The birth of the hymn “Precious Lord”

June 30, 2016 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

This is the most touching song written to music I believe. This is the testimony of what caused Thomas A Dorsey to write PRECIOUS LORD…

Back in 1932, I a fairly new husband. My wife, Nettie and I were living in a little apartment on Chicago ‘s south side. One hot August afternoon I had to go to St.. Louis where I was to be the featured soloist at a large revival meeting. I didn’t want to go; Nettie was in the last month of pregnancy with our first child, but a lot of people were expecting me in St. Louis . I kissed Nettie goodbye, clattered downstairs to our Model A and, in a fresh Lake Michigan breeze, chugged out of Chicago on Route 66.

However, outside the city, I discovered that in my anxiety at leaving, I had forgotten my music case. I wheeled around and headed back..

I found Nettie sleeping peacefully. I hesitated by her bed; something was strongly telling me to stay. But eager to get on my way, and not wanting to disturb Nettie, I shrugged off the feeling and quietly slipped out of the room with my music.

The next night, in the steaming St. Louis heat, the crowd called on me to sing again and again. When I finally sat down, a messenger boy ran up with a Western Union telegram. I ripped open the envelope. Pasted on the yellow sheet were the words: YOUR WIFE JUST DIED.

People were happily singing and clapping around me, but I could hardly keep from crying out. I rushed to a phone and called home. All I could hear on the other end was “Nettie is dead. Nettie is dead.’”

When I got back, I learned that Nettie had given birth to a boy. I swung between grief and joy. Yet that same night, the baby died. I buried Nettie and our little boy together, in the same casket. Then I fell apart.

For days I closeted myself. I felt that God had done me an injustice. I didn’t want to serve Him anymore or write gospel songs I just wanted to go back to that jazz world I once knew so well. But then, as I hunched alone in that dark apartment those first sad days, I thought back to the afternoon I went to St. Louis Something kept telling me to stay with Nettie. Was that something God? Oh, if I had paid more attention to Him that day, I would have stayed and been with Nettie when she died.

From that moment on I vowed to listen more closely to Him. But still I was lost in grief. Everyone was kind to me, especially one friend. The following Saturday evening he took me up to Maloney’s Pro College, a neighborhood music school. It was quiet; the late evening sun crept through the curtained windows.

I sat down at the piano, and my hands began to browse over the keys. Something happened to me then. I felt at peace. I felt as though I could reach out and touch God. I found myself playing a melody. Once in my head
they just seemed to fall into place:

‘Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn,
Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light,
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.’

The Lord gave me these words and melody, He also healed my spirit. I learned that when we are in our deepest grief, when we feel farthest from God, this is when He is closest, and when we are most open to His restoring power.

And so I go on living for God willingly and joyfully, until that day comes when He will take me and gently lead me home.

– Tommy Dorsey

- fwd: tony d sa

Church should apologise to gays: Pope Francis

June 30, 2016 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-lead

Vatican City, June 27, 2016: Pope Francis said that the Roman Catholic Church should apologise to gay people for the way it has treated them.

He told reporters on his plane returning from Armenia on Sunday that the Church had no right to judge the gay community, and should show them respect, BBC reported on Monday.

“I will repeat what the catechism of the Church says, that they (homosexuals) should not be discriminated against, that they should be respected, accompanied pastorally,” the Pope said.

He said the Church should seek forgiveness from those whom it had marginalised.

“I think that the Church not only should apologise… to a gay person whom it offended but it must also apologise to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by (being forced to) work. It must apologise for having blessed so many weapons.”

In 2013, Pope Francis reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s position that homosexual acts were sinful, but homosexual orientation was not.

“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” he added.

During his visit to the Armenian capital, Yerevan, the Pope described the mass killing of Armenians under Ottoman Turkish rule in World War One as “genocide”.

