The Symbolism of Cain & Abel

As I was sitting in my Sociology class hearing a discussion on the topic of murder I suddenly started to think about the origins of murder in human beings. I started to recall the story of Cain and Abel in the Bible. There are a lot of incidents that are recorded in the Bible that have a lot of meaning to them. It's more than just the fact that it happened, but it's like there is always more than one message that you are getting from a story. For example, I've heard some Biblical scholars say that the story of Ruth and Naomi in the Bible is more than just a story of two women. But, that it is also a message of Gentiles (pagans/non-believers of God) turning from their non-belief to God (Ruth) and becoming one of God's people (Naomi). Well, as I thought about the story of Cain and Abel I started to recall all of the little details, such as the sacrifice, the blood and the mark. I thought of Adam and Eve's sin resulting in the death of an animal which eventually leads to the requirement of animal sacrifice for the blood which then leads to the sacrifice of Jesus and His blood. I thought of the sacrifices that Cain and Abel brought to God. God was pleased with Abel's (because it was an animal that could be sacrificed which would result in the blood atonement which is a picture of the blood atonement of Jesus' death on the cross) and was displeased with Cain's (because it was the fruit of his labor aka "works" which doesn't result in salvation). I also started to think about how Cain tried to kill Abel. Now, there might be more to it than this, but it did remind me of how the devil always wanted to kill Jesus to prevent Jesus from sacrificing His life on the cross and shedding His blood. Then, afterward Cain is required of God to be outcast and wear a mark. I immediately thought of the "mark of the beast" in the anti-christ, as if Cain is symbolic of the anti-christ. So, anyway, I just thought it was an interesting insight and wanted to share.


The Art of Thinking 'Lightly'

by John Paul Jackson

In last month's eletter, I suggested you begin each day with this thought: Today, God desires me.

It is a simple statement that is always true, and every time we accept it as truth and then pursue it as truth, we are being active in renewing our minds, which Paul talks about in Romans 12:2:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Paul was saying that as we renew our minds - as our thought habits and patterns transform to become heavenly oriented - hidden things become visible. The will of God suddenly becomes clear.

Meditate on the Light
What does it mean to think "heavenly"?

Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things. - Philippians 4:8

Some versions of the Bible say, "Think on these things." In other words, we need to order our thoughts in the right direction. We need to think about whatever is true, pure, just, noble, holy, virtuous and praiseworthy.

The process of setting our minds on these things actually guards our thoughts, so that we think the right thoughts and then make the right choices based on those right thoughts. Our attitudes begin to change, as well as what we expect to happen in our lives.

Where will you put your focus today?
What happens when we fill our vision with God? What happens when His thinking becomes our thinking? "For as [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). Light and darkness cannot occupy the same space. When we are making the right choices because our renewed minds are now thinking the right thoughts, God is justified to act on our behalf. The issues and struggles that confined us in the past begin to disappear. The favor and assistance of Heaven become clear and visible in our lives.

It starts with a choice. Where will you put your focus today? Will you seek to renew your mind, or will you take the same mental path you have taken before?

Our attention is a powerful entity; we nurture whatever we are focused on. If our focus is things of the world - things that are not true, that are not pure or lovely - we will see growth in worldly thinking. If our focus is God, we will see growth in heavenly thinking, and the impact of the latter will persist for generations, because the choices we make and the thoughts we think today will affect how we live the rest of our lives.

A choice lies before you. Make the decision to actively renew your mind. Think "light" thoughts. Dwell on the truths of God and then watch as the darkness drains away.



Was There Really a Noah’s Ark & Flood?

by Ken Ham & Tim Lovett
October 11, 2007

The account of Noah and the Ark is one of the most widely known events in the history of mankind. Unfortunately, like other Bible accounts, it is often taken as a mere fairy tale. The Bible, though, is the true history book of the universe, and in that light, the most-asked questions about the Ark and Flood of Noah can be answered with authority and confidence.

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Voice of the Martyrs - Prayer Update for week of march 25, 2011

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

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Malaysia—Impounded Bibles Released—VOM Sources, Compass Direct News

Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Two shipments of Bibles that had been impounded by Malaysian port authorities were finally released in March, according to VOM sources. In January, authorities at Malaysia’s Kuching Port impounded 30,000 copies of the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs in the Malay language. The Bibles were imported by a local branch of Gideons International for distribution in schools, churches and communities. An earlier shipment of 5,100 Bibles was detained in Port Klang in March 2009. Officials said the Bibles could not be distributed because they “contained words which are also found in the Quran.” Christians saw the impoundments as a systematic plan to deny Christians in Malaysia access to the Bible in Malay. Hundreds had called for the Bibles to be released, and, thanks to God, all 35,000 have now been released. Under current law, they must be stamped “For Christians Only.”Because of the requirement to add the stamp, the receiving organization is refusing to take the books. Praise God for the release of these Bibles and ask for the situation to be resolved soon.

China—Christian Publisher Doing Well After Release—China Aid Association

Isaiah 61:1
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,
Because the LORD has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Shi Weihan is back with his wife and two children after three years in prison. He was released Feb. 9, 2011, and is in a stable condition both mentally and physically. Shi Weihan led a house church in Beijing and also published Christian literature. He was arrested on Nov. 28, 2007, as he collected a shipment of Bibles. He was released on Jan. 4, 2008, but was re-arrested on March 9, 2008. More than a year later, he was sentenced to three years in prison and fined 150,000 yuan on a charge of “illegal business operation.” Praise God for his release and good health. Continue to pray for him as he re-adjusts to life with his family. Also pray for other imprisoned Chinese Christians, such as Yang Rongli, Alimujiang Yimiti, and Li Ying.

Indonesia—Persecutors Receive Light Sentences—Compass Direct News

Psalm 55:22
Cast your burden on the LORD,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

Christians in Indonesia were disappointed this week by the light sentences given to Islamic extremists who injured two church leaders. A court in West Java issued sentences ranging from just five to seven months to those involved in the Sept. 12, 2010, clubbing of Rev. Luspida Simanjuntak and stabbing of elder Hasian Lumbantoruan Sihombing of the Batak Christian Protestant Church. An attorney for the church said the planner of the attack, who is head of a chapter of the Islamic Defenders Front, received a sentence of only five months and 15 days for “disorderly conduct,” even though he could have been prosecuted for incitement and joint assault. The man who stabbed a church elder was given a seven-month sentence, and a man who clubbed Pastor Simanjuntak received a six-month sentence. In response to the sentences, Pastor Simanjuntak said, “With heavy hearts, we accept the verdict.” Pray that Christians in Indonesia will remain strong in faith even when they aren’t supported by their community.

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


Prisoner Alert Update - Nguyen Van Dai

from prisoneralert.com

Praise the Lord that human rights lawyer and religious freedom advocate Nguyen Van Dai has been released from prison in Vietnam after serving his four-year sentence. He must still fulfill a four year administrative, or "house arrest," sentence.

