Friday, July 31, 2015

Convenient excuses

Planned Parenthood is the largest provider and promoter of abortions in the United States, performing some 400,000 abortions a year - one abortion every 94 seconds. Recently a series of videos has been released of secretly filmed footage of interviews with Planned Parenthood executives.

They appear to show that Planned Parenthood sells body parts from aborted babies. (American law says "It shall be unlawful.for any person to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human foetal tissue for valuable consideration.")

The latest video to be released appears to demonstrate that Planned Parenthood is guilty of after-birth abortion.

 Two interviewers posing as representatives of a foetal tissue procurement company want to know how many babies are aborted intact. "Probably less than 10 per cent," says Dr Savita Ginde, vice president and medical director of Planned Parenthood, Rocky Mountains. "Sometimes, if we get, if someone delivers before we are able to see them for a procedure, then we are intact."

The website Anglican Mainstream prints the following quotation from Dr Francis Schaeffer:

"Christians have largely shut up their Christianity into a small corner of life, Sunday church or their Bible studies instead of realising that the Lordship of Christ is to permeate the whole spectrum of life. They have coasted along complacently, often serving up such dogmas as 'you can't mix religion and politics,' or 'you can't regulate morality,' or 'we just need to pray and witness to people' - when what they really meant was 'we just don't want to be disturbed.' They were content in their 'comfort zone.'"

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Does God answer prayer?

Does God answer prayer?

Course He does. Sometimes in remarkable fashion.

On the fringes of Cairo is a village called Mokattam. It's a garbage village; that's to say a village where live thousands of people who collect the garbage from the residents of Cairo and live off what they find in the garbage they collect. Behind it stands Mokattam Hill.

Some 40 years ago a young man went to Mokattam to preach. Reluctantly, it must be said. There was dirt; there was poverty; above all, there was an overpowering stench from the piles of garbage.The people seemed to him like wild people.

But people were converted: transformed by the love of Jesus. They stopped beating their wives and  children and started to live without drink and drugs. The young man built a church for them out of corrugated iron, roofed with reeds. The only trouble was it became too small. So they prayed.

Building permits to construct a church were virtually impossible to obtain in Egypt, especially for a politically irrelevant group like the garbage collectors. So they prayed some more.

One day some men noticed a hole in the side of the hill above the village. They enlarged it, and peered in. It looked like a large cave. Men and women began to move loose rocks from inside. In total, they manhandled thousands of tons of rock down the hill.

Against all the odds, the government granted the land to the Christians. Egypt is 90 per cent Muslim, but Mokattam is 80 to 90 per cent Coptic Christian. The cave is today the largest church in the Middle East, seating up to 20,000 people.

Do click here and watch a video of thousands of people in the cave church worshipping God with feeling.

"This is our time to change the world," says a priest at the church. "We need to cry, scream, travail and groan, to pray day and night. And the Lord will support this work of the Holy Spirit. We're not just talking about Jesus in words, but also in miracles which will follow our faith, and the world will see and believe and come back to Christ."

Friday, July 24, 2015

Last, but not least

When ISIS published a video in February of men being beheaded for their faith in Christ, it was assumed that all were Coptic Christians from Egypt.

In Egypt they had no work. They had gone to Libya to find work to earn money for their families. There they were kidnapped.

Most were quickly identified from the video. But one, a black man, was not identified until later. His name was Mathew Avairga, and he was from Chad.

According to Voice of the Martyrs, Mathew was not a Christian. In common with each of the others, he was asked on camera by one of his persecutors: "Do you reject Christ?"

Having seen the quiet faith of the others, Mathew decided that he too would be a follower of Jesus. "Their God is my God," he said. Moments later, he was dead.

We are not called to witness, but to be witnesses. May each one of us be as faithful as those young men.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

UK treatment of Christians 'unbelievable'

The British Government is being slated for its callousness towards Christians in the Middle East.

