Wednesday, October 24, 2007


"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day." 2 Corinthians 4:16
With the season of fall being in full force, people tend to look at it as the death of the year. Skies are gloomier, colder, darker. Trees & plants are losing their leaves. And soon it will be winter!

Though the leaves turning color are beautiful, it feels as though the tree has died once more for the year. But what is going on behind the scenes. The tree is storing up its nutrients & renewing its energy to get even stronger & bigger for next spring where it will burst forth even more dramatic than the spring before!

And so it should be within our souls. Like the falling of the autumn leaves, so should we be dropping off our sins, our bad habits, our angry attitudes, our gloom & despair. By letting the old perish, there is room for so much more good. Renewal! Out with the old, in with the new! In with Jesus!

Voice of the Martyrs Update

NIGERIA Christians Killed by Muslims; Hundreds Displaced in Kano, Nigeria -VOM Sources:On September 28, angry Muslims killed 10 Christians and set churches, homes and businesses on fire in Tudun Wada, in Nigeria's Northern state of Kano. According to The Voice of the Martyrs' contacts in Nigeria, "At 9 a.m., Muslims began the attacks, setting fire to homes and churches. They attacked and killed any Christian they came across." More than 50 people were injured, while more than 500 members of the minority Christian population were displaced. VOM contacts added, "Muslim attackers burnt down all eight churches existing in the community, homes and businesses in the area." Christians believe the attack resulted when Muslim students at a government secondary school in the area claimed a Christian student drew a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad on the wall of the school's mosque. VOM contacts reported, "No Christian student would do this, since the school has nearly 2,000 students and only seven are Christian.... [also] the mosque is usually busy with Muslims praying around the clock during the (Muslim) Ramadan fasting season; therefore, no Christian student would have any way of getting close to the wall of the mosque to make such sketches on the wall." Pray for the families of those killed. Pray the Holy Spirit will be their greatest comforter. Ask God to encourage and provide for believers in this area. Psalm 119:105, Proverbs 3:5, 6

ERITREA Senior Pastor Arrested VOM Sources:Pastor Oqbamichael, a well-known leader of the Kale-Hiwot Church in Eritrea, was arrested and imprisoned. This was the second imprisonment for the pastor in the past two years. In 2005, he was arrested at a Christian wedding and was later released after 10 months in prison, which included solitary confinement and hard labor in the Sawa Military Camp. The arrest of Pastor Oqbamichael follows the recent arrest of Evangelist Mussie Ezaz, who is also a minister in the Kale-Hiwot Church. Pray God sustains and strengthens Pastor Oqbamichael while he is in prison. Pray the Holy Spirit encourages his family and church. Ask God to protect Christians in Eritrea who are serving Him in the midst of severe persecution. John 16:13, 14

AZERBAIJAN UPDATE: Imprisoned Baptist Pastor's Appeal Rejected - Forum 18 News:On October 3, the Sheki Appeal Court in Azerbaijan rejected Pastor Zaur Baleav's appeal to have his two-year prison sentence overturned. According to Forum 18 News Service, the head of the Baptist Union, Ilya Zenchenko, said, "We are stunned at the result the court handed down. We don't know what to do. It is a tragedy for his wife and children. It was all over in two minutes. Zaur's son is distressed, complaining that there is no hope and no law in Azerbaijan. He is very young, but his emotional reaction is understandable." Pray the Holy Spirit encourages Pastor Balaev, his family and believers in Azerbaijan. Ask God to use his testimony to draw non-believers into fellowship with Him. Hebrews 13:5,6; Isaiah 54:17

