Friday, July 11, 2014

Conviction or Condemnation?

Have you ever been down on yourself ... felt vaguely guilty, or acutely guilty ... felt like you were the biggest foul-up, or the biggest fool, in the world?  If you're a normal human being, you've felt that way more than once.  But, as a Christian, have you ever wondered where those feelings come from?

It's normal (and healthy) to feel guilty at times.  That's part of the human experience; none of us are perfect, and when we've done something wrong, we should feel a certain amount of guilt.  Contrary to what some psychologists might say, guilt can be a very positive thing, if it helps motivate us to change our behavior, or correct a mistake, or make restitution when we've wronged someone.  That's conscience, and it's one of the greatest gifts God ever gave to man: it's our moral compass.

But, in the life of a Christian, there are other factors that can cause us to feel horribly guilty ... or cause us to realize that we're on the wrong track.  Because every Christian is perpetually hearing two voices, in addition to his or her own: the voice of the Holy Spirit, and the voice of the enemy of our souls, Satan.  But sometimes we don't know which is which.

When the Holy Spirit speaks to us about a sin we've committed, or a mistake we've made, we say that we feel "convicted," or that we're "under conviction."  The Spirit of Jesus Christ is whispering in our heart, "Don't do that; do this!" And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left (Isaiah 30:21).

But there's another voice, and it's the voice of the Enemy.  He doesn't convict us: he beats us over the head, and besets us with unhealthy guilt (often when we've done nothing wrong): he condemns us.  He makes us feel like we've blown it irreparably, or that we're worthless.

But how can we tell which voice we're hearing?  The Enemy is the great imposter, and he can pretend to be God ... he can even use scripture to do it.  (That's one reason why we need to constantly study the scriptures: so that when the Enemy misuses a verse or a passage, we'll recognize that something doesn't ring true.) This is one of the Enemy's favorite games.

There are several ways, when we feel that things aren't right, to tell the difference between God's conviction, and the Enemy's condemnation. We'll look at three of them.

First of all, when the Enemy is condemning us, or placing us under "false conviction," he always centers our attention on ourselves.  "Look what a mess you've made of things! Look at you, committing the same old sin again and again.  What a miserable excuse for a Christian you are!  Why don't you just give up?"  That's the pronoun he prefers: you. And as long as we're looking at ourselves, he has us right where he wants us.  Because there's no hope in us, even if we're believers: For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing, Paul says in Romans 7:18.

But conviction, coming from God the Holy Spirit, doesn't work that way.  Remember what Jesus said, when He promised the disciples that the Spirit would come? Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak ... He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you (John 16:13, 14).  The Spirit doesn't point the finger at us; in fact, He doesn't even point the finger at Himself.  The Spirit always points the finger to Jesus Christ.  And, when He convicts us of something, He doesn't focus on "you;" He focuses on Jesus Christ, and all the hope and power and forgiveness that are available in Christ.  Condemnation places the attention on us; true conviction places the attention on Jesus Christ.

Second, the Enemy's condemnation always discourages us.  We feel defeated; we feel hopeless; we feel like we'll never have victory or joy in our lives again.  Once more, the Enemy is trying to demoralize and defeat us, so that we won't even try to follow Christ any farther, or talk about Him (or to Him) any more.  This can have tragic consequences. It can affect our mental health, leading to self-destructive behaviors, whether drinking, overeating, or even self-mutilation.  How the Enemy enjoys seeing us in that state!  If we're saved, he can't get our souls; but if he can just make us miserable, and cause us to give up, he'll be overjoyed.

But God's conviction is just the opposite.  Yes, He tells us we're doing wrong, or making a mistake: but He offers us hope and encouragement, as well.  I say it reverently: when we're sincerely trying to please God, and are trying to maintain fellowship with Him, and reading His word ... the Holy Spirit is our greatest cheerleader.  He doesn't say, "You've blown it.  Give up!"  He says, "Okay, a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again (Proverbs 24:16), so get up, let's keep moving.  The future is straight ahead, and I'm with you!"  True conviction offers hope, not just guilt.

Finally, the condemnation of the Enemy paralyzes us.  It renders us ineffective and useless, to ourselves and others, by plunging us into a gloom of unhealthy introspection. He reminds us of all the things we've failed to do, and convinces us that we can't live as we should - - - so, for a time, we quit trying.  He convinces us to drop out of the race. And we quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19), not because we've rejected Christ, but because we're only listening to the Enemy.  In terms of living the joyous, fruitful Christian life, we might as well be frozen in amber.

