Support Meriam Ibrahim in Sudan

Act in the case of Meriam Ibrahim in Sudan and her baby and toddler in prison.

We strongly urge the administration to take action in the case of Dr. Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese mother who with her toddler and newborn baby (who pending the proper documentation are American citizens) is languishing inside a prison in Khartoum. While Meriam awaits execution for the “crime” of converting to Christianity, her children are forced to be at her side in a prison that a 2008 U.N. document reported as having an infant mortality rate of one per day in the summer. No innocent child should be in this situation. We urge you to pressure the Sudanese government to release Meriam and her children so she can escape execution and possible death of her children and be rejoined with her husband in the U.S. Please grant her expedited safe haven in the U.S., where she could seek asylum.

You can sign the petition here:

http://wh.gov/loPZV

Posted in Uncategorized

Too many chiefs: and the need for Submission in the Christian life

 

Submission is a dirty word in America. We are a people who threw off the yoke of aristocracy in order to become a people where everyman is his own king. The only problem with that idea is that many chiefs make for much war in the camp and too few Indians doesn’t make a tribe. The scriptures give us an insight into the life of a people when everyone is his own king.

 

The book of Judges records the result: when everyone does what is right in his own eyes, sin abounds, oppression results, deliverance is needed, and then the cycle starts all over again. All of that is because when a people can’t submit to God they are unable to submit to one another in little things and in big things. And when they can’t submit to one another then fights break out, lawsuits abound, angers flare, etc.

 

Contrary to what many think, submission isn’t the belief that some are more valuable and others are less valuable, rather submission is the willing laying down of one’s rights in order to see God’s plans and purposes fulfilled. No person has an inherent right to lord his or her power or ideas over another, nor does any husband have an inherent right to demand the deference of his wife. But when each party understands that God is the sovereign Lord then he or she is able to accept the ordering which The Heavenly Father has laid out in the Scriptures. Children submit to parents, wives submit to husbands, church members submit to church leaders and all submit to God. Submission is God’s divinely ordained way of keeping peace in the community and ensuring that a family, a church or a nation can move forward in fulfilling God’s plan to declare among the nations the gospel message of Christ crucified, buried, resurrected and ascended.

 

So what does this look like in daily life? For the child, it means obedience to the parents’ requests. Submission may mean using “Please” and “Thank you.” It may mean saying, “Yes, sir” and “No, sir.” It definitely involves carrying out chores without grumbling or complaining. For the wife, it means laying aside her preferences in order to carry out her husband’s. This isn’t demanded; she willingly renders it for the furtherance of peace in the home. Submission means that when a disagreement on the direction of the family arrives, the wife will lay aside her purposes in order for her husband to lead the family. For the church member it means trusting God to guide the leadership of the church towards Christ-likeness. When there are disagreements over church plans, styles, or preferences the membership defers to the leadership of the Church. When church leaders ask members to actively do or refrain from doing something, the member accepts the direction of those responsible before God. Submission requires caring for the reputation of the one who is leading. It means not speaking evil of a leader or seeking to undermine their authority.

 

And for the every believer, submission to God means carrying out His plans and purposes. It is the ordering of our lives around God’s instruction and desire, instead of our own. In all of these things, submission calls us to consider others better than ourselves. Submission calls us to love one another, to seek peace and pursue godliness. Submission is the invitation of God to become like Christ by humbly following Him. As Hebrews 5:7 declares, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.”

 

But submission is only possible for us if we recognize the authority and sovereignty of God Almighty, as Jesus did. For when we realize that The Lord is actively leading and overseeing our world, then we can believe that every authority has been installed by God and that as long as the leadership’s directions and demands don’t contradict the written Word of God, then the Lord has allowed them to request such and so from us and the Lord will use these requests for our good.

