Earthquake in Nepal

137928546-Nepal-Quake_6                                                                                                                                                        Please lift of the people of Nepal and surrounding areas.  The capital city of Kathmandu  was hit with a magnitude 7.9 earthquake.  It is said to be the worst one for that area in 80 years.  It’s being reported that over 1400 people are dead.  Many are trapped as rescues workers do their best to free them.  It also caused a deadly avalanche at a Mt Everest base camp killing at least 10 people.  India, Tibet and Bangladesh also experienced casualties as a result.

Just a few facts about Nepal:  Over 30 million people live in Nepal.   It is a nation comprised of over 80% Hindus, 9% Buddhist and the rest of the people are Muslim, Kirantism, Christian and not specified.  The male literacy rate is just over 75% with the female literacy rate less than 50%. The Kathmandu valley is populated with over 2.5 million people and over 2700 religious shrines.   Once the only official Hindu nation in the world, Nepal is no longer a Hindu Kingdom.  It has been declared a secular and federal democratic republic. The sharing of the gospel and conversion are currently not restricted.  Over 20 years ago while looking at a travel brochure God put a supernatural love in my heart for the nation of Nepal.  It’s a moment I’ve never forgotten.  I love the people of Nepal and pray that during this time many will come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Just as centuries old temples were destroyed during this earthquake I pray that the demonic strongholds in that nation will be obliterated.

Will You Join Me?

isis-execution-ethiopian-christiansAnother video has been released that shows at least 30 Ethiopian Christian men being shot or beheaded.   The terrorists referred to both groups of men  as “worshipers of the cross belonging to the hostile Ethiopian church”.  These are our brothers.   They aren’t just random strangers being slaughtered for no reason.  They are our brothers who were martyred for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.    The Ethiopian government is deeply saddened by the barbarous act committed against our innocent nationals,” a government statement said.  I wonder, is the Church grieved over this?  Do we see the reports on TV or online and just keep going?  This was a heinous act that defies description.  Are we affected by our brothers being murdered?  Does our heart cry out for the families that lost husbands, brothers, and sons?  As we sit in air conditioned churches listening to sermons to increase our self esteem, do we even care?  The Ethiopian government is declaring 3 days of mourning beginning tomorrow.  Will you join me the next three days in prayer and fasting for all those affected by this and for the persecuted church?  It’s happening all over the world.  I’m not going to take the attitude that as long as everything is okay in my life that’s all that matters.  It’s not okay to watch as the world goes to hell.  It’s not right to change the channel on TV because the news is too hard to watch.  It’s not okay to be a follower of Jesus Christ and not raise our voice in intercession.  It’s not okay to ignore what’s going on all around us.  I’m not going to be quiet about it.  I’m not going to enjoy the comforts of my life without regard to those dying not only on distant shores, but in my own backyard.  In America, the persecution is different but it’s there nonetheless. It’s not going to get any better either.  As the Church we have to rise up from our apathy and get on our knees before a holy God.  We think we’re so civilized that it won’t happen here. Right now our persecution comes in the form of legal action against business owners refusing to compromise their beliefs. That’s just the beginning unless America is transformed to a Christian nation again.
 What are we willing to do for the sake of a lost and dying world?  Are we willing to pay the price to see revival fires burn?  Am I willing to pay that price?  Statistics show that over 150,000 people die all over the world every 24 hours.That’s over 54,750,000 people each year.  I’ll be 42 years old in exactly one week.  In my lifetime over 2,299,500,000 people died.  Each one is an eternal being.  They’re either in Heaven or hell right now.  Twenty four hours from now at least 150,000 people will be plunged into eternity.  Leonard Ravenhill once said, ““Are the things you’re living for worth Christ dying for?”    I want my life to count.  I want to see others come to Christ and be set free. Living for Christ is what makes life worth living. Now is our time to rise up individually and corporately.  The effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous man avails much!

Sharing Inwardly His Likeness

potter-and-clay  One of my favorite scriptures is Romans 8:29 in the Amplified version For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren.