But God's conviction doesn't paralyze us; it motivates and empowers us.  If nothing else, it assures us that God is still speaking to us, and that He's still interested in us. But it's very practical, too.  When our lives are cluttered with sins or mistakes, God's conviction shows us what needs to be done.  It helps us clear the decks. God's mercies are new every morning, and one of these mercies is giving us a clean slate at the beginning of each day (assuming that we've responded to His conviction). Instead of paralyzing us in self-loathing or self-pity, God's conviction gets our eyes back on Christ, and reminds us of the staggering possibilities that lie ahead for any committed Christian.  Because the Holy Spirit does something that the Enemy can't do: He doesn't just talk.  He acts through us.  He gives us the power to bear His fruit, and fulfill our purpose here on earth.  

The Enemy has a thousand ways of discouraging us, or slowing us down, or making us quit.  But if that's so, then God has a thousand and one ways of giving us the power and the joy and the motivation to stay in the race ... and to join Him in His victory!

What a Christ!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Praying for Israel

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3).

I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid.  For I also
  am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1). 

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee (Psalm 122:6).

Father, You know me.  You know my innermost thoughts, and the deepest motivations of my wicked heart: nothing is hid from Thee. I am conscious of my Savior's warning in Matthew 6:5-7, about praying in public, to appear "pious."  But I also know that there's a time for public prayer, and this does not always displease Thee.  I come before Thee in the strong Name of Thy Son Jesus Christ, to pray for Thy nation, Israel, in this terrible time of testing, as she is attacked once again by the Philistine barbarians. This time, not for the first time, she is  abandoned by her former ally, the nation in which You placed me, the United States, under the diabolical guidance of a President who, like his predecessor, cares more for the barbarians than for Thy nation: a President who loathes Thy people as did Haman of old.  Who on Earth has the power and the will to help Thy nation, Lord?  None, Thou knowest.  Israel is alone, except for Thee, and for the prayers and support of Thy people.  We thank Thee, Father, that Iron Dome is helping, and that Operation Protective Edge is helping, and that Israel's current leader is resolute. But apart from Thee, none of man's plans or devices can avail.   Please, dear and holy Father, protect Thy nation, and save her people.  It is not for me to curse any man, but I ask Thee to curse Hamas, Fatah, ISIS, and all of Israel's enemies throughout the world, especially those Mohammedans who hate Thee and hate Thy nation.  In the words of the old song, Father: "confound their politics, frustrate their knavish tricks, on Thee our hopes we fix!"

Father, we are not blind to Israel's faults or sins. Instead of being the truly Godly nation You desire, they have gone whoring after modern enchantments and devices, such as "liberal democracy," and their coddling of the Sodomites and other sinners in their midst is no different from that of my own nation, or any other.  They are not a Godly people, and we know that this displeases Thee; but that is between them, and Thee.  We are too conscious of our own nation's sins to cast stones.  But You have said, in the context of Israel, that the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (Romans 11:29). Israel is still Thy beloved nation, despite those among my brethren who deny this with their Hellish "Replacement Doctrine." We repudiate that doctrine, and fly to the pages of Thy word, and beg You to preserve and protect Thy nation once again.  We know from Thy holy prophecies that it will get worse before the end, and we pray for the people of Israel, in their coming tribulations.  

You have commanded us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and we eagerly and enthusiastically obey.  Forbid it, Lord, that we should sin against Thee by neglecting to pray for Thy nation (1 Samuel 12:23).  Protect Thy nation, Lord, regardless of her shortcomings and unbelief: and, as it pleases Thee, save the individual residents of that nation by bringing them to faith in Thy dear Son, their Saviour and mine, the Lord Jesus Christ, in Whom alone lies eternal hope.

I pray this, not for Israel's sake or my own, but for Jesus' sake, and in His Name.  Thank You for hearing this faltering prayer, Lord.

inside an Israeli bomb shelter

Monday, July 7, 2014

Taking Grace for Granted

"The grace of God." It's a common enough phrase ... and, for Christians, one of the two or three most important concepts that can be imagined. But what if someone asked, "What does the grace of God mean to you, personally?"  Not merely a theological definition, but something that you experience on the gut level.  How would you answer the question?  Any Christian will sing "Amazing Grace;" but, on a day to day basis, in your daily life, does it really amaze you?  Or do you take it for granted?

