ISIS Militant Converts to Christianity after Meeting Jesus in a Dream

the-black-flag-of-the-isisAn Islamic State (ISIS) militant converted to Christianity after meeting Jesus in dream, according to a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) missionary in the Middle East.

Speaking on The Voice of the Martyrs Radio Network, Gina Fadely, the former director of the organisation’s Frontier Missions, said that one of YWAM’s workers was introduced to an ISIS fighter who had killed a number of Christians. He even admitted to having enjoyed doing so, until he met Jesus in a dream.

“He [the jihadist] told this YWAM leader that he had begun having dreams of this man in white who came to him and said, ‘You are killing my people.’ And he started to feel really sick and uneasy about what he was doing,” Fadely said.

She added that the militant was given a Bible by a Christian man who was about to be killed, which he took and read. “In another dream, Jesus asked him to follow him and he was now asking to become a follower of Christ and to be discipled,” Fadely said. “So who knows, perhaps this man will be like Saul in the Bible, who persecuted Christians and then turned from that persecution of the early church to become the Apostle Paul who led it.

“God can turn it around.”

Kevin Sutter, current president of YWAM Frontier Missions, said there was a lesson to be learnt in not assuming that ISIS militants are “out of reach of God’s grace and out of reach of God’s spirit”.

He said a colleague in the Middle East told him “he has never seen spiritual hunger among Muslim people like he’s seeing now.”

“This is unprecedented, this has never happened in history,” Sutter added. “He said there are gospel programmes going out in Arabic throughout the region, radio and TV and there is a huge response.

“Many people are now following Jesus but they keep it quiet. They haven’t gone public about it. They even have church in their own home, they’re watching, they’ll serve Communion to one another as they’re watching TV.”

ISIS are now in control of huge swathes of Iraq and Syria, where they are trying to establish a Caliphate. This week, the Archbishop of Aleppo called for intervention from Western forces to stop the “monstrosities” being perpetrated by the jihadists.

“ISIS, which has already killed thousands in the region, is terrifying the faithful in Aleppo,” he wrote in a message to Aid to the Church in Need.

“After [attacks on] Maloula, Mosul, Idleb and Palmyra, what is the West waiting for before it intervenes? What are the great nations waiting for before they put a halt to these monstrosities?”

 

(Article from Christian Today by Carey Lodge at http://www.christiantoday.com)

Natalie Portman Refuses to Display ‘Golden Idol’ Oscar

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Natalie Portman, holding her Oscar at the 2011 Academy Awards. (Facebook)

Natalie Portman is an Oscar-winning actress whose blockbuster hits have made her a household name for more than a decade. But she is not above calling out Hollywood for what she believes is idol worship.

Born in Israel and proud of her Jewish identity, Portman refuses to display the Oscar she won for Best Actress several years ago. Her reason? It’s a false idol.

“I was reading the story of Abraham to my child and talking about, like, not worshipping false idols,” she said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “And this is literally like gold men.”

The Academy Award statuette, often referred to as an Oscar, is shaped like a shiny, gold-colored man, evoking the comparison to the idol worship Abraham, Moses and other biblical patriarchs had to battle against in trying to keep the hearts and minds of the Jewish people pure and focused on God.

“I don’t know where it is,” she said of the Oscar. “I think it’s in the safe or something. I don’t know. I haven’t seen it in a while.”

“This is lit­er­ally worshipping gold idols—if you worship it,” she added. “That’s why it’s not displayed on the wall. It’s a false idol.”

 

(Article from ChrismaNews by Jeremy Burns at http://www.charismanews.com)

James Dobson: Christians Soon To Be ‘Hated Minority’

New warning of fallout from Supreme Court

James Dobson hosted a panel of Christian leaders on his “Family Talk” radio show Wednesday and warned that Christians are about to face a new status in America as a “hated minority” if the U.S. Supreme Court decides, as many expect, to mandate same-sex “marriage.”james_dobson

“The heart of what’s happening is an attempt to impose a new morality on all of America,” said Maggie Gallagher, a traditional-marriage advocate for 25 years.

The author of “The Case for Marriage,” Gallagher is co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage and a senior fellow with the American Principles Project.

Homosexual advocates have no interest in a “live and let live tolerance,” she said. “After redefining marriage, the next thing on their agenda is to redefine Christianity.”

Under the new regimen, there will be no difference between man and woman, husband and wife, she said.

The attitude is that if you “see something different, there’s something morally wrong with you.”

Christianity, she said, “will enter a new phase, as a hated minority group.”

She and several others joined Dobson to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court case in which justices, including Elena Kagan and Ruth Ginsburg, who already publicly have endorsed same-sex marriage, will hear arguments April 28.

The interview is available online.

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals previously ruled states have a right to define marriage.

Also visiting with Dobson, who recently clashed with the Obama administration over its abortion mandates, were Jim Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego, and Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage.

Dobson noted that marriage has been defined as the union of a man and a woman since God created the institution thousands of years ago, predating any government.

And he detailed how in 31 state elections, 31 times voters adopted the traditional definition.

A petition has been created in support of ordinances that allow Christian business owners to live by their faith.

The courts, however, Dobson said, “have steadily been ruling that traditional marriage is unconstitutional and discriminatory and those decisions have found their way now into the Supreme Court.”

“Almost all the court watchers are predicting the highest court in the land is about to redefine marriage.”

If that happens, he said, it “will change everything in the culture,” including churches, schools, businesses, the military and family.

“Who knows where it will end?”

Brown said the judiciary doesn’t have a right to rule on the issue.

“All of us can see there’s nothing in the U.S. Constitution that says anything about the redefinition of marriage,” he said.

But, he said, “We’re at a point in history where ideology trumps all, the notion that judges should be bound at all by what the Constitution or what precedent says.”

He noted that in 1971, the Supreme Court dismissed a case regarding redefining marriage, saying there was no federal question there.

He said Christians are going to have to stand up for their beliefs.

Garlow continued, “If I were the evil one, I would set out to destroy marriage.”

And he warned that the attacks by homosexuals now on businesses will expand.

“What we’re seeing happen to businesses today will happen to churches tomorrow,” he said. “[They may] lose their buildings, or keep their buildings and agree they’re going to perform same-sex marriages.”

He cited existing cases stemming from attacks on Christians who run the Ocean Grove camp in New Jersey, a wedding chapel in Idaho and Houston pastors who opposed a transgender-rights ordinance.

WND has compiled a “Big List of Christian Coercion” with dozens of cases in which Christians have been fined, threatened or penalized for recognizing the biblical definition of marriage.

“It’s evidence of what’s’ going to come to the church,” he said.

Dobson added that ministries “better decide now what you will do when forced into that corner.”

Dobson is a familiar critic of government. He recently described President Obama as the “abortion president” and warned America is heading toward “depravity.”

In his October 2014 newsletter, he wrote about the Old Testament account of Abraham’s nephew Lot, “who chose to take his family into the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.”

“The men living there had become desperately depraved, burning with lust for each other. Jehovah told Abraham that their sin was so grievous that the Lord decided to rain utter destruction upon them. Abraham pleaded with the Lord on behalf of the people, but the patriarch could not find even ten righteous men in either of the cities to justify mercy,” he wrote.

“Why have I chosen to recount this biblical story from so long ago? Because I am convinced that America and other Western nations are sliding in the same direction,” he warned. “We have not yet reached the depravity of Sodom and Gomorrah, but that appears to be where we are headed.”

Dobson added: “Judge Robert Bork, the brilliant jurist who was shamefully denied a seat on the Supreme Court, wrote a book about this danger 18 years ago. It was titled ‘Slouching Towards Gomorrah.’ I think he had it right.

“Many influential men and women of the judiciary are leading us toward perdition,” he said.

His concerns were shared by the Rev. Billy Graham in a Sept. 30 column for Decision magazine.

Only Graham didn’t hold quite as positive an opinion about America as Dobson. While Dobson said America is on a moral slide, Graham said it’s already hit bottom.

“Even though America is just as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah ever were, and as deserving of the judgment of God, God would spare us if we were earnestly praying, with hearts that been cleansed and washed by the blood of Christ,” he wrote.

