Having measurable goals is good because life is short.
Striving to reach your goals is good.
Jesus knew why He was on earth and everything He did and said moved Him toward that goal
(to seek and save the lost). He always had time for people,
but time with His Father was of utmost importance to Him.
He needed to get direction from His Father.
We can set big goals (lifetime)
or little ones (clean the deep freeze).
We can set spiritual goals, self-improvement goals,
career, educational,fun, weight-loss, housekeeping,
decorating or cleaning goals.
I confess that I am a results-oriented person.
I set measurable goals for myself and I work hard
(with the Holy Spirit’s direction and power) to reach those goals.
Not long ago, I was going through some papers and found ministry goals
I had set for myself eight years ago.
I was amazed to see how God had honored the goals and
the faith of the team working with me – far beyond my biggest dreams.
God honors and is pleased with faith.
My husband has often said,
“If you don’t have a target or goal, any road will get you there.”
Conversely, if you set measurable goals, trusting God to provide your needs,
you can count on God’s faithfulness to reach them.
One of my deep desires is when I stand before God, He will say,
“Well done, my faithful servant.”
In my life and ministry, I have worked with and observed many people.
Sometimes I am saddened to see that many never use or
develop the talents God has given them.
” Are you adequately investing the talents
God has given you ? “
Do you pray and ask God to help you set measurable goals
for the tasks He has called you to?
Do you set priorities?
If not, let me encourage you to begin the habit of doing so.
- fwd: vc mathews
Two Imprisoned Christians Released from Prison in Chiapas, Mexico
As previously reported, Andres Lopez, Virginia Lopez, and three girls were imprisoned for their conversion to Protestantism in Chiapas, Mexico. Although the girls were released earlier once it was discovered that they were minors, on July 10, 2015, Andres and Virginia were released as well and relieved of the initial demand of their respective 5,000 and 2,500 peso fines. State authorities were responsible for intervening in the case and village leaders have since stated that they will allow the Christians to practice their faith freely.
Iran Deal “Unconscionable” Because it Leaves Imprisoned American Pastor Saeed Behind
As Iran and the US reached a nuclear agreement, Saeed Abedini, an American citizen, still suffers under cruel prison conditions in Iran. Despite the Obama Administration’s promise to prioritize the American pastor, he is left behind as the chance for his freedom slips away. Naghmeh Abedini, Saeed’s wife, spoke before Congress in the past weeks and has been advocating for his release for some time. The nuclear negotiations were a golden opportunity for the US to negotiate his release, yet he still remains a prisoner of conscience in Evin prison.
United States Questions Mexico over Persecution of Protestant Christians
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the United States has questioned Mexico regarding reports of widespread discrimination, violence, and displacement of Protestant Christian communities in Chiapas and several other states. In a private e-mail received by ICC last week, Congressional staff members revealed that Assistant Secretary Roberta Jacobson confirmed that the questioning of the Mexican government by State Department officials took place during the first week of June.
Jihadist Groups Surge Attacks Across Africa During Ramadan
Islamic extremist groups continue to pile up shocking body counts, slaughtering scores of civilians during the Muslim holiday month of Ramadan. Across Africa, Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram have devastated communities in Nigeria and Kenya, ramping up attacks against Christians and all “unbelievers” of their brand of Islam during the holiday.
Clerics Announce Bounty on Asia Bibi Even If She Is Acquitted of Blasphemy in Pakistan
The husband of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for committing blasphemy in Pakistan, has observed that even if his wife is acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan’s Supreme Court, her life will still be in danger in Pakistan. According the Bibi’s husband, a bounty has been placed on his wife’s head by Islamic clerics seeking to ensure that the Christian woman is put to death, legally or illegally. Bibi has spent six years in prison since being accused of blasphemy.
Good News from Iran: Christian Prisoner Pastor Farshid Fathi Gets Early Release Date
Iranian pastor Farshid Fathi, imprisoned since 2010, has now been given an early release date. He was anticipated to be in prison until December 2017 but will now be released December 2015 according to reports. He has suffered inhumane conditions and beatings while in Iran’s notorious Evin prison. His only crime is being a Christian and practicing his religion.