 

As you can see, submission requires a high degree of trust in God. It is a radical call for a radically individual society. So let me ask a few questions: Do you desire a quiet life? Do you desire a peaceful church? Do you yearn for a godly family? Do you yearn for holiness in your life? Then learn to practice submission. For as the Word says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21) and “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Hebrews 13:17)

Posted in spiritual formation, Uncategorized

On Living for God

“Two themes came to preoccupy my thoughts. First, the conviction that no man can do properly what he is called upon to do in this life unless he can learn to forget his ego and act as an instrument of God. Second, that for him personally the way to which he was called would lead to the Cross, i.e., to suffering, worldly humiliation, and the physical sacrifice of his life.

Dag Hammarskjold, Markings

Posted in Uncategorized

Israeli crimes against Tent of Nations

Israeli forces destroy 1,500 fruit trees near Bethlehem

Submitted by Ben White on Tue, 05/20/2014 – 07:22

http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ben-white/israeli-forces-destroy-1500-fruit-trees-near-bethlehem?utm_source=EI+readers&utm_campaign=0e8c30c4cd-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e802a7602d-0e8c30c4cd-299170805

Mobile phone images show the Tent of Nations before and after it was attacked by Israeli forces (Facebook). tentofnations.jpgIsraeli forces destroyed an estimated 1,500 fruit trees [apple, apricot. grape and olive] belonging to the Tent of Nations farm outside Nahalin village, in the Bethlehem region of the occupied West Bank yesterday morning.

Owned by the Nassar family, the farm lies just below Neve Daniel, an Israeli settlement, located in the Gush Etzion bloc. The property has long been targeted by Israeli occupation authorities seeking to confiscate the land and remove an obstacle to settlement expansion.

According to the family, soldiers arrived at their land early in the morning, and in a couple of hours uprooted some 1,500 apricot and apple trees, burying them under piles of soil. “This is going to make it very difficult for us to recover and rehabilitate the land,” Daoud Nassar, a member of the family, told me. Photographs are available on the project’s Facebook page.

The family was preparing for harvest, with international volunteers set to come in June to help with picking the apricots and apples. Daoud said that they have been harvesting the trees for a number of years now, using them, among other things, for jam-making.

Two weeks ago, the Israeli military issued the Nassars an order to stop cultivation. The family responded to the order through their lawyer. Yet before the legal process could run its course, “they came and smashed everything,” Daoud added.

“We are very frustrated. This is not the way it’s supposed to be. Why destroy a tree? Why destroy a tree that will give fruits very soon? Why destroy the land?”

Daoud Nassar urged international supporters to wait for updates about how best to respond to the latest developments, as the family plan their next move.

[IMPORTANT: Please reference www.FOTONNA.org as the main website to post official news and instructions about facts and plans for action]

Posted in political

Choirmaster’s pitch pipe and life

We are like members of a choir which is singing together unaccompanied; possibly we do not know each other very well, and we are not used to singing together. Gradually, though we do not hear it, we drop lower and lower, and the choirmaster has to give a little toot on his pitch pipe to remind us of the level at which we ought to be singing.

Isn’t this rather like our tendency to live day by day, doing the same things over and over again, meeting the same duties and the same people, while we are often working at great pressure, rushing to get things finished, and breathlessly trying to "cope"? Whether we enjoy this pressure – and I am sure that some of us do like it – or whether we hate it, very often the effect is the same: without being aware of it, our "note" is dropping all the time, our prayers are becoming more formal, or more irregular, or more languid. When we are able to secure a little leisure, we find it increasingly difficult to make the most of it; we are "distracted," or "dissipated" in the sense in which Pascal uses the word.

To revert to our parable of the choir; the note on which our lives are being lived is dropping all the time – and we don’t notice it, we need a sudden and urgent reminder, to pull us sharply, as the choirmaster does when he sounds his pitch pipe. We need something to pull us together and to help us to screw the note of our lives up again. (Olive Wyon, Consider Him)

Evernote helps you remember everything and get organized effortlessly. Download Evernote.
Posted in Uncategorized

Rev 22:1-6 The Water of Life

  1. Every good garden makes use of 4 things well
    1. Water features
    2. Trees
    3. Harness Light in ways that illuminate
    4. Bring blessing, life Continue reading
Posted in Revelation, Sermons

Christian Healthcare Anyone?