Dobson pinned part of the blame for a crumbling America on federal judges – especially those who of late have found ways to undermine traditional marriage.

“Modernists, libertarians and atheists today recognize no condemnation of sexual perversion in the Bible. However, this historical account illustrates how God views it. The outrageous behavior of the wicked men of Sodom and Gomorrah sealed their doom. Fire and brimstone fell from the sky on both cities and utterly destroyed them,” Dobson explained.

“The story of Abraham and Lot also illustrates how entire societies can become so corrupted by evil that divine judgment eventually destroys them, or they simply fade away. It happened to the people of Greece, Rome, Pompeii and other cities and cultures where wickedness became the order of the day. One thing is certain. God is the holy Sovereign Lord of all heaven and earth, and He will not be mocked.”

WND reported previously Dobson described Obama as “the anti-religious freedom president.”

In his newsletter at the time, Dobson said, regarding Obama’s abortion mandates, “Among other things, [Obama] was targeting religious freedom and set about accomplishing that from the beginning. That was the activity to which I objected strenuously during my comments in Washington. I offer no apologies for expressing those views now. The effort to force Christians to violate their consciences must be opposed with all vigor, regardless of the consequences – primarily because it is unconstitutional. Christians are being chastised, dismissed, harangued and sued for daring to practice their deeply held convictions in the public square. Family Talk is among those who have been pressed against a wall.”

WND also reported that when Dobson spoke to the National Day of Prayer, hundreds stood and cheered his condemnation of the government’s ongoing attempts through Obamacare to require Christians to participate in something that profoundly violates their faith – abortion.

Dobson, through his Family Talk, had fought the Obamacare requirement that employers must pay for abortion-causing agents for their employees. The U.S. Supreme has struck down that requirement now.

Dobson at that time bluntly backed up his opinion.

“[Obama] has made it so that every American will have to pay toward the support of abortion,” he said, citing hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds that already go to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.

“How can anyone challenge my characterization of Mr. Obama as ‘the abortion president? … He even voted three times in the Illinois state senate not to protect babies who were born alive after surviving botched abortions,” he said.

Regarding the current fight over the definition of marriage, WND has reported several state judges already are suing for being told they must perform same-sex marriage services.

A petition has been created in support of ordinances that allow Christian business owners to live by their faith.

WND has done a series of reports on friend-of-the-court briefs submitted in advance of the ruling. One argues changes could have far-reaching effects.

“If the traditional definition of marriage is not a rational basis for legislative action, it is hard to imagine what is. Put another way, if rational-basis review invalidates traditional marriage, it seems likely that few other laws would be safe from the federal courts.”

Such a determination “would enable federal courts, through mere disagreement with the wisdom or utility of state policy, to overturn scores of state laws that afford government benefits or impose government costs on some (but not all) citizens. That result would undermine federalism, liberty, and our nation’s democratic processes.”

WND reported longtime conservative leader Pat Buchanan urged Christians to fight the “LGBT fanatics” who are demanding they betray their faith, even if it means civil disobedience.

In an interview with WND, Buchanan, the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?” and other bestsellers, spoke on the controversy over the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Buchanan forcefully condemned defeatism among social conservatives and rejected retreat or even compromise. Instead, the one-time presidential contender and Reagan White House aide urged Christians to put the laws of God above the laws of man.

“This battle can be won, but it cannot be won if we do not stand our ground and fight against this moral onslaught from the left,” he said. “The hill to stand on and fight on is the God-given natural right and the constitutional principle that people of faith may choose not to associate with those whose actions are abhorrent and whose lifestyle is insulting and offensive to that faith.”

Buchanan dismissed arguments that “gay”-rights activists are simply asking for political freedom or the same rights as any other citizen.

“The LGBT militants are not asking to be left alone,” he said. “They are demanding that we accept the morality of homosexuality and same-sex marriages and manifest that acceptance, under pain of law and sanctions, in our daily lives.”

What’s America’s future going to be? Pat Buchanan offers his opinion in “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?”

