Pride

“If there is a sin that is universal, it is this. Where is it not to be found? Hunt among the highest and loftiest in the world, and you shall find it there; and then go and search amongst the poorest and the most miserable, and you shall find it there. There may be as much pride inside a beggar’s rags as in a prince’s robe; and a harlot may be as proud as a model of chastity. Pride is a strange creature; it never objects to its lodgings. It will live comfortably enough in a palace, and it will live equally at its ease in a hovel. Is there any man in whose heart pride does not lurk?”

-Spurgeon

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A Christmas Devotional

By: Yves Blouin
Born in a manger
I’m going to share thoughts about God the Son, that is Jesus, that could seem irreverent or uncomfortable as we discuss Jesus’ humanity.  It would be more comfortable to keep the humanity out of the incarnation.  It would allow us to keep God distant in a neat package.  But God intended Jesus to take on our humanity because of his love for us.  Only through his humanity could he save us, to pull us out or our mire.  We need to be shocked afresh at the audacity that God became one of us.
 
We are emotional beings and since we were made in God’s image this tells us that God is definitely an emotional being.  The Bible is full of narratives where God displays emotions.  Sometimes it is anger, sadness, joy, but most importantly unqualified/unmerited love.
 
I remember when my children were born.  I was many things including silly, nervous but foremost full of joy.  My heart was bursting with excitement and love.  It only stands to reason that when Jesus was born God the Father was also ecstatic, bubbling with joy.  Imagine God the Father witnessing the human birth of Jesus – God the Son.  The Father’s joy at his Son’s birth.  It’s not a rational thing – it’s a full bore emotional thing.  Our minds should be spinning at that thought.  Can we fully understand or appreciate this?  This was the greatest miracle of all times – God with us!  I wonder if God the Father thought – Aw, Jesus is so cute, cuter than any other baby (by the way, full disclosure, in my totally unbiased opinion I can assure you my kids were the cutest babies).  Imagine God born as a fragile tiny little baby in a stinky stable.  Of all the places for the King of Kings to be born couldn’t God have picked a more royal setting?  And born as a baby, not exactly the picture of might and power, plus we all know what comes out of a baby.  Hardly what you would associate with the Creator of the universe.  Jesus needed to be washed, changed, taught to speak, read and write.  All the things that as a human he would require.  
Hebrew Child Being Taught
 
Did God laugh when Jesus did his first giggle, was he sad when Jesus first bruised himself or took a bad fall, was he proud when Jesus first counted from 1 to 10 or laughing when he gave Mary a kiss like only a toddler can.  I know that when Bradyn, my grandson, first grabbed my head with both hands, yanked it to his face and gave me a kiss straight on the lips, a) it surprised me and b) it made me laugh and filled me with joy.  Why would it be any different for God the Father?
 
I believe that Jesus, though a “perfect child”, was likely very much misunderstood at times. We would be forgiven to think that Mary and Joseph understood that Jesus was God and the Messiah given the revelations by the Angels but mostly through narratives that include Mary we suspect she didn’t quite understand until after the resurrection.  Imagine after Mary and Joseph had lost their 12 years old Jesus in Jerusalem for 3 days how anxious they must have been.  I’ve had to frantically look for one of our kids for only minutes when they slipped out of our sight.  I can’t imagine 3 days.
Joseph and Mary looking for Jesus Jesus teaching at 12
Joseph and Mary found Jesus Joseph and Mary reunited with Jesus
 
Luke 2:48-52 NLT
His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.” “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they didn’t understand what he meant.  Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart. Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.
 
If they understood that he was God would Mary address him this way?  Why would Jesus knowingly make her and Joseph anxious about his absence?  They didn’t comprehend his response and Mary stored these things in her heart.  Two facts that also stand out – God was obedient to them – what a thought!  God being obedient to a lower life form – human parents.  Not that parents are a lower life form than other humans – though some teenagers would like you to believe this.  Also it points out that Jesus didn’t start off with full wisdom but grew in wisdom.  Again we can imagine God the Father being ever so joyful at every new accomplishments that Jesus would achieve or at every new act of wisdom.
 
