He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

Sunday, February 28, 2010 

Four Kinds of Abraham's Offspring

Natural, physical offspringPhysical descendants of AbrahamIshmael, Isaac, the sons of Keturah (and by extension Esau, Jacob, etc.)
Natural, yet special offspringPhysical descendants of Abraham especially tied to God's elective and saving purposesIsaac (by extension Jacob and the entire nation of Israel)
Promised offspringThe true, unique offspring of AbrahamA distinctive line of offspring, starting earlier with Seth and continuing through Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Israel, and David, culminating in Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:16)
Spiritual offspringThose united with Christ (the promised offspring)Jews and Gentiles who trust in the Messiah

- from ESV Study Bible

Saturday, February 27, 2010 

Principles of Marriage

Principles of Marriage

Scripture Reference

-Marriage is part of the “mystery” of God's willEph. 1:9; 3:3; 5:32
-Paul's instructions are directed to Spirit-filled believersEph. 5:18
-Wives are called to submit, men are called to loveEph. 5:21–33
-Headship entails authorityEph. 5:23–24 (cf. Eph. 1:22; 4:15)
-Submission is still required of Christian wivesEph. 5:22; Col. 3:18 (cf. Gen. 2:18; 1 Cor. 11:3)
-Marriage involves spiritual warfare, which requires husbands and wives to put on the full armor of GodEph. 6:10–18

- from ESV Study Bible

Friday, February 26, 2010 

Japan: Praying to the god of Business & Wealth

Watch this 3 minute clip. Japanese don't have much interest in religion in day to day life, & when they do, they're dead wrong. Pray to the Creator God of the Bible to open their spiritual eyes so that they may know the One Who is worth seeking first, more worthy than the treasure that moth & rust destroys.

Thursday, February 25, 2010 

Nightmare in East Burma

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 

Burma Military Attacks Christians

Patrick Klein with Vision Beyond Borders just returned from the region. "They set fire to 46 houses in one area, 28 in another area. They burned a mobile health clinic, middle school and nursery school. Thousands more people have been displaced and are in hiding following the attack."

Klein says this is a blatant attack against Christians -- bordering on genocide. He's concerned because Vision Beyond Borders is helping with Cyclone Nargis recovery. "We're actually building more orphanages right now. We're bringing more kids in. And we're facing more and more opposition from the government. They don't want, especially Christians, to be helping kids come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior and kids to grow up with a conviction to serve God first and foremost."

More attacks are expected as October elections draw near.

- read full story here

Tuesday, February 23, 2010 

The Church & Missions

"A congregation that is not deeply and earnestly involved in the worldwide proclamation of the gospel does not understand the nature of salvation."

- Ted Engstrom, World Vision

Monday, February 22, 2010 

Love / Giving

"You can give without loving. But you cannot love without giving."

- Amy Carmichael, missionary to India

Sunday, February 21, 2010 

Global God

"We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God."

- John Stott

Saturday, February 20, 2010 

Sympathy < Action

"Sympathy is no substitute for action."

- David Livingstone, missionary to Africa

Friday, February 19, 2010 

No Sacrifice Too Great for Christ

"If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him."

- C.T. Studd

Thursday, February 18, 2010 

Priest to the Nations

When Sheba visits Solomon, she brings spices. 1 Kings 10 uses the word besem four times (vv. 2, 10 [2x], 25), suggesting that the spices come from the four points of the compass. Spices are exotic in Israel, a sign of the Gentiles flowing to the mountain of God.

What were the spices used for? Kings doesn’t tell us, but from the information in Exodus and Chronicles, spices were used for temple service – added to the anointing oil for priests, mixed with frankincense in the aromatic incense. That is, the treasures of the nations are brought to the house of Yahweh and offered up in worship to Him. Or, the spices of the nations are brought to Jerusalem and used to anoint the High Priest as a priest not only to Israel but to the nations.

There is a circular movement here: Nations bring spices, which make Israel a perfumed bride, which in turn draws the nations.

