New believers in Laos shunned by community

In 2019 just before Christmas, Loe* gave his life to Christ through a pastor he met in the city where he studies. Excited about his new faith, he went home to his village in Laos and shared the gospel with his family, friends and neighbors. About 10 of them gave their lives to Christ!

However, only a month later the village chief summoned the new believers to a meeting where, unbeknownst to them, the whole village had gathered to tell them to leave. “You now belong to your Jesus,” they shouted, “you are no longer allowed to live in this community!”

A few of the 10 denied Christ out of fear of losing their homes, but others stood strong, declaring their commitment to Jesus. Because they follow Jesus, the community has shunned them and continues to threaten them to deny Christ or leave the village.

Loe asks you to encourage these believers through your prayers.

Please pray that God will continue to protect them from any harm and that despite the opposition they face, they will stand firm as they express God’s love and become pillars of light in their village.

Pray their new faith will be strengthened.

Pray that as people see the agape love in the words and actions of these believers, more people in the village will ask questions and realize their need for Jesus.

Pray their oppressors will personally encounter God and be changed.

Please click on the “Submit prayer” button to share your prayers using the new feature in our app and we will share them with Loe.

*Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.

Scripture of the Day

Galatians 3

2. This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3. Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
4. Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
5. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
6. Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
7. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
8. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
9. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

Pray with Nigerian Believers after Another Deadly Attack

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Friends, Open Doors has just received a call for prayer from Nigeria. During the evening of April 29, a group of armed Boko Haram members invaded the Christian community of Kuda which is in the Madagali area of northeastern Nigeria.

The terrorists surrounded the community around 8pm and went door to door, killing as many as 25 people, according to a VOA report.

When community members and security agents were preparing for the burial of the slain the next day, Boko Haram members were spotted approaching for a second attack on the community. The funeral preparations were abandoned as the bereaved believers, sympathizers from neighboring communities and security agents fled. Since the attack many more villagers have fled the town.

Christian leaders in the area told Open Doors, “We are in danger, we have no one to fight for us to end this killing of our people.”

Field workers with Open Doors asked supporters to:

Please pray for the Lord’s grace to be on the church in Madagali area as they face this renewed instability.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to be at work in the lives of all those affected.

Pray that security will be restored soon.

*Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.

Scripture of the Day

Titus 3

3. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
4. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
5. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
6. Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
7. That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Lies and Deceit

Morning coffee, work day looming with the breaking sun. Perusing the newswires, both secular & religious, seeing two attributes of humankinds sinful nature burning across most of the headlines.

Those two are lies and deceit.

I could ramble on that our world is worse today than earlier ages, I prefer to think its only because all of our dung/news is instantly thrown in everyones face, there’s very little that goes on in the world today that cannot be read about or seen in short order.

From the sins of the Catholic Church to transgressions across the Protestant & Evangelical congregations; sin abounds. From fake hate crimes to environmental absurdities lies foment discord. From the halls of educational establishments throughout the corridors of law & government, lies and deceit rule the day.

All of this, the only thing that comes to mind is Jeremiah 5:30. A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;
31. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? Also a why, Genesis 6:5. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Yes, there are stories of GOD’s Grace, of His Love, of mercy & forgiveness. Also stories of heroism & courage, but all of this, in our day, is overshadowed by two sins, lies & deceit. Like dark clouds rising before a tempest, to me, these are forerunners to a greater storm coming soon.

Centers of Hope Bringing Life Back to Syrian Christians

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Great work is being done at the 15 Centers of Hope that are run by churches in various gathering spaces in communities across Syria. These centers serve as an extension of the church to reach out to people and gather them into a more closely-knit community. Here, “… Christians could feel like they’re more of a family,” says Ibrahim*, an Open Doors staff member.

Besides the usual food donations and house visits, these centers touch on issues that are “customized towards the needs of the congregation,” explains pastor Edmund, another Open Doors’ staff.

One example of programming to help support children who have been traumatized by war is the opportunity to get outdoors and engage in sports and teamwork. The Centers of Hope of Damascus’s and Aleppo’s Alliance churches have highly successful football programs. “We try to include as many church backgrounds in the program,” says Vera, “and the kids are loving it!”

The struggle of the war put a strain on people when it came to staying active, socializing, and receiving quality health care. This is especially true for women who couldn’t leave their homes as often as men and often set aside their wellbeing in order to take care of their families. These struggles were addressed in the first of many medical-awareness lectures that took place at the opening night of a Center of Hope in Damascus.

Please join us in thanking God that the Centers of Hope are helping bring life back to weary Christians across Syria.

Praise God He is using these programs to bring healing to men, women, children and families in these communities.

Pray that this work would continue strong.

*Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.