The charity Barnabas Fund has compared the way Britain has treated refugees from Syria and Iraq with the way Jewish refugees were turned back to Europe before the Second World War.

"Britain has exercised a level of callousness in terms of refugees from Syria and Iraq that is unbelievable," it says. "Given the historical connection between the UK and Northern Iraq, whose Assyrian Christians fought for Britain in two world wars and in the interim period, and given that the Iraqi Christians have suffered intensely because of Britain's illegal intervention in Iraq, the British Government has shown them scant regard, compassion or mercy."

The charity says the situation is reminiscent of the US refusal to allow entry to 907 Jewish refugees who sailed from Germany in May, 1939. Forced to return to Europe, many died in the Holocaust.

Church leaders have appealed to David Cameron for Britain to carry out its "moral responsibility" to shelter more refugees from Syria.

Andrew Carey wrote in last week's Church of England Newspaper: "last weekend 50 Syrian Christian families flew into Warsaw, having been chased out of their homes in areas of the country controlled by so-called Islamic State. The Polish and Belgium governments have been among the first in Europe to accept such significant communities en masse. The Christian relief agency, the Barnabas Fund, has indicated that a further 200 families will be settled in Poland. The agency is openly seeking further governments to offer welcome to these vulnerable, persecuted people, but Western European governments, including our own, are resisting doing what is right.

"There are many thousands of displaced Christians in the Middle East. ISIL now has a policy of destroying Christian homes, in addition to its policy of torture, slavery, rape, killing and crucifixion.

"It is a disgrace that the British government will not even consider the case for treating Christians as a particularly vulnerable group of people and offering them asylum. One day we will look back and wonder how we could have observed the attempted extermination of a whole community in the Middle East and done nothing."

Doing the right thing needs to come before political expediency. 

Refugee status is not certain for Christians facing death at the hands of Muslims in the Middle East. The criterion is contained in Statute 6B of the UN High Commission for Refugees, which requires refugees to have "a well-founded fear of persecution by reason of his race, religion, nationality or political opinion." Unfortunately the UN believes Islam is a religion of peace, and takes no account of the penalties for apostasy.

American activists claim Christians are not being allowed into the US, while Muslims, who do not suffer the same degree of religious persecution, are allowed to immigrate unimpeded.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A bad mistake of historic proportions, says Israel

So the P5+1 powers, including the US, have signed a nuclear deal with Iran. President Obama says it will prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and make the world a safer place. He has promised to use his presidential veto to block any legislation preventing the deal from going forward.

Critics say Iran has scored a huge victory, while the West has caved in on nearly every critical demand. Israel's leaders, of all shades of the political spectrum, have condemned the deal, which they say could endanger the entire world.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in every area where it was proposed to prevent Iran getting nuclear arms capability there were huge compromises. "Iran will receive a sure path to nuclear weapons. Many of the restrictions which were intended to prevent it will be lifted, In addition, Iran will receive a cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars which will enable it to pursue its aggression and terror.

"It is a bad mistake of historic proportions. . . When you are willing to make an agreement at any cost, this is the result."

Avigdor Liberman, chairman of the Yisrael Beytenu party, called it "a deal of utter acquiescence to terror and to unrestrained violence." Israelis believe, despite President Obama's denials, that Obama would be prepared to sacrifice Israel for the sake of his agreement with Iran.

So where does all this leave Israel?

There are occasional terror incidents inside Israel, as well as an occasional rocket from Hamas. ISIS have infiltrated Israel, Gaza and Sinai. Hamas is rearming and digging new terror tunnels. Hezbollah could have 100,000 rockets and missiles in Lebanon, including a number of long-range systems and systems with increased accuracy, allowing Hezbollah to strike anywhere in Israel and with increased precision.

Israel's Homefront Command has launched large-scale exercises involving military, police, firefighters and national and local agencies to prepare for an attack in the war which Israelis believe must come.

Iran, however, is the greatest threat. Iran has promised to destroy Israel: "Annihilation is Israel's only cure," says Iran's leader.