- Peter Leithart

That's good stuff right there.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 

Modern Slavery - Human Trafficking

A motivation for missions; if the those who did this disgusting work had new hearts of flesh & those who bought the services of these slaves had new hearts of flesh then there would be no supply or demand of slaves. But as it is, to make that even a possibility, someone has to go to share Christ. What will you do?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 

Dear Japan,

Please listen to this message:

Monday, February 15, 2010 

10 Practical Tips for Churches on Short-Term Trips

Dr. Hayward Armstrong (Associate Professor of Christian Missions, SBTS) is a 30-year veteran in the missions field. Here are ten practical tips he gives for churches/Christians traveling on short-term missions trips.

1. Ask the missionaries to describe their ministry to you (it helps them to clarify their thinking and renew their passion and it helps you to understand them and their work).

2. Ask them to name a few specific things or people that you can pray with them about (while you are there and after you come home).

3. Follow their leadership (they probably know more about the project than you).

4. Follow their leadership (they know the culture better than you).

5. Follow their leadership (they know the people and their needs better than you).

6. Graciously allow them to change your plans in midstream.

7. Let them infect you with a love for their adopted people.

8. Don't show disgust for people, places, circumstances, food, etc. (be honest but don't dwell on the negative).

9. Don't give them advice about how to do their ministry (they know more about it than you do).

10. Tell them that while you are there you will do anything they need to support them or their ministry (and mean it).

- Ryan Townsend @ 9marks

Sunday, February 14, 2010 

The Persecuted Church in Burma

Adoniram Judson and Ko Tha Byu (“The Karen Apostle”) brought the gospel to the Karen people of Burma in 1828. Revival came and thousands from this animistic people were saved and baptized. Now 40% Christian, the Karen people are suffering and they need our prayers.

Christians receive harsh treatment in Burma (also known as Myanmar), where they make up only 4% of the population (89% are Buddhist). According to a thorough report from Compass Direct, “Printing of Bibles is restricted, and churches are destroyed on a regular basis.” Last January, 100 churches in Rangoon were forced to close. If a Chin or Karen (two states with high Christian populations) Christian wants a job or promotion, they are often told to convert to Buddhism first.

The persecution goes far beyond closing churches and discriminatory hiring practices, however. Over 150,000 Karen and Karenni people have fled to refugee camps in Thailand—over half are Christians. They were forced to flee their homeland by the repressive Burmese military, which has burned to the ground hundreds of villages, killed thousands of their own people, and put many more into work camps. The military carries out much of its violence under the pretext of stamping out rebel activity, but it seems many are seeking to crush Christianity as well. Voice of the Martyrs tells of a Burmese official who recently stated, “Soon there will be no Christians in this nation. You will only be able to see a Karen person in a picture in a museum.”

Though persecution has been ongoing for many years, this is an especially precarious time for many of our Burmese brothers and sisters. The Thai government is threatening to force Burmese refugees back into Burma in the next couple of weeks, where most would be tortured, raped, or killed.

Many other Burmese Christians are hiding in the Burmese jungle. For example, Mission Network News tells of 100 Karen children in hiding. Vision Beyond Borders is working hard to serve these children and other displaced Burmese Christians. They have produced a helpful 30-day prayer guide that you can download here.

Learn more, pray, and then spread the word.

- Gospel Coalition

Saturday, February 13, 2010 

Wise as Lizards

“Be wise as serpents,” Jesus says. How?

The first wise serpent in the Bible is a deceiver. Is Jesus encouraging His disciples to use deception to protect themselves? In part, the answer is qualified Yes. Jesus wants us to let our Yes be Yes, and our No No. He exhorts us to straightforwardness.

But there are times when deceit is righteous. Paul escaped the ethnarch Aretas in a basket let down through a window in the wall of Damascus, and we can be certain that he didn’t inform Aretas of his plans beforehand. Deception is a tactic of war, and the apostles were at war. When the disciples leave a town where they’ve been persecuted, they don’t leave a forwarding address. They slip out and go somewhere else. They might wear disguises, as Calvin had to do at times when he traveled.

Behind these tactics of deception is an eye-for-eye justice. The serpent deceived Eve, and as a result Adam and Eve were cast from the garden. It’s just that Satan the deceiver be deceived. We receive Satan and Satanic oppressors as a strategy of protection, but also as an act of just retribution against Satan.