Our destiny from the beginning was to be molded into the image of Jesus Christ.  God doesn’t stop there.  An image can be formed in the likeness of something else but that doesn’t mean it has the same inner qualities.  We don’t get to just look like a Christian on the outside.  We get to share inwardly His likeness.   That’s where it truly counts.  We get to have His inner strength, peace, ability, love compassion and everything else.  For this we were foreordained!  It’s our purpose and our destiny.  What could be better?  Once we share inwardly His likeness we will share outwardly His actions.  That gets me excited!   The King James Version says, “He did also predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.”   That word conformed in the Greek means having the same form as another.  Our destiny is to share the same form as Jesus Christ!

Most Christians are able to recognize the fact that we are living in the very last of the last days.  It’s not just a popular saying.  It’s the truth!  So much is going on in the world that it’s difficult to keep track of everything.  It can be heart wrenching and make you angry all at the same time.  We have so many questions and wonder why Government administrations aren’t doing more to help and stop the madness.   The amazingly, wonderful and awesome truth is that God chose us to be here for this exact time.  I know I mention it often but it’s a powerful reminder when chaos seems to be all around.  God chose us to be here, for this time, in this place to share inwardly the image and likeness of Jesus Christ.  As I said before, when we share inwardly His likeness we’ll share outwardly His actions.  Sometimes I’m overwhelmed with all that’s happening in the world but mostly I’m grateful that God allowed me to be here for this time.  He chose you to be here for this time as well.  God has a plan and purpose for your life and that my dear friend is to share inwardly the likeness of Jesus Christ.

One of my co-workers told me today that she appreciates and admires the burden I have for certain things.  Honestly, I had nothing to do with that.  God put it in me.  I used to hate it because it caused my heart so much hurt.  At least 15 years ago I went to a co-workers mother’s funeral.  I didn’t know my co-worker very well and I had never met her mother.  Her death came as a complete shock and my co-worker was devastated.  After the funeral I got in my car and cried so hard.  I had no clue why I was crying like that.  In that moment God showed me that it sometimes hurts to have His heart.  I distinctly remember Him asking me if I wanted His heart knowing how much it could hurt.  I humbly said “Yes, I want Your heart.”  It was one of those moments I’ve never forgotten.   There’s no other way to live this Christian life than with His heart.  Now, I’m grateful to feel the hurt of others.  The Bible says in Hebrews 4:15 that Jesus as our High Priest is touched with the feeling of our infirmities.  In the Message Bible it says that He is not out of touch with our reality.  That’s who Jesus is.  His love for us causes Him to be touched with the feeling of our weakness, lack of strength, and when we’re going through trials.  Since that’s Who Jesus is, I want to share His likeness.

Numerous times in the New Testament it says that Jesus was moved with compassion.  It’s one thing to be touched by someone else’s affliction but it’s something entirely different when it propels you to action.  True compassion, true Jesus compassion will propel us to action.   It will cause us to pray, fast, turn off the television, drive to a friend’s house late at night, make someone a meal and it will also cause the miraculous.  Research it for yourself.  Each time the Bible says that Jesus was moved with compassion a miracle took place.   Open your heart to the feelings of others and let Jesus within you be moved to action.  We live in awesome times with the greatest outpouring of the Spirit of God anyone has ever seen.  These are also desperate times which call for great love and compassion.

Our Brothers

martyrs

 

The names listed above are those of the men beheaded on the beach in Libya by ISIL affiliated murderers.  These men were fathers, sons, nephews, uncles and our brothers in Christ.  I was overwhelmed as I read each name but especially when I got to #15 “Worker from Awr village”.  As of right now, we don’t know his name.  As he gave his life, God most certainly welcomed him into eternity.  God knows every detail about our precious brothers.  I can’t even begin to know what it would be like to kneel on the sands of Galveston beach with a knife held to my neck.  Who knows what they went through while being held hostage.   It’s time that we take this personally and take it to heart.  We can’t just glaze over what is happening all over the earth.  This is definitely a very sobering time.  It’s the time in which God chose us to be alive though.  We have a choice, we can bury our head in the sand or we can rise up into the destiny that God has for us.  I want to fulfill all the will of God for my life and I’m sure you do as well.  Pray, fast and cry out for the nations.  Cry out for our brothers and sisters.   The news reported that when some of the men were forced to their knees they cried, “Oh God, Oh Jesus.”    ISIL had some of those men captive for up to two months.  Who knows how many more they may have.  Let their cry ring in your ears as a wake up call.  By your own choice will you get on your knees and cry out on behalf of a dying world?  Will you cry out knowing that this might not be the last of such a video?    Pray for those in mourning and those in leadership.   My friend, your prayers avail much.

Cry of the Martyrs
By Jennifer Craft
May 1, 2013

Their cries echo through eternity
piercing through the generations.
It’s the cry of the martyrs
their blood stains across the nations.

Beaten and tortured for the cause of Christ
refusing to deny His name.
They faithfully endure
refusing the shame.

Faithful until the end
through trials and pain.
They will not be silenced
their sacrifice never in vain.

The cry of the martyrs
resounds across the land.
It’s a sound we cannot deny
for action it’s only demand.

The cry of the martyrs
challenges us each day.
Will we sit idly by
or will we fast and pray?

Will we choose to ignore
as they humbly give all
or on bended knee
will we answer the call?

The cry of the martyrs
reaches the Father’s heart.
For our brothers and sisters
we must do our part.

Give them back!

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The Super Bowl has a very dark side.  It’s the single largest event in the US for human trafficking either for forced labor or sex trafficking.  Critics are trying to claim that the statistics for Super Bowl sex trafficking aren’t true.  The truth is every major sporting event is linked to increased sex trafficking.   Last year  in New York the online prostitution ads tripled the weekend of the Super Bowl.  Due to the vigilance of an airline worker, 86 children were rescued the same weekend from a child prostitution ring.   During the Dallas Super Bowl in 2011 there was a 300% increase in internet ads regarding sex trafficking. In the Florida Super Bowl in 2009 they were actually advertising a young woman as a Super Bowl special.  Tragically, human trafficking isn’t just an issue one day a year.  It’s every single day, all around the world.

In the US sex trafficking brings in billions of dollars annually.  The US Department of Homeland Security says that between 300,000 and 400,000 American children are involved in some type of sex trafficking every single year.  That number is expected to grow.  The average age for entering into child prostitution is only 13 years old, according to the Department of Justice.   Many victims are runaway girls who were sexually abused as children.  Their pimps beat them repeatedly and break them into compliance. According to some estimates, approximately 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation, and 19% involves labor exploitation.  There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today.

I’m not against the Super Bowl but honestly, I don’t care one bit about it.  I don’t even know which two teams are playing tomorrow.  What I do care about are the innocent victims involved.  Knowing about the victims of human trafficking, and reading their stories has completely wrecked me.  They aren’t just numbers.  They’re not nameless and faceless before God.  He knows each and every one of them.  I can’t begin to imagine how a 14 year old girl feels after a 7:00 pm – 8:00 am “shift”.  How do you put that into words? Tomorrow while you’re eating pizza, watching the Super Bowl and visiting with friends perhaps you can take a moment and pray for those being used and abused.  Will you stand in the gap for these precious ones?  If it were your daughter or son wouldn’t you want someone praying for them?  You might wonder if your prayers matter.  Isaiah 42:22 says But this is a people plundered and despoiled; All of them are trapped in caves, Or are hidden away in prisons; They have become a prey with none to deliver them, And a spoil, with none to say, “Give them back!”    Several translations say “with no one to say, “restore!”  The word ‘restore’ is translated from the Hebrew shuwb  and means to return, turn back, bring back, restore, refresh, repair.  Isaiah 43:6 says, “I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring My sons from afar And My daughters from the ends of the earth.  That’s my prayer for the victims of human trafficking tomorrow and every day that I live.

One of my favorite quotes comes from the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  “As He died to make men holy, let us live to make them free.”  I want that as the anthem of my life. Jesus shed His blood so I could be free.  At the very least I can live my life so others will experience His freedom. The following is a YouTube link to a song called “Every Captive Free.”  Matt Gillman wrote it as part of raising awareness for human trafficking.