Month: August 2013

Joshua and the commander

Joshua 5:13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” 14 “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell face down to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord[e] have for his servant?” 15 The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

I have many favorite passages in the Bible and this is one of them.  Joshua is full of the Spirit and full of adrenaline.  He has just taken over from Moses.  He has led the Hebrews across the Jordan.  He is about to attack Jericho.  I feel his energy.  I want to be Joshua.  He’s in charge and he’s ready to conquer anything that gets in his way.

He sees a man standing in front of him with a sword.  Are you for us or against us?  It is a logical question and I’m sure that Joshua is ready to fight him.  As much as i admire Joshua, I really like this commander!  He knows who he is and he doesn’t waste time with small talk.  “as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”  Wow.  Don’t you wish you had identity clarity like that and the power to go with it?  I get the sense that you don’t mess with this guy.  He makes Rambo and Chuck Norris look like wimps.

Joshua again steps up – The great leader in one moment, full of power and energy, and the next second he is face down in the dirt before God’s awesome power.

Can we react like that?

Take off your sandals, where you are standing is holy!

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Bendy Straws – a re-post from March 2012

I was at a restaurant with my sons the other day.  Our drinks came and I smiled because I got a “bendy straw”.  I didn’t say anything because I was too embarrassed.  But then my sons said “Hey! Bendy straws!  I love bendy straws!”  Oh, how the small things in life can give us pleasure!  I am infatuated with hawks that now live along our highways and I thank God every time I see one.  I love sunsets, a cool breeze, and the sound of waves at the ocean.  Many of these small joys in life I learned as a child.

My biggest joy is being able to curl up in my Father’s lap and feel His love when it seems like the whole world is against me.  I learned this as a child too.  Who can harm us when we sit in His lap?

I pray that all of you get to experience small and large joys today.  I hope that you are able to remember joys from your childhoods and smile as you go about your “adult” duties.  Most of all I pray that you will take the time to curl up in our Father’s lap and just cuddle.

Luke 10:21
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

straws

Please pray – Iranian court nixes appeal from jailed American pastor

Iranian court nixes appeal from jailed American pastor

By Lisa Daftari

Published August 26, 2013

FoxNews.com
  • saeednew.JPG

    American citizen Saeed Abedini remains in an Iranian prison, where supporters say he faces beatings and death threats. (ACLJ)

An Iranian court rejected an appeal from Saeed Abedini, the American Christian pastor held in Iran for his Christian faith, and refused to reduce the eight-year prison term his supporters believe is tantamount to a death sentence, according to his family and lawyers.

Abedini, 33, an American citizen who lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two children, has been held in Iran’s Evin Prison since September, following his arrest on a bus. His supporters say he has been beaten and tortured in the prison, and that he was only in Iran to try to start a secular orphanage.

“While we remained hopeful that Iran would use its own appeal process to finally show respect for Pastor Saeed’s basic human rights, again Iran has demonstrated an utter disregard for the fundamentals of human rights,” said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini’s wife and their two children.

“… again, Iran has demonstrated an utter disregard for the fundamentals of human rights.”

– Jordan Sekulow, American Center for Law and Justice

“We are exploring all options with Pastor Saeed’s family, including options in this country and abroad to bring more pressure on Iran from the U.S. and other countries around the world. The decision is deeply troubling and underscores Iran’s continued violation of principles of freedom of religion, association, peaceful assembly and expression.”

Abedini’s attorneys were hopeful that new Iranian President Hasan Rowhani, who took office this month, would show more clemency in religious persecution cases. Instead, Abedini’s legal team is now more fearful that the latest legal setback could mean he’ll face additional beatings and abuse inside the notoriously brutal prison.

The decision to reject Abedini’s appeal came yesterday from the Tehran Court of Appeals and was handed down by a two-judge panel that refused to provide Abedini’s Iranian attorney with a written copy of the decision, according to his attorneys.

One of the judges issuing the decision, Judge Ahmad Zargar, was previously sanctioned by the European Union for issuing long-term sentences and death sentences for peaceful protesters.

Abedini, who was first arrested for evangelizing in his homeland more than a decade ago, claims he was freed and told by authorities he could return to visit family as long as he refrained from spreading his faith. But when he went back to Iran last year to help build a secular orphanage, he was arrested.

“The news out of Iran is devastating to our family,” said Naghmeh Abedini, who believes her husband’s only hope for freedom lies with Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.

Naghmeh Abedini also expressed disappointment in the U.S. government.

“My husband is serving eight years in the notorious Evin prison and facing daily threats and abuse by radicals because he refuses to deny his Christian faith,” she said. “I am extremely disappointed that President Obama has chosen to remain silent on this critical human and religious rights case of an American imprisoned in Iran.”

Although President Obama has not spoken out on Abedini’s plight, the State Department, which has no diplomatic relations with Iran, has condemned his continued imprisonment.

The decision rejecting the appeal comes just one month before the first anniversary of his imprisonment. Prayer vigils are planned in the U.S. and around the world for Sept. 26 and a website, www.savesaeed.org has been made to help spread the word.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/08/26/iranian-court-nixes-appeal-from-jailed-american-pastor/#ixzz2dT4jDjiM

But Wait . . .

An old one brought back.

missiontomission

But Wait . . .

For those of you who can view American TV for at least an hour you will probably see an infomercial for something that you don’t need – a snuggy, knifes that cut through anything, amazing cleaners, globes to water plants, etc.  All of them have the same sales pitch: You can buy this amazing product for $19.95 but wait . . . if you order now you can get two for the same low amazing price . . . just pay for the processing and handling which I assume is probably another $19.95.  It always sounds like a rip off to me.  I don’t trust them and it turns me off.  As soon as I hear “but wait” I feel like I’ve walked into a snake oil store.

Life can be like.  A rip off.  A “but wait” moment.  Sometimes waiting is good.  It builds…

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U. S. Department of Defense Classified Christians and Jews as "Extremists"

Evangelical Christianity is now “extremist”? Since when is the KKK a division of Christianity?

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The Department of Defense classified Catholics, evangelicals, Jews and Mormons as religious “extremists” in military training materials, according to the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty.   U. S. Department of Defense Classified Christians and Jews as “Extremists”

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Beauty in the pavement

flower pavement 

A friend posted this picture today.  Beautiful isn’t it?

But the beauty is growing out of brokenness.  It is growing out of hard conditions.  It is growing out of a rough, cracked bumpy surface.  Rocky.  Lonely.  It is beautiful in any environment but against this lonely, hard, broken, cracked, bumpy surface it is extra striking.

Grow in your beauty but let your beauty grow out of your brokenness.

James 1:2

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

Guatemala adoptions

Guatemala (MNN) (May 30, 2013)  ―International adoptions in the United States are down by 59% from adoption rates 10 years ago.

In Guatemala, adoptions are currently closed on the international front.

With so many Guatemalan orphans left, there needs to be a domestic response for their care.

Orphan Outreach is challenging churches in Guatemala to rev their orphan ministries.

Michael Douris, President of Orphan Outreach, says, “In Guatemala, there hasn’t been [a church orphan-care movement], so we’re pulling together hopefully about 400 pastors and Christian leaders to talk about orphan care and what the church can do to make a difference in these children’s lives among the Guatemalan churches.”

“The church is really the key to having an impact on these kids’ lives. The Lord’s heart is with the orphan,” Douris says. “In the New Testament, pure and undefiled religion is defined as ministering to widows and orphans in their distress.”

Click here to to go to Orphan Outreach’s Web site. Contact Amy Norton to learn more about church partnership in Guatemala.

Please pray for orphans today and give if you can.

James 1:27

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look afterorphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
guate children

 

Kidnapped

Kidnapped

Set free by the name of Jesus!

**This is a condensed version of a post at DCFI.org.  If you are interested in more you can catch it there.  This incident happened in Tanzania this year.

The taxi stopped to pick up another well-dressed and well-spoken man. The doors locked, the tinted windows went up. Immediately, the men started screaming at us, “We are the mafia! We own this whole part of town and you need to do exactly what we tell you!”

Two big black cars came out of nowhere and blocked us in, front and back. Soon there were six or seven men swarming around our car.

Through it all, Jason and I both felt an incredible sense of calm. Despite their yelling, the men promised they would not hurt us or take our passports, electronics, or belongings. They only wanted money! We happily emptied our pockets, but the $300 wasn’t enough to appease them. They told us they would take us to an ATM where we must draw more cash before they would let us go.

