How to respond in suffering

December 10, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”(John 16:33).

Pain, suffering and hardships are normal ingredients of life.

What we mix them with—fear or faith– makes all the difference.

Jesus did not come to make us escapists but over-comers. How?

1. Honestly express your feelings.

Job exclaimed, “Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness.

The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me…

My harp is tuned to mourning and my flute to the sound of wailing” (Job 30:26-31).

Honestly express your feelings
King David wrote, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?

Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?”(Psalm 22:1).

Jesus said, “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say?

Father, save me from this hour?

No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour” (John 12:27).

Expressing one’s true feelings is not a lack of faith.

It’s being real, and you must be willing to face reality before you can expect to overcome it.

Real
Like King David, who wrote many of the psalms, I find it therapeutic to write my feelings down in a journal.

It makes the situation more real and valid.

It also helps to talk to someone, but choose carefully whom you confide in.

2. Don’t suffer more than necessary by indulging in self-pity and bitterness.

Some people get stuck in what if. If only. I should have.

It isn’t necessarily our pain that causes us to suffer so acutely but our tendency to put ourselves down,

to view pain or tragedy as punishment, failure, or proof of our inherent worthlessness.

self-pity
I’ve seen people get stuck in a painful experience that happened sixty years ago.

They talk about it as if it happened last week.

People who won’t let go of the past are not able to enjoy the present.

They suffer more than God intended.

3. Don’t spend time and energy on asking why.

It’s not nearly as important to know the why in life, as it is to know the Who of life.

Knowing God as a benevolent Sovereign who controls the events in my life gives me peace of mind.

Waiting
I can safely leave my why with Him and concentrate on the now what?

Now that this thing has happened, what can I do to make it better?

How can I help to bring some relief to those who are suffering?

I can’t do anything about the why, but I can do something about the what.

And that’s where I want to put my energies.

– fwd: v c mathews

Korea: Giant Christmas tree returns to border

December 5, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

Korean Giant Christmas treeKorea, December 02, 2014: After months of controversy and judicial appeals, the government has granted the Christian Council of Korea permission to rebuild the huge Christmas tree on Aegibong peak. The hill, which is directly across the border with the North, is 165 meters high. Considered by some as a tool of “psychological warfare” with the North, the metal shaft and the cross that surmounts it will be visible to  North Korean people living up to 10 kilometers from the border.

The official announcement was made this morning by the Seoul Ministry of Defense, who also guaranteed “protection” to the Christian faithful who will gather for the lighting ceremony. The dimensions of the structure are still not clear, “between nine and 35 meters high.” Seoul has not yet decided whether or not to allow the Christian group to restore the original giant tree, demolished in November after 43 years.

For officials of the Park Geun-hye government the destruction of the old tree was “motivated by security reasons. The frame was old and dilapidated. We have not decided if the new can be as high as the original one or whether it will be smaller”. The lighting ceremony is scheduled for 23 December, when the members of the Council will gather for a church service and the singing of some Christmas hymns. The tree will remain lit and visible for two weeks.

Built in 1971 – at the height of tensions between the two Koreas – the huge frame was switched on or off according to the highs and lows of political relations between the neighbouring nations.  In 2004, to great fanfare, Seoul declared that the tree “would be lit up again” because “an agreement had been reached” with Pyongyang. However in 2010, after the sinking of the South Korean Cheonan which killed 43 people, the Christmas lights returned.

– asianews

Fear more attacks on Delhi churches

December 5, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Christians protestNew Delhi, December 4, 2014: With incidents of fire in a church and a break-in attempt at a convent in Delhi, clergy is suggesting equipping churches with CCTVs and private guards.

In another part of Delhi, a local priest has been demanding street-lighting outside his church for several years now, and after Monday’s fire at St. Sebastian Church in Dilshad Garden, he is apprehensive about security of his parishioners.

A Catholic sister said unidentified people tried to break into the convent in Rohini’s Sector 29 on Monday night.

“There are two pet dogs at the convent and both started barking around 12.30am. When a sister got up to check, she heard people talking and immediately called the police,” said the sister.

