back he drew his palm near my nose again and it smelled like cologne. I was so disappointed, so sad that he would disobey me like that and expressed my feelings of disappointment for his disobedience. Why this very long and perhaps boring story? Because in that moment I thought, *gasp* I'm disappointed for his disobedience! wow what does the Lord feel whenever WE disobey!
What a humbling moment and a thought to stay with me for a lifetime. I'm not a parent yet, but this is one of those moments the Lord has allowed me to have for growth and preparation for the future.
Lord forgive us for our disobedience, especially me!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Preaching the Gospel to: Believers

On my way home from the hospital, in the bus I usually take whenever I have a shift, I sat beside a woman whom I suspected to be a Christian. I waited quietly hoping she'd witness to me, but she remained silent staring out the window (which I have been guilty of doing as well many times before) I thought perhaps I should witness to her because a person might have the "evangelical" look and even lingo and probably not be saved. Jesus tells us in His word that many will come to Him and say "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?" and the Lord will reply "depart from me...I never knew you"(Matthew 7:21-23, Luke 13:24-30), this tells us that there are people that will look and act like Christians yet there hearts will be very far from the Lord. For this reason, don't think that just because someone professes faith in Christ they're born again. So I asked, "are you a Christian?" she said yes, and then I thought I'd do what Todd and Ray and the rest of the gang do when encountering a professing Christian, I asked her what I needed to do to be saved. I got the standard "well just accept Jesus into your heart and do what the Bible says" I then explained to her repentance and faith in Christ, to which she agreed and said some things indicating she understood the concept. It was just another case of a Christian with bad Christianese. We had a great conversation over evangelism, Christ and some Bible verses. It was great meeting a fellow Christian, my hope and prayer is that the conversation will trigger her and me to get out of our comfort zones and preach the gospel to someone, even that person sitting next to us on the bus.
When witnessing let Romans 1:16 be our encouragement and verse:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Jesus Lived Among Sinners

It is not the first time I've heard the "Jesus lived among sinners" argument whenever someone tries to justify going to places Christians aren't supposed to be going to or at least should consider twice before going. I've heard it from both non-believers and Christians alike. So if you're ever invited to a place where you know God is not honored and you're invited not to preach the gospel and transform people's lives but just to enjoy it as much as the world does, here are some questions that should be answered along with a refutation of the use of the argument.
1. Why are you going to that bar/party/club/concert/R-rated Movie/etc? With what purpose?

2. How are you any different from those surrounding you in said place? Remember be are called to be different, to be in the world but not of it.

And now the refutation.
Yes Jesus dwelt among unbelievers, but if we read scriptures correctly this is what we see:

"While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.
And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them.
Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. " Mat 4:19-22

"As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.
And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples.
And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." Mat 9:9-13

Mat 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

John 4:9-26 (The Samaritan Woman)

But then we read something important about these sinners Jesus hanged out with:
"What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' And he answered, 'I will not,' but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, 'I go, sir,' but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him." - Matthew 21:28-32

Jesus didn't go their bars and parties to hang out with them and be their bestfriend and then hopefully get them to believe in Him, no he called them out from where they were unto Salvation. These sinners believed Him to be the Messiah they had heard of and knew the implications of it and why he had come. Jesus dwelt among them because they were diseased with sin and needed the cure of Salvation.

"And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick." Matthew 9:11-12

The pharisees were sinners just like the publicans and prostitutes and just like you and me, but they didn't think they needed a Saviour they trusted in their own righteousness. But our righteousness will not hold in the day of judgment, because our best of "good" works are as filthy rags before the Lord. That is why we need an alien righteousness as John MacArthur once said, Christ's righteousness which is imputed unto us when we repent and put our faith in Christ, and thanks to said alien righteousness we are Justified before the Lord.

"Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."

Although I must confess that I have failed at inviting these old friends of mine out to lunch or coffee, in a neutral ground, with the purpose of preaching the gospel to them. Something to ponder on for when I finally get my driver's license.

