US, January 22, 2015: President Barack Obama met on Wednesday with Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of imprisoned Pastor Saeed Abedini, and their two children in Boise, Idaho. Abedini said that she had been praying a long time for such a meeting, while Obama promised the family to do all he can to bring the pastor home.
“I am extremely thankful the president took the time to meet with our family and told us that securing the release of my husband is a top priority,” Naghmeh Abedini said following the meeting.
“The president was focused and gracious — showing concern to me and my children. I know that this meeting could not have occurred without prayer, and I am grateful to the many people around the country and world who continue to pray for Saeed’s release. The president repeated his desire to do all that he can to bring Saeed home. That means the world to me and my children and has given me a renewed sense of hope.”
Pastor Abedini is serving an eight-year sentence in Iran, after having been arrested in September 2012 while working on an orphanage. The American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Naghmeh Abedini and the couple’s children, has said that the pastor, who was born in Iran but became an American citizen, is being punished for his Christian faith.
During the meeting, which occurred in an office at Boise State University, Obama promised 6-year-old Jacob and 8-year-old Rebekka that he will do all that he can to bring their father home. Abedini told Obama that she prays for him, and believes that their meeting is a result of fasting and prayer.
When Obama announced that he will be visiting Boise this week, Abedini wrote him a letter expressing her hopes that he will decide to meet with her.
“My heart leapt with hope when I heard that you would be visiting my hometown of Boise, Idaho. Since the Iranian government took my husband, Saeed Abedini, almost three years ago, I have been praying and wanting to meet with you,” the letter read.
The ACLJ noted that during the meeting Jacob asked Obama the question: “Mr. President, can you please bring daddy home for my birthday?” Obama then asked the young boy when his birthday is, and after Jacob told him it is on March 17, the president promised he will make every effort to grant his wish.
Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have joined together in prayer and signed petitions calling on Iran to release Abedini, who has faced beatings and other mistreatment while in prison. Obama has spoken to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over the phone about freeing the pastor, but the ACLJ has said that more must be done if that goal is to become a reality.
Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ, said that the law group is grateful that Obama took the time to meet Abedini’s family.
“Pastor Saeed has been wrongly imprisoned for nearly two and a half years. He has been separated from his wife and children. The pain experienced by the Abedini family is impossible to imagine. The meeting between President Obama and the Abedini family is a very welcomed development,” Sekulow reflected.
“It demonstrates the president’s concern and compassion for this family. It also underscores the importance of Pastor Saeed’s case, a U.S. citizen imprisoned in Iran merely because of his Christian faith. The face-to-face meeting elevates pastor Saeed’s plight on the world stage — and should send a powerful message to the Iranians — it is time to release pastor Saeed so he can return home to his family.”
- christian post
Chennai, January 26, 2015: The Tamil Nadu government has directed one of its IAS officers not to go ahead with “preaching and propagating“ his faith as it is against service rules and could create communal disharmony.
C Umashankar, a crusader against corruption and an early advocate of the use of free software in e-governance, was born a Hindu dalit but said he changed his faith to Christianity during the stressful times he faced in his battles against politicians.
His open and public preaching of Christianity has raised the hackles of right-wing groups who are campaigning against him.
In a letter, TN chief secretary K Gnanadesikan told the commissioner for disciplinary proceedings, Umashankar: “It has been brought to the notice of government that you are going to take part in preaching and propagating activities in Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari districts from January 24 to January 26 which are likely to cause communal disharmony and disturbance to public order.
You are directed not to indulge in such activities which are unbecoming of a member of the service, failing which, necessary and appropriate action would be taken under relevant provisions of All India Services (conduct) Rules, 1968 read with the All India Services (Discipline & Appeal ) Rules, 1969.“
The chief secretary also referred to Umashankar’s previous visit to Kanyakumari district on January 16 in which “he indulged in activities which created disturbance to public order resulting in registration of two cases in Pudukadai police station in the district“.
Umashankar said “guided by God,“ he has cancelled seven prayer meetings scheduled in the next few days, but said he will move the high court against the government’s direction.
Gnanadesikan in his letter said civil service conduct rules say that “every member of the service shall at all times maintain absolute integrity and devotion to duty and shall do nothing which is unbecoming of a member of the service.“ A senior police official in South Tamil Nadu said since Kanyakumari is vulnerable to communal violence they are worried about Umashankar’s meetings.
Former chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami said since the direction of the state has mentioned a previous incident which reportedly created disturbance to public order, the order against Umashankar is justifiable.