Mary and Joseph had an incomplete picture of who Jesus was and what was to come, yet did God love them any less than a great theologian like Martin Luther?  Knowledge is great if it deepens your relationship with God and leads to godly wisdom but not if it takes away from spending time in intimacy with Him.  Knowledge can puff up and it can plant doubt, it may dampen our first love.  God is looking for those with a child-like faith that set their pride aside to realize their need of a saviour – The saviour Jesus Christ.
 
To quote theologian Woody Allen (speech to the graduates on Aug 10, 1979 – same year that I graduated from grade 13):
 
This is where worldly wisdom or intellect takes you.  If those are the only two paths then there is not much to pray about or hope.  I would rather trust Christ for my future.
 
Colossians 2:8-10 NLT: Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and highsounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.  For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.  So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

C.S.Lewis
To paraphrase CS Lewis: Some people say that because Jesus was both God and man then his sufferings and death would have been easy for him and therefore of no value.  What they fail to understand is that the perfect suffering, the perfect death were only possible because He was God.  If I’m drowning in a river and a man who has still one foot on the river bank offers to give me his hand to save my life will I refuse it because it’s not fair as he has an advantage given he still has a foot on the bank?  I think not.
 
Ephesians 1:7Jesus was closer to the Father than any one of us has ever experienced with anyone.  Jesus already had spent an eternity with the Father.  On the cross he felt the separation from the Father for our sakes.  Christmas is a time of celebrations but also for some it is a time of grieving as we remember and miss loved ones that are no longer with us.  We suffer when we’ve seen a love one suffer, whether due to illness like cancer or some other cause.  We suffer when a loved one dies, whether a friend, a parent, a child and even an infant through miscarriage.  At the cross God the Father endured the unimaginable pain of seeing his son both suffer and die for our sake. Why? Because he loved us and wanted to provide a means to redeem us from our sins.  Our God is not a cold God but one filled with emotions.
 
Some of the following thoughts are borrowed from G K Chesterton.  Maybe you wonder how can God care about you and I amongst so many people in this world in the past, today and in the future.  What is so special about you and I that He cares for us.  Each human birth may seem like a mindless repetition to no end if we were to trust the intellectuals of the world.  Some of them would say that this repetition is an indication of the absence of a higher purpose or life.  But to God each birth is an encore with new possibilities.  Children like things repeated and unchanged.  For instance Bradyn delights having his Papa (what he calls me) help him do somersaults over and over until his Papa can’t move anymore at the shout of “Do it again”!  Bradyn doesn’t have a lack of of life but an excess of it.  Us adults are not strong enough to delight in monotony.  We easily get bored but children of a certain age exult in monotony.  Perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony.  Perhaps God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun and at night “Do it again” to the moon.  The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.  How much more do you think God gets excited at each of us as we step out in faith, whatever the challenge.  He knows the beginning from the end (Isaiah 46:10) but yet he is excited at our every step like a proud parent at their toddlers learning to walk.  He is saying – “That’s my child! Look at him or look at her!”.  You pretty much know that your toddler will likely eventually walk, so does that make you any less excited about his first steps?  I think not and so it is with God.
 
Matthew 18:3 NLT I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.
 
Mark, in his gospel, often describes a Jesus full of emotions.  Of the gospel writers he seems to do this more.  Interestingly Mark wrote his gospel based on Peter’s accounts – and of all the apostles Peter probably was the most overtly emotional guy of the group.
 
Mark 10:13-16 NLT One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.
 
How does a child receive a gift?  With unbridled joy – especially if they are destitute.  The younger the child the more likely they are to be free of ambitions and pride and more likely to be humble and teachable.  God wants us to receive the gift of Christ in a similar manner with humility and unbridled joy.  Pride will stand as an obstacle to receiving this gift.  We may believe that we don’t need Him, that we are self-sufficient, that we can do it on our own.  But we can’t.  Children don’t have their lives filled with other cares of the world and schedules unless us adults impose it on them for “their own good”. 
 
Billy GrahamTo paraphrase one of Billy Graham’s thoughts.  What was the innkeeper’s response to providing a room for the child to be born?  It wasn’t antagonism, hatred.  He had a full inn.  He was too preoccupied with the cares of this world to take notice that God, Christ was at his doorstep.  In a similar way how many of our relatives and friends are not opposed to God or deny his existence but other than at Christmas and Easter are too preoccupied with the cares of this world to find room for Christ in their lives.  Their heart is already crowded with other interests.  They feel they don’t really need him.  Maybe like what Bradyn does when going for a walk we need to slow down and stop to pick up every dandelion on the way – be amazed by them, see joy in them and in the process take the time to open our hearts to Christ.  In the rush of the Christmas season, maybe, just maybe Jesus wants us to slow down and find time for him and at the same time maybe, just maybe our stress level will go down.
 
