Death Squads and Their Lists

May God Protect the Bravest Woman I Know

by Tarek Fatah
The Toronto Sun
May 19, 2015

Tarek Fatah and Taslima Nasreen On my way to Delhi’s Indira Gandhi airport Sunday night for a flight back to Canada, I made a detour to pay my respects to someone I consider the bravest woman alive today — exiled Bangladeshi author, Taslima Nasreen. She and her cat “Minu” live alone on the top floor of a four-story apartment complex in the suburbs of India’s sprawling capital.

Millions of Indians live in such complexes. Except in this building, she is the only resident. For security reasons, the elevator is disabled. The lights in the stairway leading up to her Spartan flat are as dim as those in a coal mine. Armed Indian security officers guard the complex around the clock. Outside her apartment door stands a towering soldier, bearing an automatic rifle.

Despite the security, this woman of steel, who has braved both physical and verbal assaults over her last 20 years in exile, sounds despondent. She tells me, “The jihadi death squads of Bangladesh, who have killed three secular writers in three months, have now added my name to their list.” 

The world’s bravest feminist has no family, siblings, parents or children, just her conviction and integrity.

Swiping her iPad, Nasreen shows me the threat made on Twitter by someone using the now-deleted handle @JihadForKhilafa, a call to wage jihad to establish an Islamic Caliphate. “@TaslimaNasreen u r also among the 84 who r on the hitlist. Count ur days -;” the message reads.

Nasreen repeats a line from the award-winning Bangla film Nirbashito about freedom of speech, based on her life. “It’s the pen and the sword; the sword always wins.” Nasreen smiles, as she often does, with a wicked twinkle in her eyes, but I sense an air of despondency in her.

“We will win,” I tell her, trying to infuse her with some optimism.  “Kaisa jeeta ga, tumm bhi tho bhag gaya?” she asks me in jest. (“How can we win, when you, too, are running away?”) She speaks in a lilting, Urdu accent, reminding me of the 1970s, when both of us were citizens of Pakistan.  “No, I am not running away,” I protest. “I will fight the cancer of Islamofascism until it’s defeated.”  But she isn’t convinced. “That’s your problem, Tarek,” she tells me, “stop fooling yourself, (the problem is) Islam, not Islamofascism.”

“I, too, am a European citizen,” she lectures me. “I too, can live in Europe, but I choose to fight the extremists here in India. This is where the epic ‘Ghazwa-e-Hind’ (will occur).” This refers to the end-of-time battle Prophet Mohammed is said to have predicted, where non-Muslims will come under Islamic control, triggering the long-awaited Islamic Armageddon.  Nasreen taunts me, arguing this war will not be waged by jihadis in air-conditioned Canada.

“Come to Canada,” I suggest.  “Really?” she responds sarcastically. “I can never forget the mob of Muslim students in Montreal’s Concordia University, who successfully disrupted my speech, and I had to be taken away by police. “Even if I go to safety in the West, who will take care of my cat?” she adds. As she speaks, Minu purrs and scratches Nasreen’s sari.

We part, knowing we may never meet again.

The woman I consider the world’s bravest feminist, who has no family, siblings, parents or children, just her conviction and integrity, beams me a smile. I am teary-eyed as I say “Khuda Hafiz”, (“May God be your Protector”), a parting wish banned by Islamists in Bangladesh and Pakistan, but not yet in India.​

Tarek Fatah is a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, a columnist at the Toronto Sun, and a Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is the author of two award-winning books: Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State and The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism.

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Daily Devotional

How to Hate Your Life

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:24–25)

John Piper

“Whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” What does that mean?

It means, at least, that you don’t take much thought for your life in this world. In other words, it just doesn’t matter much what happens to your life in this world.
If men speak well of you, it doesn’t matter much.
If they hate you, it doesn’t matter much.
If you have a lot of things, I doesn’t matter much.
If you have little, it doesn’t matter much.
If you are persecuted or lied about, it doesn’t matter much.
If you are famous or unheard of, it doesn’t matter much.
If you are dead, these things just don’t matter much.

