Musings of a Recovering Lutheran: June 2012
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, June 30, 2012

Healing through the Gospel

This story takes place in Tanzania, but the need for prayers applies everywhere in the world.

Key quote:

Early this month, a gathering comprising bishops and pastors from Tanzania and beyond, held a mass at Sinza Christian Centre, in Dar es Salaam for their great mission to pray for the nation.The women prayers, irrespective of religious beliefs, have vowed to pray for the nation while their main objective is to inculcate the principles of hard work, equality and integrity.

The congregation brought together women prayers from the US, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Uganda and was officiated at by the wife of the Vice-President Mrs Asha BiIal. According to Pastor Joyce [Talemwa], several lessons were learnt from the gathering. "First and foremost, we realized that as women, this was a unique opportunity for us to come together and reflect on our God-given strength in unity, peace and love to pray for the country.

There are several reasons why these women of God decided to pray for the country. They include challenges related to social and political situation, Constitutional Review Process, census, Union matters and investment.Tanzania has been built on the basis of peace and unity. For this, it remains a unique country on earth; we would not like to see this being destroyed for whatever reason, " said Pastor Joyce.

"As women prayers, we have convened above our religious beliefs to pray for peace and tranquility in this country based on our conviction that it is only God who gives us strength and peace. As women who have the fear of God, realise that it is God only who provides rights, peace to the people and restores leaders."

Love Tanzania Festival

Just found this from Mission Network News. The Luis Palau Association will hold the Love Tanzania Festival this August. Organizers of the event will be working to spread the Gospel to Tanzanians who may not have heard it yet.

Key quote:

Business and civic leaders will collaborate with the local church and the Palau team to bless Dar es Salaam, Tanzania through a citywide campaign, culminating in a free festival on August 11-12 at Jangwani Grounds.

Please pray for the people of Tanzania.

Today's verse

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Psalm 100 (KJV)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Reading list

The Mauritius Command, by Patrick O'Brian.

Today's verse

Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me.

Psalm 59:1 (KJV)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Today's verse

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 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 40:1-5 (KJV)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Today's verse

Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.

Psalm 82:3 (KJV)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Arusha to Dar es Salaam by bus

This brings back memories.

Reading list

Killoe, by Louis L'Amour.

Today's verse

Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.

Jeremiah 23:24 (KJV)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Today's verse

Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.

Leviticus 19:3 (KJV)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Today's verse

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

II Corinthians 6:14 (KJV)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Today's verse

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

Psalm 121:7 (KJV)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Today's verse

The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; and repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.

Deuteronomy 7:7-11 (KJV)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Yet another movie mocking Jesus

Another attempt to use the silver screen to discredit Christianity. Yawn.

The movie is based upon the work of Paul Verhoeven, who has brought us such powerful intellectual works as Showgirls, Robocop, and Basic Instinct. Verhoeven is neither a Biblical scholar nor a historian. He is not even an expert in New Testament Greek. But maybe movie audiences can be persuaded to overlook that if they can be convinced the movie is "controversial".

Here is the most bizarre part of the article:

“If you look at the man, it’s clear you have a person who was completely innovative in the field of ethics,” Verhoeven told [Mike Fleming] last year. “My own passion for Jesus came when I started to realize that. It’s not about miracles, it’s about a new set of ethics, an openness towards the world, which was anathema in a Roman-dominated world. I believe he was crucified because they felt that politically, he was a dangerous person whose following was getting bigger and bigger. Jesus’ ideals are about the utopia of human behavior, about how we should treat each other, how we should step into the shoes of our enemy.”
Ignore that fact that Verhoeven has zero evidence to back up his claim that Jesus was crucified because the Romans feared Him. Is it really possible that Verhoeven does not see the complete illogic in his statement? If the reports of the miracles of Jesus are fabrications (as Verhoeven claims), then why should we believe any of His teachings are authentic?

Today's verse

Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.

Joshua 24:14 (KJV)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Update on Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi has now been in prison for three years. Here is the story of how it happened:
Asia was arrested by police on June 19, 2009, and charged with blasphemy after she engaged in a religious discussion with co-workers. Many of the local women, including Asia, worked on the farm of Muslim landowner Muhammad Idrees. During their work, many of the Muslim women had pressured Asia to renounce Christianity and accept Islam. Her family is one of only three Christian families in a village of more than 1,500 families.

On June 19, there was an intense discussion among the women about their faith. The Muslim women told Asia about Islam, and, according to VOM sources, Asia responded by telling the Muslim women that Christ died on the cross for our sins. She told them Jesus is alive. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God,” she reportedly told them.

Upon hearing this response, the Muslim women became angry and began to beat Asia. Then some men took her and locked her in a room. They announced from mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey.

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

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

The Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.

Deuteronomy 20:4 (KJV)

Monday, June 18, 2012

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. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.

Psalm 61:1-4 (KJV)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Today's verse

Thus saith the Lord God; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent: in the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell. And all the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the Lord have spoken and have done it.

Ezekiel 17:22-24 (KJV)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Update on Asia Bibi

Christian band ooberfuse and the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) protested against Asia Bibi's arrest and continued imprisonment.