She added that CCTV footage showed youths with iron rods and torches walking about the compound.

Police have lodged a case under IPC sections 457 (lurking house-trespass or house break-in by night in order to commit offence) and 511 (attempt to commit offence).

– ucan

Modi: Act against Carbide and Dow

December 5, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

DowBhopal, December 02, 2014: Five activist groups Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make Union Carbide and Dow Chemical bow to Indian courts over the Bhopal gas disaster.

“We hope you and your government will be as enthusiastic in making the US corporations obey Indian laws as you are (in) welcoming them to invest in our country,” the groups said in an open letter to Modi.

“We write (in) the hope that you and your government are aware that Bhopal was the original ‘Make in India’ in the profoundest sense of the phrase.”

The appeal comes on the 30th anniversary of the Dec 2-3, 1984 disaster when a poison gas leak from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal left thousands dead. Dow Chemical now owns Carbide.

The joint letter has been written by leaders of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Group for Information and Action, and Children Against Dow Carbide.

The letter blamed Union Carbide and Dow Chemical for the gas disaster and the environmental contamination due to reckless dumping of hazardous waste.

“In the last 30 years, the government of India has been dragging its feet over taking effective action against the two US corporations (fearing) that (seeking) justice in Bhopal would jeopardize the investment climate.

“Union Carbide and now Dow Chemical have taken full advantage of this hesitation on the part of the Indian government and both continue to break Indian laws and dare Indian courts,” the letter said.

The letter said Union Carbide had evaded Indian courts for 22 long years and “Dow Chemical has refused to appear in the Bhopal district court disregarding the court’s summons to appear on Nov 12, 2014”.

“We write this with the hope that your government will make Union Carbide and Dow Chemical obey the directions of Indian courts.”

The activists also urged Modi to pay special attention to the issue of medical care and economic and social rehabilitation of the survivors, many of who suffer from a range of ailments.

“In the last three decades, while provision of funds by successive governments at the centre has been adequate, in the absence of any monitoring, the expenditures have failed to produce any results,” the letter said.

The activist groups accused the “intransigence of the Madhya Pradesh chief minister who remains oblivious to the failure of his government in providing even a semblance of a life of dignity to the survivors”.

– ians

Amma meets Pope Francis at Vatican

December 5, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Amma meets Pope FrancisKollam, December 2, 2014: Spiritual leader Amma joined hands with global faith leaders in meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican Tuesday in an initiative to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking.

This was for the first time that leaders of the Christian (Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox) as well as Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim faiths jointly committed to stamp out slavery from the world, a statement from Amma’s office said.

Mata Amritanandamayi or Amma, who sat next to the Pope on the front row, signed a Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders against Modern Slavery.

Modern slavery includes human trafficking, forced labour and prostitution, and the religious leaders said these should be recognised as a crime against humanity.

According to the 2014 Global Slavery Index, around 36 million people are currently trapped in modern slavery and are being exploited for personal or commercial gain

– ucan

Nepal will become “the highest peak” in the Kingdom of God

December 5, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

NepalNepal, December 02, 2014: Catholics in Nepal “are not only God’s messengers. They are messengers of God in a former Hindu monarchy. Today this country is known for Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. Now we want to make the nation the highest peak in the Kingdom of God,” said Mgr Paul Simick.

Speaking to AsiaNews, the prelate is clear about his mission as apostolic vicar to Nepal. Appointed by Pope Francis last April, he has already identified the most pressing challenges the local Catholic Church faces.

“Nepal is a very diversified country in religious, cultural, ethnic and linguistic terms,” Mgr Simick told AsiaNews. “For this reason, more than others, it urgently needs dialogue”.

However, “The laity must be the engine of dialogue, as the link between government, political parties and other religious groups. Giving them more power can only benefit the nation.”

“In order to implement the dialogue I have in mind,” he added, “we have to teach lay Catholics the concepts of openness and identity”.

