Posts Tagged ‘islam’

Five Hundred Years Later… “Evangelicals” are Apologising for the Reformation!

December 12, 2017

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Here in Ireland, while there have been a few events to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and some encouraging articles written about it, other attitudes to this notable anniversary are just unbelievable. It is understandable when the Reformation is maligned by Roman Catholic hierarchy, of course, but when I hear an “Evangelical” refer to it as “the mother of all church splits;” and another saying that “fractures caused by the Reformation must be healed,” I am shocked – but somehow not surprised. We are living in days when many are embarrassed by the Reformation – even those who profess to be Christians.

I believe it is true to say that Roman Catholicism assimilates itself into the original (often Pagan) religions and cultures of many countries… but while it takes on many faces, Roman Catholicism never changes. Some “Evangelicals” are now moving in the direction of ecumenism and many are falling away as they start to see the Roman Catholic Church as “another Christian denomination.”

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition: Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2Thessalonians 2v3&4)

Jesus said: “Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” (Matthew 23v9) Who else but the pope on this earth, is referred to as “Holy Father?”

Pope Innocent III said: “The pope holdeth place on earth, not simply of a man but of the true God.”

Pope Nicholas 1 said: “I am in all and above all, so that God himself and I, the vicar of God, hath both one consistory… and I am able to do almost all that God can do. I then, being above all… seem by this reason to be above all gods.”

Pope Julius II was addressed by a papal council: “Take care that we lose not that salvation, that life and breath which thou hast given us… for thou art shepherd, thou art physician, thou art governor, thou art husbandman…” Thou, finally, art another god on earth.”

When he was a cardinal Pope Pius X declared: “The pope is not simply the representative of Jesus Christ. On the contrary he IS Jesus Christ Himself, under the veil of the flesh. Does the pope speak? It is Jesus Christ who is speaking. Hence when anyone speaks of the pope, it is not necessary to examine – but to obey.”

Pope Boniface VIII said: “We declare, say, define and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

As recently as 1984 Pope John Paul 11 was quoted as saying: “Don’t go to God for forgiveness of sins… come to me.”

Even more recently the portrait of Pope Benedict XV1 was named: “The Truth, the Way, and the Life,” a portrait of His Holiness Pope Benedict XV1. But Jesus said of Himself: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” (John 14v6)

There are many other reformers that I could quote on this issue, including John Wesley who said: “The pope is that antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition that exalteth himself in the church…”

Coincidentally, just this week I finished my reading and study to the end of the New Testament again and have commenced once more in Genesis. I was, as always struck by those verses in Revelation 18v4&5… “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.”

I believe that we are living in days when ecumenism could pave the way for a “one world system of belief;” there has even been a “common-ground-with-Islam-policy” which has been in place since Vatican II. It is interesting to watch as events unfold in our swiftly changing world but more crucial than ever for those who profess Christ to walk closely with their Saviour. We hear words and phrases like “interfaith dialogue, common belief system, living our faith together, shared values/heritage, ecumenical dialogue, theological common ground…” The list goes on and certainly I can think of a few things that systems of belief like Roman Catholicism and Islam have in common but there is one certain truth… Light cannot have fellowship with darkness! The Lord’s people should not give credence to (or try to find common ground with) belief systems which are not based on God’s Word, the Bible.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of god with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (2Corinthians 6v14-16)

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2Corinthians 6v17&18)

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Oh for a Glimpse of Eternity!

May 28, 2017

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There are many thousands of different religions and systems of belief in this world – and many conflicting views as to what happens human beings when they depart this life. Roman Catholics believe in an intermediary place known as “purgatory,” although the Christian Bible contains no reference to any such place; Hinduism teaches reincarnation, “karma” and the cycle of life, while Islam believes that “mankind will be divided into two groups, one in Paradise and one in hell.” Both, they say will “abide therein forever.” Of course, they maintain, that only Muslims can go to Paradise. Whatever conflicting views they have, there is a general consensus amongst all systems of belief that our behaviour in this life will determine the nature of our life in the next.

There are also multiple conflicting views on the nature of paradise too. Mormons, for example, have some strange views, talking of “three heavenly kingdoms:” the celestial, terrestrial and telestial. However, that is another discussion for another time. In the wake of recent suicide bombings, it is the nature of Islam’s “paradise” that has been very much occupying my mind this week. Amongst all the systems of belief that I have ever heard of, their view of “paradise,” with its promise of 72 virgins to jihadists must surely sound evil to any right-minded person.  It is said in Palestine that a mother who sends her son to die as a martyr is sometimes seen as “marrying him off.”