As Charles Dickens said, “It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty founder was a child Himself.”
 
Maybe you think you can’t be accepted by God because of your past.  For some of us there is so much past.  I’m reminded of it every time I have to bend down to tie my shoes.  The good news is that we’re not forgiven on the basis of what we do or did but on the basis of what Jesus did for us at the cross.  Jesus met a lot of sinners in his earthly ministry.  He didn’t get on their case about their past when they came to him for their salvation.  He didn’t dwell on it.  He didn’t say because of your past “well you’ll get a 3rd class salvation, and you’ll get a 2nd class salvation”.  We all get a 1st class salvation that wasn’t dependent on our merits but on our repentance and his grace.  Repentance is humbling ourselves to admitting that we can’t earn our way, that we fall short and that we bring nothing to the table but the need for His salvation.  The hope of our salvation lies in his resurrection.  Death had no hold on Jesus and neither will it for those who put their trust in him.
 
Don’t you prefer to have a gift you wanted than a gift someone thought you should have?  Christ doesn’t want our attempts to merit heaven as a gift. 
  • Romans 3:23 AMP We all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God.
  • Romans 5:15-16 NLT: But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins.

Shalom Napkin HolderChrist gave us many gifts.  Through his incarnation Jesus brought love to the rejected, joy to the downtrodden, hope to the hopeless and peace to the weary.  Lately (the last 25 years or so) I fit in the latter category of being weary.  Chester Donaldson one year asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said peace.  This is what he brought me back from Israel.  Mr. D had quite a good sense of humour.  It says Shalom which we know means peace.  It stays on my desk as a reminder of Mr. and Mrs. D. but more importantly in my need to trust in Christ for peace.  I’ve definitely not reached the point where I trust Jesus without fail but I’m a work in progress and definitely have more peace with Him than without Him.  There is no such thing as happiness or peace apart from Jesus.  It is not simply not there.
 
In summary:
  • Colossians 1:19-20 NKJV For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
 
What can we give Christ this Christmas in return for his great gift of dying for our sins on the cross?  Nothing we have is worthy of him but we can give him our hearts.  That is all he desires from us.

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Wikipedia Erases Scientist from Website for Supporting Intelligent Design

Günter Bechly

Günter Bechly censored by Wikipedia

Wikipedia has deleted a paleontologist’s page because he weighed Darwinism in the balances and found it wanting.

In 2006, Günter Bechly, a highly respected and well-known paleontologist, devised a clever plan to show the public that scientific evidence clearly weighs heavily in Charles Darwin’s favor. In preparation for a worldwide celebration commemorating the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, Bechly carefully designed an exhibit in which he placed a balance scale piled high on one side with books advocating creationism and intelligent design. The other side held only a lone copy of Darwin’s book. Of course he rigged the scale so Darwin’s manual weighed its side down while the books on the other side appeared featherlight. The message was clear: Darwin’s scientific evidence far outweighed any arguments skeptics could pose.

But then, a funny thing happened on Bechly’s way to the celebration. He read some of the books he had placed on the light side of the scale, and they opened his eyes to the incongruencies and impossibilities of Darwinian theory.

Nine years later, Bechly committed an unforgivable sin in the world of secular academia: He publicly criticized neo-Darwinism and proclaimed his support for intelligent design. Soon after, the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany, pushed him out of his job as curator. Bechly then became a senior fellow with the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, but that wasn’t the end of his censorship story.

Despite Bechly’s numerous professional accomplishments, including a sizable list of scientific publications and the notoriety of having numerous species named after him, a group of anonymous editors at Wikipedia decided to erase his page from the internet encyclopedia because he is not “notable” enough.

“His turn to fringe creationist views does not seem to be notable at all, and cannot be covered without mainstream sources giving it an adequately neutral point of view,” one of the editors wrote on a Wikipedia discussion page. Other editors who tried to defend Bechly clearly understood the maneuver as censorship, noting “if he hadn’t changed his stance this wouldn’t even be an issue. The ones shouting ‘delete’ are just out to censor anyone who thinks differently.”