- ians

Cardinal Cleemis applauds Indian Hindus’ openness

June 30, 2016 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

Philadelphia, June 28, 2016: One reason Christianity took hold in India and continues to grow there is because of the majority Hindus’ openness, says the head of the Catholic Church in the country.

“The Hindu community in general is so loving and welcoming — all good values in human life. When Christianity came to India in AD 52, these are the people who received the Gospel. Therefore they have that inherent quality of receiving good things from others,” Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, told the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in the United States.

The cardinal, who is also the major archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, was on a pastoral visit to the Americas in June.

While Christians make up 2.3 percent of India’s population, and Catholics only 1.8 percent, they enjoy respect and dignity in the country because that is “a cultural aspect of India,” catholicphilly.com quoted Cardinal Cleemis on June 27.

The prelate visited Philadelphia on June 22.

The 57-year-old prelate became the Catholic Church’s youngest cardinal in 2012, the first ever named for the Syro-Malankara rite and therefore the first to elect a pontiff, Pope Francis in 2013. He spoke to archdiocesan officials in Philadelphia about the Catholic communities in India and, with recent migration, in the United States.

The Church leader sees the recent incidents of violence against Christians in India as “a sign of political opportunism by minority actors in Indian society.” He refuses to believe that they are acts of religious hatred or discrimination by most Indians of any religious creed, or by the secular Indian government.

He is loathe to call such attackers Hindu but rather “people who have not understood Hindu religion,” he said. “It is a tiny group but this group is trying to influence the vast majority of the Hindu population saying, ‘this is the only country we have as Hindus.’”

The cardinal sees such attempts to swing India from a secular state respectful of all faiths to one of a single religion, Hinduism, as misguided and out of step with India’s tradition and the will of its people set into the country’s constitution.

“The majority of Hindus are still secular, (which) means you accept the other religion as they are,” he said. “’Secular’ is not against religious values. Catholic and secular means you acknowledge Muslims and Hindus as they are.”

The majority Hindus, he said, “are a very God-fearing people, very welcoming people, and still they care for other communities as well. The vast majority are Hindu but it is not a Hindu nation. (It is) a federal republic with a secular constitution, a very open and welcoming community.”

The Syro-Malankara Church, one of the two Oriental Catholic rites in India, is based in Kerala, southern India. It claims almost half a million Catholic faithful worldwide. The other rite is the Syro-Malabar Church that claims 3.5 million followers. Both Catholic rites trace their Christian roots to the evangelization of St. Thomas the Apostle in the first century.

In the United States, the Eparchy of Mary Queen of Peace governs all the churches of the Syro-Malankara rite, including St. Jude Church in Philadelphia’s East Oak Lane section.

The visit to Philadelphia is not the first for Cardinal Cleemis. He saw the local Catholic community here as an official for three years in the New York-based Mary, Our Lady of Peace Eparchy, which serves more than 11,000 Syro-Malankara faithful in the United States and Canada, according to 2012 Vatican statistics.

As with many peoples immigrating to America, the first generation maintains strong ties to their homeland while the next generation becomes more firmly rooted here.

The same is true of Indian Catholics today, and Cardinal Cleemis sees it as “a positive thing. As they come to a new culture they have to get rooted in that. America has become their home. People will become conscious of their land — this land — and work for its progress.”

He believes Christians of Indian heritage can contribute to the Catholic Church’s emphasis in America on strengthening the family.

“I am sure our presence here in this great country will enhance further the growth of the family,” he said.

Although he sees divorce on the rise in many societies, “patience, sacrifice, mutual understanding” are strong values among Indian families. And moreover, “what God has united let men not divide. God has united you, it’s not a man-made reality,” the cardinal said. “That focus is to be given to the families, and I hope our liturgy and our sacramental life are also positively contributing toward our presence here.”

As one sign of the growing presence of Syro-Malankara Catholics’ growth in the States, Cardinal Cleemis pointed to “a very well established youth group in our eparchy here,” and said a diocesan youth assembly will gather this summer at Holy Family University in Northeast Philadelphia, July 29-31.