All of this makes me wonder what supposedly awaits female jihadists – and there have been quite a few. Sadly, those who die this way, unless they repent within the very short time they have before death, face an eternity more horrific than we can ever imagine. I only wish that they could have a vision of this – for if they did, they would never murder and maim so many men, women and children the world over. If only they weren’t brainwashed by the words of their fellowmen and would seek the living God – the one God who sent His only Son to die that they might inherit the real paradise, which can never be compared to anything we have experienced on this earth. Even the peaceful green fields of my childhood to which I sometimes return to walk with joy, are nothing in comparison with what awaits those who love the Lord.

Those who have not been born again of the spirit of God have a view of heaven that is akin to a continuation of their own base greed and earthly desires in this life. They don’t see it as Jesus described it… “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. (Matthew 22v29&30) But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1Corinthians 2v9)

As the Muslim month of Ramadan has just commenced, there have also been calls for jihadists to perpetrate yet more crimes in the countries they are living in throughout the west. With all my heart I wish that potential suicide bombers and terrorists could see that far from an eternity of self-indulgence and their own strange ideas of “paradise,” they will face judgement, for “as it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgement: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9v27&28)

Sadly, Islam maintains that Jesus never died at all – and therefore He never rose again. On the contrary those who know Him love Him and see His resurrection as the ultimate victory over sin and death and hell. “in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in the heaven, and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” (Colossians 1v15&16.)

I have often thought about heaven and the joy of meeting loved ones again. It is important to remember that our relationship with them will be different, yes – but it will be better beyond anything we can ever conceive of in this life. And most of all, what joy to meet the One who saved me by His grace! “His smile will be the first to welcome me.” How I wish those who are planning evil deeds could believe that there are untold wonders in the real paradise, for all who repent and put their trust in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary. Frances J. Crosby’s hymn “My Saviour first of all” describes the scene so beautifully and scripturally… This lady was physically blind in this life, but oh how she could see spiritually! How amazing for her, when on the first day of eternity, she had the joy of meeting and seeing her beloved Saviour!

“Thro’ the gates to the city in a robe of spotless white,

He will lead me where no tears shall ever fall;

In the glad song of ages I shall mingle with delight;

But I long to see my Saviour first of all.”

Link to this hymn: https://youtu.be/CMFM-lpzCC0

 

 

Remembering Manchester Today – and Terrorism then

May 23, 2017

Today I have been thinking of and praying for the victims of this horrific terrorist attack last night, most of them so very very young. As a mother my heart goes out to any parent who has lost a child and, indeed, numerous others who are comforting seriously injured loved ones in hospital, as well as the adult victims involved. This whole horrific incident doesn’t even bear thinking about, given that the perpetrator waited until the concert was over in order to create maximum loss of life and injury.

From a personal point of view, I have very pleasant memories of Manchester, a city I often visited to do courses connected with my work in Northern Ireland years ago. Often I would have brought my Mum along for the trip, as she enjoyed exploring the city during the day while I was on the course. She especially loved a walk around the Arndale Centre, which is Manchester’s big shopping centre. Today that shopping centre was evacuated just hours after the other atrocity, as police dealt with what they described as ‘an incident.’

Manchester is no stranger to terrorism. In June 1996 the Arndale Centre and many other buildings were destroyed, as the IRA detonated a powerful bomb (the largest since World War 2) in the centre of the city. Miraculously, although more than two hundred people were injured – there were no fatalities in this attack. However, damage incurred was in the region of around 700 million. (More in today’s currency.)

I remember the sound of bombs in my youth – and one bomb in particular. I was around twenty at the time and working in an office in a small town in Northern Ireland, when a man ran inside the door and gave us a choice: either lie on the floor or run out of the building down the street. “There’s a bomb in the post office across the road,” he told us. I chose to do the latter and when I reached the bottom of the street with a much older colleague, I can still recall the hollow sickening thud and a sensation which made me feel like my entire head was going to burst open. With shaking hands and a terrified look my colleague took out a packet of cigarettes and offered me one. “No thanks,” I said. Although I wasn’t a Christian at that time, I was determined that no terrorist was ever going to make me feel that I had to start smoking to calm my nerves.

Modes of communication have certainly changed since then. Today “Twitter” alerts people very quickly as to what is happening. Back then I had no mobile phone to call my parents and reassure them that I was safe, when an “incident” occurred. However, I was fortunate to find one of those old telephone kiosks which thankfully hadn’t been vandalised.

