Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Happy Tuesday

When You feel Down
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6 NIV

Some time ago, a friend of mine told me this interesting story. He described a time when life had been quite a struggle for him. He had been feeling very discouraged and low in mood and this wasn’t just temporary- it had continued for months.

He decided to keep a notebook and every night to write down three things he was thankful for. At first it was a bit of an effort to think of things, but he discovered that he could always find something eventually.

After doing this for several weeks, one day he picked up his notebook and, starting at the beginning, he read all the things he had written. He says it had a surprising effect of lifting his mood. “After all,” he said to himself, “if all these good things have happened to me already, why shouldn’t I expect more good things to happen in the future?” Before long, as he continued to write his three things every day, he began to feel back to normal again.

At the time he told me this, I was struggling with things myself, so I thought I might try doing the same. And do you know – it really worked!

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, because being thankful is part of God’s solution to the problems and worries of our lives, as today’s verse reminds us.

Why not give it a try yourself?

Prayer – Heavenly Father, thank You for the wonderful promises in Your Word about Your love and care for me. Thank You for all the things in my life that are good. Thank You for the things You have given me and done for me. Please help me to think of things to thank You for every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today's Writer : Grace Marshall

Why me, Lord?
Why me, Lord?
What have I ever done to deserve
Even one of the pleasures I've known?
Tell me, Lord
What did I ever do to deserve loving
You And the kindness You've shown?

Lord, help me Jesus, I've wasted it
So help me Jesus, You know what I am
Now that I know that I've needed You
So help me Jesus, my soul's in Your hand

Try me, Lord
If You think there's a way I can ever repay
All I've taken from You Maybe Lord
I can show someone else what I've been through myself
On my way back to You

Lord, help me Jesus, I've wasted it
So help me, Jesus, You know what I am
Now that I know that I've needed You
So help me Jesus, my soul's in Your hand
Jesus, my soul's in Your hand

Why Me LORD sung by George Jones
The legendary George Jones passed away last Friday (April 26) at the age of 81, leaving behind a towering musical legacy of more than five decades. Now, the iconic entertainer’s cause of death has been revealed.

Daily Smile:
Jeb and Jethro live in the hills, about 5 miles outside of town. Jeb asks Jethro to go in to town to pick up some lumber. Jethro walks the 5 miles to town to the local lumberyard.

"Jeb says we're gonna need some 4 x 2's" Jethro tells the yardman.

"Do you mean 2 x 4's?" asks the yardman.

"Well, I don't rightly know, I better go ask Jeb" says Jethro and walks the 10 miles to the hills and back to town.

"Jeb says we're gonna need 2 x 4's" Jethro tells the yardman.

"Now, how many 2 x 4's will you need?" asks the yardman.

"Well, I don't rightly know, I better go ask Jeb." says Jethro, and again walks the 10 miles to the hills and back to town.

"Jeb says were gonna need about 40 of 'em" Jethro tells the yardman.

"Now, how long will you need them?" asks the yardman.

"Well, I don't rightly know, I better go ask Jeb" says Jethro and yet again walks the 10 miles to the hills and back to town.

Upon returning Jethro says to the yardman, "Jeb says you better give 'em to us for a while . . . we're gonna build a barn."

In The News:

Obama Pledges Full Support to Planned Parenthood; Blasts Abortion Restrictions

President Says Lawmakers Who Aim to Restrict Abortion Are 'Turning Back the Clock'

  • Obama
    (Photo: REUTERS/Mike Theiler)
    U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the Planned Parenthood National Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, April 26, 2013.

By Melissa Barnhart , CP Contributor
April 27, 2013|11:15 am

President Barack Obama spoke Friday morning at the Planned Parenthood conference in Washington, D.C., and apologized to the audience for missing their wild party at Thursday night's gala and fundraiser. Obama is the first sitting president to speak to the organization that, as of Jan. 1, requires all of its affiliate clinics to provide abortion services.

In his speech, the president chastised members of Congress who want to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood and expressed his disapproval of state legislatures that have voted to place restrictions on abortion. Obama vowed to Planned Parenthood supporters that as long as he's in the White House, "you've got a president who's going to be right here with you, fighting every step of the way."

"After decades of progress, there's still politicians who want to roll back the clock," said Obama, who later joked that states' actions that place restrictions on abortion makes "you want to check your calendar to make sure you're living in 2013."
Citing examples of restrictions on abortion, Obama noted that in 42 states, legislators are considering laws that either would place further limits on abortion based on a baby's gestational age, or by enacting health and safety standards that Planned Parenthood believes are aimed at putting abortion clinics out of business.

"In North Dakota, they just passed a law that outlaws abortion after six weeks," the president said.
Obama also spoke to the audience about the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and told Planned Parenthood employees that he wants them to promote the program, especially to young girls, and to get them signed up on a health care plan. He also thanked the organization for campaigning for his re-election and for promoting Obamacare.
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Not everyone is pleased with Obama's decision to speak at the conference, especially following the discovery of health and safety violations at Planned Parenthood clinics and the "House of Horrors" trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell.
"It's outrageous that President Obama addressed the Planned Parenthood gathering Friday morning, at a time when Planned Parenthood has been exposed for having known about the Gosnell horrors, yet took no action to report this abuse of women and babies," said Maureen Ferguson, senior policy adviser for The Catholic Association, in a statement shared with CP.

"Planned Parenthood is under fire for dreadful conditions at their own clinics, and was recently disgraced by their lobbyist in Florida for defending infanticide," she added. "This is not surprising, however, given Obama's record as State Senator Obama, when he defended the practice of late-term abortion and voted three times against legislation to protect babies born alive after a botched abortion."

Planned Parenthood spent $15 million to campaign for Obama's re-election, and out of that, in 2012, just under $5 million went toward advertising and other campaign activities to oppose his challenger, Mitt Romney.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Happy Monday

Witness with authority to be effective
Sumner Wemp
Oct 5, 2007

To be an effective soul winner speak with authority

"For He, Jesus, taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes" Matt 2:29. 

You must speak with authority, not arrogance. Jesus did! I have seen too many Christians try to witness with no joy, no life and no authority. You would not buy a product from someone who is not sold on his product and it who shows in the way he speaks. So it is with witnessing the gospel.