I'll Only Kiss My Wife

Ex-‘Growing Pains’ star refused to smooch co-star in new film ‘Fireproof’
By Mike Celizic
TODAYShow.com contributor

In Kirk Cameron’s new movie, “Fireproof,” he has to kiss the actress playing his wife. That was a problem.

Cameron will not kiss any woman who is not his wife.

“I have a commitment not to kiss any other woman,” the former child star of “Growing Pains” told Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford Monday on TODAY in New York.

To get around the conflict, the filmmakers employed a bit of movie magic, Cameron explained. They dressed his wife, actress Chelsea Noble, like the movie’s female lead and shot the scene in silhouette.

“So when I’m kissing my wife, we’re actually husband and wife honoring marriage behind the scenes,” Cameron said as Gifford and Kotb melted from the romanticism of the moment.

...Continue reading rest of the story.

Grace Gems: Not one of us would ever be saved!

As always an amazing Grace Gem and definitely something to meditate on, in light of a post I read today here's some Grace:

Not one of us would ever be saved!

(J. R. Miller, "The Hidden Life" 1895)

"He always lives to intercede for them." Hebrews 7:25

Some speak as if all Christ's work in saving us, had
been done on the cross nineteen hundred years ago,
in His giving up of Himself to die for us. But His
actual work in saving us--is continued with us--
in teaching us life's lessons,
giving us grace to overcome in temptation,
lifting us up when we have fallen,
going after us and bringing us back when
we have wandered away, and
keeping us from the world's deadly evils.

Were it not for this patient, never-failing, watchful
love of Christ--not one of us would ever be saved!

"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish
--ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand!"
John 10:28

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This is why not only is the Gospel important the day of our salvation but it is still relevant today and everyday, we must preach it to ourselves everyday, so that we may not forget of that ongoing work of Jesus Christ in us, the price he paid for us, the trials and tribulations he went through and promised we would also go through, the promise of His Holy Spirit and the gift of a new life in Him. That is why one should never be tired of such a precious Gospel!