Please continue to pray for Nguyen Van Dai and Christians in Vietnam.

In May 2008, Nguyen Van Dai, a Vietnamese Protestant church leader and lawyer, was sentenced to five years in prison and followed by four years of house arrest. Nguyen was accused of a wide range of crimes, including “conspiring with terrorists, in their efforts to promote human rights efforts, including religious rights and democracy.” He was also accused of compiling “evidence of Vietnam’s suppression of the Protestant religion and providing it to the U.S.-based Committee for Religious Freedom in Vietnam and the U.S. embassy.”


How do we know that the Bible is true?

How Do We Know that the Bible Is True?
by Dr. Jason Lisle, AiG–U.S.
March 22, 2011

The Bible is an extraordinary work of literature, and it makes some astonishing claims. It records the details of the creation of the universe, the origin of life, the moral law of God, the history of man’s rebellion against God, and the historical details of God’s work of redemption for all who trust in His Son. Moreover, the Bible claims to be God’s revelation to mankind. If true, this has implications for all aspects of life: how we should live, why we exist, what happens when we die, and what our meaning and purpose is. But how do we know if the claims of the Bible are true?

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Voice of the Martyrs Prayer Update for week of march 18, 2011

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

INDIA--Attacks Against Christians Continue in Orissa State--Compass Direct News

Hindu extremists continue their attacks against ethnic minority Christians in Orissa state. In the latest incident, about 60 members of the Hindu nationalist RSS group beat one Christian unconscious and destroyed the eardrums of another. The extremists have raided prayer meetings and attacked churches, beating the Christians in attendance. Their victims have included women, including some who were pregnant, and children. Fearing more attacks, at least four families have left their village and not returned. Orissa was the scene of widespread attacks against Christians in 2008. Since Dec. 8, 2010, Christians in the Malkangiri district have been attacked 15 times. One of the worst raids was on Christmas day, when about 200 extremists burst into a church in Kovi Konda and seriously injured several Christians. Pray for all Christians in the district. Pray that they will remain strong in their faith, and ask God to heal the injured. Also pray that their persecutors will come to Christ.

Proverbs 13:16-17

IRAN--New Convert Detained in Widespread Arrests--Mohabat News

A new convert to Christianity was among the more than 20 Christians arrested over the past few months in Iran. Khalil Yarali, a new believer, was arrested Jan. 15, 2011, in Ahwaz, Iran. Ahwaz is in southwestern Iran, about 500 miles from Tehran. Khalil had reported to the headquarters of the intelligence office in Ahwaz several times over the course of three weeks, after being summoned by security police. When he reported on Jan. 15, he was detained. After his arrest, security personnel went to Khalil's house and confiscated some of his belongings. Khalil was held in solitary confinement for 28 days before being transferred to Karoon Prison. He has undergone intense interrogation but has not been charged. Authorities have given no explanation for his arrest. Please pray for Khalil and his family. Pray also for the other Iranian believers who were arrested in the mass sweep during December and January.

Psalm 44:22-26

VIETNAM--Families of Prisoners Suffering and Waiting--VOM Sources

The families of Christian prisoners in Vietnam face many difficulties, including financial hardship and sickness. In addition, wives are left without husbands and children without fathers. Families are rarely able to visit their imprisoned family member, and children can't afford to go to school because the family has no income. A VOM worker in Vietnam recently sent reports on 51 families of prisoners. The wife of one Christian prisoner said, "In the prison camp, my husband has not enough food to eat but has to work hard." Another wife of a prisoner said, "Our family keeps faithful to God, although sometimes we are weak." The workers who visit the families of prisoners have a difficult and dangerous job bringing encouragement to the families. They travel to many villages to meet the families and help arrange visits to the prisons, which are often far away. "Thank you for helping us," wrote one family member. "May God give you and your family his abundant blessings." Pray for the release of Christians in Vietnam. Pray also for the families of prisoners, that their physical needs will be met and that they will be encouraged through the Holy Spirit.

Jeremiah 49:11


St. Patrick

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of Christianity’s most recognizable figures. But for all his celebrity, his life remains something of a mystery.

It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents, either toward the end of the fourth century or the beginning of the fifth. Although his dad was a Christian deacon, there is no evidence that Patrick was particularly religious. At the age of sixteen, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family’s estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years as a slave in captivity. (There is some dispute over where this took place. Although many believe he was taken to live in Mount Slemish in County Antrim, it is more likely that he was held in County Mayo near Killala.) During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian.

After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, God’s voice spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland. To do so, Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo to the Irish coast.

On his return to his family in Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation—an angel in a dream told him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than fifteen years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission: to minister to the few Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish.

Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used bonfires to celebrate easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish, and used the three-leaved shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity. There is also the legend that he drove the snake from Ireland, although scientists are now certain that there never were snakes on the island; some scholars have argued that the snakes were symbolic of Druids.

St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th is believed to be the date of Patrick’s death, although there is some doubt, most recent evidence points to 493 AD as the year. Patrick’s spectacular success in converting Ireland from a pagan to a Christian land, as well as the body of legend that developed around his work have ensured that he is commemorated in Ireland and wherever Irish immigrants have settled throughout the world—from Boston to Singapore.

© 1996-2011 A&E Television Networks. All Rights Reserved
Happy St. Patrick's Day !

Christianmovies.com End Time/Prophecy Movie Sale

www.christianmovies.com is having a sale on "End Times" and prophecy movies. Some of them are only $4.97. Might want to check them out. I myself have seen many of them and they are so interesting. They really make you think and for someone that doesn't know Jesus it might make them think more about it as well. Some of my favorites are Unidentified, The Moment After and End of the Harvest.


Unidentified Trailer

In Unidentified two journalist friends, one Christian and the other not, are sent by their editor to write a story, and to investigate reports of alien abductions and UFO sightings from various people in a particular town. The journalists think it's more of a joke and just want to get the story over with, but the only problem is that none of these witnesses will talk about it when approached by the journalists. This eventually leads the journalists to question this bizarre mystery and dig deeper into the story only to realize this is much more than a UFO/alien hoax, but there is a deeper spiritual meaning to all of this.

The Moment After Trailer

This movie is about what happens to the world right after the Rapture. The story focuses particularly on two FBI agents who come to realize the truth of what is happening.

End of the Harvest Trailer

This story is about an overly-confident guy that wants to convince two atheists at his college that God is real. He stages a debate, but caves in at the last minute. His friend, who has a strong faith in God and is very knowledgeable of the Bible and End Times prophecy, "bails" out his friend and takes his place in the debate. What he reveals in the debate really makes the others think twice about God and the end of the world as we know it.


Sometimes I think, "If Jesus were to come back today, would I be ready?"

“The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. 35 You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. 36 Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. 37 I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!” Mark 13:34-37

Can a saved person backslide and be lost? (Ask Dr. Stanley)

Dr. Charles Stanley of In Touch answers this viewer question: "How can a person be saved, backslide into a life of sin, and still be saved for all eternity?"

