BIBLE MEDITATION: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” John 14:6
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT: Materialism says, “Buy your
way out.” The politician says, “Legislate.” The army says, “Fight.”
Industry says, “Work.” The philosopher says, “Think.” But Jesus says,
there’s no way out but through Me. Jesus will save you by His grace,
and He’ll save you all by Himself or you won’t be saved at all. When
you are saved by the grace of God, you are saved instantly, and you are
saved eternally. Your goodness is not enough to save you, and your
badness is not enough to keep you away. Jesus loves you so much that He
died to save you.
You’ve probably heard about or seen the object lesson where someone
takes a jar and fills it with big rocks, gravel, sand, and then water.
The point of the lesson is that if you don’t get the big rocks in
first, you won’t get them in at all. In other words, if you neglect the
important things in life, other things will press in and crowd them
out. We need to make sure we have our priorities right.
The book of Haggai chronicles God’s message to people who had let
their creature comforts crowd out their priority of fully restoring the
public worship of God. The Jewish audience was composed of those who
had returned to the land under the auspices of rebuilding the temple in
Jerusalem, which had been destroyed by the Babylonians who carried the
Jews into captivity in 586 B.C. They began the project, laying the
foundation, but soon quit due to opposition (Ezra 3:8-6:18). They would
go on to complete the work (6:14), but first they needed some serious
reminders from God. By the time Haggai the prophet (a contemporary of
the prophet Zechariah) brought them God’s message in 520 B.C., 16 years
had passed. The people were living in nice, paneled houses while God’s
house still lay in ruins (Hag. 1:4). God had sent agricultural and
economic hardship to get their attention (vv. 6, 9-11). Haggai’s
message was this: consider your ways and get to work rebuilding the
temple (vv. 5, 7-8). The people got the message and got to work (v. 12).
God is not calling us to travel to Jerusalem and begin working on a
construction project on the ruined temple there now. The application
for us is to build our spiritual lives, as individuals and corporately.
Christ Himself is the fulfillment of the temple—it is through Him that
we have access to God (John 2:19-22; Heb. 10:19-22). If you are not a
follower of Jesus Christ, the first priority is that you come to God
through Him. You must repent of your rebellion and place your trust in
Him who died as a sacrifice in the place of sinners so that God’s wrath
against them could be removed and that they could have eternal life in
Now that Christ has ascended and given His Spirit, we who are
Christians are the temple—something that is true for us as individuals
(1 Cor. 6:19) and as His church (3:16; 2 Cor. 6:16). God dwells with us
and in us. The Jews needed to restore the public worship of the temple
as a testimony to the living God who was worthy of worship. We need to
live for God’s pleasure to display His glory (Hag. 1:8). Therefore, we
need to make sure we have the right priorities.
There are several ways to discover what our priorities truly are.
How we use our time and money are chief indicators. Our goals, or lack
of them, and how we pursue or don’t pursue them may show where our
treasure is. Our prayer life, including the content of our prayers (and
indeed if we pray at all), reveals much about us. Our commitment to
hearing God’s Word through reading the Bible and diligently listening
to preaching is likely to be quite telling as well. The presence or
absence of family worship in our homes and the quality and consistency
of our relationships with others in the local church may also help us
assess our priorities. Do we think of others? Are we living lives that
show joy in God, denial of self, and loving service to others? We need
to consider our ways. What and who are we living for? What do we hope
for ourselves and our children to accomplish and why? Let us see that,
as individuals and as God’s people, we are evidencing a heart of
worship through obedient lives ordered by God’s priorities.
Getting our priorities right is important, but not enough. It is
insufficient to simply be committed to an idea or vision on paper. One
must implement these priorities and be committed to persevering in them
despite difficulties. Haggai encouraged the Jews and reminds us to do
Haggai reminds us of God’s help. The people became discouraged by
memories of the previous temple and its glory (2:3). Haggai encouraged
them to look for their help in the LORD, who brought them out of Egypt,
who will shake heaven and earth, and who has all resources (vv. 5-8).
