12/24/10

VOM–Prayer Update for week of Dec 24, 2010

VOM–USA Prayer Update for December 24, 2010
The Voice of the Martyrs USA: www.persecution.com
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

INDONESIA—House Churches Closed— VOM Contacts

Hebrews 10:32–39
But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; 34 for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:
“For yet a little while,
And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.
Now the just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

On Dec. 12, seven house churches were forcibly closed in West Java, Indonesia, by Muslim extremists who claimed the buildings were being used for “illegal church meetings,” according to VOM contacts. Between 200 and 300 extremists from the Islam Protector Front, Moslem Forum and Islamic Reformation Movement gathered outside the houses and demanded to inspect the buildings. The extremists said the buildings, which were being used by the Protestant Batak Christian Huria Church, could not be used for Christian worship services, and they told the congregation to meet elsewhere. The owners of the houses were told they could remain in their homes but could no longer open their homes for Christian worship services. Ask God to use this incident to strengthen the members of this church. Pray that they will demonstrate Christ’s love to those who oppose them and that their faith will be a light that helps guide others to the Lord. Pray that persecuted Christians in Indonesia will keep their eyes on Jesus, persevere in faith and not grow weary or lose heart.

CHINA —Worship Service Raided in Hunan Province— China Aid Association

Hebrews 10:23–25
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Chinese authorities raided a house church on Dec. 12 in the city of Changsha, Hunan Province, according to China Aid Association. Dozens of believers from the Hope Church in Changsha were gathered for worship when police officers and government officials arrived and forced them to disperse. Authorities confiscated several items belonging to the church, including the podium, chairs and air conditioner. Pastor Zing Jinfu and Minister Le were taken to a local police station and questioned for a couple of hours before being released. Pray that members of the Hope Church will be encouraged to continue worshiping together despite government harassment. Ask God to embolden all believers in China to proclaim their faith boldly and demonstrate God’s love to others in the nation.

INDIA—Priest Attacked— VOM Contacts

Psalm 91:1–5
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day…

On Dec. 16, Fr. Thomas Chirattavayalil was attacked by a group of unknown men at his parish house, according to VOM contacts. When Fr. Thomas opened the door of the parish house, armed assailants wearing masks hit him on the head and continued to beat him as they chased him. Fr. Thomas sustained two deep wounds on his head and also received injuries to his shoulder and other parts of his body. Pray that Fr. Thomas will recover completely and that the assailants will be brought to justice.

Add the PrisonerAlert.com application on Facebook by visiting http://apps.facebook.com/prisoneralert/

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

12/21/10

The Christmas Child (movie)


Christmas Child is a 2003 American Christian film directed by William Ewing and starring Steven Curtis Chapman. The film is based on "The Christmas Cross," a short story by Max Lucado, and is a story about a Chicago journalist who finds himself in Clearwater, Texas around Christmas time to discover his past. "Christmas Child" is based on the Book The Christmas Child : A Story of Coming Home by Max Lucado. (Wikipedia)

12/17/10

The Birth of Jesus (Gospel of Luke)

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

Luke 1
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you![d]”

29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel[e] forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.[f]”

38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town 40 where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

42 Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. 43 Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44 When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”
The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise
46 Mary responded,

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
47 How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
49 For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
50 He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
51 His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
52 He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
54 He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
55 For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home.

The Birth of Jesus
Luke 2

1 At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, his fiancĂ©e, who was now obviously pregnant.

6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
The Shepherds and Angels
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

VOM-Prayer Update for week of Dec 17, 2010

VOM–USA Prayer Update for December 17, 2010
The Voice of the Martyrs USA: www.persecution.com

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

PAKISTAN — Mullah Offers Reward for Killing Asia Bibi — VOM Contacts

Matthew 5:10
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

On Dec. 3, 2010, a mullah in Pakistan offered more than $6,000 (U.S.) to anyone who kills Asia Bibi, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts. In the past, Christians have been killed in jail, on their way to court and even after being released from jail. “There is threat that she can be killed even after her releasing from the jail,” said VOM contacts in Pakistan. “It’s not just a statement by mulana, but we have examples of previous blasphemy cases.” Following the mullah’s statement, Muslims protested against Asia and a proposed amendment of the blasphemy law. Protests were held in many major cities in Pakistan. Pray for Asia’s release from prison and for her safety after her release. Ask God to minister to her family, especially her children.

AZERBAIJAN — Government Considers Stiffer Penalties for Religious Activity — Forum 18 News

2 Thessalonians 1:4–6
…so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you…

Less than two years after increasing penalties for illegal religious activity, parliamentary deputies are about to consider even harsher penalties in proposed amendments to the Code of Administrative Offences, according to Forum 18 News Service. “Minimum fines for individuals violating the Religion Law, such as by holding unregistered religious worship, could be increased fifteen-fold,” Forum 18 reported. Rabiyat Aslanova, chair of parliament’s Human Rights Committee, told Forum 18 News, “This is connected with religious communities which have failed to gain re-registration but still function. It’s so that they realize the responsibility for their actions. People are not fined just for praying to God. This is a question of national security.” Pray that these amendments will not pass. Ask God to protect believers who continue to worship him openly despite oppressive government restrictions.

CHINA — Christian Lawyer Still Missing — China Aid Association

Matthew 5:44
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…

Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng has been imprisoned by Chinese authorities for more than two years, and his whereabouts are currently unknown, according to China Aid Association. In an October radio interview, Gao’s wife, Geng He, expressed her family’s eagerness to find him. “My family only wants to get some news of him,” Geng He said. “When I talked with his sister, she said, ‘He is a member of the family. No matter what he does, such as eating the daily meals, sleeping or even taking a walk outside, anything would make us miss him. Where on earth has he gone? The entire family of mine is puzzled and we have been looking for him ever since.’” Pray that Gao will continue to look to the Lord for strength and guidance, and pray that God will comfort his family and enable them to persevere in hope and faith. Pray that the Church in China will continue to shine the light of God’s love and truth and that it will continue to grow despite opposition from some government officials.

Add the PrisonerAlert.com application on Facebook by visiting http://apps.facebook.com/prisoneralert/

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

11/25/10

"I gave you my heart. I gave you everything I had. I waited for you. I wanted to be all that I could be for you. I wanted to give you the best. I wanted to make your dreams come true. I wanted to believe in you. I wanted to stand by you and support you. I wanted to admire and honor you. I wanted to give in to you. I wanted to trust you. I wanted to be able to turn to you. I wanted to talk to you. I wanted to feel safe and secure with you. I wanted to feel the wave of passion and climbs the mountains of life with you. I wanted so, so much. I tried so hard over and over. And then I realized that it wouldn't stop and it would never change. The change had to come or it would never work. I couldn't live in that cycle of betrayal and pain, over and over again. I finally had to say, 'No. No more.' There is an illness and I can't change it. Only you can. But, you don't want to accept it and deal with it; you don't even want to see it. Maybe because you don't know anything else. Maybe because it's too hard to accept. I don't know because I'm not you. I only know what has happened and been said to me. I am in so much pain. My heart hurts a lot. I feel sad and I have cried. Letting you go was one of the hardest things that I ever had to do. I didn't want to have to do it. But, I did have to. So I did. You said nothing to challenge it. Nothing to say you would change. So I accepted it too. I feel like wisdom told me to. I hope and pray to God it really was the right decision. I give it in to God's hands. You will always hold a special place in my heart. I always loved you and I always will. Maybe we will see each other in Heaven someday and we will be friends because we will be perfect and we can't hurt each other anymore."