David Klinghoffer, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, noted that people commonly think Wikipedia disseminates objective information, but the expertise and fairness of the anonymous editors remains questionable. For example, one of the editors most influential in the decision to erase Bechly’s page identifies himself as 24-year-old Jo-Jo Eumerus, who also goes by “Septimus Heap,” after the popular juvenile fantasy series.

“It’s a mad world, a funhouse world, where the notability of a paleontologist of Günter Bechly’s stature is uncontested one day but, following his admission of finding ID persuasive, suddenly and furiously contested,” Klinghoffer wrote. “Such is the alternative reality of Wikipedia.”

 

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Door-to-door

http://kentuckytoday.com/stories/mythbuster-louisville-pastor-triples-attendance-in-6-months-by-knocking-on-doors,8782?preview_key=8c0393d24c442eb881a27022a602b525&ts=1503858541

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Fines for Worship, Prison for Bible Study in China

Persecuted Chinese Christians

The Persecution of Believers in China

Amid increasing attempts to suppress religious activities, Chinese authorities have detained, fined, and imprisoned Christians for public worship, buying and selling devotionals, and group Bible study.

In late April, a court in Xinjiang convicted five Protestants who attended a Bible study in 2016, charging them with “gathering a crowd to disrupt social order,” Asia News reported. The verdict came with five-year prison sentences for two pastors, and four- and three-year sentences for three others. They plan to appeal.

Earlier in April, authorities raided a Christian concert and arrested those attending. Taiwanese Pastor Xu Rongzhang was singing “Jesus Loves You” when the raid took place, China Aid reported. Before releasing them, officials forced the Christians to say they would not organize large gatherings again and told Xu not to hold any meetings of more than 10 people.

A Chinese court also recently convicted prominent Christian human rights lawyer Li Heping on charges of subverting state power. Judges sentenced Li to three years in prison but suspended the sentence for four years. If he does not reoffend during that time, Li will stay out of prison.

Since 1997, Li has defended dissidents, victims of forced evictions, and members of the banned Falun Gong religious group. Officials detained him and nearly 250 others in 2015, in what Amnesty International condemned as a nationwide crackdown against human rights lawyers and activists. Amnesty said the Communist Party’s official newspaper described it as an attempt to destroy a “major criminal gang.”

Several of those lawyers and activists remain in detention, even though Western governments urged Beijing to release them.

Earlier this year, officials in Xinjiang targeted a network of Christian house churches and arrested more than 80 people. They fined and later released them, according to China Aid.

All these incidents illustrate the worsening persecution of Christians under President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on religious activity and human rights. Critics say he wants to eradicate any potential opposition to the ruling Communist Party.

Because religious freedom in China continued to erode in 2016, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) called on the U.S. State Department to keep China listed as a country of particular concern in its recently released 2017 report.

USCIRF reported China’s government revised regulations to more tightly control religious groups, increased penalties against “illegal” Christian churches and activities, and formally prohibited any religion from harming “national security” concerns.

A campaign to remove crosses from churches has continued, and officials targeted and imprisoned Christians who spoke out against it, including Pastor Bao Guohua and his wife, Xing Wenxiang. Not even members of state-sponsored churches were safe from persecution.

China also continues to suppress other religious groups, including Uighur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, and Falun Gong, while continuing to forcibly repatriate North Korean refugees, according to USCIRF.

“It is crucial that the U.S. government not only integrate human rights messaging—including on freedom of religion or belief—across its interactions with China, but also consistently make clear that it opposes Beijing’s overt violations of international human rights standards,” USCIRF said in its report.

 

 

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The Forgotten Genocide: Why It Matters Today


A still frame from the 1919 documentary film Auction of Souls, which portrayed eye witnessed events from the Armenian Genocide, including crucified Christian girls.

 

April 24, marks the “Great Crime,” that is, the Armenian genocide that took place under Turkey’s Islamic Ottoman Empire, during and after WWI.