The encouragement to be strong and the reminder that God is with them
may echo David’s words to Solomon, who first built the temple (1 Chron.
28:20). These words are addressed to the leaders, Joshua the high
priest and Zerubbabel the governor, as well as to the people (Hag. 2:2,
Church leaders and congregations may become discouraged by their
lives or ministries when they compare them to how things used to be or
to others who seem to be blooming. But we must remember that God has
not called us to live in the past, to reconstruct the “glory days,” or
to imitate the latest church growth fad in order to get the appearance
of success. He has called us to faithful obedience to His Word. He is
our strength and help. And what He chooses to accomplish through us
should not be despised as something worthless.
Haggai reminds the people that holiness is not contagious, but
uncleanness is (vv. 10-14). Yet from their time of obedience, God would
bless them (v. 15ff.). This blessing may refer to the contaminating
nature of their previous disobedience among one another, or perhaps to
sinful attitudes and behaviors that remained even after they began
rebuilding. Either way, they are instructed in the importance of
holiness. We too should persevere in holiness, valuing God’s blessing
and desiring to encourage God’s people, knowing that our sinful
attitudes and disobedience can easily infect others (cf. the warning
about the root of bitterness in Heb. 12:14-15).
Finally, Haggai would have us hope in the sovereign power and plan
of God. God has the final word in history. He promises to overthrow
thrones and kingdoms and to make Zerubbabel his signet ring, a symbol
of authority and blessing (Hag. 2:21-23). Ultimately, this promise is
fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who is of Zerubbabel’s line (Matt. 1:12-13;
Luke 3:27). Though we may face opposition, we must remember that God
keeps His word. The coming of Christ, His perfect life and death for
sinners, and His resurrection and ascension give us hope in the One who
overthrows thrones and kingdoms and gives salvation to all who repent
of their rebellion against Him and trust in Him alone. It is this hope
that enables us to persevere in our priorities and glorify God.
is happily married to Krystal and glad to be the father of three
children. He is a member of Cornerstone Chapel in Bristol, Tennessee,
teaches music in a Christian school, is pursuing an M. Div. through
Southern Seminary, preaches in a supply capacity through the Cumberland Area Pulpit Supply, and blogs at Gazing at Glory.
Are people hearing the gospel from us? It is God’s plan for people
to hear the gospel from our lips. Romans 10:14 says, “How then shall
they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they
believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear
without a preacher?” (KJV). Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47,
John 20:21, and Acts 1:8 teach that each believer is to be a “preacher,” proclaiming the “good news” of the Lord’s salvation. If George Barna’s research
is right, at least half of the people who call themselves “Christians”
are not actively sharing the gospel on a regular basis.
It is impossible to hide the evidence of our disobedience to God in
the area of evangelism. Multitudes of unreached people surround us, and
many church members are more interested in church business meetings and
property maintenance than in church outreach. More energy is given to
board meetings and Bible conferences than to the spread of the gospel.
More time is given to debating nonessentials and matters of eternal
insignificance than to sharing the message of salvation. We’ve come to
the place in church planting where going through the target community
and simply telling the people about the Lord is one of the last things
on the preparatory master plan. As a result, some new churches are
nothing more than recycling plants for dissatisfied believers instead
of centers for the spread of the gospel. We even mark those who we
believe are making poor attempts at evangelism but do none ourselves
and think of ourselves as better than they. While all of this is going
on, we sit and wonder why churches and movements are dying. In our
lamenting, we forget about all the souls who are dying without Christ.