Being a Bad Doctor, Being a Bad Christian

Evangelism Adventure of the Day, Wednesday 24th/08

If there is one tough thing doctors must do is tell their patient the bad news that he/she has cancer (of course the toughest yet is telling family members that their loved one has died). Well today while at the hospital in the pre-labour area, we received a patient who was diagnosed as a possible uterine cancer (we're still waiting for the biopsy results). She had been bleeding the day before and even fainted on her way to the 4th floor of the hospital.
She was placed in one of the beds outside the pre-labour area waiting for the doctors to finish writing some orders and things for the medical record before taking her to the 4th floor, where high risk pregnant women and gynecological case are placed.
I stayed by her bedside because we interns are usually the ones who take patients all around the hospital (and of course for my evangelistic agenda which I try to push when possible ;)) she began to cry and I tried to comfort her but what can you say in situations like these? But then I started thinking about my fear of man when trying to preach the gospel and how it relates to what I started writing in this post.
Imagine if I were too afraid to tell my patients that they have a disease or condition that will most definitely take their life, what kind of doctor would I be if I didn't warn them of their disease and the consequence of it, how would I even offer them the cure? Likewise what kind of a Christian would I be if I didn't warn people of the disease we all carry, called Sin, that will most definitely lead them unto destruction in hell for ever? and If I don't warn them of their disease how can I even offer them the cure, the Gospel of Jesus Christ that would save them from an eternity in Hell separated from God?
I'll tell you what kind of doctor I would be, hence what kind of Christian. A bad one and thus an unloving one. And just as patients have entrusted themselves unto us that we may be good doctors and practice good medicine, so has God entrusted unto us His precious Gospel (1 Thessalonians 2:4, 1 Timothy 1:11, ) that we may be good disciples and practice obedience by fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20). As Paul once said, woe unto me if I preach not the gospel. (1 Cor 9:16)
With that in mind I realized what a great opportunity to evangelize I had, a divine appointment indeed. So when the docs were done with her medical record, she got on the wheel chair and off we went to the elevator and finally to the fourth floor. I took her to her room, she was the only one there, she settled in and I began talking. I asked her if she was a Christian since I had overheard her say she wanted to glorify God in sickness and health (or something along those lines), she said she wasn't a Christian but she had a lot of faith in God, I asked her if she knew what happened after people died she said she knew very well that there was a judgment day and that there are two options either heaven or hell. I took advantage of what she already knew and explained to her that unless we repent and put our faith in Christ like she said we would all end up in hell. I told her that life is short like a vapor, we're alive today but we don't know if tomorrow may come. She agreed with me and then said that her entire family is catholic (I assumed it was her excuse to reject he gospel, it reminded me so much of my first response to the first time I was witnessed to) and I told her that it didn't matter, that my family is catholic too and I was catholic and went to church and yet lived like the world, but that it wasn't until 2 people, sent by the Lord, explained to me that If I didn't repent I would perish by explaining to me what Christ did on the cross or me and for her, that one that cross he bared all of our sins, died and rose again on the third day beating death and the power of sin so that one day people like her and I, sinners, would have a chance to say "wow Lord what a great Savior!" to apologize and repent and put our faith in Him and be saved; that I was truly saved. Her face began to change, her eyes started to well up in tears.
I kept talking, R (name will be disclosed) I said, you don't know if perhaps the Lord willed for you to be here in this hospital with this disease in this room with me so that you may hear his Gospel and be saved. "Please don't wait another day" I pleaded, at this point she started to cry, I kept insisting and told her she didn't need to go to church to be saved, I explained to her that she could pray right there on her bed, and told her that God's word says that those who call upon the name of the Lord would be saved. (Romans 10:13, Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21, )
It was time for me to go back to my area so I finished our conversation with some last words "Think about what I said and don't wait another day", and a gospel of John tract.
Please pray for her, the Lord knows her name and who she is and her heart. Pray that she may be saved.

"For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!"" Romans 10:13-15

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gianna Jessen Survived Abortion

I'm not american, I don't have a say in this coming election so posting this video I'm in no way endorsing any political party, but I am a Christian and I do want to stress the importance of being pro-life. This young woman was aborted by her mother (or at least she tried to abort her daughter) but she survived and what fills me most with joy is that God gets all the glory for this miracle and she's glad to give Him the glory for allowing her to live.

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." Psalm 139:13-14

Monday, September 15, 2008

Why do we sit still? - UPDATE

2 Things:
1. I'm sad to report that the little 24 week old baby girl died over the weekend. While her suffering has ended, her death is still a sad event.
2. My greatest fears have become a reality:

"If the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) gets its way, Ontario’s doctors will soon be stripped of their right to follow their moral convictions or religious beliefs when treating patients. In other words, doctors will risk losing their licenses if they run afoul of Ontario’s human rights police.

If, out of moral conviction, they refuse to perform abortions, refer patients for abortions or prescribe morning-after and birth control pills, or if they refuse to help same-sex couples conceive children, their own governing body will take away their right to practice medicine.

Should euthanasia become legal at some point, physicians would be expected to help patients die, too, even if doing so violated their every moral fibre."(...)

I'm appalled by the news, doctors being forced to perform abortions. So the ones looking to kill the child have a choice but the doctors (apparently are less than human) have no rights? Talk about double standards. In the comments someone said something I wholeheartedly agree with:

"I can't see this as being about meeting the patients' needs but about either:

1) a handful of people in a position of power who want to push their own beliefs about abortion and gays (and who knows what other issues?) down the throats of all others. (There are enough pro-abortion and pro-gay physicians around to meet the needs of those who want their services.)

or 2) just another push towards justifying getting rid of our free health care and bringing in private health care (that we will have to pay for)."