But there is more to the wisdom of serpents. Solomon observed that one of the four small things that are “exceedingly wise” was the lizard who can be grasped with the hands “yet is in kings’ palaces” (Proverbs 30:28). Reptiles are shrewd in their ability to slip into places designed to keep them out. This is the wisdom of Jesus’ serpentine disciples. Persecutors lay hands on believers, drag them before kings and governors, and – magically – Christians have slipped into king’s palaces, ready to speak a word inspired by the Spirit.

Through persecution, the mission to Israel will become a mission to the Gentiles. The Jews will not only “scourge you in their synagogues,” but will bring them “before governors and kings” (vv. 17-18). Without persecution, Jesus’ disciples would never gain access to Gentile rulers. The Twelve don’t have to prepare persuasive speeches; the Spirit will testify to the Gentiles through them (v. 20). So long as Jesus’ disciples remain as innocent as doves, their Lord will give them surprising access, and Spirit-filled speech, before the highest of men.

- Peter Leithart

Friday, February 12, 2010 

Feeling Without Acting

The demon Screwtape writes to his nephew Wormwood in letter 13:

The great thing is to prevent his doing anything. As long as he does not convert it into action, it does not matter how much he thinks about this new repentance. Let the little brute wallow in it. Let him, if he has any bent that way, write a book about it; that is often an excellent way of sterilizing the seeds which the Enemy plants in a human soul. Let him do anything but act. No amount of piety in his imagination and affections will harm us if we can keep it out of his will. As one of the humans has said, active habits are strengthened by repetition but passive ones are weakened. The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.

Your affectionate uncle,

Haiti, missions, tsunamis, earthquakes, orphans, poverty, the lost, genocide, homeless, hurricanes, disease, hell, war...

How often are we as Christians stirred by events, sermons, images, books, experiences, convictions even, & yet we just stop at that. We never move on to take any action. And over the years, we are less and less people of conviction and more and more people of comfort.

I love this song below by Jars of Clay. When I let my wife listen to it for the first time, she said, "I mean, it's good...but where's the happy ending, where's Jesus at the end?" By the end of the song though, I feel such weight, such heaviness from the burden of a sin-shattered world, that I want to do something. And because Christ has done the ultimate "something," we should be stirred not only in heart, but to action to spread the good news to this broken world and to be good news to this broken world. Instead of just standing around with our hands over our gaping mouths saying, "Oh my God," we who are the hands and feet of Christ should be that tangible reality of Christ in others lives. Jesus acted on our behalf when we were His enemies, dead in our sins. Only by His power & through His Spirit can we repent of our feeling without acting & toil, struggling with all His energy that powerfully works in us, to magnify our God & Savior to a desperate world.

Thursday, February 11, 2010 

In the Name of Allah

Malaysia rules that Allah is the Arabic, not just the Islamic, name for God

By Gwynne Dyer

IN THE LATE 1980s, when I was in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, a friend suggested that I drive out into the desert near Jubail to see the oldest extant Christian church in the world. There it was, surrounded by a chain-link fence intended to keep casual visitors and foreign archaeologists out. Experts who saw the site before it was closed said that the church was built by Nestorian Christians, and was likely used from the fourth to the ninth century.

Its existence embarrassed the Saudi government, which prefers to believe that Arabia went straight from paganism to Islam. But it confirmed the assumption of most historians that Christianity flourished in the Arabian Peninsula in the centuries preceding the rise of Islam. So what did these Arabic-speaking Christians call God? Allah, of course.I mention this because at the end of December, the Malaysian High Court struck down a three-year-old ban on non-Muslims using the word Allah when they refer to God in the Malay language. The court’s decision was followed by firebomb attacks on three Christian churches in Kuala Lumpur and at Friday prayers protesters at mosques in Kuala Lumpur carried placards that read, “Allah is only for us.”

Prime Minister Najib Razak condemned the attacks on the churches, but he supports the ban on Christians using the word “Allah” in Malay and is appealing the High Court decision.

“We [...] have the right to use the word ‘Allah’,” said Reverend Lawrence Andrew, editor of The Herald, the newspaper of the Catholic Church in Malaysia, whose use of the word in its Malay-language edition triggered the crisis. Parliamentary opposition leader Lim Kit Siang simply observed, “The term ‘Allah’ was used to refer to God by Arabic-speaking Christians before Arabic-speaking Muslims existed.”

