In Ethiopia, converting to Christ involves significant personal cost. When a number of Muslims from Shashemene, Ethiopia came to Christ, their family members chased them out of town and levied false charges against some of them. Left with limited social network and financial opportunities, these brothers and sisters struggle to make enough money to survive. Their pastor is a bee expert, so has ingeniously constructed a bee house for honey production, which the community can sell to sustain. ICC helped this persecuted community by purchasing 20 new bee boxes and equipment so the venture can increase production. Please pray that God will bless believers in Shashemene and bless their beekeeping business
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christian girls in Egypt are being kidnapped, forced to convert to Islam, and forced to marry Muslim men.
According to ChristianToday.com, Amal Shaky is one such young woman. Shaky, who is 19, was presumably kidnapped on her way to university in Cairo. Her family reported her disappearance to police, but the police were slow to respond to the kidnapping.
Authorities even suggested that Shaky’s father killed his daughter himself and hid her body. The officers then said they would look into the case, but thus far, no action has been taken.
"More than 40 days have passed since my daughter was kidnapped, and they say that the matter is under investigation," Shaky’s father told International Christian Concern. "I don't know how long I should wait. Wait until they tell me that my daughter is killed or got married?"
Human rights abuses, particularly against Christians, are increasing in Egypt. Human Rights Watch recently reported that Egyptian security forces arrested and tortured 20 people, including eight children.
Another Christian persecution watchdog group, World Watch Monitor, also reported on Christian persecution in Egypt.In the past few years, reports World Watch Monitor, the Upper Egyptian province of Qena saw 72 cases of kidnappings, extortion, and other forms of violence against Coptic Christians.
by Admin / 495 Views
How do we know if we're living a truly generous life? A lot of the time when people think about being generous their minds immediately turn to the financial aspect of giving. While monetary gifts are important and necessary in many cases, the Bible teaches us that generosity extends far beyond this. In addition to giving financially, we're also instructed to give freely all manner of worthy things – our time, our prayers, our forgiveness, our love – and not just to those who we think deserve them (Matthew 5:42-48).
Biblical lessons on generosity reveal to us that it has many strands. As Christians, knowing this is a great source of encouragement as it means that there are countless occasions where we can let generosity define our actions.
So don't be disheartened if you're unable to give considerable amounts of cash to those in need, think about what other ways you can respond to the call to give. In many cases these displays of kindness are more valuable than cash gifts can ever be.
Have you heard God calling you to give more recently and found yourself unsure of what action to take? Let these Bible verses help you to find clarity, and don't forget that you can always return to Him for more guidance.
Luke 21:1-4 - Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, "Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."
Proverbs 19:17 - Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.
1 Timothy 6:18-19 - They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
Luke 12:33 - Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.
Proverbs 22:9 - Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.
Matthew 25:34-36 - Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'
Isaiah 58:10 - if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
2 Corinthians 9:11 - You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
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od Dreher summarized several reports that many Muslim refugees have converted to Christianity when they arrived in Europe. Harriet Sherwood at The Guardian reports: “At Trinity church in the Berlin suburb of Steglitz, the congregation has grown from 150 two years ago to almost 700, swollen by Muslim converts, according to Pastor Gottfried Martens. Earlier this year, churches in Berlin and Hamburg reportedly held mass conversions for asylum seekers at municipal swimming pools.”
Similar claims have emerged from Austria: “The Austrian Catholic church logged 300 applications for adult baptism in the first three months of 2016, with the Austrian pastoral institute estimating 70% of those converting are refugees. At Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral in the UK, a weekly Persian service attracts between 100 and 140 people. Nearly all are migrants from Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere in central Asia.”
According to an account from Nadette De Visser at the Daily Beast, “Hundreds of Pakistanis and Afghans have been lining up at a local swimming pool in Hamburg, Germany, to be baptized as Christians. In the Netherlands and Denmark, as well, many are converting from Islam to Christianity, and the trend appears to be growing. Indeed, converts are filling up some European churches largely forsaken by their old Christian flocks.” De Visser concludes, “judging by reports from different media outlets, it is safe to assume the number runs into the thousands, maybe even tens of thousands who say they want the Gospel.”