Just so we're all on the same page, exactly what is grace?  In this context - - - the context of God's dealings with man - - - grace can be described as God's unmerited, undeserved favor toward a sinner: it includes mercy and forgiveness and is the key to salvation itself.  And, since all men and women are sinners, it's something that we all need, if we're to escape God's wrath: because no matter how "good" we may consider ourselves, or others may consider us, we are members of a fallen race, totally and hopelessly alienated from God.  And, despite the teachings of nearly every religion on earth - - - Roman Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism, most branches of Protestantism, and so on - - - we cannot "earn" our salvation by "good works." Job, who was one of the three most most "righteous" men in the Old Testament (Ezekiel 14:14, 20), said, If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean; Yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me (Job 9:30-31). Jesus said, For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20).  When it came to "good works" and "following the Commandments," the scribes and Pharisees were the most outwardly "righteous" people on earth.  Our "morality" and "charity" and "love of our fellow man" won't get us a single millimeter closer to Heaven.  Only the sacrifice of God's perfect Son, at Calvary, could pay our debt of sin, if we receive Him (John 1:12).  That's what "grace" is all about: God giving us the favor and love and mercy that only Jesus Christ deserved.  We receive Him by simple faith: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8, 9). 

That's the "amazing grace" that the old slave trader, John Newton, wrote about in his famous hymn.  And if you've been born again by the Spirit of God (John 3:3-7), you understand that. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)

But grace goes far beyond our salvation.  It permeates our everyday lives, and it does so .... well, every day.  The "best" person who ever lived on this planet, other than Jesus Christ, deserved nothing but damnation and pain.  (If you can't accept that, or believe it, then it's because you're stuck on yourself: and you think that if a "good" person can earn a place in Heaven, then you can, too.  But you can't.)  Every breath you take, every morsel of food you consume, every moment of laughter or love or joy, is a manifestation of God's grace.  And that's not just true of Christians: that's true of everyone on earth.  If you're an atheist or a Muslim, and you have a measure of good health, it's because God's grace allows it.  If you're a Hindu or a humanist, and you have a roof over your head or someone who loves you, it's an example of God's grace.  Because we each deserve something far worse: because we're members of the race that has rejected God from Eden to Calvary to today. The theologians call this "common grace," because God extends it to all mankind, but there's nothing "common" or cheap about it.  It's God's mercy, and nothing else.

But the grace that gets us to Heaven, by faith in Jesus Christ and dependence on Him alone, is really the subject of this post, which is really aimed at Christians.  The question arises again: does God's transforming, unlimited grace amaze you, or do you take it for granted?

