Genesis 18:16-33

October 17, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in Bible Study | 1 Comment
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Then the men rose up from there, and looked down toward Sodom; and Abraham was walking with them to send them off. The LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed? “For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.” And the LORD said, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. “I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before the LORD. Continue Reading Genesis 18:16-33…

Persecution Fridays – Iran – Pastor Faces Charges

September 2, 2011 at 10:31 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | 2 Comments
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Iran: Pastor Faces Charges

Iranian pastor Abdolreza “Matthias” Haghnejad was released from prison on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, after a family member pledged their property for his bail. Haghnejad is charged with blasphemy against Islam, according to VOM contacts.

Haghnejad, a pastor from the city of Bandar Anzal, was arrested on Aug. 17, while making a pastoral visit in the city of Rasht. VEVAK, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and National Security, held Haghnejad in prison in the Rasht area until his family paid the $30,000 bail, according to ASSIST News Service.

“[Blasphemy against Islam] is a serious charge against Haghnejad, so I ask that you continue to pray for him and his family,” VOM contacts said. “God made a way for his acquittal previously, and I believe he will do so again.”

Haghnejad and 10 other church members were detained earlier this year and charged for activities against the Iranian order and drinking alcohol but they were later acquitted on May 1. The charges referred to their involvement in a house church meeting and to taking communion wine.

Haghnejad’s most recent arrest occurred amidst reports of escalated government pressure on Christians. Please pray that God will provide Haghnejad and his family with strength and courage while they wait for the court hearing on the blasphemy charges.

Genesis 13:2-12

June 27, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold. He went on his journeys from the Negev as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar which he had made there formerly; and there Abram called on the name of the LORD. Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. And the land could not sustain them while dwelling together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to remain together. And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. Now the Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling then in the land. So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. “Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left.” Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere–this was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah–like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar. So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom.

Today, we’re going to continue following Abram as he follows God. Abram has been called out of Ur of the Chaldees, away from his family. He has followed his father Terah to Haran. There, Terah died and Abram continued on his own, with his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot. They traveled to Bethel and then south through the Negev. A severe famine caused them to move into Egypt and live there for a little while.

As they entered Egypt, Abram had told his wife that she was to tell everyone that she was his sister (which we saw is actually true) so that they wouldn’t kill him and take his wife. The Egyptians told Pharaoh of Sarai’s beauty and he took her to be his wife. Because of her beauty, Pharaoh gave Abram livestock and servants. But, God struck Pharaoh and his household with “great plagues” because of this. Pharaoh seems to know why the plagues came and Who brought them. He rebuked Abram, gave Sarai back to him, and sent them out of Egypt.

Now, Abram is rich in livestock, silver, and gold. He retraces his steps through the Negev and back to Bethel where he built the altar. As he reaches this place, Abram must have remembered calling out to God and been reminded of Who it was that had blessed and protected him. We also see that Lot has been blessed because of Abram. He too has flocks and herds and tents. This brings about a problem for nephew and uncle. The land that they are both dwelling on cannot sustain both of them. Both of them had so many possessions that it brought strife between their herdsmen as they fought for grazing land. We find out that the Canaanite and the Perizzite are dwelling in the same land. In these stressful conditions, Abram approaches Lot with a request. His desire is to be at peace with his nephew, so he asks Lot to separate from him. Abram, being the elder one, should have had the choice of land, but he instead gives that to Lot.

When Lot looks up, he sees that the valley of the Jordan is well-watered. The text says that it was as well watered as the garden of the Lord. It doesn’t say in the text, but I can’t help but wonder if this view of the valley was enhanced by Lot’s desire to increase? Just a thought. In the end, Lot moves to the valley of the Jordan. But, he doesn’t stop there. He takes his tents as far as Sodom.