We really have the most important thing to tell a person.
We have the greatest news, the most wonderful salvation, the greatest person to present to a lost and confused world. Witness with that burning in your heart. That ought to come naturally as we tell people how God loves them and His son, the Lord Jesus suffered and died for our sins, paid our debt in full, rose again and was seen by hundreds. Seriously, I get goose bumps just writing this.

Please don't be mealy mouthed about God and the gospel. With the joy of the Lord in your heart, a smile of God on you face, and the authority of God in your voice, tell this gospel, this good news, in glowing terms. I love you,.ABC sumner 

There's a Sweet, Sweet Spirit
There’s a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place
And I know that it’s the Spirit of the Lord
There are sweet expressions on each face
And I know they feel the presence of the Lord

Sweet Holy Spirit... sweet heavenly dove...
Stay right here with us
Filling us with Your love

And for these blessings
We lift our hearts in praise
Without a doubt we know
That we’ll have been revived
When we shall leave this place

Daily Smile:
A city slicker moves to the country and decides he’s going to take up farming. He heads to the local co-op and tells the man, “Give me a hundred baby chickens.”

The co-op man complies. 

A week later the man returns and says, “Give me two hundred baby chickens.” The co-op man complies.

Again, a week later the man returns. 

This time he says, “Give me five-hundred baby chickens.” 

“Wow! The co-op man replies “You must really be doing well!”

“Naw,” said the man with a sigh. “I’m either planting them too deep or too far apart!”

In The News:

Pastor Saeed Abedini Praying for Boston Bombing Victims From Iranian Prison
U.S. pastor Saeed Abedini, who is currently suffering from internal bleeding in Iranian prison, said that he was praying for America in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and left more than 200 injured last week, the Christian Post reports. According to the American Center for Law and Justice, "Pastor Saeed told family members he had heard about the terrorist bombings in Boston on the prison radio, expressed his concern, and told them he is praying for the victims and their families during this very challenging time for our nation." The law group, which is representing Abedini's family back in America, noted that he has been allowed a brief visit with his family in Evin Prison in Tehran, where he has been kept since his arrest in September 2012. He was sentenced in January to eight years in prison for "endangering national security," but the ACLJ says all he was doing was building an orphanage for children in Iran. Abedini, who became a U.S. citizen in 2010, revealed that he has been beaten severely by prison guards who want him to convert back to Islam and abandon his Christian faith. The pastor has been suffering from internal bleeding, and has been told it would be two months before he receives proper medical care.

Islamic Council Proposes Death Penalty for Apostates in Morocco
The Supreme Ulema Council in Morocco, a body of Islamic scholars headed by King Mohammed VI, published a fatwa in the Arabic-language daily Akhbar al-Youm this week declaring that Muslims who renounce their faith "should be condemned to death," International Christian Concern reports. Christians are concerned that the edict, which has sparked controversy in the country, will be used to "harass" and "harm" the church if approved. The Supreme Ulema Council, the only institution entitled to issue fatwas in Morocco, reportedly drafted the edict in April 2012, but only recently published it. Mahjoub El Hiba, a senior human rights official in the Moroccan government, denies that the government received a fatwa on apostasy, as Akhbar al-Youm had claimed. Yet media reports on the fatwa have provoked strong reactions from rights activists and religious minorities, including Christians, in the country. "There's a lot of confusion and discussion in Morocco right now about the fatwa," said a pastor near Marrakech. "We fear that if the fatwa is approved, the government will use it to harass us and even arrest us during our meetings and the fundamentalists will have an excuse to harm us." While apostasy is illegal in many Muslim countries and punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, Moroccan law does not directly prohibit it. Article 220 of Morocco's Penal Code does state, however, that "attempting to undermine the faith of a Muslim or convert him to another religion" is punishable with six months to three years in prison.

Defense Rests: Gosnell Won't Testify in Abortion-Murder Trial
The defense in the trial of late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell rested without offering any witnesses on Wednesday, saying they did so for "strategic reasons," CNSNews.com reports. On Wednesday, Gosnell's defense attorney, Jack McMahon, had secured three charges dropped from the case for the murder of babies born alive. Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas judge Jeffrey P. Minehart dropped three first-degree murder charges against Gosnell, as well as five charges of "abuse of a corpse" for baby feet remains that Gosnell kept in jars, which were recovered from his Women's Medical Society clinic. Gosnell, 72, is still facing four counts of first-degree murder for the killing of babies born alive after abortions, and a third-degree murder charge in the overdose death of a mother. He is also charged with infanticide, conspiracy, abortion at 24 or more weeks, theft, corruption of minors, solicitation and other related offenses. During the trial, witnesses have testified that babies at Gosnell's clinic in West Philadelphia were routinely born alive, sometimes in the toilet or on the floor, surviving abortions only to have their spinal cords severed with surgical scissors. The grand jury report presented in the case said that Gosnell murdered "hundreds" of born babies over the years. Court will resume on Monday with closing arguments.

Copts Call on Obama to Speak Out on Christian Persecution in Egypt
American Coptic Christians gathered in front of the White House last week to demand justice for Egyptian Christians, CBN News reports. The protesters say the United States should do more to pressure the Egyptian government to protect the Christian minority from increasing attacks. "We need justice! Obama, Obama, where are you?" said one demonstrator. The protesters also urged Christians around the world to pray and stand with them. "We don't want to see what happened in other countries in the Middle East also happen in Egypt," one said. "We need to come together as one and push to allow Coptic Christians to remain in Egypt. Again, they are the indigenous people of Egypt and they have a right to remain there." Tens of thousands of Coptic Christians have fled Egypt in the past two years.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Happy Sunday

If our gospel be hide, Satan did it, he hates for you to witness
Sumner Wemp
Oct 10, 2007

Satan blinds the minds
"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of this glorious gospel should shine unto them" and they get saved. 2 Cor.. 4:3,4. Let's face it, Satan is doing all he can to send your family, your children and friends to hell. "Be sober, serious, because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" 1 Peter 5:8.

Satan binds the minds
He will do all he can to bind your mind and your tongue to keep you from sharing this good news, that God loves you and sent His Son, the Lord Jesus to suffer and die for your sins and mine, paid our debt in full, was buried, rose again and was seen by hundreds. That is the good news, the gospel, the full gospel we are to share. Please don't let him stop YOU. Get in the game. Let's change the world, one soul at a time.