Of course it was. Arabic-speaking Christians predate the rise of Islam by 300 years, and what else were they going to call God? The word Allah is simply the definite form of lah, which means god. In parts of ancient Arabia it once referred to the creator-god (who was not the only god), but for a very long time it has meant ‘the One God’.

This Arabic word was imported into the Malay language by converts to Islam, who arrived in the region several centuries before Christianity. Ethnic Malays are considered Muslim under Malaysian law, but there are numerous Malay-speakers, especially in northern Borneo, who are Christian and not ethnically Malay. They also use the word Allah for God.

What’s the harm in that? Why are Malaysia’s Muslims so paranoid? The real paranoia, alas, is ethnic.

Malaysia is an ethnic time bomb that has transformed into a peaceful and prosperous country by an effort of sheer will. The original population was predominantly Malay, but under British rule vast numbers of Indian and Chinese immigrants were imported to work the country’s mines and plantations. When Malaysia achieved independence in 1963, Malays accounted for only 60 percent of the population. Economic disparity added to the tension, as Malays were considerably poorer than the more recent arrivals. They resented the past, the present and the probable future.

After several bouts of savage anti-Chinese and anti-Indian rioting, the country arrived at its current, highly successful compromise. The Malays dominate politics, but the Chinese and Indians thrive in trade and commerce — and most people understand that they are ultimately in the same boat, one called Malaysia.

The state spends significantly in order to raise living standards for the Malays and gives them preference for university placement and government jobs. The Malay community has certainly benefitted from the arrangement but, nevertheless, feels perpetually insecure. The Malay population is Muslim, unlike most other Malaysians, and they therefore feel that their religion is also under threat. Some have responded with aggression and intolerance toward minorities.

Not all Malays behave this way. Major Muslim organizations, including the Islamic political party, commonly known as PAS, have agreed that the other Abrahamic religions, Christianity and Judaism, may call their god ‘Allah’ in Malay. But the situation is deteriorating, and it’s time for the Malaysian government to stop playing along with the extremists.

It should take a lesson from the early Muslims of Arabia. Both the archaeological and the textual evidence suggest that most Arabs in northern Arabia and along the Gulf coast had been Christian for several centuries when Islam first appeared in the seventh century. They were swiftly conquered by Muslim armies, but were not forcibly converted.

As in all early Islamic empires, Christians paid higher taxes but were allowed to keep their property and practice their religion. It is highly improbable that they were forced to change the word they used for God. Over time, most Christians in the region converted to Islam.

The Christians, Hindus, animists and others who compromise 40 percent of Malaysia’s population pay higher taxes, in the sense that they subsidize the poorer, ethnic Malay Muslim majority. Few of them will ever convert to Islam, but they are not its enemy either. Malaysia has achieved a fragile but workable compromise that offers a good life to its people. It should not endanger it so frivolously. et

Gwynne Dyer is a London-based independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 

Prepared a Place

Prepared a Place - by Doug Plank

Mystery of mysteries
That God would make for me
A place within His family, though once His enemy
The Judge of every sinner sent Christ to Calvary
To prepare a place for me

Judgment should be given
For this guilt upon my head
But the Father of all glory crushed His Son instead
Now I’ve been adopted, for God made this to be
You prepared a place for me

Blessed be, blessed be
My God and Savior, You’ve shown me favor
And prepared a place for me

Father, in the moment
When Your Son shall split the skies
And myriads of angels acclaim Him with their cries
By grace I will be able to join the jubilee
You prepared a place for me

Tuesday, February 09, 2010 

Turkish Girl, 16, Buried Alive for Talking to Boys

- Death reopens debate over 'honour' killings in Turkey, which account for half of all the country's murders -

Turkish police have recovered the body of a 16-year-old girl they say was buried alive by relatives in an "honour" killing carried out as punishment for talking to boys.

The girl, who has been identified only by the initials MM, was found in a sitting position with her hands tied, in a two-metre hole dug under a chicken pen outside her home in Kahta, in the south-eastern province of Adiyaman.