- matters india

Nuns protest harassment over school admissions

June 30, 2016 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

Pune, June 30, 2016: Catholic nuns and their students of Mount Carmel School in Pune joined demonstration in front of the school protesting the alleged harassment by a local corporator over school admissions.

The protest was organized by the Catholic Association of Pune against corporator Aarti Babar and her husband Sainath Babar.

School principal Sr Marisa A.C. said the harassment started two months ago after Aarti Babar approached the school with a list of students seeking admissions in junior school, reported The Indian Express.

“She demanded that all students should get admissions and I assured that we would try, but we do not sell seats. She left and within minutes, her husband barged in with his men and created a ruckus. He left after issuing threats, and last week, he repeated the same act by entering the school forcibly. He came to the principal’s office and broke pots to intimidate us,” said the principal.

“This is a girls’ school and we are extremely worried about the safety of girl students and staffers in the event of such violence. Hence, we also informed about the incident to the local police station,” the principal added. She went to meet Pune police commissioner on Monday evening.

- indian express

Narasimha Rao’s ‘pro-Hindu mindset’ led to Babri demolition: Aiyar

June 30, 2016 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

New Delhi, June 27, 2016: Former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao’s “pro-Hindu mindset” encouraged the destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992, senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar said on Monday.

Speaking at a book launch here, many others, including former Congressman Natwar Singh who also worked closely with Rao, described the Babri Masjid demolition on December 6, 1992, as “the biggest failure” of the then Prime Minister Rao, who otherwise, according to them, took bold and timely decisions on economic reforms.

“Rao was completely convinced that by talking to the sadhus and saints he could solve the problem (Ayodhya’s Ram temple issue),” Aiyar said at the release of ‘Half Lion — How P.V. Narasimha Rao Transformed India’ penned by Vinay Sitapati.

Aiyar recalled that on November 14, 1992, his “Ram-Rahim yatra” for peace and communal harmony was stalled at Faizabad and he was arrested by Uttar Pradesh Police.

“I was summoned by Rao, he told me he had no problem with my yatra but he did not agree with my definition of secularism as India is a Hindu-majority country. I told Rao that’s exactly how the BJP argues,” Aiyar said while countering contentions from the book author.

Author Sitapati, a product of National Law School at Bengaluru and Harvard University, maintained that Narasimha Rao had actually only “erred” in judging the situation and that “it was only the Congress creation that Rao conspired for the mosque’s demolition”.

Senior journalist Shekhar Gupta said the ploy to “demonise” Rao on the Babri issue was a Congress attempt only to win over the Muslims by saying that “look, Rao is responsible for the Babri demolition and not the party”.

“The Muslims of UP are not fools; they knew pretty well who opened the locked gates of the disputed structure,” Gupta said in reference to a decision of the then Rajiv Gandhi government.

Aiyar, however, maintained that even after the mosque’s demolition, Rao told a Congress Parliamentary Party meeting in Delhi that “even kings in ancient India used to consult sages and sadhus and so did I”.

“Was this a mindset of a 20th century Prime Minister or 12th century? This mindset actually encouraged the destruction of Babri Masjid,” Aiyar said.

The Congress leader maintained that Rao could have dismissed the then Kalyan Singh government and imposed President’s Rule in Uttar Pradesh.

“In fact, there was a precedent of such President’s Rule. In apprehension that things can go out of control in Tamil Nadu, the then DMK government was dismissed and central rule imposed earlier without recommendation from the state Governor.”

However, former bureaucrat and ex-Cabinet Secretary Naresh Chandra strongly defended Rao’s decision not to impose President’s Rule in Uttar Pradesh as that would have been an act with constitutional flaw.

“The then UP Governor did not recommend President’s Rule but in the case of Tamil Nadu, as argued by Mani Shankar Aiyar, the Governor (Surjeet Singh Barnala) had only said he is unable to make up his mind whether to impose President’s Rule or not,” Chandra said.

