O LORD, God of my salvation,
         I have cried out day and night before You.
Let my prayer come before You;
         Incline Your ear to my cry. 

Psalm 88:1-2 (NKJV)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Today's verse

And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Genesis 8:20-22 (KJV)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Today's verse

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28 (KJV)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Today's verse

Be thou exalted, Lord, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.

Psalm 21:13 (KJV)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Today's verse

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Genesis 3:1-5 (KJV)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Today's verse

Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.

Psalm 43:1 (KJV)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Today's verse

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Genesis 1:1-3 (KJV)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Reading list

The Story, by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee.

Today's verse

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 1:1-5,14 (KJV)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The incredible shrinking church

Over at The Federalist Alexander Griswold has a good article about the decline of Christian denominations which have discarded the clear teaching of Scripture to embrace much of the homosexual agenda.

Opening part from the article:

By now, we’ve all heard the refrain that U.S. churches need liberalize their teachings on sexuality and homosexuality or rapidly decline. The logic behind the argument is simple: more and more Americans are embracing homosexuality and same-sex marriage, including growing numbers of religious Millennials. So long as churches remain the face of opposition to gay marriage, those churches will shrink into irrelevancy when gay marriage (inevitably, we are told) becomes a settled political issue.

These arguments often see church acceptance of homosexuality as a carrot as well as a stick. It isn’t so much that denouncing homosexuality will drive people away from church, but that embracing it will also lead people into church. LGBT individuals and their supporters, many of whom hold a dim view of religion after a decades-long culture war, will reconsider church if denominations remove their restrictions on gay marriage and ordination.

But a number of Christian denominations have already taken significant steps towards liberalizing their stances on homosexuality and marriage, and the evidence so far seems to indicate that affirming homosexuality is hardly a cure for membership woes. On the contrary, every major American church that has taken steps towards liberalization of sexual issues has seen a steep decline in membership.

Griswold goes on to describe the declining fortunes of the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the United Church of Christ (UCC), and the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA). My wife and I are former members of the ELCA who chose to leave after the disastrous 2009 decision to ordain non-celibate homosexual clergy and to bless homosexual unions, so this news strikes home in a significant way. Griswold's article well worth reading, especially for its detailed information about the rate of decline of each denomination.

However, I have one problem with the article. Griswold seems to suggest that the effort to change the church's stance on homosexuality is primarily to recruit new members and arrest overall decline of Christianity. In fairness to those who succeeded in changing the ELCA's position in 2009, I do not think this is necessarily so. Increasing the ELCA's membership was one stated reason for pushing for the change, but in my opinion it was not the primary one.

Instead, the proponents of the 2009 changes seemed to make three basic arguments:

  • Scripture is not being properly translated/applied. Regarding homosexuality as a sin is nothing more than a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Bible really says.
  • Lack of proper scientific understanding. The Bible was written in an era before modern psychology, so the early writers lacked a true understanding of homosexuality.
  • Social justice. Any religion which regards homosexuality as a sin is false and must be changed. The old attitudes towards homosexuality are on the same moral level as racism and sexism, and need to be ended.

    There was some inconsistency in the reasons that proponents gave for the 2009 changes. How (for example) is it possible for Scripture to be both misinterpreted and wrong? How can the Bible actually permit homosexual behavior and be the flawed product of writers who were ignorant of modern science and how it relates to homosexuality? The argument made by the proponents of the 2009 changes could be quite murky at times.

    Of all the reasons used to support changing the ELCA's stance towards homosexuality in 2009, only one - the social justice argument - seemed to me to be the primary motivation. Even before the disastrous decision to discard Scripture in favor of secular wisdom the ELCA had shown an obsession with political activism masquerading as Christianity. The Gospel continually took a back seat to political pronouncements and lobbying elected leaders.

    And here is where the seeds of destruction were sown. The Bible clearly regards the homosexual lifestyle as sinful and contrary to God's plan for His creation. But the powerful homosexual lobby decried this attitude as homophobic. So the false teachers and prophets of the ELCA rejected the Gospel in favor of secular political activism and goals. They have rejected the true God, and are working on making another god in their own politically correct image. It is no wonder the ELCA is hemorrhaging members.

    But (the counter argument will go) what about gays and lesbians who felt alienated and unwelcome by the church's previous negative stance towards homosexuality? Should we not rejoice in the fact that at least some of them will now come to church and embrace Christ?