NIGERIA Christians in Northern Nigeria Threatened and Forced Underground - Compass Direct News: Death threats and other dangers have driven most of the Muslim-background members of a church in Northern Nigeria underground. However, three members have remained. According to Compass Direct News, "Of the 25 converts who formed a church in the northeastern state of Borno two years ago, only three remain. Still while worshipping separately in towns where they reside, once a month the converts brave the threats of Islamic extremists and family members to return to Maiduguri to secretly pray and praise together." Rev. Titus Doma Pona, the founder and pastor of an underground fellowship in Northern Nigeria, told Compass, "The venue and time is agreed among themselves, and the venue is also changed every meeting, so that they are not attacked.". These recent reports of persecution in Northern Nigeria reflect the trials believers endure. Churches have been burned and the abduction and forcible conversion of teenagers by Muslims has become common. Pray for Nigerian Christians who face death, destruction and hatred for their faith in Jesus Christ.Psalm 91; 2 Timothy 1:7

TURKEY Alleged Instigators Named in Malatya Murder; Christians Called to Pray - Compass Direct News: The Turkish media recently discovered an e-mail message sent to Turkish Christian leaders in June, revealing the names of Malatya officials who allegedly plotted to murder three Christians in April. The leaders have submitted the letter to the Malatya prosecutor's office. According to Compass Direct News, "The Firat News Agency (ANF) reported on September 18 that an anonymous e-mail message signed รข€˜A.A.' had named a colonel in the Malatya gendarmerie along with an Islamic faculty member, as the instigators of the plot to kill three Christians. The ANF article identified the officer as Mehmet Ulger, but gave only the initials of several others. A September 19 article in Birgun newspaper, however, listed the name of the faulty member as Ruhi Babat. It also identified a member of parliament from Malatya, one military commander and another suspect, claiming that the murder conspiracy had been planned for four or five months in advance." Meanwhile, Christian leaders in Turkey have called on Christian congregations to designate each Thursday for prayer and fasting, praying for the upcoming trial and for other cases in Turkish courts dealing with the rights and freedoms of Christians. Pray God gives Christians in Turkey boldness to stand for Him, and for the Holy Spirit to touch the lives of all those who were involved in the martyrdom of these believers and the persecution of Christians. Isaiah 26:3, Psalm 27:1

CHINA Two House Church Leaders under House Arrest - China Aid Association: On October 1, the Chinese government placed two house church leaders, Hua Huiqi and Liu Fenggang, under house arrest. According to China Aid Association (CAA), "Each of their houses has been surrounded by two dozen police. Some Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers were even staged on top of Pastor Hua's roof in order to prevent anyone from coming in or going out. On October 3, eight PSB officers broke Hua and his wife's bedroom windows, and then cut off the electricity to their house." Hua Huiqi was released from prison in July after serving six months, while Liu Fenggang was released in February after three years in prison. Meanwhile, Hua Huiqi's 77-year-old mother, Shuang Shuying, is serving a two-year sentence. According to CAA, Shuang Shuying was recently beaten severely, received no medical care; she is now dying in her prison cell. Pray for Christians in China who face increased persecution ahead of the 2008 Olympics. Pray God encourages and heals Shuang Shuying in prison. Romans 8:11, Exodus 15: 26

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Can't Hide

"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?" Psalm 139:7

Global satellites have certainly made the world a smaller place. My husband & I were discussing Google Earth yesterday and how we figured that there wasn't too many places left on this planet that one could hide. Satellites can scan all over the world and pick up heat signatures in buildings & caves & things like that. We were wondering where or how new believers could possibly hide during the tribulation. With technology advancing so much it seems almost impossible. But, we also know that with God, nothing is impossible and that He will provide for His faithful during that time.

Supposing that some world terrorist organization is NOT looking for you with their satellites, there are many places to hide in this world, depending on what your hiding from. We can hide from our family or friends by being reclusive, ignoring calls & emails, turning the lights out if someone comes down the driveway. We can hide our feelings by wearing a fake smile, a false outlook or a blank stare. We can hide away from the hustle & bustle of the world by going into the back woods & hills, or to a quieter country with a simpler way of life.

But never, not ever, can we find any place or any way to hide from God. His capabilities go beyond the reach or comprehension of man. He doesn't need fancy technology to know where we are, to know what we are feeling or to see what we are so desperately trying to hide. He can see straight into our heart, the good and the bad, hidden & revealed, loving us despite it all.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Still thankful...after Thanksgiving

We went away to my brother's place for the Thanksgiving weekend to visit and share a delicious turkey dinner. And it sounds like a lot of other Canadians were doing just the same thing! And I'm glad for it. I thank those of you who commented on my Thanksgiving post.