Yes indeed… there have been amazing leaps in modes of communication and technology over the last decades – but sadly the hearts of men who have not been touched by the Saviour’s love are as cold, cruel and evil today as they were then, whatever their ideology. Today international terrorism (which has its roots in Islamic fundamentalism) is at the forefront of discussion where terrorism is concerned. A tidal wave of evil is sweeping across the world, with sporadic attacks on ordinary people.

We are living in dangerous days – too dangerous to neglect the value of your soul. To those who know Him, we must follow His example and work, “for the night cometh, when no man can work.” (John 9v4) And to those outside of the Lord’s grace, although you may certainly be no terrorist, you need to acknowledge your need of salvation, repent and place your lives under the shadow and safety of His wings. No one is guaranteed a pleasant release from this life – but the Lord Jesus Christ has promised: “him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6v37) “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.  (Hebrews 7v25)

I pray (and will continue to do so) for the heartbroken and suffering this day – and I pray that they will know His comforting Presence in their lives – the Lord’s strong Presence, like warm arms, that I felt all those years ago, when I was feeling lonely one night in a hotel in Manchester, shortly after the Lord saved me by His grace…

 

Many Modern Translations of the Bible are challenging the Deity of Christ!

January 23, 2016

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Even as a child I had always found the King James (1611) Version of the Bible very easy to understand. Therefore, it often comes as a surprise to me when people seem to want to complicate the simplicity of scriptures to the detriment of the basic doctrines of Christian faith. Take for example this well know verse in Philippians 2v6. (I also quote verse 5, so that it is understood that it is “Christ Jesus” who is being referred to here.)

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Verse 5)

“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:” (Verse 6)

Here we clearly see that Jesus thought that being equal with God was His rightful position… He “thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”

Here is the New International Version’s translation of Verse 6:

“Who, being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage.”

Other translations are listed below:

English Standard Version:

“who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,”

New Living Translation”

“Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.”

Berean Study Bible”

Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to hold on to,”

New American Standard Bible”

“who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,”

Holman Christian Standard Bible:

“who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage.”

I have quoted just a few of the numerous translations of the Bible in English. What concerns me is that, while the translators may genuinely not have intended a translation to be ambiguous, this, at best, has been the end result in many cases. At worst there is surely a sinister influence at work here…

How can I witness to others, whose system of belief denies the deity of Christ – if the Bible I am using does not clearly uphold the truth of who the Lord Jesus Christ is?

At this point in time I feel that there will never be a better English translation than that of the King James Version (1611). This is the Bible over which I pondered in the months before coming to know my Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour; this is the Bible which has been my guide in times of decision; this is the Bible which inspired my father and my mother who have gone to be with Jesus, “which is far better,” and this is the Bible to which I and those who know and love the Lord have turned – for exhortation, guidance, comfort, blessing and words of love, in the face of a cold uncertain world… “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” (Psalm 147v3)

A long time ago I wrote these simple words inside my Bible’s flap:

“I love to lean upon my Lord;

I have no help but Him,

And when I read His lovely Word,

My earthly fears grow dim.”

“His lovely Word” must never be twisted, altered, added to or omitted to suit doctrine or mankind’s intellectual notions. The King James is a comforting Bible – and this element of comfort is often missing in the new translations, when truth is obscured and words are complicated.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” ((John 1v1)

Unfortunately the New World’s (Jehovah Witness) translation of this is: “and the word was a god.” Note the small ‘g’ too. I pray for those who are deceived, knowing that the time is at hand when judgement shall fall upon all who alter God’s Word: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”  (Revelation 22v18&19).

Surely… “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10v31)

“But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (1Peter 1v25)

Our understanding of the “Word of the Lord” thankfully does not depend on education or intellect. The simplest soul, who loves his Saviour, will have no trouble in understanding, for he is eager to do His perfect will… This is the Bible of revivals!

How many times have you attended a meeting or service of worship where everyone is reading out of a different version of the Bible? May the Lord give those who love His perfect Word the courage to question anyone who deviates from the truth while reading from a translation which is clearly in error.

…”that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2v11)

Jesus: “My Lord, and my God”

January 12, 2016

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Some days ago, I awoke one morning to read these lovely words for the day: “And without controversy great is the mystery of goodliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1Timothy 3v16)

How can anyone deny the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ? And yet we see this beautiful fundamental truth denied by numerous cults and wrongful systems of belief the world over – including Islam.