Hollywood Prayer Network Newsletter (march)

Dear HPN Pray-ers,

Happy almost St. Patrick's Day! As we begin to share what is happening here in Hollywood let's take a moment and pray for Japan, that the Lord would pour out His grace over that nation and send His comfort and aid.

In this beautiful month, our community has made it through a huge Awards month and now we’re in the middle of TV Pilot Season. Thank you for your faithful prayers through these challenging and rewarding times. As you continue to pray with us for the entertainment industry we hope to give you more insight into how Hollywood works. We believe that you can pray with more wisdom if you have a greater understanding of the culture, people, traditions, things worshipped and language that combine to form the unique culture of the place we call home, Hollywood. One great resource for understanding this, the world’s most influential mission field is the TMZ or the Thirty Mile Zone!


• Continue to ask God to guide Justin Bieber as he makes life decisions
• Would you pray with us for God’s continued financial provision for HPN?!
• Praise God that a lovely Christian woman is highlighted on 'Secret Millionaire'
• Praise God for U2’s lead singer BONO and his deep faith in the Lord
• We must pray for Charlie Sheen, who is on the road to self-destruction
• Pray for Anthony Hopkins and his faith journey
• Pray for the dangerous influence of Scientology on our industry
• Our industry is full of broken, hurting people who need prayer
• Please pray for an HPN friend Barry, who asked for prayer as he produces
• Pray for God’s presence at NAB, the world’s largest technology convention
• Pray for comedian Ricky Gervais, who hosted the Golden Globes in January
• Our prayer for you, the viewers, is that you will have compassion for artists
• Check out our industry’s upcoming events and pray


• Continue to pray for Justin Bieber. As a 17 year old he is faced with unnatural life situations, public judgment and private difficult decisions that are challenging even for mature adults. Please remember the challenges that come with being a celebrity and for a teen-ager making wise decisions, acting always as a mature adult and being careful of every word he says, it is humanly impossible. He and his mom, Pattie, need our prayers for continued strength, protection, wisdom and peace. Click here for an updated clip of Pattie’s about how we can be praying for Justin and read about the prayer campaign that HPN is also supporting for Pattie and Justin: http://catholicexchange.com/jb/

• Would you pray with us for God’s continued financial provision for HPN?! We are at our highest growth in members, prayer opportunities and open doors to share our vision, but we are at our lowest point financially. We know that God is faithful and we don’t question His plans or provision, but in our hour of need, we ask you to hold up our arms in prayer so that we will be strengthened by you and He will hear the prayers of the saints all over the world for our mission and our ministry! If you would like to financial partner with HPN click HERE. We look forward to reporting great miracles!


• Praise God that a lovely Christian woman is highlighted on 'Secret Millionaire'. Let’s be encouraged by a show that is lifting up a woman who is boldly living out her commitment to the Lord. Though ABC has cut the references to her personal faith in Christ, Dani Johnson’s story is told about her generosity to the needy and her servant’s heart. Check out her story and if you want to tell ABC how much you appreciate her segment write to them at: ABC, Inc. 500 S. Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521-4551 And read about Dani at: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/movies/interviews/2011/secretmillionpublic.html
• Praise God for U2’s lead singer BONO and his deep faith in the Lord. He is a role model for young music lovers and we need to recognize God working through him. Read this interview with BONO, who expresses his faith so beautifully. It should be an inspiration to us all: to inspire the curious, empower the believers and challenge the skeptics. When you’re done reading, pass it the link to your friends and family.


• We must pray for Charlie Sheen, who was the world’s #1 TV star last month and this month he is unemployed, desperate and out of control. He has serious emotional and addictive issues and he needs healing. Our friend Terri wrote a comment on facebook that we found, reminding us that as Christians that must respond differently than the rest of the world, when it comes to judging, gossiping about or ignoring people who are hurting, broken and so lost. Instead, let's pray for Charlie, who needs medical help, spiritual help and God's unconditional love, now more than ever. Let's have our prayers be for Charlie's heart to be healed, so that he has hope for a better future. That only comes through the love and transforming power of Jesus. To read Terri's note and even respond, Click HERE.

• Pray for Anthony Hopkins and his faith journey as he talks openly about his latest film THE RITE, a film about a man who lost his faith. In a wonderful interview on Charlie Rose,! Anthony talked about his own belief in God. Let’s pray for his hunger for truth, peace and contentment. To hear the interview click HERE.

• Pray for the dangerous influence of Scientology on our industry, on the city of Hollywood and on the whole world. A successful and respected screenwriter, Paul Haggis, who was a devoted member of Scientology, has come out publically with the falsehoods, lies and schemes of the cult. Let’s pray that the revelation of the lies will spread. Let’s also pray for protection for vulnerable people and an end to the growth of this deception in spite of its effective media and celebrity spokespeople. To learn about Paul’s experience click HERE.

• Our industry is full of broken, hurting people. Most industry professionals are spiritually starving and those who are seeking truth often land on a false belief or reject the faith that they learned as a child. We can bring up many stories of unknown, struggling artists who get in horrible situations because of the loss of or absence of faith. But often the people in the limelight merely represent thousands of others who are following the same path. So, since we cahttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifn’t name them all, let’s pray for Miley Cyrus and all the others like her, who have wandered from the faith of their childhood. As you pray, click on this insightful interview with her dad, Billy Ray.

• Please pray for an HPN friend Barry, who has realized that as he produces his independent film, he can’t get anywhere without prayer. He represents so many Christian filmmakers who are producing commercial films and seeking God in the process. We should pray for protection for Barry and for Barry to fall more in love with Jesus along the way. You can even email him a prayer at: Barry@landisentertainment.com or on his website at: http://www.linksofutopia.com/cms/

• Pray for the powerful presence of God to be found at the world’s largest technology convention this April. At the 86th Annual NAB Show, April 9 – 14 in Las Vegas, 90,000+ media and entertainment professionals from over 150 countries and 1,200+ members of the press gather to purchase content, technology and share the latest information on what’s new in our industry. It’s also a spiritually dark place for many who are surrounded by temptations throughout the week. We want the attendees to have a miraculous encounter with God at this gathering where one would least expect to find Him. As you pray, click HERE to understand more about the event.

• Pray for comedian Ricky Gervais, who hosted the Golden Globes in January and was so mean spirited that he caused quite a stir. Many expected that he would be ostracized for his comments and yet, within a month of the controversy, he was invited back to host the 2012 Golden Globes. It appears that people love jokes told at the expense of others. In fact, some people felt the people Ricky targeted deserved it. He ended the evening with “And I thank God... That I'm an atheist." Let’s ask the Lord to surprise Ricky with an experience of Jesus’ unconditional love, and that this formula will no longer be true in Hollywood: funny + good ratings/ tons of press = acceptance. For more info: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1657016/ricky-gervais-golden-globes-invited-him-back-2012.jhtml


• Our prayer for you, the viewers, is that you will understand that art always reflects or projects culture in society. God’s first act was creation and when He was finished He said, “It is good.” We pray that you will understand the crucial role of the creative artist in society and know that God highly values the work of the artist. They are needed to keep His heart and soul in our culture. If you, the audience, can value the work of the artist then you will be more supportive of the need to pray for and encourage the people in Hollywood and the global creative community. We don’t have to love their choices or their lifestyles – those we should be praying about. But we must acknowledge their importance in our world and lift them up to the Lord.