We need to get our eyes off ourselves and look to the fields where
God has appointed a harvest (John 4:35). As we mingle through the
crowds in our communities, we need to be moved with intense compassion
like our Lord was when He saw the crowds (Matt. 9:36-38). We don’t need
a great program; we just need to start telling those whom God brings
into our lives the truth of the gospel. If they receive the truth, then
we need to make sure they are baptized and taught the Word of God. For
the gospel’s sake, we need to be willing to surrender our personal
rights instead of splitting churches over them so that people might be
saved (1 Cor. 9:23). This act can be done without surrendering any of
the precious doctrines of the faith once delivered to the saints. While
we witness, let’s not forget to ask the “Lord of the harvest” to “send
forth labourers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:38).
The “preacher” of Romans 10:14 is not a reference to the pastor. It
is a reference to every one of us who are the redeemed of the Lord.
Will people be hearing the gospel from our lips in 2008?
For the past 14 years, Pastor Joe Roofhas served God as the senior pastor at Calvary Baptist Church (Albany, NY). He is also involved in area church planting and serves on several nationwide ministry boards. He graduated from Bob Jones University
(Greenville, SC) with a B.A. in Bible in 1990 and an M.A. in Bible in
1991. He has been married to Kim for 15 years, and God has given them
three children with one on the way.
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:9)
The word that is important here in connection with the Lord Jesus
Christ is “fellowship.” The word is the Greek koinonia, and it is used
by Paul again and again. It can mean a partnership, and I believe that
is the way it is used here in this verse. This is without doubt one of
the greatest privileges that is given to us. If you are in Christ, if
you have come to Him and accepted Him as your Savior, then you are in
partnership with Christ. He is willing to be our partner. Therefore
this means an intimate relationship to Christ.
What does it mean, then, to be in partnership with the Lord Jesus?
For one thing, it means that in business you own things together with
Him. Everything that I own belongs to Jesus Christ. It belongs to Him
as much as it does to me. Therefore, He is interested in what I own.
The marriage partnership means different things. It means having
mutual interests. I’m in that kind of partnership with the Lord Jesus,
too. Christ is interested in me and I am interested in Him. That
carries it to a pretty high plane, you see. Also, we have a mutual
devotion. His resources are mine, and mine are His. He doesn’t get very
much, but He owns me. I have presented my body to Him. Now that answers
quite a few questions for me about where I can go and what I can do. Do
you see that our decisions are made on a higher plane than simply “Dare
I do this?” or “Ought I do that?” We belong to Jesus Christ and Jesus
Christ belongs to us.
Also in the love partnership there is a mutual service. God
accommodates Himself to our weakness. I need His gentleness, and I
accept His power. A verse of Scripture which deals with this is a verse
that I believe has been mistranslated. This was called to my attention
by G. Campbell Morgan. The verse is Isaiah 63:9: “In all their
affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them:
in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and
carried them all the days of old.” It sounds as if in our weakness He
becomes weak. The better translation puts it in the negative: “In all
affliction he was not afflicted.” That is a lot more meaningful to me.
It means that when I stumble and fall, He does not stumble and fall. He
accommodates Himself to my stumbling, my blindness, my ignorance, my
weakness. Although He accommodates Himself to that, He does not become
weak at all. I have made many blunders, and I have stumbled and I have
fallen. Many times I have done it deliberately. Yet my Lord never let
me down. He was always there. He accommodated Himself to my weakness.
How wonderful that is, friend! The partnership of Jesus Christ is the
solution to the problems of life.
I think you’ll agree with me when I say it is a blessing to hear how Asian believers
are so faithfully sharing the Gospel. They are excited because the Lord
has transformed their lives.
Yours for the lost, K.P. Yohannan Founder & President
Dashing along the waves in a small motorboat, Rasul Layak, Gospel
for Asia’s island ministry leader in West Bengal, India, traveled to
meet a small group of local believers for a prayer meeting. When he
stepped onto the shore he was shocked: There stood Giri Banke with 150
believers to greet him.
Giri, a criminal investigator, had received the love of Christ in
his life and was faithfully following the Lord, but Rasul had no idea
that Giri was involved in ministry as well. Since his transformation,
Giri had been sharing the Gospel in five surrounding villages, and many
people had come to Christ as a result.