Indonesia, July 15, 2015: The Jakarta Cathedral will open its gates on Eid ul-Fitr to provide parking for Muslims wishing to pray at the Istiqlal Grand Mosque, which is located across from the church.
Sharing parking lots is not just a gesture of religious tolerance but an example of the cooperation that has connected the congregation members of the church and the mosque in Central Jakarta for decades.
“This kind of cooperation with Istiqlal has been going on for more than 30 years. The cooperation also continues outside of Idul Fitri prayer times. We will also be glad to help them in their other religious activities,” the cathedral’s security coordinator Thomas Bambang told The Jakarta Post on July 14.
The Istiqlal Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia. It was deliberately built across from the Jakarta Cathedral as a symbol of religious harmony and tolerance in Indonesia. The mosque was designed by Frederich Silaban, a Christian architect, in 1955.
Thomas said that as many as 250 motorcycle parking spaces and 160 car parking spaces as well as a number of the church’s employees and youth members would be ready to facilitate Idul Fitri prayers from 3 a.m.
“We hope the Muslims can hold solemn Idul Fitri prayers,” Thomas said.
He said that the Istiqlal Grand Mosque’s management was also always ready to return the favor by opening its gates for churchgoers’ vehicles during Christmas, Easter or any other big events at the church.
Istiqlal’s public relations officer Abu Hurairah Abdul Salam said he expected to see as many as 150,000 people pray for the upcoming Idul Fitri at the mosque. He said he appreciated the additional parking spaces provided by the cathedral.
He said that during Easter this year, dozens of Istiqlal’s employees and several members of Muslim organizations were deployed to secure the church area.
“The cathedral’s security post at Easter and Christmas was even established inside the Istiqlal parking space,” he said.
Abu said that there was more to the relationship between the two houses of worship than shared parking spaces. He said foreign Catholic leaders who attended events at the Cathedral were also likely to visit the Istiqlal Grand Mosque, adding that he was more than happy to give tours.
“Although we have different beliefs to Catholic followers at the cathedral, we have a strong relationship with them,” he said, adding that it was very important for the two places of worship to be an example of religious tolerance in these days of increasing intolerance.
- the jakarta post
Guwahati, July 16, 2015: The membership of BJP has increased at least three times in the Christian dominated state of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram despite campaigns to portray the party as anti-Christian, says its spokesperson Nalin Kohli.
In Meghalaya the party has increased from 23,000 to 65,000. In Arunachal Pradesh party followers surged from 30,000 to 100,000. Mizoram has now has 78,000 followers and Nagaland has 100,000. The increase happened in recent years from the few thousands, said Nalin Kohli who was in Guwahati on Tuesday.
Opposition parties to campaign against BJP projecting it as anti Christian particularly in the wake of attacks on churches, talks of banning beef and hoisting international Yoga day on a Sunday.
Many churches in Northeast India opposed the Government program of International Yoga day on Sunday and asked its members to refrain from it.
But BJP is not against any religion, Kohli said pointing that the deputy chief minister of Goa, where BJP is in power, is a Christian.
Kohli argued that in recently held Autonomous district council polls in Tripura BJP emerged as number two party.
BJP president Amit Shah reviewed the progress of membership drive and the progress of the Maha Sampark Abhiyan (mass contact program) with the state in charge of Northeastern units of party.
M. Chuba Ao Nagaland unit president of BJP said party’s opponents “always try to brand BJP as Hindu political party. They want to say that BJP is opposed to Church and Christians.”
Despite such campaign, “persistent effort is now paying off we are able to make people understand the BJP is not opposed to any religion rather it respects all religion and diverse culture of different lands,” Ao said.
- economic times
School authorities suspect the July 15 killings could be the latest in a string of sectarian attacks on the Christian community.
The bodies of Sunil Kumar, 36, and Anil Kumar, 32, who were brothers, were discovered tied up in a building of the United Christian Senior Secondary school in the early hours of July 15 with multiple head injuries.
A cupboard in the school principal’s office was broken into and over 20,000 rupees (US$315) were missing, school officials said.
Another security guard who arrived for the morning shift discovered the bodies and alerted police and the school authorities.
“The two men were brutally murdered. A small time criminal would not carry out such gruesome killings,” Satish Sharma, assistant commissioner of police investigating the case, told ucanews.com.
He said the brothers were likely attacked while they were sleeping, as there were no signs of a struggle at the crime scene.
The said the crime was probably committed by more than three people.
School authorities suspect the murders and robbery had a sectarian motive and was aimed at instilling fear in the Christian community.
“It raises serious security concerns for us. I don’t rule out a communal angle to the incident,” Darwin Prashad, the school principal, told ucanews.com.
He said the attack was the fifth on a Christian institution in the area in the last two years.
Two other nearby Christian schools and a church were attacked during this period, he added.
The United Christian Senior Secondary school has 900 students and is run jointly by the Baptist Union of North India and Church of North India.
Meanwhile, the murdered brothers’ family has called for the immediate arrest of the killers.
“They were very peace loving. They studied at the same school they were killed,” Pushpa Devi, the murdered men’s aunt told ucanews.
“Only God knows why they were killed so brutally and what the motive of the killers was,” she added.
Mumbai, July 14, 2015: “It is dishonest to turn an issue that is purely administrative into a problem of a religious nature”, Fr. Victor Edwin SJ, theologian and expert on Muslim-Christian relations comments to AsiaNews following a dispute that involves a Catholic school in Mumbai.
Parents of some Muslim students at St. Agnes High School in Byculla staged a protest yesterday against the institution, guilty of “forcing” their daughters to break the Ramadan fast. They were joined by some politicians of the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen, who have threatened “legal retaliation.”
The adults were angered that three girls out of 40 have had to drink water after remaining more than seven hours in the sun. The principal, Sister Louisa D’Mello, admitted that she was not aware that students were waiting outside the building, but has refused to take responsibility for breaking of the fast.
The incident took place on Friday, July 10. Two days before, the parents say “we had the prayers of Lailatul Qadr and we stayed awake all night. For this reason, the next day [Thursday, ed] our daughters did not go to school. On Friday they went to the principle with the justification, but were not received. ” “One of the teachers – said the father of one of the three who was unwell – even said that, if we met with similar problems, then we had to send our daughters to a Muslim school.”
The 40 girls – most of them ethnic Bohra Muslim – remained outside waiting from 8:30 am to 15:30. The principal explained the error that sparked the controversy. “According to the disciplinary rules of the institute – she said – those who are absent must obtain the signature of the principal on the school register to mark their presence and enter the classroom. That Friday many students were missing and not all could fit all in the hallway in front of my office. Thus, by their own choice, they decided to wait outside the building. “
On the other hand, adds the Jesuit, “it is regrettable that a teacher told the Muslim students to leave and find an Islamic school. His attitude is typical of a prejudice that must be countered. The service offered by Christians to other religions, in particular Islam, in the fields of education and health is a fact. Muslims should recognize the dedication with which the service is provided”.
According to Fr. Edwin “such matters should be addressed with sensitivity and responsibility. The parents and the school administration must discuss and find a solution to the problem. The parents marching on the institute with politicians was an irresponsible act on their part”.
Israel, July 17, 2015: A recent Breaking Israel News article about the nascent Sanhedrin’s intention to put Pope Francis on trial in absentia for his recognizing the Palestinian state has caused quite a ruckus.
Though it may seem shocking to many that a group of rabbis would interfere in international policy, or exert authority over the Pope, the Sanhedrin feels compelled to do so. Rabbi Dov Stein, the secretary of the Sanhedrin, explained to Breaking Israel News that he feels it is their duty to bring God’s law into this world.
Thus far, the Vatican has not responded to the Sanhedrin’s letter. “As expected, no. It would seem that the Pope has chosen to ignore the letter. But a trial will be held anyway, and the result may be very risky for the Pope,” Stein said.
“God in heaven is listening and obeys the Sanhedrin because the Torah interpretation is in the hands of the Sanhedrin here in this physical world, not in the heaven in the hands of the angels.”
Not just a court for Jews, the rabbis on the Sanhedrin believe they are commanded by God to right injustice wherever it appears, regardless of religion or country.
“It has happened in the past that people have ignored the Sanhedrin, which is a mistake, because the Sanhedrin is vital to the proper functioning of the world. Only when the Jewish nation will heed the Sanhedrin of the Torah, will the Torah be one. Today God’s Torah is not the same Torah for all the Jews. Our unity is damaged because of this, because of people ignoring the Sanhedrin,” Stein explained.
In just one example, the Sanhedrin held a trial in 2008 against the Chinese government having to do with the persecution of the Falun Gong. Followers of Falun Gong, a branch of Buddhism, approached the Sanhedrin in 2007, claiming that their fellow practitioners in China were being persecuted. The claims, which have since been substantiated by media sources, were that in 1999 the Communist Party leadership declared Falun Gong a “heretical organization” and began systematically persecuting them, with reported human rights violations.
As of 2009, at least 2,000 Falun Gong practitioners had died as a result of abuse in custody. Some observers put the number much higher, and report that tens of thousands may have been killed to supply China’s organ transplant industry.
“The Chinese embassy tried to prevent it, but the Sanhedrin is not obligated to politics, only to justice,” Stein said. The Chinese embassy in Israel was contacted by the Sanhedrin and responded that the hearing would likely have a negative effect on the diplomatic relations between Israel and China.
Professor Hillel Weiss, a member of the Sanhedrin, responded, “If Armenian representatives would have approached me and complained about the Turks I would support opening a Sanhedrin trial against the Turks. Every regime needs to know that if it hurts another ethnic group it is committing a crime.”
In 2008, the Sanhedrin ruled against China. The Association for Asian research wrote about the judgement, “While many nations and institutions have stayed silent as to the persecution of Falun Gong, the Sanhedrin has gotten it right. It’s time for the world to respond.”
When asked what authority the Sanhedrin has to put foreign leaders and governments on trail, Stein explained, “The Sanhedrin is the Supreme Court with responsibility for the world. All of the people of the world should at least be following the Torah, even if it is only the Seven Laws of Noah, (which are incumbent on all non-Jews). The interpretation of the Torah in each generation is in the hands of the Sanhedrin.”
While the Sanhedrin’s actions of trying Pope Francis in absentia have proven controversial, Stein reveals that the court has received international support for its cause. “We have had many people contact us, Jews and Gentiles, and everyone was pleased with what we are doing and very supportive. They appreciate that there is now one true voice of the Jews and their Torah. There is not even one Beit Din (court) of Jews who dare to say the truth in the world,” he said.
When asked whether the government of the State of Israel has gotten involved, Stein stated, “I do not believe that they will support any such step. The opposite is probably true. The Israeli government is used to being pressured and attacked by the whole world, and therefore the government of Israel is afraid of every political shadow.”
With the Pope soon to address the United States Congress, the boundaries separating religion and state are becoming less clear. It is clear that many international conflicts today are driven more by religious fervor than by economic or diplomatic interests. It may just take a religious court to resolve the Injustices that plague and threaten humanity.
- breaking israel news
At the end of World War II, an American sub came back to Newport News, Va., to dock.
As it came into port, something terrible happened, and the sub began to sink.
The Coast Guard was immediately dispatched to go out and save the crew.
Divers swam down to the hull of the submarine to discover the problem.
As the divers got close to the sub, they heard one inventive sailor using a hammer
to tap on the hull and ask in Morse Code, “Is there hope?”
As you sit in the doctor’s office awaiting test results
When a couple who’ve put months and months into counseling gets nowhere
When dealing with a tax accountant in a bankruptcy court
When a family hears their child is missing
You can go 40 days without food and three days without water.
You can go eight minutes without air.
But you can’t go a single second without hope.
It’s an essential part of life.
When hope is gone, life is over.
Because hope is in such short supply in our society today,
people will fall for all kinds of scams.
They trust in false hopes, like psychic hotlines, palm readings, astrology, fake healers, and quack cures.
Inevitably, those false hopes disappoint.
Nothing disappoints worse than false hope.
So where do I turn to find real hope? The Bible says to turn to God.
Romans 15:13 says,
“May God, the source of hope, fill you with joy and peace through your faith in him.
Then you will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (GWT).