• HPN is sponsoring a Spring Bible study for women on Beth Moore's "Living Beyond Yourself" - an 11 week adventure into exploring the Fruit of the Spirit – starting Thurs., March 31 at 7pm at the HPN offices. For more info email Kathy Young at: coach4crossroads@yahoo.com or check out the website at: www.hope4hollywood.org/HPN

• Prayer for Hollywood every Wednesday from 12 Noon – 1pm in Wylie Chapel at FPCH. For more info email: Burts99@gmail.com

• The Annual Biola Media Conference is coming up on Saturday, April 30th. It’s the largest gathering of Christian entertainment professionals in the world and you are invited. You can see details about the conference at http://biolamedia.com or to register just click this link: http://biola.me/cFAI9o

• Join our industry professionals and local pastors at Bel Air Presbyterian Church on May 5th at 7:30pm for the National Day of Prayer gathering. We’re spending 90 minutes in prayer and worship for our country, state, city and our industry, followed by 30 minutes of personal prayer. We want all of LA to gather on the hill with us to spend the evening with God in corporate prayer! For more info, click HERE.

• For other Christian events in Hollywood, click here: http://www.hollywoodconnect.com/events/upcoming

Thanks so much for praying with us. We believe that praying for Hollywood will bring cultural revival.

Karen and Caren

TIP OF THE MONTH: Pilot Season – Can they deliver what the shows pre-natal hype has promised?

QUOTE OF THE MONTH: "Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me." Saint Patrick

VERSE OF THE MONTH: "I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God." Isaiah 61:10

If you feel led to support HPN, just click here for on-line giving or contact information for sending a check. All gifts are tax-deductible. Thank you so much. http://www.hollywoodprayernetwork.org/section/support


Is the Old Testament Reliable?

Answers in Genesishttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
by Brian Edwards
March 8, 2011

Across the world every week, millions of Christians listen to thousands of sermons from the Bible, a book that begins at the dawn of history itself. Why do they listen? The answer is that Christians believe the Bible to be both reliable and relevant to the need of twenty-first century people to learn about their God and how they should live to please Him. But must they have blind, unreasonable faith to believe the Bible to be true? Or are there sound reasons that the Bible, and specifically for this chapter, the Old Testament, can be accepted as reliable in every part?

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Widespread destruction from Japan earthquake, tsunamis

from CNN.com

Tokyo (CNN) -- The most powerful earthquake to hit Japan in recorded history struck Friday off the island nation, killing hundreds of people, collapsing buildings, igniting widespread fires and unleashing 30-foot walls of water.

The 8.9-magnitude quake caused tsunami waves to form that swept across rice fields, engulfed entire towns, dragged houses onto highways, and tossed cars and boats like toys. Some waves reached six miles (10 kilometers) inland in Miyagi Prefecture on Japan's east coast.

In addition to the hundreds dead, hundreds more were missing, Japanese media reported, citing local and national police. Tens of thousands of people were displaced, according to Japan's Kyodo News Agency.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the "enormously powerful" earthquake had caused "tremendous damage over a wide area."

The quake, which struck at 2:46 p.m. (12:46 a.m. ET), prompted the U.S. National Weather Service to issue tsunami warnings for at least 50 countries and territories, although initial reports as the waves hit outside of Japan indicated no damage.

The epicenter of the main quake Friday was off Miyagi Prefecture, about 230 miles (370 kilometers) from Tokyo, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Japanese broadcasters reported collapsed buildings, power outages and transportation disruptions throughout Japan. In Tokyo, 230 miles from the hardest-hit areas, rail service was suspended, elevated highways were shut down early Saturday and surface streets remained jammed as commuters continued trying to get to their homes in outlying areas.

Video aired by Japanese broadcaster NHK showed extensive fires in Miyagi and widespread fires in the port city of Hakodate, in the southern part of Hokkaido island in northern Japan. An oil refinery was burning in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo, according to NHK, and firefighters could not get close enough to fight it because of the heat. And Kyodo News said fires could be seen in extensive areas of Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture.

Also in Miyagi, officials reported that a train had derailed and authorities had lost contact with four trains in coastal areas, Kyodo reported, citing the East Japan Railway Company.

And a dam in Fukushima Prefecture failed, washing away homes, Kyodo reported. There was no immediate word of casualties, but the Defense Ministry said 1,800 homes were destroyed.

The National Weather Service sent a warning to 50 countries and territories it said could be affected by the tsunami.

Scores of aftershocks jarred the country Saturday, punctuated by a pair of strong earthquakes in the early morning, including one with a magnitude of 7.1 and another with a magnitude of 6.6.

Japan's trade minister, Banri Kaieda, said a small radiation leak could occur at the Fukushima nuclear plant, Japan's Kyodo News Agency reported Saturday.

Prime Minister Kan was planning to inspect the plant, according to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano.

The government had ordered the evacuation of residents nearest the plant as efforts to keep it cool after it was shut were initially hampered.

The official death toll stood at 184, with hundreds more injured and missing, according to Kyodo, citing police, but that death toll seemed almost certain to rise -- from 200 to 300 bodies have been found in the coastal city of Sendai alone, said NHK, citing police who said the victims may have been struck by a massive tsunami.

Kyodo predicted the death toll would surpass 1,000.

The news agency, citing Japan's defense forces, also said 60,000 to 70,000 people were being evacuated to shelters in the Sendai area of Miyagi Prefecture.

The prime minister said an emergency task force had been activated, and he appealed for calm. The government dispatched 8,000 troops to assist in the recovery effort and asked for U.S. military assistance, according to Kyodo.

A spokesman for the U.S. military bases in Japan said all service members were accounted for and there were no reports of damage to installations or ships.

U.S. President Barack Obama offered his condolences and said the United States was standing by to help "in this time of great trial."

The U.S. Navy initiated reconnaissance flights to map the disaster zone and was moving the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan into position to assist the Japanese government with relief efforts, defense officials said.

Two search-and-rescue teams, totaling more than 140 people, were en route, the U.S. Agency for International Development said.

Images from Japanese media and CNN iReporters showed smoke pouring from buildings and water rushing across fields, carrying away entire structures.

"I wasn't scared when it started ... but it just kept going and going," said Michelle Roberts, who lives in central Tokyo. "I won't lie, it was quite scary. But we are all OK. We live on the third floor, so most everything shook and shifted."