Let us pray for our brothers and sisters in Canada.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Low view of God

When I listen to/read emotional appeals trying to prove that (orthodox) Christianity is horrible or just as worse as any other religions I can only think of 2 things: 1. Low view of God 2. High view of man (duh). I can't possibly even consider elevating my view of man because of the things I see every day, the things I read about in the news paper, the existence of poverty simultaneously with the existence of extremely rich and advanced nations, and mainly because of who I was before I was born again by God's amazing grace.
This ALSO goes for all those "Christians" who don't believe in hell and/or in the eternality of hell, those who have strayed away from preaching the Gospel to "preaching" a social Gospel, those who teach ONLY God's love and not His sovereignty, not His Holiness, not His judgment, not His wrath.
Low very low view of God, low view of Scripture, and high view of man.
In what world are you living in? Come visit my country, I will tour you around and then I will show you my God, the God of scripture and what He has done. And then tell me how beautiful this world is, how beautiful humans are and how "horrible" the wonderful Grace-filled merciful Creator is.

"Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
L For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 6:16-23

Why do we sit still?

I'm currently on my last year of med school, i'm on my ob-gyn rotation, I have the privilege of watching little human beings being born and through ultrasounds observe how human beings develop in time inside the mother's womb.
This little human being
that you are seeing in the picture with her little face and tiny arms and legs and little body,

this human being is 24 weeks old, and weights 500 grams. Now this little girl will probably not make it because she was born in this country, in that hospital which is not fully equipped to handle babies at such a young age. And they're going to tell me that her best option is death? The worst part is there are charlatans bold enough to approve the murder of children at her age and older outside the womb(not in my country though abortion is illegal thank the Lord).
Honestly now how distorted and misplaced are people's line of thinking, although we shouldn't be surprised because their thoughts are under the slavery of sin.
It truly is the answer to Jeremiah, an if this(and more):
"Why do we sit still? Gather together; let us go into the fortified cities and perish there, for the LORD our God has doomed us to perish and has given us poisoned water to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD.
We looked for peace, but no good came; for a time of healing, but behold, terror."

is what befell the people of Israel whom Jeremiah was warning, God's wrath, we can only expect God's wrath to befall those who approve of such a heinous act, my hope is they (especially the Christians who support abortion) will see their sin in time and repent and put their faith in Christ.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Revolution in World Missions

So I've been reading K.P. Yohannan's book and let me just say that I am convicted, seriously. Here are some excerpts from the chapters I've read so far:

I Walked in a Daze
From the moment I touched foot on American soil, I walked in an unbelieving daze. How can two so different economies coexist simultaneously on the earth?... As the days passed into weeks, I began with alarm to understand how misplaced are the spiritual values of most Western believers. Sad to say, it appeared to me that for the most part they had absorbed the same humanistic and materialistic values that dominated the secular culture. Almost immediately I sensed an awesome judgment was hanging over the United States... (...)
What impresses visitors from the Two-Third World are the simple things Americans take for granted: fresh water available 24 hours a day, unlimited electrical power, telephones that work and a most remarkable network of paved roads." (P.41)

"At the time, we still had no television in India, but my American hosts seemed to have TV sets in every room--and they operated day and night. This ever-present blast of media disturbed me. For some reason, Americans seemed to have a need to surround themselves with noise all the time. Even in their cars, I noticed the radios were on even when no one was listening.
Why do they always have to be entertained or entertaining? I wondered. It was as if they were trying to escape from a guilt they had not yet defined or even identified." (pp. 41-42)

"There is such an emphasis on church buildings in the United States that we sometimes forget that the Church is the people no the place where the people meet." (P.46)

"A Nation Asleep in Bondage"

"Religion, I discovered, is a multi-billion dollar business in the United States. Entering churches, I was astonished at the carpeting, furnishings, air-conditioning and ornamentation. Many churches have gymnasiums and fellowships that cater to a busy schedule of activities having little or nothing to do with Christ. The orchestras, choirs, 'special' music--and sometimes even the preaching--seemed to me more like entertainment than worship." (p. 47)

