Musings of a Recovering Lutheran: December 2010
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)

Friday, December 31, 2010

400-year anniversary of King James Version

An interesting article at the Washington Times about the upcoming 400-year anniversary of the King James Version.

Reading list

Gulag: A History, by Anne Applebaum.

This is an overdue book, since historians have not given the history of the Soviet Union the attention it deserves. In her introduction, Applebaum attempts to give an explanation for why this is so.

Applebaum shows that, contrary to popular belief, the existence of the extensive system of Soviet prisons was a known fact for many decades. She also finds that Alexander Solzhenitsyn (author of Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956) was correct in his assertion that the Gulag system was not some aberration of an otherwise humane Soviet system (the view of many scholars even today), buy a key factor in it very existence.

Today's verse

Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
Yes, our God is merciful.
The LORD preserves the simple;
I was brought low, and He saved me.
Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.

Psalm 116:5-7 (NKJV)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Update on Asia Bibi

The Pakistani government seems to be at odds with itself. Deputy information minister Samsam Bokhari has said there will be no changes to the country's blasphemy laws. This contradicts earlier promises made by Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister for minority affairs, to review these laws.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.

My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?

Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies' sake.

For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?

I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.

Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.

Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping.

The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer.

Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly.

Psalm 6 (KJV)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Today's verse

One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

Ecclesiastes 1:4 (KJV)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lutheran Malaria Initiative

If you are looking to make a worthy year-end contribution that will help to do God's work, may I suggest the Lutheran Malaria Initiative?

For the record: I have no connection with the Lutheran Malaria Initiative. My interest in the subject comes from the fact that I was sick with malaria several times while I lived in Tanzania. Curiously, my wife (who is Tanzanian) has never had the disease. It seems that weakling wazungu like myself are most susceptible to it! :)

Update on Asia Bibi

There have been a number of events recently relating to Asia Bibi's plight:

  • Demonstrators both against and for her release have been marching in Lahore over Christmas.
  • The Pakistan Christian Post was hacked by Muslims.
  • An organization called Citizens for Democracy (which includes social organizations, lawyers and labor unions) is seeking changes in Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

    Also, Raza Anjum, Muslim city Councillor from Saffron-Walden, plans to meet Pakistan’s Prime Minister to call for Asia Bibi's release and for the Pakistani government to do more to protect the rights of Christians.

    Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.
  • Churches in Egypt

    Egypt's State Minister for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Moufid Shehab, says the government may ease restriction on building churches.

    Please pray for Christians living in Egypt.

    Today's verse

    For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

    Galatians 3:26-9 (NKJV)

    Monday, December 27, 2010

    Update on Asia Bibi

    Muslim cleric Muhammad Salim asserts that if Asia Bibi is pardoned and released by the government, someone will end up killing her anyway. "Any Muslim, if given the chance, would kill such a person. You would be rewarded in heaven for it," he said in an interview from the Los Angeles Times. The article goes on to note that Pakistan's blasphemy laws are being used against other Muslims as well as non-Muslims.

    There seems to have been a recent change in the tone of the media's coverage of Islam and persecution of Christians. After the 9-11 attacks the media seemed to adopt a "see no evil" approach to covering issues relating to Islam. Story after story fretted about Islamophobia, which was allegedly rampant in American society. But this article - along with a number of others - seems to have abandoned that narrative. Here is hoping that this trend continues, and that secular journalists will become more interested in reporting the news instead of trying to manipulate it.

    Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

    Today's verse

    I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.
    I have set the LORD always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

    Psalm 16:7-8 (CEV)

    Sunday, December 26, 2010

    Reading list

    Mornings on Horseback, by David McCullough.

    The ad wars

    A Christian megachurch replaces an atheist billboard with a pro-Christian message.

    For those who think that putting messages on billboards is foolishness, remember Balaam's donkey (Numbers 22:21-38). Who is to say that such a billboard message will not reach someone?

