Persecution Fridays: Uzbekistan – False Prosecutions

August 19, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Uzbekistan: False Prosecutions

Authorities in Uzbekistan continue to pressure churches and religious groups, often fabricating evidence to punish or limit Christians’ ability to practice their faith. Christians recently have been subjected to excessive fines, false accusations and literature confiscations. In the most recent case, on July 15, 2011, Konstantin Malchikovsky, pastor of the Hamza District Baptist Church in Tashkent, was indicted for tax fraud.

The indictment involved allegations that Malchikovsky failed to pay taxes on church offerings and book sales between 2003 and 2010. According to Forum 18 News, a government investigator threatened church members with jail time if they refused to fabricate evidence against the pastor. The government apparently wants the church to use a cash register to receive offerings so they can issue a receipt for each one.

Malchikovsky faces a maximum of two years in jail if convicted. Local Christians told Forum 18 that city tax authorities did not present to the court all of the documents claimed as evidence. And the judge ignored documents that proved the inaccuracy of the indictment.

Last spring, authorities raided the Hamza District Baptist Church, confiscating money, printing equipment and tens of thousands of Christian books. Four church members, including Malchikovsky, were fined between 50 and 100 times the minimum monthly wage.

In a separate raid in June, authorities confiscated about 250 Christian books and recordings, a computer and a passport from Christian Anvar Rajapov’s home. Rajapov was fined 80 times the minimum monthly wage. Ignoring police threats, Rajapov twice unsuccessfully appealed the ruling to Tashkent Criminal Court. On July 10, when Rajapov asked the court for the return of his hard drive, the court ordered that it be destroyed.

In another case, the Uzbek Supreme Court recently upheld the 10-year sentence of Tohar Haydarov, who was arrested in March 2010 and charged with the “illegal sale of narcotic or psychotropic substances in large quantities.” Church members consistently told Forum 18 News that the allegations were fabricated to punish him.

Although prison authorities have shown Haydarov letters that have been mailed to him, he has not been allowed to read them. The reason, prison authorities say, is that there are “too many citations from the Bible in them.” Local Christians told Forum 18 News that Haydarov has admonished other Christians to “appreciate dearly your worship services and listen attentively to the sermons. I so much wish to attend worship services, but, alas, I don’t have the opportunity.”

Genesis 4:17-26

December 27, 2010 at 11:54 am | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son. Now to Enoch was born Irad, and Irad became the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael became the father of Methushael, and Methushael became the father of Lamech. Lamech took to himself two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other, Zillah. Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. As for Zillah, she also gave birth to Tubal-cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron; and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah. Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, Listen to my voice, You wives of Lamech, Give heed to my speech, For I have killed a man for wounding me; And a boy for striking me; If Cain is avenged sevenfold, Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.” Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD.

This week we finish looking at chapter 4 of Genesis. To recap, Adam and Eve have been commanded to leave the garden of Eden after they sinned against God. They moved east of Eden and settled down. They had two boys named Cain and Abel. Cain and Abel went to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. Abel offered an animal from the flock while Cain offered the fruit of the ground. When God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s, Cain got angry at his brother. God warned Cain that sin was waiting to master him. In the end, sin won and Cain killed his brother. As punishment, God said that Cain would no longer be able to cultivate the ground and that he would be a wanderer. Cain feared that when someone heard of his deed they would kill him. To prevent this, God “appointed a sign” to Cain so that others would know who he was and that they should avoid him.

All of this happened in a short amount of time. In verse 17 we see the beginning of Cain’s legacy. Cain has relations with his wife and they have a son named Enoch. Right from the beginning we deal with a verse that has caused much controversy and many questions among those looking for a reason to doubt the Bible. The question is: “Where did Cain get his wife?” Many see this as a problem for the Bible because they see no way for Cain to get a wife. Others use this to point to the possibility of other people not descended from Adam. Both miss the plain reading of the Bible in their effort to push their bias and personal feelings onto the Bible. The Bible names Cain and Abel but doesn’t say that they are the first children that Adam and Eve had. Seth, the son who was born to replace Abel, was born when Adam was 130 years old (Genesis 5:3). In verse 4 it says that Adam lived 800 years after Seth and had other sons and daughters. Because Adam and Eve were the first human beings in existence, there is only one logical explanation for where Cain got his wife. It was either his sister or it was his niece.

I realize that in today’s day and time this thought is not very appealing, and it shouldn’t be. But, think about it for a minute. You’re the only man and woman on the planet. You have been told by God to be fruitful and multiply. How else is this supposed to happen? The problems that man would have today with close siblings having children would not have been problems then. Sin’s corrupting influence had just been introduced to man and the genetic material of mankind hadn’t been corrupted to the point it is today. It is also important to remember that God didn’t forbid this sort of relationship until the time of Moses. So while we don’t know who Cain took for a wife, we do know that it was a family member. The two had a son named Enoch and Cain built a city and named it after his son. We then begin to see the lineage of Cain and the legacy of Cain’s actions. One of the descendants of Cain was Lamech. Lamech had two wives (which does go against the marriage institution that God had developed in the beginning). From one wife, Adah, he had at least two sons, Jabal and Jubal. Jabal was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. Jubal was the father of those who play the pipes and the lyre. From his other wife, Zillah, he had Tubal-cain and Naamah. Tubal-cain was the father of those who forged implements of bronze and iron.