Pakistani Woman Sentenced To Death For Her Christianity


Pakistan: Asia Bibi—Appeal (VIDEO)

Attorneys for Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi on Monday filed an appeal against the death sentence handed down against her on November 8, 2010.

VOM friends spoke with Asia’s husband, Ashiq, following the filing of the appeal in the court.

You can write letters of encouragement to Asia Bibi, as well as letters to Pakistani officials protesting this unjust sentence, at www.PrisonerAlert.com.

Thanksgiving '10

Happy Thanksgiving Ya'll. God bless.

Burt Wolf - Thanksgiving

Part I: Introduction


Part II: Founding Myth


Part III: Setting the Date

11/21/10

Autism Awareness


A first-hand account of young adult autism and how it affects people and their families. This video shows a young man who has a milder form of autism and his mother speaking about it.

Severe Autism

"Easy to be a Christian when everything's going great ..but how do you keep believing during years of what seems like torture? God doesn't give us more than we can handle? Sometimes hard to believe.....but you press on.....you can't give up on your autistic child. They depend on you. You must stay strong. Crisis of faith. When God doesn't make sense. Suffering. pain. wilderness experiences"
This video shows a mother dealing with her young adult son who is severely autistic.

Anger & Overcoming It (various)

Anger

This video shows the evolution of a woman from the time she was a little girl up until she is middle-aged. It shows how the experiences of her youth effected her so profoundly that she became a broken and angry person in her life, and she got worse as she aged.

The Dangers of Bitterness


Anger & Forgiveness


The Danger of Anger


Overcoming Anger

Joel Osteen sermon about overcoming anger.

I found these videos on YouTube. There are many different videos and websites out there that deal with this topic.

11/16/10

PBS Independent Lens "Lost Sparrow"

Watch the full episode. See more Independent Lens.


Some questions are never answered. Some answers are hard to take. Three decades ago, two Crow Indian brothers ran away from home and no one knew why. Their sudden and mysterious deaths sent shockwaves through a tiny upstate New York community. Lost Sparrow is their adoptive brother's journey to bring Bobby and Tyler home and confront a painful truth that shattered his family.

I just finished watching this documentary on PBS and I highly recommend it. It is a very shocking and touching story, with a sense of redemption and closer at the end.

11/15/10

Hollywood Prayer Network Newsletter (Nov)



Dear HPN Pray-ers,

It’s time to be THANKFUL. Let’s spend this Thanksgiving month thanking God for all He is and everything He’s done for us, given to us, directed us toward and created for us. Even as we pray for those going through difficult times, let’s hold on tightly to a posture of thanksgiving because with God NOTHING is impossible.


SUMMARY:

• Praise God for answering Jennifer’s prayer request from last month
• Praise God for joining Christian parents at LA’s High School for the Arts
• Praise God for the HPN Miami event this past week-end
• Pray for Johnny Depp, EW’s #1 most influential actor on the planet
• Pray for Dean and other industry pros who have to work out of town
• Pray for Miley Cyrus and her parents, as they go through a divorce
• Pray that we can start thanking God for entertainment professionals
• Choose one person in Hollywood to pray for every day this month
• Pray for writer/director Randall Wallace and his film "Secretariat"
• Pray for the decision-makers at NBC who green-light family movies
• Pray for the members of our Christian community who can’t get work
• Let’s pray for Rod and Alana Stewart and their 30 year old son, Sean
• Pray God's blessing on HPN member Deborah
• Let’s pray with and for Erin as she works on a new film
• Let’s pray for Rick, who is a dad and working out of town
• Pray for Joe’s family who is mourning Joe’s death while on a set
• Pray for our new Local Chapter Kick-off Meeting in Omaha, NE

PRAISES:

• Praise God for His miraculous response to Jennifer’s request in last month’s HPN email. God gave Jennifer a miracle! She needed money to pay her rent because her part-time job was ending. Well, God moved through an HPN member in Arkansas, whom, without even knowing Jennifer, sent her this month’s rent!!!! Wow, is our community cool, or what?! Thank you GOD! And thank you for praying.

• Last week 6 mom's of High School performing arts students who all attend LACHSA, the L.A. County High School for the Arts, met for a fabulous prayer walk around the campus. The mom of a senior said this was the first gathering of Christians on campus in the four years they have been on campus. Praise God that He has brought at least eight Christian families to the largest Arts High School in the country so that there can be prayer, laying a foundation for all of the young blossoming performers coming out of that strategic school.

• Praise God for the HPN Miami event this past week-end. God showed up and people gained a vision for our mission field and what God is doing in the entertainment industry in Florida and Hollywood. Thanks Gladys, for all you did!

REQUESTS:

• Pray for Johnny Depp. Last month Entertainment Weekly named him #1 on their “Power List” of the most influential performers on the planet. Here’s what EW says about Johnny: “Depp’s career has been a long, strange trip — and ending up the most powerful actor in Hollywood is the weirdest twist of all. He’s rarely followed the standard playbook, choosing roles as misfits (Edward Scissorhands, Gilbert Grape) and oddballs (Ed Wood, Ichabod Crane) over the usual romantic leads and action heroes. With his uncompromising gonzo turn as Capt. Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl in 2003, his stardom went supernova. In the wake of smashes like the Pirates films, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Alice in Wonderland, Depp can do anything he wants. And the one — maybe the only — thing you can be sure of is that he’ll do exactly that.” Let’s pray that Johnny does one more bizarre thing In Hollywood; become a Christian!

• Pray for our friend Dean who had to leave his LA family for two months to shoot a TV series in Toronto. Like so many industry pros these days, he’s away from his family to work in Canada where the tax breaks, production costs and labor are all cheaper than in America. May we also pray for protection for these people and pray that California can keep more of the work that we so badly need.

• Pray for Miley Cyrus and her parents, Tish and Billy Ray who are filing for divorce. They are yet another Christian family who has become victims of extreme money, power and fame. Our hearts break for that family because HPN believes that the fame Hollywood offers is more often a curse than it is a blessing. Would you ask God to wrap His arms around all of them and bring them closer to Him and each other. For more info. click on: http://new.music.yahoo.com/blogs/ourcountry/69855/miley-cyruss-parents-file-for-divorce/

• Pray that we can start thanking God for the entertainment professionals who bring joy to our lives. Thank Him that He created the media, in order to give us entertainment, a break from our stressed lives and fun shows to share with our families and friends. Without the arts, our world would be cold and dry of creativity. There is so much to be thankful for that comes out of Hollywood!