Defeat the devil
You overcome the devil by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of your testimony" Rev. 12:11. As Israel applied the blood of the lamb to the door of their homes, by faith apply the blood of the Lamb to the door of your heart and mind and defeat the devil today. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" James 4:7.

"Obedience is better than sacrifice"
Like Peter, say "At thy word I will" and "let down your nets", go "fishing for men" and see what God will do. Remember the joy it brings to the sinner, to you, to friends and family and to the Lord God of glory Luke 15: 4-7. I LOVE YOU ABC Sumner

"If we are not telling others about God we are not telling God about others".

Daily Smile:
A Swiss man, looking for directions, pulls up at a bus stop where two Americans are waiting. “Entschuldigung, koennen Sie Deutsch sprechen?” he asks. The two Americans just stare at him. 

“Excusez-moi, parlez vous Fracais?” he tries. The two continue to stare. 

 “Parlare Italiano?” No response. 

“Hablan ustedes Espanol?” Still nothing. The Swiss guy drives off, extremely disgusted. 

The first American turns to the second and says, “Y’know, maybe we should learn a foreign language.” 

“Why?” says the other. “That guy knew four languages, and it didn’t do him any good.”

In The News:

Arguments Heard in German Homeschool Family's Deportation Case
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit heard arguments Tuesday in a case, Romeike v. Holder, that could grant or revoke asylum for the German homeschooling family, the Christian Post reports. If the Romeikes lose, they could be deported back to Germany, where the state threatened to take their children away from them if they did not send them to public school. Though the Romeikes -- Uwe, Hannelore and their six children -- were granted asylum in 2010, the federal government is trying to revoke that asylum, arguing in part that parents do not have a fundamental right to choose the type of education their children receive. The Romeikes are being defended by the Home School Legal Defense Association, which also helped them initially move to the United States and obtain asylum. The Romeikes decided to homeschool their children because they believed the public schools in Germany were teaching values in opposition to their Christian beliefs. They were forced to pay fines and their children were forcibly removed from their home and taken to the public school. After they were granted political asylum in a Tennessee district court, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement appealed the decision in 2012. The Board of Immigration Appeals agreed with the government, and from there the case was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Islamist Extremists Want to Drive All Christians Out of Violence-Plagued Iraq
Islamist extremists want Iraq to be a "Muslim only" country, and as a result, Christians in Iraq remain continuous targets of violent attacks, Open Doors USA reports. While most of the attacks against Christians are part of the general violence, such as bomb attacks and mortar fire which intensified during provincial elections last Saturday, a part of the violence can be labeled as specifically targeted against Christians. "If these attacks take place in a Christian neighborhood or a Christian village, you can assume they are targeted, especially against the Christian population of the neighborhoods and villages," said an Open Doors field worker. "Since the fall of Saddam Hussein 10 years ago, an estimated 1,000 Christians have been killed, a relatively high number compared with percentages killed from other groups in Iraqi society." All these targeted attacks serve only one purpose, shares the field worker: "We received documents and threats stating that the aim of the Islamist Insurgents is to make Iraq a 'Muslim only' country; they want the Christians out." According to Open Doors' 2013 World Watch List materials, there are only an estimated 330,000 to 350,000 Christians left in Iraq. There were more than 1.2 million Christians in the early 1990s. Many of the believers have fled to Jordan and Lebanon or to the northern Kurdish region of Iraq. Iraq is ranked No. 4 on the list of the worst persecutors around the globe.

Abducted Christian Leaders Still Missing in Syria
Two leaders of the Christian community in Aleppo, Syria, who were kidnapped by gunmen on Monday are still missing despite conflicting reports, WORLD reports. Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim were abducted Monday near the Turkish border while on a mission to negotiate the release of other kidnapped Christians. Muslim and Christian leaders in the region are calling for the two men's release, but neither rebel groups nor government forces have claimed responsibility.

Boy Scouts Proposal Displeases Religious Leaders on Both Sides
Conservative and liberal religious leaders alike are expressing displeasure with the Boy Scouts' proposal to accept gay members but reject gay leaders, the Religion News Service reports. The Boy Scouts released its draft proposal on April 19 that will be voted on at its annual meeting in May. "No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone," reads the proposed resolution, which also notes that the Scouts "will maintain the current membership policy for all adult leaders of the Boy Scouts of America." Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee, told Baptist Press that he supports a "no" vote. "Though this resolution is more acceptable to those who hold a biblical form of morality than what was being considered before, we would still prefer no change in the policy," he said. Scouting officials had earlier proposed dropping the gay ban for both adults and children, but reconsidered after massive resistance from religious groups and conservatives. The policy shift would leave intact the Scouts' ban on atheists and other nonbelievers, who decline to say the Boy Scout Oath because it begins: "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law." Leaders of Scouting groups sponsored by religious organizations said their groups are mulling the Scout proposal. According to the BSA, religious organizations comprise 70 percent of its sponsoring organizations. Mormons, Methodists and Catholics -- the three largest groups -- sponsored more than 1 million of the 2.6 million Scouts in 2011. The Religious Relationships Task Force unanimously requested in February that the Scouts postpone a possible removal of the ban on gay members and leaders so they would have more time to consider it. "As you might imagine, there's a variety of opinions among our faith groups," said R. Chip Turner, national chairman of the task force.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Happy Saturday

Someone is praying for that lost person you meet today
Sumner Wemp
Oct 8, 2007

You must open the conversation-
Jesus opened the conversation with the woman at the well, John 4. Phillip opened the conversation with the Ethiopian in Acts 8.  Both were strangers to them. "We say come and hear, God says go and tell." I am thinking about someone who comes to your door, such as a salesman, delivery person, repairman or a clerk, waitress               etc, You can be sure someone is praying that you would witness to them and lead them to Christ. Lk 16, That man in hell pleaded that someone would go and witness to his brothers. I prayed for 35 years that someone would lead my father to Christ. He was hard and told me, in no uncertain terms, to leave him alone. The tragedy is that no one   ever witnessed to him.

Tracts open the door
I am totally baffled why Christians don't give out tracts to people at their door or in their store. Almost every person I have led to Christ , outside of the Chrurch,  it started out with giving them a tract.  Not only that but the multitude of times you can not do any more, They then have a chance to get saved or God has an opening to start convicting them and someone else lead them to Christ.

