A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

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Tag Archives: persecution

Can anything good come out of Syria?

Yes. The people who were known as infidels, the Christians, are now by God’s grace affectionately being called the “Bible people” as the gospel spreads to areas it has never reached in modern times. Voice of the Martyrs’ recent newsletter recently reported that…

The war in Syria is one of the greatest crises seen in the Middle East in the last 20 years. It has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people, both Muslim and Christian. More than 2 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries. In the midst of this crisis, our persecuted family is boldly reaching out. And the reactions of Muslims have been astonishing.

“When you hear about one Muslim coming to Christ, it’s a great thing, and everybody rejoices,” said a VOM Syrian contact. “Today in Syria I’m not talking about one person. We’re talking about hundreds and even thousands of Muslims coming to know Christ.”

…Read More!

Dear God, Please Remember Egypt…

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Egypt has influenced a lot in the course of History. To Christians it provided a place for refuge for some of its key figures. Speaking of which even Jesus Christ was taken to Egypt when King Herod’s murderous rage grew to a crescendo. Alexandria was one of the great Christian centers in the early church. It was there were the first catechetical school was established by Pantanaeus in 190 AD, producing great scholars such as Athenagoras, Clement, Didymus and Origen. Today it burns and the screams on the streets beg the rest of the world to pray for it’s inhabitants. An exceedingly vulnerable circle is the Christian community in Egypt.
If you get a few moments today please pray for Egypt. Pray that

* The current violence will end soon
* The effective rule of law and order will be re-established for the benefit of all citizens
* There will be effective protection of church and other property against attacks by extremists
* Egypt will be governed for the benefit of all its citizens, with people of different persuasions able to live alongside one another peaceably
* Egyptian Christians will have opportunity to play an increasingly prominent and effective role in addressing the needs of all Egyptians and helping to bring healing and reconciliation in the country

If you want to understand what is going on in Egypt from an Egyptian Christian perspective read here. In Egypt, the majority of the churches belong to The Christian Coptic Orthodox Church Of Egypt, or commonly, the Coptic Church. Coptic tradition traces their history from Mark the Evangelist whom they say founded the church in Alexandria about 41-43 AD, according to the historian Eusebius of Caesarea. We might think that the Copts have always been a persecuted church, but they are proud of their “golden age” in the first 1,000 years from their foundation. Read more on Egyptian Coptic Christians here.

Play the man, Master Ridley….

 

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As the 2012 London Olympics are underway, there are a couple of Christian mission groups traversing the landscapes of the beautiful City of London preaching the gospel. I am greatly encouraged by their zeal and passion. I am also encouraged by the stories of those coming to embrace Jesus Christ from all walks of life. Looking at the history of Christianity, England was instrumental in being the first place through which the Reformation came to the English speaking world. Many lost their lives for believing in the Authority of Scripture over the authority of the Papacy.
Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer are some of the examples of Reformers in England. Hugh was a British clergyman, Bishop of Worcester, and Protestant martyr during the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary I of England. He was burnt at the stake as a “heretic” in Oxford (1555). Hugh’s memorable last words to his friend Nicholas as they were burnt were:

Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out. ~ Hugh Latimer

Times and seasons come and go. Olympics are here in London today but will be gone tomorrow. How I pray that God will indeed raise up a people with a zeal for the Authority of Scripture in our days too. For the time is soon coming and may probably be here now when men will not adhere to sound doctrine even in the church. A time is coming and is already here when holding Christian beliefs will be tantamount to being “intolerant” and “bigotted”. …Read More!

Was Orlando’s The Worst Eulogy Ever?

A bad eulogy is as painful as a root canal dental procedure. A blunt eulogy on the otherhand is like a root canal without local anaesthetic. The mourners at one funeral got to realise the difference between the two when preacher man Orlando Bethel showed up.

This is how it unfolded:

June 21, 2002 – LOXLEY, Ala. — Authorities in Loxley, Ala., are investigating the alleged beating of a preacher by funeral mourners who didn’t like his blunt eulogy. Glynis Bethel told The Associated Press that her husband — the Rev. Orlando Bethel — was attacked during a June 14 funeral and dragged out of the church. That’s because Bethel told mourners the deceased was in Hell and that they were headed the same way. The dead man was Glynis Bethel’s uncle. Orlando Bethel referred to him as a “drunkard and a fornicator.” Glynis Bethel, who’s also a preacher, says Read More

Remembering the suffering church…

I know many people do not get to talk about the persecuted church. Just because you seem to be enjoying apparent freedom shouldn’t dull your ears to their cries for prayers.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s letter from prison to his church members.

If you got a letter from me while in prison it would probably be full of me whingeing. I probably would complain how I’m missing three baths a day, missing day time Christian television game shows, missing the pizza parties on Sundays and movie sermon series. Oh yeah, you would get an ear full. Afterall we modern day Christians live in comfort and theology is just a by the way- a disposable means to an end. Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been in jail for the last 3 years. Has faced trial for apostasy and converting to Christianity and at this moment awaits execution by hanging. Despite many attempts by the authorities to quietly advise him to recant and renounce his faith in Christ he has remained steadfast. Here is an excerpt of his letter to his church members. See if you can hear his side of the story:

Dear brothers and sisters, Salam

In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I am continuously seeking grace and mercy to you, that you remember me and those who are bearing efforts for his name in your prayers.

Your loyalty to God is the cause of my strength and encouragement…. …Read More!