Jesus said to Thomas: “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered unto him, My Lord and my God.” Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20v27-29)

Surely, if Jesus had objected to being referred to as “my God”… He would have rebuked Thomas and corrected him?

Throughout the New Testament and indeed in the Old Testament, we can read many verses which proclaim the deity of Jesus and the truth of the Trinity… “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9v6)

I heard an Islamic scholar say: “Show me one verse in the Bible where Jesus declares Himself to be God and I will become a Christian.” Surely for God to declare that Jesus is God is all sufficient? “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” (Hebrews 1v8)

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.” (John 1v14&15)

Now it is known that Jesus was born a little while after John and yet John declares: “he was before me.” Even more amazing are the words of John 8v56-58: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Here I have quoted just a few of the numerous verses (some not usually quoted in this context) which declare the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ and I hope in a future blog to quote many in relation to the Trinity too.

I somehow felt a great peace and joy about recording these marvellous verses in a little decorative notebook which I singled out for the purpose. If some weary Jehovah’s Witness comes to my door (as they do every once in a while) I shall be happy to produce my little notebook with its accumulating verses and above all, my Bible, which is the source of all truth. Unfortunately it would appear that many of the modern translations do not uphold these great fundamentals of Christian faith and the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation certainly doesn’t.

However, only the Holy Spirit can open eyes and convict of sin and convince men of the truth contained in His Word. I will reach out prayerfully, with love and in faith, in His strength, being led of His Spirit.

Perhaps it is fitting that I conclude at this point with some of the last words of Jesus, when He prayed to the Father before His crucifixion… “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17v4&5) May His lovely Name be praised!

On Slavery, Islam, the Sack of Baltimore – and “a Thief in the Night”

June 20, 2015

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Today, 20th June 2015, marks the 384th anniversary of “the sack of Baltimore.” On the night of 20th June 1631 Muslims from North Africa’s Algeria made a surprise raid on the village of Baltimore which lies on the coast of west Cork in Ireland. Thomas Osborne Davis (1814-1845) the Irish poet and politician describes the dreadful scene in his poem which is quoted in Des Ekin’s book “The Stolen Village.”

Most of those villagers (men, women and children) were carried far away to a life of slavery in North Africa; apparently only two of them ever saw Ireland again. I wonder what terrible stories they would have to tell us if they were alive today?

The Sack of Baltimore is said to have been “the most devastating invasion ever mounted by Islamist forces on Ireland or England.” Some of the prisoners would spend the rest of their lives chained to oars as galley slaves, while others may have been prisoners in harems. I can only imagine their horror as they tried to grow accustomed to the stifling heat of a new climate, while the peaceful seaside village that they once knew became a mere part of their dreams.

Today most people view slavery in terms of European slave traders whisking African prisoners away to a life of forced labour, something which was abhorrent to William Wilberforce, the Christian who headed the parliamentary campaign for the Abolition of Slavery. William Wilberforce (1759-1833) is said to have trusted the Saviour in 1785 and went on to campaign for many other worthy causes, including the Society for the Prevention of Vice, the foundation of the Church Missionary Society and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The words slave/slaves are only mentioned twice in the Bible (Authorised Version), given as an account, as it was part of the culture during certain periods of history. However, I believe that the Lord never intended that any man, woman or child should ever be a slave; even though, despite their slavery many souls triumphed in adversity and became followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed!” (John 8v36)

As opposed to this, the Koran, on the other hand allows slavery and there is evidence to suggest that slaves still exist in many parts of the Islamic world, particularly in Saudi Arabia, even though Saudi Arabia and Yemen are said to have abolished slavery in 1962. However, there are countries which presently claim that slavery has the sanction of Islam and within these countries slavery is said to be a current practice; these include Chad, Mauritania, Niger, Mali and Sudan.

Today we are facing the threat of invasive change on a global scale… but the invaders are much more subtle in their approach, pointing to ‘political correctness’ to further their aims and rapidly gaining positions of power in the political world. Nevertheless, for those who know Jesus as Saviour – “here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” (Hebrews 13v14)

I cannot even begin to imagine the trauma for those villagers in Baltimore all those years ago, when men, women and children were literally stolen away. The Algerian Muslims descended upon their peace “like a thief in the night.”

In 2Peter 3v10 we also read of a thief in the night: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

The villagers of Baltimore never for one moment expected such a terrible thing to happen to the peaceful security of their lives in that village in the southwest tip of Ireland. They had no warning at all.