Here in a very short time, we see Cain’s family adapting to the curse of not being able to tend the ground. They began to forge metal and make musical instruments. They tended flocks and lived in tents. This didn’t take the millions/billions of years that evolutionists seem to claim that it did. If we were to use the 130 years that it took for Seth to be born as a general generation (even though it wasn’t because Cain and Abel had been born, as had Cain’s wife), this progression from the first man to men who were forging iron/bronze, building cities, and making musical instruments is about 780 years. It is obvious that Adam and his descendants were created with a vast amount of knowledge. The idea that man had to evolve over millions of years to the point we are today and that he was as dumb as a box of rocks at the beginning is both sad and prideful.

We also see that Cain’s pride and stubbornness has been passed down though. Lamech has killed a man for wounding him and a young boy for striking him. The sin of his ancestor echoes in his actions, but it is his bold claim that God will have vengeance on anyone that kills him seventy times over that is amazing. It is not made clear that God is involved in this proclamation nor that He gave a sign to Lamech like He did to Cain. Some say that Lamech’s killings were unintentional, but there is nothing that gives this connotation any credit. Outside of the little information about Lamech and his two wives, this ends Cain’s genealogy.

From here, we are brought back to Adam, Eve, and their new son Seth. As was mentioned above, Seth was expected to replace Abel. We then find out that Seth has a son and names him Enosh. The chapter ends with the statement, “Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD”. This seems to be an indication of a few things. First, Adam and Eve were still in God’s presence. This is noted by the fact that when Cain killed Abel, he left the presence of God (Genesis 4:16). It also points to the fact that Seth had been influenced by God’s presence and really did (to some degree) replace Abel. He and his descendants called on the name of the LORD.

It is here that we stop for this week, but it is a good place to stop. As with any time we study scripture, we must first observe, then understand, and then apply. While many may think that the first two are the hardest, I believe that it is the last. The application of scripture to our lives is what makes us grow in holiness. So let me ask, do you call on the name of the LORD? Do you spend time in His presence daily? Or are you like Cain and you’ve gone out from His presence? Would you rather hold on to your sin and give in than live holy? These things and more are things we can ask ourselves and we must be honest with the answers when they come. To hear the truth about ourselves and hide from it is to neglect God’s grace and mercy. Next week we will begin looking at chapter 5! Hope to see you here!

Genesis 4:1-7

December 7, 2010 at 11:49 am | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD.” Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

This week, we begin to see what happens after the Fall. We see how quickly the sinful nature takes hold of what was once a perfect creation. If you recall, Adam and Eve have been ousted from the garden of Eden because they disobeyed God and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They’ve returned to where Adam was made and have settled there. Imagine for a minute being the only two people on the entire planet. It was always this way, but now, things are different. Now, you don’t have fellowship with God like you used to. Now, sin and death have entered the world and everything is a little more ominous. And yet, in all of this there is hope brought about by the promise given by God.

Eventually, Adam and Eve have a child and name him Cain. When Cain is born, she says, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord”. There is something interesting here though. In many Bibles, the phrase “the help of” is in italics. That means that this phrase isn’t found in the original writings. That would make Eve’s original quote, “I have gotten a manchild with the Lord”. The implication here is that the promise was going to be fulfilled in Cain. While she was wrong about that, it does show that Eve held on to the promise that God gave her. After Cain’s birth follows Abel’s. We don’t have any idea how much time passed from the expulsion of Adam and Eve to Cain’s birth or between Cain’s birth and Abel’s but, we do know that Adam was 130 years old when Seth (the third son) was born. This means that the Fall, expulsion, birth of Cain, birth of Abel, murder of Abel, and birth of Seth all happened within 130 years of the creation.

 Again, we aren’t given any indication of what happened as the boys grew other than the jobs they took on. Abel was a tender of the flocks and Cain was a tiller of the ground. The Bible says that “in the course of time” Cain brought an offering from the fruit of the ground. For his offering, Abel brought of the first born of his flock and their fat portions. Many people gloss over this (if not the entirety of chapters 4 and 5) but it’s important. Here we see that Cain and Abel both recognize that they are to give offerings to the Lord. This must have been something that Adam and Eve taught them to do. This in turn means that it is something that Adam and Eve did. From the beginning, man has been giving offerings to the Lord. Not only that, but it shows what type of offerings they were bringing. In the next few verses, we see that the Lord regarded Abel’s sacrifice, but He didn’t regard (accept) Cain’s. Why? If Cain was a tiller of the ground and God knew that, why would He disregard his offering? The reason is simple and it points to a basic problem that man will have until Christ returns. Man wants to do things his own way instead of doing them God’s way.