Someone asks, "How could anyone take such a thing for granted?"  Why, Christians do it all the time.  Becoming a Christian is the most important event in a person's life, but it's not always the most outwardly dramatic; and, just as married couples can come to take each other for granted after an initial burst of passion, so Christians are experts at "getting over" their salvation.  They may flame brightly for a month, or a year, but they often grow dim, and hide their light under a bushel.  Yes, they still love Jesus ... just as they love their grandparents.  But they probably think about their grandparents more.
Just as every person is an individual, different Christians have different ways of taking God's grace for granted.  I'll mention only two: there are many others.
The Bible teaches that, once a man or woman has been saved by receiving Christ, he or she can never lose that salvation, or become unsaved again.  Some Christians refer to this concept as "eternal security;" others call it "the perseverance of the saints."  Many Christian groups reject this teaching; that doesn't mean that they're not Christians, but it means that they don't understand the Bible very well.  If I can't earn my salvation by my "good works," my "good works" can't keep me saved. My salvation doesn't depend on what I do or don't do, once I've received Christ: it depends on what Jesus did, at Calvary. Once I'm saved, of course, the good works are a product of that salvation: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10).  But the good works don't earn the salvation - - - and sin doesn't destroy the salvation.
That's the tricky part! We're so hung up on the idea that "being good" saves us, that we can't believe that "being bad" wouldn't blow the deal.  But it doesn't; because my sins can't undo what Jesus did on the cross.  So, we sometimes, usually unintentionally, take grace for granted, by toying with sin, or plunging headlong into sin - - - because we know we won't be damned for it, now that we're saved by grace.  That's called "taking grace for granted."
It's disgusting, isn't it? In fact, it's disgraceful!  But probably every Christian has done it at one time or another, and some do it almost habitually.  "Well, now that I'm saved, I can do what I want!  I can't go to Hell!"
No, you can't, not if you're genuinely saved.  But you're a fool to think that way.  You're not a damned fool; you're a saved fool.  Yes, go ahead and sin: you'll still get to Heaven, because you can't lose your salvation.  But there are other things you can lose, you dummy (I say it charitably); there are other things you can lose, you dimwit!  Your sins can cost you your health.  (Ever visit a cancer or AIDS unit?) Your sins can cost you your family. (Seen the divorce statistics lately?) Your sins can cost you your freedom.  (You think there aren't Christians in prison?)  And, when God gets fed up, your sins can cost you your earthly life: God slew numerous Christians in the New Testament. (Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 11:29, 30.) Yes, you'll still go to Heaven: but what a way to get there!  Anyway, that's an example of taking grace for granted.
tavern drunks
Another way we can take grace for granted is by laziness, or cowardice: shirking our responsibilities in the area of the Christian life.  "I don't feel like studying my Bible today; I'm so tired!  Surely God understands!"  Yes, and He also understands that you might not be here to study it tomorrow.  Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away (James 4:13-14).  You're presuming on God's grace to think that you can read the Bible or pray "some other time."  There may not be another time. "Oh, I don't think my co-worker, or my fellow student, is in a very receptive mood today.  I'd better tell them about the Gospel another time."  That might work out ... or it might not.  They might not be here tomorrow, either.  I'm not saying they'll die in a car crash; I'm saying that people move abruptly for many reasons, for many emergencies.  Postpone your witness, and you're taking God's grace for granted.  
The person who takes God's grace for granted in the deadliest way, of course, is the person who postpones coming to Jesus Christ for salvation. The person who wants to do things his or her own way for a few more years, and then they'll come to Christ.  The person who says, "I don't have to receive Christ today; there's always tomorrow."  Oh?  Is there?  I wonder what the people who died on 9/11 were planning for 9/12, or the next weekend?  Did they have time to get their affairs in order?  Well, what makes you think that you will?

The grace of God is the most wondrous thing in the human experience.  It can't be contemplated or celebrated too much.  But to take it for granted .....  Doesn't God deserve a little bit better than that?

Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4: One Day Closer

Today, as my fellow Americans take a day off from work to supposedly celebrate the birthday of a once-great country, which has now taken its place among the most heathen nations in history, I have chosen to turn my back of the flags and the fireworks, and celebrate the fact that we are one day closer to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the time when the nations will, finally, acknowledge Him as the Creator of the Universe, the King of the Earth (which He is not at the moment), and the Saviour of our souls.  Instead of "God Bless America," I invite you to join me in looking forward to that blessed time!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Eyes of Jesus

We're always fascinated by looking into each other's eyes.  It's a lifelong, universal characteristic: so universal, in fact, that it's even shared by some members of the animal kingdom.  Lovers gaze longingly into each other's eyes.  Poker players study the eyes of their opponents.  And one of the most important biological determinants in human development is the amount of eye contact a baby has with its parents or caretakers.  "The eyes," it is said, "are the windows of the soul."  But when was the last time you gave any thought to the eyes of Jesus Christ?

You can't see them, of course; although one day you will, when you stand before Him to be judged.  But so far, very few people, numbering in the thousands, have had the privilege of looking into Jesus' eyes, when He was here on earth.  Throughout the history of art, countless painters have attempted to capture Jesus' eyes on canvas, or in a sketchpad: but who can really imagine what they were like?  No man or woman ever had eyes of such infinite wisdom, such astonishing compassion, or such perfect innocence - - - or, at times, of such sorrow, and occasionally anger. Who can imagine those eyes?  The greatest of Biblical painters (probably Rembrandt) could no more depict Jesus' eyes than a child with a box of Crayons - - - and the child might have a better idea of what they were like! We'll have to wait to actually see His eyes.

But if we can't see His eyes, we can consider, and know, what He sees with those eyes: and what He has seen, and will see.