As we get back in the swing of our week, after a few days of holidays, I'm reminded that we are to be thankful for things every day.

I love the fall so I find it easy to be thankful this time of year for the beauty around me. However, with the fall comes fall allergies and my constant sniffling & itchy eyes this year are trying to steal my joy of this favourite season. Still, with all the driving we did the past few days up north, we got to see many beautiful fall colors that took my breath away, and just looking out my office window here, I see the leaves in my own backyard & front yard are starting to be so vibrant as well. The neighbours tree across the street is bright yellow, my Virginia Creeper vine is a deep wine red, the leaves on my lilac bushes are dark reddish green, the backyard elms are slowly turning yellow and I have a huge patch of bright purple flowers in the front garden that have waited all year for their turn to blossom. So, allergies or not, I'm counting way more reasons to be thankful than reasons to grumble.

And then, below this post, I've posted the recent Voice of the Martyrs updates. And friends, I can count oh-so-many reasons more to be thankful just by reading & praying for our persecuted brothers & sisters in need around the globe. We are called to pray for them like we are there suffering with them.

And so, I will try to live each day with a thankful heart for I can never run out of things to be thankful for.

Voice of the Martyrs Update

MYANMAR VOM Calls for Prayer for Christians in Myanmar - VOM Sources: The Voice of the Martyrs is calling on believers around the world to pray for Christians being affected by the continued unrest in Myanmar (Burma). According to VOM contacts, the government is targeting anyone with influence, and churches have not been spared. VOM contacts report, "Churches cannot meet. We are quietly meeting in small groups of no more than five to pray for our country. China reports five people have been killed, the British Broadcasting Corporation is saying about 10 have been killed, but our people have seen hundreds of bodies and many more filling the hospitals." Pray for the protection and safety of Christians in Myanmar. Pray the Holy Spirit will convict the hearts of the government officials and that the testimony of believers will draw others into fellowship with Christ. Psalm 27:1, Joshua 1:9
INDIA Pastor Attacked and Church Burned in North India - VOM Sources: On September 16, Pastor Virendra and his wife, Bhawana, were attacked by Hindu extremists while on their way to a church meeting. They remain steadfast in their faith and say they will continue holding church services despite the attack. According to The Voice of the Martyrs' contacts, "The attackers intercepted the pastor's motorcycle and threw him and his wife off and began to beat them with fists, sticks and rocks. One believer who was on his way to the meeting came along the road just as one of the persecutors raised a large rock over the pastor's head, intending to smash his skull." VOM contacts added, "The believer was able to push the rock backwards, saving the pastor from death. At another point someone was ready to smash [the pastor's] head with a large stick, but his wife intercepted it and he was again saved from death. Pastor Virendra and his wife were beaten for more than 20 minutes, before they finally escaped.Praise God, Pastor Virendra and his wife were not severely wounded. Pray for God's protection for Christians in India, who continuously risk their lives for the sake of the gospel. Ask for the Holy Spirit to touch the lives of the persecutors and draw them into the knowledge of Christ. Philippians 4:8, Psalm 118:17
ERITREA Evangelist Arrested - VOM Sources: The Voice of the Martyrs recently received information that Mussie Ezaz, an evangelist in the Kale Hiwot Church of Eritrea, was arrested from his home in the capital city of Asmara, and imprisoned this past week. The evangelist has been in full-time ministry for more than a decade. Pray God encourages and provides for Ezaz and his family. Ask God to give him boldness in the midst of his suffering and that his testimony will draw non- believers into fellowship with Christ. Romans 8:31, Psalm 91

CHINA Imprisoned Pastor's Health Failing VOM Sources: On September 24, The Voice of the Martyrs received reports that Pastor Zhang Rongliang's health was failing, and if he is not released, he would die in prison. According to contacts in China, "Pastor Zhang must be carried from place to place by two men supporting him. He does not walk well on his own. He openly questions whether he can finish this sentence. If he is not released, there is a good chance that he will die in prison." Pastor Zhang still has four years remaining of the seven-and-a-half year sentence he received after his arrest in 2004. He already had previously spent 12 years in prison for his faith during five separate detentions. He experienced harsh torture, including electric shock, during his previous prison terms. Pray for Pastor Zhang's healing and for his release from prison. Pray the Holy Spirit will encourage him and that his testimony will draw nonbelievers into the knowledge of Christ. Psalm 118:17; 3 John 2
INDIA Hindu Extremists Plan Assaults in Karnataka VOM Sources: On September 22, Christians in Bangalore, Karnataka's capital, protested the growing number of Hindu extremist attacks in the state and their planned assaults on church meetings in Mysore district. According to The Voice of the Martyrs' contacts in India, Hindu extremists belonging to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Bajrang Dal groups planned to launch a series of attacks against Christians in areas of Mysore district. Pray the plans of Satan will not succeed. Pray the Holy Spirit will touch the lives of the extremists and lead them into the knowledge of Christ. Psalm 27:1; 2 Timothy 1:7
UZBEKISTAN Crackdown on ChristiansForum 18 News: According to Forum 18 News, several Christians were recently arrested or fined.
On August 27, Sharofat Allamova received a suspended sentence of six months in central Bhukara. This was after police confiscated literature from her in June. Allamova was prosecuted under article 244-3 of the Criminal Code, which punishes "illegal production, storage, import or distribution of religious materials."
On August 28, Pastor Khyn-Mun Kimi and a colleague were fined about one month's salary for "illegal" religious activity in Karakalpakstan.
In an unrelated incident, a group of Protestants in the Southern region of Uzbekistan were detained after they "illegally" met for worship. Police confiscated religious literature and 12 of the believers face impending charges. Pray Christians in Uzbekistan will remain steadfast in their faith despite pressure from the government. Ask God to touch the lives of authorities in Uzbekistan. Isaiah 54:14, Psalm 91

Friday, October 05, 2007


Its Thanksgiving Weekend here in Canada. And we have A LOT to be thankful for.

A small list:

I'm thankful for my husband who brings me love & joy every single moment.

I'm thankful for my family, both near & far, that loves, encourages and supports us.

I'm very thankful for my sis-in-law's newfound faith in the Lord - it warms my heart so much!

I'm thankful that God provides for our daily needs, a roof over our head and food on our table.

I'm thankful that God provides so much more than just these two basics.

I'm thankful for Fall, the changes it brings and all that I love about it.

I'm thankful for good friends and the fun & precious times we get to spend with them.

I'm thankful for on-line friends, my CPW gals, and all my blogging friends - a life line of love & encouragement across the wires of the world wide web - enriching my life & my soul.

I'm thankful to be living in Canada where we take so many of our freedoms for granted.

I could probably list many more things but these are just a few that came to mind first. What are you thankful for today...even if its not a Thanksgiving weekend in your country?

Going to take a couple days away from the computer to spend time with family & eating a delicious turkey dinner. See you next week!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Out of the Same Mouth?

"Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so." James 3:10 self-charged! I cringe when I hear someone talking that doesn't know how to speak a single sentence without using profanities. I cringe when I hear someone take the Lord's name in vain. And then, I especially cringe if I hear a profanity come out of my own mouth...but it happens. I don't exactly have control of my tongue at all times.

James also says "the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity" vs 6 and yes, it burns me sometimes. If I lose my patience (especially in traffic) then even if I'm in the middle of belting out a worship song in my car, my melodious praise song can instantly do an about-face to yell at the other offending driver. "These things ought not to be so."

So this is my cofession...but I'm working on it - its not as bad as it once was nor as good as it once was. A phase perhaps, but certainly not a desirable one. And so I keep reading in James, this book of so much wisdom...

"...let every man (and woman) be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath" 1:19