Out of an approximate population of two million, some 1.5 million Armenians died. If early 20th century Turkey had the apparatuses and technology to execute in mass—such as 1940s Germany’s gas chambers—the entire Armenian population may well have been annihilated.  Most objective American historians who have studied the question unequivocally agree that it was a deliberate, calculated genocide:

More than one million Armenians perished as the result of execution, starvation, disease, the harsh environment, and physical abuse.  A people who lived in eastern Turkey for nearly 3,000 years [more than double the amount of time the invading Islamic Turks had occupied Anatolia, now known as “Turkey” lost its homeland and was profoundly decimated in the first large-scale genocide of the twentieth century.  At the beginning of 1915 there were some two million Armenians within Turkey; today there are fewer than 60,000….  Despite the vast amount of evidence that points to the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide, eyewitness accounts, official archives, photographic evidence, the reports of diplomats, and the testimony of survivors, denial of the Armenian Genocide by successive regimes in Turkey has gone on from 1915 to the present.

 

Indeed, evidence has been overwhelming.  U.S. Senate Resolution 359 from 1920 heard testimony that included evidence of “mutilation, violation, torture, and death which have left their haunting memories in a hundred beautiful Armenian valleys, and the traveler in that region is seldom free from the evidence of this most colossal crime of all the ages.”  In her memoir, Ravished ArmeniaAurora Mardiganiandescribed being raped and thrown into a harem (which agrees with Islam’s rules of war).  Unlike thousands of other Armenian girls who were discarded after being defiled, she managed to escape. In the city of Malatia, she saw 16 Christian girls crucified: “Each girl had been nailed alive upon her cross, spikes through her feet and hands, only their hair blown by the wind, covered their bodies.”  Such scenes were portrayed in the 1919 documentary film Auction of Souls, some of which is based on Mardiganian’s memoirs.

What do Americans know of the Armenian Genocide?  To be sure, some American high school textbooks acknowledge it.  However, one of the primary causes for it—perhaps the fundamental cause—is completely unacknowledged: religion.  The genocide is always articulated through a singularly secular paradigm, one that deems valid only those factors that are intelligible from a modern, secular, Western point of view, such as identity politics, nationalism, and territorial disputes. As can be imagined, such an approach does little more than project Western perspectives onto vastly different civilizations of different eras, thus anachronizing history.

War, of course, is another factor that clouds the true face of the Armenian genocide.  Because these atrocities occurred during WWI, so the argument goes, they are ultimately a reflection of just that—war, in all its chaos and destruction, and nothing more.  Yet Winston Churchill, who described the massacres as an “administrative holocaust,” correctly observed that “The opportunity [WWI] presented itself for clearing Turkish soil of a Christian race.”  Even Adolf Hitler had pointed out that “Turkey is taking advantage of the war in order to thoroughly liquidate its internal foes, i.e., the indigenous Christians, without being thereby disturbed by foreign intervention.”

It is the same today throughout the Muslim world, wherever there is war: after the U.S. toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the nation’s Christian minority were first to be targeted for systematic persecution resulting in more than half of Iraq’s indigenous Christian population fleeing their homeland.  [In recent years that war came] to Syria—with the U.S. supporting the jihadis and terrorists—the Christians there are on the run for their lives.

There is no denying that religion—or in this context, the age-old specter of Muslim persecution of Christian minorities—was fundamental to the Armenian Genocide.  Even the most cited factor, ethnic identity conflict, while legitimate, must be understood in light of the fact that, historically, religion—creed—accounted more for a person’s identity than language or heritage.   This is daily demonstrated throughout the Islamic world today, where Muslim governments and Muslim mobs persecute Christian minorities—minorities who share the same ethnicity, language, and culture, who are indistinguishable from the majority, except, of course, for being non-Muslims.

If Christians are thus being singled out today—in our modern, globalized, “humanitarian” age—are we to suppose that they weren’t singled out a century ago by Turks?

Similarly, often forgotten is the fact that non-Armenians under Turkish hegemony, Assyrians and Greeks for example, were also targeted for cleansing.   The only thing that distinguished  Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks from Turks was that they were all Christian.  As one Armenian studies professor asks, “If it [the Armenian Genocide] was a feud between Turks and Armenians, what explains the genocide carried out by Turkey against the Christian Assyrians at the same time?”