Speaking on the occasion, Natwar Singh described the demolition of the Babri mosque as “the biggest failure” of Rao’s tenure.

He said that after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, Shankar Dayal Sharma was the first choice of Sonia Gandhi for prime ministership.

“On the advice of P.N. Haksar, Sonia Gandhi sent me and Aruna Asif Ali to meet Shankar Dayal Sharma, but he declined the proposal,” Natwar Singh.

Natwar Singh also threw light on and shared anecdotes about tension in relations between Congress leader Arjun Singh and Narasimha Rao and also between Sonia Gandhi and Rao, especially in the context of probe into Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.

“Rao completely denied the charge and said he had sent others, including P. Chidambaram, to Sonia Gandhi with the information on the probe,” Singh said.

The book ‘Half Lion — How P.V. Narasimha Rao Transformed India’ is published by Penguin Books India.

- tcn

Pakistani activists demand action to prevent torture; 2 Christians get death penalty for blasphemy

June 30, 2016 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Pakistani ChristiansPakistan, June 28, 2016: Christian and Muslim activists protested in Lahore on June 27 against custodial torture while condemning religious discrimination against non-Muslim prisoners.

“People are being killed and women are being raped in detention,” Hussain Naqi Director Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) told ucanews.com.

“The situation has always been worse with Christian prisoners. It is a police station culture to beat and abuse them more than others,” he said.

HRCP organized the anti-torture protest, which was attended by more than 30 activists who stood silent stood in front of the Lahore press club holding placards demanding compensation for victims. Similar gatherings were organized in provincial capitals on International Day in Support of Torture Victims.

Pakistan, a signatory to the U.N. Convention Against Torture, has no law for the criminalization of torture. The Pakistan Senate moved the Torture and Custodial Death (Punishment) Bill in March 2015 but it is yet to be cleared by the National Assembly.

- ucan

2 Christians get death penalty for blasphemy

Pakistan, June 28, 2016: Two Christians and a Muslim man were sentenced to death by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Tuesday, for committing blasphemy.

The Anti-Terrorism Court of Gujranwala district announced the verdict in the case, which was pending for the last one year.

ATC Gujranwala Judge Bushra Zaman handed down death penalty to Anjum, Javed Naz (who are both Christians) and Jaffer Ali for committing blasphemy.

Naz and Ali have been sentenced to an additional 35 years each.

The judge also imposed a fine of Rs 5 million on Anjum and Rs 8 million each on Naz and Ali.

Gujranwala city police had arrested Anjum, Naz and Ali a year ago on blasphemy charges.

The judge announced the verdict after prosecution presented all witnesses.

Anjum, a resident of Farid Town, some 80km from Lahore ran a chain of Locus Schools System in Gujranwala.
Asif, Anjum’s brother, told PTI that his brother never committed any blasphemy.

“Javed Naz was a cousin of Anjum and employed at one of his schools. When Anjum fired Naz on corruption allegations he turned against my brother,” he said.

Asif said later Naz started blackmailing Anjum by claiming that he had his voice recorded in which he had made blasphemous remarks.

“When Anjum stopped paying money to Naz, he along with his Muslim friend Ali got a blasphemy case registered against Anjum,” he said.

Police during investigation also booked Naz and Ali in the blasphemy case, Hindustan Times reported.

“My brother is innocent and we will challenge the ATC verdict in the superior court,” Asif said.

Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive issue in Pakistan. Two high-profile politicians then Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer and minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti were murdered in 2011 after calling for reforms to the blasphemy law.

Pakistan’s tough blasphemy law has attracted criticism from rights groups, who say they are frequently misused to settle personal scores.

- matters india

Israeli woman stabbed by terrorist while pregnant gives birth

June 30, 2016 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-world

Israel, June 27, 2016: Michal Froman, a pregnant Israeli woman stabbed by a 16-year-old Palestinian terrorist five months ago, gave birth to a girl on Saturday in the Jerusalem hospital of Hadassah Ein Karem.