God is the only source of hope that’ll never disappoint.
When we place our faith in HIM,
HE provides joy, peace, and hope that overflows.
You need that kind of hope.
At the end of the book of Ezekiel,
God says, “I am Jehovah Shammah.” In Hebrew that means,
“I am the God who is always there.” God is always there.
He’s in your past, in your present, and in your future.
He’s in the good places. He’s in the evil places.He is everywhere.
And you are never, ever alone.
And where God is, hope is.
- fwd: v c mathews
A dozen leaders of the provincial Catholic Patriotic Association and the Church Affairs Commission, known by the acronym, Lianghui, issued the report addressed to the provincial Ethnic and Religious Commission saying, “the situation is getting more and more serious and that they had to speak out”, said a source who asked not to be named.
In the report, the Church leaders in Lianghui described the cross removals as an “evil act that has to be stopped immediately” and that it had made Catholic priests and laity in Zhejiang “very angry”.
“The cross is a symbol of the Christian faith and some of the buildings are legally approved. It is unexplainable why it has to be forcibly removed,” the Lianghui source told ucanews.com.
An emergency meeting was called by the group on July 4 through “Wechat” — a popular smartphone app used by some 600 million people in China — in advance of an early visit in August to the United States by a group of Chinese Church leaders, the source said.
The document also was sent to the Communist Party’s local and central United Front Work departments, the State Administration for Religious Affairs and the government-sanctioned bishops’ conference and the national Catholic Patriotic Association. Copies were sent to four Catholic dioceses in the province, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Taizhou and Wenzhou.
However, a Wenzhou Catholic identified as Joseph said “the report was written not for the government authorities but to appease Catholics”.
It is “just a gesture” to show they have “at least made a protest”, he said.
“If they are really serious about this,” Joseph said, “they should hire a lawyer and sue the authorities”.
The cross removal campaign began in late 2013.
A Protestant minister told ucanews.com last week that more than 1,100 Christian Churches across Zhejiang had crosses moved. He believes many more removals went unreported because the churches concerned are in remote areas.
Since last year, about 40 Catholic churches have had their crosses removed in Wenzhou. Ten others were removed in Hangzhou and Taizhou over the past two months.
The latest incidents saw two Catholic churches in Hangzhou have their crosses removed on July 9.
One of the churches, the Jingjiang church, “was the last church in the Xiaoshan area to have its cross removed,” a local source said.
Lahore, July 10, 2015: Being women is the “first crime” in our society while being a non Muslim women is a double crime, said Mehboob Khan legal aid advisor of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan HRCP. Centre for legal Aid Assistance and Settlement discussed concerns over sexual and gender based violence in the country during a stakeholder meeting with legal fraternity of Lahore on July 8.
“Women, children and religious minorities are among the most disadvantage groups. Christians especially prefer to remain silent when it comes to speaking about social justice. There are different forms of gender based violence for which society is to be blamed”.
He was addressing more than 35 participants including lawyers and human rights activists. The event also marked launching of Centre for legal Aid Assistance and Settlement CLAAS Annual Report 2014. The Christian NGO noted three Christian females, including an eight year old, raped by Muslims in Punjab province last year. CLAAS pursued all these cases, visited concerned police stations and kept regular contact with families of the victims.
According to latest HRCP annual report, a woman is raped every two hours, and gang raped every eight hours. Less than four percent of Pakistan’s rape cases result in a conviction, it states. More than 3000 women have died in honour killings in Pakistan since 2008.
The panelists in Lahore meeting also noted that more than 900 cases of honor killings, 500 cases of abductions and more than 400 cases of gang rapes were reported in Punjab last year.
Ever since coming to power in 2013, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’led Punjab government has only passed four pro women bills including one on reproductive, maternal, neo-natal and child health authority.
“Our struggles end at the doors of provincial assembly of the Punjab”, Bushra Khaliq, another panelist, told AsiaNews at the sidelines of the event. “A feudal and tribal mindset generally prevails among the lawmakers. Whenever the issue of a pro woman bill is raised, everybody becomes concerned about its misuse. This affects both the policy and psyche that follows”, said Executive Director of Women in Struggle for Empowerment.