Aga Khan & four spiritual leaders get Padmas. Ramdeo & Sri Sri were offered. What about Indian Christian Clergy or Institutions?
Swami Rambhadracharya, from Uttar Pradesh, was among the nine awarded India’s second highest civilian honour, the Padam Vibhushan.
Swami Satyamitranand Giri from Uttar Pradesh, and Shivakumara Swami from Karnataka were among the 20 recipients of the Padma Bhushan, a home ministry release said.
Jagat Guru Amrta Suryananda Maha Raja, who is based in Portugal, was among the 75 recipients of the Padma Shri award.
Patna, January 26, 2015: Commoner Shail Devi, who saved the lives of 10 Muslims during the communal clashes in Muzaffarpur district earlier this month, hoisted the national flag at the state Congress headquarter here Monday.
In the presence of Bihar Pradesh Congress president Ashok Choudhary and a number of senior party leaders, including former ministers and legislators, Shail Devi was invited to unfurl the tricolour at Sadaquat Ashram, the state Congress office.
“It was a matter of honour and pride for a poor woman like me that the Congress party has provided me this opportunity,” Shail Devi, clad in a new white cotton sari and a woollen shawl gifted by the Congress party, told IANS here.
Choudhary said the Congress decided to honour Shail Devi who, he said, was an example of communal harmony.
Shail Devi, a frail Hindu widow in her early 50s, risking her life gave shelter to her Muslim neighbours when a mob of more than 5,000 people attacked Azizpur Bahilwara village after a 20-year-old Hindu boy’s body was found Jan 18.
He was allegedly abducted and killed over his love affair with a Muslim girl.
After her action came to light, she became the most sought after woman.
“I provided shelter to my Muslim neighbours to save their lives because the mob would have killed them,” she had said then.
China, January 26, 2015: Authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang on Friday detained and questioned a Hong Kong journalist who went to cover a story about the demolition of church crosses in the region.
Jiang Yannan, a reporter for the Hong Kong-based Chinese-language news magazine Asiaweek told RFA’s Mandarin Service that she was detained briefly in Pingyang county near Wenzhou, a city that has been dubbed “China’s Jerusalem” because of a high concentration of Christian believers there.
“I was here to do some reporting and interviews on the demolition of crosses [on Christian churches] … They didn’t hold me for very long. They just stopped me from interviewing people.”
She said police had continued to monitor her movements and contact her interviewees since her release after a brief period of detention at a nearby police station.
“I didn’t pay any attention to them, but they asked me what I was doing,” Jiang said. “They have been following me and bothering the people I am trying to interview.”
She added: “I did a lot of interviews on this trip, and this time the local authorities are being much tougher [on journalists].”
Jiang, who arrived in Pingyang earlier this week, told RFA in a later interview that she had already left the province.
“I am no longer in Zhejiang. I have left the area,” she said. “They were following me the whole time.”
“But it’s not convenient for me to give interviews right now,” Jiang said, before hanging up.
Beijing-based rights lawyer Chen Jiangang, who has been following religious issues in Wenzhou, said he had received a phone call from Jiang earlier on Friday asking for help.
“She called me at around 1pm, when she was in the police car,” Chen said.
“She said the police had dragged her into their vehicle against her will, and driven her to the police station and asked to see her ID,” he said.
“She waited around at the police station for about 10-20 minutes, and then they released her,” he said, adding: “I am in touch with her, and she could be subjected to further restrictions by police at any time.”
According to the US-based Christian rights group China Aid, hundreds of Protestant churches in Zhejiang have been targeted for demolition in the past year.
The actions against churches in Zhejiang are all connected to the province’s “Three Rectifications and One Demolition” campaign, which claims to target all illegal structures, the group said in a recent report on its website.
The campaign calls on local officials to take action to “demolish illegal structures that violate laws and regulations, occupy farmland, affect public safety and major construction, seriously affect urban and rural planning, and those that are located on both sides of main lines of transportation,” it said.
A Wenzhou-based Christian church member who declined to be named said Jiang’s detention could be linked to local tensions around plans to sue the Pingyang authorities over the detention of Fengwo Church pastor Huang Yizi.
Huang’s lawyers plan to file three separate lawsuits against the county government and police department on Monday, according to a report on China Aid’s website.
Huang Yizi was detained on August 2 on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disrupt public order,” following clashes between church followers and officials who demolished the church’s cross in July.
“I think this has to do with the congregants’ planning to sue the authorities,” the church member said. “They have hired some new lawyers.”