How do I know this? Well, from personal experience, from seeing it happen in others, and from what God says to Cain when he gets angry. God reminds Cain that if he “does well” his countenance will be lifted up. This implies that Cain knew that he was to bring a blood sacrifice. This is what Abel brought. I would suppose that this is because of what God did when man first sinned against him in the garden. Do you remember? God killed two animals to make clothes for Adam and Eve. Abel offers a blood sacrifice in remembrance of that. Cain does not. But, there is more to it then that. When God talks to Cain, He says that if Cain does well, his countenance will be lifted up. Cain was angry and crestfallen because God didn’t accept the sacrifice that he decided to bring to him. But, God says that if he “does well” he will be lifted up again. I can’t say with certainty because scripture doesn’t say for sure, but I believe that God was showing Cain that all he had to do was offer up a blood sacrifice. I believe that if Cain would have talked to Abel and asked for or traded for a sheep or goat, Abel would have given it. Cain could have sacrificed the way that God required and Abel’s death would not have taken place.

How often do we try to manipulate things or do things our way and hope that God blesses them? We do all that we can to work and get things set up just so, and when God refuses to bless something that wasn’t the way He wanted it done, we get mad and sin against Him and others. God warns Cain (and us) that if we are angry, sin crouches at our door and waits for us, desiring us to let it in. How many times have you heard on the news about some tragedy that has taken place just because someone got angry over something? It happens all the time and usually it is for the stupidest reasons. God warns us that if we will “do well” and make sure that we do things the way that He wants us to, we will have our countenances lifted up and we will master sin!

Will you be like Abel or like Cain? In the book of 1 John, John reminds us that we are not to love one another like Cain loved Abel. Cain didn’t really love Abel. If he did, he wouldn’t have killed him. When we get angry at others for walking according to scripture and in obedience to God, do we really love them? John says that the message that we’ve heard from the beginning is to love one another. The word that John uses for love in that verse is the Greek word agape. It is the God kind of love. Many people know this and can tell you this, but can they describe it? What does agape love really look like? The greatest example of agape love is the death of Jesus on the cross for sinful mankind. He was spotless and without sin and yet, He went through the ridicule, the mocking, the scourging, the crucifixion, and the wrath of God for those who hate Him. He hung on the cross and forgave those who put Him there. This is agape love and it’s the way that Christians are supposed to love others.

As we end this week, let me ask you: Do you love with agape love? Are you prepared to die for someone else? Someone that isn’t in your family? Someone that hates you? Someone that you don’t like? This is agape

As always, comments, questions, suggestions, and complaints are welcome. Just leave them below and I’ll try to get to them as soon as I can. Next week we continue with the murder of Abel. See you then!

Revival (long)

April 26, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
I don’t know what it is like in other areas of America (I’m originally from Ohio and don’t remember hearing a lot about this up there), but over the next five or so months, churches across the South will be holding revivals. These will be big to-dos varying in length from three or four days to an entire week. During the time leading up to these events, the church excitement grows and people look forward to this in order to be “refreshed” and get a spiritual boost so that they continue to “work for the Lord”.  They will dress in their Sunday best, notebooks in hand, to hear what the preacher/evangelist (usually a guest) has to say. Depending on the denomination and area, these meetings will range in volume and action. The expectation is that at the end of the week, they will have heard the very thing they needed to hear so that they can move to a new level with God and “do more” for Him. I remember attending a few revivals (I haven’t been to one in years) and recall them being emotionally charged appeals (in some cases) or sound, steady topical teaching (in other cases). For weeks following the revival, people would make larger efforts to have more ministries, outreaches, events, and other things geared toward the church. As I look back though, I seem to also remember that after about two months the revival wore off. People began getting caught up in the daily grind again and all of those new ministries and events just fell by the wayside. I have thought about this a lot lately. In my own life, I am striving harder to have everything I do line the Scriptures. I am not even close yet, but things are moving along. I started wondering what Scripture said about revival. What I found was interesting. Continue Reading Revival (long)…

This is the year!

January 4, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well, it’s about that time. The Christmas season is over and the ball has dropped to signify another year has begun. Aside from the annual commercials selling every type of weight loss machine, drink, and diet plan imaginable, there is one more thing that should be happening right about now. This time of year should also bring the beginning of all of the “prophetic words” from the numerous “pastors” and “preachers” that talk about how this is the year for ________ (insert the new, popular word/term for financial prosperity here…). This is the year of blessing, wealth, prosperity, health, overflow, abundance, and/or fullness. This is the year when that peace/love/hope/power/healing/miracle/joy you’ve been waiting for is going to happen! If you will send these men and women your seed/offering/gift in faith and believe that what they are telling you is true, oops sorry, I mean believe in faith, then you will know greater power/glory/honor/fame/money/prestige/happiness/joy/love/peace/prosperity/your best life now. All that for your best “faith seed”! Seems like a pretty good deal doesn’t it?

If it wasn’t so heretical, it would actually be kind of fun. Like biblical Mad Libs… Continue Reading This is the year!…


Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: