Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Christian Persecution is Real

One of the often overlooked stories on the war in Iraq against terrorism is the persecution of Christians there. We often forget that fundamental rights we cherish so much in America aren’t even close to a reality in other parts of the world. Even the New York times recently published an article chronicling the abuses of Christians in Iraq. I hate to publish my conservative cynicism, but if the Times is writing about something I care about, you know things must be bad.

Compass Direct chronicled one brutal example—the kidnapping of Boulos Iskander, a 59 year old Syrian Orthodox priest. He was snatched from the streets of Mosul on Monday, October 9 while shopping for car parts at area mechanic shops. His Muslim captors made demands of ransom and that the priest’s church distance itself from Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks about Islam in his lecture in Germany last month. Those requests were complied with but his kidnappers killed him anyway. His body was discovered last Thursday, his head, arms and legs having been severed from his torso.

The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church will soon be here, but it is never too soon to pray. Christians throughout the world are paying a high price to follow Jesus.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Great Quote & A Great Reminder

E.M. Bounds, the great Methodist pastor/author, in his book Power Through Prayer, writes in chapter 4 (Tendencies to be Avoided):

It is impossible for the preacher to keep his spirit in harmony with the divine nature of his high calling without much prayer. That the preacher by dint of duty and laborious fidelity to the work and routine of the ministry can keep himself in trim and fitness is a serious mistake. Even sermon-making, incessant and taxing as an art, as a duty, as a work, or as a pleasure, will engross and harden, will estrange the heart, by neglect of prayer, from God. The scientist loses God in nature. The preacher may lose God in his sermon.

Some very powerful words to think about. I intend not to lose God.