Seeing that the number of believers had grown so large, Giri
realized they needed a full-time pastor to conduct worship services and
disciple the people. So he had called Rasul to come to a prayer meeting
to see the need for himself.
After the prayer meeting, Rasul went to visit Giri’s cousin, Priti
Rajat, who was also involved in outreach in a nearby area. She hosts
five prayer groups of about 50 people each who have recently come to
know the Lord through her witness. She also leads several women’s Bible
As Rasul saw how the Lord was working through Giri and his family,
he knew it was time to send missionaries who could help minister to the
people’s long-term needs. When he returned home, he found three young
men who felt called to serve on the islands. They all had recently
graduated from GFA Bible colleges and were eager to begin ministry.
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My note: This devotional was written by pastor and televangelist Bill Keller of Live Prayer. I had decided to stop posting Bill Keller’s devotionals that dealt with Mormonism for a time for reasons that I will not get into. But after seeing Glenn Beck exploit the death of Hinckley as an opportunity to promote his religion on CNN last night, I am making a one time exception to my policy. Please note: Keller is right when he says that there is no difference between Mormonism and Islam. So why is the religious right so much more tolerant of one than the other? You know that if Mitt Romney were Muslim, he’d have the same “he is part of a global Muslim conspiracy to take over our government” theories as are circulating about Barack HUSSEIN Obama. I will tell you the reason: race. Mormonism was founded by whites and in America is an overwhelmingly white religion, so they are not only tolerated by the religious right, but are fully embraced by them. Meanwhile, Islam is an Arab religion. That is why the same religious right hypocrites that went nuts over Keith Ellison merely being elected to Congress are actually praying for Mitt Romney to save them from Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain (not that I support any of them either by the way). The way these conservatives, especially Roman Catholics, are claiming that Mitt Romney is the victim of oh so much bigotry after decades of using racism and segregation against BLACKS to build their own party would be hilarious if it wasn’t so evil. (By the way, check out this Roman Catholic pro – segregation site that claims that God never intended for Christianity to spread outside the white race … surprise surprise they like Romney.) It was as if they were saying “Hey evangelicals, Romney is one of us where it really counts, so vote your race, it is more important than your religion!” That is why the same folks on the right who continuously demand that blacks bear the discrimination that we face while picking and grinning about it start braying like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the NAACP whenever Romney’s religion is discussed in any terms other than “oh we can trust Romney to save America because he is a devoted Mormon who believes in Jesus with a beautiful wife and five sons.” Well, again, anyone who doubts that Romney would use the White House to promote his faith not only in America but also overseas (the people that they falsely claim are the cursed seed of Ham and for that reason held them in second class status until 1978 – a fact which conservatives love I bet – apparently are a major mission field for them!) should view Glenn Beck’s performance below.
An evil tool of satan masquerading as a Godly grandfather is buring in hell
for all eternity! Gordon B. Hinckley, the leader of the satanic Mormon cult
is dead at 97. Hinckley saw this cult grow from 9 million members to over
13 million members worldwide during his 12-year reign as its leader. While
Hinckley is already being memorialized as a “great man of God,” the fact is
his life has been an instrument in the hands of satan to help lead the souls
of men to hell by following the false theology of the Mormon cult.
Many people, even Christians will rail against me for being so unkind, but
this only illustrates the problem we have. Even Believers don’t take the
eternal souls of men serious enough. As I state often, this is a battle for
souls. Satan is not playing games and is serious about taking as many souls
into the lake of fire with him as he can. I am saddened at how many
Christians either don’t understand, or don’t want to think about the FACT
that those who die without Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible, will pass from
this life into eternal punishment!
I know some people are outraged that I would be “so mean” to call Mormonism
a satanic cult. I receive emails all the time talking about the great works
they do. First, I have no doubt that most Mormons are fine people, good
people, and do great works. But being a good person and doing good works
does NOT get you into Heaven. Only faith in Jesus Christ, the Jesus of the
Bible, will get you into Heaven. The Mormon cult spends tens of millions of
dollars each year in public relations to portray themselves as “just another
DO NOT LET THEIR ADS FOOL YOU. They are no more a Christian church than your
local mosque is!