Zhejiang-based Protestants estimate that crosses were torn down from at least 410 churches in the province during 2014.
“According to our incomplete statistics, from January to November 2014, more than 400 churches with names have either been forcibly torn down or had their crosses forcibly relocated or demolished,” China Aid founder Bob Fu told RFA in an interview earlier this week.
“Previously, these things only happened during the Cultural Revolution,” Fu said.
“But in 2014, they happened in some major cities and regions of Zhejiang province, then sporadically took place in some other provinces,” he said.
“This is a very noticeable change in 2014.”
Jiang’s detention, though brief, comes amid growing concern over the fate of Zhang Miao, a news researcher from the Beijing bureau of Germany’s Zeit News, who was detained while covering a poetry recital at Beijing’s Songzhuang Artists’ Village last October.
Zhang and six others, including artists and a poet, were detained at the event on the outskirts of Beijing in support of the Occupy Central pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.
ZEIT correspondent Angela Kockritz, who has launched a social media campaign for Zhang’s release under the hashtag #freemiao, said in a recent online account of her detention that she was accused of “brawling” and assaulting a police officer.
Zhang, who is now being held in a Tongzhou Prison on the outskirts of Beijing, was allowed a meeting with her lawyer on Dec. 10, Kockritz wrote on the ZEIT website on January 14.
“The law forbids police officers and guards to abuse inmates,” she wrote. “But they often avail themselves of certain cell mates who will mistreat other inmates in the knowledge or at the request of the guards.”
“[The lawyer] indicates that we can’t speak freely on the phone, but he does share with me that Miao is suffering both physically and psychologically.”
And in May Japan’s Nihon Keizai Shimbun employee Xin Jian, who worked as a news assistant — a post which often involves reporting activities — was detained ahead of the 25th anniversary of the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.
China doesn’t allow its own nationals to work as reporters for foreign news organizations, which instead often hire local journalists to act as news assistants or translators.
China led the world in imprisoning journalists in 2014, with a total of 29 behind bars, according to Paris-based press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which said the authorities are also holding 73 netizens out of a global total of 178 detentions.
However, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) put the figure at 44 jailed journalists in its 2014 annual report.
It said restrictions on state media have tightened significantly since President Xi Jinping took power in November 2012.
- radio free asia
Tehran, January 25, 2015: In a rare effort to reach out to the youth in Europe and North America, the Supreme leader of Iran Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, has written an open letter on Islam and prejudices.
The letter dated January 21 and titled “To the Youth in Europe and North America” was posted on the official website of Ayatollah Khamenei and his Twitter account.
Reminding that the histories of the United States and Europe are “ashamed of slavery, embarrassed by the colonial period and chagrined at the oppression of people of color and non-Christians,” Ayatollah Khamenei, writes, “that humiliation and spreading hatred and illusionary fear of the “other” have been the common base of all those oppressive profiteers.”
He further says that he wants to talk about Islam, particularly the image that is presented to them as Islam. “Why does the power structure in the world want Islamic thought to be marginalized and remain latent? What concepts and values in Islam disturb the programs of the super powers and what interests are safeguarded in the shadow of distorting the image of Islam?” he asks.
He urges the Western youth to study and research the incentives behind this widespread tarnishing of the image of Islam and requests them to respond to the “flood of prejudgments and disinformation campaigns,” by trying to gain a direct and first-hand knowledge of this religion.
He further writes, “I don’t insist that you accept my reading or any other reading of Islam. What I want to say is: Don’t allow this dynamic and effective reality in today’s world to be introduced to you through resentments and prejudices. Don’t allow them to hypocritically introduce their own recruited terrorists as representatives of Islam,” concluding, “Don’t miss the opportunity to gain proper, correct and unbiased understanding of Islam so that hopefully, due to your sense of responsibility toward the truth, future generations would write the history of this current interaction between Islam and the West with a clearer conscience and lesser resentment.”
Satan called a worldwide convention of demons.
In his opening address he said,
“We can’t keep Christians from going to church.”
“We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth.”
“We can’t even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their saviour.”
“Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken.”
“So let them go to their churches; let them have their covered dish dinners, BUT steal their time, so they don’t have time to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ..”
“This is what I want you to do,” said the devil:
“Distract them from gaining hold of their Saviour and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!”
“How shall we do this?” his demons shouted.
“Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow.”
“Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles.”
“Keep them from spending time with their children.”
“As their families fragment, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work!”
“Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice.”
“Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive.” To keep the TV, VCR, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly.”
“This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ.”
“Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers.”
“Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day.”
“Invade their driving moments with billboards.”
“Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines and TV so their husbands will believe that outward beauty is what’s important, and they’ll become dissatisfied with their wives. “
“Keep the wives too tired to love their husbands”
“That will fragment their families quickly!”
“Give them Santa Claus to distract them from teaching their children the real meaning of Christmas.”
“Give them an Easter bunny so they won’t talk about his resurrection and power over sin and death.”
“Even in their recreation, let them be excessive.”
“Have them return from their recreation exhausted.”
“Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God’s creation. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, plays, concerts, and movies instead.”
“Keep them busy, busy, busy!”
“And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences.”
“Crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Jesus.”
“Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause.”
“It will work!”
“It will work!”
It was quite a plan!
The demons went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busier and more rushed, going here and there.
Having little time for their God or their families and friends.
Having no time to tell others about the power of Jesus to change lives.
WHATEVER THEY DO, DO NOT LET THEM SHARE THE GOSPEL WE WILL HAVE MORE WORK TO DO IF THEY EVANGELIZE…
I guess the question is, has the devil been successful in his schemes?
You be the judge!!!!!
Does “BUSY” mean : B-eing U-nder S-atan’s Y-oke?
- fwd: vathan shettigar
US, January 25, 2015: Louisiana governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate Bobby Jindal shared with thousands of people at his national prayer rally Sunday how he converted from Hinduism to Catholicism, and urged prayers for America’s spiritual revival as well as President Obama and his family.
Jindal, who has described himself as an “evangelical Catholic,” prayed for a spiritual revival to “begin right here, right here in our hearts” as he opened the six-hour prayer rally, “The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis,” at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, the home of the Louisiana State University basketball team, in Baton Rouge.
The two-term Republican governor, who was holding his Bible, shared his testimony for about 15 minutes, according to The Associated Press.
He told the crowd of more than 3,000 people how he, though raised a Hindu, became a Christian while a teenager living in Baton Rouge.
He said evangelist Billy Graham helped inspire him to become a Christian, according to The Times-Picayune. He recalled turning up for Graham’s mass prayer rally in LSU’s Tiger Stadium in 1970.
Several people had earlier tried to convert him but it didn’t hit him until he heard Graham and watched a black and white film on Jesus’s death on the cross, he said. “God chose that moment to hit me harder than I’ve ever been hit before,” he was quoted as saying.
“Today is about humbling ourselves before the Lord. Today we repent for our sins,” Tampa Bay Times quoted him as saying.
Jindal emphasized that America not just needs a good leader, but a spiritual revival. “We can’t just elect a candidate to fix our country. … We need a spiritual revival to fix our country.”
He also asked the crowd to pray for Obama and his family.
Asked later about his 2016 presidential run, Jindal said, “We’re praying and thinking about what to do next,” and added it might take “a couple of months” to make an announcement about his possible run.
“Who is president next is less important than what that person has to offer,” Jindal said. “My decision will be based on whether I can bring something unique. … It would be based on political consultants or polls.”
He also said the prayer rally was “not a political event. It’s a religious event.”
Meanwhile, about 400 people protested outside the prayer rally, as the event’s host, American Family Association, has been classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate” group because of its alleged promotion of “discrimination” against gays.
As Jindal weighs his potential candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, there are quite a few viable, Christian, social conservative candidates that are trying to earn and possibly unite the Evangelical support behind them, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; former Arkansas Governor and Southern Baptist pastor Mike Huckabee; retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson; former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum; and former Texas Governor Rick Perry.
- christian post
Iraq, January 19, 2015: The Islamic State’s execution spree picked up dramatically last week, as the militant group released its latest round of execution photos. Along with photos showing the execution of two gay men, an adulteress and two bandits in Iraq, the group has also reportedly crucified and executed 17 men accused of fighting against the caliphate.
In releasing its latest wave of execution photos on an Islamic State-affiliated JustPaste.It account, photos show a muslim crowd gathered around a tall brown brick building in the ISIS Iraqi stronghold of Mosul that looks to be many storeis high. In the following photographs, two men were forced to the roof of the building and were hurled over the edge by two ISIS militants.
A subsequent picture captured one of the victim’s freefall and another photo showed their lifeless bodies laying on the dirt ground.
Before the executions, the charges against those who would be executed on that occasion were announced by a masked militant holding a small handheld radio. According to The Daily Mail, the masked militant announced that the two men were accused of engaging in homosexual acts, which is a strict violation of Sharia law and punishable by death.