Fire Destroys Election Office in Nigeria

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In regions where Christians are persecuted, elections can be important. Depending on who is elected, a vote could potentially increase the threat to believers in the region. In other situations, elections could increase protections for minority groups. And, sometimes, elections sometimes offer little change at all.

We are sad to report, then, that Nigeria—which is 12thon the Open Doors 2019 World Watch List—is facing several challenges related to their coming elections. Just days before Nigerianshead to the poles to votein presidential elections, an election office in Qua’an Pan has been burned to the ground. The BBC reports that fire destroyed everything needed to vote, including ballot boxes and voting slips. A spokesperson called it a setback in preparing for the elections.

In the coming vote, President Buhari’s All Progressives Congress is expected to suffer loss in the Middle Belt region due to its failure to deal with communal violence there. The president, who is seeking re-election, has already warned about internal conflict over the elections, telling The Pulse, “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has raised concerns over laundered money being funneled into vote buying.”

Please pray for peaceful, free and fair elections.

Pray for the Lord’s protection over His children. Pray that they will vote in large numbers this Saturday and vote wisely. Pray for their safety as they vote.

Pray that the Lord will put in power a president that respects human rights and can bring much needed stability in Nigeria.

Pray that the Church will be a faithful witness for Christ during the elections.

*Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.

Photo: INEC

Scripture of the Day

Psalm 41
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.
1. Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.
2. The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies.
3. The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.
4. I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee.
5. Mine enemies speak evil of me, When shall he die, and his name perish?
6. And if he come to see me, he speaketh vanity: his heart gathereth iniquity to itself; when he goeth abroad, he telleth it.
7. All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt.
8. An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more.
9. Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
10. But thou, O LORD, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them.
11. By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me.
12. And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever.
13. Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.

The Advent of the One World Religion

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A historic interfaith covenant was signed in the Middle East on Monday, and the mainstream media in the United States has been almost entirely silent about it.

Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb is considered to be the most important imam in Sunni Islam, and he arrived at the signing ceremony in Abu Dhabi with Pope Francis “hand-in-hand in a symbol of interfaith brotherhood”. But this wasn’t just a ceremony for Catholics and Muslims. According to a British news source, the signing of this covenant was done “in front of a global audience of religious leaders from Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other faiths”…

The pope and the grand imam of al-Azhar have signed a historic declaration of fraternity, calling for peace between nations, religions and races, in front of a global audience of religious leaders from Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other faiths.

Pope Francis, the leader of the world’s Catholics, and Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the head of Sunni Islam’s most prestigious seat of learning, arrived at the ceremony in Abu Dhabi hand-in-hand in a symbol of interfaith brotherhood.

In other words, there was a concerted effort to make sure that all of the religions of the world were represented at this gathering.

According to the official Vatican website, a tremendous amount of preparation went in to the drafting of this document, and it encourages believers from all religions “to shake hands, embrace one another, kiss one another, and even pray” with one another…

The document, signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb, was prepared “with much reflection and prayer”, the Pope said. The one great danger at this moment, he continued, is “destruction, war, hatred between us.” “If we believers are not able to shake hands, embrace one another, kiss one another, and even pray, our faith will be defeated”, he said. The Pope explained that the document “is born of faith in God who is the Father of all and the Father of peace; it condemns all destruction, all terrorism, from the first terrorism in history, that of Cain.”

There is a lot of language about peace in this document, but it goes way beyond just advocating for peace.

Over and over again, the word “God” is used to simultaneously identify Allah and the God of Christianity.

Sitting and Thinking

It’s rather saddening considering the state of Christianity in the western world. So much of the gospel message has been compromised for the sake of politically correct ideology which has spread like a virus, reaching into the depths of all society.

People talk of love and more love, not about sin or righteousness or judgment.

Maybe those professing to be Christians think its solely the Spirits responsibility; John 16:8. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9. Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10. Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11. Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

I’m often told you can catch more with sweets, flies, bugs, something. I really tire of that allegory for people are much more than insects to be trapped. People are created in the image of GOD, lost in their own mind & life, which is often clouded in the fogs of sin.

There are definitely more eloquent writers than I out there who through the years have written volumes on Christian life, speech, issues, on salvation and repentance. Its just a bit disheartening to know the past couple generations have been so dumbed down by government education that there is very little knowledge of Christ actually out there in the minds of the people.

But it should be remembered as the Lord said in Deuteronomy 1:39’Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it. Sometimes those who do not know of the Lord are those Chosen to inherit what their fathers squandered. Just as those Israelites who saw all the works of GOD in Egypt, who disbelieved, didn’t gst to enter into their promised land. The younger generation was chosen.

So as disheartening as may seem at this time of coffee & preps for work, there may just be a light at the end of a dark tunnel.

This new generation just may have a hope others cannot see at the moment. That hope is at the cross, where one suffered & died for our wickedness, who on the third day rose from death by His own authority and power.

Our blessed hope.