• Choose one person in Hollywood to pray for every day this month. It may be your favorite actor, singer or director. Maybe it’s the producer of your favorite TV show. Or research the agent who makes the decisions for your favorite performer and pray for that person. Be creative and know that your prayers for that person are making an eternal difference in hearts and lives.

• Pray for writer/director Randall Wallace whose film "Secretariat" just came out. Randall has a beautiful heart for the Lord and he has brought God’s truths into this commercial feature film. We are so thankful for the growing number of Christians in Hollywood who are great at what they do and who don’t hide their Godly worldview in the content of the projects they create. Let’s thank the Lord for Randall and the other believers who entertain the public and please God with their creative gifts.

• Pray for the decision-makers at NBC to continue to green-light family movies on their network. This Dec. 3rd NBC is promoting their new Family Movie Night by airing a film called “A Walk in My Shoes,” which is sponsored by two family friendly companies, Walmart and Procter & Gamble. We know that this is an answer to many of your prayers, those of you who want to have more TV shows that your family can watch together. You can watch the trailer at: www.moms4familytv.com

• Pray for the members of our Christian community who can’t get work and have chosen to leave the industry. This month alone, three friends have told us that they have given up and are pursuing other careers. May the Lord guide them into exactly what He created them to do. May they find His pleasure in their pursuits, not feeling that they have failed here, but recognizing that God used this time to lead them into something else. Pray also that as they die to their dreams, that the Lord will restore their capacity to dream with Him and restore to them a thousand-fold blessing. May our friends hear God’s still small voice!

• Let’s pray for Rod and Alana Stewart and their 30 year old son, Sean, who has had terrible addiction problems. He's not working and his parents are looking for a regular volunteer spot somewhere for Sean. May the Lord use this time to bring all three of them to a saving knowledge of Him, as He leads them into what’s best for Sean.

REQUESTS FROM HPN MEMBERS:


• Pray God's blessing on HPN member Deborah, who needs money for her upcoming projects. She has poured so much of her life into her scripts and can’t get the financing to move them forward. Deborah represents thousands of creative professionals who are so confused and frustrated in not seeing their passions fulfilled. May we hear God’s voice and His leading in what’s next for all the creative artists who are deeply discouraged with not able to see their projects completed. It is such a common, difficult and heartbreaking situation.

• “As an actress, I recently booked an independent feature film. This is the biggest role I've ever done in film and I would love for this film and the people involved to be covered in prayer. As far as I know, I'm the only Christian working on it. The writer and star of the movie is a Mormon… Erin” Let’s pray with and for Erin as she works on this film.

• LA based husband and dad, Rick says: “I have been working on another feature film on the east coast. It's been a pretty challenging project, but I am thankful to be a part of it. The hours are very long and I have to do a lot for the movie on the weekends as well, so personal time has been particularly limited.” Would you pray for Rick and his family during this month?

• “I would ask that you pray for a young man's family that had been working on this feature. We had a terrible accident on set when Joe, who was driving a gator to pick up some props, lost control of the vehicle and crashed off the road. Tragically, he died later at the hospital. He was only 27 and in great shape, so this was a shock to the entire crew. Please pray for Joe's parents and siblings, who are dealing with not only Joe's death, but his grandmother passed away the same night. This was a sobering reminder of just how fragile life is. I understand one of his co-workers had been sharing the Gospel with him and only hope he had time to make a decision before his death. This is really why I focus so much of my personal energy and time on movies like ours. Life is short and I want what I do to matter in the big scheme of things. Money doesn't matter, success doesn't matter, fame doesn't matter, all that matters is God and our relationship to Him. If I can point people in the right direction, then I'll feel like I spent my time on things that DO matter…” Rick Garside

• Prayer for our new Local Chapter Kick-off meeting happening this coming Saturday, November 20th in Omaha, NE. Click here for details!

UPCOMING EVENTS:


• On Thursday, November 18, 2010 HPN is hosting a night of worship in the Wylie Chapel of Hollywood Presbyterian Church (1760 N. Gower Street, Hollywood, CA 90028) from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. Come join with us to be encouraged, strengthened and to be a source of support to others. We are believing that this night will be a powerful evening where we can come together as a community to praise God for all he is doing in Hollywood and to corporately pray for each other’s needs. Pray like your career depends on it...

• Jan. 25 - 29th, 2011 a group of 75 National Prayer Leaders are coming to Hollywood to get God's vision for the entertainment industry. HPN will be hosting The National Prayer Committee and many Christian leaders in our community will be welcoming them, loving them and mobilizing them to pray more for the people in Hollywood and the global media.

• For other upcoming events in our industry, click on: http://hollywoodconnect.com/events/upcoming

Thanks so much for praying with us and know that we are ALWAYS SO THANKFUL FOR ALL OF YOU!

Karen and Caren

TIP OF THE MONTH:
If a Christian says to you, “God told me to….” Or “God gave me this script....” beware: http://www.philcooke.com/god_ideas

QUOTE OF THE MONTH:
“I would have given my entire fortune to have a successful marriage.” J.Paul Getty

VERSE OF THE MONTH:
But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Joshua 22:5

This message was sent from:
Hollywood Prayer Network
1763 N. Gower St.
Hollywood, CA 90028
United States

http://www.hollywoodprayernetwork.org/

That Letter You Never Got

Published on Psychology Today (http://www.psychologytoday.com)

A Letter from Your Ex-Spouse
By Vikki Stark, MSW
Created Nov 14 2010 - 7:48am

One of the most painful things for many who have been left is the fact that they will never get the acknowledgment or apology they feel they deserve. Particularly when a spouse has left suddenly or in a brutally attacking way, the pain is prolonged by the feeling that even if the marriage was not great, you didn't deserve that! So, although you will probably never receive this letter for real, here's a chance for you to read the words you need to hear. Let yourself hear his or her voice and experience a sense of healing as you imagine, for a moment, that the sentiments are genuine.

Here's a letter from your former spouse:

Hi,

This is a hard letter to write, so just hear me out.

I know I should have said all this a long time ago, but back then, I was just too angry and couldn't think straight. I know I blamed you for everything that went wrong in our marriage and I suppose I felt so deflated by you that I wanted you to hurt too, and that's why I said and did the things I did. And once they were said, I didn't know how to undo them so I just kept saying them.

You were shocked when I left, but I was shocked at how you reacted. I didn't think you would take it that hard but there was nothing I could do about it because I knew I wanted out. I was afraid that if I let myself feel badly for you, I'd chicken out and come back and I knew I didn't want to do that. So I blocked you out in order to protect myself.

I just want you to know that you didn't deserve the way I treated you. Even if the marriage wasn't perfect, you loved me and tried to be there for me. You did so much for me and the family, and I know that, at times, it wasn't easy. I just didn't know how to talk to you, to tell you what was on my mind. I was afraid you'd be mad or we'd have a fight, and I hated that. I'd get so frustrated that I felt like I'd explode, so I didn't go there. I didn't think that things could ever change between us, but I see now that I should have talked to you.