What to do you say then?
NEVER ask, "Are you a Christian"!  Church members of every denomination, of every cult etc. think they are and will say, "Yes." Then what do you say? You are stuck. Start out by saying as you graciously offer the person a tract, "This just tells you how to go to heaven." Pause and listen  for a response. I have heard, from "I have been wanting to get saved for three weeks, tell me what to do"  to "Man I need that." and then give them the gospel and see them get saved.

If no response
Be sure you are walking and talking in the Spirit and ask, "Do you know for sure you are going to heaven one day?"
When someone says, "Yes, I have been born again" or "I am a believer".  I always say, "I am so glad. Aren't you glad someone told you how to be saved. Don't you think we all ought to tell someone else how to be saved too." "You will   love that tract. Please read it and then give it to someone else so they have a chance to be saved too." and I leave them and look for someone who is prepared. What do you say when they say, "No I don't know for sure I am gong to heaven." don't miss the next lesson. It is vital.

Get  this in you heart and be sure you tell it every time you witness, "God loves you and sent His Son the Lord Jesus to suffer and die for your sins and mine, paid our debt in full, was buried, rose again and was seen by hundreds of people." That is the "full" gospel and it is "The power of God unto salvation to everyone who BELEIVES" that is the only reason and way they can go to heaven.

People have one thing in common: They are all different." One day like Him  we shall be!

Daily Smile:

Two strands of DNA were walking down the street. One says to the other, "Do these genes make me look fat?

In The News:

American Pastor Faces Worsening Conditions in Iranian Prison
Almost 570,000 people have signed a petition callign for international pressure on Iran to release American pastor Saeed Abedini amid continuing reports that he is being beaten and mistreated in prison, CNSNews.com reports. Iranian authorities are reportedly demanding that he recant his faith in Jesus Christ or spend even longer behind bars than the term he already faces in Iran's brutal Evin prison. Arrested last September while visiting family members in Iran, Abedini -- a convert from Islam to Christianity who moved to the U.S. in 2005 -- was sentenced in January to eight years in prison for "threatening the national security of Iran." The American Center for Law and Justice, which is leading a campaign for his release and representing his wife and children, reports troubling news from relatives' visits for the prison -- reports of continuing beatings, internal bleeding and fainting, denial of medical treatment and death threats from cellmates. A letter from Abedini obtained by the ACLJ earlier this month recounted that prison authorities had told him: "Deny your faith in Jesus Christ and return to Islam or else you will not be released from prison. We will make sure you are kept here even after your eight-year sentence is finished." The ACLJ continues to encourage support for a petition, citing Iran's violation of international treaty obligations and its own constitution, and urging the international community to take "all available diplomatic action to press Iran to respect human rights and release Pastor Saeed."

France Legalizes Gay Marriage After Months of Debate
France legalized gay marriage on Tuesday after months of debate that divided the country and sparked massive protests, WORLD Magazine reports. Police braced themselves by the thousands ahead of the vote, preparing for dueling protests around the National Assembly building and along the Seine River. They used tear gas and pepper spray against hundreds of thousands of supporters of traditional marriage the last time they gathered to publicly protest the law, claiming demonstrators got violent. The measure passed easily, 331-225, in the Socialist-majority National Assembly. At least one spectator, a supporter of traditional marriage, was thrown out of the gallery. According to Christiane Taubira, France's justice minister, the first same-sex weddings could be held as early as June. France is the 14th country to redefine marriage, with Tuesday's vote coming a week after New Zealand's.

Christian Widow in Somalia Killed Four Months After Husband Slain
Islamist militants in Somalia have killed the widow of a Christian who was slain for his faith in December, leaving the couple’s five children orphaned, Morning Star News reports. Islamic extremist al Shabaab rebels shot 42-year-old Fartun Omar to death on April 13 in Buulodbarde, 12 miles from the central Somalian city of Beledweyne, sources said. The extremists had been searching for her for several months, as they knew that she was a secret Christian like her late husband, Mursal Isse Siad. Siad had been receiving death threats for leaving Islam, and was shot outside his home by two unidentified masked men on Dec. 8, 2012. After his death, Omar initially fled the area with her five children. "A week before she was killed, rumors were flying that the al Shabaab were looking for her," one of Omar’s neighbors said. Due to the threat of persecution, Omar on April 10 decided to leave Beledweyne by bus with another neighbor to seek refuge with relatives, the first neighbor said. On reaching Buulobarde, which is controlled by al Shabaab, militants at a roadblock ordered passengers to disembark and questioned them one by one. "Unfortunately, she was not cleared by the al Shabaab," said the neighbor who accompanied her. "I only heard one of them saying, 'This is the woman whose husband was killed last year. Do not let her in.'" The other passengers were allowed to board again, and the bus left, with Omar’s neighbor suddenly responsible for caring for her children, the oldest of whom is a 15-year-old girl. "On April 13, I received news from Beledweyne that a woman in Buulobarde had been killed by the al Shabaab," the neighbor said. "Soon I found out that it was Fartun Omar." Sources said Omar was found dead on the outskirts of Buulobarde with bullet wounds to her right side. "The children are in safe hands, and I am trying to look for some of the relatives of Omar," the neighbor said. "The only problem that I am experiencing at the moment is that the small children are crying for their mother."

Evangelicals Give More to Charity, Study Finds
Evangelical Christians tend to give more to charity than their peers, according to a new study by the Barna Group, Baptist Press reports. The study finds that 79 percent of evangelical Christians gave money to a church or charity last year, while 65 percent donated items and 60 percent volunteered their time. Only 1 percent of evangelicals say they donated nothing at all, which beats the national rate (13 percent) and the rate among those who claim no faith at all (25 percent). "A person's religious identification has a lot to do with whether or not they donate to causes they believe in," the study said. The study concluded that Americans support churches and nonprofits about equally. Of those who gave in the last 12 months, 43 percent say most of their contributions went to a church, while 45 percent indicated a nonprofit. Evangelicals are least likely to give to a nonprofit (28 percent), while about two-thirds of evangelicals (66 percent) who made charitable contributions gave to a church. Conversely, 82 percent of atheist and agnostic donors gave to a nonprofit, while only 4 percent gave to a church.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Happy Friday

Out Of The Ordinary! Abraham!

"Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. - Exodus 19:5 "

Abraham was a most remarkable man.  From Genesis 12 to the end of the Bible, he and his descendants are almost the only subject of the divinely inspired Word of God.