 Israel has promised it will defend itself by whatever means it finds necessary. We know that because of God's promises to Israel, Israel will never be destroyed. But extensive damage and considerable loss of life are still a possibility.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Is anyone listening?

When sin begins, it doesn't add up; it multiplies. We are living in desperate days. For hundreds of years marriage was only between a man and a woman: it never entered anyone's head that this was in any way unequal.

Now, in the name of equality, the US Supreme Court has followed the UK's example and legalised same-sex marriage in all 50 states. (Critics say the Supreme Court justices have ignored the law and the Constitution and rewritten the law according to their left-wing mindset.)

More and more denominations are accepting same-sex marriage. More and more churches are in agreement with divorce and remarriage.

Have you noticed the state of British television? More and more programmes are based on sex. Programme makers appear to be vying with each other to see who can be the more explicit. Blasphemy, which would have been unheard of on television a few years ago, is now the common language on some programmes.

Many would say that legalised abortion is so entrenched that it would be impossible to reverse. The Bible says that nothing is impossible with God. Six hundred unborn babies are being killed each day in the UK.

I am told that some Christian groups are now trying to live outside of society,  without reference to the standards of society around them. Their attitude is incorrect. Christians are meant to take a stand on all these issues.

Corporate prayer is desperately needed.

What is required is not sympathy, but action. Is anybody listening?

Sunday, July 05, 2015

A very modest hero

Nicholas Winton, a 29-year-old stockbroker from London, was planning a skiing holiday in Switzerland. He never got there. Instead he received a telephone call from a friend in Prague: "Come to Prague. We need you." In Prague, he found a refugee crisis.

It was 1938, and Hitler had invaded Czechoslovakia. Many were trying to get out of the country, or at least get their children out. Winton set up an office in his Prague hotel. He was in Prague for only two or three weeks, but on his return to London he worked for eight months in his spare time, raising money, finding foster homes and obtaining travel documents.

 In nine months he arranged eight trains to bring 669 children, mainly Jewish, to safety in England. Many of their families perished in Auschwitz The trains stopped when Hitler invaded Poland and the borders were closed.

For 50 years Winton didn't speak of what he had done, even to his wife. (He had married in 1948.) Then in the 1980s his wife found children's photographs, a list of children's names and addresses and letters from parents in their attic. Word spread. Winton was invited to a television programme as part of the studio audience, and found the programme was about him.

Nicholas Winton died on Wednesday, aged 106.

You can see here a video about his life. It includes a moving moment from the television programme, where the presenter asked if there was anyone present who owed his or her life to Nicholas Winton. It looked like almost the entire room stood to their feet.

He was given a knighthood for his service to humanity, and the Order of the White Lion, the Czechs' highest honour. It is estimated that almost 6,000 people - the children and their descendants - are alive because of Sir Nicholas Winton.

"I work on the motto that if something's not impossible, there must be a way of doing it," he said. 

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Mary Jones and her Bible

Mary Jones was born in 1784. She lived with her widowed mother in a stone-built cottage at Llanfihangel-y-Pennant, not far from Cader Idris, in North Wales. Converted to Christ at eight years old, she walked a couple of miles each week to a farmhouse where she was allowed to read the family's Welsh Bible.

She was desperate to own a Bible of her own. They could be bought, it was said, from the Rev Thomas Charles in Bala. Mary saved her pennies for six years. At last, when she was15 years old, she had enough. She walked - barefoot - to Bala, 26 miles away. 

She knocked at Mr Charles' door, and asked him if she could please have a Bible. Alas, they had all gone. Mary burst into tears.

Well, she did eventually get her Bible. But Charles was so moved by her story that he told it to a group of gentlemen in London, who between them started the British and Foreign Bible Society, which now works, it is said, in 200 countries and territories.

If ypu are in North Wales, go to the Bible Society's Mary Jones World in a former church building at Llanycil, a short distance south of Bala on the A494. You will be thrilled again by her story.