Today, as Turkey continues moving back to reclaiming its Islamic heritage, so too has Christian persecution returned.  If Turks taunted their crucified Armenian victims by saying things like “Now let your Christ come and help you,” [A few years back], an 85-year-old Christian Armenian woman was repeatedly stabbed to death in her apartment, and a crucifix carved onto her naked corpse.   Another elderly Armenian woman was punched in the head and, after collapsing to the floor, repeatedly kicked by a masked man.   According to the report, “the attack marks the fifth in the past two months against elderly Armenian women,” one of whom lost an eye.  Elsewhere, pastors of church congregations with as little as 20 people are targeted for killing and spat upon in the streets.  A 12-year-old Christian boy was beaten by his teacher and harassed by students for wearing a cross around his neck, and three Christians were “satanically tortured” before having their throats slit for publishing Bibles.

Outside of Turkey, what is happening to the Christians of today from one end of the Muslim world to the other is a reflection of what happened to the Armenian Christians of yesterday.   We can learn about the past by looking at the present.  From Indonesia in the east to Morocco in the west, from Central Asia in the north, to sub-Sahara Africa—that is, throughout the entire Islamic world—Muslims are, to varying degrees, persecuting, killing, raping, enslaving, torturing and dislocating Christians.  See the book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians for a comprehensive account of one of the greatest—yet, like the Armenian Genocide, little known—atrocities of our times.

Here is one relevant example to help appreciate the patterns and parallels: in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria, Muslims, led by the Islamic organization, Boko Haram (“Western Education is Forbidden”) are waging a bloody jihad on the Christian minorities in their midst.  These two groups—black Nigerian Muslims and black Nigerian Christians—are identical in all ways except, of course, for being Muslims and Christians.  And what is Boko Haram’s objective in all this carnage?  To cleanse northern Nigeria of all Christians—a goal rather reminiscent of Ottoman policies of cleansing Turkey of all Christians, whether Armenian, Assyrian, or Greek.

How does one explain this similar pattern of Christian persecution—this desire to be cleansed of Christians—in lands so different from one another as Nigeria and Turkey, lands which share neither race, language, nor culture, which share only Islam?  Meanwhile, the modern Islamic world’s response to the persecution of Christians is identical to Turkey’s response to the Armenian Genocide: Denial.

Finally, to understand how the historic Armenian Genocide is representative of the modern day plight of Christians under Islam, one need only read the following words written in 1918 by President Theodore Roosevelt—but read “Armenian” as “Christian” and “Turkish” as  “Islamic”:

the Armenian [Christian] massacre was the greatest crime of the war, and the failure to act against Turkey [the Islamic world] is to condone it… the failure to deal radically with the Turkish [Islamic] horror means that all talk of guaranteeing the future peace of the world is mischievous nonsense.

Indeed, if we “fail to deal radically” with the “horror” currently being visited upon millions of Christians around the Islamic world—which in some areas has reached genocidal proportions—we “condone it” and had better cease talking “mischievous nonsense” of a utopian world of peace and tolerance.

Put differently, silence is always the ally of those who would commit genocide.  In 1915, Adolf Hitler rationalized his genocidal plans, which he implemented some three decades later, when he rhetorically asked: “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

And who speaks today of the annihilation of Christians under Islam?

 

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Inspiring Insight from United Airlines Firestorm

Twisted United

The daughter and attorney of Dr. David Dao held a news conference yesterday morning. The attorney told reporters that when his client was forcibly evicted from the United flight last Sunday, he suffered a concussion and broken nose and lost two front teeth. Dr. Dao’s daughter stated, “What happened to my dad should’ve never happened to any human being.”

As the United firestorm continues, a dear friend shared an insight with me that I asked his permission to share with you. Dr. David Dykes is the longtime pastor of the amazing Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas. Regarding the man pulled from the flight, his first thought was, “When they are dragging this bleeding man off the plane, why didn’t someone stand up and say, ‘Let him go. I’ll take his place. Take me instead’?

“I suppose all the passengers were shocked and stunned into silence. I’m just glad that 2,000 years ago when I should have been the one rejected and bloodied, Jesus stepped forward and said, ‘Let him go. I’ll take his place. Take me instead!’”

