‘I am sending in a parcel, my pocket Bible and three shrapnel bullets, of which the following is the story’.
These are the opening words of letter 28 year old George Hever Vinall sent to his parents in July 1917 which tells the story of how he survived an artillery attack at the Frond and later found a bullet from the attack lodged in his Bible. It stopped at the verse in Isaiah which reads, ‘I will preserve thee’. George Vinall was so convinced that God had saved him, he became a Bible translator after the war.
The recent siege of systematic targeting of Christians in the Middle East should spur us to action in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ. While separated from them geographically, we are called to unite ourselves with them in spirit: praying for their safety and an end to the widespread anti-Christian violence in that region. We should do our part to educate those around us, informing our communities and making the seriousness of this situation and our position known to our leaders and representatives. The truth about this tragic and fearful situation must be understood with honest clarity. Our readiness and ability to identify with our fellow “Nazarenes” who have been branded as subjects for oppression and victimization is truly a test of our own Christianity. If we are unmoved by their plight and do not feel compelled to act on their behalf, we fail to live out our calling to be “members of one another” (Eph. 4:25).
Perhaps we should also ask ourselves, at this critical juncture, whether or not we would be marked as Christians by those around us. Would our lifestyles, attitudes, and actions identify us as followers of Christ? Would we be found worthy to bear the title “Nazarene,” as our persecuted brethren in Iraq have been, labelled as such in a context reminiscent of the betrayal of our savior who, “knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out and said to them, ‘Whom are you looking for?’ They answered him, ‘Jesus the Nazorean.’ He said to them, ‘I AM’ ”(Jn. 18:4-5). How often do we hide away, preferring our own security and social acceptance to the demands of discipleship? We regularly cower in secrecy, seeking our own comfort while concealing our Christian identity as Peter did, warming his hands by the fire while denying that he even knew Jesus.
Read on here.
Please pray for Dr Kent Brantly as he battles this deadly virus.
Dr. Kent Brantly is fighting for his life after being infected with the Ebola virus while working with Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia. The doctor is listed in grave condition but remains hopeful that God will deliver him from the disease’s grip.
“God’s going to deliver me from this but even if he doesn’t, I have lived my life for him and I have no regrets,” Brantly told Kent Smith, an elder at the South Central Alliance Churches in Fort Worth, Texas.
“It’s a very stressful time,” Brantly’s mother, Jan, told Daily Mail. “Kent is a fine young man, very compassionate, doing what he’s prepared all his life to do. He’s placed his life in the hands of a loving God and our love in that God that sustains us. We pray constantly for him and we solicit the prayer of the whole world. He’s a brave man. He’s doing what he’s doing to serve his God and we are asking people to pray.”
Brantly and wife Amber were working as medical missionaries in Liberia; she recently returned to the states with their two children for a planned visit with family. He has remained in Liberia, where he is receiving medical treatment.
“I’m praying fervently that God will help me survive this disease,” Brantly said in an email to Dr. David Mcray, the director of maternal-child health at John Peter Smith Hospital, where Brantly completed a four-year residency. He also asked for prayers for Nancy Writebol, an American co-worker who has also been affected by the disease.
“Kent prepared himself to be a lifetime medical missionary,” Jan told the Associated Press. “His heart is in Africa.”
An investigation is currently being held in order to determine how Brantly contacted the disease, which is spread through direct contact with blood and other bodily fluids as well as indirect contact with “environments contaminated with such fluids,” according to the World Health Organization.
It is not necessary that you live the way I do. But in order to become happier than you are keep these rules:
– think of God at least as much as you think of men
– fear God at least as much as you fear men
– honor God at least as much as you honor men
– pray to God at least as much as you entreat men
– hoping God at least as much as you hope in men
– ask God for help as least as much as you ask men
– fulfill God’s law at least as much as you fulfill the law of men
– be thankful to God at least as much as you are thankful to men
– glorify God at least as much as you glorify men!
– St. Nikolai Velimirovich (From an anonymous Egyptian hermit)
It is one of those beautiful Sunday mornings England seems to do so well: sunlight streams across wet grass and the air is filled with the busy chatter of sparrows and the sweet, milky smell of the calves across the way. In hundreds of churches people will be gathering, as we ourselves will gather, to sing the praises of God, ask his intercession and celebrate his sacraments. It is a world away from the horrors of war and exile; but war and exile is precisely what many people are experiencing. There are over 50 million refugees in the world today, and yesterday their number was increased as Christians fled Mosul, Iraq, and those who could, fled northern Gaza.
I find it heartbreaking that we as a nation are standing by as the ancient heartlands of Christianity are ripped apart and destroyed…
iBenedictines with more.
It’s the 1970s. A 30-something man makes his way across the Golden Gate Bridge. He’s passed by pedestrians and cyclists, and steps around tourists taking pictures of Alcatraz, Angel Island, and the channel of water below that runs between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. He gazes up at the reddish-orange towers soaring above, and then climbs over the bridge’s four-foot safety railing. He steps out onto a 32-inch wide beam known as “the chord,” pauses, takes one last long look out at the bay, and then jumps. His body plummets 220 feet and violently hits the water at 75 mph. The impact breaks his ribs, snaps his vertebrae, and pulverizes his internal organs and brain. The Coast Guard soon arrives to recover his limp, lifeless body.
When the medical examiner later located and searched the jumper’s sparse apartment, he found a note the man had written and left on his bureau. It read:
“I’m going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump”…
It’s a great post. Do read it in full here.
What good will you do this day?
9 Ways to Overcome Temptation:
1. Avoid and/or flee from it. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.
“She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.” -Gen 39:12
2. Submit your thoughts to God. He knows better than we do what is good.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” -Phil 4:83.
3. Overcome your selfishness. True Love doesn’t know selfishness. Because, if you love Jesus you don’t belong to yourself
“and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.” -1 Cor 3:23 4.
4. Expect and be ready for temptation. We need to be prepared for Spiritual battle.
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” -Eph 6:135.
5. Remind yourself of the consequences of sin.
“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factionsand envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” -Gal5:19-21
6. Memorize God’s Word. Filling our minds with the thoughts of God and having them readily available to us is very wise.
“He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” -Luke 11:287.
7. Cultivate a sense of God’s presence But don’t just listen – obey.
“Go near and listen to all that the LORD our God says. Then tell us whatever the LORD our God tells you. We will listen and obey.” -Deut 5:27
8. Frequent confession heals us and we start over spiritually healthy.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” -James 5:169.
9. Accountability helps us avoid sin. When we are accountable to both man and God it helps us overcome temptation.
“Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” -Genesis 4:9