Archive for September 30th, 2009

Encouragement to Be Faithful

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

2 Timothy 1:3-14 (New International Version)

“Into the Winepress” by Stan Goodenough

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

It’s been a long time coming.

For decades the United States of America has been edging away from its only real friend in the Middle East.

The relationship — which began tentatively at that brave moment when President Truman defied the ‘wise men” in his own administration and chose to recognize the newly born Jewish state; the relationship Israel worked tenaciously to strengthen in the ensuing years despite consistent opposition from within the State Department and other government circles; the relationship which since the Six Day War has become increasingly one-sided as America has chosen to cater to incessant Arab demands and press Israel into compliance — in the end it could no longer withstand the erosive onslaught it had weathered for so long.

The administration of President George W. Bush set the country apparently irreversibly on this path when it spawned the two-state vision and propelled Israel towards accepting the “Road Map for peace.”

But things came to a head at the United Nations this week in a tale of two speeches delivered in front of some 140 world leaders who had come together in New York for the 64th session of the General Assembly.

As they listened – joined by countless millions of others to whom the event was beamed around the world – these presidents and prime ministers, princes and kings witnessed the leader of the world’s most powerful nation contemptuously turn his back on one of the smallest.

And they heard the elected and oh-so-despised leader of that little nation – which has been around far, far longer than the United States and virtually every other nation with delegates in that room – spell out with dignity and conviction the justness of his people’s cause.

Betraying Israel with a kiss, Barack Obama expressed appreciation for the Jewish state, then denounced it as a nation of aggressive expansionists who were illegally occupying another people’s land.

America will not tolerate Israeli settlements, he stated emphatically. And Israel’s presence in Samaria and Judea is an “occupation” that has to end.

The situation between Israel and the Arabs was not the number one item in the American’s speech, which spelled out his vision for a new world order built on four “fundamental” pillars: Nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, the pursuit of peace and security, the preservation of the planet and a global economy that advances opportunity for all.

Obama spoke for 38 minutes, of which less than five – well into the speech – were devoted to the Arab-Israel conflict. The transcript is 61 paragraphs long with just five speaking to this issue.

Yet there was no doubt that, to the president, the members of the General Assembly, and the press covering the event, this was the most important issue of all. Of the 12 ovations Obama received during the speech, fully half of them came in those few short minutes as he laid down his expectations.

That the United States:

* would continue to seek “a just and lasting peace between Israel, Palestine and the Arab world.”
* would “continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.”
* would continue to work towards the establishment of “a viable, independent Palestinian state with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967.”
* “does Israel no favors when [it] fails to couple an unwavering commitment to its security with an insistence that Israel respect the legitimate claims and rights of the Palestinians.”

This man’s idea of “just” is totally twisted.

According to him, Jewish settlement in the land of their forefathers is “illegitimate.”

The Jews’ presence in Samaria and Judea – the cradle wherein their nation was born, is an “occupation” that has to end.

But the Palestinian Arabs’ – who have never in history had a national home or identity; who forced their “cause” down the world’s throats by violence, terrorism murder and mayhem; who to this day vow to use any territory they get as a springboard from which to destroy the rest of Israel – these people’s demand for a national homeland to be established on those historical Jewish lands constitute “legitimate claims and rights!”

“Woe,” warns the God of Israel through the prophet Isaiah: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20)

“Woe,” warns the God of Israel through the prophet Ezekiel, to those who “strengthen the hands of the wicked, so that he does not turn from his wicked way to save his life.”

Twenty-four hours after Obama leveled his blow at Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the stand.

“I stand here today as the Prime Minister of Israel, the Jewish state” he said, eyes piercing the dignitaries as he looked around the room,

“I speak to you on behalf of my country and my people.”

Netanyahu strongly took issue with those who deny the Holocaust that killed two out of every three Jews in Europe a few short decades ago,

He reminded his audience – as if he needed to – of the burgeoning threat to destroy the State of Israel in a nuclear holocaust.

Recounting the disastrous outcome of Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon (2000) and the Gaza Strip (2005), the Israeli insisted that his nation would not accept a withdrawal from the mountains of Samaria and Judea only to see a rocket-armed terrorist base set up overlooking the population centers in the coastal plain.

But if the Arabs truly want to make peace, the people of Israel will make peace with them.

Those Arabs – or their representatives – left the hall; unable to even hear an Israeli leader speak directly to them.

Others – like the fervently pro-Palestinian British delegation – sat like stone; unmoved by Israel’s clearly-presented case.

As the session came to an end – having also provided an uninhibited platform for the anti-semitic tirades of Iran’s Ahmadinejad and Libya’s Ghadaffi – Israelis took stock of the realities now confronting them.

America – the nation they had long seen as a friend and ally – has effectively crossed the field to the other side – joining with all the other nations who refuse to recognize Israel’s claim to its biblical heartland, and who demand that Israel risk its very existence to appease the Arab world.

Time alone – and perhaps not much of it at all – will show whether there is any validity to what I will now say here:

That on September 23, 2009, in his globally-screened address to world leaders at the United Nations in New York, Barack Obama moved his country close to – perhaps even into – “the winepress of the Lord.”

Long ago the Almighty warned all those nations who come against Israel that the “Day” will come when He girds up His loins and in anger and fury will tread them out, in the winepress of His wrath.

“For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near;
As you have done, it shall be done to you;
Your reprisal shall return upon your own head.” (Obadiah 1:15)

Original Link.

Earth from Israel – Pendant – from the Jerusalem Gift Shop

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Weekly I highlight items being offered by the Jerusalem Gift Shop. Today it’s the Earth from Israel – Pendant.

Earth from Israel inside glass vial pendant

* size: 1 inch

For Your servants love her very stones, they cherish even her dust. (Psalm 102:14)

Take a moment to see all of the other interesting items they stock.

The Jerusalem Gift Shop 234x60

Christian Gifts from Israel – The Jerusalem Gift Shop

Two Iranian Christian Women Still Held in Evin Prison

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

From Voice of the Martyrs:

Maryam And Mazrieh

Maryam Rustampoor, 27, and Marzieh Amirizadeh, 30, were arrested and sent to Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran. The two women did not rob a bank, kill a man or beat up someone.

Their crime? Loving Jesus. And it is for this reason alone they are still imprisoned.

In August during a court hearing, the two were questioned repeatedly about their faith. They were told to return to Islam.

“We love Jesus,” was their reply. Prosecutors asked the women, who had already spent five months in prison, if they regretted being Christians.

“We have no regrets,” they said. “We will not deny our faith.”

The judge sent them back to Evin Prison – notorious for its brutality – to “think about” their decision.

“We have already done our thinking,” they told him.

Maryam and Marzieh are among dozens of Iranian Christians arrested, detained or interrogated in Iran in recent months. The harassment is the radical Islamic government’s response to an Iranian revival that has thousands of Iranians coming to Christ each month.

From the latest report:

UPDATE: On Sept. 10, The Voice of the Martyrs received reports that Maryam and Marzieh’s health has deteriorated and urgent prayers are needed for God to encourage, and miraculously heal them.

According to Elam Ministries, the women who have been in prison for more than six months are suffering from sore throats, irregular painful stomach aches and intense headaches. “Both have lost much weight during their ordeal, because of their sicknesses and lack of nutrition,” officials at Elam Ministries said. “Marzieh’s tooth infection is only being treated by painkillers and if the infection spreads (it) could become critical.”

Maryam and Marzieh are being held at Evin prison which is notorious for its harsh treatment of prisoners. The prison is overcrowded, has limited medical facilities, and many prisoners are reportedly sick and causing a high risk for spreading viruses.

Elam officials also reported the judge in charge of young women’s case, has said they are “not cooperating” because they have refused to deny Christ. “The implication of his remark is that they continue to stay in prison. This is the normal punishment for female apostates: they are kept imprisoned until they recant,” the officials added. VOM encourages you to pray for this judge to be either removed from the case or that he orders their release. Pray for their healing and for the Holy Spirit to encourage them. Praise God for their faithfulness.