On the other hand, there is a warning to those who live in the world today of that ‘Day of the Lord’ which is to come. We are warned of this many many times in God’s Word and for those who are His servants it is our duty to warn others of His coming again – this time to judge the world.

“Behold I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” (Revelation 16v15)

As the signs of the times show us that “the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (James 5v8) may those who have never trusted Him, turn to the Lord in repentance and may those who know the Him as Saviour, be faithful to loved ones, neighbours, friends, acquaintances – yes, and even the very stranger they meet in day to day life…

For God So Loved the People of France, that He gave His only Begotten Son…

December 3, 2014

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“Car Dieu a tant aimé le monde qu’il a donné son Fils unique, afin que quiconque croit en lui ne périsse point, mais qu’il ait la vie éternelle.” (John 3v16)

As my daughter has been in France for a while now, I have been studying with interest the current state of religion in this country. When travelling I like to take the opportunity to distribute my handcrafted “John 3v16” bookmarks, as well as tracts in the language of the country, where possible. Wikopedia informs me that “France is a country where freedom of religion and freedom of thought are guaranteed by virtue of the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. The Republic is based on the principle of laïcité (or “freedom of conscience”) enforced by the 1880s Jules Ferry laws and the 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State. Roman Catholicism, the religion of the majority of French people, is no longer the state religion that it was before the 1789 Revolution and throughout the various, non-republican regimes of the 19th century (the Restoration, the July Monarchy and the Second French Empire).”

To the visitor France would appear to be a most secular country these days but although Roman Catholicism is the religion of the nominal Christian majority, Islam is fast catching up, with converts to Islam said to number as many as 200,000, while most of the immigrant population in France are Muslim. By 2011 there were 2000 mosques in France; today the number is steadily growing and it is reported that Muslims in France have the highest percentage in the population when compared with all other European countries.

In Marseilles, where my daughter lived for some time, nearly half of the population are now Muslim immigrants and unfortunately violence, riots and other serious crime have taken their toll here, just as recent riots and car burnings in Paris have created similar chaos.

There are many other religions and cults in France, with Jehovah’s Witnesses being high on the list of the main small religious minorities. However, as is the case in many countries throughout the world, sound Evangelical Christian fellowships and churches are sadly few and far between.

Today the residents of France (whether immigrant or native) desperately need to know the Lord as Saviour. It is reported that 80% of French people have never owned or even seen a Bible

Please pray for the people of France, that country where Huguenots took their stand all those years ago. In what is known as the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, during the period of 24th August – 3rd October 1572, Roman Catholics killed thousands of Huguenots in Paris, while many massacres took place in other towns and cities such as Bordeaux, Bourges, Lyon, Rouen and Toulouse. Many Huguenots escaped to the British Isles, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, the Dutch Republic, South Africa and North America and today their descendants can trace their roots back to those early days in France.

For Christians visiting the country it is good to have in your possession some Christian literature or tracts in the French language. The message to the French people as to the rest of the world is clear:

“Ils dirent: crois au Seigneur Jėsus-Christ; et tu seras sauvé, toi et la maison.” (Acts 16v31)

(“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”)

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The Suffering Church as Isis Advances

September 16, 2014

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On this beautiful September day in Ireland, I thank God for the freedom that I have to worship and serve Him. Yes, we may have personal problems in our own lives – health and other concerns. We may be disturbed by sleepless nights… but when I think of others in that part of the world which is over-run by the organisation “Isis,” my own concerns seem miniscule in comparison. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as IS (Islamic State) have “swallowed up swathes of Iraq and other areas like a pervading darkness,” it has been said. In just one day, tens of thousands of Christians have fled from towns and villages, with nothing more than the clothes on their backs…  I read these words just now: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8v35-39)… Please pray fervently for all those who are in this terrifying situation as the UN has withdrawn and missionaries are now on their own.

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6v2)

“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” (Hebrews 13v3)

A Young Girl in Iran Faces Execution

June 26, 2014

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I saw this headline some days ago in a national newspaper “Child bride who killed abusive husband to be executed.” A young girl in Iran, younger than my own daughters, faces execution…

Somehow this horrific story has been on my mind ever since. This morning while driving I was saddened to see a lovely hare lying dead on the road – totally unrelated but again the issue of death struck me and that story filled my mind once more in the early morning.

Animals die and it is sad – but animals, the innocent members of the Lord’s creation have no sin and are not held accountable for eternity in the way that human beings are.

I pray for Rzieh Ebrahimi (also known as ‘Maryam’) who was forced to marry at 14, became a mother at 15 and after years of terrible abuse killed her husband at 17.