Meanwhile, scripture says that Abram settled in Canaan. It is interesting that it is only now that God’s command is obeyed. You might be asking what I’m talking about. Let’s take another look at it:

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; (Genesis 12:1)

God told Abram to go forth out of his country, which he did. But, he also told him to go away from his relatives and his father’s house. This would include his nephew Lot. Now that Lot is gone, God can begin to work with him and prepare him for what’s to come.

This brings to mind something that I want to ask you. Has God commanded something of you? If so, have you obeyed completely? Or, is there still something that you need to get rid of/let go of so that He can work in you? Prayerfully ask the Lord to show you what the case may be and He will show you. Just be ready to obey…

Next week, we’ll see how God adds to His promise! Hope to see you there!

Genesis 12:10-13:1

June 20, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. It came about when he came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman; and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. “Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you.” It came about when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. Pharaoh’s officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. Therefore he treated Abram well for her sake; and gave him sheep and oxen and donkeys and male and female servants and female donkeys and camels. But the LORD struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? “Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife, take her and go.” Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they escorted him away, with his wife and all that belonged to him. So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, he and his wife and all that belonged to him, and Lot with him. Continue Reading Genesis 12:10-13:1…

Persecution Friday: India

June 3, 2011 at 7:29 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

India: Attacks Persist

Hindu extremists continue to target Christians in India with harassment, false accusations, beatings and even murder. The Global Council of Indian Christians believes Hindu extremists are behind two recent murders of Christians in the state of Andhra Pradesh. In the most recent case, 17-year-old Nirupama Pradhan was raped and murdered after school on May 12, 2011. Her father, Sitrian Pradhan, named the possible murderer, but according to Asia News, police have done nothing to find the murderer.

Police also have refused to give a post-mortem report to the widow of Saul Pradhan, a Christian preacher who was murdered on Jan. 10, 2011. Pradhan had taken a new job at a brick kiln in another village. When he did not return home from work one day, his family searched for him and found his body near a pond. Police originally claimed Pradhan died from the “bitter cold,” but his employers, Hindu radicals, later confessed to the murder. Continue Reading Persecution Friday: India…

Persecution Fridays: Iran – “Dismantle Evangelism”

March 25, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Iran: Dismantle Evangelism

Iran’s Religious Leaders Continue Public Attacks on Christianity

Ayatollah Vahid Khorasani spoke out against Christianity and evangelism during a recent religious class at the Islamic seminary in Qom, Iran. On Wednesday, March 9, Khorasani stated, “People [in Iran] have become Christians, and Shiite youths are being misled by Christianity.” His statements were published on the government website “Ayandeh.”

Khorasani told his students, “There is no one to tell to the government officials what this misled and distracted Christian evangelism is doing even in Qom.” Qom, an important religious city for Shiites, is home to the largest center for Shiite scholarship in the world. “Christian-deviated teachings are being diverted to our nation,” Khorasani said. “If the authorities even assume that something is going to shake their power, they will confront it with full force, but they do nothing against these evangelists who are misleading our Shiite youth population.”

Khorasani joins several other religious and political leaders in acknowledging the rapid growth of Christianity in Iran and criticizing the government’s inaction. During an October 2010 visit to Qom, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned against the growth of house churches in Iran. He called house churches “enemies of Islam.” Using similar rhetoric, the governor of Tehran Province, Morteza Tamaddon, has called Christians “radicals who want to corrupt and divert the body of Islam.”

The inflammatory words of Iran’s leaders seem to reflect a rising fear of Christianity within the government. In recent months, Christians in Iran have faced a systematic wave of arrests, and new converts from Islam have been especially targeted. More than 200 Christians have been imprisoned since Christmas. To date, 20 of them have seen no progress in their cases, and they continue to face difficult circumstances inside detention centers.

Evidence of the Iranian government’s disdain for Christianity continues to mount. During a routine inspection of a bus at a border crossing recently, the office of Contraband Search and Seizure, along with members of the revolutionary guard, discovered two boxes containing 300 New Testaments each. The revolutionary guards seized the boxes and burned the Bibles.