“Everyone should be open to other faiths, and be ready to respect their neighbours. At the same time, we must not forget to share our identity, without fear. “

Admitting to growing spiritual hunger in the country, he said, “We should make our just and meaningful presence through works of charity. After we reach people, we can share the Good News but it is God who converts people.”

– asianews

Islamic militants al-shabaab kill 36 mainly Christian quarry workers after separating them from Muslims

December 5, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

Islamic militant group al-ShabaabKenya, December 2, 2014: Islamic militant group al-Shabaab has killed 36 non-Muslim quarry workers, mainly Christians, after separating them from Muslims at a camp in Kenya. The attack, 10 miles from the town of Mandera, was reportedly carried out in retaliation for the Kenyan army’s presence and anti-terror operations in Somalia.

“The militia separated the Muslims, then ordered the non-Muslims to lie down where they shot them on the head at close range,” said Hassan Duba, an elder at a nearby village, according to Reuters.

President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that he will change his top security officials following a series of such attacks in recent weeks. The al-Shabaab militants were also accused of hijacking a bus and killing 28 passengers a week ago near the same area at the border with Somalia.

Another 67 people were killed by the jihadists in an attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall last year.

Kenyatta, who accepted Police Chief David Kimaiyo’s resignation on Tuesday, said that internal political conflicts in Kenya cannot help in the fight against terror.

“Our bickering only emboldens the enemy,” the president said.

An al-Shabaab spokesman said that the attack was against “Kenyan crusaders” that are battling Islamists in Somalia.

“We are uncompromising in our beliefs, relentless in our pursuit, ruthless against the disbelievers and we will do whatever necessary to defend our Muslim brethren suffering from Kenya’s aggression,” spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage said.

Muslim leaders in Kenya have condemned the attack, calling it a “beastly tactic.”

“This unfortunate and ugly incident should not be used to divide peace loving Kenyans who have lived harmoniously for centuries — along religious or ethnic lines, but rather it should be taken to reflect on improving the security situation of the country,” Nairobi’s Jamia Mosque said in a statement, according to CNN.

Kenya’s population is predominantly Christian at 82.5 percent, while Muslims make up close to 11 percent of the population.

Al-Shabaab, which also has ties with al-Qaeda, has said that it will drive out Christians “from Muslim lands” and will continue carrying out attacks in Kenya.

In September, the U.S. carried out airstrikes against the jihadist group in Somalia that are believed to have killed a senior al-Shabaab figure.

“U.S. drones managed to hit the representative of al-Qaeda in Somalia, who is also the leader of al-Shabaab, Ahmed Godane,” Lower Shabelle region Gov. Abdikadir Mohamed Nur Sidii revealed at the time.

“We can tell that a senior figure from the group was killed due to the way they reacted after the attack, as they have started committing atrocities in the area, they have beheaded some of the people who had mobile phones and arrested many others [accused of spying].”

Kenya’s military operations in Somalia have caused internal debate, however, with some government opponents saying that Kenyan troops have not managed to safeguard the country and need to be pulled out.

“They were supposed to create a buffer between our countries and the chaos on the other side. But it has not done that. So we are saying leave,” said Dennis Onyango, a spokesman for opposition politician and former prime minister Raila Odinga.

– christian post

The supernatural power of praise

December 5, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

“With Jesus’ help we will continually offer our sacrifice of praise
to God by telling others of the glory of His name.
Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need,
for such sacrifices are very pleasing to Him” Hebrews 13:15,16

Praise

Sometimes, in my busy schedule which takes me from country to country and continent
to continent, my body is weary, my mind is fatigued,
and if I am not careful, my heart will grow cold.

I have learned to meditate on the many blessings of God
and to praise Him as an act of the will.

As I do so, my heart begins to warm and I sense the presence of God.

Praise

The psalmist often cataloged the blessings of God and found new reason to praise Him.
I would like to share with you several reasons
why I believe praise of God is so important in life.

First, God is truly worthy of praise.

Second, praise draws us closer to God.

Third, all who praise God are blessed.

Fourth, praise is contagious.

Fifth, Satan’s power is broken when we praise God.

Praise

Sixth, praise is a witness to carnal Christians and non-Christians.