I know I did a lot of damage. I'm accepting that now and I'm sorry. I mean that. I hope you find the love you deserve.

From one who appreciates what we once had . . .



Source URL: http://www.psychologytoday.com/node/50472

Links:
[1] http://www.psychologytoday.com/files/teaser/2010/11/woman-reading-letter.jpg

11/14/10

Persecuted Christians

Pakistani Woman Sentenced To Death For Her Christianity

Pakistan: Asia Bibi—Death Sentence



On Nov. 8, Asia Bibi was sentenced to death by a judge in Pakistan, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts. The judge also fined Asia $1,190 (U.S.) and told her she had seven days to appeal the decision. VOM contacts reported that her attorney will appeal the sentence.

Asia was arrested by police on June 19, 2009, and charged with blasphemy after she engaged in a religious discussion with co-workers. Many of the local women, including Asia, worked on the farm of Muslim landowner Muhammad Idrees. During their work, many of the Muslim women had pressured Asia to renounce Christianity and accept Islam. Her family is one of only three Christian families in a village of more than 1,500 families.

On June 19, there was an intense discussion among the women about their faith. The Muslim women told Asia about Islam, and, according to VOM sources, Asia responded by telling the Muslim women that Christ died on the cross for our sins. She told them Jesus is alive. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God,” she reportedly told them.

Upon hearing this response, the Muslim women became angry and began to beat Asia. Then some men took her and locked her in a room. They announced from mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey.

Local Christians informed the police, who took Asia into custody before the Muslims could carry out their plan. She is currently being held at the police station in Nankana city. Christians there had urged the police not to file blasphemy charges, but police claimed that they had to go forward because of pressure from local Muslim leaders.

VOM is assisting Asia’s family and urges you to continue praying for Asia and her family during this difficult time. Pray that her appeal will be successful and that God will act on her behalf. Pray that Christians in Pakistan will continue to stand for Christ.


This is tomorrow! I don't have an update yet, but I have prayed for God's will to be done.

UPDATE November 16th 2010

11/12/10

VOM–USA Prayer Update for Week of 11-12-2010

The Voice of the Martyrs USA: www.persecution.com

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3–91

PAKISTAN — Asia Bibi Sentenced to Death — VOM Contacts

Proverbs 21:1
The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD,
Like the rivers of water;
He turns it wherever He wishes.


On Nov. 8, Asia Bibi was sentenced to death by a judge in Pakistan, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts. The judge also fined Asia $1,190 (U.S.) and told her she had seven days to appeal the decision. VOM contacts said Asia’s attorney does plan to appeal the sentence. Pray for Asia and her family during this difficult time. Pray that God will turn the heart of the judge in his hand and that Asia’s appeal will be successful. Pray that Christians in Pakistan will continue to stand for Christ.

IRAQ — Muslims Attack Church in Baghdad — VOM Contacts / Compass Direct News

Hebrews 10:32–39
But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:
“ For yet a little while,
And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.
Now the just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him.”

But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

On Oct. 31, Islamic extremists attacked worshipers at the Syrian Catholic Church of Baghdad, killing 59 Christians and severely injuring more than 80 others, according to VOM sources. Several gunmen armed with automatic weapons and explosives entered the church during a worship service and opened fire on worshipers. Two priests were among those killed in the attack. “[This church was attacked] because they are very active, especially among the youth and community,” VOM contacts said. “This church works closely with the United Bible Society and VOM by distributing Bibles and Action Packs in Iraq. This is the second time this church has been targeted; in 2004 it was hit with a car bomb.” A militant organization called the Islamic State of Iraq, which has links to al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Compass Direct News. Following the attack, sources told VOM that churches throughout the city had received death-threat letters, warning them to stop their Christian activities or face similar consequences. The threats have caused many churches to cancel services. VOM contacts reported that on Nov. 2, 16 bombs exploded in Baghdad within an hour, killing 100 people and injuring 380. Pray for Iraqi Christians, especially for the families of those killed and injured in the Oct. 31 attack. Ask God to comfort and minister to them during this difficult time. Pray that in the aftermath of this brutal violence, Iraqi Christians will keep their eyes on Jesus, persevere in faith, and not grow weary or lose heart. Pray for peace and stability in Iraq.

AZERBAIJAN — Police Detain Believers at Christian Celebration — Forum 18 News


Hebrews 12:1–3
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.


Police raided a Christian celebration in Kusar, Azerbaijan, on Oct. 31 and detained four believers, according to Forum 18 News. Eighty members of a Baptist church were gathered in a believer’s home to thank God for the harvest when police arrived and began to interfere with their activities. Police officials turned off the gas and electricity to the house to prevent the believers from preparing their meal. They also took photographs and video of the service and recorded the names of those present. Police then took four believers to a local court, where they were tried on charges of “insulting people.” In a closed hearing, the believers each were given five-day jail terms. The following morning, a church member who went to the police station to check on the men was told that another trial would be held in five days. He also learned that authorities were threatening one believer with a 12-year prison sentence. Ask God to help these four believers stand firm in their faith. Pray that they will be released without further legal action and that God might use their testimony to touch the hearts of those who unjustly detained them.

Pray for the Persecuted Nov. 14

Hebrews 13:3
Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.


Churches across the United States and around the world are preparing to “remember those in bonds” on Nov. 14, the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP). Begun in 1996, IDOP is a day of intercessory prayer and citizen action on behalf of persecuted Christian communities worldwide. Encourage your churches and prayer groups to intercede for persecuted believers around the world.

Add the PrisonerAlert.com application on Facebook by visiting http://apps.facebook.com/prisoneralert/

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

11/11/10

In Touch - How Can I Overcome Depression & Anxiety?


Dr. Charles Stanley of In Touch answers this viewer email: "How can a Christian, overwhelmed by life's difficulties, overcome depression and anxiety?"

Veterans Day


Happy Veterans Day. Thank you veterans, and God bless you all.

11/8/10

Psalm 15

A psalm of David.
1 Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord?
Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?
2 Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right,
speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
3 Those who refuse to gossip
or harm their neighbors
or speak evil of their friends.
4 Those who despise flagrant sinners,
and honor the faithful followers of the Lord,
and keep their promises even when it hurts.
5 Those who lend money without charging interest,
and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent.
Such people will stand firm forever.

11/7/10

Steven Curtis Chapman - Why Jesus?

Holy Spirit Come

Let's not just live with the Holy Spirit, but walk in Him. Let's not just be indwelled with the Holy Spirit, but be full in Him. The Holy Spirit should be our best friend and the One that we can turn to for our counseling, our guidance, help and support.

11/6/10

In Memory of my Grandpa (24 March 1916 - 6 November 2008 and beyond)


My Dad heard this song on the radio the day my Grandpa died. I think God made that happen as a blessing. I always associate this song with my Grandpa.

Weak and wounded sinner,
Lost and left to die,
O, raise your head for love is passing by,

Come to Jesus,
Come to Jesus,
Come to Jesus and live.