Persecution Fridays: Iran

February 4, 2011 at 10:49 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com 

Iran: Government Cracks Down

Since Christmas, more than 70 Christians have been arrested in Iran in a large, well-coordinated strike. Most of those arrested belong to the house church movement. Many were released from custody, but a dozen or more remain in detention. Those charged with trying to convert Muslims face the possibility of a death sentence. Officials say that more detentions are possible, and Tehran’s governor said in a recent speech that evangelicals are “corrupt and deviant.”

According to a Washington Times report, Saman Kamvar of the Iranian Christian News Agency attributes the increased persecution of evangelicals to remarks made last year by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Khamenei denounced the house church movement during a speech on Oct. 19, warning Iranians against the “network of house churches” that “threaten Islamic faith and deceive young Muslims.”

Christians, including traditional groups such as Armenians, Assyrians and Chaldeans, make up less than 1 percent of the population. About 0.2 percent are evangelical Christians, and many of those are part of the house church movement. Because the Iranian government cannot monitor them, house churches present a greater threat than historically established churches.

VOM works closely with house churches in Iran, supporting them with literature, Bibles and other ministry tools. Contacts tell us that Iranians are very open to the gospel right now, after a generation of living under the heavy hand of Islam. House churches are growing daily as Iranians trust Christ with their lives. Pray that these recent arrests will only strengthen the commitment of new Christians. Pray that house church leaders who are under surveillance will find creative ways to continue sharing the gospel.

Genesis 6:5-8

January 31, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

This week, we pick up with Genesis chapter six. We’ve seen that things have gone downhill, but it seems like they just keep getting worse. Man has become violent. Whether you believe that the sons of God were the descendants of Seth or fallen angels, the result was vileness and violence. Things have gotten so bad that every thought of man’s heart was evil. Many people will read that and think, “Wow, that must have been a horrible time to live. Everyone was only thinking evil in their hearts continually”. The truth is, nothing has changed! Look around today in America alone. Pornography runs rampant and rakes in billions of dollars a year from men and women. Abortion, the legal right to kill your unborn (or almost born) child has become commonplace to many people. Homosexuality is a stain on our nation. Men committing lewd acts with other men, women committing the same acts with other women, in outright rebellion to God’s order of Creation. Marriages are torn apart by infidelity and adultery. Idols are raised almost on a daily basis as people try to find a “god” that will let them live exactly how they want to live. Evolution is touted as fact, even though there is little evidence (and the story continues to change), and few stop to realize that it’s a religion just like any other. Continue Reading Genesis 6:5-8…

Newslinks 09/26/10

September 26, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Values Voters Pick Mike Pence Over Huckabee for President
Social conservatives at the Values Voter Summit have crowned a new top contender for president, though the winner of this year’s straw poll only edged out last year’s by two points.

Anti-Poverty Groups Sound Off Ahead of High-Level MDG Summit

Pope Expresses ‘Sorrow and Shame’ Over Child Abuse

ELCA Receives 3 Lesbian Ministers

Few Americans Think Glenn Beck Is Fit to Head Religious Mov’t

Wheaton College Installs New President Continue Reading Newslinks 09/26/10…

Newslinks 09/19/10

September 19, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Stephen Hawking Takes on Sir Isaac Newton; Christians Respond
Physicist Stephen Hawking made headlines this past week for taking on arguably the most influential scientist in human history, Sir Isaac Newton.

12-Hour Prayer, Fasting Rally Hits Sacramento

Emergency in Pakistan Will ‘Get Worse Before It Gets Better’

Church Mourns Loss of U.S. Army Chaplain in Afghanistan

Poll: 2 in 3 New Yorkers Want Park51 Mosque Moved

Parliament of the World’s Religions Calls for 9/11 Solidarity Continue Reading Newslinks 09/19/10…

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