    Persecution: Christmas 2010

    It's not just Asia Bibi whose life is threatened by intolerant extremists. A growing number of leaders of Christian and post-Christian denominations are noticing this persecution - especially at the hands of Muslims.

    The comments by Anglican leader Rowan Williams are especially significant. Williams, who made headlines in 2008 when he suggested that parts of Islamic sharia law are somehow compatible with British law and should be adopted to maintain social cohesion, specifically mentioned Asia Bibi by name.

    Pope Benedict XVI had words of encouragement for Catholics in China and Iraq.

    It's not just Christians who are targets of Muslim extremists. Thousands in Pakistan are facing starvation after a suicide bombing by the Taliban ended a food-relief program in parts of that country.

    Update on Asia Bibi

    Christians protest in Lahore against the blasphemy laws and call for the release of Asia Bibi.

    Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

    Today's verse

    And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

    And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;

    (As it is written in the law of the LORD, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)

    And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

    And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

    And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

    And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,

    Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

    Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:

    For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

    Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;

    A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

    And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.

    And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;

    (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

    Luke 2:21-35 (KJV)

    Saturday, December 25, 2010

    Message from Apollo 8

    Today's verse

    And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

    And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

    And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

    And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

    But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

    And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

    Luke 2:15-20 (KJV)

    Friday, December 24, 2010

    Update on Asia Bibi

    The Pakistani government has pledged to review the country's blasphemy laws.

    Key quote:

    On pardoning of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy of Islam, [Pakistan's federal minister for minority affairs Shahbaz] Bhatti said the president will wait for the judicial proceedings.

    Bibi's lawyer has said that the proceedings might take years because the case is still in high court and may later go to the Supreme court.

    Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

    Wycliffe's Christmas gift

    From 2009: Many in the Mara region of Tanzania will hear the story of Jesus in their tribal language for the first time:

    Today's verse

    Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

    And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

    Luke 2:8-14 (NKJV)

    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    Bomb blast in Kenya

    al Qaeda may have been behind a recent bombing in Nairobi, Kenya. The bomber may have been a Tanzanian..

    al Qaeda has menaced East Africa before. Many people may remember the bombings of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998, which were the work of the terrorist group.


    Abby Johnson, the former director of the local Planned Parenthood clinic who joined the pro-life movement, has a new book coming out about her experiences.

    (Hat tip: La Shawn Barber)

    Witness to the faith: Laura Davis

    Please pray to end abortion.

    Christianity, Islam, and Asia Bibi

    One of my daily activities is to search for information regarding Asia Bibi, the Pakistani woman sentenced to death under Pakistan's blasphemy laws. Recently I came across three articles that dealt with the growing persecution of Christians at the hands of Muslims.

    The first article came from CNN. It was written by Akbar Ahmed and John Bryson Chane. The authors express their concern about the growing persecution of Christians in Islamic countries.

    I have mixed feelings about the article. On the one hand, it is gratifying to see two members of the self-styled intellectual community - Akbar Ahmed is a professor at American University, and Chane is a bishop of the Episcopal Church - having the courage to bring up this persecution. Much of the secular media is deeply vested in the notion of rampant "Islamophobia", and it takes courage to contradict that narrative.

    But on the other hand, the authors have made several statements that indicate an alarming degree of isolation from the real world. Here is the first one:

    Extremist Muslims feel that Islam is under siege by the West and seek to lash out at Christians, seeing an attack on Christians in their countries effectively as an attack on Israelis, U.S. troops in Iraq or the intelligence agencies behind U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan.

    To quote George Orwell: only an intellectual could believe that. Such a view ignores hundreds of years of history in order to fit recent events into modern political correctness.

    Almost from the beginning Islam has had its share of leaders that sought to defend/expand Islam's influence militarily. The Prophet himself led a force of 300 Muslims in the Battle of Bedr in March 624 AD against an army from Mecca, which was seeking to stop raids on caravans by Muslims. After defeating the army from Mecca, Mohammad went on to begin expelling Jews from Medina. A year later, after his Muslim army lost to another force from Mecca and he was forced to flee, Mohammed's views against Jews hardened (he blamed them for his defeat).