Seventh, praise opens our hearts and minds to receive God’s message.

Eighth, praise is a form of sacrifice.

Ninth, praise makes for a more joyful life.

Tenth, praise enhances human relationships.

Eleventh, praise is a supernatural expression of faith.

Praise

– fwd: v c mathews

Pope Francis prays in Turkey’s Mosque, head bowed toward Mecca

December 1, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

Pope and PatriarchTurkey, November 30, 2014: A day after calling for inter-religious dialogue to end Islamist extremism, Pope Francis on Saturday visited a 17th-century mosque in Istanbul and spent several minutes in a silent prayer with his head bowed in the direction of Mecca.

The pope made the gesture to promote Christian-Muslim relations at the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, known as the Blue Mosque, on Saturday, the second day of his three-day Turkey visit, according to the Vatican Radio.

He removed his shoes before entering the mosque with blue tiles on its walls. Standing next to him was the Grand Mufti, who explained about the Koranic verses illustrated on the stones pillars and the dome.

The pontiff also toured on Saturday the nearby Hagia Sophia, a Byzantine basilica which was turned into a mosque after the fall of Constantinople in the mid-15th century before being transformed into a museum.

The pontiff’s visit is being seen as an effort to foster inter-faith relations.

“Fanaticism and fundamentalism, as well as irrational fears which foster misunderstanding and discrimination, need to be countered by the solidarity of all believers,” the pope said Friday in a speech to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other political leaders on the first day of his pastoral visit to the cities of Ankara and Istanbul.

“It is essential that all citizens – Muslim, Jewish and Christian – both in the provision and practice of the law, enjoy the same rights and respect the same duties,” the pope added in his speech Friday. “They will then find it easier to see each other as brothers and sisters who are travelling the same path, seeking always to reject misunderstandings while promoting cooperation and concord. Freedom of religion and freedom of expression, when truly guaranteed to each person, will help friendship to flourish and thus become an eloquent sign of peace.”

Also on Saturday, Francis celebrated the only public Mass of his Turkey visit in Istanbul’s Latin Catholic cathedral dedicated to the Holy Spirit.

Surrounded by the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew and leaders of all the other Christian communities, Francis reflected on how the Holy Spirit creates unity among believers. When we let the Spirit unsettle us to move us out of our comfort zones, turning instead to our brothers and sisters “with that tenderness which warms the heart,” then we have been touched by the Holy Spirit, he was quoted as saying.

The pope’s emphasis on having dialogue and improving inter-faith relations comes at a time when the Christian and Yazidi minorities are being targeted and killed in Iraq and Syria, large territories of which are now controlled by the Islamic State, or ISIS, terror group.

The ISIS, an al-Qaeda offshoot, seeks to form an Islamic emirate in the Levant region through “jihad.” In Iraq, ISIS men have killed hundreds of civilians. Numerous members of the Christian and Yazidi minorities have also been killed, and tens of thousands of them have fled their homes. About 5,000 Yazidi girls and women were recently taken captive by ISIS to be sold or given to fighters as slaves.

– christian post

CSF: Afghan believer in Delhi set free. PAD building targeted in Afghan

December 1, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

afghan christianNew Delhi, November 25, 2014: The Afghan believers had some good news as one of the three brothers (Hasibullah) was released from jail on the night of 25th November 2014 and they strive for the release of the other two brothers. They have thanked The CSF for their prayers and support.

The Afghan refugee believers in the national capital said they also received with sorrow and pain, news that extremists targeted the PAD Office, where believers used to worship on Fridays and Saturdays. There was also a seminary in this building and a brother who was the Director of the PAD organization was also living there.

While the worship was going on in the building, the suicide attackers attacked the building and as the result of this attack brothers Werner and Zabi were killed and some other believers were injured. There is no news about brother Werner’s son and daughter as they were also at the building at the time. His wife was out as she is a doctor and works in one of the hospitals.

Some of the injured believers who were spoken to, said the attackers shot all of them but the Lord saved a few. Please keep the prayers going.

– pobsc

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