"I found that believers are ready to get involved in almost any activity that looks spiritual but allows them to escape their responsibility to the Gospel" (p.47)

"The saddest observation I can make about most of the religious communication activity of the Western world is this: Little, if any, of this media is designed to reach unbelievers Almost all is entertainment for the saints." (P.47)

"What are you doing here"
Holding evangelistic crusades and bringing people to Christ are not enough: Someone has to stay behind and nurture the new believers into maturity. For the first time I began to understand the goal of all mission work: the "perfecting" of the saints into sanctified, committed disciples of Christ." (P.55)

"I remembered how one of my seminary professors solemnly instructed his class of young "preacher boys" to lay aside money every month for emergencies, purchase life insurance and build equity in home. But I could not find any of this in the New Testament commands of Christ. Why was it necessary to save our money in bank accounts when Jesus commanded us not to lay up treasures on this earth?" (P. 58)

"A New Day in Missions"

"Two reasons, it appeared to me, were the cause for the current malaise that has fastened like cancer on American Believers. The first is historical. The second is the unconfessed sins related to three basic iniquities: pride, unbelief and worldliness." (P.76)

"Most Christians in North America still conceive of missions in terms of blond-haired, blue-eyed white people going to the dark-skinned Two-Thirds World nations" (P.78)

"In India, which no longer permits Western missionary evangelists, more church growth and outreach are happening now than at any point in our history. China is another good example of the new realities." (P. 79)

"(...) over 500,000 underground churches reportedly have sprung up during the communist persecution. (...) all this happened under the spiritual direction of the indigenous church movement." (P 79)

Is Missions an Option?
"(...) the United States is the only nation in the world founded by believers in Christ who made a covenant with God-dedicating a new nation to God.
Born into affluence, freedom and divine blessings, Americans should be the most thankful people on earth." (P.85)

"(...) the single most important hindrance to world evangelization right now is the lack of total involvement by the Body of Christ" (emphasis mine) (P. 87)

"(...)Only when we are emptied of our own self-sufficiency ca God use us. When a church or a mission board spends more time in consultation,planning and committee meetings than in prayer, it is a clear indication the members have lost touch with the supernatural and have ended up, in Watchman Nee's words, "serving the house of God and forgot the Lord Himself."" (P.90)

God is Withholding Judgment

"(...)many evangelical Christians do not really believe the Word of God, especially when it talks about hell and judgment. Instead, they selectively accept only the portions that allow them to continue living in their current lifestyles." (P. 93)

"(...)The grace and love of God are pleasant subjects, and no one more beautifully demonstrated them than our Lord Jesus. Yet in His earthly ministry, He made more references to hell and judgment than He did to heaven. Jesus lived with the reality of hell, and He died on Calvary because He knew it was real and coming to everyone who doesn't turn to God in this life." (P. 93)

"Very few seem to believe that those who die without Christ are going to a place where they will be tormented forever and ever in a bottomless pit where the fire is not quenched and they are separated from God and His love for all eternity without any chance of return.(...)Why aren't Christians living in obedience to God? Because of their unbelief." (P.94)

There is so much more to read and take in from this book, please get it! Better yet don't get it for free, buy it its only 5.95 I believe, don't eat that Wendy's or Burger King or King Lobster this weekend, it'll be worth the meal and more.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The death of your godly daughter

OK this Grace Gem I had to post, while this letter seems harsh there is so much truth in it! When a loved one who is saved passes away we should rejoice that the person will finally meet face to face his/her Maker, finally the toils and troubles of this world and sin will be gone forever more, and soon enough after that we will all meet again, so as John Berridge said: "Glory, glory, glory be to God!"