In Christ.

UPDATE: Supreme Court Rejects Appeal to Overturn Asia’s Acquittal

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Pakistan’s Supreme Court has upheld its decision to acquit Pakistani Christian mother Asia Bibi—clearing the way for the 47-year-old woman to now leave her home country where she spent eight years in a prison on death row.

On October 31, 2018, the Court overturned Asia’s 2010 blasphemy conviction and death sentence. Outraged by the acquittal, Islamic extremists filed a petition to challenge the court’s decision and staged violent protests, calling for her death.

“Based on merit, this hardliner’s petition is dismissed,” Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said in court on Tuesday.

Asia—also known as Asia Noreen—was unable to leave Pakistan while an appeal request was pending. In November under protective custody, she left the women’s prison and was flown to Islamabad to an undisclosed location for her safety, authorities said.

She is now free to leave her home country.

Pray for Asia’s continued protection and safety, her family and others around her as she makes her way out of Pakistan and to her family.

Pray for Asia’s lawyer Saif-ul-Malook, who sought refuge in The Netherlands after the violence erupted in Pakistan in November, returned to Pakistan to defend Asia. Because he returned, he loses his asylum status. Pray for his protection.

Pray for peace in Pakistan. Ask God to intervene against plans for any violent protests and attacks on Christians and churches.

*Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.

Scripture of the Day

Luke 13
1. There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
3. I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
4. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
5. I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

We Will Teach You a Lesson

Read it here.

Matamoros strike threatens to shut down North American auto industry

21 January 2019

Read it here.

The strike by 70,000 auto parts workers in Matamoros, Mexico is beginning to affect production at US automobile assembly plants, raising the possibility that auto production across North America could be brought to a standstill.

US workers are reporting to the World Socialist Web Site that management is slowing production at General Motors and Ford assembly plants as a result of the strike. Production at Ford’s assembly plant in Flat Rock, Michigan will stop this week due to a shortage of parts caused by the walkout.

By courageously withholding their labor, the workers at 50 auto parts plants that have been struck in Matamoros, just south of Brownsville, Texas, could bring a major sector of the world economy to its knees.

The strike demonstrates the objective unity and class common interests of US, Canadian and Mexican workers. It is the answer of the working class to Donald Trump’s racist threat to build a wall between the US and Mexico and the nationalist poison spread by the United Auto Workers and Unifor unions to make American and Canadian autoworkers think that their enemies are their Mexican brothers and sisters, not the auto bosses and the capitalist profit system.

Matamoros workers are beginning to recognize their social strength. Yesterday, thousands of workers marched from their plants to the city plaza, chanting “Bourgeoisie, get out!” The strikers have issued a social media appeal for “all Mexican workers” to join them in a national general strike, which they are calling “A Day Without Workers.”

A section of yesterday’s mass demonstration marched behind the banner, “The union and company kill the working class.” Striking workers report that “everyone has read” the coverage on the World Socialist Web Site.

“The union and the company kill the working class”

There are indications the strike may spread. On Friday, the parts company Aptiv fired hundreds of workers in the border city of Reynosa for engaging in partial strikes demanding a 100 percent wage increase. The firings provoked outrage among the workers.

The eyes of a million maquiladora workers near the US-Mexico border—accounting for nearly two-thirds of Mexican exports—are on the struggle in Matamoros.

The strike shows that the international interconnectivity of the auto industry is a source of profound strength for workers everywhere. While the companies have used globalization to facilitate the hyper-exploitation of workers all over the world, the Matamoros strike demonstrates that workers at each center of production have the power to disrupt the whole machine of global for-profit production.

Tens of thousands of workers around the world are following the World Socialist Web Site’s coverage of the strike, and growing numbers are sending messages of support:

• A GM worker in Oshawa, Canada said: “The companies are trying to exploit all of these workers across the border. I’m sick of it! Canada, USA and Mexico do not deserve this. We are going to follow exactly what the Mexican workers are doing. Our union isn’t doing too much for us. You need to fight this fight, you need to win it. Keep your heads up.”

• A Romanian worker at Autoliv—one of the companies being struck in Mexico—told the WSWS: “The conditions in Mexico are an outrage. In Romania it is no good either. We work 12 hours for 20 euros a day. The unions are the same in Romania as in Mexico. They are little bosses. In Mexico and Romania we must get better, decent conditions.”

• A GM Silao worker in Guanajuato, Mexico agreed: “We have to do something similar here in Silao. This union is not worth anything.”

• An auto parts worker in Detroit, Michigan said: “I take heart that you are reaching across these illusory national borders to your working class brothers and sisters north of you and saying ‘an injury to one is an injury to all.’ We must stand together as a united global force. We will not let US-based companies hurt Mexican workers in the name of capitalism. You are our fellow workers, you just happen to live in a different country.”