Buchanan added: “As the Romans demanded of the Christians, the LGBT fanatics want us to burn incense to their gods. The answer is no. If it comes to civil disobedience, so be it.”

WND also reported a team of prominent Christian leaders worked on a statement to inform the public – including Supreme Court justices – that they will engage in civil disobedience rather than follow a ruling that establishes homosexual marriage in the United States.

Among those leading the charge are Dobson, Rick Scarborough of Vision America Action, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel and James Robison of Life Today.

(Article from WND Faith at http://www.wnd.com/2015/04/christians-facing-new-status-as-hated-minority/ written by Bob Unruh)

Ecuadorean Preacher Fined $3,000, Banned From Politics for Calling Homosexuality ‘Immoral’

An evangelical preacher in Ecuador who ran for president earlier this year has been sentenced after he was found guilty of violating the country’s electoral code by speaking against homosexual behavior.

Nelson Zavala has been fined for more than $3,000 and banned from running for office or being involved with any political party for one year because of his speech, which reportedly occurred in February.

Zavala is being penalized for comments that he made while on the campaign trial in regard to the nation’s legalization of homosexual “marriage,” which he opposed. He had allegedly stated that he believes homosexual behavior is “immoral” and that it is a “severe deviation of conduct.” Zavala had also remarked on several occasions that homosexuals were sinners.zavala_l

Following his statements, a number of homosexual groups complained to the electoral court, and Zavala was required to appear for a hearing.

In analyzing the matter, Judge Patricia Baca Mancheno ruled that Zavala’s speech violated the country’s electoral code, which “forbids candidates of publicly expressing any thoughts that discriminate or affect other people’s dignity or utilize symbols, expressions or allusions of a religious nature.” She then handed down the sentence, barring the preacher from participating in politics for an entire year.

Homosexuals in Ecuador cheered Zavala’s punishment, declaring that the sentencing was a “milestone” for their cause.

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However, the former political candidate decried Mancheno’s ruling, which he said was contrary to the law of God.

“On what they judge me, they will be judged. They don’t have interference in heaven,” he said boldly. “One day God will judge everything, and be prepared to explain to God why you called evil good, and good evil.”

He plans to appeal the sentence.

zavala18Zavala’s sentence comes just weeks after the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a guilty verdict against a pro-family activist  in the nation, who had distributed flyers over a decade ago to express his concerns about a homosexual pride parade in his city, as well as homosexuality being taught in schools. As previously reported, William Whatcott was convicted of a hate crime for expressing sentiments that targeted a certain people group.

“The Bible is clear that homosexuality is an abomination,” stated one flyer that was found to be in violation, citing 1 Corinthians 6:9. “Scripture records that Sodom and Gomorrah was given over completely to homosexual perversion and as a result destroyed by God’s wrath.”

Whatcott was also convicted of hate speech for using the word “sodomites” and speaking against “two men sodomizing each other,” among other phrases.

Related articles

(Source from Christian New Network at http://www.christiannews.net)

Don’t Just Manage Your Time, Steward It: 5 Keys

palms-clockThe wise stewardship of our time is a very spiritual matter. The Lord has graciously given us a predetermined amount of time, and we are responsible to utilize it with wisdom.

As Oswald Sanders points out in his classic work Spiritual Leadership, each of us has the same amount of time each day as the president of the United States. How can we maximize the time that has been given? How can we rid ourselves of some of the wasted time?

While this list is not inerrant or exhaustive, here are five practices I have learned thus far on stewarding time.

1. Plan ahead.

Instead of rolling into your day with no plan, know the most important projects, conversations, decisions and actions that need to happen as you begin your day. Otherwise you can easily wander into the day, do some less-value-adding work, and kind of just exist.

For me, I look at each upcoming day the night before the new day begins. I make a list, sometimes mental, sometimes on paper, of the most important things that must happen the next day. Doing so helps me begin my day with a plan. Not doing so would put me in a reactive posture. I could still be busy, but I would quite possibly be busy doing the wrong things.

2. Attack the day.

There is a difference in beginning the day with an offensive posture and beginning the day with a defensive posture.