    My response is this: are these new brothers and sisters in Christ being given the Bread of Life - or the spiritual junk food that the world offers and which can only harm them? All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and we need a Redeemer to save us from the consequences of our sins and reconcile us to God. By discarding the clear teaching of the Bible the ELCA is telling us a hellish lie: we get to decide what is sinful and what is not. Put another way: we get to veto God's commandments and replace them with ones we find more suitable. Two thousand years ago Jesus warned us about leaders who would do such a thing:

    Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. (Matthew 23:15 (NIV))

    To my Christian brothers and sisters who are still in the ELCA, I beg you: do not let the false teachers and prophets of the ELCA succeed in dragging you into hell. I will not put myself in the place of God and tell you to leave your church - God will make it clear if He wants you to leave or not - but be aware that the false god the ELCA is creating for itself is a jealous god, and wants to separate you from the real God if it can. Your soul belongs to the One who loves you, and not the one who tells you to conform to the ways of the world.

  • Today's verse

    When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.

    Psalm 94:18-19 (KJV)

    Friday, August 22, 2014

    Update on Asia Bibi

    Sardar Mushtaq Gill, a Human Rights Defender and Chief of LEAD, has pledged to do all he can to free Asia Bibi. On August 9 he survived an assassination attempt.

    Key quote:

    On June 24,2014 LEAD filed petition in Lahore High Court, Lahore for the re-fixation of earlier hearing of Asia Bibi's appeal case which was heard on June 25th.The Court ordered to office of Lahore High Court to explore the scope of fixation of appeal hearing of Asia Bibi near future and ordered for submitting report within three days which was submitted on June 27th.Again the petition fixed for June 30th,the Court told the lawyers that according to the report, submitted by the Office of LHC, the appeal of Asia Bibi proposed to be fixed for September 9,2014 and on this order of the Court the petition disposed off after the lawyers' consent.

    Read Asia Bibi's own words.

    The online petition calling for mercy for Asia Bibi can still be found here.

    For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

    Please pray for Asia Bibi and her family. Also, please pray for those such as Mr. Gill who are risking their lives to free her.

    Today's verse

    He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

    1 John 2: 10-11 (KJV)

    Thursday, August 21, 2014

    Returning home

    We have returned home safely from our journey to Tanzania. Thanks be to God for our safe travel!

    Please visit our other blog to see pictures of the journey.

    Today's verse

    Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

    Psalm 91:9-10 (KJV)

    Monday, June 02, 2014

    Our journey begins

    Today we are traveling back to Tanzania for the first time in over nine years. For the rest of this summer updates to this blog will be spotty at best. You can read more about our time in Tanzania at our other website here. Please pray for our safe travel.

    Today's verse

    As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.

    Proverbs 25:25 (KJV)

    Sunday, June 01, 2014

    Update on Asia Bibi

    No news on whether Asia Bibi will get a new date for the appeals court to hear her case. But God has not forgotten her.

    Read Asia Bibi's own words.

    The online petition calling for mercy for Asia Bibi can still be found here.

    For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

    Please pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

    Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag

    According to the Sudan Tribune there is some confusion over whether Mariam Ishag will be released.

    Key quote:

    The Sudanese foreign ministry denied a statement attributed to its Undersecretary Abdallah Alazrag in which he announced that the government will seek to free a woman sentenced to death for apostasy within the next few days.

    "The lady will be freed within days in line with legal procedure that will be taken by the judiciary and the ministry of justice," Alazrag told Agence France Presse (AFP) earlier today.

    “She will definitely not be executed. I am sure about this,” he told The Sunday Times in separate remarks.

    The Sudanese diplomat made similar statements to BBC and Reuters. Sudan Tribune reporter in Khartoum said that Alazrag, who was Khartoum’s ex-ambassador to London, has been staying in Britain for some time seeking medical treatment.

    He did not specify how the 27-year-old Meriam Yehya Ibrahim would be released despite a court conviction which a lawyer told Sudan Tribune can only be overturned by appeals court or a clemency issued by president Omer Hassan al-Bashir.

    In a statement to CNN, Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Abu Bakr al-Sideeg, said he was unaware of any plans to release Ibrahim “before a ruling from an appeals court”.

    Sudan Tribune failed to reach the spokesperson despite repeated attempts today.

    A recent picture of Mariam and her children, who are also imprisoned with her:

    Today's verse

    Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.

    Psalm 61:1-3 (KJV)

    Saturday, May 31, 2014

    Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag

    Fox News reports Marian Ishag may soon be freed.

    Key quote:

    The Sudanese woman sentenced to death earlier this month after refusing to renounce her Christian faith will reportedly be freed in the next few days.