The song that was written for Asia Bibi is shown in the following video:

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 continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Land o' Lakes

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has discovered evidence of lakes on Saturn's largest moon Titan. The lakes are believed to be composed of liquid methane, so don't plan on taking a dip if you someday travel there.

Key quote:

The result, which is a new analysis of Cassini data, is unexpected because models had assumed the long-standing bodies of liquid would only exist at the poles. The findings appear in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

Where could the liquid for these lakes come from? "A likely supplier is an underground aquifer," said Caitlin Griffith, the paper's lead author and a Cassini team associate at the University of Arizona, Tucson. "In essence, Titan may have oases."

Today's verse

[Jesus] said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Luke 16:1-13 (KJV)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Today's verse

The just LORD is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame.

Zephaniah 3:5 (KJV)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

New telescope in orbit

NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) has been launched. It's mission is to examine celectial objects such as black holes.

NuSTAR was boosted into orbit by Orbital Sciences Corporation's Pegasus XL rocket.

Today's verse

I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

Isaiah 6:8 (KJV)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Today's verse

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

1 Corinthians 3:18-19 (KJV)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Today's verse

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (KJV)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Update on Asia Bibi

The third anniversary of Asia Bibi's arrest is approaching. Protests are planned on June 14 outside the Pakistan High Commission in London.

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 continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Movie night

Pot o' Gold (1941).

Today's verse

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Psalm 46:10 (KJV)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Today's verse

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

Proverbs 12:15 (KJV)

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Update on Asia Bibi

The Voice of the Martyrs reminds us that the online petition to free Asia Bibi is still open. While there, you might take a moment to look over the other Christians profiled on the website who are being persecuted for their faith.

The petition can 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 continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

[Jesus] came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

Luke 4:16-21 (KJV)

Friday, June 08, 2012

Not my ox

I grew up in Texas in the late 1960s. Jim Crow laws had been abolished, and black Americans living in the South were winning political offices and calling for the end of the remnants of official racial discrimination.

I remember older Texans who were astonished at the upheaval in their world brought about by these changes. Some were angry and confused. Why did blacks complain so much about the old social order? Don't those people know what is good for them? It's not like slavery is still around. What is wrong with those people?

I thought about those old-line Southerners I had known in my childhood when I read this column by William McKenzie today. McKenzie's column is about what he believes is a misunderstanding by both conservatives and liberals about the nature and scope of religious liberty in the USA. Specifically, McKenzie feels that liberals are wrong when they fail to understand opposition to the Obama Administration's HHS mandate on reproductive services, and conservatives are wrong by trying to assert what he refers to as "religious privilege". I think McKenzie was trying to suggest that deep down the two are one and the same.

Sorry, no. The HHS mandate is a specific issue about a specific set of laws, and whatever your opinion you can point to specific evidence to support it. But McKenzie's vague, blanket statement that conservative evangelicals are trying to assert religious privilege - well, he paints with a pretty broad brush while citing no specific evidence to back it up. I cannot buy into his thesis that the two must be connected.

In fact, the only attempt by McKenzie to prove what he says is accurate is this statement by William Lawrence, dean of SMU's Perkins School of Theology:

“Crusades have been launched in support of a child who wanted to distribute candy canes in the Christmas season and a teenage high school valedictorian who wanted to offer a prayer rather than a speech. The crusades raise attention and money on the pretext that the freedom of religion in America is under attack.

”Actually, what these crusaders have recognized – but will not admit – is that religious privilege is under attack. The Constitution of the United States protects religious freedom, but it also prohibits religious privilege.“

Really? Complaints about encroachments on religious freedom constitute a crusade (Lawrence's word) to establish religious privilege? It is true that America has more religious freedom that (say) Pakistan, but if you are the one who is targeted by the anti-Christian zealots it is not a minor affair after all.

I don't expect to be able to convince Mr. McKenzie or Dr. Lawrence that conservative evangelicals might conceivably have a valid point. It is not their ox which is being gored. Why should Mr. McKenzie or Dr. Lawrence sympathize with those people like Julea Ward, who was dismissed from a graduate counseling program because of her religious objection to homosexuality? Or Ken Howell, who was fired from his position as an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois for stating the Catholic Church's position on homosexuality? Or any of the growing number of Americans who have been harassed, dismissed, or fired for remain true to the Christian faith?

Sadly, I suspect that until Mr. McKenzie or Dr. Lawrence find themselves discriminated against, they will continue to wonder what is wrong with those people.

Today's verse

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:1 (KJV)

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Update on Asia Bibi

Ooberfuse, a Christian band, plans "an all out media blitz to raise awareness for Asia Bibi".

Key quote:

The *Free Asia Bibi* campaign includes the release of a song titled *Free Asia Bibi*, a music video and an informational website.

The music video features a disturbing visual portrayal of the squalid prison conditions where Asia Bibi is being held. She is the first woman in Pakistan’s modern history to be sentenced to death by hanging.

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 continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

Psalm 73:26 (KJV)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Today's verse

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

1 Timothy 2:1-6 (KJV)

Monday, June 04, 2012

Today's verse

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4:8 (KJV)

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Today's verse

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Psalm 18:2 (KJV)

Friday, June 01, 2012

Today's verse

Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me.

Psalm 59:1 (KJV)