Police made the discovery in December after a tip-off from an informant, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported on its website.

The girl had previously been reported missing.

The informant told the police she had been killed following a family "council" meeting.

Her father and grandfather are said to have been arrested and held in custody pending trial. It is unclear whether they have been charged. The girl's mother was arrested but was later released.

Media reports said the father had told relatives he was unhappy that his daughter – one of nine children – had male friends. The grandfather is said to have beaten her for having relations with the opposite sex.

A postmortem examination revealed large amounts of soil in her lungs and stomach, indicating that she had been alive and conscious while being buried. Her body showed no signs of bruising.

The discovery will reopen the emotive debate in Turkey about "honour" killings, which are particularly prevalent in the impoverished south-east.

Official figures have indicated that more than 200 such killings take place each year, accounting for around half of all murders in Turkey.

- the Guardian

Monday, February 08, 2010 

'Look After Orphans' - 20 Practical Ideas for Churches

While Christians commonly praise adoption, most American churches do not have a single family that adopted a child during the past year. Churches can and should play a crucial role in encouraging members to "look after orphans in their distress" (James 1:27). Here are some specific ideas on how to become an adoption-friendly church:

1. Pray that you and your church would become adoption-friendly.

2. Preach key passages on caring for orphans and spiritual adoption.

3. Invite guest speakers to raise awareness of adoption needs and opportunities.

4. Make adoption resources available to the church family.

5. Frequently list pro-adoption ministries and organizations.

6. Encourage couples facing infertility to connect with adoptive parents.

7. Regularly have adoptive parents and birth mothers share their testimony of God's goodness and grace.

8. Educate your church family regarding the costs involved in the adoption process.

9. Encourage the church family to give financially to adoptive couples.

10. Create a standing church fund for adoptions costs.

11. Challenge Sunday school classes and small groups to raise money for adoptive couples.

12. Establish an Adoptive Parents Small Group in your church.

13. Create email list-serves of adoptive parents for support and encouragement.

14. Connect with local social service agencies.

15. Use attorneys or case workers within the church family.

16. Sponsor a child.

17. Participate in mission trips to orphanages abroad.

18. Maximize special holidays to emphasize adoption.

19. Celebrate adoption as a church family.

20. Support adopted kids as they struggle with questions of identity, abandonment, or rejection.

- worldmag.com

Sunday, February 07, 2010 

Orphaned in an Hour

According to Lifeline Adoption Agency,

In the past hour another...

-1,625 girls and boys were forced to live on the streets by the death or abuse of an adult.

-1,667 girls and boys under the age of five died from malnutrition and vaccine-preventable diseases

-115 girls and boys became prostitutes

-66 girls and boys under 15 were infected with HIV

-257 girls and boys were orphaned because of HIV/AIDS

Saturday, February 06, 2010 

Shizuoka City - Where We Be


Friday, February 05, 2010 


A physical, imperfect picture of what has been done for us spiritually & perfectly.

A Spanish rescuer holds 2-year-old Redjeson Hausteen Claude, as his father Reginald Claude, left, looks on, after he was rescued from a collapsed home by in the aftermath of the powerful earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010.

Two year old Redjeson Hausteen Claude reacts to his mother Daphnee Plaisin, after he is rescued from a collapsed home by Belgian and Spanish rescuers in the aftermath of the powerful earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010.

"More than that, we also rejoice in God [our Father] through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." Romans 5:11

"Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!" Psalm 80:3

"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." 1 Peter 5:10

Thursday, February 04, 2010 


In the tabernacle system, oil is used for light on the golden menorah. The priest receives aromatic oil that spread fragrance. Cakes and breads baked or spread with oil become a sweet savor, soothing the heated nose of Yahweh.

In both cases, oil bestows radiant power. In the Bible, Christs – anointed ones – create a field of radiance around them, a field of light or the aroma of a good name.

- Peter Leithart

Wednesday, February 03, 2010 

Interrupting God

I am an interventionist because God is, because the Father will not stay out of the Son’s business, and the Spirit refuses to be the third wheel in this relationship. And even more astonishing, is the fact that this intervening God is not content with His own inter-Trinitarian meddling. He will not stop there. He must keep up this original, eternal colonialism. God is the neighbor who keeps coming over, keeps saying hi, keeps making suggestions about the lawn. He wants to be your best friend. He wants to move in.