The quake toppled cars off bridges and into waters underneath. Waves of debris flowed like lava across farmland, pushing boats, houses and trailers. About 4 million homes had no power in Tokyo and surrounding areas.

The quake also disrupted rail service and affected air travel. Hundreds of flights were canceled, Kyodo said. Some 13,000 people were stranded at the Narita airport, and 10,000 were stuck at the Haneda airport, the news agency said.

At Tokyo Station, one of Japan's busiest subway terminals, shaken commuters grabbed one another to stay steady as the ground shook. Dazed residents poured into the streets, and offices and schools were closed. Children cried.

Residents said that although earthquakes are common in Japan, Friday's stunned most people.

"This was larger than anyone expected and went on longer than anyone expected," said Matt Alt, who lives in Tokyo.

"My wife was the calm one. ... She told us to get down and put your back on something, and leave the windows and doors open in case a building shifts so you don't get trapped."

Richard Lloyd Parry said he looked through a window and saw buildings shaking from side to side.

"Central Tokyo is fine from what we see, people are calm ... and not going inside buildings," he said.

Such a large earthquake at such a shallow depth -- 15.2 miles (24.5 kilometers) -- creates a lot of energy, said Shenza Chen of the U.S. Geological Survey.

The impact was felt far and wide. In McKinleyville, California, a wave swept three men into the Pacific Ocean as they were reportedly trying to take photos of the incoming tsunami waves, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Two of the men returned to shore, but one remained unaccounted for, said the Coast Guard, which was using helicopters to search for him.

Japanese government officials said large tsunami waves were still a risk to coastal Japan, and they urged residents in coastal areas to move to higher ground.

The tsunami brought waves of nearly 7 feet to a harbor in Maui, authorities said, but other areas reported lower levels.

On the U.S. mainland, wave heights from Alaska to California ranged from under a foot to over 8 feet. The highest measurement, 8.1 feet, was at Crescent City, California.

Tsunamis are a series of long ocean waves that can last five to 15 minutes and cause extensive flooding in coastal areas. A succession of waves can hit -- often the highest not being the first, CNN meteorologist Ivan Cabrera said.

Humanitarian agencies were working with rescue crews to reach people affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

"When such an earthquake impacts a developed country like Japan, our concern also turns to countries like the Philippines and Indonesia, which might not have the same resources," said Rachel Wolff, a spokeswoman for World Vision.

Wolff said her agency is helping people in Japan and teaming up to help others in countries along the path of the tsunami.

The quake was the latest in a series around Japan this week.

On Wednesday, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Honshu, the country's meteorological agency said. Early Thursday, an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.3 struck off the same coast.

Friday's quake is the strongest earthquake in recorded history to hit Japan, according to U.S. Geologic Survey records. The previous record was an 8.6-magnitude earthquake that struck near the Chubu Region near southwestern Honshu on October 28, 1707, that may have killed 5,000 people, CNN meteorologist Sean Morris said.

That quake generated a 33-foot (10-meter) tsunami wave, and some scientists believe the quake may have triggered the eruption of Mount Fuji 49 days later, Morris said.

The world's largest recorded quake took place in Chile on May 22, 1960, with a magnitude of 9.5, the USGS said.

CNN's Kyung Lah, Faith Karimi, Ed Payne, Catherine E. Shoichet, Kevin Voigt and Sean Morris contributed to this report.

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VOM-Prayer Update for week of march 11, 2011

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

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. Ephesians 4:1–3

PAKISTAN — Minorities Minister Assassinated — VOM Sources

1 John 5:14
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

Pakistan’s only Christian cabinet member, Shahbaz Bhatti, was assassinated by gunmen on March 2, 2011. Pamphlets attributed to Al-Qaeda and a branch of the Pakistani Taliban were distributed at the scene of the ambush, warning that anyone who supports a repeal of Pakistan’s blasphemy law will be killed. Shahbaz was the only remaining government advocate for Christian Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death last November under the blasphemy law. “The fanatic Muslims targeted Shahbaz Bhatti because he spoke boldly against the blasphemy law,” said a VOM staff member in Pakistan. Shahbaz was a committed Christian who stood for what he thought was right and trusted the Lord with his life. Pray for those who continue to support Asia Bibi and call for a repeal of the blasphemy law. Ask God to protect them and to strengthen their faith. Pray that the Pakistani government will not yield to extremist pressure and that it will repeal the blasphemy law.

ETHIOPIA — Rioters Burn Churches and Christians’ Homes — VOM Sources

Galatians 6:2
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Muslims in Ethiopia’s southwestern city of Jimma burned two churches and the homes of a pastor and an evangelist on Wednesday, March 3. They also severely beat a Christian convert. In the Asendabo district of Jimma, a Muslim mob burned two churches and a pastor’s house after leaving their daily teaching at the mosque. Local police stood by and watched until federal police arrived to stop the violence. A second mob, in Jimma’s Dido district, left their mosque chanting “Allahu Akbar.” When the mob met Awel Abajebel, a Christian who had converted from Islam, they beat him so severely that he was thought to be dead. In a third attack that day, Muslims in the Kersa district burned the home of evangelist Isa Abagojam. More than 90 percent of the population of Jimma is Muslim. In some districts, Muslims chant “Allahu Akbar” in the evenings to warn Christian converts from Islam that they plan to kill them. A VOM contact reports that Muslims in nearly every district of the city are collecting funds to “protect their religion from the Christians.” Please pray for two Christian workers in the area who minister to more than 5,000 Muslim background believers, and pray for God’s protection of all Christians in Jimma.

SOMALIA — Al-Shabab Kills Christian Convert — International Christian Concern

James 5:16
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Members of the Islamic radical group al-Shabab killed a Christian convert in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Jan. 26. The Islamists murdered Abdirahman Hussein Roble after accusing him of spying and committing fitna. Fitna is an Islamic term used derogatively to describe Christian evangelism among Muslims. Two eyewitnesses notified Abdirahman’s widow and relatives of his death on Feb. 9. Abdirahman, who became a Christian in 2009, was the father of two children. He is the 24th Christian to be killed by the Somali Islamists since 2009. On Jan. 29, another Christian convert escaped from a makeshift detention center run by al-Shabab. “Hassan” is the first Christian to ever escape from the group. He was abducted on Jan. 8 in the Afgoye district, west of Mogadishu, and repeatedly interrogated about his faith and ministry. Hassan escaped while his guards were attending evening prayer. Pray that all Somalis will resist the extremist nature of al-Shabab, and ask God to give Christians living there courage and boldness.

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


You Are Wanted

You Are Wanted
February 2011
by John Paul Jackson

A few years ago, I dreamed that my father offered to give me a ride to my car. My car was only a block away, and I could have easily walked there. But after some lighthearted insistence on his part, I finally agreed to let him take me.

Instead of going the most direct route, he ended up taking me all over the area: down one-way streets, through parks and office communities. Forty-five minutes later, we were back to being within one block of my car. Frustrated, I asked my father to stop so I could just walk.

