Blue Flower

NIGERIAN NATIVE CHRISTIANS STANDING FIRM AGAINST BOKO HAREM AS SOME MEMBERS COME TO JESUS

Despite the violence of Boko Haram in their area, native Christian workers in Nigeria's northeast have expanded their church-planting ministry to meet the needs of displaced people. Their courage has contributed to several members of Boko Haram repenting and putting their faith in Christ. Boko Haram rebels continue to lash out after losing ground to government forces earlier this year. Nigeria's military, including troops and mercenaries from Chad and Cameroon, took back large swathes of territory in northeast Nigeria that Boko Haram had seized in its six-year crusade to impose sharia law throughout Nigeria. Despite the losses, Boko Haram has continued its campaign of terror, reportedly killing at least 2,700 people since the beginning of the year. 

The Church planters have long focused their efforts on the primarily Muslim, north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, which have been under a state of emergency since May 2013. Many of the thousands of displaced people have fled to camps in Adamawa's state capital of Yola. The indigenous ministry is still working in northeast Nigerian villages, albeit much more discreetly, but it has expanded to camps for the internally displaced, offering humanitarian assistance, but also proclaiming Christ at a time when few are bold enough to do so.  "There are more than 70,000 people in the camps there, so it becomes another mission field for us," said the director of the indigenous ministry. 

Many once predominantly Christian areas have become ghost towns with empty church buildings after residents fled attacks. While Boko Haram has killed thousands of Christians, the director said even more Muslims have succumbed to its bombings, and Boko Haram's declared Islamist goals and methodology have left many Muslims questioning Islam.  They're asking questions and coming to know the Lord."  Christian Aid's Africa director said the ministry has been straightforward in reaching the unreached.  "The ministry has been helping people who don't know Christ to get to know Him, but it has also been training and developing leaders, discipling people and doing work in difficult areas," he said.

The ministry trains young people to plant churches, and graduates show high levels of courage as they share Christ in villages. In the midst of beheadings, shootings and bombings, the message of Christ's salvation has found fertile ground among some Boko Haram members, the ministry director said. Their faith has not come without cost. In retaliation for one member becoming a Christian, Boko Haram sent video to him of rebels slaughtering his wife and three children with knives, the director said.  "Sometimes he feels comforted that he has Jesus, but when he remembers his family, he feels like he shouldn't even be living in this world anymore," he said. "But by becoming a Christian other lives have been saved for this man would have killed others." 

The former Boko Haram members are being discipled in a safe place, and have shown a strong interest in learning the Bible, ridding themselves of anything grievous to God and becoming spiritually grounded so they can reach Muslims, he said.  Boko Haram, which is allied with the Islamic State (ISIS), has inflicted trauma thousands of times over. Christian churches put up security barriers and continue to worship, but Boko Haram terror has quieted many Christians just as Muslims are questioning their own religion.  "Nobody is doing evangelism; the church is now indoors," he said. "So who does the job? We must go outdoors. When the Church doesn't do that, it is finished."

Graduates of the ministry's seminary and other team members are answering the questions that Muslims have, and many are turning to Christ, he said.  "Some of our young people are so courageous," he said. "In one village, Boko Haram was killing people, and our missionary escaped into the bush. He called me from the bush and said, 'Boko Haram has invaded and they're killing people."  A few hours later the indigenous missionary called with an update, saying the Nigerian military had arrived and engaged Boko Haram in a firefight. The director said he would arrange for the worker and three other indigenous missionaries to leave the village for a season. The four young men refused to leave, he said.

When he asked them why, they told him, "Look, we have more than 100 people we're ministering to in this village. If we leave we leave with them. If we leave without them and then come back, what kind of message of the love of God could we tell them, anymore? That we ran away when there was crisis, and now we've come back?"  The young people are ready to do what God has called them to do in the midst of atrocities. "In the midst of what is happening, we thank God, because we are still alive; we are still working," the director said. "If the Church is in hiding, how will people come to know Christ?

Source: Christian Aid Mission

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DUTCH SHEETS SAYS "GOD IS NOT FINISHED WITH AMERICA - NEITHER WILL HE BE MOCKED"

Editor’s note: Dutch Sheets is a Christian leader in America who is recognised as a prophetic voice in the nation as well as being widely known for his steadfast resolve to empower believers for passionate prayer, and as a voice for awakening and reformation.