    Umar (Omar) the 2nd Caliphate sent Muslim armies against Syria and Palestine, and in 637 AD the armies of Byzantium lost control of Jerusalem to Islam. Afterwards, the armies of Islam moved into Europe. Scarcely 100 years after the death of Mohammad the armies of Islam reached the French city of Tours. During the Battle of Tours Charles Martel defeated the Muslim armies, who were eventually driven out of Europe. There are other examples of Muslim armies conquering cities that refused to submit to Islam. The notion that Muslims are being goaded into action by recent military moves of the US and Israel has no basis in history.

    Another quote from the article is even more disturbing:

    Muslims will say that they cannot be a good Muslim without first being a good Jew and a good Christian.

    This is wishful thinking at its worst. In all of my time in Tanzania and America, not once did I ever encounter a Muslim that believed that a good Muslim must first be "a good Jew and a good Christian". Muslims were reserved about Jesus (although none of them believed that He worked miracles, despite the authors' claims to the contrary). They did ascribe all sorts of evils to Christianity, including slavery, pornography, and imperialism. Jews were universally despised: not once did any Muslim express anything except contempt and hatred for Jews.

    In fact, the authors seem mainly worried about the effect that Muslim persecution of Christians will have on the dialogue between Islam and Christianity. Having seen some of these dialogues (which are in reality boring monologues about "tolerance" and other politically correct topics), it is not something I will mourn.

    The second article was written by Joel Brinkley, a professor of journalism at Stanford University and a Pulitzer Prize-winning former foreign correspondent for the New York Times. In his article he points out that Christians are suffering persecution in Communist countries as well as Islamic ones. In a refreshingly crisp and clear style he lists some of the dangerous places in the world for Christians.

    Brinkley's article is not without flaws. He suggests that one reason Christians might be suffering persecution because they "aggressively proselytize". How Christians can aggressively proselytize while hiding for their lives is a mystery. But overall, Brinkley's article is far better than the CNN one.

    But the best article may have been from Stan Guthrie. In it he notes the unblinkered hatred driving Osama bin Laden and other Islamic extremists. This hatred is usually ignored or glossed over by the secular media (it is rare to find an article in the secular media that does not rail against the Iraq War or the state of Israel or "Islamophobia" when talking about Islamic extremism). It is a curious omission: it would be like historians writing about the Holocaust or the Ku Klux Klan, yet avoiding any mention of antisemitism or racism. Yet this hatred is key to understanding why Islamic extremism is growing. Fretting about "interfaith dialogue" or "aggressive proselytizing" is a poor substitute for facing facts.

    I am thankful for independent media, and for groups like The Voice of the Martyrs. Because of their work, persecuted Christians are held up in prayer by Christians worldwide. It also forces the secular media to deal with stories they would rather not cover in the first place. My opinion is that the secular media views Islam as a rival to Christianity and Judaism (which they hate), and is willing to overlook Islamic extremism if it means striking a blow against Christians and Jews. In the Information Age they cannot always get away with that.

    Update on Asia Bibi

    A difficult Christmas in Pakistan.

    Key quote from the article:

    Raza Anjum, a British public official in Pakistan trying to secure Bibi’s release believes the situation over the Christmas weekend could be quite difficult, with the threat of violence high.

    Anjum, a councilor from the UK city of Saffron Waldon in Essex is now in Lahore, Pakistan to try to win Ms. Bibi’s release. Since his arrival in Pakistan, he has met with the Minister for Minority Affairs and plans to meet with the Governor of the province where Bibi is jailed and with Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani over the next several days.

    The situation is growing worse for Christians in countries like Pakistan. Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

    Today's verse

    And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

    (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

    And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

    And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

    To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

    And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

    And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

    Luke 2:1-7 (KJV)

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010

    Today's verse

    For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

    Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

    Isaiah 9:6-7 (KJV)

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    Witness to the faith: Dale Mcalpine

    Christian preacher arrested for saying homosexuality is a sin. In the end the British police who arrested him had to pay a fine plus legal costs.

    Freedom of speech seems to be safe for now in the UK.

    Update on Asia Bibi

    Voice of the Martyrs has the story about Sandul Bibi, who was falsely charged with tearing pages from the Koran. She has a wonderful prayer for Asia Bibi.

    Please keep Asia Bibi and her family in your prayers.

    The marriage gap

    La Shawn Barber has an excellent article about the growing number of out-of-wedlock births among the least educated members of the American public.

    It's hard to believe that there are those who celebrate the growing reluctance of people to get married and fulfill their responsibilities. But then again, maybe no one should be surprised. Among many of our self-anointed secular progressive elites (they can be found by the truckload in the media and academia) there is a disturbing Utopian streak that seeks to remake society into a single progressive Whole without individual liberty to muddy the waters. Family and church tend to get in the way of this Whole, since men and women who are loyal to God and to their families are less likely to give unconditional allegiance the State. For that reason it's no wonder that the secular progressives hold traditional marriage in contempt.

    This desire of secular progressives to remake society in their own image has led to some absurd extremes in the media. Witness the rock-star popularity of the MTV show Teen Mom, which (despite half-hearted denials) is a show dedicated to promoting single motherhood and multiple sex partners. The political environment is downright toxic: it is now almost impossible to discuss the connection between single motherhood and the rise in poverty and crime without being accused of "intolerance".

    Here is the key quote from the article:

    Thirty years ago, only two percent of babies born to highly educated mothers were outside marriage; today it’s six percent. Thirty years ago, moderately educated mothers had babies out of wedlock at the rate of 13 percent. Today, 44 percent of their babies are born out of wedlock. Fifty-four percent of babies born to the least-educated mothers are outside marriage.

    These are sobering facts, yet to discuss them is forbidden in today's political climate. Even Christians seem frightened to bring this up.
    Don't expect truth in a political system when the truth is politically lethal.

    Ironically, simple economics may put an end to this situation before Christians find their voice. The present US Administration in on pace to run up more debt than all 43 previous Presidents combined. Public pension systems are drastically underfunded. Despite constant infusions of cash the public education system is melting down. A Greece-style collapse may put an end to the secular progressives' mad dreams of Utopia before the Church does.

    Today's verse

    Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot — yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.

    And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

    Isaiah 11:1-2 (NLT)

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Update on Asia Bibi

    The Pakistan Christian Democratic Alliance (PCDA) announced it will hold protest demonstrations against Pakistan's blasphemy laws and call for the release of Asia Bibi this Christmas Day.

    Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family

    Today's verse

    “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,
    Because the LORD has anointed Me
    To preach good tidings to the poor;
    He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
    To proclaim liberty to the captives,
    And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

    To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
    And the day of vengeance of our God;
    To comfort all who mourn,

    To console those who mourn in Zion,
    To give them beauty for ashes,
    The oil of joy for mourning,
    The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
    That they may be called trees of righteousness,
    The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”

    Isaiah 61:1-3

    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    Update on Martin Gaskell

    Over at Instapundit, University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynonds (who is not noticeably sympathetic to Creationism or Intelligent Design) has been following the story of Martin Gaskell and the University of Kentucky's decision to pass him over for a position because of his religious views.

    Gaskell says he believes in evolution. Nevertheless, University of Kentucky officials rejected him for a post at their university because they feared he was "something close to a creationist" and "potentially evangelical."

    As Reynolds noted in his post, if the University of Kentucky rejected Gaskill because they were concerned about bad publicity over hiring some sort of closet Creationist, they certainly blew that one. It's also hard to imagine that if Gaskell was (say) a fundamentalist Muslim the University of Kentucky would have been quite as blatant in rejecting Gaskell for religious reasons. Some religious litmus tests are unacceptable to the academic class, while others are mandatory.