St. Melito, bishop of Sardis (died AD 180), described well what Jesus experienced on Good Friday: he “endured every kind of suffering in all those who foreshadowed him. In Abel he was slain, in Isaac bound, in Jacob exiled, in Joseph sold, in Moses exposed to die. He was sacrificed in the Passover lamb, persecuted in David, dishonored in the prophets.”

How should we respond to such sacrificial grace?

In Psalm 101, David vowed: “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless” (v. 3). After a long discussion of foods that are suitable for eating, the Lord concludes: “Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44). Paul encouraged us to “cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). He added that “God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness” (1 Thessalonians 4:7). Job testified, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?” (Job 31:1).

When we make a covenant with ourselves to choose holiness, we experience the power of God that enables us to be holy. Oswald Chambers: “Eternal life is not a gift from God, eternal life is the gift of God. The energy and the power which was manifested in Jesus will be manifested in us by the sheer sovereign grace of God when once we have made the moral decision about sin.”

When we decide to die to sin, “the full life of God comes in.” If we keep choosing to be holy, “slowly and surely the great full life of God will invade us in every part, and men will take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus.”

Just as Good Friday led to Resurrection Sunday for Jesus, it can be the same for us. If we decide today to die to sin, we will experience the resurrection life of the risen Christ. “In the midst of a crooked and twisted generation,” we will “shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15). Others will see Christ in us and be drawn to him, and every day will be Easter.

 

 

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Former Abortionist Explains Why She Became Pro-Life

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March 20, 2017 · 9:30 am

‘Where’s Your Little Arm?’: Abortionists Can’t Hide Behind the ‘Clump of Cells’ Line Anymore

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Planned Parenthood’s abortion providers know full and well they’re not removing just a “clump of cells.” That’s the clear verdict from two former clinic managers in new video interviews posted last week.

Sue Thayer and Marianne Anderon shared their first-hand experience of watching abortion providers for Planned Parenthood dismember then reassemble the so-called “products of conception” following the procedure, to make sure they “got everything.” The women spoke with Live Action about what they witnessed, and how Planned Parenthood knows they’re killing babies.

Thayer described what happened to babies after the abortion — a gruesome process of rinsing and sorting baby body parts. After putting the parts in a glass jar on a shelf under a light, “You kind of piece it back together and try to see if you got all the parts” she explained. She recalled standing over the aborted baby and asking, “Why are there three arms? …The gal training me said, ‘Twins, it was twins.’” When Thayer asked whether they told moms about twins, her trainer said, “No, it usually just upsets them.”

Following the sorting, the aborted babies were “flushed” down a sink into the city’s septic system, Thayer said. “I just remember standing there thinking, ‘All those babies are in the Des Moines sewer system.’”

Talking to the Baby Parts

It is clear, when looking at the so-called “products of conception” after an abortion, that it is a human baby with arms, legs, a head and other recognizable parts — not a clump of cells. Nurse Marianne Anderson said she witnessed abortionists talking to the baby body parts and excitedly putting pieces of the baby back together like a jigsaw puzzle.

“There was one doctor that would sit there and he would sometimes talk to this,” said Anderson. “I’ll never forget him saying, ‘Now, where’s your little arm? I didn’t see your — I’m missing this arm,’ and he would sift through it trying to find the pieces. And then I remember him saying, ‘Oh there you are, now where’s the head?’”

Another abortionist asked for a special light to illuminate the body pieces, Anderson recalled, and he seemed particularly excited when he was able to put the baby back together. “He really seemed to get into it,” she said. “I’ll never forget the first day he was there. He goes, ‘Look at this! This is so cool!’” He would describe how he could see blood vessels and other intricate body parts.

Masking the Truth to Mothers

The line about the pregnancy being a “clump of cells” is a way for Planned Parenthood to mask the truth to the mother, much in the same way that preventing the mother from viewing the ultrasound prior to the abortion is a way to keep her from seeing life in her womb, said Abby Johnson, former executive director for a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Johnson told Mike Huckabee in an interview how she assisted an ultrasound-guided abortion and saw the profile of a baby — face, arms, legs, tummy —  and recognized life. The baby tried to get away from the doctor’s probe  — fighting for its life — before it crumbled in front of her eyes. She dropped the ultrasound probe in shock. It was the last abortion she attended and she quit shortly thereafter. “I can’t help but believe if [moms] saw that they might be running out of those clinics,” said Huckabee.