For those of us who hold a Biblical worldview, the mix of sadness, grief and anger over the redefining of marriage by the Supreme Court has been profound and is certainly appropriate. These emotions are much different than the trivial feelings of "losing." They are more akin to the deep grief associated with death. We mourn because we know what has actually happened—and what is coming. Through this ruling, America has taken one step closer toward the death of our God-given destiny and greatness. We are now an apostate nation. I believe what has just happened through the Court will prove to be President Obama’s most destructive legacy. We have just experienced this generation's "Roe vs. Wade." America has entered a new era. 

A watered-down Gospel and a largely Biblically-illiterate Church have given way to a generation of Americans who believe there is no true standard for life and morality. Relativism (no absolutes) and humanism (self-rule, as opposed to God's) have taken over our nation, including much of the Church. When our nation embraced this philosophy, the Bible became merely a historical book of "suggestions," and the Constitution nothing more than a historical document of old "ideas." Both became "outdated" sets of values, appropriate for generations past, but not relevant for today. Therefore, we needed to create our own guidelines, beliefs and boundaries, which, of course, would always need to be evolving.

This has led to moral chaos, unbridled sin, lawlessness, and rebellion. Most Americans are now doing what is right in their own eyes. America is adrift in the devastating sea of self-desire, self-adulation and self-rule. But the beauty and strength of absolute truth is that it will always be true. One always knows what to expect when dealing with absolutes; boundaries never change, solutions always work. Relativism on the other hand makes life one long experiment. True Christianity believes the truth and absolutes in the Bible which still teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman. It also states that any form of sex outside of that relationship is sin. This is how the Scriptures have always read, how they will read 10,000 years from now.

There is an all-out attempt by politicians, educators and others to change America from a Bible based Christian nation to a secular one. The justices who voted to redefine marriage know the Constitution does not give them that right. Government leaders and liberal educators also know that. The attempt to revise our history and distort the Constitution occurs because they don't agree with what the Founders believed and what the Bible teaches—their standards and ideals are different. Therefore, in order to create the America they want, the standards and guiding principles of the past must be revised and/or eradicated.

The Supreme Court justices who voted for same-sex marriage know this was not truly a constitutional ruling and that they are legislating from the bench. Indeed, Justice Roberts stated, "The majority's position was indefensible as a matter of constitutional law." And one need not be a legal scholar to see the logic of Justice Scalia's dissent: "When the Constitution was ratified, every state limited marriage to one man and one woman, and no one doubted the constitutionality of doing so." The five justices who redefined marriage may be unwise but they are not stupid. They know what the framers of the Constitution meant.  They simply do not care. And they are bent on using their power to change America.

Psalm 2 speaks of rulers and unbelievers who rebel against God's governmental yoke, and against His Son. The warning is strong, describing His anger and the destruction He will bring to them. Whether they know it or not, every judge on the Supreme Court of America will one day bow before God and give an account for every ruling they make. And included in that accounting will be the fruit of those rulings, such as: aborted babies; His influence being removed from schools and public places, resulting in millions of young people not knowing Him and His ways; and the redefining of His marriage covenant, resulting in the breakdown of families, along with the devastating effect this will have on children.

Source: Dutch Sheets Ministries

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SITUATION IN ATHENS INCREDIBLY WORRYING AS GREEK DEBT IMPACTS

Churches and charities are unable to help relieve the suffering being experienced by the Greek people as the financial crisis escalates, because their own bank accounts have been frozen. Canon Malcolm Bradshaw from St Pauls Athens said that the situation was "incredibly worrying. Everyone is full of anxiety and fear. Charities and churches who work with the elderly and the poor are struggling to find money themselves. Our own bank accounts have been frozen. "There is nothing here, no money coming in - we have been completely cut off. We can't do much at all to support those in financial hardship." The banks have been closed for a week, and a limit of €60 per day has been imposed on customers taking money from cash machines. 

Pensioners are only able to take out €120 to last them the week. Canon Bradshaw said that, although he and his wife could leave for Britain, he would not go. "It would be like the captain leaving the sinking ship. I am here to represent the Archbishop of Canterbury. I would ask people to pray that wisdom may prevail in Brussels and in Greece. Welfare provision is in near collapse, it has been reported. The number of people using a homeless shelter in Athens has more than doubled in five months. The charity Médecins du Monde was set up in Athens to treat sex workers and drug addicts is now spending most of its time and resources helping ordinary Greeks with emergency health-care.