As I got out of the car, my father remorsefully said, “I just wanted to spend some time with you.”

It was then I heard a voice from Heaven say to me, “This is how you treat Me.”

“No,” I quickly retorted, “I’m not like that at all! I make time to talk with You.”

But His response left me aghast: “Yes, you are ready to talk with Me when you want, but you are not available to talk anytime I want. You are more interested in reaching your goals than spending time with Me.”

Needless to say, that dream was a wakeup call for me. It helped me better comprehend the heart and thought processes of my Father God.

You are wanted
Genuine relationship with God is a marriage of two hearts, and like any marriage, it needs time and focus in order to grow. It also requires both people actually understanding where the other is coming from. Let me explain what I mean by that.

God’s love for you is extravagant. His love for you is greater than anything that has ever been seen before. His love for you is more than you could imagine. It is more than you could ever expect, even on your best day. And this God who loves you more than you could ever hope for wants you to be an active participant in His life.

This is not an invitation to feel condemned. Don’t think, I never spend time with God. He must be disappointed in me. Or, I know He wants me to spend more time with Him, but I just can’t right now. Don’t read this article and allow your soul to become troubled. Instead, realize how much you are wanted.

How should you respond?
If this is a difficult subject for you to grasp, purposefully set out to change your mind about it. For the next month, try to wake up in the morning with this thought: Today, God desires me.

As our weeks and months go by and we struggle through our valleys and trials, it can be so easy to forget our passion; the understanding of His heart for us can slip through our fingers. Then, when His invitation comes, we often respond in fear: I’m not doing enough! He’s probably upset with me! How could He ever want me? I’m not one of the faithful ones. If I come to Him now, it’s probably going to be at a great personal cost!

But again, the invitation is not meant to make you feel condemned for your actions or thought processes (Romans 8:1). It has been issued solely because He wants you. And the result of spending time with God is that you become God focused. Your life changes. Your mind, your will and your emotions become aligned with His. Your hope flourishes. You discover real, genuine, true life; you discover the real you in the middle of His affections.

When you wait on Him, He speaks. When you spend time with Him, you discover that He has been wanting to speak. He has been waiting for you to wait, so He can talk, so He can move, so He can inform, so He can touch, so He can hold, so He can caress, so He can embrace you.

Let today be your day. Go find yourself in God’s affections. Spend time with Him and discover His heart for you. And remember that you are wanted so fully and completely that when you begin to understand His desire for you, the path will straighten out beneath your feet; your questions will be answered, and you will discover a peace that passes all comprehension.

If you'd like to hear more on this subject, I have a teaching entitled Passage to Intimacy that's available as a download only. You can order it by CLICKING HERE.

©2011 Streams Ministries International

Courage in the Lonely Hour

Courage in the Lonely Hour
When no one else supports you, Christ stands with you.
By Charles F. Stanley

Loneliness is one of life’s most painful experiences. Since God created us as relational beings, the absence of companionship can be very discouraging. At some point, all of us have probably dealt with feelings of isolation. But it’s especially difficult when we’re going through a trying situation and there is no one to help or encourage us.

Courage to Endure Loneliness

What we want at that moment is companionship, support, and comfort so that our emotional pain will go away. But sometimes the situation persists, and the isolation seems as if it will go on forever. At times like this, we need courage to endure.

Did you know that God can use your loneliness to achieve His purposes in your life? Sometimes He allows such situations because they are prime opportunities to develop godly character within us, train us to depend on Him, and bring us into a closer relationship with Him. When we’re all alone and others are unable or unwilling to help, He is the One who never leaves us.

Paul knew the pain of loneliness. After many years of faithful service to the Lord, the apostle found himself in a cold, dank Roman prison. His last letter to Timothy gives us a glimpse of his conditions, priorities, and attitude during the final days of his earthly life.

Although he had continually given himself in service to others, at the end of his life, Paul was lonely; only Luke was with him (2 Tim. 4:9-16). Demas, one of his former companions, had deserted him, and other coworkers had moved on to various places. And sadly, at his first defense before the Roman court, Paul says, “No one supported me, but all deserted me” (v. 16).

Be careful not to spiritualize Paul. When we make him out to be a “super saint,” we miss seeing the ways God worked in his life and fail to realize that He could accomplish the same things in us. Paul was a flesh-and-blood person with all the weaknesses of humanity. He struggled with feelings, frustrations, and difficulties, just as you and I do. Put yourself in his place, and feel the discomfort and isolation of his last days.

Paul experienced loneliness on so many levels. He missed the company of those he loved and felt the pain of being deserted by Demas. The constraints and discomforts of prison life added to his sense of isolation. He was no longer free to do what he loved most—to travel the world, spreading the gospel, starting churches, and discipling believers. And with each passing day, he knew his death was imminent.

The Lord’s Provision in Our Loneliness

But prison life was not the only isolating situation Paul faced. When he was called before the Roman authorities to make his defense, no one supported him. Yet he tells us that he was not alone. The Lord stood with him and strengthened him so that he could fully accomplish God’s purposes (v. 17).

The assurance of Christ’s presence. Though the Romans ruled the world, the Ruler of the universe was standing beside Paul. One man plus Christ is more powerful than any earthly authority. When he faced the court, I am sure his courage grew as his thoughts raced to past situations when the Lord had been with him in danger and difficulty. I’d like to urge you to write down what God is doing in your life. Having a written account will remind you of His past faithfulness and encourage you to trust Him with your present situation.

Even though our personal experiences with God are invaluable, our greatest source of assurance is the Bible. Throughout its pages, the Lord tells His people that He is with them. Before Christ ascended to the Father, He promised His followers, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). In fact, believers have the Holy Spirit within them, and He will remain there forever (John 14:16-17). In times of weakness, loneliness, or fear, remember that the Lord is always with you—even if you can’t perceive Him.

The reality of God’s constant presence with us is a fact, but we are not always aware of Him, especially in lonely periods. Haven’t you sometimes wondered, If He’s with me, why can’t I sense Him? Why do I feel so alone? When His presence is undetectable, our courage to face isolation and difficulty weakens. At times like this, we need to depend on fact, not feelings. Rely on the truth that He will never leave or forsake those who have been saved (Heb. 13:5).

The provision of divine strength. The second way the Lord helped Paul face the Roman authorities alone was by strengthening him (v. 17). Years earlier Paul had written a letter to the Philippians telling them, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). Now he was practicing what he preached. The powerful presence of the Lord gave him the boldness he needed to proclaim Christ in this threatening situation.

In his lifetime of walking with Christ, the apostle had learned that times of weakness were God’s invitation to depend on Him. When Paul was struggling with a “thorn in the flesh,” the Lord said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). Don’t let yourself feel hopeless in your loneliness. When you are emotionally, physically, or spiritually weak, you are in a prime position to witness firsthand the power of God working within you. He’ll give the strength and courage to endure whatever you are going through.