    Martyrs: Iraq

    In the October 31 attack on the Syrian Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Deliverance in Baghdad, Iraq, 58 people were murdered. A three-year-old boy named Adam told the al-Qaeda backed terrorists that murdered these people (including Adam's parents) "Enough, enough, enough!" until he, too, was killed.

    Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Please pray for Christians suffering persecution in Iraq.

    Today's verse

    I will tell the promise that the LORD made to me:

    "You are my son, because today I have become your father.

    Ask me for the nations, and every nation on earth will belong to you.

    You will smash them with an iron rod and shatter them like dishes of clay."

    Be smart, all you rulers, and pay close attention.

    Serve and honor the LORD; be glad and tremble.

    Show respect to his son because if you don't, the LORD might become furious and suddenly destroy you.

    But he blesses and protects everyone who runs to him.

    Psalm 2:7-12 (CEV)

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Today's verse

    Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

    Isaiah 7:13-14 (NKJV)

    Friday, December 17, 2010

    Update on Asia Bibi

    Asia Bibi remains in prison. According to Todd Nettleton at Voice of the Martyrs, she can be released or killed at any time by the government.

    Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

    Creation vs. Evolution debate

    Actually, it has been more of a monologue than a debate:

    Scientist rejected for post at University of Kentucky because of possible skepticism of evolution.

    I do not know the merits of this particular case, so it is possible that Martin Gaskell does not have a legal leg to stand on. But it is clear that evolution - whose scientific foundations are shaky at best - is more of a cult than a science. Skeptics like Gaskell are heretics who will be punished.

    Today's verse

    Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.

    Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

    Psalm 45:6-7 (KJV)

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    Today's verse

    “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
    Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
    The One to be Ruler in Israel,
    Whose goings forth are from of old,
    From everlasting.”

    Micah 5:2 (NKJV)

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Today's verse

    When Elizabeth's son was born, her neighbors and relatives heard how kind the Lord had been to her, and they too were glad.

    Eight days later they did for the child what the Law of Moses commands. They were going to name him Zechariah, after his father. But Elizabeth said, "No! His name is John." The people argued, "No one in your family has ever been named John." So they motioned to Zechariah to find out what he wanted to name his son.

    Zechariah asked for a writing tablet. Then he wrote, "His name is John." Everyone was amazed. Right away, Zechariah started speaking and praising God.

    Luke 1:57-64 (CEV)

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    NALC Mission Director

    The Rev. Dr. Gemechis D. Buba has accepted a call to serve as Missions Director for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC).

    Please pray for Dr. Buba and his family.

    Today's verse

    The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.
    For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.

    Isaiah 9:2 (NLT)

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Update on Asia Bibi

    Is the Pakistani government giving way to the demands of Islamic extremists?

    Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

    Today's verse

    By You I have been upheld from birth;
    You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb.
    My praise shall be continually of You.

    Psalm 71:6 (NKJV)

    Sunday, December 12, 2010

    Update on Asia Bibi

    Asia Bibi continues to be held in prison, and her release does not appear to be coming anytime soon. Now a doctor in Pakistan has been arrested under Pakistan's blasphemy laws for throwing away a business card with the name of Muhammad on it. The doctor, Naushad Valiyani, is a Muslim.

    Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family, and for all in Pakistan who suffer under the unjust blasphemy laws.

    Today's verse

    I saw the Lord standing beside a wall that had been built using a plumb line. He was using a plumb line to see if it was still straight. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?”

    I answered, “A plumb line.”

    And the Lord replied, “I will test my people with this plumb line. I will no longer ignore all their sins. The pagan shrines of your ancestors will be ruined, and the temples of Israel will be destroyed; I will bring the dynasty of King Jeroboam to a sudden end.”