God meddles with history. He messes with human lives, and He breaks into situations virtually unannounced. He interrupts Noah’s life, interrupts Abram in Ur, interrupts Moses in Egypt. We serve the interrupting God.

He doesn’t raise His hand to speak; He doesn’t wait patiently for a lull in the conversation. He just bursts in. And this bursting in, this interrupting characteristic is most gloriously obvious in the incarnation. And Jesus knows He’s interrupting; He knows He’s intervening in a major way. And He doesn’t apologize. He’s come to shake the world down. He’s come to undo the way things are done. And He realizes that this will mean broken families, upset markets, fractured communities, and political upheaval. He didn’t come to bring peace but the sword.

We celebrate the center of the Great Interruption every week. We celebrate the gospel of the kingdom declared and eaten. We celebrate the Good News that God interrupts, that God has interrupted and that God will keep interrupting. We sing about it, we confess it, we shout “Amen!” to this, we eat the body broken, the blood shed for the interruption of sins, for us and for the world. And the Lord blesses us in His name and sends us out into the world to interrupt the status quo, to intervene, to barge into conversations and communities and families with the message that Jesus is King.

The name of this weekly call to intervene, to interrupt is the Great Commission. This Commission is the authorization and duty we have to apply the message that Jesus is King to every area of life in word and in deed. This means that we should expect to be misunderstood, to be thought rude, and to be considered trouble makers. We love our God; we love our interrupting God. We have the rowdy Spirit who drives the Son into the center, into the center of every story. There is no story where God is not jealous for the signs of His interruption, glorious tampering, evidence that He has been there, books scattered from the shelves, mud on the carpet.

Generally, this Commission goes under the twin titles mercy ministry and evangelism: the gospel declared to the poor. These are the two sides of the one blade of the Word. And John Piper has helpfully said that the way we keep these two sides together, the way we ensure that this sword remains unified is through a robust doctrine of Hell. He says in a round table discussion with D.A. Carson and Tim Keller, “We exist to relieve all suffering, especially eternal suffering.” He goes on to describe how a ministry of so-called “mercy” that neglects the reality of the possibility of Hell after this life is an enormous failure. In other words, like Jesus, the urgency of our intervention is authorized by the reality of final judgment and eternal torment. I hereby resolve to increase my use of the words “damn” and “hell.” Jesus interrupts every conversation, every story with a good damn.

A good damn consists of condemning the brokenness, condemning the sin, and pointing to the reality of final judgment. It intervenes to pull, drag, and beg the slaves of sin and brokenness out of the fire that is already kindled in their lives. It offers grace and freedom to every form of poverty. Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett define poverty as a complex breakdown in relationships. “Poverty is the result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not for life, that are not harmonious or enjoyable. Poverty is the absence of shalom in all its meanings.” (When Helping Hurts, 62) And that seems right. When interviewed, some of the most poverty stricken are aware enough to even realize this. They don’t define their own poverty in terms of comfort of living, income levels, or health care. They tend to describe themselves as powerless, humiliated, fearful, and lonely. These are ailments that clean water, regular income, and medicine do not directly treat. They are cut off from family, from community, and we know they are ultimately cut off from God their creator and redeemer.

Their hell has already begun in the brokenness of the relationships around them. But where this becomes even more difficult and challenging is when we, faithful to our commission, burst into that broken world. How do we barge in like Jesus, messing with all the furniture, undoing the brokenness of sin, seeking to restore the “shalom” of the Trinity? And how do we do it knowing our own fallibility and recognizing that simply rearranging the furniture is not the same thing as bringing the peace of God?

To find out how this author suggests, read the rest of Toby Sumpter's post here.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010 

Burmese Genocide; Orphans Worship

“The world needs to know about the genocide that is happening today in Burma.”
— Patrick Klein, Vision Beyond Borders

The Burmese army is carrying out a massive killing campaign against its people, and the world is unaware, Patrick Klein of Vision Beyond Borders told VOM staff.