Froman, 32 and a mother of five, is the daughter-in-law of the late Rabbi Menachem Froman, who was rabbi of Tekoa for many years and became famous for his engagement in friendly relations with Palestinians and promoting interfaith dialogue between Jews and Muslims. Although the whole Froman family – Menachem’s wife, Hadassah, and sons – are involved in interfaith activities, Michal was not really part of it before the terror attack. But now, she tells Tazpit Press Service (TPS), things have changed for her.

“The terrorist who attacked me did not look like some frightening Nazi,” she recalls. “He looked like a normal human being, even like a Jew. It took me several seconds to figure out he was an Arab, and several more seconds to realize that he was a terrorist.”

“I grew up in the settlement of Shilo, in Samaria, and was pretty much taught to hate Arabs,” Froman says. “But I did not feel hatred toward this 16-year-old Arab boy who attacked me. I saw he was miserable. And so I think that maybe we Jews, as the stronger and better-off nation, should invest more in making the lives of the Palestinians better. Not even because it’s ethical, but simply because it can help stop the terror attacks.”

Aside from prompting Froman to deepen her engagement with Palestinians, the attack also caused her to reflect on the value of life.

“In situations like the one I found myself in after the attack I always try to understand what God is trying to tell me. I think the message was to appreciate and to cherish life – more than I did before,” she told TPS. “When someone tries to take something from you, you begin to cherish it more, and that’s what happened to me, to my attitude towards life – mine and of my kids.”

Froman’s newest daughter is a relatively big baby, larger than her four other kids were at their births. “I think it’s because I grew during this pregnancy,” Michal said with a smile. “Not just in my body, but also in my mind and soul.”

- breaking israel news

Israeli woman stabbed by terrorist while pregnant gives birth

June 30, 2016 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-lead

Israel, June 27, 2016: Michal Froman, a pregnant Israeli woman stabbed by a 16-year-old Palestinian terrorist five months ago, gave birth to a girl on Saturday in the Jerusalem hospital of Hadassah Ein Karem.

Froman, 32 and a mother of five, is the daughter-in-law of the late Rabbi Menachem Froman, who was rabbi of Tekoa for many years and became famous for his engagement in friendly relations with Palestinians and promoting interfaith dialogue between Jews and Muslims. Although the whole Froman family – Menachem’s wife, Hadassah, and sons – are involved in interfaith activities, Michal was not really part of it before the terror attack. But now, she tells Tazpit Press Service (TPS), things have changed for her.

“The terrorist who attacked me did not look like some frightening Nazi,” she recalls. “He looked like a normal human being, even like a Jew. It took me several seconds to figure out he was an Arab, and several more seconds to realize that he was a terrorist.”

“I grew up in the settlement of Shilo, in Samaria, and was pretty much taught to hate Arabs,” Froman says. “But I did not feel hatred toward this 16-year-old Arab boy who attacked me. I saw he was miserable. And so I think that maybe we Jews, as the stronger and better-off nation, should invest more in making the lives of the Palestinians better. Not even because it’s ethical, but simply because it can help stop the terror attacks.”

Aside from prompting Froman to deepen her engagement with Palestinians, the attack also caused her to reflect on the value of life.

“In situations like the one I found myself in after the attack I always try to understand what God is trying to tell me. I think the message was to appreciate and to cherish life – more than I did before,” she told TPS. “When someone tries to take something from you, you begin to cherish it more, and that’s what happened to me, to my attitude towards life – mine and of my kids.”

Froman’s newest daughter is a relatively big baby, larger than her four other kids were at their births. “I think it’s because I grew during this pregnancy,” Michal said with a smile. “Not just in my body, but also in my mind and soul.”

- breaking israel news

God’s love is everlasting

June 29, 2016 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”  Psalm 143:8

Life can be cruel sometimes. You feel pummeled from all sides.
Haven’t you experienced this?