The fulfillment of God’s calling. One thing we can rely on is God’s faithfulness: He will always empower us to fulfill His purposes for our lives. Paul said that the Lord strengthened him “so that through [him] the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear” (2 Tim 4:17). He knew this was where God wanted him to be—that his incarceration and trial were an integral part of fulfilling his calling.

In fact, before Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, the Lord clearly told him this was his destiny. When the Jews in Jerusalem were trying to kill him, Jesus stood by his side and said, “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also” (Acts 23:11). And during a storm on the way to Rome, an angel of God stood before him saying, “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar” (Acts 27:24).

Since Paul’s desire was to do God’s will, we can be sure that he jumped at this chance to proclaim Christ to the Roman rulers of that day. He didn’t compromise or soften his message in order to save his own life. When a person has the conviction that he is doing the work God has called him to accomplish, he’s filled with zeal and bravery, which all the forces of evil cannot destroy.

This display of courage was not Paul’s first; his previous history of boldness had shaped his current response. Whenever we stand up for what we believe, God uses that as an opportunity to strengthen us for the next challenge—which may very well be more difficult and costly. Paul’s life was on the line, but he did not consider his life as dear to himself. His goal was to finish the ministry he’d received from the Lord Jesus (Acts 20:24).

The fear of death can cause us to lose courage, but the realization that God holds our days in His hand gives us the confidence to press on. The Lord has a course mapped out for each of us, and He guards our way as we seek to fulfill it. Although Paul was willing to die as a result of his testimony before the court, the Lord’s purposes for him were not yet complete; therefore, his life was spared (2 Tim 4:17).

To the casual observer, Paul’s ministry appeared to be over. After all, he was getting older and for the second time in his life, he was stuck in a Roman jail, unable to do what he’d done before. But God doesn’t count the value of our days as man does. In His eyes, a bedridden believer in a nursing home still has a purpose and a calling from Him. You can be sure that if you are breathing, the Lord still has plans for you.

A Godly Response to Loneliness

Maintain an eternal focus. Throughout his prison ordeal, Paul was able to respond in a godly fashion because he never lost his eternal focus. His goal was to finish what the Lord had called him to do and receive the heavenly reward laid up for him (2 Tim. 4:6-8). Without this kind of eternal perspective, we are all likely to descend into self-pity or bitterness.

Keep reaching out. But Paul never became inwardly focused. Until his dying breath, he looked for ways to share the gospel of hope. His last letter is filled with concern for others and advice for his dear friend Timothy. The limitations imposed by his situation did not hinder him from serving and caring for other people.

Hold no grudges. Despite being abandoned, Paul did not hold a grudge. When no one supported him at his trial, he said, “May it not be counted against them” (v. 16). He wasn’t even bitter toward God because of his lonely situation. Although a prison hardly seemed a fitting end for such a faithful servant, Paul considered it the last phase of his assignment from the Lord. He courageously endured until God brought him safely into His heavenly kingdom.

Stay in the word. As Paul closed his letter, he requested little from Timothy: just a cloak and “the books, especially the parchments” (v. 13). The cloak was obviously for his physical comfort, but the reading material was for spiritual support. The parchments were probably copies of the Old Testament—though he didn’t have long to live, Paul wanted the Scriptures. They had guided his heart and mind for so many years, and he longed for their comfort and encouragement in the cold and lonely dungeon.

For all of us, there will be times when we feel alone or when others are unable or unwilling to help. But dwelling on our situation or others’ wrongs against us leads only to resentment and self-pity. However, if we seek the Lord and rely on the truth of His Word, we will discover the comfort and strength of His presence. Courage will enter our souls, empowering us to endure loneliness and finish the course God has set for us.

Questions for Further Study

Paul’s Experience

1. Read 2 Timothy 4:6-22. What mindset grounded Paul during this difficult season of his life (vv. 6-8, 18)?

2. What contributed to his loneliness (vv. 9-16)? Describe his attitude toward those who had let him down.

3. How did the Lord help him (v. 17)?

Elijah’s Experience

1. Read 1 Kings 19:1-18. Elijah felt totally alone after a great spiritual victory. Where was his focus (vv. 1-4)? How did his perspective shape his emotions and outlook?

2. Before addressing emotional needs, how did God meet his physical needs (vv. 5-8)?

3. How did the Lord interact with Elijah (vv. 9-13)? Was He gentle or harsh?

4. Elijah wanted to quit, but God was not finished with him (vv. 14-18). When we feel all alone, how does a revived sense of purpose give courage to persevere?

The Psalmist’s Experience

1. Read Psalm 71. Where do verses 1-6 show that the psalmist placed his hope?

2. Why was he lonely (vv. 7-12)?

3. How did he respond to his situation (vv. 12-16)?

4. What goal gives courage to persevere (vv. 17-21)? What is the heart attitude that permeates verses 22-24?

Copyright 2011 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

Prisoner Alert - Updates

Nguyen Van Ly

On Feb. 19, 2007, Nguyen Van Ly was arrested in Hue, Vietnam for distributing material “harmful to the state.” In March, he was sentenced to eight years in prison. He has issued statements criticizing the government’s confiscation of church property, lack of seminary training and the influence of the state in church teachings.

Nguyen, now 64, has warned that he will go on a hunger strike and refuse medical treatment if he is readmitted to jail on March 15, 2011. He was released March 15, 2010 to undergo a year's medical treatment after suffering two serious strokes that left him partially paralyzed.

Nguyen Van Ly has previously served a total of 15 years in jail, including years in solitary confinement. While on medical leave, authorities have prevented the pastor from giving interviews or meeting activists. CSW reported a US diplomat who attempted to visit was roughed up by police.

In other news...Kim Kyung II

During early 1997, Kim Kyung II and his brother crossed the border from North Korea into China. The following year he met a pastor, became a Christian and joined a Bible study group. Under the leadership of this pastor, Kyung Il served refugees from North Korea and started Bible studies in the Chengdoo region. He later became involved with sending refugees to South Korea.

Kyung Il was overseer of a safe house that discipled over 70 refugees. When a large number from the group were arrested by the Chinese police, he fled with some of the remaining refugees to the China-Mongolian border. He and his wife were captured, but the rest of the group continued their journey in the desert. Without their leader, they wandered for two days and finally crossed the border into Mongolia, where they reached the South Korean embassy and received passage to South Korea.

Kyung Il and his wife were sent back to North Korea and placed in prison. His pregnant wife was hit in the stomach with a stick forcing an abortion. In the prison there were many inmates who knew Kim well, but they protected him by pretending not to know him. Thus the authorities did not realize how involved he was with helping refugees escape from North Korea. He was released after serving only a short sentence. He remembers that those who protected his identity while in prison had asked him to work harder to let the world know about their situation.