The Guardian piece focuses on an Iranian convert, Mohammad Eghtedarian, who has become a curate at Liverpool's Cathedral and is helping refugee converts with their asylum applications as he catechizes them. Eghtedarian's own story is a dramatic one: “His own journey, from the Iranian city of Shiraz to the UK, took him through half a dozen European countries, by truck, train and on foot. Destitute and terrified, he was offered practical and emotional support from Christians along the way. Before being granted asylum, Eghtedarian spent four months in Tinsley House detention centre, near Gatwick airport. ‘Every day was challenging and beautiful. Challenging because I didn’t know if they would deport me; beautiful because I was in the Lord’s hands. I promised the Lord: if you release me, I will serve you.'”
Some converts were already questioning Islam before migrating: Johannes, another Iranian, left Tehran for Vienna. Born into a Muslim family, the 32-year-old—who was previously called Sadegh—began questioning the roots of Islam at university. “I found that the history of Islam was completely different from what we were taught at school. Maybe, I thought, it was a religion that began with violence?” He was beaten for attending Bible studies in Tehran, and jumped at the chance to migrate to Austria when the opportunity opened.
Christians can be gullible about conversions, and there are plenty of reasons for skepticism here. It looks a little too convenient that Muslims become Christians while they await word on their visa applications. De Visser is skeptical, but also points out that conversion comes with costs as well as benefits. A convert could be in serious trouble if he returns to his home country. And conversion doesn't necessarily help a refugee get settled in Europe anyway: “conversion to Christianity can actually damage one’s chances of asylum in the Netherlands.”
These reports encourage the hope that the painful upheaval of recent migration, the crush of refugees in Europe, and the many political, logistical, and other challenges that come with that—that it all may have a silver lining: God is bringing a hardened mission field to the doorstep of the church, and many churches are taking up the challenge.
It's not the first time that “Europe” has been overrun by invaders, and it wouldn't be the first time the conquering invaders were conquered by the gospel. Converted invaders, in fact, were the makers of Europe.
by Admin / 249 Views
Somali rebel group al-Shabab says it has killed 43 soldiers in an attack on a base of Ethiopian troops serving with the African Union's AMISOM force Somalia.
The town of Halgan, where Thursday's attack occurred, lies in the Hiran region of central Somalia, about 300km north of the capital Mogadishu.
"Our fighters stormed the Halgan base of AMISOM ... We killed 43 AU soldiers from Ethiopia in the fighting," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabab's military operations spokesperson, told Reuters news agency.
He said "several" al-Shabab fighters had died in the raid but he did not give a figure.
"It was a huge blast. It destroyed the gate and parts of the base," he said.
Residents said they heard a huge explosion at the base and a heavy exchange of gunfire shortly before dawn.
"Al-Shabab says they drove a car equipped with a suicide bomb into the base followed by armed men storming the base and killing the soldiers,” said Mohamed Adow, reporting from Kenya's capital Nairobi.
An AMISOM spokesman said that there was "an attempted attack" at the base in Halgan.
He said AMISOM forces were still in charge of the base, according to Adow.
Al-Shabab often launches gun and bomb attacks on officials, Somali security forces and AMISOM in an effort to topple the government and impose its own brand of government on Somalia.
In January, Kenyan troops serving with AMISOM suffered heavy losses when al-Shabab made a dawn raid on their camp in El Adde, near the Kenyan border.
Al-Shabab said it killed more than 100 soldiers but Kenya gave no exact casualty figure.
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Keanu Reeves, is best known for his acting career at the early age. He is also popular and well known from his words of wisdom every few months and this one go right straight from his heart. Enjoy his wonderful message and be inspired.
“I cannot be part of a world where men dress their wives as prostitutes by showing everything that should be cherished. Where there is no concept of honor and dignity, and one can only rely on those when they say “I promise” .
Where women do not want children, and men don’t want a family.
Where the suckers believe themselves to be successful behind the wheel of their fathers` cars, and a father who has a little bit of power is trying to prove to you that you’re a nobody.
Where people falsely declare that they believe in God with a shot of alcohol in their hand, and the lack of any understanding of their religion.
Where the concept of jealousy is considered shameful, and modesty is a disadvantage.
Where people forgot about love, but simply looking for the best partner.
Where people repair every rustle of their car, not sparing any money nor time, and themselves , they look so poor that only an expensive car can hide it.
Where the boys waste their parents money in nightclubs, aping under the primitive sounds, and girls fall in love with them for this.
Where men and women are no longer ago identifiable and where all this together is called freedom of choice, but for those who choose a different path-get branded as retarded despots.