According to Patrick, who recently returned from Burma and Thailand, more than 500,000 people have been killed in Burma (also known as Myanmar) in the last 30 years. More than 3,300 villages have been burned to the ground by the Burmese military, and thousands of children have lost parents from brutal attacks by Burmese soldiers. About 1 million Burmese refugees have fled across the border to Thailand, where they wait in uncertainty. At any moment they might be sent back to Burma to face certain death.

Even refugee camps in Thailand are not safe from Burmese soldiers. They frequently cross the shallow river separating Thailand and Burma to poison water supplies and kill or kidnap refugees, whom they sometimes use as human mine sweepers. The Thai generals who rule the area work hand in hand with Burma’s ruling military junta regime and grow rich through the illegal drug trade that profits them both.

Patrick said the genocide is both an ethnic cleansing and a reaction against pro-democracy movements in Burma, but it also has a specifically anti-Christian agenda. When the head of a monastery asked soldiers if he should warn Buddhist monks to leave a conflict area, the soldier replied, “No, we are not going to harm the Buddhists. We are only against the Christians.”

One heavily targeted Burmese minority group is the Karen people. Historically Christian, today about 40 percent of the Karen people are Christians. A Burmese official boldly stated recently, “Soon there will be no Christians in this nation. You will only be able to see a Karen person in a picture in a museum.”

In the midst of this horror, God is at work in Burma. Many people are trusting their lives to God. One of the believers went so far as to tell Patrick, “Without this genocide, maybe this worship would not be happening, and people would not be coming to Christ.”

Patrick said he was saddened and horrified by conditions in the Burmese refugee camps he visited. He heard many stories of suffering, but what affected him most was an enthusiastic worship service by a group of 86 orphans who are cared for by a Baptist pastor. “We had a worship service from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. Then at 10 p.m., the kids came back and asked if we could go on worshiping! They have little happiness in their lives, but what they do have is the joy of the Lord,” Patrick said.


Monday, February 01, 2010 

Sin & Adoption

I was totally unprepared for the range of emotions that hit me on Friday night.

First was utter awe and joy. I wanted to cry because I was staring at the perfect little face of my sweet friends' newborn girl. After a long battle with infertility and learning to lean on God like many of us may never understand, they held their prize -- a precious infant whom I instantly recognized because she bears the image of both of them so beautifully.

Not only did I see their own victory wrapped up in that soft pink blanket. I saw the victory of others whom I love who are waiting on their own happy ending to infertility. Some will end in the delivery room, staring into baby faces that resemble their own. Some will end in court rooms, finalizing the adoptions of children whose genes will make their family tree diverse like Heaven itself.

But when sadness washed over me, I was confused. I left the hospital disheartened & had no idea why. What could bring me down in the midst of such a fairy-tale ending? As I talked to my mom & husband later, I was surprised by the words that spilled out of my mouth.

I mourn that our baby will be or has been born with no celebration. Fear, or shame, or poverty, or death... something negative surrounds the circumstances of our sweet child's entry into this world. There is something sad about adoption.

Don't get me wrong -- adoption may be the most incredible thing I have ever experienced thus far. God anointed it. It is His holy plan. But it is also the result of a fallen world. If we had never sinned -- if we had never orphaned ourselves from God's perfect love -- then there never would've been the costly price paid on the cross for our adoption as sons.

It is sin, also, that caused our world to fall apart. Famine, disease, poverty -- these all come from the sickness of original sin. And they orphan children. And while adopting orphaned children is the glorious redemption from these things, I couldn't help but be saddened on Friday by the sorrow that is making our sweet baby available to us.

Please don't hear that I'm saying that adoption is inferior to pregnancy because adoption is the result of a fallen world. This is not true. Genesis says that the pains of childbirth, too, are a result of the curse of sin. Everything is affected. God redeemed the pains of childbirth by sending us our Savior Jesus through Mary's labor pains. God redeems the sting of being orphaned through Jesus' death on the cross, paying the fees for us to be adopted as His children. Sin tainted it all, and God beautifully redeemed it all.

I guess I don't know what I'm trying to say. All I know is that God is in control, and He makes all things beautiful in their time.

- Rachel Rainer Goode

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  • I'm DR
  • From Exiled
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