Out of ideas, my husband said, “We need to pray.” I started praying out loud in tongues. Jason implored, “We are under your authority, God! You rule over all things! We ask for your justice! Convict these men….”

Stephen interrupted our praying. “Okay. Maybe God answers prayers. Maybe God has heard your prayer today. We will let you go.”

Before we could respond, the “big guy” next to me, pointed at Jason and said, “Something you have said has touched my heart. I want you to pray for a new life for me. I don’t want to live this way anymore and do these things to people.”

Jason started praying boldly over James. Immediately, Stephen lunged back from the front seat to get in on the prayer! Jason prayed conviction and courage for change over both men.

Then Jason said, “You need to choose right now if you want change. Change requires obedience, so you need to obey God and give us back our money.” Both men became nervous, fear shadowed their faces. Stephen said, “We cannot give you this money because of those men (in the black cars). You have to leave right now. But please, I need you to keep praying for me!”

We pulled our backpacks from the trunk. Stephen pressed $20 in Jason’s hand, “For a taxi,” he said. We slipped down the alley, leaving our $300 behind (well, $280, actually), but I believe we walked out of there richer people for the miracle that we had experienced.

When pressed, Jason and I experienced faith, conviction, boldness and zeal—gifts from God. We found power in the Name we love—power to scatter the shadows and stop evil in its tracks. Brushing up against the dark is a small price to pay for front-row seats to see light shattering darkness, Kingdom storming into earth and Mighty God bringing men to their knees.

 

Peace?

Peace.  What is it?  I find it hard to find one word that can have so many meanings or implications.  Peace/war, Peace/disturbance, peace/unrest.

Peace can be as complex as a world issue between countries and it can be as simple as trying to rest while your next door neighbor is making noise.   It can be a mental issue of “being at peace” with a decision.  It can be a blessing of “peace” over a family; a prayer against strife between family members.

We all desire peace.  We want peace and quiet.  We want nations to get along but we live in troubling times.  I see the pictures of dead children in Syria and my heart breaks.  I want to go in and remove the guilty parties but who are they and how do we do that?  How do you bring peace to a region that has never lived in peace?  We watch the turmoil there and enter unrest thousands of miles away.

We pray for peace and we hope . . .

Isaiah 53:5

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
war

 

Plague outbreak?

Bubonic plague outbreak feared in central Asia

Health officials on alert after teenager who ate infected barbecued marmot dies and three others are admitted to hospital

A Marmot. Temirbek Isakunov reportedly died from bubonic plague after eating a marmot

A Marmot. Temirbek Isakunov reportedly died from bubonic plague after eating an infected barbecued marmot Photograph: Xinhua/Landov/Barcroft Media

Health officials fear an outbreak of bubonic plague in central Asia after a teenage boy died from the disease and three more were admitted to hospital in Kyrgyzstan.

Temirbek Isakunov, a 15-year-old from a mountain village near the border with Kazakhstan, reportedly died from the disease last week after eating an infected barbecued marmot. Kyrgyzstan’s emergency ministry said a young woman and two children from a different village who came into contact with Isakunov were hospitalised on Tuesday with the high fever and swelling around the neck and armpits characteristic of bubonic plague, local news outlets reported.

A total of 131 people, including 33 medical personnel, have been quarantined, although none of them have yet exhibited symptoms of the disease, the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda in Kyrgyzstan reported. The health ministry continues to find and quarantine people who came into contact with the teenager, according to its director.

Kazakhstan has stepped up its border control with Kyrgyzstan and is operating quarantine points in light of the possible outbreak, the news agency Tengrinews reported. The Kazakh health ministry is searching out people who might have come into contact with the dead teenager, and is also determining where animal carriers of the disease might be moving between the two countries, according to a ministry official.

The bacteria that cause bubonic plague are typically transmitted from rodents to humans via flea bites but can also be contracted through direct contact with infected tissue.

Some local authorities in Russia have also grown wary over the incident, since citizens of Kyrgyzstan do not need a visa to enter the country and, according to the newspaper Izvestiya, more than 500,000 Kyrgyz work in Russia. According to TV news report in Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth largest city, checkpoints in the airport there are inspecting all those arriving from countries with a high bubonic plague risk.

A Russian public health official said cases of bubonic plague were registered in Kazakhstan every year, and the disease existed naturally in parts of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Russia, Izvestiya reported.

Theguardian.com