Under Iranian law the minimum age of responsibility is 15 for boys and strangely – 9 for girls, while girls can marry at 13 and boys at 15.

Such laws are unthinkable in our society and the practice of forced marriage which is prevalent in so many Islamic countries is alien to us, as is Iran’s policy of executing children, making it the world’s highest offender in this regard.

Most of those young offenders who are executed are young women who suffer terrible abuse within forced under-age marriages and who turn to violence to escape their circumstances. In this and other parts of the world young women have even been known to set themselves on fire in abusive situations.

I belong to a much older generation and yet I grew up in circumstances as remote from those in Iran as it is possible to be. How horrific it must be to be born into a country (particularly if you are female) where forced marriage, abuse and unjust laws are the order of the day, all in the name of tradition and a religion whose ‘holy’ book outlines how your wife is to be beaten.

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8v36)

Free from unjust laws, free from sin, free to serve Him with a joyful heart in a realm where “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for we are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3v28&29)

May the Lord be with the tiny minority of Christians who live in societies like Iran and Saudi Arabia and may He bless, strengthen and protect those who labour for the gospel under highly dangerous circumstances – and may He send more labourers into this vast harvest.

This day I pray for Maryam who may be about to face a horrific death, that somehow the Lord will intervene, for it is not His will that she should perish in such a manner. (2Peter 3v9)

Iran is a signatory to the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child but Sharia Law at all times takes precedence in this society.

One of the last headlines I read recently proclaimed: “Iranian Child Bride at Imminent Risk of Execution.”

Even now, as I write, Maryam could be being led away…

I would ask anyone reading this to pray for this and indeed other similar situations which have never reached the public eye… yet the Lord knows about those involved, loves them and gave His very Self for them, for “His eye seeth every precious thing.” (Job 28v10)

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A Major Mark of a Cult – Lack of Love

April 23, 2014

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I have been told that the above is the current headquarters of the Palmarian Church in Dublin, just one of numerous cults which are active in Ireland today. There are now many thousands of harmful systems of belief scattered throughout our world – and I do believe that these numbers may well be growing by the day!

As well as being dangerous from an eternal perspective, these are harmful in the sense that they have far-reaching consequences, leading to break-ups within families. There are also hurtful attitudes towards those individuals who feel that, although they have been brought up with certain beliefs or to worship in a certain way, they don’t feel the inclination to follow in their parents’ footsteps.

Someone who is truly born again of the Spirit of God will love their children unconditionally, in the realisation that to try to force someone to believe something in the spiritual realm, is about as crazy an exercise as trying to force a bird to sing, or a flower to open.

Surely we should pray for our children and always be there for them until our dying day?

I met a girl once who had been ‘disfellowshipped’ by a Jehovah Witness community which had previously been a big part of her life. At a time when she had had a cancer diagnosis and a broken marriage simultaneously, she really did need someone to care for her and pray for her but she was totally abandoned by those she trusted because she did not adhere to some of their rules.

Other groups of which I have recently been reading as well as ‘the Palmarians,’ are the Cooneyites/2×2’s, the Church of Scientology, the Exclusive Brethren and the Mormons. To leave is to be, at best, ostracized but for some who turn their backs on the religion which they have been born into can horrifyingly mean certain death. This is a reality in many countries where Islam is in control.

Jesus said: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13v35)

This love for one another, when it is born of God, transcends culture, dominations and even doctrinal differences.

Personally speaking, I experience that affinity and warmth with those who have shared my basic experience of coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour.

There is a bond between those who truly know the Lord, regardless of which church they attend – or there should be. Sadly, I have met people who would say they are Christians and yet these same people refuse to speak to someone who has stopped attending their ‘fellowship,’ for whatever reason.

And of course, the true Christian will show his or her love and concern for every soul they come in contact with – whatever their affiliation (or lack of) in the spiritual realm.

Study the reaction of the members of any dubious religious organization… how do they behave towards someone who no longer worships with them or leaves them completely?

I have attended a church and known individuals to have left – but I still love and pray (not in a patronizing way) for those people today and if I happen to meet them walking in the street, we can have a warm conversation.

They may have been quite right to move on or perhaps it was the wrong move to make – but I am not their judge.

Perhaps some of the saddest stories I have read recently relate to those who have lost families and loved ones as a result of leaving a cult; the heartache that this causes does not bear thinking about.

Surely only those who have come to trust and lean on the Lord Jesus Christ can know of the following experience… “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3v17-19)

“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (1Cor. 13v13)

 

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