    A foreign ministry official told the BBC that Meriam Ibrahim, 27, is guaranteed religious freedom in the country, despite a judge's earlier ruling that she should be hanged for apostasy.

    Ibrahim gave birth to a girl early Tuesday at a prison clinic in Omdurman, near Khartoum, one of her attorneys told FoxNews.com by phone.

    Remember that Mariam's 20-month-old son (shown below with one of the guards) is also in prison with her.

    Please pray for Mariam and her family.

    Today's verse

    Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

    Mark 13:31 (KJV)

    Friday, May 30, 2014

    Today's verse

    In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

    Psalm 56:4 (KJV)

    Thursday, May 29, 2014

    Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag

    Perhaps you have not heard the story of Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag. She is the wife and pregnant mother who has been sentenced to death by a court in Sudan. Under Sudanese law Mariam is considered to be Muslim because her father (who abandoned his family when Mariam was young child) is Muslim, and it is illegal for someone who is a Muslim to become a Christian. Mariam will be hanged for this crime after being given 100 lashes.

    Mariam and her son Martin Wani, who is not yet two years old, spend their days shackled to the wall of a filthy cell awaiting the day of Mariam's execution. Below is a picture of Mariam's son Martin Wani - temporarily freed from his shackles - being fed orange soda by one of the guards.

    Mariam recently gave birth to a daughter, Maya. No word yet if the infant has also been shackled to the wall of her mother's and brother's cell.

    The plight of Mariam Ishag - and Asia Bibi, and countless other women - is disgusting and horrifying, but not surprising. The sadistic cruelty of the Islamists is nothing new: an honest look at history reveals many, many similar examples. What is happening to Mariam is part of the authentic "war on women", and not the phony war being promoted by rich, pampered Western feminists seeking political advantage.

    In addition to the savages who have chained a young mother and her two young children to the wall of a filthy cell with the goal of hanging her, special dishonorable mention must go to Western journalism. In many cases Western journalists have become the willing bootlickers of Islamists, eager to demonize as "Islamophobic" anyone who objects to the treatment of women in many Muslim countries. To confront the reality of what happens to women like Mariam and Asia would require these journalists to carefully examine the cult of secular multiculturalism they passionately believe in. That is probably not going to happen anytime soon: many journalists prefer a lie to the truth because the lie has a pleasanter taste. Compare the near total news blackout of Mariam with the wall-to-wall coverage of Donald Sterling, whose actions are far less newsworthy than the barbarism of the Sudan government.

    But we can pray. God will hear the prayers of Mariam Ishag and Asia Bibi. He will not hold guiltless those who are tormenting them because of their Christian faith - or those who prefer to ignore what is happening because it offends their political worldview.

    Today's verse

    They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.

    Psalm 125:1 (KJV)

    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

    Update on Asia Bibi

    Asia Bibi's hearing is cancelled again. No new court date has been set.

    Read Asia Bibi's own words.

    The online petition calling for mercy for Asia Bibi can still be found here.

    For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

    Please pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

    Today's verse

    Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

    Romans 12:15 (KJV)

    Monday, May 26, 2014

    Today's verse

    For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

    John 3:17 (KJV)

    Sunday, May 25, 2014

    Today's verse

    [Jesus] looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: for all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

    Luke 21:1-4 (KJV)

    Saturday, May 24, 2014

    Today's verse

    Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

    Mark 4:3-9 (KJV)

    Friday, May 23, 2014

    Today's verse

    Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

    1 John 2:15 (KJV)

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

    Today's verse

    For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

    Galatians 5:13 (KJV)

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

    Today's verse

    Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

    Psalm 37:3 (KJV)

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

    Today's verse

    If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

    Colossians 3:1-2 (KJV)

    Monday, May 19, 2014

    Today's verse

    As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

    1 Peter 2:2-3 (KJV)

    Sunday, May 18, 2014

    Today's verse

    Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

    John 14:1-4 (KJV)

    Saturday, May 17, 2014

    Update on Asia Bibi

    Raymond Ibrahim writes about how the US enables the persecution of Christians worldwide. Asia Bibi is mentioned.

    Read Asia Bibi's own words.

    The online petition calling for mercy for Asia Bibi can still be found here.

    For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

    Please pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

    Today's verse

    In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

    Psalm 18:6 (KJV)

    Friday, May 16, 2014

    Today's verse

    The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

    Zephaniah 3:17 (KJV)

    Thursday, May 15, 2014

    Today's verse

    Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, as when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!

    Isaiah 64:1-2 (KJV)

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

    Today's verse

    Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

    Isaiah 40:4-5 (KJV)