Kim’s wife was released from prison shortly after the forced abortion. She escaped to South Korea with other family members. After his release, Kyung Il fled to China and worked at another safe house. He continued to disciple refugees and assisted them in escaping to South Korea. During April 2002, he was caught by the Chinese police. Since his arrest, he has been held in prison in China. He is scheduled to be sent back to North Korea when released from prison in China. All his family now live in South Korea. Pray Kim Kyung Il will not be sent back to North Korea, where he will surely be executed.

Deportation and Execution Likely
Kim Kyung Il has been in prison 10 years. Just days ago, VOM contacts received word that his sentence is expected to be commuted and he may be free in September. Normally this would be cause for rejoicing, but as soon as Kim Kyung Il is released he’ll face deportation to North Korea. There, he will almost certainly be executed. Our contact writes, “The only hope he may have is a huge outpouring of public awareness, which might at least delay his execution.”

Friends are working frantically to help Kim Kyung Il, but it’s not easy. Please pray for a solution and write Chinese officials today.

Voice of the Martyrs Prayer Update for week of March 4, 2011 & February 25, 2011

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

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.” Psalm 91:1–2

India—Pastor Attacked—Release International

Colossians 4:2
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;

Pastor Hari Shankar Ninama, 65, was attacked by at least 10 men in Ambarunda village, Rajasthan, in northwest India. His attackers seized him while he was praying for a sick child in the village. The men, who accused him of forced conversions, stripped him and beat him with wooden clubs and their fists. They told him they would kill him if he continued his evangelism. Then they fled, leaving the pastor to walk naked to the nearest police station, five miles away. Fearing retaliatory attacks, Pastor Ninama’s family asked the police not to investigate the beating. Extremists have threatened to burn down his daughter’s house if the police prosecute. Pastor Ninama’s 40-member house church has not met since the attack, and Christians in the village fear more attacks. Attacks against pastors or church members have also occurred in five other Indian states so far this year. Thank God that Pastor Ninama wants to continue his ministry. Pray that God will use this event to strengthen the faith of the believers in Ambarunda.

Sudan—Islamists Suspected in Girl’s Abduction—Compass Direct News

Ephesians 6:18
…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…

Hiba Abdelfadil Anglo, the 15-year-old daughter of a Christian widow in northern Sudan, was kidnapped by suspected Islamic extremists in Khartoum eight months ago. The girl disappeared while returning from the Ministry of Education on June 27, 2010. Her mother, Ikhlas Anglo, a member of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church in Khartoum, said her daughter had gone to the education ministry office to get her transcripts for entry to secondary school. Two days after Hiba disappeared, her family received threatening telephone calls and text messages from the kidnappers demanding 1,500 Sudanese pounds ($560) for her return. Ikhlas and others say they believe the kidnappers are Muslim extremists who have targeted them because they are Christians. When Ikhlas tried to report her daughter’s abduction to police, they bluntly told her she must first leave Christianity for Islam. During this ordeal, Ikhlas also lost her job. Christians in northern Sudan fear what the future may hold for them after the Christian majority south secedes to become a new nation in July. Pray for the safe return of Hiba Abdelfadil Anglo, and ask God to take care of her family. Pray for Sudan as its leaders determine how to divide the country.

Afghanistan—Believer Remains in Afghan Prison—VOM Sources

Psalm 66:19
But certainly God has heard me;
He has attended to the voice of my prayer.

A pastor whose house was targeted by Hindu militants during anti-Christian violence in 2008 was recently found dead in Kandhamal, Orissa state, India. Police initially claimed that Pastor Saul Pradhan, 45, froze to death, but his relatives suspected murder. Officials have since detained two members of a radical Hindu group, Marda Pradhan and Baiju Mallick, in connection with his death. On the evening of Jan. 10, two Hindu men came to Pastor Pradhan’s house and asked him to come with them. The next day, Pastor Pradhan’s wife and a few villagers found his body lying near a pond in the jungle. His pants were torn, his mouth was bloody and his arms and legs looked twisted. Despite the battered state of Pradhan’s body, police claimed they had little reason to suspect foul play. The officials also claimed that there were no injury marks on Pastor Pradhan’s body. They refused to file a report of suspected murder and accused the pastor’s family members of “spreading rumors about murder in hopes of receiving compensation from the government” for the August 2008 attacks in the region. Praise God for Pastor Pradhan’s life and witness. Ask God to fill his loved ones with the peace that surpasses understanding in the midst of their grief. Pray that those responsible for Pastor Pradhan’s death will be brought to justice and will come to faith in Christ.

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

VOM-USA Prayer Update for February 25, 2011
The Voice of the Martyrs USA: www.persecution.com
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:6

SRI LANKA—Pastors Attacked in Sri Lanka—VOM Canada

James 1:12
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Two pastors were attacked recently in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. In early January, a pastor and his family discovered an intruder in their home in Galle district. The man shouted threats at the pastor and began to assault him. After hearing the screaming, the pastor’s elderly landlord arrived to help. The intruder then attacked the landlord before running away. Later, the pastor and his landlord lodged a complaint against the attacker with local police. The attacker was arrested, but he was later released with a severe warning after apologizing to the pastor and his landlord. On Jan. 23 in the city of Middeniya, Hambantota district, assailants broke the windows of an Assemblies of God church while the pastor and his family were inside. The pastor and his family were previously targeted in July 2008, when assailants set their house ablaze after threatening the pastor and his church. Pray that the witness of pastors and their families in Sri Lanka will draw unbelievers to Christ. Pray that these pastors will look forward to their crown of life in heaven as they persevere in these trials.

LAOS—Christian Widow Evicted by Son—VOM Sources

James 1:27
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

A 50-year-old Christian widow was evicted from her son’s house recently because she refused to renounce her faith in Christ. The woman and her teenage daughter had lived with her son and his family in a mountain village for many years. The woman’s son is not a Christian, and he told his mother to renounce her faith in Jesus or he would kick her out of the house. When the woman refused, her son forced her and her daughter to leave. They had no possessions and nowhere to go, so they took cover from the chilly weather in the jungle at the edge of their village. Local Christians who learned of the women’s predicament came together to build them a small bamboo hut, but they still lack basic necessities. Thank the Lord for this woman’s faith. Pray that her faith will remain strong while she and her daughter endure this trial. Ask God to provide for her needs and to soften her son’s heart toward the Lord.

CUBA—Persecution Increases on Church Leaders—Christian Solidarity Worldwide

James 1:18
Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

Pastors and Christian leaders in Cuba are reporting a shift in how the government treats Christians. The government appears to have moved away from higher profile forms of oppression, such as threatening to shut down or destroy churches, and is now focusing pressure on church leaders. Church leaders both within and outside of the Cuban Council of Churches (CCC) report receiving frequent visits from state security agents and Cuban Communist Party (CCP) officials. The CCC is an umbrella organization representing Protestant churches. These visits and meetings seem to have the intent of intimidating church leaders and making them aware that they are under close surveillance. Pray that church members will not be intimidated by government informants in their meetings. Pray that those under pressure will not yield to fear and that they will trust the Lord.

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