Musings of a Recovering Lutheran: May 2014
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, 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)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Today's verse

I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill.

Psalm 3:4 (KJV)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Reading list

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.

Today's verse

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

John 10:1-11 (KJV)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Today's verse

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:32 (KJV)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Update on Asia Bibi



Mission Network News reports that Asia Bibi has another court date set.

Key quote:

After spending four and a half years in prison, Asia Bibi finally has a court hearing.

In June of 2009, Asia Bibi was accused and sentenced to death after being falsely accused of blasphemy. Since then, the court has delayed the case four times.

Asia’s first hearing of the appeal process is set for early spring, May 27.

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.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Boko Haram, and the failure of Western progressives

Writing in the Wall Street Journal Ayaan Hirsi Ali points out the relationship between the rise of the Islamic terror group Boko Haram and the reluctance of the West to confront Islamic extremism.

Key quote:

I am often told that the average Muslim wholeheartedly rejects the use of violence and terror, does not share the radicals' belief that a degenerate and corrupt Western culture needs to be replaced with an Islamic one, and abhors the denigration of women's most basic rights. Well, it is time for those peace-loving Muslims to do more, much more, to resist those in their midst who engage in this type of proselytizing before they proceed to the phase of holy war.

It is also time for Western liberals to wake up. If they choose to regard Boko Haram as an aberration, they do so at their peril. The kidnapping of these schoolgirls is not an isolated tragedy; their fate reflects a new wave of jihadism that extends far beyond Nigeria and poses a mortal threat to the rights of women and girls. If my pointing this out offends some people more than the odious acts of Boko Haram, then so be it.

At the Telegraph Martha Gill worries that Twitter campaigns such as the one about Boko Haram's kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian girls, could become dangerous since they may gain too much power over governments. I think the reverse is true: social media campaigns are the playthings of pampered Western progressives retreating from the real world outside their narrow social circles. Which is easier for Western progressives: using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, or confronting the harsh truth that their view of Islam is seriously flawed? As Mark Steyn noted:

Just as the last floppo hashtag, #WeStandWithUkraine, didn't actually involve standing with Ukraine, so #BringBackOurGirls doesn't require bringing back our girls. There are only a half-dozen special forces around the planet capable of doing that without getting most or all of the hostages killed: the British, the French, the Americans, Israelis, Germans, Aussies, maybe a couple of others. So, unless something of that nature is being lined up, those schoolgirls are headed into slavery, and the wretched pleading passivity of Mrs Obama's hashtag is just a form of moral preening.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has experienced first-hand the wrath of Western progressives forced to face the idea that their worldview may be mistaken. An outspoken critic of Islam's treatment of women, Ali was unceremoniously dumped as a commencement speaker by Brandeis University by a group of faculty and students who succeeded in pressuring university officials into rescinding their invitation of Ali. I wonder how many of the bullies and cowards who didn't want Ali to speak want Boko Haram to #BringBackOurGirls - and if they do, if they comprehend the irony of it.

It will take more than social media to combat Boko Haram. It is doubtful if Western progressives are up to the job.

Today's verse

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

Mark 8:36 (KJV)

Friday, May 09, 2014

Today's verse

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.

Psalm 33:6-7 (KJV)

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Today's verse

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 14:6 (KJV)

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

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)

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Today's verse

The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Exodus 14:14 (KJV)

Monday, May 05, 2014

Come home

Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Church's openly gay bishop, is divorcing his husband Mark Andrew (h/t: Don Surber). This comes after he divorced his wife of 14 years to marry Andrew.

I have a plea to those who remain in the Episcopal Church: there is still time to escape from false prophets and teachers such as Robinson who have laid waste to your denomination. Free yourselves those who selfishly seek only their own gratification and glory, and return to the One who truly loves you.

God is not proud; He stoops to conquer. There is no sin that you have committed that He will not forgive.

But to claim the rescue God has sent to you - a rescue bought through the precious blood of Jesus - you must be willing to let go of the past. Will you do it?

It's time to come home.

Today's verse

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV)

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Today's verse

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; aaying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: and there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Luke 18:1-8 (KJV)

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Today's verse

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Proverbs 14:12 (KJV)

Friday, May 02, 2014

The "wife of Jesus" papyrus revealed to be a hoax

Dr. Jerry Pattengale executive director of the Green Scholars Initiative, writes in the Wall Street Journal about the Jesus' wife hoax that took the secular media by storm in 2012.

First key quote from the article:

In September 2012, Harvard Divinity School professor Karen King announced the discovery of a Coptic (ancient Egyptian) gospel text on a papyrus fragment that contained the phrase "Jesus said to them, 'My wife . . .' " The world took notice. The possibility that Jesus was married would prompt a radical reconsideration of the New Testament and biblical scholarship.

Unfortunately for Dr. King, the fragment appears to be a hoax:
Then last week the story began to crumble faster than an ancient papyrus exposed in the windy Sudan. Mr. Askeland found, among the online links that Harvard used as part of its publicity push, images of another fragment, of the Gospel of John, that turned out to share many similarities—including the handwriting, ink and writing instrument used—with the "wife" fragment. The Gospel of John text, he discovered, had been directly copied from a 1924 publication.

"Two factors immediately indicated that this was a forgery," Mr. Askeland tells me. "First, the fragment shared the same line breaks as the 1924 publication. Second, the fragment contained a peculiar dialect of Coptic called Lycopolitan, which fell out of use during or before the sixth century." Ms. King had done two radiometric tests, he noted, and "concluded that the papyrus plants used for this fragment had been harvested in the seventh to ninth centuries." In other words, the fragment that came from the same material as the "Jesus' wife" fragment was written in a dialect that didn't exist when the papyrus it appears on was made.

Mark Goodacre, a New Testament professor and Coptic expert at Duke University, wrote on his NT Blog on April 25 about the Gospel of John discovery: "It is beyond reasonable doubt that this is a fake, and this conclusion means that the Jesus' Wife Fragment is a fake too." Alin Suciu, a research associate at the University of Hamburg and a Coptic manuscript specialist, wrote online on April 26: "Given that the evidence of the forgery is now overwhelming, I consider the polemic surrounding the Gospel of Jesus' Wife papyrus over."

Dr. Pattengale concludes his article with the following statements:

It is perhaps understandable that Ms. King would have been taken in when an anonymous owner presented her with some papyrus fragments for research. What is harder to understand was the rush by the media and others to embrace the idea that Jesus had a wife and that Christian beliefs have been mistaken for centuries. No evidence for Jesus having been married exists in any of the thousands of orthodox biblical writings dating to antiquity.

With all due respect to Dr. Pattengale, in my opinion it is unfortunately all too easy to understand why the secular media would accept this without much scrutiny. The hostility of the media towards Christianity has been painfully evident for decades. Lacking the expertise to properly evaluate the controversy themselves, and having no real interest in presenting opposing points of view, I believe many journalists jumped on this story because they saw it as a way to stick it to the hated Christians while maintaining the fiction of disinterested intellectual inquiry.

We have seen this before: journalists trumpeting some manuscript because it supposedly presents proof that Christian beliefs are wrong. The enthusiastic reaction of the media to the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Judas are just two recent examples of the disturbing journalistic tendency to promote spurious writings as authentic accounts of the life of Jesus. I am not suggesting that these documents are unworthy of discussion and investigation, but some journalistic restraint is in order here. And shouldn't it be the job of journalists to report the news instead of trying to manipulate and control it?

Today's verse

Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.

Psalm 57:1 (KJV)

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Today's verse

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

1 Timothy 1:15-16 (KJV)