Here is a man whom both Christian and Jew claim as the father of their faith.  He is even mentioned in the Koran, the holy book of the Muslim religion, in 188 verses.  What was it that made Abraham so remarkable?   He simply did what God said to do.   Abraham OBEYED God!

As Hebrews 11:8 says, "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.  " Abraham's willingness to pack up his family and all his belongings to move to an unknown land is one of the first indications of his commitment to the Lord.

Maybe the Lord has spoken to you recently through His Word about mending a relationship with a friend or family member, or about meeting Him faithfully every morning in a quiet time of prayer.  Perhaps He has spoken to you about sharing Christ with a neighbor or coworker.   If God has given you a marching order, I suggest you OBEY and be blessed!

Most of us don't have spectacular calls from God.   But we can obediently answer all those ordinary calls.  And that kind of obedience makes an impact on life.  God called; Abraham obeyed.  Simple faith, simple obedience. An extraordinary result.

     "Lord, increase my faith to follow You wherever You lead.   Amen. "

Sometimes what God asks us to do goes against all human logic; that is when God is most honored by our obedience. 

Christian friend, what is God calling YOU to do today?  Well, get busy and be obedient to The Great  "I am that I am" and receive your blessing!

Daily Smile:
This police officer sees an old lady driving and knitting at the same time so after driving next to her for awhile he yells to her,"PULLOVER". 

She replies,"No a pair of socks".

In The News:

Boston Bombings Suspect Will Face Criminal Charges, Not Be Designated Enemy Combatant
The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has been charged, the Justice Department announced Monday. CNN reports that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged in federal court with use of a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death. He could face the death penalty if convicted. Tsarnaev, 19, made his initial appearance Monday before Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler in his hospital room at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston. The decision to charge Tsarnaev in civilian court put an end to speculation that he would be charged as an enemy combatant, a designation sometimes used against terrorists. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the decision not to treat Tsarnaev as an enemy combatant was "absolutely the right way to go and the appropriate way to go." Carney said that because Tsarnaev is a naturalized U.S. citizen, he cannot be tried by a military commission. Despite being seriously wounded and heavily sedated, Tsarnaev has begun responding to brief questions from his hospital bed, officials said.

Badly Wounded Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Responding to Questions
Despite a serious throat wound preventing him from speaking, the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect is beginning to respond to questions from investigators, according to federal officials, NBC News reports. Nearly 48 hours after he was taken into custody following an intense gun battle and manhunt, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was communicating with a special team of federal investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital. Word that the badly wounded suspect was able to communicate with authorities came as a surprise, especially after details about the severity of his injuries began to emerge. Tsarnaev, who remains in serious condition, was responding to questions mostly in writing because of the throat wound, according to the officials. The throat wound may be the result of a suicide attempt, investigators said. Officials are hoping to glean more information about the twin blasts last Monday at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, which killed three people and injured more than 170, and determine whether Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, who was killed in a gun battle with police Thursday night, received assistance from others.

Relief Teams Rush Aid to China Quake Survivors
Rescuers and relief teams are rushing supplies to rural provinces in China after a deadly earthquake over the weekend, CBN News reports. The 7.0 quake struck parts of Sichuan province Saturday morning, killing at least 188 people and injuring more than 11,000. The quake triggered landslides, cutting off roads and disrupting phone and power connections in the mountainous region. The Chinese Red Cross has deployed relief teams with food, water and medicine, and rescuers are still struggling to find survivors. "We are searching in a method called 'dragnet,'" said Chen Xiuyu, company commander of the Chengdu military region. "The method means we will search every village, every house, and will never give up trying to save the life of every resident." The quake was among the deadliest China has seen in the past three years.

More Millennials Buy House Before Getting Married
Millennial couples are more likely to buy a house together before they take their wedding vows than their parents and grandparents were, according to a new Coldwell Banker Real Estate survey. Almost a quarter of married homeowners aged 18 to 34 bought a home together before they were married, compared with 14 percent of those aged 45 and older. "We didn't expect to find that couples committed to each other to buy homes before they were married," says Robi Ludwig, a psychotherapist who works for Coldwell on lifestyle surveys and buyer habits. "It's almost like buying a home is the new engagement ring." The online survey of 2,116 adults March 8-12 found that couples who bought homes before marriage were all planning to tie the knot. "Increasingly, Americans and especially millennials see marriage as something that should be entered into only after you've taken several steps toward showing your maturity," says Stephanie Coontz, co-chair of the Council on Contemporary Families. "It's not something you jump into." Two-thirds of couples getting married these days lived together before they walked the aisle; buying a home together is a big proof of commitment.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Happy Thursday

Exposing False Prophets

In Matthew 7:15, Jesus said "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits." And in verse 20 He says again, "Therefore by their fruits you will know them."

Many times, the Bible warns us of false prophets. God warns us because He loves us and He does not want us to be led away by false teaching and the greed of men. He wants us to only know the truth and to only listen to His true prophets.

It may not seem important to some, in the day that we live in, to be concerned with false prophets. After all how can they hurt us? How can false prophets and false teachers hurt a Christian?

Some people think false prophets are those who cause their followers to shave their heads and commit murders. There are those who think false prophets are those who gather together their followers and drink poisoned Kool-aid. Others think that leaders who teach their followers to store guns and food for the great war are the false prophets mentioned in the Bible. Well, they may be false leaders and they may use the name of Jesus, but they are not exactly the ones Jesus is referring to here in Matthew 7.

In the last days, there will be many false prophets, apostles, teachers, and brethren, and they will be led by their master, Satan. In 2 Corinthians 11:13-14, we are given some insight into their method of operation. It says, "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light, therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness whose end will be according to their works."

Second Peter 2:1 is another verse that sheds some light on false prophets saying, "But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction."

Many other scriptures refer to these counterfeit people, but here are two points that are extremely important.

1) These false prophets and false teachers will not appear to be false.

Second Corinthians 11:13 says that these leaders will appear to be righteous individuals who appear to radiate the light of Jesus. They will be so camouflaged that many will follow them. But that should not be.

Jesus said that His sheep would know His voice and another they will not follow. (John 10:3-5, 27.) We need to listen to the voice of Jesus daily (in our hearts) as He speaks to us through the voice of His Holy Spirit. Then when the false prophet comes along stealing, killing and destroying, we will not be led astray because we will know that the voice is another voice and not the voice of the great shepherd, Jesus.
(v. 10.)