Now your burden's lifted,
And carried far away,
And precious blood has washed away the stain... so

Sing to Jesus ,
Sing to Jesus ,
Sing to Jesus and live.

And like a newborn baby,
Don't be afraid to crawl,
And remember when you walk sometimes we fall... so

Fall on Jesus,
Fall on Jesus,
Fall on Jesus and live.

Sometimes the way is lonely,
And steep and filled with pain,
So if your sky is dark and pours the rain... then

Cry to Jesus,
Cry to Jesus,
Cry to Jesus and live.

O, and when the love spills over,
And music fills the night,
And when you can't contain your joy inside... then

Dance for Jesus,
Dance for Jesus,
Dance for Jesus and live.

And with your final heartbeat,
Kiss the world goodbye,
Then go in peace, and laugh on glory's side... and

Fly to Jesus,
Fly to Jesus,
Fly to Jesus and live,

Fly to Jesus,
Fly to Jesus,
Fly to Jesus and live.

11/5/10

Insult Should Not Be A Crime!


This is so crazy. This must be ended. Free speech for all!
when you've been rejected, when you've been trashed out, when you've been made low - as if you're worth nothing at all, when you've been despised and hated - as if you've committed some horrible crime against humanity, when you've been betrayed...the pain, the hurt, the anger, the sadness, the letdown...what do I look up to?...Jesus...there is light

11/4/10

let's get ready to partay!

So looking forward to the weekend after a school week of hardly any sleep, papers and tests. Party time lalalala

11/2/10

Trick-or-Treat Report (Halloween 2010)

I almost forgot to mention my trick-or-treating report from halloween night. I passed out halloween-themed, kid-themed Gospel tracts with candy to trick-or-treaters on halloween. This was my 4th year to do this. I've noticed a significant drop in halloween celebration over the years, which I find ironic given the darkness of the times. But, I received about 27 or 28 kids in a span of about 40 minutes from 7:07PM-7:55PM. Praise God for the opportunity to reach out to the kids with the Gospel!

11/1/10

General Elections (Nov 2nd)

Remember to vote in the general elections, this tuesday, november 2nd. Every vote counts!

10/31/10

Wynonna Judd - Psalm 151 (Touched By An Angel)


This is such a touching moment in an episode of Touched By An Angel called "Psalm 151." It is about a single mother who's son is dying of cancer. He knows that he is dying and there isn't much he can do about it. He tries to accomplish a list of things he wants to finish before he dies. The last thing he needs to accomplish on his list is helping his mother to finish writing a song, as she is a songwriter and stopped writing ages ago. She doesn't want to finish writing her song because it feels like she would be admitting defeat and giving up her son. It pains her so much and she doesn't want it to happen, but she has to be able to accept that her son is probably going to die and she needs to let him go and give Him up to God in peace. So, she finishes the song and as she is performing it for her son in front of a crowd of friends and supporters he passes away in total peace. It is so sad and touching and uplifting and inspirational all at once.

The History of Halloween

from www.History.com

Halloween, celebrated each year on October 31, is a mix of ancient Celtic practices, Catholic and Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions that blended together over time to create the holiday we know today. Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity and life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. Halloween has long been thought of as a day when the dead can return to the earth, and ancient Celts would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off these roaming ghosts. The Celtic holiday of Samhain, the Catholic Hallowmas period of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day and the Roman festival of Feralia all influenced the modern holiday of Halloween. In the 19th century, Halloween began to lose its religious connotation, becoming a more secular community-based children's holiday. Although the superstitions and beliefs surrounding Halloween may have evolved over the years, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people can still look forward to parades, costumes and sweet treats to usher in the winter season.

CONTENTS

* Ancient Origins of Halloween
* Halloween Comes to America
* Today's Traditions
* Superstitions


Ancient Origins of Halloween

Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.

The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of "bobbing" for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints', All Saints', and All Souls', were called Hallowmas.

Halloween Comes to America

As European immigrants came to America, they brought their varied Halloween customs with them. Because of the rigid Protestant belief systems that characterized early New England, celebration of Halloween in colonial times was extremely limited there.

It was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies. As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups, as well as the American Indians, meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge. The first celebrations included "play parties," public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other's fortunes, dance, and sing. Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, America was flooded with new immigrants. These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing Ireland's potato famine of 1846, helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally. Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today's "trick-or-treat" tradition. Young women believed that, on Halloween, they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings, or mirrors.

In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers, than about ghosts, pranks, and witchcraft.

At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season, and festive costumes. Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything "frightening" or "grotesque" out of Halloween celebrations. Because of their efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.

By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide parties as the featured entertainment. Despite the best efforts of many schools and communities, vandalism began to plague Halloween celebrations in many communities during this time. By the 1950s, town leaders had successfully limited vandalism and Halloween had evolved into a holiday directed mainly at the young. Due to the high numbers of young children during the fifties baby boom, parties moved from town civic centers into the classroom or home, where they could be more easily accommodated. Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats. A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6.9 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country's second largest commercial holiday.

Today's Traditions

The American Halloween tradition of "trick-or-treating" probably dates back to the early All Souls' Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called "soul cakes" in return for their promise to pray for the family's dead relatives.

The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as "going a-souling" was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money.

The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.

Superstitions


Halloween has always been a holiday filled with mystery, magic and superstition. It began as a Celtic end-of-summer festival during which people felt especially close to deceased relatives and friends. For these friendly spirits, they set places at the dinner table, left treats on doorsteps and along the side of the road and lit candles to help loved ones find their way back to the spirit world.

Today's Halloween ghosts are often depicted as more fearsome and malevolent, and our customs and superstitions are scarier too. We avoid crossing paths with black cats, afraid that they might bring us bad luck. This idea has its roots in the Middle Ages, when many people believed that witches avoided detection by turning themselves into cats. We try not to walk under ladders for the same reason. This superstition may have come from the ancient Egyptians, who believed that triangles were sacred; it also may have something to do with the fact that walking under a leaning ladder tends to be fairly unsafe. And around Halloween, especially, we try to avoid breaking mirrors, stepping on cracks in the road or spilling salt.

But what about the Halloween traditions and beliefs that today's trick-or-treaters have forgotten all about? Many of these obsolete rituals focused on the future instead of the past and the living instead of the dead. In particular, many had to do with helping young women identify their future husbands and reassuring them that they would someday--with luck, by next Halloween!--be married.

In 18th-century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might bury a ring in her mashed potatoes on Halloween night, hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it. In Scotland, fortune-tellers recommended that an eligible young woman name a hazelnut for each of her suitors and then toss the nuts into the fireplace. The nut that burned to ashes rather than popping or exploding, the story went, represented the girl's future husband. (In some versions of this legend, confusingly, the opposite was true: The nut that burned away symbolized a love that would not last.) Another tale had it that if a young woman ate a sugary concoction made out of walnuts, hazelnuts and nutmeg before bed on Halloween night, she would dream about her future husband. Young women tossed apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands' initials; tried to learn about their futures by peering at egg yolks floating in a bowl of water; and stood in front of mirrors in darkened rooms, holding candles and looking over their shoulders for their husbands' faces.

Other rituals were more competitive. At some Halloween parties, the first guest to find a burr on a chestnut-hunt would be the first to marry; at others, the first successful apple-bobber would be the first down the aisle.

Of course, whether we're asking for romantic advice or trying to avoid seven years of bad luck, each one of these Halloween superstitions relies on the good will of the very same "spirits" whose presence the early Celts felt so keenly. Ours is not such a different holiday after all!

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only.
©1996-2010, A&E Television Networks, All Rights Reserved

http://www.history.com/topics/halloween

10/26/10

Letters To God - Song from the Movie


A young boy fighting cancer writes letters to God, touching lives in his neighborhood and community and inspiring hope among everyone he comes in contact. An unsuspecting substitute postman, with a troubled life of his own, becomes entangled in the boy's journey and his family by reading the letters. They inspire him to seek a better life for himself and his own son he's lost through his alcohol addiction.~IMDB
http://letterstoGodthemovie.com
http://bailee-madison.com

10/24/10

10/22/10

VOM–USA Prayer Update for week of October 22, 2010

The Voice of the Martyrs USA: www.persecution.com
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13–14

IRAN —Pastor Sentenced to Death — VOM Contacts

Matthew 5:44–45
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Christians in Iran are reporting that Pastor Youcef Nardarkhani has been sentenced to death for what is called a “thought crime.” VOM contacts confirm that the pastor’s trial was held in recent weeks in the 11th Chamber of The Assize Court of the province of Gilan, but a formal verdict has not yet been delivered by the court. Pastor Youcef, a leader in the Full Gospel “Church of Iran” network, is one of several members of his church who have been imprisoned. The Iranian government has also threatened his wife with life imprisonment and has threatened to take away their two children, who are currently being cared for by relatives. Pastor Youcef was arrested in October 2009 after protesting a decision by the government requiring that his son study the Quran. Media reports suggest that Pastor Youcef was transferred to Lakan prison, which is supervised by the Political Police of the Islamic Republic. If a death sentence is officially handed down by the court and Pastor Youcef is executed, his would be the first judicial execution of a Christian in Iran in two decades. This arrest is the latest in a series of arrests of believers in Iran in the past year. Eighty-three Christians are known to have been arrested in Iran since the beginning of 2010. Of those, 65 were subsequently released, but 18 are still believed to be in custody. Pray for Pastor Youcef, his family and other believers in prison. Ask God to protect them and to embolden them to proclaim his name in the face of great persecution.

IRAQ — Christian Disappears — VOM Contacts

1 Thessalonians 3:7–9
Therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith. For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.
For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God,

The Voice of the Martyrs contacts in Baghdad, Iraq, report that a Christian woman disappeared several days ago after being caught reading her Bible. VOM contacts are not sure who may have discovered the woman reading the Bible, but Christians in Iraq are concerned for her safety. Pray that God will protect this woman and that Christians will be encouraged during this uncertain time. Praise God for all believers in Iraq.

CHINA — Authorities Harass Christian Attorney — China Aid Association

Matthew 5:10–11
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.”

On Oct. 10, police officers confronted Christian attorney Jiang Tianyong while he was on his way to a worship service in Beijing, according to China Aid Association. As Jiang was walking to church with his wife and child, police officers blocked his way and told him that the deputy director of Yangfangdian Police Station would not allow him to go to church. When Jiang called the station to confirm their claim, he was told that an official from the Haidian Public Security Branch, Song Aixin, was the one preventing him from attending church. Jiang told the officers that he was determined to go to church but said they could follow him if they wished. Then, at a subway station, two young police officers grabbed Jiang from behind. Jiang told his family to leave, then tried to talk with the two officers. They told Jiang that it would be a “serious act of dereliction” if he attended church, and they held him long enough to prevent his church attendance before escorting him home. Pray that Jiang and his family will persevere in faith amid this harassment. Pray that they will continue to yield their hearts to God’s will and demonstrate his love even to their oppressors. Pray that Christians in China will continue to exercise their right to worship, despite opposition.

Add the PrisonerAlert.com application on Facebook by visiting http://apps.facebook.com/prisoneralert/

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

10/19/10

Mouth

Exodus 7:10-17

10 But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.”

11 Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord?

12 Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”

13 But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.”

14 Then the Lord became angry with Moses. “All right,” he said. “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well. And look! He is on his way to meet you now. He will be delighted to see you.

15 Talk to him, and put the words in his mouth. I will be with both of you as you speak, and I will instruct you both in what to do.

16 Aaron will be your spokesman to the people. He will be your mouthpiece, and you will stand in the place of God for him, telling him what to say.

17 And take your shepherd’s staff with you, and use it to perform the miraculous signs I have shown you.”

The Open Door

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:7-8

10/18/10

Stars

I always thought the stars were smaller than the moon. But they're not. They're just farther away.

Psalm 8:3,4,9 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place—what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?...O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

10/17/10

Temple Grandin


I just saw the HBO docu-drama "Temple Grandin" and I think it's wonderful. I had wanted to see it for some time; and I just so happened to come across it at my local library when I was browsing through DVDs to check out.

HBO will premiere an original film based on the inspirational, true story of Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes, on Feb. 6, 2010. Learn more: http://www.hbo.com/movies/temple-grandin

Temple Grandin paints a picture of a young womans perseverance and determination while struggling with the isolating challenges of autism. Grandin became a successful doctor in animal science through her unique connection to animals and is now a world-renowned consultant in the field. She is widely recognized within the animal welfare and livestock-handling industries as a pioneer in the ethical treatment of animals.

Grandin is also a member of the American Humane® Certified farm animal program. American Humane Certified, the farm animal program originated by the American Humane Association, is the nations pre-eminent and fastest-growing monitoring, auditing and labeling program that attests to the humane care and handling of animals raised for food. More about the American Humane Certified program can be found at http://www.thehumanetouch.org.
Bless those who persecute you. Don't curse them, pray that God will bless them; Don't be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:14,21

10/16/10

Christians pray for cancer-stricken atheist Christopher Hitchens

Posted: 08/31/2010

* By Terry Mattingly, Scripps Howard News Service

One of the last things Thomas Peters does each day is face the Cross of St. Benedict that hangs over his bed and says his evening prayers.

The sobering final phrases of the Hail Mary prayer have recently taken on a unique relevancy: "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen."

A month ago, the conservative Catholic writer challenged readers of the American Papist website to join him in praying one Hail Mary a day on behalf of the iconoclastic atheist Christopher Hitchens, who has been stricken with esophageal cancer, a disease that leaves few survivors.

"I am going to begin praying ... for the salvation of his eternal soul," wrote Peters, "that God will be with him 'at the hour of his death,' that God will help his unbelief in this life, and that those he has led away from God will come back to His infinite love and mercy. I am in no way praying for him to die, I am praying for him to live eternally."

Peters is not alone and Hitchens knows it. While some believers hope that he suffers and dies, post haste, the author of "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything" told CNN that he has been surprised that others -- who are "much more numerous, I must say, and nicer" -- are praying for his healing, both body and soul.

This has been one of the strangest side effects of Hitchens' journey across the "stark frontier that marks off the land of malady." This is a zone in which almost everyone is politely encouraging, the jokes are feeble, sex talk is nonexistent and the "cuisine is the worst of any destination I have ever visited," wrote Hitchens, in a Vanity Fair essay. The native tongue in "Tumorville" is built around terms such as "metastasized," phases such as "tissue is the issue" and quotes from the writings of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.

Most of the inhabitants also do quite a bit of praying -- for themselves, for their loved ones and even for suffering people they have never met.

Hitchens told evangelical broadcaster Hugh Hewitt that he remains convinced these prayers "don't do any good, but they don't necessarily do any harm. It's touching to be thought of in that way."

The bottom line, explained Peters, is that his faith asks him to "pray for everyone, even those who hate us. ... Hitch just happens to be a famous public enemy of the faith, so more people know what is happening in this life, so more people are talking about why it's good to pray for him."

While it is "absolutely horrible" that anyone would pray for Hitchens to suffer and die, he added, many believers may find it hard to do more than pray for "God's will to be done." That is the "safe prayer" that is always appropriate.

Meanwhile, a quick Internet scan reveals that some believers are, predictably enough, praying for Hitchens to be converted to Christianity for the sake of his own soul. Others are specifically praying that the scribe who -- with Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins -- is called one of the "four horsemen" of the New Atheism will not only convert, but also become an apologist for faith.

That happened decades ago with an atheist named C.S. Lewis, after all.

"Ultimately, I simply will pray that Hitch has a good and holy death," said Peters. "I really do not care if he has a public conversion. I care that he, somehow, has a private conversion and that he will be reconciled to God."

As much as believers love these kinds of "foxhole conversion" stories, Hitchens is convinced he will not surrender. However, should rumors spread that he has "hedged his bets," the writer has made several public statements warning his admirers that if such cry to the Almighty were to take place, they should ignore it.

"If that comes it will be when I'm very ill, when I am half demented, either by drugs or by pain and I won't have control over what I say," he told CNN. "I can't say that the entity that by then would be me wouldn't do such a pathetic thing. But I can tell you that -- not while I am lucid. No, I could be quite sure of that."

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Contact him at tmattingly@cccu.org or www.tmatt.net .

Copyright 2010 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Pray for his brother Peter Hitchens as well. Though Peter confesses himself to be a Christian, I read that he stated he does not believe in the literal story of Adam and Eve. Therefore, he is having issues with believing in the truth of the Bible.

I Miss Christian Television

I miss being able to watching Christian television on cable. We cut the cable nearly two years ago. Sure, I can watch a lot of Christian programs over the Internet, but it's just not the same; and I don't like being on the Internet too much. Oh well.

VOM–USA Prayer Update for week of October 15, 2010

The Voice of the Martyrs USA: www.persecution.com

Make haste, O God, to deliver me! Make haste to help me, O LORD! Let them be ashamed and confounded who seek my life; let them be turned back and confused who desire my hurt. Let them be turned back because of their shame, who say, “Aha, aha!” Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified!” But I am poor and needy; make haste to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay. Psalm 70

LAOS — Christians Arrested — VOM New Zealand

Psalm 91:1–6
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

On Sept. 18, police arrested 35 Christians in Meung Feung in northern Laos, according to VOM New Zealand. The believers, who were detained while in the area for a tree-planting project, are very active in sharing the gospel and have helped lead many people to the Lord. Thirty of the Christians were released, including the mother of a four-month-old child, but at last report five were still being held. Believers in the area are deeply concerned for the welfare of the five still in detention. Pray for the release of the five believers, and pray that God will strengthen their faith as they face this persecution. In addition, pray that God will grant boldness and wisdom to Laotian Christians as they share the love of Christ amid ongoing harassment and threats of imprisonment.

CHINA — Police Raid House Church — China Aid Association

Romans 12:14
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

On Sept. 26, police and security officers raided a house church meeting in Youqing, Sichuan province, China, detaining and beating church members, according to China Aid Association. Authorities, who claimed the Christian gathering was illegal, took 20 believers to the police station for interrogation. Five were released after their families posted bail, but the others remained in detention for several hours before being released. While in detention, two of the believers were reportedly beaten by the police station’s director. When some of the Christians returned to the station the next day to retrieve their property, five were sentenced to 15 days in detention for “disrupting the public order under the guise of religion.” During the raid, authorities smashed a desk and about 30 benches, and they also confiscated Christian books and 500 Yuan (US$29). Praise God for the faithfulness of Chinese Christians who continue to meet for worship despite the risk. Pray that those who were beaten will be strengthened and fully restored to health.

ALGERIA — Christians Acquitted —Australian Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission

Matthew 10:19–20
And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

On Oct. 5, a court in the Kabylie region of Algeria acquitted Christian converts Hocine Hocini and Salem Fellak of the charge of “non-compliance with a precept of Islam.” The men had been arrested for eating lunch during Ramadan. Also in Algeria, four Protestant leaders were to have appeared in court on Oct. 10 on the charge of “practicing non-Muslim worship without authorization.” Pastor Yahou Mahmoud and elders Raid Abdenour, Mokrani Nacer and Haouedj Idir lead a fellowship affiliated with the Protestant Church of Algeria, a large nationally accredited denomination. The outcome of their hearing is unknown. Thank the Lord for the acquittal of Hocine Hocini and Salem Fellak and for the support they received from many Christians across Algeria. Pray that the Lord will use the case of the Protestant leaders to strengthen his church and further the spread of the gospel in Algeria.

Add the PrisonerAlert.com application on Facebook by visiting http://apps.facebook.com/prisoneralert/

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

www.persecution.com

Hollywood Prayer Network October Newsletter

Dear HPN Pray-ers,

It’s October already and LA is totally decorated in orange for Halloween – the 2nd biggest retail holiday in America, after Christmas. So, let’s pray for God to give people wisdom in responding to the holiday festivities. It’s actually the only day of the year where we can go over to any of our neighbors houses, ring their doorbells and introduce ourselves to them, without needing a reason to do so.

UPDATES:

• Please continue to pray for marriages in Hollywood. They are always under attack because the business often becomes our priority, sucks up our time, and leaves the family coming in second (or third, after God, who is usually second to the industry). It's very destructive. For non-believers it's even worse for they often have no other priority than "getting ahead".