The death of your godly daughter

(by John Berridge, 1716-1793)

I received your letter, about the death of your godly daughter--and hope that you will soon learn to bless your Redeemer for snatching her away so speedily. Methinks I see great mercy in the suddenness of her removal; and when your affections have done yearning for her--you will see it too.

O! what is she snatched from? Why, truly, from the plague of an evil heart, a wicked world, and a crafty devil--snatched from all future bitter grief, and from everything which might wound her ear, afflict her eye, or pain her heart!

And what is she snatched to? To a land of everlasting peace, where every inhabitant can say, 'I am no more sick!' No more affliction in the body, no more plague in the heart--but all full of love and full of praise; ever seeing with enraptured eyes, ever blessing with adoring hearts--that dear Lamb who has washed them in His blood, and has now made them kings and priests unto God, forever and ever!

Oh, madam! What would you rather have? Is it not better singing in heaven, 'Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!' --than crying out on earth, 'O wretched woman that I am!'

Is it not better to have your daughter taken to heaven--than to have your heart divided between Christ and her? If she was a silver idol before--might she not prove to be a golden idol afterwards?

She has gone to the most blessed place, and will see you again by and by--never more to part. Had she crossed the sea and gone to Ireland--you would have born it; but now that she is gone to heaven--should this be difficult for you? Strange love is this!

Such behavior in others would not surprise me--but I could almost chasten you for it. And I am sure your daughter would chasten you too, if she was called back but one moment from the glories of heaven--to gratify your fond desires! I cannot soothe you--and I must not flatter you. I am glad the dear creature has gone to heaven before you. Lament, if you please; but 'Glory, glory, glory be to God!' says John Berridge.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Children Desiring God

The greatest need of the next generations is to know and cherish the infinite value of God.Therefore, we want them to become so saturated with the Word of God that they treasure Jesus alone as the One who saves and satisfies the heart. The goal of our curriculum is to fuel spiritual desire by exalting the greatness and worth of God and His glorious work through Christ.

Is the mission statement of this ministry, Children Desiring God, as we all learned this evening at my church. Two representatives of this ministry Brian Eaton, the Director of the ministry, and Luis Mendez (from the Dominican Republic serving at Bethlehem) came to our church today to inform us all about the importance of influencing the children from birth in such a way that they may come to know and cherish the infinite value of God. To point them in the right direction so they may ultimately be lead to Jesus Christ. They explained that the curriculum of the ministry is a God-centered curriculum saturated with the word of God with the purpose of teaching the children to treasure Jesus as the one who saves and satisfies the heart, and they do that by exalting the greatness and worth of God and His glorious work through Jesus Christ.

One example Brian Eaton gave to us about how people generally teach children was the following: "lets talk about the little boy David who had the courage to take a rock and sling it with all his might at a Giant, so children you too can slay the giants in your lives", "but this is not what we want to do", said Mr. Eaton, "we want to teach the story in the most accurate way possible and teach them that it is about God" (paraphrase) He was explaining that in the story its not about David its about God using David to kill a giant for His name's sake and David did this for God's glory.

It was such an encouraging night for me, for many reasons. First of all it seemed as though I wasn't going to be able to attend church tonight, the crazy stormy weather, the bathroom without water for me to take a bath, no transportation. Thankfully my brother agreed to take me, the bathroom issue was resolved, and the weather it didn't seem too much of a problem. Praise God. Secondly, I work in children ministry at my church and I had been teacher's assistant in a few occasions for Sunday School and I saw the way they did Sunday School and it just didn't seem quite right to me because a lot of it was fun and entertainment and little bible teaching. Well today all those concerns were answered and I'm just so excited to know where this will lead us and how God will transform the way we do children ministry, and consequently these children lives.

One of the things that impacted me was when one of the church members asked at what age it all begins, and Mr. Eaton replied since birth and explained how the curriculum teaches, pastors, teachers and parents how to begin teaching their children since birth about God and gave a few examples how. That was amazing and definitely something to bear in mind for future children and/or spiritual children (for those who are part of the Nursery ministry, like me).