The lie of Mormonism that I expose is not a new problem. Paul, himself, had
to deal with the issue of “cults”-those who perverted the Gospel-almost from
the very beginning. He spoke of it often in his writings, as in today’s
anchor verses in his letter to the church at Galatia. This is nothing new.
Here are just a few of the theological issues that makes the satanic Mormon
cult totally inconsistent with Biblical Christianity and why a Mormon is no
more a Christian than a Muslim is. The god of the Mormon cult is NOT the God
of the Bible. Their “god” is named Elohim and was once a man like you and I
who came from another planet. Mormon theology teaches that men can
eventually become a god and have their own planet. When a Mormon talks about
“god,” he is talking about this fictitious god of Mormonism and NOT the God
of the Bible!
This holds true for Jesus. The jesus of Mormon theology is not God incarnate
as the Bible teaches. The Mormon jesus was not supernaturally conceived by
the Holy Ghost, but the natural offspring of their “god” Elohim who had sex
with Mary, meaning he is a created being no different than you and I.
Mormons also teach that their jesus had several wives and children, again,
in compete contradiction to what the Bible teaches. The jesus of the Mormon
cult is also the spirit brother of Lucifer and will return not to the Mt. Of
Olives as the Bible teaches, but to Independence, Missouri to set up his
When a Mormon talks about “jesus,” he is NOT talking about the true Jesus of
the Bible! What Jesus you put your faith in is so critical, since this is
why anyone who puts their faith in the imaginary jesus of Joseph Smith and
the satanic Mormon cult will die in their sins and their souls burn forever
in the flames of hell!
What about the Bible and true Christian churches? Mormons love to use the
Bible and quote from the Bible to support their deception that they are
Christians. The trademark of all cults and false religions, even those who
use the Bible, is that it is NOT their final authority. In the Mormon cult,
their authority does not come from the Bible which they view as incomplete
and not reliable, but the writings of Smith, the Book of Mormon, the Pearl
of Great Price, and the Doctrine and Covenants. These are the writings that
form the false theology of this cult.
Mormons believe that non-Mormons are “abominations.” While they don’t have
the guts the Muslims do to publicly call a non-Muslim an infidel who should
be put to death, a Mormon views a Biblical Christian as part of a “false
religion” and void of all authority.
Like in all cults, the average member hasn’t got a clue what their cult
really believes. You only get to know everything after you have proven
yourself to be a loyal and worthy member of the cult. That is true in the
Mormon cult as well. Most Mormons go to their “church,” sing many of the
same hymns they sing at the Baptist church down the road, give their tithe,
read a few passages out of the Bible, hear a message about being a “good
person,” and go home.
It is only when you get to become a “temple Mormon” that you really learn
all of the deep, dark, beliefs of Mormonism. The Mormon temple rituals are
actually little more than the temple rituals Smith copied from another cult,
Freemasonry! Smith who was involved in the Masonic cult, simply copied and
incorporated their chants, handshakes, and ceremonies when he started the
Mormon cult. These are the same chants, handshakes, and ceremonies Romney
participated in when he took his oath to the Mormon cult above anything
else, INCLUDING THE U.S. GOVERNMENT AND CONSTITUTION!
The average person has no idea that the ultimate goal of the Mormon cult is
to establish a theocracy here in the United States. Joseph Smith, the cult’s
founder actually ran for the Presidency. So did Mitt Romney’s father. This
cult has the very real goal of establishing the “Kingdom of God,” which
means advancing the physical and earthly organization of the multi-billion
dollar Mormon cult.
There is a special room in the Mormon Temple located in Washington, DC that
has been prepared and in place for over 30 years, which will be the seat of
power for the Mormon-led government which will supplant our current
government. This was the vision Smith laid out less than 200 years ago, and
Mitt Romney and those in the hierarchy and leadership of the Mormon cult see
this as the time for that vision to become fulfilled!
I love you and care about you so much. Gordon B. Hinckley was NOT a great
“man of God,” but simply a tool of satan who used his life to lead millions
to the false teachings of the Mormon cult, meaning those poor souls died in
their sins and are in hell for all eternity along with all who reject the
Jesus of the Bible. He did not become a “god” upon his death as Mormons
believe. He didn’t get his own planet full of women waiting to have sex with
him. The moment he died, Hinckley stood before God and because he rejected
Jesus and died in his sins, was immediately cast into hell for all eternity!
I have done my best in a limited amount of time to give you a brief overview
of the false and satanic beliefs of the Mormon cult. I have just barely
scratched the surface, but just in what I have shared with you today, NOBODY
in their right mind could ever believe that a Mormon is a Christian. When
you study Mormon theology and understand the wild beliefs of Smith and this
cult, you need faith greater than I will ever hope to have to believe what
they do. There is no logic to it and there is absolutely nothing they
believe that has any basis in realty or can be proven.
Listen, God gave us free will, and men who live in rebellion to God since
the very beginning have dreamed up the wildest and most ridiculous religions,
and sadly people who were spiritually void chose to believe their lies and
will be lost for all eternity because of it. The danger of Mormonism is that
they are deceptive (just look at their name, the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints) and will lie without conscience just like the father of
lies, satan (John 8:44), to get people to join their cult.
I pray today for those 13 million souls alive today who are following the
lies of this cult, to turn from those lies before they take their last
breath and are lost for all eternity. There is only one Truth, and that is
found in the book God wrote, the Bible. There is only one way to be saved,
and that is through a personal relationship by faith with the Jesus of the
Bible. May those lost in the lies of the Mormon cult denounce those lies
and turn to God’s Word alone and faith in Jesus and be saved so they don’t
end up burning in hell like Gordon B. Hinckley!!!
***ARE YOU 100% CERTAIN WHERE YOU WILL SPEND ETERNITY? The fact is you will die one day. At that moment, you will either spend eternity with the Lord or be cast into everlasting darkness forever separated from God your creator. To know for certain you will be forever with Jesus, go to: http://www.liveprayer.com/bdy_salvatn.cfm
***I am excited to let you know that the Liveprayer Daily Devotional is now
available via AUDIO each day. Simply go to http://www.liveprayer.com/Audio.cfm
Also, you can now listen to the Daily Devotional by phone by calling 1-727-342-5673
(C) Copyright 2008, Bill Keller Ministries. All rights reserved.
Pakistan (MNN) ― A Pakistani pastor has been murdered because of his involvement in evangelistic work. Christians face severe opposition from militant Islamic groups. Muslims
make up about 97 percent of Pakistan’s people, while Hindus make up 1.5
percent, and Christians 1.7 percent. According to Voice of the Martyrs’ Canada,
29-year-old Sajid William was shot and killed by a masked gunman on his
way home in Peshawar on January 17. Pastor William was the office
manager for the Christian relief and development agency “Shelter Now,”
active in Pakistan for nearly 25 years.
The organization runs two projects in the country–a fish farm and a
building project for 105 schools. The schools were ruined during the
earthquake that shook Pakistan in 2005. The agency is also providing
clothes, shelter and nourishment for thousands of returning refugees
who are without shelter during the harsh winter. Pray for God’s comfort for Pastor William’s family. He is survived by a wife and an 18-month-old daughter.
Ask God to embolden Pakistani Christians to follow his example of
faithfulness. Pray for protection for Christians facing intimidation
and threats from those around them.
United States-based International Christian Concern (ICC) (whose article asserts that she is still in danger!) with Website www.persecution.org
said Tahira Salamat, 20, was discovered Wednesday, January 23, in her
husband’s home. Police in Punjab have come under pressure to crackdown
on militants in Punjab, where earlier this month a man was killed by
unknown gunmen after apparently mistaking him for his brother who had
been accused of blasphemy against Islam.
Emmanuel was shot to death on January 9, 2008, after his brother who
has been living in the United States came home to visit his family,”
ICC said, adding it was unclear who was responsible for the attack.
Emmanuel was the brother of Younis Tasadaq, who was imprisoned in 1998
on charges that he had committed blasphemy against Islam, a charge that
could carry the death penalty. Under international pressure, Tasadaq
was released and fled to the United States in 1999. The attack took place after he decided to briefly return to Pakistan to visit his ailing mother, ICC said.
Christians, including Tahira Salamat, have been kidnapped as part of an
attempt to pressure churchgoers to convert to Islam and marry according
to Islamic traditions, ICC and other human rights groups say.
Muslim men, Abdul Sattar and Muhammad Khalid, reportedly abducted
Tahira while she was on her way to the workplace in Khanewal district
on September 14, 2007. After kidnapping her, these two men forced her
to marry Muhammad Ramazan, a Muslim. In order to be a suitable wife for
a Muslim, the two men also made her convert to Islam against her will,”
ICC told BosNewsLife in a statement.
parents “frantically” searched for her “in shelter houses, morgue
rooms, and hospitals for over a month, but failed to turn up any
leads.” Local police did not cooperate with them in searching for the
young woman, said ICC, adding that “They only agreed to register” a
complaint against the alleged culprits more than two weeks after she
was reported missing.”
pressure from the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), a
human rights body of the Catholic Church in Pakistan, a High Court
ordered police to locate the woman.
“finally found at Muhammad Ramazan’s house on January 23, 2008, and
from there police handed her over to her parents.” The kidnappers have
however not been detained, ICC said. Police officials could not
immediately be reached for comments.
court still has to make a decision regarding the status of her
marriage. “If the court directs Tahira to stay with her Muslim husband,
Ramazan, they would be officially endorsing a forced conversion and
forced marriage as well.”
However is she “is
allowed to go back to her Christian parents, there is a threat that she
would be killed by radical Muslims.” Islam does not allow an individual
to leave the Islamic faith, regardless of whether their conversion to
Islam was legitimate. Human rights groups have pressured Pakistan to
improve the rights of Christians in the country. We must pray for the Christians of Pakistan, and also that Jesus Christ would touch the hearts of the Muslims over there as well.
The exclusive claims of Christ are just as controversial today as they were 2,000 years ago, says one national youth leader.
as “the way and the truth and the life,” or the only way to salvation,
is hard to swallow in a postmodern culture where “more and more people
seem to think that Jesus is one of many ways to God and that salvation
is achieved through living a good life rather than received through
faith alone in Christ alone,” said Greg Stier, founder of Dare 2 Share
Ministries, which has equipped millions of youths to share the Gospel.
a belief held by many Christians today who do not have a firm grasp of
what they believe, many Christian leaders say. Most people view the
Gospel as a message that proclaims “all roads lead to God as long as
you’re sincere,” Stier noted in an e-mail interview with The Christian
“Most of them know that Jesus died on the cross but also
believe that God will accept you if you are sincere and seek to do good
deeds,” he said.
It’s one of Stier’s short list of reasons why
the world isn’t reached for Christ yet. He says the Gospel that is
being preached tends to be anything but.
“The word Gospel means
‘good news.’ It’s the good news that salvation is by faith alone in
Christ alone and not by good works,” Stier stressed. “But many who
preach the ‘Gospel’ today are adding all sorts of pre-conditions.”
of those pre-conditions include keeping the law or some of the Ten
Commandments, getting baptized, or some kind of “to do” list.
seem hell bent on twisting the pathway to heaven to include some kind
of turning, committing or you-fill-in-the-blank human effort,” Stier
The prominent youth speaker recently finished filming in
Maui the second edition of a reality series called “GOSPEL Journey.”
It’s a series that explores how relevant the Gospel still is today and
if people are receptive to it and it further equips youths to answer
questions posed by non-Christians they encounter.
the latest “GOSPEL Journey” included a Jew, Muslim, Mormon, Seventh Day
Adventist, Buddhist and a girl who believed that God was a big black
woman cooking cookies in the heavenly kitchen of unconditional love.
And to many of them, the exclusivity of salvation in Christ was unreasonable.
toughest off camera question asked to me was by Jonathan (our
bodybuilding, modeling Jewish participant),” Stier said after filming
the reality series. “It went something like, ‘So Greg you mean to tell
me that all six million Jews who died in the Holocaust woke up in the
flames of hell because they rejected Jesus as their Messiah?'”
Stier hoped the Gospel message would be crystal clear to them by the
end of the weeklong journey whether they accepted it or not.
“My hope is that they all understand that, accept it or reject it, Jesus claimed to be the exclusive way to God,” he said.
living in a culture that embraces tolerance, Stier calls Christians to
keep the Gospel message crystal clear. Otherwise, lives will not be
“Any gospel that puts the focus on what we must do
rather than on what Christ has done has lost the offense of the cross
and, therefore, is powerless to truly transform lives,” he stressed.
“If we really want to see the world reached with the Gospel then we
must preach the real, unadulterated gospel.”
Other reasons Stier
listed for why the world is not yet reached for Christ include the
church spending a disproportionate amount of money on buildings,
staffing and internal programs; the church not focusing on reaching the
most spiritually receptive demographics such as those under the age of
18 and the poor; and Christians not taking the responsibility to share
the Gospel and leaving evangelism up to the pastor or to Billy Graham.
A Muslim employer in Pakistan has attacked a Christian employee and his family because he asked for a raise. The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) www.persecution.org
has learned that Mr. Liaqat Jutt attacked his own employee’s family on
January 5, 2008, torturing even women and children, because his
Christian employee, Younas Feroz, had requested a raise.
According to a source, Feroz, 38, was a poor man who had worked for Jutt as a
laborer for the past two years in Sheikupura district. Recently, Feroz
had requested that Jutt increase his salary. Jutt became angry with
Feroz, gathered a group of his friends, and took out his rage on
Feroz’s whole family. Jutt reportedly tied up Feroz and his three sons with ropes and then
physically abused them. The group of Muslims then stripped the women of
their clothing and made them stand half naked in the street after
beating them also.
The mob then took their furniture, beds, fans, dishware, chairs, cupboards,
television and other belongings into the street and set them on fire. They stole about 10,000 Pakistan rupees (US $167), some gold items and then occupied Feroz’s property. The
local police refused to register a case against Jutt because he is part
of a very influential Muslim family. Jutt also threatened the Christian
family against taking any legal action against him.
Due to the intervention of neighbors, however, Jutt has returned the stripped house to Feroz. Jeremy Sewall, ICC’s Policy Analyst for South Asia, said, “Unfortunately this
case illustrates well the plight of the majority of Christians in
Pakistan. They are poor and dependent on Muslim employers for a living,
but their employers have no incentive to treat them like human beings
because the police refuse to prosecute those with influence. Such
abuses of power are a disgrace to the country of Pakistan.”
ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help
persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC delivers humanitarian aid, trains
and supports persecuted pastors, raises awareness in the US regarding
the problem of persecution, and is an advocate for the persecuted on
Capitol Hill and the State Department. For additional information or
for an interview, contact Jeremy Sewall, Policy Analyst, 1-800-ICC
** Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent of ANS, is an international
British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London
newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB Europe, a British
Christian radio station. Michael’s involvement with ASSIST News Service
is a sponsored ministry department — Michael Ireland Media Missionary
(MIMM) — of ACT International at: Artists in Christian Testimony (ACT) International. His weblog appears at: Michael Ireland Media Missionary