2) They will teach false doctrine.

Without the true Word of God being taught, faith will not grow. With undeveloped faith we will not be as effective in our witnessing and we will not be walking in the promises of God. Instead, we will be walking in the problems and the ways of the world. And that's what Satan wants for you and me.

Let me give you a word of caution. Be aware that false prophets, teachers, and apostles are in the world. But don't get goofy and go on a false prophet hunt. Be aware of the negative, but walk in the positive.

Daily Smile:
A young man tutored his sweetheart maths,
he thought of it as his mission,
he kissed her once then once again and said
"There, that's addition!"
She took it upon herself to return the pleasant action,
she kissed once and once again,
smiled and said "and that's subtraction!"
Now she'd learned the basics without too much complication,
they kissed each other once, then twice,
and said "that must be multiplication!"
Meanwhile the young lady's father
had this 'lesson' in his vision,
he kicked that boy ten foot out the door and said
"Then that is long division!"

Devotional ran a little short this morning, I am on my way to pick up the papers for delivery... Check out the May paper at http://the-starlight-news.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Happy Wednesday

Who will be Saved? By Author Unknown

When a man is trapped in a mine, he cannot save himself. That man must be saved. No small amount of effort is expended to save such a man from the clutches of death. But it must be admitted, both the decision to save and the power to save rest in the hands of others.

The same thing is true in your relationship to God. The Bible says we are all "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1). In other words, we are all like dead people because of our sins. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Dead people cannot save themselves. That would be like a dead person getting up out of a grave under his or her own power. It can't be done. In fact, our whole generation is like a mass of walking dead people. We need to be saved from this generation of walking dead. As Peter said so long ago, "Be saved from this perverse generation" (Acts 2:40).

The point is, you cannot save yourself from the consequences of your sins. Only God can save you! God expended no small amount of effort to bring about salvation for people like you and me. He sent Christ into the world. And the Bible says, "It is He who will save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). Christ died on a cross to pay for the sins of others. Christ rose again from the grave. He could do that because He is God. Because Christ paid the penalty for sin and then rose again from the dead, He gives others victory over death and sin. Although you cannot save yourself from sin and death, Christ can save you. "Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved" (Acts 16:31).

Shout To The LORD
Shout to the Lord, all the earth,
Let us sing
Power and majesty, praise to the King;
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name.
I sing for joy at the work of Your hands,
Forever I'll love You, forever I'll stand,
Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.

My Jesus, My Savior,
Lord, there is none like You;
All of my days
I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love.

My comfort, my shelter,
Tower of refuge and strength;
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You.

Shout to the Lord, all the earth,
Let us sing
Power and majesty, praise to the King;
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name.
I sing for joy at the work of Your hands,
Forever I'll love You, forever I'll stand,
Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.

Shout to the Lord, all the earth,
Let us sing
Power and majesty, praise to the King;
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name.
I sing for joy at the work of Your hands,
Forever I'll love You, forever I'll stand,
Nothing compares to the promise I have
Nothing compares to the promise I have
Nothing compares to the promise I have in you

Daily Smile:
One day a man is walking down the street when he sees an old man with a nice looking dog. He goes over to the man and asks: 'does your dog bite?' the old man replies 'No never'. 

When the man bends down to stroke the dog, it immediately takes a snap at his hand. 

The man says 'I thought you said your dog did not bite! 'I did' replies the old man, but this isn't my dog!'

In The News:

Boy Scouts Proposing to Lift Youth Gay Ban
Under increasing pressure over its longstanding ban on gays, the Boy Scouts of America is proposing to lift its ban for youth members, Fox News reports. The Scouts plan to continue to exclude gays as adult leaders, and announced Friday they would submit this proposal to the approximate 1,400 voting members of its National Council at a May 20th meeting in Texas. Earlier, the BSA indicated it might give local Scout units the option of admitting gays as both youth members and adult leaders, or continuing to exclude them. However, they changed course on Friday due in part to surveys sent out this year to members of the scouting community. Gay –rights groups oppose the ban, some churches and conservative groups want it maintained.

No New Church Buildings Allowed in Sudan
Citing stagnate church attendance and an increasing number of abandoned buildings, the Sudanese government announced that it will no longer issue licenses to Christian churches, the ICC reports. Many of the Christians who attended the now abandoned buildings fled Sudan because of intense persecution. Following the secession of South Sudan in 2011, churches in Khartoum and northern cities have seen attendance drop, as many have migrated south (not all by choice).  As a result, Sudan’s minister of Guidance and Endowments, Al-Fatih Taj El-sir, says “there will be no need for new churches as the existing ones can accommodate worshipers.”  55 licenses were denied in 2012 alone.

Boston Marathon Bombings: One Suspect Dead, Manhunt Underway for Second
Boston and surrounding neighborhoods are on lockdown Friday morning as authorities hunt for the remaining Boston Marathon bomber, Fox News reports in this developing story.  The two suspects, now known to be brothers, engaged in a shootout with police last night, after a chaotic confrontation that also left one MIT police officer dead. The first brother, labeled by the FBI as “suspect one,” was killed in the crossfire. The other brother, now known to be 19-year-old Dzhokhar A Tsarnaev, fled the scene. The search for him was still underway as of 8:00 a.m. EDT. The suspects, who sources say were possibly from Chechnya or Turkey, surfaced just hours after the FBI released their images late Thursday evening. The pair shot and killed one police officer, robbed a convenience store, carjacked a man who later escaped and engaged in a shootout with authorities, in which they hurled explosives from their car.
Boston police labeled Tsarnaev as “suspect two” and said he was “armed and dangerous.” Authorities are urging residents in Watertown and other surrounding neighborhoods to stay indoors. All mass transit have been shut down, as well as schools.
This is a developing story. Please check back later for updates.


May '13 Edition posted @ http://the-starlight-news.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Happy Tuesday

Give us today our daily bread. --Matthew 6:11

There he sat with the bill in his hand. He never thought he would owe this much in taxes! How would he ever pay these? There's no way he could pull together all of the funds needed in a couple of months. It wouldn't even begin to touch the total payoff amount. The only thing he knew to do was to ask God for His mercy and help.

That Sunday, the man's pastor preached on Matthew 6:11: "Give us today our daily bread."