From false euphemisms to turning an ultrasound away from the mother (or fighting legislation requiring one prior to an abortion), Planned Parenthood goes to great lengths to keep women in the dark on what really happens during an abortion. But it’s clear they know exactly what they are doing — and it isn’t scraping cells.

See the Live Action interviews below:

 

 

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Previously untouched 600BC palace discovered under shrine demolished by Isil in Mosul

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Archaeologists documenting Isil’s destruction of the ruins of the Tomb of the Prophet Jonah say they have made an unexpected discovery which could help in our understanding of the world’s first empire.

The Nebi Yunus shrine – containing what Muslims and Christians believe to be the tomb of Jonah, as he was known in the Bible, or Yunus in the Koran – was blown up by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) militants soon after they seized huge swathes of northern Iraq in 2014.

The shrine is situated on top of a hill in eastern Mosul called Nebi Yunus – one of two mounds that form part of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh.

The Iraqi army retook the area from Isil last month, revealing the extensive damage wrought by the jihadists.

But local archaeologists have told the Telegraph that Isil also dug tunnels deep under the demolished shrine and into a previously undiscovered and untouched 600BC palace.

Limited excavation was carried out by the Ottoman governor of Mosul in 1852, which was revisited by the Iraqi department of antiquities in the 1950s. But neither team reached as far as the palace.

“I can only imagine how much Daesh discovered down there before we got here” Archaeologist Layla Salih

It is the first evidence of Isil’s use of tunneling in ancient grounds in their hunt for artefacts to plunder.

Inside one of the tunnels, Iraqi archaeologist Layla Salih discovered a marble cuneiform inscription of King Esarhaddon thought to date back to the Assyrian empire in 672BC.

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While the king’s name is not visible on the cuneiform slab, a historian who has seen photographs of it says phrases are legible which were used only to describe him, in particular his rebuilding of Babylon after his father Sennacherib had it destroyed.

The palace was built for Sennacherib, renovated and expanded by Esarhaddon (681-669 BC), and renovated again by Ashurbanipal (669-627). It was partly destroyed during the Sack of Nineveh in 612 BC.

There are only a handful of such cuneiforms recovered from the period, most of which from the second mound just north of Nebi Yunus in Kouyunjik.

In another part of the tunnel they discovered Assyrian stone sculptures of a demi-goddess, depicted sprinkling the “water of life” to protect humans in her care.

“I’ve never seen something like this in stone at this large size,” said Prof Eleanor Robson, chair of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, suggesting they may have been used to decorate the women’s quarter of the palace. “The objects don’t match descriptions of what we thought was down there, so Isil’s destruction has actually led us to a fantastic find.

“There’s a huge amount of history down there, not just ornamental stones. It is an opportunity to finally map the treasure-house of the world’s first great empire, from the period of its greatest success.”

Ms Salih, a former curator of the Mosul museum who is supervising a five-man team carrying out the emergency documentation, said she believes Isil looted hundreds of objects before Iraqi forces recaptured the eastern side of the city.

“I can only imagine how much Daesh discovered down there before we got here,” she told the Telegraph by phone from Mosul. “We believe they took many of the artefacts, such as pottery and smaller pieces, away to sell. But what they left will be studied and will add a lot to our knowledge of the period.”

She warned that the tunnels were not professionally built, however, and are at risk of collapsing “within weeks” – burying and potentially destroying the new finds.

Experts from the British Institute for the Study of Iraq – alongside other international teams – are bidding to help local archaeologists secure and document the site. Unesco is due to hold a meeting in Paris later this month to decide who will be sent.

The terror group destroyed several other key landmarks in Mosul and elsewhere because they considered the worshipping of shrines not to be in keeping with their Islamic traditions.  Isil militants believe giving special veneration to tombs and relics is against the teachings of Islam.

A report just released by the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government lists some 100 sacred buildings damaged or wiped off the map during Isil’s two-year reign.

They closed all of Mosul’s museums and cultural centres during their more than two-year reign over the city. Many of the city’s archaeologists and historians went into hiding.

“Many decided to stay in the city when Isil came, fearing what they might do to their families if they fled,” said Prof Robson. “They hid their books and lied about their expertise. Thankfully, most of them survived.”

 

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March 3, 2017 · 11:00 am