The eyes of Jesus Christ have seen everything there is, from the tiniest sub-molecular structures to the farthest reaches of the universe, and seen these things in perfect detail - - - because He created them.  No electron microscope, no Hubble telescope, will ever see what Jesus has seen, and sees every moment.  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist (Colossians 1:16-17). Not only do His eyes behold these things, but He actually holds them together on a moment-to-moment basis, in space-time reality: by him all things consist, or stay together.  Without the steadying hand of Jesus Christ, material reality would simply fall apart.

That's literally unimaginable to us; although, if we've been born again according to John 3:3-7, and received Christ by an act of the will, according to John 1:12, we know that we'll understand it someday.  Unlike Jesus, our vision is limited: For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known (1 Corinthians 13:12). Someday, we will see as Jesus sees: Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2).

But the eyes of Jesus have seen more than that - - - and continue to see more than that.  He's seen man at his best, because He saw Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, before they sinned.  And He's seen man at his worst.  When the rebellious Israelites followed after false gods, and threw their babies into the molten arms of idols, Jesus Christ was watching.  When the Roman Catholic Church slaughtered the English martyrs like Tyndale (and millions of other Christians worldwide), Jesus saw it.  And when the Czars and the Nazis attempted to destroy the Jews, Jesus saw every moment of every atrocity.  And, just as He wept over Jerusalem, He probably wept then: after all, He cares. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15).  He saw it all ... and remembers it all.

Those eyes, so unimaginably full of love and compassion, seeing all these things .... and seeing them still.  Because Jesus hasn't turned away; He still sees it all.  He sees every crooked politician .... and every hypocritical Christian.  He sees every proud, unapologetic sex pervert, and each of their perverse acts .... and He sees every adulterous or fornicating Christian, who have attempted to push Him aside for a few hours or years of pleasure.  He sees the persecution of His born again sons and daughters by rĂ©gimes from Saudi Arabia to China .... and He sees the persecution of his chosen nation, Israel, by the Palestinians and their allies, even those in Washington, D.C.  And He sees His children going to church two or three times a week, then living like unsheeted Hell the rest of the week,  with their gossip and laziness and lack of love for God and one another.

Because the eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good (Proverbs 15:3). And the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him (2 Chron. 16:9).  The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men (Psalm 11:4). Someone says, "That's not Jesus; Jesus is the Son of God.  That's the Father."  But this is a sub-Christian interpretation of the Bible.  "The Lord" is Jesus Christ. That's why He's called "the Lord Jesus Christ," and why the Bible says That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10, 11).  Anyone who denies that Jesus Christ is the Lord is lost and damned, unless and until they change their belief. This isn't rocket science, or "one man's opinion;" this is the Trinity.

The eyes of Jesus are still watching.  They're watching everything that happens in every business, in every school, on every street, in every home, and everywhere else.

For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes (Jeremiah 16:17).  The eyes of Jesus Christ have seen the best and the worst, and continue to see the best (such as it is) and the worst.

(Again, some might say, "Aha!  There's a contradiction!  Doesn't the Bible say, Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity? God is so holy that He can't even look at wickedness!"  Nice try, but you didn't finish the verse. The verse says, Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he? [Habakkuk 1:13].  The Prophet isn't making a doctrinal statement about what God can or can't do; he's expressing his own understanding of God's holiness, and asking, plaintively, "so why are You looking at them? Why are you letting them get away with it?"  As the prophets so often did [and as Job's comforters did], he's expressing his own view, and wondering why God doesn't conform to it.  There's no contradiction - - - and no "out" for someone who wants to think that God isn't watching!)

Jesus isn't just watching "the evil that men do," of course.  He sees every act of kindness; every sacrifice a father or mother makes for their child; every student who doesn't cheat in school; everyone who reaches out to help someone in need; and every Christian who is faithful in prayer and studying God's word and proclaiming the Gospel.  And He promises the Christian, in His word:  God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister (Hebrews 6:10). His eyes are watching it all.

He's watching me write this post ... and He's watching you read it.  And He'll be watching what we do an hour from now.

The eyes of Jesus Christ have seen it all, and are seeing it all at this moment.  And they'll see more: they'll see the sins and mistakes we make tomorrow ... and He'll be willing to forgive.  He'll see the heathen continue to rage against Him, and the people imagining so many vain things (Psalm 2:1). He'll see the continuing disintegration of decency and goodness in the world.  He'll continue to see His children reviled and persecuted; and He'll see the nations rise up (including the United States) to destroy His nation, Israel. And then, one day, He'll have seen enough of this world, and settle the accounts.