He silently prayed, "Lord, I appreciate this word of truth from You today, but if I don't get the total amount to Uncle Sam by April 15, he's going to come after me. I'm going to need more than your regular daily provision on that day-I'm going to need a miracle. Please help!"

Just a few days before April 15, God showed up and rescued the man. He got a check in the mail for some work he had done previously that covered the complete amount plus $20. In his thanksgiving, he praised God for giving him what he needed that day. And he smiled at the extra $20 that God added as a bonus!

Friend, Jesus takes your needs seriously-physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, everything. Maybe you are in the same position that man was in a few years ago. Perhaps you've seen God work time and again in your life this same way. Simply give your situation to Him, throw your worry away, and cling to His promises!

PRAYER CHALLENGE: Jesus, thank you for giving me exactly what I need every day. I trust in Your promises when You say You will take care of me. I pray these things in Your name.

Blessed Be Your Name
Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name
Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Daily Smile:
Mo attends to a revival and listens to the sermon. After a while, the pastor asks anyone with needs to come forward and be prayed over. Mo gets in line and, when it’s his turn the pastor asks, “Mo, what do you want me to pray about?” 

Mo says, “Pastor, I need you to pray for my hearing.” 

So the pastor puts one finger in Mo’s ear and the other hand on top of his head and prays for a while. He removes his hands and says, “Mo how’s your hearing now?” 

Mo says, “I don’t know pastor, it’s not until next Monday.

In The News:

Boston Federal Courthouse Evacuated, No Arrests Made in Bombings Case
Although earlier reports indicated an arrest was imminent in the Boston Marathon bombings, none such have been made, reports CNN.com. Meanwhile, the Boston Federal courthouse was evacuated this afternoon after a bomb threat was received, reports the Boston Globe, as scores of spectators, photographers and reports flocked to the scene after hearing about the potential arrest.
A Globe source said an image had been captured of a suspect carrying, and perhaps dropping, a black bag at the second bombing scene. The same official said a surveillance camera at Lord & Taylor, directly across the street, has provided clear video of the area. Authorities has appealed to the public for photo and video evidence near the bombing scene at the finish line of the marathon.
Though a press conference had been set for 5 p.m. EDT, it has since been canceled after the evacuation of the courthouse.

Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion Kills 5 to 15 People
A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas Wednesday night has killed an estimated five to 15 people, wounding more than 160, and damaging 50 to 60 homes in a 5-block area, CNN reports. Described as a nuclear-like blast by those who witnessed it, the explosion rocketed the West Fertilizer Co. at around 7:50 p.m. (8:50 p.m. ET). The explosion is being treated as a crime scene until investigators determine whether it was an accident. “Nothing at this point indicates we have had criminal activity, but we are not ruling that out,” said Sgt. William Patrick Swanton to CNN reporters. Patients were rushed to several surrounding hospitals, while fire and rescue units were being called in from neighboring cities.
The blast shook houses 50 miles away and measured a 2.1-magnitude seismic event, according to the United States Geological Survey. Meteorologists are warning that an approaching storm system could complicate rescue efforts, as winds are forecasted to be gusting up to 35 miles per hour.

Senate Rejects Gun Control Measure
The U.S. Senate rejected Wednesday an amendment aimed at strengthening laws on background checks to purchase firearms, the Christian Post reports. The 54 to 46 votes fell six votes short of the 60 needed to advance the amendment. Drafted by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa), proponents of the amendment had hoped for bipartisan support, but support for the law unraveled under intense lobbying from gun rights groups. The NRA threatened to defeat senators who voted for it in their next election, arguing it would criminalize private transfers of firearms between law abiding citizens.
President Barack Obama had called for a number of other new gun control measures, including a ban on assault weapons and limiting the size of gun clips, but these other proposals were dropped for lack of support.

Boston Marathon Good Samaritan Motivated by Faith
In a story that quickly went viral, 46-year-old Bill Cunningham of Sitka, Alaska is the formerly unknown Good Samaritan who gave away his Boston Marathon medal in a spontaneous gesture of kindness, the Toronto Star reports. He is also the regional director of Alaska Young Life, and it's clear his faith motivated his generosity.
25-year-old Laura Wellington was half a mile away from the finish line when the two bombs went off Monday. After learning that her boyfriend and family, who were waiting at the finish line for her, were fine, she sat on the edge of a street and wept out of relief. That's when Cunningham appeared. He and his wife gave Wellington a blanket, and Cunningham asked her if she had finished the race. She said no.
"Then I knew what I had to do," Cunningham said to reporters. "You’re a finisher in my eyes," he told Wellington, taking off his medal and slipping it around her neck.
Stunned by the stranger's compassion, Wellington later posted the story to her Facebook page in hopes of reconnecting with him, and her post went viral. "This couple reassured me that even though such a terrible thing happened, everything was going to be okay," Wellington wrote.
"She needed it more than I needed it,” Wellington said. “I just wanted her to know that 'you're worth it.' With everything that has happened, our world is looking for hope. My whole life is about loving God and loving others. That's who I am."

Hobby Lobby Increases Minimum Wage for Workers
Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., announced this week a minimum wage increase to $14 per hour for full-time employees of Hobby Lobby and its affiliate Hemispheres, effective immediately, Christian News Wire reports. The company also announced a minimum wage increase for all part-time employees to $9.50 per hour. This is the fifth year in a row that the company has raised wages for full-time employees. Founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby David Green said, “We are very fortunate to be able to increase hourly wages for our employees, because we know our company would not be successful without the great work they do each day in our stores across the nation.”
This increase will raise the pay of more than 17,726 employees nationwide. Hobby Lobby’s new minimum wage for full-time hourly employees is 93 percent above the national minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. In 2013, Hobby Lobby projects continued growth and plans to open around 33 additional stores, creating 1,200 jobs across the country.
Hobby Lobby has recently been in the news due to their legal battle against the federal government’s abortion/contraceptive mandate. Under the government's mandate, businesses must cover contraceptives and abortion-causing drugs as part of their employee health insurance plans. The Christian owners argue that the mandate violates their beliefs.

May '13 Edition posted @ http://the-starlight-news.blogspot.com/

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy, Sleepy Monday

Good Morning Readers,
     Finished the paper layout this morning about two, as I fell in and out of sleep in front of the monitor... In a rush to get to bed, I forgot the daily Devotional until now... Still trying to get fully awake, got to get me some strong coffee...
Happy Monday,

Monday's Devotional Thought:
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
John 1:10 

Actor Cary Grant once told a story of how he was walking along a street when he met a man whose eyes locked with his. The man immediately got excited and said, "Wait a minute, you're...you're...I know who you are. Don't tell me! Uh...Rock Hud...no, you're..."