I choose my path, but it’s a pity that I did not find similar understanding in the people among whom I wished to find it most of all … “
~ Keanu Reeves
by Admin / 89 ViewsPopstar Justin Bieber recently posted a screenshot of the Christian song “No Longer Slaves,” saying that it “puts [his] heart and soul at ease.”Bieber has recently seemed to be exploring his faith. Last fall, he did an interview with Complex magazine in which he said, “I just wanna honestly live like Jesus.Bieber also recently posted a picture of himself lounging in the grass at a park, saying that he is trying to focus on God and nature rather than worldly things.According to ChristianToday.com, Bieber posted a screenshot of the song “No Longer Slaves” by Jonathan David and Melissa Helser of Bethel Music to his Instagram account with the caption, “This song puts my heart and soul at ease.”The lyrics to the song say, "I am surrounded/ By the arms of the Father/ I am surrounded/ By songs of deliverance/ We've been liberated/ From our bondage/ We're the sons and the daughters/ Let us sing our freedom."Bieber also recently voiced his skepticism of award shows. Even though Bieber continues to make music that tops the music charts, he posted, "I don't know about these award shows..No disrespect to anybody at any of the shows or the people running it. Nothing but love for you guys and your support. But I don't feel good when I'm there nor after. I try to think of it as a celebration, but can't help feeling like people are rating and grading my performance.""When I do get these awards, the temptation of putting my worth in what I do is so hard to fight!!!” he continued. “I am privileged and honoured to be recognised by my peers, but in these settings I can't feel the recognition. And I wonder, does anybody else?”
by Admin / 224 Views
Former heavyweight world champion had retired from boxing in 1981 with a record 56 wins and only five losses
Muhammad Ali, the boxing legend, has died in a hospital in the US state of Arizona.
The 74-year-old former heavyweight world champion had been hospitalised on Thursday with respiratory problems.
US media reported that the problems were complicated by his Parkinson's disease.Nicknamed The Greatest, Ali retired from boxing in 1981 with a record 56 wins and only five losses.
Ali was known globally not only for his ring career but also for his civil rights activism.
He had been hospitalised multiple times in recent years. Ali spent time in hospital in 2014 after suffering a mild case of pneumonia and again in 2015 for a urinary tract infection.
His Parkinson's, thought to be linked to the punches he took during his career that spanned three decades, had limited his public speaking for years.
However, he had continued to make appearances and offer opinions through his family members and spokespersons.
by Admin / 1,195 Views
Nowadays, there is so much hype behind the idea of pursuing one's passion. Consequently, workers are clamouring for professions that provide meaning and satisfaction sometimes at the expense of finding satisfaction solely in Jesus Christ.
While it's important that we find passion in what we do, there seems to be the widespread misconception that just because a job doesn't have "spark" and glamour, it's not worth doing. And we the church can be guilty of feeding into that misperception by trying to "sell" church experiences, ministry work and mission trips.
As a result blue-collar jobs and more "common" professions can be abandoned because the source of passion is less obvious. But is passion really found in your job title, work wear, snazzy office, amazing teammates, etc. etc. or is it found in a state of mind?
Is God really calling us to pursue glamorous jobs or to pursue the jobs that mean something to Him with a powerfully uplifting, Christ-centered attitude?
If we look at Jesus' work, we will see that His job wasn't always glamorous. There were times when He had to teach when He didn't want to, heal when He was tired himself, and love when the person was not deserving of it. There was an awful lot of walking around in the dust and heat, and he described himself as someone who did not have any place to lay his head.
Luke 22:42 even tells us that Jesus once declared, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done."
This was Jesus' way of saying "Daddy, please give me a different job."
However, we can learn from Jesus' conclusion when He says, "Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done."
Often we think that just because our jobs are stressful, tiring, difficult, demanding or thoroughly unglamorous that it's not God's will, but sometimes even God's will can be stressful, tiring, difficult, demanding and thoroughly unglamorous. This is not because it's not a great job, but because it's a job worth doing even if things get hard - or hard to understand.
The real question really goes back to the position our hearts are in when we do the things we do. Do we work on our careers and relationships with a heart ready to serve from the bottom no matter how hard it can get or do we just want the perks and the glory? Philippians 2:3 reminds us, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves."
Passion rarely starts with pay checks, flexible hours, travel bonuses, and all the benefits and privileges. Having a passion for something means being called to work on something with all our heart and strength because we know for a fact that it's meaningful and necessary and that God has given us the privilege to carry out such work.