The night was of much blessing to all of us, God is so good and awesome and most definitely deserves all the glory!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Grace Gems: The God of the broken-hearted

The God of the broken-hearted

(J. R. Miller, "The Beatitude for the Unsuccessful" 1892)

"The Lord is near the broken-hearted." Psalm 34:18

The God of the Bible, is the God of the broken-hearted. The world cares little for the broken hearts. Indeed, people oftentimes break hearts by their cruelty, their falseness, their injustice, their coldness--and then move on as heedlessly as if they had trodden only on a worm! But God cares. Broken-heartedness attracts Him. The plaint of grief on earth--draws Him down from heaven.

Physicians in their rounds, do not stop at the homes of the well--but of the sick. So it is with God in His movements through this world. It is not to the whole and the well--but to the wounded and stricken, that He comes with sweetest tenderness! Jesus said of His mission: "He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted." Isaiah 61:1

We look upon trouble as misfortune. We say that the life is being destroyed, which is passing through adversity. But the truth which we find in the Bible, does not so represent suffering. God is a repairer and restorer of the hurt and ruined life. He takes the bruised reed--and by His gentle skill makes it whole again, until it grows into fairest beauty. The love, pity, and grace of God, minister sweet blessing of comfort and healing--to restore the broken and wounded hearts of His people.

Much of the most beautiful life in this world, comes out of sorrow. As "fair flowers bloom upon rough stalks," so many of the fairest flowers of human life, grow upon the rough stalks of suffering. We see that those who in heaven wear the whitest robes, and sing the loudest songs of victory--are those who have come out of great tribulation. Heaven's highest places are filling, not from earth's homes of glad festivity and tearless joy--but from its chambers of pain; its valleys of struggle where the battle is hard; and its scenes of sorrow, where pale cheeks are wet with tears, and where hearts are broken. The God of the Bible--is the God of the bowed down--whom He lifts up into His strength.

God is the God of those who fail. Not that He loves those who stumble and fall, better than those who walk erect without stumbling; but He helps them more. The weak believers get more of His grace--than those who are strong believers. There is a special divine promise, which says, "My divine power is made perfect in weakness." When we are conscious of our own insufficiency, then we are ready to receive of the divine sufficiency. Thus our very weakness is an element of strength. Our weakness is an empty cup--which God fills with His own strength.

You may think that your weakness unfits you for noble, strong, beautiful living--or for sweet, gentle, helpful serving. You wish you could get clear of it. It seems to burden you--an ugly spiritual deformity. But really it is something which--if you give it to Christ--He can transform into a blessing, a source of His power. The friend by your side, whom you envy because he seems so much stronger than you are--does not get so much of Christ's strength as you do. You are weaker than him--but your weakness draws to you divine power, and makes you strong.

"He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3

Monday, September 01, 2008

Prayer Request: Persecution

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne.
They cried out with a loud voice, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"
- Revelation 6:9-10

I've been receiving these news reports from GFA (Gospel For Asia) about increasing violence in Orissa against Christians by Hindu extremists, it has been a horrible situation and it has kept on getting worse. Here's a description of what has been going on from K.P. Yohannan the President and Founder of GFA:

"Imagine how you would feel if a mob broke into your home, raped your wife and daughters, tried to kill you and then burned your house down—all because you are a Christian. That's exactly what is happening to our brothers and sisters in Orissa, India, right now. Read the latest update on the continuing volatile situation here.

Dear friend, I have seen a lot of violence against Christians in my more than 30 years of sharing the Gospel with the people of Asia. I have even been on the receiving end of some of those attacks. But the events in Orissa are by far the most orchestrated and horrifying atrocities I have ever witnessed. Please join me in praying for these persecuted brothers and sisters in their time of great suffering."

From the TeamPyro Blog, a more detailed description of what is being done to our brothers and sisters in Christ from Orissa and names of Pastors who have been harmed, tortured and the churches they pastored destroyed, or burned, or ransacked.