Grant thought he'd help the man out, so he finished the man's sentence: "Cary Grant."

The fellow responded, "No, that's not it! You're..."

Cary Grant was clearly trying to identify himself to the man by plainly giving his name, but the fellow had someone else on his mind. The man couldn't accept who Grant was even though he clearly offered his identity.

John said of Jesus: "He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him." Even when Jesus identified Himself as the Son of God-the Messiah-the response was not a welcomed recognition. Instead, it led Jesus to the cross on which He was crucified for the sins of man.

Today, people are being fed the various identities of Jesus by religious experts, false prophets, and church historians-who at times skew the spiritual perceptions of even believers. The world does not recognize or know Jesus, and they are feeding anyone who will listen to their so-called definitions of who He is.

However, the Word of God plainly states who Jesus is. As believers, it is our responsibility to share with the lost world the truth and identity of Jesus Christ. Determine today to make the name and personhood of our Savior famous!

PRAYER CHALLENGE: Ask the Lord to make solid your knowledge of who Jesus is so that you can give firm answers to those who do not know Him. Pray that God would empower you to make His name famous in all that you say and do, so that you can make an impact.

In The News:

Seven Christians Killed After Church Shelled in Central African Republic
A weekend of violence leaves seven dead after three artillery shells crashed into a Central African Republic church, reports World Watch Monitor. At least twenty were reported dead after gun battles in sectors of Bangui, the capital of the republic, where rebel groups took power last month. The seven Christian victims in the attack were attending church service at the Evangelical Federation of Brothers church on Sunday.
“Many children account among wounded persons and were transferred at the paediatric hospital for treatment,” Rev. Mbaye-Bondoi told World Watch Monitor in a telephone interview. The pastor was hurt in his heart ear, but said the injury was not life-threatening. Various independent news reports said clashes erupted Saturday after members of the rebel forces known as Séléka began a sweep through parts of Bangui to gather weapons. There’s no official confirmation whether the church was targeted or simply caught in the crossfire, but there have been increased attacks on Christian clerics and lay people since the Séléka coalition formed in December.

Gospel Legend, George Beverly Shea, Passes Away At 104
Singing News has learned that legendary Gospel singer, George Beverly Shea, has passed away at the age of 104. The following is from the Billy Graham Ministries website. Click here for the original press release.

CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 16, 2013 - George Beverly Shea, 104, of Montreat, North Carolina, soloist of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), died this evening (April 16th) following a brief illness.
Since George Beverly Shea first sang for Graham in 1943 on the Chicago radio hymn program, "Songs in the Night," Shea has faithfully carried the Gospel in song to every continent and every state in the Union. Graham's senior by ten years, Shea devotedly preceded the evangelist in song in nearly every Crusade over the span of more than one-half century.
Shea was the recipient of ten Grammy nominations, a Grammy Award in 1965, and was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Grammy organization in 2011. He was also a member of the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame (1978), and was inducted into the Religious Broadcasting Hall of Fame in February 1996. Shea was also inducted into the inaugural class of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists' "Hall of Faith" in 2008.
"I first met Bev Shea while in Chicago when he was on Moody Radio," said Billy Graham. "As a young man starting my ministry, I asked Bev if he would join me. He said yes and for over 60 years we had the privilege of ministering together across the country and around the world. Bev was one of the most humble, gracious men I have ever known and one of my closest friends. I loved him as a brother. My prayer for his wife, Karlene, and his children, Ron and Elaine, is that God will strengthen them during this time."
Born in Winchester, Ontario, Canada, where his father was a Wesleyan Methodist minister, Shea's first public singing was in the choir of his father's church. Between Crusade, radio, and television dates in many countries, he sang at hundreds of concerts and recorded more than 70 albums of sacred music. At age 23 he composed the music to one of his best known solos, "I'd Rather Have Jesus."
"Even though Bev was 10 years older than my father, he never acted his age," said Franklin Graham. "He was absolute fun to be with. Bev was one of the most gracious and unassuming men I have known. He was always encouraging and supportive, a man of deep faith and strong commitment to Jesus Christ."
Shea is survived by his wife, Karlene, and his children from his first marriage, Ronald and Elaine. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Erma, who died in 1976.
Ron, born in 1948 in Chicago, graduated from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ill., in 1971. For more than 30 years, Ron has been an associate in Crusade ministry through the BGEA, assisting in preparatory work for evangelistic crusades involving Mr. Graham and more recently for Franklin Graham's ministry. He is married to the former Kathy Ford.
Details on the funeral service for Shea will be forthcoming.

French Lawmakers Approve Gay Marriage, Ignoring Protests
The French Senate voted to legalize same-sex marriage April 12th ignoring the protests of hundreds of thousands of traditional marriage supporters, WORLD reports. The legislature also approved the adoption of children by gay couples. Parliament still has to vote on minor amendments, but the complete gay-rights package is expected to receive final approval in May. This will make France the 13th nation to legalize same-sex marriage. The French have spent months debating the vote, although same-sex civil unions have been legal since 1999.

Brazilian Missionaries Freed From Prison, Still Face Legal Battle
Two Brazilian missionaries held in a Senegal jail without charge for five months are now free on bail, World Watch Monitor reports. The two still face accusations that they operated youth programs without permits. Jose Dilson Da Silvia is a missionary with the Brazilian Presbyterian Church in the Senegalese capital Dakar. Zeneide Moreira Novais runs an orphanage for street children in Mbour, 80 kilometers south of Dakar. The Brazilian National Organization of Evangelical Lawyers for the Defense of Fundamental Civic Freedoms, or ANAJURE, says a final judgment on their case is expected within 30 days of their April 5 release.
Their troubles began when a father because upset that his son, said to be 17-years-old, had learned about Christianity in Da Silva’s Project Obadiah, which has 200 registered children.  ANAJURE President Uziel Santana told World Watch Monitor that the complaint about forceful conversions of Muslims found a legal foothold when it was discovered that Da Silva’s projects had been operating without necessary licenses. The detention without trial of foreign Christian workers raises a number of questions in a country seen as a democratic model in Africa and known for its culture of tolerance.