The Czars and the Nazis and the Popes and the Muslims; the teenaged fornicators and the adult, "respectable" whoremongers; the gossiping office worker and the schoolyard bully, and every other person who has ever lived, will stand before Him.  And that's when we'll see His eyes - - - as they look back at us in judgment.

For the majority of the human race, the results of that Judgment will be incomprehensibly horrible.  But for those who have received Jesus Christ as their Saviour, at a moment in time by an act of the will, there will be glory ahead - - - although even Christians may lose certain rewards, if they have lived for themselves.  But even then, they'll be saved - - - we'll be saved - - - because of the mercy of Jesus Christ, Who paid the price for our sins as His eyes beheld the men who tortured Him to death.

Those who have rejected Christ in this life will, after that, never see His eyes again.  But those who have accepted His offer of salvation will enjoy the love and mercy and even laughter shining in His eyes for all eternity.

What a Christ!

Friday, June 27, 2014


Although we continue to thank God that Meriam Ibraham's sentence of death has been overturned, a cruel and constantly changing story has been unfolding for the past few days.  After being released from prison, Meriam's Muslim brother betrayed her to the Islamic authorities, and she was detained at the airport while trying to legally leave the country with her family.  She has since been released again from detention, and currently is holed up in the American Embassy in Khartoum.  Only God knows what will happen next, but it is clear that Meriam's family will not truly be safe, from a human standpoint, until they are out of Africa and in America.  Christians are urged to continue in fervent prayer.  This blog will continue to provide links to the latest news accounts.

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body (Hebrews 13:3).

UPDATE, 1:00 p.m. GMT, 6.27: Still at the American Embassy in Khartoum, Meriam has issued her first public statement. 

UPDATE, 2:00 a.m. GMT, 6.27: According to The Guardian, Meriam and her family have been freed again, and have taken refuge in the American Embassy in Khartoum.  Details in link below.

UPDATE, 2:00 p.m GMT, 6.26: The game of cat-and mouse continues.  Latest reports are that Meriam and her family have been released again. Her estranged brother, a Muslim, is behind the recent developments. Details in links below. 

UPDATE, 9:30 p.m. GMT, 6.25: The latest word is that Meriam has been charged with "falsifying documents."  Details in the link below. 

UPDATE, 10:00 p.m. GMT, 6.24: According to the American State Department, Meriam and her family have been "detained, but not arrested." This is a fast-moving story, and it is to be hoped that Christians will continue to pray until the family is safe on American soil.

UPDATE, 2:15 p.m. GMT, 7.1: According to an interview in The Telegraph, Meriam's baby, born May 27, is suffering from unspecified disabilities because of the circumstances of her birth.  Meriam's legs were shackled during little Maya's delivery.  Details in first link below.

See also:
Meriam Ibrahim: My baby is disabled because I gave birth with my legs chained  (The Telegraph)
Meriam Ibrahim speaks: Sudan apostasy woman freed again after death sentence is overturned  (The Independent)
Meriam Ibrahim freed again after rearrest at Sudan airport  (The Guardian)
Meriam Ibrahim and the Persecution of Christians  (The Wall Street Journal)


Meriam Ibrahim's Brother Blocked Escape from Sudan to US: Report  (NBC News)
Meriam Ibrahim Reportedly Freed Again After Re-Arrest on “Forgery” Charges (LifeNews)
Another cruel twist of the knife: Sudanese mother Meriam Ibrahim faces SEVEN years in jail for trying to flee country hours after death sentence for 'marrying Christian was dropped' (Daily Mail)
Meriam Ibrahim Charged with Falsifying Documents, Can't Leave Sudan (Town Hall)
Meriam Yahya Ibrahim: Arrested, Released, Re-Arrested, Re-Released  (Breitbart)
Sudan death row case: US works for Meriam Ibrahim exit (BBC)
Released Sudanese Christian woman detained at airport  (CNN)
Ted Cruz Calls On Obama To Help Free Meriam Ibrahim  (Breitbart)
Sudan death row woman Meriam Ibrahim rearrested (The Guardian)
Meriam Ibrahim: Sudanese apostasy woman detained at airport after release (The Independent)
Sudan re-arrests Christian woman Meriam Ibrahim after freeing her from death row (Sydney Morning Herald)