Maoists (communists) have taken responsibility for Swami Saraswati's murder, but Christians have been the main targets of the radical Hindiu backlash. VHP leaders insist Christian missionaries plotted the murder.

More than 50,000 Christians are said to have fled the region, hiding in jungles and forests to escape the violence. Many of them will likely be permanently dispossessed of all they have.

Reports also allege that the partisan government in Orissa has done little to stop the anti-Christian violence, and has perhaps even been complicit in the persecutions.

I've received a few e-mails this weekend from friends in India describing some of the persecution. The Web is full of stories about it as well. None was more disturbing than this e-mail I received, from an evangelical church in India:

Yesterday one of our church members B_____ P______ hailing from Orissa reported that Fanatic Hindus came to her home in Orissa and asked all of them to become Hindus. On refusal they started threatening the family, so her brother said, "We will worship our Lord Jesus." The Hindus said that they would kill him, and asked, "Don't you fear to be killed?" He said, "I am willing to die for Jesus." So they cut him in three pieces. They also killed her maternal uncle, burnt the whole house and threw them on the road. Kindly keep on praying. Things are started happening in our state also. Kindly see Orissa violence on Net for more information.

I thank you all for praying, & we can say that He is El-Shaddi God. S_____ F______.

Here's another document, compiled by the Evangelical Fellowship of India, listing forty-six typical acts of violence that have occurred over the past week. At the end of the document is contact information for three government officials to whom letters of concern and protest may be addressed.

  • On 24th of August Pastor Jeebaratna Lima from Khurda District, was attacked and beaten up mercilessly. The miscreants doused petrol on him and about to set him on fire but timely arrival of Police saved his life. He was in Police custody but later was released on bail next day.
  • Pastor Bahumulya Paik of Bamandei, Patpur Police Station. Ganjam District was beaten to a point of death by a mob of around 100 people. He vomited blood and later gained conciousness and managed to flee from the place while the group was engaged in attacking the local believers. Since the hospitals were closed no medical help was available. On August 26, the police escorted him to some distance by their vehicle and left him on the way to take a bus and go away.
  • Pastor Bishnu Kumbhar and his pregnant wife of village Dutta, under Madan Rampur Police Station of Kalahandi district, were chased out. To save their lives, they ran away in the darkness and hid themselves from the attackers.
  • Pastor Susanjit Beero of Tengada Pathar under Tikabali Police Station of Phulabani, was attacked by a group of Hindutva miscreants. Along with few believers he is still reported to be taking shelter in the forest though without food and clothes from the last 48 hours.
  • Pastor Dillip Koshla of Tiangia village, under Raikia Police Station was attacked by the mob. His house and property are burned and looted by the unruly mob.
  • Pastor Birendra Harijan, of Nakapolo Church under Dharmasala Police Station of Jajpur District was beaten up badly. As the miscreants were about to set his house on fire the timely arrival of police saved the disaster.
  • Pastor Amit Pani of Ampani village, Koksora Police Station(PS) under Kalahandi district was chased out and locked in a house but they manage to escape.
  • Pastor Lebiyo Raito of Kanjamendi, Nuagam PS, Phulbani, was attacked and chased away from his house. He is still hiding in the jungle.
  • Pastor Jatan Nayak, of Bhadrak district was attacked and his house ransacked. He is in the Police protection at the moment.
  • Pastor Abinash Garjang, of Tattaguda, Malkangiriis attacked and the Church building was ransacked.
  • Pastor Aurobindo Sahu of Tumgurpada Church, Bargarh District is threatened to leave the place with dire consequences.
  • District pastor Anant Benya of Badibahal church, Luisingha PS, in Bolangir District was issued threat to attack the church on 26th August..
  • ...

  • Continue reading at TeamPyro

    Please let us keep praying for ALL of our brothers and sisters in Christ, from India and all over the world.