    Amos 7:7-9 (NLT)

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Today's verse

    Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

    Matthew 1:18-21 (ESV)

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    Sweet Ps: A prayer for final exams

    Almighty and gracious Heavenly Father, I come before you with thanksgiving.

    Lord, you know that my students and my colleagues are tired and ready to rest. At this time of year, grant them good health and safe travel. Keep them safe from harm, and grant them the opportunity to return in the spring.

    Lord, I ask a special blessing on the family and loved ones of our students. They have worked very hard and made many sacrifices in order to give these students the chance to attend school. Given them the strength and patience to counsel and guide these students.

    Lord, I thank you for my family. They have been so patient and loving in dealing with my absences from home. I especially thank you for my wife, who has had to shoulder so many responsibilities herself, including her own schoolwork.


    Today's verse

    Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him.

    Psalm 105:4 (NLT)

    Thursday, December 09, 2010

    Today's verse

    “Behold, I send My messenger,
    And he will prepare the way before Me.
    And the Lord, whom you seek,
    Will suddenly come to His temple,
    Even the Messenger of the covenant,
    In whom you delight.
    Behold, He is coming,”
    Says the LORD of hosts.

    Malachi 3:1 (NKJV)

    Wednesday, December 08, 2010

    Today's verse

    But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

    Jude 20-1 (NKJV)

    Tuesday, December 07, 2010

    Update on Asia Bibi

    Christians must not forget Asia Bibi.

    Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

    Today's verse

    Come to Jesus Christ. He is the living stone that people have rejected, but which God has chosen and highly honored

    1 Peter 2:4 (CEV)

    Monday, December 06, 2010

    Today's verse

    “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    Matthew 5:17-19 (NKJV)

    Sunday, December 05, 2010

    Today's verse

    If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat,
    and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,
    for you will heap burning coals on his head,
    and the LORD will reward you.

    Proverbs 25: 21-2 (ESV)

    Saturday, December 04, 2010

    Recommended reading

    Don Kriefall at Common Sense for a Senseless World has written one of the best posts I have ever read. Be sure to chack out his other posts.

    Today's verse

    I know that the LORD will maintain
    The cause of the afflicted,
    And justice for the poor.

    Psalm 140:12 (NKJV)

    Friday, December 03, 2010

    Sweet Ps

    Almighty and Gracious Heavenly Father, I come before You with thanksgiving.

    I thank You for the wonderful and welcome report on my sister's cancer operation. I thank You Lord for Your love and protection, and for the comfort that You showed to her.

    I thank You for my students and colleagues, and for the chance to teach.

    I thank You for my beautiful wife, and our wonderful son.

    I thank You for good health, and for the chance to use it to serve You.

    I thank You for my brother and his family, for my mother, and for all in my family in the United States. I thank You for my family and friends in Tanzania.

    Lord, I thank You for the peaceful elections in Tanzania and the United States. Please bless all of the candidates and their families. Help them to always remember that service in government is a privilege from You and not a right.

    Lord, there are so many that are suffering persecution right now. Especially I lift up to You our sister in Christ, Asia Bibi. Send your angels to comfort and guard her. As you did with the apostle Paul, soften the hearts of those who would seek her death.

    Lord, there are many who are suffering from job loss or the threat of job loss. Give them hope and courage. Open every door and remove every barrier. Heal the souls of those who dispair, and give light to those who feel consumed by darkness.


    Update on Asia Bibi

    A radical cleric in Pakistan offered a reward of 6,000 dollars to anyone who kills Asia Bibi.

    Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

    Today's verse

    And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people

    Romans 16:17-18 (NLT)

    Wednesday, December 01, 2010

    Update on Asia Bibi

    Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

    UPDATE: Asia Bibi is not the only one in Pakistan facing persecution. Five Christians have been murdered under Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

    Update on my sister

    The surgery went well. A more complete biopsy will need to be done, but the initial one showed the cancer was not malignant. Praise God!

    Today's verse

    “What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

    Luke 12 6-7 (NLT)