Displaying items by tag: Praise
Linda Taylor, a septuagenarian known as ‘Miss Linda’, came to Michigan nearly twenty years ago. She first came to help the homeless and needy, and now her neighbours are returning the favour. In February her landlord threatened to evict her. Linda didn’t know what the future held. She had lived in the same house for 19 years. The news of her predicament spread, and her community spent months protesting that she must not leave. The demonstrations worked. Linda’s landlord reconsidered, giving her the option to buy the house, but she didn’t have the money. Little did she know what was about to happen. The neighbourhood rallied behind Miss Linda, profoundly moved by her years of selfless dedication and service. They raised $275,000 and gave the cash to their beloved neighbour. Linda became a homeowner on 31 May. To celebrate, the neighbourhood came together on 5 June for a block party in her honour. Her story is a perfect reminder of the biblical principle of reaping and sowing.
Southern Baptists in the USA have adopted a resolution that rejects ‘prosperity gospel’ - the theology that Jesus' sacrificial and atoning death grants believers health, wealth and the removal of poverty and sickness. The resolution’s proposer said, ‘This is a distortion of biblical generosity, exploits vulnerable people. and blames those who are sick for lack of faith while corrupting a biblical understanding of suffering. The concepts come from African, pagan practices and voodooism.’ The resolution was adopted with overwhelming support; it was resolved that ‘God and God alone is our highest good and our supreme treasure - not health, wealth, or the removal of sickness. Our confidence is in our eternal inheritance purchased through the work of Christ and is guaranteed by the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit.’ The resolution asserts that Christians must ‘guard against false teaching and false prophets who come to us in sheep's clothing.’
Christians in Egypt are typically treated as second-class citizens, so many believers are attacked. One was Sara. She was walking along a street without wearing a veil, which distinguished her as a Christian, and she was praying. Suddenly she felt a sharp object hit her body. ‘Dirty Christian, die!’ she heard a man shouting as her legs began to tremble and she fell to the ground. Sara miraculously survived. She has forgiven her attacker and regularly prays for him. ‘I hope that God will touch his heart,’ she says.
Praise God for the conviction of an Australian man who was found guilty of online sexual exploitation of children. He has been sentenced to 14.5 years in jail after paying almost a half a million dollars to exploit Filipino children sexually online. Please continue to pray for the fifteen victims rescued in this case, and that his conviction will bring them peace and comfort as they continue the road of healing. Meanwhile in India, a sex trafficker was sentenced to seven years in prison for exploiting women and girls, and a brothel was permanently closed in Mumbai, releasing the survivors of sex trafficking who are now receiving rehabilitation at an aftercare shelter.
Two of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls who were abducted by Boko Haram extremists in 2014 have completed their master’s degrees in the USA. Lydia Pogu completed a masters in Human Services Administration, and Joy Bishara a masters in Social Work. ‘Boko Haram told us that school is a taboo for women and warned us that if we went back to school, they would come for us,’ said Lydia. ‘I thought all my dreams had changed, but God had a different plan for me.’
Kerry worked in a Christian hospital in sub-Saharan Africa as a physiotherapist to bring healing and hope to people largely unreached with the Christian message. Based in north Cameroon, she became part of a multinational (and non-denominational) team offering medical - and sometimes miraculous - solutions to the Fulbe (also known as Fulani) tribe. A gentle, gracious and unhurried people, the Fulbe are mostly Muslim. But many are now following Jesus, and they do not always first hear about him through the missionaries. Extended family groups, even across the border into Chad, have come together after having dreams of Jesus, asking Kerry and her colleagues to teach them more about the faith. A young man called Mohammed, whom Kerry introduced to Jesus four years ago, has since visited several of these groups, feeding their hunger to know more about this wonderful person who appeared to them in their sleep.
The UK and Commonwealth will celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with a four-day holiday weekend (2 to 5 June). HOPE Together is working to help churches around the Commonwealth to mark this special occasion and, in particular, to celebrate the Queen’s seventy years of faith and service. It has produced a web-page resource (see link below) with information to assist churches and organisations as they plan their celebrations. HOPE have commissioned a new anthem, ‘Rise Up and Serve’, written by Graham Kendrick and Rend Collective for choirs to sing as part of the celebrations. The highlight for many will be on Pentecost Sunday, where services in churches around the Commonwealth will give thanks for the Queen’s life of service and witness to her Christian faith.
The Come to the Table global broadcast is an invitation for believers all around the world to gather on Pentecost weekend (3 to 5 June) in a time of worship, prayer, fellowship and communion. Its website reads: ‘Amidst great shakings across the earth, we would invite you to join us in John 17 unity as we pray, believing in the 2 Chronicles 7:14 promise of the healing of our lands. This 46-minute broadcast celebrates how God’s family from every nation and tribe and language, coming together as one, can experience the transformation of cities and nations that comes through the powerful convergence of prayer and missions! Expect to be inspired, encouraged and challenged!’ Come to the Table is live from Friday 3 June.
Over 2.5 million Ukrainians have now found refuge in Poland, and the number just keeps rising. Even on a rainy day, the border crossing is crowded with war-weary refugees searching for some relief. Denys, a 40-year-old single dad, fled Kharkiv after living in his basement for a month. He's been raising his son alone since his wife died 18 months ago. He arrived at the Operation Blessing tent cold, wet, and hungry, but left full and dry, with a new coat and a suitcase for his belongings. Nearby, a crying baby is now smiling and content after being rocked to sleep by a volunteer. The sounds of war gave Marina’s three young sons nightmares, so she fled leaving behind an older son and husband to defend her homeland. Oksana, Denys, and Marina are so thankful that Operation Blessing was there in their time of need to help and pray with them.
Rita and Zairus felt called by God to serve in a remote area occupied by a predominantly Muslim tribe who are very strict about observing Islamic laws and customs. This tribe desperately needs the gospel, but workers must be extremely careful in evangelising to such highly religious communities so that the people they want to reach do not reject them. The platform they use to reach them is a beach café where many locals gather. They have been successful selling light snacks, and will soon expand their menu. Many locals gather at their café, and Rafi and Zairus are building positive relationships with many in the community. Their goal is for these relationships to lead to opportunities to share the gospel. One of the few believers in their community said, ‘I am very grateful for this café. May it be God’s plan to save our area.’