As hundreds of people gathered to watch the execution, Vice News reports that the Arabic caption included with one of the pictures showing the crowd translates to “The Muslims come to watch the application of the law.”
This is not the first time that the Islamic State has executed gay people by throwing them off the top of a building. In December, photos showed eight ISIS militants in Wilayat al-Furat executing a gay man by throwing him off the roof of a three-story apartment building.
In November, ISIS released photos showing gay men being stoned to death. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights states that the November stonings were ISIS’ first public executions of homosexuals.
Also included in ISIS’ latest round of photo executions, the Daily Mail states that the masked militant announced the execution of two bandits and one veiled woman accused of adultery.
Photos showed the two bandits being transported in the back of a pickup truck, while standing trapped with their wrists tied down to metal cross-like structures. The two men were taken out of the back of the pickup truck and placed before the crowd. Then, two militants shot them in the back of the head. The last photo of the bandits shows their lifeless bodies hanging from the crosses.
Photos show that the woman who was stoned to death for adultery was taken away from the large crowd and executed in a secluded wooded area that appears to be outside of the city.
The first photo shows a bearded ISIS official reading the charges against the woman. The next photo shows ISIS militants pelting the woman with large rocks as she lie on the ground in the fetal position. The final photo shows the militants corralling her dead body with a blue tarp.
Last week, the group also executed 17 men from the Syrian province of Deir Ezzor. Eleven of the men were accused of apostasy for fighting against ISIS. After being killed the bodies of the 17 victims were brutally mutilated by the militants.
The Syrian Observatory believes that the latest round of ISIS executions has come in retaliation for recent assassinations of ISIS officials.
“The Islamic State group has executed 16 men in Deir Ezzor and one more in Raqa, to send a message to all their opponents after recent assassinations of 12 Syrian, Iraqi and Algerian jihadists,” said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Director Rami Abdel Rahman. “ISIS is sending a message to all people living under its control, to say: ‘This is what will happen to any opponent.’”
- christian post
Philippine, January 24, 2015: The World Evangelical Alliance, which represents more than 600 million evangelicals around the globe, has announced the appointment of Bishop Efraim Tendero, currently the National Director of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, as its next Secretary General.
WEA’s International Council made the decision by unanimous vote Friday, and announced that Bishop Tendero will begin his five-year tenure on March 1.
“I am humbled by the trust that is given to me to be the leader of Evangelicals around the world,” Tendero said in a statement released by WEA. “This is an enormous task and I put my whole trust and confidence in the Almighty God who called me into this ministry, believing that He will provide the wisdom, favor, and grace needed in carrying out this solemn responsibility.”
Tendero, widely known as Bishop Ef, succeeds Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, who decided not to seek a third term after leading the global alliance for 10 years.
“We acknowledged from the onset and throughout the search process that we needed God’s wisdom and the Spirit’s guidance in making this significant and strategic appointment. We are not only pleased, but confident that Efraim is the right person to take WEA into the future which promises to be great,” Rev. Ndaba Mazabane, Chairman of the IC and Acting Secretary-General of the WEA, said in the same statement. “His understanding of our global vision and his experience as a national Alliance leader will certainly help him connect with our constituency for greater global impact.”
Mazabane urged prayers for the new appointee.
Tendero has served the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches for more than 20 years, representing about 30,000 evangelical churches in the Catholic-majority nation in South East Asia, where he is also President of the Philippine Relief and Development Services.
He also serves as International Facilitator for South East Asia of the Asia Evangelical Alliance and is the chair of the board of Back to the Bible Broadcast, Evangelism Explosion, 3 Philippines, Global Filipino Movement and the Philippine Missions Association.
He is also the Executive Editor of Evangelicals Today, published in the Philippines.
Bishop Tendero has actively sought to make difference in the politics of the country. His national alliance joined calls in August for President Benigno Aquino not to extend his term of office.
“It is best for him to just endorse a new leader who would faithfully continue his fight against corruption,” Tendero said in a statement at the time. “I’m praying and hoping that President Aquino would finish well as a good leader, and what he started in the struggle for a ‘righteous path’ will be passed smoothly to his successor.”
Tendero did a Bachelor of Theology from Febias College of Bible, and then a Master of Divinity with focus on pastoral counseling from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He was later offered two honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from Asian Theological Seminary and Febias College of Bible, and a Doctor of Leadership degree from International Graduate School of Leadership.
Bishop Tendero and his wife, Sierry, have four children and two grandchildren.
- christian post