Imagine a major medical expense that threatens to drain your bank account. Your copay or deductible is $3000, $5000 or more. The insurance bills have paid a big portion but you are still left with a substantial cost. No imagine that same scenario, but you don’t have insurance. Is your heart racing? It doesn’t need to. What if your bills were $100,000 but within 30 days you had received 300 checks covering the cost of this medical catastrophe? And what if, many of those checks came with notes of encouragement and prayers for you recovery from people all of the country who were praying for you? Does it sound too good to be true?

It’s not. This is the world of Christian healthcare sharing – faithful believers providing for the needs of one another, bearing one another’s burdens. The Christian healthcare-sharing network I recommend is Samaritan Ministries. Each month faithful believers send monthly checks to one another covering the cost of health needs that weren’t incurred because of unchristian behavior. These Christians are active in their churches, submissive to their leadership, engaged in lifestyles conducive to health and are committed to caring for the needs of other believers. And best of all, the Affordable Care Act recognizes these networks as meeting the demands of the law.

With the looming Obamacare mandate for health insurance, many are scrambling to get healthcare insurance. But there is a better way than supporting an insurance industry that wants to get rich off of you. There is a better way than having to provide abortion coverage for those living in immorality. There is a better way, you can live as a Christian caring for other Christians in need.

If you would like more information, please visit www.samaritanministries.org

Posted in Uncategorized

Revelation 22:1-6 The Garden

There are points of similarity and contrast in the Gardens of Revelation 22 and Genesis 1-2.

The points of similarity are as follows:

    1. Both Gardens with are watered by a river – Gen 2:10 and Rev 22:1
    2. Both contain the Tree of Life – Gen 3:22  and Rev 22:2
    3. God is present in both gardens –  Gen 3:8 and Rev 22:3

But there are also notable differences in the gardens.

    1. City as well as a garden – In revelation, the city is pictured as containing a garden, but in Genesis only a garden is there without a city.  God has reclaimed the security of the city, but melded the beauty of the garden and rid it of the filth of city sin.
    2. Tree is available and accessible where it wasn’t in Genesis.
    3. There is no natural light in the Revelation garden for God’s glory illumines everything, where the sun and the moon illuminated the garden in Genesis.

Oh to live in the presence of God, surrounded by his glory.  What an undeserved gift made available in Christ.

Posted in Devotional, Genesis, Revelation

A Prayer for Christ’s Supremacy in my life

I offer myself unto Christ the Lord, as an object proper for all His offices to be exercised upon:

I choose Him as my prophet for instruction, illumination, and direction.

I embrace Him as my great priest, to be washed and justified by His blood and righteousness.

I embrace Him as my king to reign and rule within me.

I take a whole Christ with all His laws, and all His crosses and afflictions.

I will live to Him; I will die to Him; I will quit with all I have in the world for His cause and truth.

– Ebenezer Erskine

Posted in prayer

Rev 21 The Home we long for – New Jerusalem

 

  1. Imagine your dream home
  1. The Home we long for

i.     Relational and sinless – New Covenant in Christ’s blood – 1Cor 11:25

ii.     Spirit empowered and victorious – New Covenant of Spirit who gives life, not of the letter which kills – 2Cor 3:6

iii.     Sin is shucked – Promise that we are a New Creation in Christ – 2Cor 5:17

iv.     Unity among people – 1 New man out of two (Jew/Gentile) in Christ – Eph 2:15

v.     Revelation

  1. New Heaven and new earth – (All Creation)
    1. It’s the home of righteousness: 2Pt 3:12-13 …look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.  That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.  But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

i.     RIGHTEOUSNESS is heaven coming to earth.

ii.     First heaven and earth = this world.  Place of sin, realm Satan cast down, full of hostility to God.  Chaos symbolized by sea, unpredictability, realm of dead.

  1. Place where tears, death, mourning, crying and pain exist (Rev 21:4).
  2. Broken – bones, families, governments, hearts, dreams
  3. Destroyed by fire                 

         i.     1Cor 3:12-15 careful how you build, for the Day will bring it to light.  It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work…if it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

ii.     Zeph 1:18 On the day of the Lord’s wrath, in the fire of his passion, the whole earth will be consumed.