Me and Alexamenos worshipping…his God

The Alexamenos graffito discovered in 1857 also known as the graffito blasfemo is an inscription carved in plaster on a wall near the Palatine Hill in Rome. It is generally thought to be the earliest known pictorial representation of the crucifixion of Jesus.The crude drawing in no uncertain terms depicts the said Alexamenos worshipping a Bart-Simpson-esque man with a head of an ass. Comical…but sadly blasphemous.
I wonder if Alexamenos was a christian. I wonder if it was a work mate or a former lover who engraved  the repugnant inscription. Could it have been a self portrait in his moments of soul searching? But There’s More

Iran: Pray For Pastor Youcef As Death Sentence is Upheld.

Remember Youcef Nadarkhani, the pastor from Rasht, about 750 miles northwest of Tehran, who was arrested in October 2009?  Well the case was taken to the Supreme Court, and [don’t rejoice yet]…

The Iranian Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of a pastor convicted of apostasy and accused of evangelizing Muslims. Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, 34, has been in prison since October 2009, and the appeal of his death sentence was rejected by the Iranian Supreme Court on June 28, 2011. He is to be executed by hanging. If the death sentence is carried out, it will be …Read More!

Would You Kick (Smart) Mr Thompson Out of Church?

Have you ever asked yourself the question: Is church for believers or non believers? In which case if there are non believers in attendance will you alter your proceedings and message to make them as comfortable as possible? Or will your worship and adoration of your Lord and saviour continue with the reverence and orderliness that goes with congregational worship?

There was a time when church (ekklesia) referred to the body of Christ. And the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. A time when the church was referred to as the bride of Christ. Called to be set apart -for the groom. But in these days of seeker sensitive church models every person feels they have a right to do what ever they want. Or so thought this disgruntled church hopper. There’s More

Why Does God Allow Earth Quakes, Tsunamis And Natural Disasters?

There are many questions that keep many of us awake at night. This is one of them:

Why does God allow earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis, typhoons, cyclones, mudslides, and other natural disasters? Tragedies such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the 2008 cyclone in Myanmar, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and the 2011 earthquake/tsunami near Japan cause many people to question God’s goodness. It is distressing that natural disasters are often termed “acts of God” while no “credit” is given to God for years, decades, or even centuries of peaceful weather. God created the whole universe and the laws of nature (Genesis 1:1). Most natural disasters are a result of these laws at work. Hurricanes, typhoons, and tornados are the results of divergent weather patterns colliding. Earthquakes are the result of the earth’s plate structure shifting. A tsunami is caused by an underwater earthquake. Read More

Me and Alexamenos worshipping…his God

"Alexamenos worships his god"-Alexamenos Graffito

The Alexamenos graffito discovered in 1857 also known as the graffito blasfemo is an inscription carved in plaster on a wall near the Palatine Hill in Rome. It is generally thought to be the earliest known pictorial representation of the crucifixion of Jesus.The crude drawing in no uncertain terms depicts the said Alexamenos worshipping a Bart-Simpson-esque man with a head of an ass. Comical…but sadly blasphemous.
I wonder if Alexamenos was a christian. I wonder if it was a work mate or a former lover who engraved  the repugnant inscription. Could it have been a self portrait in his moments of soul searching? But There’s More

Presidential Race Kicks off on Face Book

 

Africa is watching Nigeria

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, the eighth most populous country in the world. It is listed among the “Next Eleven” economies. The economy of Nigeria is one of the fastest growing in the world, with the International Monetary Fund projecting a growth of 9% in 2008 and 8.3% in 2009. It is the third largest economy in Africa, it is also the largest exporter of oil in Africa.

I read with glee as the most populous country in Africa had its incumbent president declare his intentions on …wait for it. Face Book. Well, yes apparently this is what it said: Read More

Where is God When We Suffer?

We many times moan and whinge when things do not go right. We grit our teeth at God when we see a maze before our eyes. Have you ever thought of the sovereignty of God? Have you ever understood the mind of God? May this testimony of John Farese be an encouragement. Crippled for most of his life but proundly sober in his understanding of God’s sovereignty and scripture:

Read More

Wrestling With God Till Day Break

I remember when I wrestled with the Spirit of God. I (yes teeny weenie me) in one corner and the Omnipotent, Transcendent and Almighty in the other. But who has never fought against God after hearing the gospel? Or was it a bout with myself -my old man so to speak? The gospel seems to go against the very grain of our humanity. It asserts that man is broken and helpless. It asserts that we are dead in sin and cannot of our selves change that nature. To underscore this very important fact God gave us the Ten Commandments as a moral code. Try as you may to obey one commandment and you break all. Break one and you find you easily break the rest. The easiest thing is to harden your heart and resist any demands of the Law. Read More

Hill Song Ploughs into Ground Zero

Every body wants a piece of The Big Apple. It is said that New York City is the most linguistically and religiously diverse city in the world. The 8.4 million inhabitants communicate in some 800 different languages across the five boroughs – the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. New York is also a religious city: 83% of New Yorkers are said to be affiliated to some organized religion.

As the muslims muscle their way in and stake a claim in the heart of Ground Zero with the Cordoba Centre and Ground zero mosque, some body had better warn them.  Look who is riding in from the wings and ploughing into New York too: Read More

We Still Want Our Goat!

Ever reached late for a fancy dress party and upon arrival in your frilly loin cloth and ‘Jonah’ T-shirt some one whispers to you, “Didn’t you get the last minute memo this morning that it would be a black tie and suit evening party?” That is when it really hits you square in the face. What was I even thinking  to get into a loin cloth?  I must be a naive goat. That is one of the first hiccup steps to   maturity from juvenile delinquency. Read More