But it’s even more radical. There are some choices to be made here, not just passive experiences. Jesus goes on to say, “If anyone serves me, let him follow me.” Where to? He is moving into Gethsemane and toward the cross.  Jesus is not just saying: If things go bad, don’t fret, since you are dead anyway. He is saying: choose to die with me. Choose to hate your life in this world the way I have chosen the cross.

This is what Jesus meant when he said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). He calls us to choose the cross. People only did one thing on a cross. They died on it. “Take up your cross,” means, “Like a grain of wheat, fall into the ground and die.” Choose it.

But why? For the sake of radical commitment to ministry: “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). I think I hear Paul saying, “It doesn’t matter what happens to me — if I can just live to the glory of his grace.”
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The Promised Holy Spirit (The Holy Spirit and Jesus through the lens of Luke’s Gospel) Luke 3:21-22,Luke 4:16-21, Luke 24:44-49.

In the church calendar today is Pentecost Sunday. In the Christian faith we remember the events of the first Pentecost after the death and resurrection of Jesus, recorded in Acts chapter 2.  When God sent his promised Holy Spirit on all the believers gathered together.

You’d think that as it was Pentecost that we would be focusing on that passage in Acts 2 today.  Well we spent a week longer looking at the book of James that I thought we would, but also this year to help us understand who the Holy Spirit is we are working our way through a three week series looking at the Holy Spirit in the scriptures. I’ve called the series ‘The promised Holy Spirit… in the Old Testament… in Christ…and in the church.’ It is a quick overview, a whistle stop tour, touching down at significant places and then moving on again. It’s a bit different to what we normally do because it is pretty much straight bible teaching.  My hope and prayer is that we will gain a clearer and greater understanding of the Holy Spirit and that we may experience the Spirit’s real presence and enabling in our lives, individually and as a Church.

And to some extent all we are looking at in this series is focused on the events in Acts chapter 2. Last week we looked at the Holy Spirit in the Hebrew scriptures through the lens of the promise of the Holy Spirit made in Joel chapter 2:28-29 which Peter quoted on Pentecost. That Peter said was fulfilled at Pentecost with the coming of the Holy Spirit. We saw that the Spirit wasn’t something new, but rather had been the means by which God had been moving behind the scenes from woe to go, all the way through the scriptures. As the Holy Spirit is God the Spirit was there at the beginning in creation, in Genesis 1:2 it says the spirit was brooding over the formless waters. We often use the metaphor of the breath of God to talk of the spirit and you get this wonderful picture of that breathe waiting for God to speak and that breath moving, bring things into being. We saw that the Spirit was poured out on specific people for specific tasks; from the artisans and engineers who made the tabernacles to leaders and prophets; people who could help Israel to be God’s people. But the new thing that Joel 2 looked forward to was a time when God would pour out his spirit on all flesh. All who believed in Jesus Christ, as we saw last week regardless of gender, age and socio economic status: On your sons and daughters, on old and young, even on your male and female servants.  God’s Spirit is for all, not just a special few; God wants to dwell in and with each of us by his Spirit. The Promise of the Holy Spirit is for all of us.

We looked at the Holy Spirit in the Hebrew Scriptures but what about the Holy Spirit and Jesus? Where is the Holy Spirit in the gospels?  And What does it means for us?  I want to look at these questions by saying three things. Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit that was his experience. Jesus ministry was enabled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would be sent on his followers to enable them to be his witnesses and continue his ministry and mission.  The best way for us to look at those things is by looking at Luke’s gospel, Luke remember also wrote the book of Acts, it is the sequel to the gospel, both were written so that Theophilius and we might know the truth of what we have come to believe about Jesus.    

 

When you look at the start of Luke’s gospel it has the feel of a continuation of the Hebrew scriptures, the spirit is very busy at work behind the scenes:  John the Baptist is said to be filled by the Holy Spirit even before he is born, when his mother Elizabeth meets Mary it says that the baby leapt in her womb.  The Holy Spirit is the one we are told has caused Mary to become pregnant.  Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaims Mary blessed amongst all women, and that her baby is the long awaited messiah. Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, is said to be filled with the Holy Spirit and prophecies when John is born.  When Jesus is presented in the temple in accordance with the Jewish customs, he is met by Simeon whom we are told ‘the Holy Spirit was ”.  Anna is a prophet who speaks about Jesus as well.  John the Baptist starts his ministry we are told when the word of God came to him. We see that the Spirit is preparing the way for Jesus ministry and revealing to us who Jesus is. Then at Jesus baptism the Holy Spirit’s activity seems to be and remained focused in Jesus.

In Luke’s account of the baptism of Jesus, which we had read to us today , we are told that Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit. In fact the focus is on Jesus being filled with the Spirit and the voice from heaven acknowledging who Jesus is rather than his baptism. While we are used to seeing the dove as a symbol of the Holy Spirit this is the first and only time in scripture there is the connection. The dove in Jewish thinking was a bringer of good news, which is so relevant to Jesus who is the bringer of Good News.

Now we need to do some Christology here. Christology is the part of theology that focuses on understanding who Jesus is. In this passage we are told that Jesus is the Son of God…”you are my son in whom I am well pleased” the voice from Heaven says. We are presented with the uniqueness of who Jesus is… Jesus as we are told in John’s prologue is the word made flesh, is God incarnate. It is easy to get caught up in thinking of the divine nature of Jesus, that we can forget that Jesus is in every way totally human as well. We can think that Jesus does his miracles and proclaims the God news because he is some sort of superhuman, but that is not the case. In fact right after the baptism in Luke’s gospel to draw us to the humanness of Jesus we have the recording of Jesus Whakapapa, his genealogy, through Joseph line back o David, Abraham and right back to Adam.  Jesus while being the son of God is also totally human, Jesus like all people needs the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to achieve the mission that God has for him.

We also had read to us today the first record in Luke’s gospel of Jesus public ministry. Jesus goes to his home town Nazareth and goes to the synagogue and is handed the scriptures to read.  It’s like with suli’ete this morning He is doing the bible reading. He reads from the book of Isaiah a promise from the Old Testament about the messiah. It acts as a mission statement for Jesus ministry… It starts ‘the Spirit is upon me, the Spirit has anointed me’ Jesus is aware that God has poured out his Holy Spirit on him to achieve God’s purpose. He is there to preach Good News to the poor. Recovery of sight to the blind, release to the captives set the oppressed free, proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ After he has read the scriptures Luke tells us he sits down, which is the way in Hebrew thought people would get ready to teach. Even in some church these days’ people stand up to hear the reading of the gospel. And he says ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’.

Jesus ministry of bring God’s love and mercy, reconciliation forgiveness and wholeness, recovery of sight both physically and spiritually, cancellation of debt and freedom  is able to happen because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in Jesus. When Jesus heals it is by the power of the Holy Spirit, when Jesus proclaims good news and it brings transformation and change it is by the power and moving of the Holy Spirit, we see the times when Jesus seems to know what people are thinking, that is what Paul calls words of knowledge in his list of the gifts of the Spirit.  It is God’s spirit that enables Jesus to fulfil his ministry.

With the third passage we had read to us, we skip to the end of the gospel after Jesus death and resurrection and it brings us back to focusing on Pentecost and Acts 2 because it is the passage in Luke’s gospel where the risen Jesus Christ tells his disciples to wait for the promised Holy Spirit to come upon them. It is not just an Old Testament promise it is a promise from Jesus as well.  Jesus now opens their mind to understand all that had to happen to him. That he had to come and to suffer and be raised from death on the third day. This is the means by which you and I are put right with God, the means by which you and I and all nations can know repentance and forgiveness of sin. The ultimate fulfilment of the mission Jesus had been anointed by the Holy Spirit to carry out. But also Jesus tells his disciples that this forgiveness and repentance will be preached to all nations beginning in Jerusalem. He tells his disciples that they are witnesses to these things and they are to stay in Jerusalem until they are clothed with power from on high.

Because of Jesus own experience with the Holy Spirt he is aware that the disciples will need the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives to witness to him, to carry on Jesus ministry of seeing repentance and forgiveness preached to every nation. To live out Jesus teaching and love people with the love of Christ. Because we have been put right with God and our sins are forgiven we are able to be filled by that spirit. This promise is repeated in John’s gospel, where they is an extensive teaching by Jesus on the Holy Spirit, what Jesus calls the paraclete, the advocate, will come and do for us… Lead us into all truth… bring to mind the things that Jesus said… fill us with the peace of God which the world cannot take away because it did not give. It was a sign of being welcomed into God’s family. Almost like you’d have a quick rundown of what has gone before at the beginning of a sequel in the movies or a new TV episode, Luke starts the book of acts with this promise from Jesus as well, that when the disciples received the Holy Spirit they would be Jesus witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the World. Matthew’s gospel focuses on the way Jesus would be present with us by the Holy Spirit. In the longer ending to Mark’s gospel  the focus is not so much on the presence of the Holy Spirit but the signs that will accompany the disciples because of the Spirit’s presence.

How does this all connect with us here today? Three quick things…

Firstly it is easy to think that Jesus was able to live and minister to other people simply because of who he was, and yes Jesus is unique, but Jesus was a human being and needed the spirits presence and power to do what God had called him to do. Equally we to need the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit to do what Jesus has called us to do.; To witness to Jesus to be involved in that ministry of repentance and forgiveness to all nations. Through our word and as we’ll see next week as we look at the Pentecost church  through how we live and how we love each other and show that love to the world around us. We need the Holy Spirit, and we cannot live the Christian life without it. It’s not an optional extra, It’s not just for the super spiritual, the people who’ve just gone Over the top, we need the spirit of God to be with us, fill us and move through us.

Secondly, Jesus relationship with his father wasn’t simply based on the Presence of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was a person of prayer devoted to the scriptures. In the account of his baptism we see the spirit came upon him as he prayed.  As we look at the epistles we see that this being filled with the Holy Spirit in our lives is not a one off experience but rather we become more aware of the spirit’s presence and power as we walk with the spirit, as we develop our own spiritual disciplines of prayer and word.  In getting to know Jesus.

Lastly, I don’t know about you but when I meet pain and suffering and brokenness in peoples live I actually feel totally and utterly powerless. When I come to people to share my faith with them, I feel totally inadequate… Yes I will help in practical ways and I will pray, but we need to be reminded that the Holy Spirit is with us and has enabled and empowered us to witness to Jesus grace and bring Jesus grace into those situations… It is the Holy Spirit’s presence with us that works in and through us… It’s not by power or by might  but by my Spirit says the Lord… by Jesus presence in us by the Holy Spirit. 
 

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saving for what?

May 2015 (25)“The entire concept of saving money so that we can live a life of ease and self-indulgence has no biblical foundation whatsoever.”

David Platt, Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans and Pornography. Tyndale House Publishers, 2015, p.37.

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The Little Bighorn of Satellite Data

Climate Custer’s Making a Last Stand

We are approaching the next big global warming push.  Paris will host the next IPCC conference in December.  Doubtless it will fail.  But in the meantime we will be treated to all kinds of histrionic tom-foolery.  One such cheerleader-cum-scaremongerer is Pressie Obama.  We almost fell off our chair laughing at his stentorian efforts to “re-frame” fighting global warming into a military campaign.

The US president issued a forceful call to action to combat climate change, framing global warming as a national security priority, at the commencement ceremony – or graduation – of the United States coast guard academy in New London, Connecticut.

In his speech, Obama detailed the ways the US military would be forced to respond to climate change in the future. He called refusing to act “a dereliction of duty” and said it undermined American readiness.  “This is not just a problem for countries on the coast or for certain regions of the world,” Obama said. “Climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security, and make no mistake: it will impact how our military defends our country.

“We need to act, and we need to act now,” he said.

 Remember, now.  The Pressie said that the rise of ISIS and Boko Haram was caused by global warming.  Well, he’s the President.  He’s cool.  He’s a graduate of Ivy League universities.  He’s the Voice.  He must be right.
When the desperate are drowning, any sodden straw will do.  (As an example, consider this rubbish.)  Meanwhile, poor old NASA’s satellite date shows that polar ice is growing.  The world is consequently cooling (except for all that “warming” which has been sequestered down to the bottom of the ocean to hide, waiting in the deep to come forth as as an ancient Leviathan to eat us all for supper.)

Updated NASA Data

Global Warming Not Causing Any Polar Ice Retreat

James Taylor
Forbes

Updated data from NASA satellite instruments reveal the Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps in 1979. Since the end of 2012, moreover, total polar ice extent has largely remained above the post-1979 average. The updated data contradict one of the most frequently asserted global warming claims – that global warming is causing the polar ice caps to recede.

The timing of the 1979 NASA satellite instrument launch could not have been better for global warming alarmists. The late 1970s marked the end of a 30-year cooling trend. As a result, the polar ice caps were quite likely more extensive than they had been since at least the 1920s. Nevertheless, this abnormally extensive 1979 polar ice extent would appear to be the “normal” baseline when comparing post-1979 polar ice extent.

Updated NASA satellite data show the polar ice caps remained at approximately their 1979 extent until the middle of the last decade. Beginning in 2005, however, polar ice modestly receded for several years. By 2012, polar sea ice had receded by approximately 10 percent from 1979 measurements. (Total polar ice area – factoring in both sea and land ice – had receded by much less than 10 percent, but alarmists focused on the sea ice loss as “proof” of a global warming crisis.)

NASA satellite measurements show the polar ice caps have not retreated at all.
NASA satellite measurements show the polar ice caps have not retreated at all.
ForbesBrandVoice

A 10-percent decline in polar sea ice is not very remarkable, especially considering the 1979 baseline was abnormally high anyway. Regardless, global warming activists and a compliant news media frequently and vociferously claimed the modest polar ice cap retreat was a sign of impending catastrophe. Al Gore even predicted the Arctic ice cap could completely disappear by 2014.

In late 2012, however, polar ice dramatically rebounded and quickly surpassed the post-1979 average. Ever since, the polar ice caps have been at a greater average extent than the post-1979 mean.  Now, in May 2015, the updated NASA data show polar sea ice is approximately 5 percent above the post-1979 average.


During the modest decline in 2005 through 2012, the media presented a daily barrage of melting ice cap stories. Since the ice caps rebounded – and then some – how have the media reported the issue?

The frequency of polar ice cap stories may have abated, but the tone and content has not changed at all. Here are some of the titles of news items I pulled yesterday from the front two pages of a Google News search for “polar ice caps”:

Climate change is melting more than just the polar ice caps
2020: Antarctic ice shelf could collapse
An Arctic ice cap’s shockingly rapid slide into the sea
New satellite maps show polar ice caps melting at ‘unprecedented rate’

The only Google News items even hinting that the polar ice caps may not have melted so much (indeed not at all) came from overtly conservative websites. The “mainstream” media is alternating between maintaining radio silence on the extended run of above-average polar ice and falsely asserting the polar ice caps are receding at an alarming rate.

To be sure, receding polar ice caps are an expected result of the modest global warming we can expect in the years ahead. In and of themselves, receding polar ice caps have little if any negative impact on human health and welfare, and likely a positive benefit by opening up previously ice-entombed land to human, animal, and plant life. Nevertheless, polar ice cap extent will likely be a measuring stick for how much the planet is or is not warming.


The Earth has warmed modestly since the Little Ice Age ended a little over 100 years ago, and the Earth will likely continue to warm modestly as a result of natural and human factors. As a result, at some point in time, NASA satellite instruments should begin to report a modest retreat of polar ice caps. The modest retreat – like that which happened briefly from 2005 through 2012 – would not be proof or evidence of a global warming crisis.

Such a retreat would merely illustrate that global temperatures are continuing their gradual recovery from the Little Ice Age. Such a recovery – despite alarmist claims to the contrary – would not be uniformly or even on balance detrimental to human health and welfare. Instead, an avalanche of scientific evidence indicates recently warming temperatures have significantly improved human health and welfare, just as warming temperatures have always done.

When the case is weak, shout louder.  Follow Pressie Obama’s grandiloquent example.  

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like no one

May 2015 (25)Isaiah 40:18-25

18 And to whom would you liken God? And what likeness would you compare him to? 19 A craftsman fashions an idol, and a refiner overlays it with gold, or smelts chains of silver. 20 The one who is too poor for such a gift chooses wood that will not rot; he seeks a skilful artisan for himself to set up an image that will not be knocked over. 21 Did you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told to you from the first? Have you not understood from when the land was founded? 22 He is the one who sits above the sphere of the land, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; He is the one who stretches out skies like a veil and spreads them out like a tent to live under, 23 the one who gives princes over to nothing; he makes land rulers like nothing. 24 In fact, hardly are they planted; in fact, hardly are they sown; in fact, hardly has their shoot taken root in the land when he blows on them and they wither, and a storm carries them away like stubble. 25 “And to whom you will compare me, and am I equal?” says the holy one.

like no one

First, Isaiah said that compared to God, all the mighty nations are like nothing. Now, he stops to ask if there is anyone else who does come up to God’s level. He describes in detail the ridiculous practice of fashioning gods from wood and stone, overlaying them with precious metals, and making them look like the inhabitants of the land. God literally stands above all those “gods” because he created all that is, and he sits above the globe, looking down on all of them in sovereignty.

Then Isaiah looks on the equally ridiculous practice of idolising the princes and rulers of the land. This form of idolatry is still as prevalent as it was in Isaiah’s day. But Isaiah explains why these leaders among men are no equal to God. He had previously admitted that all flesh is but grass that temporarily flourishes, but is soon dried up and blown away. Now he uses similar language to describe the fate of these political and philosophical leaders. They are not like God, because they are mortal, and he is not. Lots of people agreed with Friedrich Nietzsche when he proclaimed that God was dead, but then Nietzsche died, and God lives on. Isaiah is explaining that no one compares to God, so no one can take his place. When we let anyone try, we are just building more stupid idols.

LORD, we surrender to the reality of your existence, and the reality that we cannot produce your equal. You are like no one else. You alone deserve our praise and obedience.

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like nothing

May 2015 (24)Isaiah 40:12-17

12 Who has measured water in the hollow of his hand and marked off sky with a ruler, comprehended the dust of the land in a third of a measure and weighed out mountains with the scale, and hills in a balance? 13 Who has measured up the spirit of Yahveh or informed him like the man of his counsel? 14 With whom has he consulted, who has enlightened him or taught him a path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and made a way of understanding known to him? 15 Watch! nations, like a drop from a bucket, and they are ignored like dust on balances! Watch! He weighs islands like a thin covering. 16 And Lebanon is not enough to light a fire, and its animals not enough for a burnt offering. 17 All the nations are like nothing before him; they are ignored by him as if they were nothing and emptiness.

like nothing

In some carefully controlled scientific measurements, the room must be kept dust free, because even the slightest deviation matters. But most of the time a little dust makes absolutely no difference in what the scales show. That is the picture Isaiah gives us. In the scale of actual significance, even the mighty nations that everyone worries about are just dust on balances. They are like a drop of water in a whole bucket. Even Lebanon, with all its forests, does not have enough wood to create a fire to bother God, or enough animals to sacrifice to appease him. The inhabitants of the great nations think of themselves as competitors of Yahveh and Israel. But Isaiah’s words remind us that all the nations of the world are nothing compared to the power and significance of our God, its creator.

LORD, teach us to pray as if prayer is the only thing that matters, because all other powers are useless compared to yours.

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work as stewardship

May 2015 (24)“From the beginning, work has been a mark of human dignity, a fundamental part of God’s plan for people to steward the creation entrusted to them for the common good.”

David Platt, Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans and Pornography. Tyndale House Publishers, 2015, p.34.

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Douglas Wilson’s Letter From Moscow

They Think They’re Jesus

Blog&Mablog
By

Last night I had the privilege of sharing the platform at an event in Coeur D’Alene with Aaron and Melissa Klein. They were the owners of the bakery in Oregon that was shut down by the sexual totalitarians. They were then fined a chunk of cash by some despotic bureaucratic flunky, and when a GoFundMe campaign promised to raise the necessary funds in a matter of hours, the Liberal Forces of Enforced Tolerance did enough screaming to get that shut down. GoFundMe changed the terms of service, and said that Aaron was not a worthy recipient because he was guilty of a heinous crime. That heinous crime was that he told someone that he was very sorry, but that he could not bake a cake for their event.

If you want to help them now — and you should — go to continuetogive.com, and search for Aaron and Melissa Klein. Give now, while there is time, before Christians helping Christians becomes a heinous crime.

In my remarks, I basically made four points. First, these controversies are not because evangelical Christians want to avoid doing business with sinners. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:9-10 not to associate with sinners, but he hastens to add that he was talking about professing Christians who were living this way.  If we had to avoid contact with sinners “of this world” we would have to leave the planet. There is no requirement that conservative Christians feel burdened by to avoid commerce with homosexuals. In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul tells us that meat offered to idols is still acceptable as meat, which means that there is no ethical contamination in doing business with people who are not Christians and who live as though they are not Christians.

Second, I showed how these issues of conscience are in fact a resurrection of the old Jim Crow methods, only not the way most people think. The old Jim Crow laws were laws, and they required private business owners to behave in racially bigoted ways. It was a sin to treat blacks in that way, and the laws mandated that it be done anyway. If your conscience required that you treat blacks and whites the same, then too bad for you. The same approach is being taken now — if your conscience requires you to define marriage the way God has defined it in both nature and Scripture, then too bad for you. The issues move around but the heart of the jitney tyrants never does.

My third point was one I have made in this space before, which is that the reasons certain professions have been singled out is because they are the glorifying professions — photographers florists, bakers. They are the professions that give approval, that render societal applause. This is why the Kleins would be happy to bake a cake for a homosexual’s birthday party, but not for a wedding. But this only explains why the battle has begun here. It will be by no means limited to such professions. The homo-jihadis think they are Jesus, and so they want every knee to bow and every tongue to confess. Let me think about it, no.

And last, even if we were mistaken, and true morality does not require us to refrain from baking such cakes — we are not wrong about it, but work with me here, just suppose — the kind of liberal society that liberals like to pretend they desire would allow us to be mistaken on such a point. They would leave us alone. They would not require a kosher deli to make them a ham sandwich. They would not require a Muslim owned advertising firm to take that Kentucky bourbon account. And they would not require evangelical business owners to approve of something we cannot approve.

But this is to be expected. Taken at large, liberals don’t really believe in their professions of liberalism. If they believed in it, we wouldn’t be here. If they believed in it, we wouldn’t have to be worried about how Anthony Kennedy was going to vote this summer. But we are concerned about it because there is no hypocrisy like liberal hypocrisy.

Nonetheless, even though they really don’t believe what they say, we really do believe what we say. And so here we are.
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Daily Devotional

The Moment It All Flows Back

TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: On the return of Joy’s cancer.

18 October 1959

C.S.Lewis

Will you redouble your prayers for us? Apparently the wonderful recovery Joy made in 1957 was only a reprieve, not a pardon. The last X Ray check reveals cancerous spots returning in many of her bones. There seems to be some hope of a few years life still and there are still things the doctors can do. But they are all in the nature of ‘rearguard actions’. We are in retreat. The tide has turned. Of course God can do again what He did before. The sky is not now so dark as it was when I married her in hospital. Her courage is wonderful and she gives me more support than I can give her.

The dreadful thing, as you know, is the waking each morning—the moment at which it all flows back on one.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
Compiled in Yours, Jack
The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C. S. Lewis. Copyright © 2008 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Sourced from BibleGateway.
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