Posts Tagged ‘Christian Community’

Twenty one year old Shafia and her family were outcasts in their Pakistani village.  They were poor, and many of their Muslim neibhbors scorned them because they followed Jesus Christ.  People called them chura, which means ” lowcaste sweeper” . They were considered the lowest of the low. In Shafia’s village Muslim men harassed Christian girls. Shafia’s brother Rafi publicly confronted them. Months later, he was killed.

The family wanted to prosecute Rafi’s killers, but they needed help.  A man named Masood offered to file the neccessary paperwork for them.  Masood asked Shafia to sign some papers for the case. but later, she discov ered it was a marriage certificate. Masood bragged the two were now married, and Shafia enrage Masood by disputing the marriage.

On Sept. 25, 2007, Masood kidnapped Shafia at gunpoint. He locked her in an upstairs room of his house. He beat her and raped her repeatedly.   Masood told her, ” If you convert to islam, I will stop beating you.” But she stayed strong telling him, ” Christianity is my religion, not Islam.  I am a Christian, and if you want to kill me  then kill me, but i will not accept Islam.”

After four months in captivity, Shafia found the door unlocked one day while Massood was at work. she fled to her family. The family’s situation was desperate.  They had to pay to file a legal case against Masood. They had no money, so they borrowed $217. To pay the , all 11 members of the family worked at a brick kiln, making bricks 12 hours a day.

” Daily in the evening we had a prayer meeting at home with my family. i felt strong in my faith when we read the  Word,” Shafia said.

Shafia and her family ar free from their debt of labor today because of Voic e of the Martyr’s fund. Mondey from the fund paid Shafia’s debt and allowed her family to purchase a rickshaw.  Now the family has a taxi business and they earn enough to take care of their needs.  With her dept paid,, Shafia is living a normal life in her village.  She still attends weekly prayer meetings and continues to stand for her beliefs.

This is a story shared by the Voice of the Martyrs, and is taken from their pulciation ” Praying for a RESCUE”. 

Check out tomorrow to hear the story of the second women, the title of the article is two women.

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Everyone has the need to be needed. Everyone has the desire to be wanted by others. Everyone has the compulsion to be appreciated and significant. That is human nature, and don’t say that it is necessarily wrong, or bad. However it is when it gets a certain point I begin to wonder why we are the way that we are. Being significant is a tricky thing, why is a person significant and not another? Albert Einstein, Napelon Bonaparte, Kurt Vonnegut, or Samuel Clemons. All of these men are significant. But many of us, dare say it a majority of us, will never reach the significance of these individuals; myself included. What makes these individuals significant? Is it something that I can take and learn from them to apply to my own life? Perhaps. There are things that I can learn from them that could help me be a better person. But being significant? I don’t know that is something that I think that we have to value on a more individual basis. If I don’t like to write stories about the Mississippi River then I can not be as significant as Mr. Clemons. If I do not want to conquer a large land mass then I can not be as significant as Mr. Bonaparte. If I don’t like scientific theory then I can not be as significant as Mr. Einstein. It I didn’t enjoy creating science fiction stories then I can not be as significant as Mr.Vonegut. So how can I be significant? Perhaps I can be as significant as I can be. But who am I? That is something that each one of us has to answer for ourselves. Each one of us is different, each one of us is significant for who we are. Some of us are fathers, some of us are brothers, some of us are sons. But not all of us are sons, not all of us are brothers, not all of us our fathers. The difficult thing about determining our significance is that it is as addictive as tobacco, and that is from personal experience. Valuing your significance is very often can begin by being big battle with pride, envy, jealousy or any other host of green eyed monsters. Your own significance is never an issue until you start looking around at other people. The moment that you look at others and start comparing yourself to others is when your significance becomes a problem. To everyone living in the state of Ohio I am completely insignificant. I am nothing. But to everyone who lives in my house. Who works in my office or for my company. To those who I serve with at my church. To them I am not inisignificant, I am valued. But why is it in human nature that no matter how many good things we have in life we always look at the others that we don’t have. Everyone wants to be significant, but when it matters when don’t pay attention to the ones that we are significant to already. We focus more on the things that others are valued for and ignore the those that already value us as important.

Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, etc. etc, etc.  There are hundreds of super heroes.  Each one of them is unique in what they can do and why and how they help the world around them.  Why do we love super heroes because we all want to be the one that swoops in with that special ability, the cool one liner and saves the day.  But have you ever noticed how superheroes always have a price to pay for that?  They have to loose the girl, keep the secret identity, live a solitutude life. 

We all want the flash of being the hero. The one wearing the mask and the cape.  The one that has the awesome power or ability, the one that has all the cool tools and toys.  But you know what is really being a hero?  Making a decision to do what is right, being there for your family, being the one that lifts someone else up to the forefront when they do something great.  That takes more courage and strength than even superman had. 

Don’t desire to be batman, be a man of character. A man of value.  A man of purpose. A man of honor.  In today’s world. And stay true to those words when the world comes to do battle with you. These are the heroes.  Why not desire to be a hero?

I was listening to my favorite Christian Radio Station the other day, WAY FM, and the morning talk show hosts were having a discussion about a song that has a line in it that says the following (paraphrase) ” I found God on a street corner smoking his last cigarette”.  Now what the conversation quickly became was about is smoking a horrible sin?

Now I am an ex-smoker, and I am the last one that would preach about smoking or not smoking.  And if you think I am going there you are wrong.  The conversation on the radio became a comparison of smoking.  Ranking it with other sins.  Ad in the grand scheme of things do I think that smoking cigarettes should be on the same level of sin as say murder, or lying, or stealing.  Can’t say that I would make that decision. But there is a catch in that statement.

The catch is what “I” would say.  Me, the dumb bald one writing this post. I might not see smoking as “bad” sin, or one of the worst.  But when you start putting sin in a priority list you start down a slippery slope.  And before you know it you are in a dangerous space of legalism.  Where you say that it is okay to commit these sins because they are not as bad as other sins.  Sound like anyone from the Bible? 

IF, and I put that in big letters because smoking is something that the Bible does not speak clearly about, if you classify smoking as a sin you can not place it in priorty listing.  Once something falls under the catagory of sin it no longer comes under human perspective and automatically comes under God’s perspective.  And the way that He sees sin is simple, it is sin, and there is no other definition. All sin put Jesus on the cross.  And it is by His blood that we can have forgiveness of any and all sins, because all sins must be forgiven and brought under the blood.

To my friends whose last  name is Jones, don’t worry, read on, this post is not about you.  No, this post is about that old saying ‘Keeping up with the Jones’.  That old say that rings true every day when we look around us.  It hit me this morning and I had to stop and catch myself.  

I was taking my Siberian Husky outside before I left for work and I was walking around our yard. Just letting my mind wander for a little while during the time that Sapphire needed to take care of business.  After a 12 hour work day, and staying up till one thirty to finish the work that I didn’t get done at the office after everyone else went to bed, the fresh air, the sunlight and the gentle Tennessee morning breeze was very peaceful.  I let my eyes wander to the bird flying over the tree tops, the squirrel running up the tree, the sound of the creek running over the rock, for a moment I was back in my mountains of West Virginia. Next thing I know Sapphire runs up to me ready to go back into the house, back to reality.  And don’t get me wrong reality is a wonderful place for me!

As I turned to walk back in the house I noticed that my neighbor has cut her grass last night while I was at work.  Her grass is nice and low and trimmed, and while mine it isn’t tall it is taller than hers.  The first thing that jumps into my mind is that I need to cut my grass.  Grass hat I just cut two days ago, and is not in the need of being cut.  Well not at least until I saw my neighobrs yard.  Then occurs to me that her grass is bermuda , and mine is fescue.  And for those of you that don’t have your own lawns to cut; bermuda grass needs to be cut very low and fescue grows best when it is kept taller. 

Why do we do that?  Yesterday morning I was just admiring how green, well cut, and trimmed that my lawn was looking.  But then my neighbors yard on the other side of me was the same cut, but not my other neighbor.  The moment she cuts her lawn I have to immediately cut mine.  We have to keep up with the Jones, don’t we?  Don’t believe watch your neighborhood this weekend.  One lawnmower will start, very quickly there will be another and another.  You think it is because it is Saturday or something, no no.  It is keeping up with the Jones time.  And I can prove it.  Find the yard that the neighbors on either sid e have cut their grass, see how long it takes for him to get that grass cut?

Funny how we always worrying about how someone else’s yard looks as it compares to ours.  Yet our yard isn’t the same grass, with utterly different growth needs, and plans for care.  If we do that with our yards how much more so do we do that with our lives?

Don’t think so? How long does it take for a new fashion to consume you?  Or, for me, how long does it take for the newest technology toy grab your attention? For me usually it is about two minutes after seeing someone else have it in their hands. 

God never told me to worry about what my neighbor has.  Matter of fact remember that old line, don’t covet your neighbor’s house, wife, or anything? Coming back to you, huh?  What is important is my relationship with him and how my life measures up to his standards.  How my lifestyle reflects him.  So when the Jones try to keep up with me, they are actually trying to keep up with Jesus Christ the Messiah.

Who are you keeping up with?

Have you ever seen the movie ” 30 days of night”?  I know that it is a movie that is probably not very high on the clean list. It is bloody, yes I agree.  And of course by no means would I consider it a good movie.  The plot was predicatable, acting not very good, and the story line incredibly predictable.  But I love vampire stories.  And in light of it’s recent popularity I know what your next question is, have I seen “Twilight”? And the answer would be, NO.  A story about vampires that do not drink human blood is not a vampire story.  Those stories have nothing to do with vampires.  Stories of vampires are about the struggle of good versus evil, and the darkness versus the light.  That is the story of a vampire.  Okay stepping off this rabbit trail, let me get back to the movie “30 days of night”. 

If you haven’t seen the movie it set in town in Northern Alaska, and where this town is located there is a particular time of year where there is no sun for 30 days.  Perfect feeding ground for vampires, right? And you would be right.  That is the plot of this story, these vampires come into this town and successfully break all communications and isolate those people in the town.  And for 30 days without sun light they have a feeding ground.  So for 30 days of night these survivors struggle to hide, fight and stay alive from the vampires.  Towards the end of the time the vampires realize that the sun will be returning and there is a particular scene which is the round about point of talking about this whole movie.  The lead vampire is sitting down talking to his subordinates and he says to them knowing that there are survivors still hiding in the town, and they have to leave.  Realizing that they will be left behind he makes the statement, ” We have worked to hard to make them believe that we don’t exist.” 

Making someone think that you do not exist is an excellent way to hide, and fight a war.  Think about it.  If you are a vampire and you want to hide your existence, the best way to do is to make people believe that you don’t exist.  Make a stupid movie about a bunch of people going to an eastern european town, or maybe a bunch of boys in Santa Cruz.  then when someone walks along and says there are vampires, everyone will think you are nuts.  The best way to hide is to make your very existence laughable!  Brilliant!

Well I know that vampires do not exist, I know the history behind the legend.  But this morning while driving to my first appointment I was listening to WAY FM morning show and they were talking about the belief in Satan.  Apparently tomorrow night on Nightline there is going to be a discussion of several intellectuals debating the existence of Satan.  There is apparently one man who does not believe in Satan.   That doesn’t surprise me, but then they said that he believed in God and believe in angels.  He just didn’t believe that angels were created with free will, which in essence means that Satan (once an angel) could not rebel if he did not have free will. This would defy the very definition of who Satan is.  And of course if there is no Satan then there is no source of evil.  So the debate continues that there is no source of evil, that all the evil in the world is a result of man’s choices. And I don’t even question that there is evil in man, but I firmly believe that Satan exists.  And is the source of all evil.

So, well done Satan. Well done on convincing the world that you don’t exist.  If you don’t exist we don’t have to worry about you, becuase you are a figment of our imagination.  Then you can have free reign to do whatever you want.  Because no matter what you do you can never get blamed because you don’t exsist.

Everyone in America has the right to believe what they wish, they are given that right in America.  But Christians we must not let Satan establish the belief that he does not exist. We will give him free reign to do as he pleases and lie, steal, destroy as he is desires to do.  I don’t want to preach Satan’s existence but we have to be careful oursleves that we do not trivalize his existence and help his charade that he does not exist.  Because if we fail in our task of sharing salvation, which includes the story and existence of Satan, with the world then there will be many souls that are truly well done in hell when they meet Satan face to face.

I attended a small group leaders meeting this morning at my church. While we were there one of the things that we were talking about was growth. And of course we began to talk about reaching out to the lost in the community around us.  As a part of that conversation the question was posed to the thirty or so small group leaders who were present, if they knew lost people in their life.  And predominatly everyone raised their hand as we all know someone who does not know Jesus as their Savior.  But as I thought more and more about the question I began to think that I really don’t know anyone who is lost.  I am aware of lost people, or I might associate with them, but I don’t know any lost people in my life.

In case you missed it I am making a jump off the work to know someone.  There are people in my life that I know, or aware of, but I have not invested much time in their lives.  I have not invested the time to get to know them.  I do not avoid them becuase they are lost, but for much more ridiuculous reasons. Because we don’t have the same interstes, or we are of different age groups, or a host of other reasons.  But as I thought more and more about this question I began to think more about this.

If I am truly about the kingdom then those in my life who do not know Christ are the people that I need to invest in. These are the people that I need to get to know.  They may never come to know the Lord as their Savior, but the likelihood that they will never feel, witness, or know the Love of Jesus if I don’t show them is a distinict possibility. 

So if someone asks you if you know someone who doesn’t know the Lord, stop and give that some thought.  Think about how much time you spend with the lost, and then look at how much time Jesus spent with the lost.