• Continue to pray for Lindsay Lohan. She is back in the news for failing a required drug test. Regardless of what the media is saying Lindsay needs our continued prayers. She is obviously crying out. Here is an excerpt from her recent Tweet: "Regrettably, I did in fact fail my most recent drug test and if I am asked, I am prepared to appear before judge Fox next week as a result...Substance abuse is a disease, which unfortunately doesn't go away over night. I am working hard to overcome it and am taking positive steps...forward every day. I am testing every single day and doing what I must do to prevent any mishaps in the future...This was certainly a setback for me but I am taking responsibility for my actions and I'm prepared to face the consequences...I am so thankful for the support of my fans, loved ones and immediate family, who understand that I am trying hard...but also that I am a work in progress, just as anyone else. I am keeping my faith, and I am hopeful.” May Lindsay find complete healing from Jesus.

PRAISES:

• We praise God that almost 20,000 HPN media packets have been sent out across the US and to over 47 countries. We are so thankful that more and more people around the world are seeing Hollywood as the world’s most influential mission field and wanting to be a part of our network to pray for the people creating the world’s entertainment. If you haven’t received an HPN media packet then just email Caren@hpnemail.org and we’ll send you one right away. It includes our DVD “The Hollywood Tribe” a brochure listing the 18 Christian ministries in Hollywood and tips on how to be praying more specifically for Hollywood.

REQUESTS:

• Let’s pray for Michael Eisner, ex-CEO of the Walt Disney Company, the other featured speakers, and the decisions that will come out of The Entertainment and Technology Summit held in Santa Monica next week. As keynote speaker, Michael will lead the Summit as they discuss what the consumers’ tastes are and how technology can meet those needs through entertainment. May the Lord intervene and allow them to consider the tastes of Christian consumers and may He soften their hearts as they analyze the American audience and the technology used in our entertainment. For more info. on the Summit, click here.

• Pray for the family and friends of Stephen J. Cannell, the prolific television writer and producer who co-created "The Rockford Files" and "The A-Team" later becoming a bestselling novelist. He died early this month and is an icon in the TV world and yet there is nothing revealed about his spiritual life. May the Lord touch the hearts of those who loved him, and admired him and lead them to Jesus as they mourn the loss of this creative man. For more info on his life, click here.

• Let’s pray for the outspoken atheist author and columnist for Vanity Fair, Christopher Hitchens, who is struggling to survive with cancer. Christians are now praying for writer of the 2007 book “God is Not Great” all over the world. They want to see him find God before his death. Let’s join others in praying for this man whom God loves SO MUCH. For how to pray for Mr. Hitchens, click on this article.

• Please be praying for Glen Keane, a wonderful member of our community and creator of TANGLED, the Disney animated film based on the Rapunzel fairy tale. Glen says, “From the start of this film I wanted this to be a story about a girl with a supernatural gift that could not be held back...it had to be shared. Her gift is a transforming one, a healing gift.” May God give Glen confirmation, on November 24th, when the film opens across the country, that his work at Disney is making an eternal difference.

• Pray for PEACE to replace FEAR in the hearts of both Christian and Non-Christian entertainment professionals. Most decisions here are made out of fear. We need to find peace and joy in what God wants for us and we want those who don't know about God have to find Him in order to replace their fear with love.

• Pray for supernatural love and unity among the believers here. The enemy wants to keep us divided so that we are ineffective. We have to have wisdom to resist the devil and love even the "unlovable" in order to build community and be a powerful presence in Hollywood. The pre-Christians will know that we are Christians by our love for one another and it will draw them to Jesus. We must be full of grace, forgiveness and love!

• Pray for more Christian leaders to rise up in Hollywood, who are totally sold out to the Lord. We want Christian men, in particular, who will take the lead to challenge others in the faith, in their daily walk with the Lord, in their
service to others and to their trust in the Lord to guide them in their careers.

REQUESTS FROM HPN MEMBERS:

• Let’s pray for Jennifer, who just graduated from college last May and is trying to pay her rent as she pursues a career in Hollywood. After finally finding a part-time job, her hours have been cut and she not able to meet her bills. She says: “Last week I got a call from my parents saying that they can no longer help me pay for things, so if I cannot pay December's rent I will have to move back home.” Jennifer needs wisdom to know what God’s plan is for her and what her part is in meeting her financial and physical needs, while trying to stand strong in pursuing what she believes is exactly what He wants her to do. Jennifer represents thousands of creative people who find that pursuing a career here does not allow them to make an income. Would you ask the Lord to guide these precious people in the next step and to move Christians outside of Hollywood to pray for and to support blossoming artists who sometimes need financial support to keep going, just like missionaries on a foreign mission field receive support!

• Pray for Tim who is also struggling to survive right now. He asked us to pray for him. He emailed: “Please forgive me for being a bother. Work has run-out for me again. Please pass my name on if you hear of any work that I might do. Thanks for your help. God Bless.” Tim

• Please pray with Ohio HPN Local Chapter Director Megan Stauffer. She asked us to pray for her boyfriend Sam. “He is working on an indie feature in Pittsburgh. It's a 22 day shoot and it is his first feature. Pray for physical strength and for him to stay strong in his walk with God and that he could be a light to those around him. Thanks!” Megan (http://www.hollywoodprayernetwork.org/local-chapter/canfield)

• HPN West Virginia Local Chapter Director Robin Knotts asks us to take action as we pray for Lindsay Lohan. She emailed us: “This is great....check this out. Mr. Positive says: ‘It dawned on me the other day that people are so quick to watch the decline and struggle of someone famous and there’s so few that speak up and offer encouragement.’ I'm glad he wants and feels the need to do something. I am sending Lindsey a card and praying for her!!’” Check out this link to learn how to write an encouraging note to Lindsay as she is in rehab.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Every Wednesday at noon there is an industry prayer time in Wiley Chapel at Hollywood Presbyterian Church. Please pray with the group or even come and pray at "God Can Do It Again." For more info, email Burt Swardstrom at burts99@gmail.com.

• Every 2nd and 4th Thursday from 7:00 – 8:00pm there is an industry prayer time in Wiley Chapel at Hollywood Presbyterian Church. Again, either pray with us from wherever you are or join us those evenings. For more info, email Caren Bream at Caren@hpnemail.org.

• Thursday, November 18th is our next Worship evening. Come worship the Lord with us in the Wylie Chapel at the Hollywood Presbyterian Church (1760 N. Gower St., Hollywood, CA 90028) from 7:30 to 9:30 pm!

• There are more and more prayer groups, Bible studies, fellowship groups, screenings, Festivals and weekly events for Christians in Hollywood. If you want to find out all that is going on you can click on: http://hollywoodconnect.com/events.

Thanks so much for praying with us and for us. May you have a blessed month and a confidence that you are making an eternal impact by praying for the world’s most influential mission field!

Love,
Karen and Caren

TIP OF THE MONTH:
Rejection is not fatal. Read a good reminder that rejection is only temporary at http://www.philcooke.com/rejection

QUOTE OF THE MONTH:
"Almost every definition I find of being a Christian is also a definition of being an artist." Madeleine L'Engle

VERSE OF THE MONTH:

“Then Moses said to the Israelites, "See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts - to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship.” Exodus 25:30-33

http://www.hollywoodprayernetwork.org/new/welcome