I have. In a few short years my marriage fell apart.
Our children moved far away. I lost my nursing job. I lost my health.

What do you do when all your securities crumble?

A counselor I went to at the time listened attentively to the outpouring of my grief.
Then he asked me, “Helen, does God still love you?”

I was taken by surprise. “Yes,” I said.


“The Bible says God’s love is everlasting,
so it must be the same whether my life is good or bad.”

“You’re right,” he said.
“Jesus is the measure of God’s love not our circumstances.
You are loved no matter what life hands you.
You stand on that fact and you will make it.”

And I did. I discovered God is enough for each day.
When all your securities crumble, if you are in Christ and Christ is in you,
you have what it takes to be an over comer.

God does not make us escapists; He makes us over comers.

Jesus said, In this world you will have trouble–guaranteed.
But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).


Let me share with you what gave me strength and hope from day to day.

To keep me focused on God,
I copied out Bible verses that spoke of God’s love
and said them out loud many times a day.

Verses like these:
“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

“This is what the LORD says–he who created you.. he who formed you..
‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you: I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the water I will be with you,
when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned…Do not be afraid,
for I am with you… you are precious to me and I love you’” (Isaiah 43:1-7).


I can’t tell you how many times I have said those words
and they have always lifted my spirit and given me hope.

Dear God, let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul (Psalm 143:8).

- fwd: v c mathews

Has Donald Trump accepted Christ? James Dobson Says ‘Yes’

June 29, 2016 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-lead

U.S., June 27, 2016: Dr. James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family and Family Talk, says Donald Trump has recently given his life to Jesus Christ and is now “a baby Christian,” urging believers to pray for him.

In an interview with Pastor Michael Anthony of GodFactor.com, Dobson said, “There are a lot of people ministering to him personally — a lot of ministers… He did accept a relationship with Christ. I know the person who led him to Christ, and that’s fairly recent. I don’t know when it was, but it has not been long.”

Dobson added: “I believe he really made a commitment, but he’s a baby Christian. We all need to be praying for him, especially if there is a possibility of him being our next chief executive officer.”

He said this at Trump’s closed-door meeting last week with hundreds of top evangelical and social conservative leaders. The meeting, “A Conversation About America’s Future with Donald Trump and Ben Carson,” was held in New York City.

It is neither an “inquisition” nor a “coronation,” but a “conversation,” Johnnie Moore, the spokesperson for My Faith Votes, a non-partisan organization focused on engaging the 25 million Christians who did not vote in 2012 and one of the two groups behind the meeting, told The Christian Post earlier. “The Trump campaign has been unbelievably cooperative to commit such time with these leaders … It is the largest, most representative gathering of national, Christian leaders I’ve seen in my lifetime,” he added.

Trump’s campaign has not responded to Dobson’s assertion.

Last year, Trump said he had never asked for God’s forgiveness, and despite calling the Bible his favorite book, he refused to name a favorite verse. “The Bible means a lot to me, but I don’t want to get into specifics,” he said.

Trump “doesn’t know our language,” Dobson said. “We had 40 Christians together with him; he used the word ‘Hell’ four or five times. He doesn’t know our language. He really doesn’t. He refers a lot to religion and not much to belief and faith in Christ.”

He continued, Christians “got to cut him some slack,” as “he didn’t grow up like we did. I think there’s hope for him.”

After Trump’s meeting with evangelicals and conservatives, the founder of the Faith & Freedom Coalition Ralph Reed said the presidential candidate “talked about personal faith, importance of faith.”

“But he made it abundantly clear, ‘I don’t know the Bible as well as you do, I’m not a theologian, but I’m a Christian,” Reed said, according to CNN. “He talked about his children and how he raised his children, moral values, don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t do drugs. It’s not really our job to judge other peoples’ spiritual journey. Just because they’re not in the same place we are, we accept him for who he is now.”

- christian post

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