In the meantime Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias in Jerusalem, promising to help Greece as its debt crisis worsens. While hailing Greece as one of the two foundations of Western democracy, along with Jerusalem, Netanyahu told Kotzias that Israel is "committed to help in any way we can to ensure your success." Netanyahu went on to say that Greece and Israel are allies in fighting Islamic terrorism. "We need to cooperate to seek stability, security, peace and prosperity. Greece and Israel have strengthened ties in recent years as both countries seek to counteract Turkey's rise in the region. On his visit Kotzias also met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Source: Church Times

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DISSENTING JUDGE SLAMS COURT DECISION ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN US AS DEEPLY DISHEARTENING

In a decision that upends millennia of history and guts the rule of law, the U.S. Supreme Court has voted 5-4 to redefine marriage and strip states of their rights to define marriage as between one man and one woman. American Family Association (AFA) says the ruling is a blatant rejection of the rule of law and a direct threat to religious freedom. "The ruling rejects not only thousands of years of time-honoured marriage but also the rule of law in the United States," said AFA President Tim Wildmon. "In states across the nation, voters acted through the democratic process to protect marriage and the family. Yet, courts around the country chose to disregard the will of the people in favour of political correctness and social experimentation.

As a result we have witnessed how individuals have been targeted for not supporting homosexual marriage. Now, the Supreme Court, which should be a symbol of justice, has chosen instead to be a tool of tyranny, elevating judicial will above the will of the people. "There is no doubt this ruling will imperil religious liberty in America, as individuals who uphold time-honoured marriage and choose not to advocate for same-sex unions will be viewed as extremists. But to the Court, we send this unequivocal message: We will continue to uphold God's plan for marriage between one man and one woman, and we call on all Christians to continue to pray for the nation, and for those whose religious liberties will be directly impacted by this ruling."

Chief Justice Roberts in his dissenting decision, said, "Who do we think we are?! The Court has taken the extraordinary step of ordering every State to recognize same-sex marriage. Many people will rejoice at this decision, but for those who believe in a government of laws, not of men, the majority's approach is deeply disheartening. Supporters of same-sex marriage have achieved considerable success persuading their fellow citizens—through the democratic process—to adopt their view. That ends today. Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law. Stealing this issue from the people will for many cast a cloud over same-sex marriage, making it much more difficult to accept."

Source: American Family Association

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STATE SILENCES BAKERS WHO REFUSED TO MAKE CAKE FOR LESBIAN COUPLE

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian has issued a preliminary ruling ordering Aaron and Melissa Klein, the bakers who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple to whom they denied service. “This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” Avakian wrote. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.” In the ruling, Avakian placed an effective gag order on the Kleins, ordering them to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.

His ruling stated  “The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders Aaron and Melissa Klein to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying any communication to the effect that service will be refused, withheld from or denied to, any person on account of their sexual orientation.” “This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” the Kleins wrote on their Facebook page. “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion nor freedom of speech.” The Kleins’ lawyer, Anna Harmon, was shocked by the provision. “Brad Avakian has been outspoken throughout this case about his intent to ‘rehabilitate’ those whose beliefs do not conform to the state’s ideas,” she told The Daily Signal. 

“Now he has ruled that the Kleins’ personal resolve to be true to their faith is unlawful. This is a brazen attack on every American’s right to freely speak and imposes government orthodoxy on those who do not agree with government sanctioned ideas.” Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, called the order “outrageous” and said citizens of Oregon should be “ashamed.” “This order is an outrageous abuse of the rights of the Kleins to freely practice their religion under the First Amendment,” he said. It is exactly this kind of oppressive persecution by government officials that led the pilgrims to America. Oregon should be ashamed that such an unprincipled individual is a government official in the state.”

Source: Intercessors Network

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CALL TO REPENT AND CONFRONT RACISM OF AMERICAN FOUNDING FATHERS

Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, claims the denomination's founders were "heretics" in their belief that whites were superior to blacks and urged modern-day Southern Baptists to confront such racism. In an essay Mohler lamented the "putrid exegesis" of the Bible that was used to justify racism in the past and acknowledged that "Southern Baptists bear a particular responsibility and burden of history."  "The ideology of racial superiority is one of the most sordid evidences of the Fall and its horrifying effects," he writes. "Throughout history, racial ideologies have been driving forces of war and of dictatorships."

The "deadly power" of such belief he writes, is evident in the recent killing of nine worshippers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by 21-year-old Dylann Roof, who hoped to instigate a "race war". "The young white man charged with the killings has not, as yet, claimed a theological rationale for his acts," Mohler writes. "Nevertheless, he has been exposed as someone whose worldview was savagely warped by the ideology of white superiority." Sadly, this kind of racial superiority is not exclusive to a certain people group; in fact, its "most fertile soil" was tilled in the states of the old Confederacy, particularly among Southern Baptists. "White superiority was also claimed as a belief by both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis" he says.

Source: Gospel Herald

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