  1. Home of Righteousness

i.     Everything done is in accord with God’s desire, holiness, love, justice…

ii.     Every relationship between people, God, natural/spiritual world is perfected

iii.     Place where God’s blessing dwells, not his curse

  1. Prov. 3:33 The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous.
  2. There will not be a place in the new creation where evil, rebellion, insubordination will exist

       i.     Rom 8:21 Creation will be set free from its bondage to decay

      ii.     Rev 21:5a I am making everything new!

  1. Holy City, the new Jerusalem – (God and his People)

Read Isaiah 65:17-25 for Isaiah’s vision of the New Heaven and Earth – Don’t you want to be there? Perfect relationships, unity, power, life, health, blessing….

  1. Biblical references

i.     JOY: Ps 46:4 is the earliest biblical ref. to city of God saying There is a river who makes glad the city of God, the holy place where most High dwells.

  1. Rev 21:3 “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”

ii.     PURITY: Isa 52:1 explicitly ties Jerusalem to the holy city, promising that never again will anything unholy enter into her Awake, awake O Zion, cloth yourself with strength, Put on your garments of splendor, O Jerusalem, the holy city.  The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again.

  1. Rev 21:8, 27 “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.  This is the second death…Nothing impure will ever enter it [New Jerusalem], nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

iii.     TRUTH: Zech 8:3 Then Jerusalem will be called the city of Truth, and the mountain of the Lord Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain

  1. Imagine living in a place wher no lie ever told and every word built people up!

iv.     Jerusalem was always to be a picture of God people dwelling with God Almighty.  City of priests, rejoicing, celebration

  1. 1.     Rev 21:3-4 Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
  2. A bride beautifully dressed for her husband (Rev 21:2b)

i.     BEAUTY: Artistic language

  1. Calls to imagine beauty, splendor, radiance, bountiful provision, royal wonder
  2. Isa 61:10 speaks of bride and groom dressing and the bride is said to put on her robe of righteousness, garments of salvation.
    1. When we meet our God, it will not be because of any righteous things we have done, but because of his mercy, his provision, his giving of himself, to erase the stains of sin in our lives!
    2. Artistic language stretches even beyond wedding ceremony to include:

Picture of the temple mount, but temple is built on apostles and 12 tribes.

  1. IMMENSITY: Gigantic beyond measure
    1. 12000 stadia (21:16) = 1400 miles1

i.     Seattle to Anchorage as crow flies (1435 miles)

ii.     1.96 million sq.miles or taking every state from Indiana west and making a city

iii.     assuming 12 feet per story, 600,000 story building

iv.     at 5000 miles away appear 130 times larger than moon

v.     its size means there isn’t a place where its influence won’t be felt and affect all

  1. SAFETY: 144 cubits thick (21:17) = 200 feet

i.     secure, impregnable

ii.     Rev 21:25 on no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there

  1. The church’s final resting place is big, beautiful, secure, amply supplied, nothing lacking
  2. The best of the nations will supply her need – the glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it (Rev 21:26)

ii.     CELEBRATION: Celebrative language

  1. Weddings are festive events.
  2. Rejoicing, anticipation, excitement

iii.     PERMANENCE: Covenantal-Relational language

  1. If wedding is till death do us part, and there is no longer any death, the relationship between God and his people is covenantally permanent
  2. Isaiah 66:22 “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure.”
  3. d.   Do you long for a place of righteousness, Joy, Truth, Purity, Beauty, Grandeur, Safety, Celebration, And Permanence?
  4. If you do, then come to Christ.  Get united to him.  Live with him now.  Enjoy him.  Seek these things now in preparation for your future.

ii.     Trust in Christ’s complete work on the Cross for you

  1. Put on his wedding garments.  Be Clothed in his righteousness by being united to his body
  2. Don’t just long for that world, experience it now.

 

 

Notes

1 http://tourofheaven.com/eternal/new-jerusalem/size.aspx

Posted in Revelation, Sermons