With a defensive posture, you will likely invest more time on the less important, and less time on the most important. If you don’t attack the day with a commitment to throw your best energy into the most important, the inbox or voicemail can grab your best energy. You will likely spend more time than you need to on less important items, issues, etc.

With an attack mentality, the items in the inbox and the voicemail still get your attention, but they get the appropriate attention.

3. Redeem dead times.

Having a plan for the day with an attack mentality inevitably leads to a desire to redeem dead times. Dead times are often the spaces between events that can either be squandered or utilized. Drive times and wait times are most common:

Drive times: Instead of constantly clicking “scan” on the radio button, use your drive time for learning or connecting. Zig Ziglar coined the phrase “automobile university” to describe how much learning can be accomplished while driving. Likewise, the drive time is great to knock out several phone calls.

Wait times: I will use Ben and Scott to illustrate. They are on the same flight from Atlanta to Miami.

Since the flight is roughly 90 minutes and there is probably only 40 minutes where you cannot use your laptop, Ben decides to thumb through the Sky magazine in front of him. After all, he does not want to pay $5.99 to be on the Internet for 40 minutes.

Scott, however, comes to the airport with a plan. After checking in, he begins reading the book he has been studying. Once seated, he continues reading until the passengers are cleared to use their computers. Over the next 40 minutes, he types up several emails in a Word doc so he can simply copy and paste them later. When the time comes to shut the computer down, Scott trades his computer for the book and continues reading.

A very different use of 90 minutes.

Be wise about the above. When you are on a date with your wife, don’t view the time between the appetizer and the main course as a “wait time to be redeemed.” Wait times are big chunks of time that would otherwise be squandered. When you are with people, be present. Don’t put projects above people.

4. Create space for the big projects.

I find that major projects, plans, messages, leadership lessons, etc. need large chunks of time to prepare effectively. Four hours of preparation in one chunk is massively more fruitful than eight 30-minute blocks of time.

For this reason, I keep three to four big items on my desktop and block off several big chunks of time a week. It is much more effective to use the 30-minute blocks of time for emails and quick meetings.

5. Close the day: zero out your inbox.

As the day ends, I find it very helpful to answer my emails and plan for the next day. If there is an email that will require further follow-up, I move it to a follow-up folder. It is a small move, but it gives me the sense that I am beginning the new day with a fresh perspective.

 

(Article taken from Church Leaders (http://www.churchleaders.com) written by Dr. Eric Geiger, executive pastor of Christ Fellowship Miami.)

 

THE BIBLE

From Executive Producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett comes The Bible — an epic 10-part miniseries retelling stories from the Scriptures for a whole new generation. Breathtaking in scope and scale, The Bible features powerful performances, exotic locales and dazzling visual effects that breathe spectacular life into the dramatic tales of faith and courage from Genesis through Revelation. This historic television event is sure to entertain and inspire the whole family.

The Bible is an epic five-week, 10 hour television miniseries on the History Channel from Emmy Award winning husband and wife team, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.

The Bible Mini-Series Debuted on the 3rd March 2013 on The History Channel

The highly anticipated mini-series, The Bible, debuted on the History Channel in what is sure to be one of the networks highest rated shows in years. What started out as the subject of a casual conversation over tea four years ago, has turned into a 20 million dollar special effects blocthe-biblekbuster that producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, Shark Tank) says rivals big budget Hollywood films.

“No one had tried to tie it all together and use modern computer graphics to bring images like Moses parting the Red Sea to life on screen,” said Burnett.

What sets The Bible apart from similar attempts is instead of looking at the bible as a whole giving viewers an overview of the book, Burnett chose to focus on specific stories in the bible, delving deep into each characters story, emotionally engaging the audience. After slowly depicting the story of creation, The Bible detailed the lives of two of the bible’s better known subjects, Abraham and Moses, giving viewers a never before seen glimpse into their lives.

Burnett shot the majority of The Bible in the deserts of Morocco in 2012 to give the film an “authentic look and feel.”

For two hours each Sunday night millions of viewers will see the Bible come to life in a way never before seen – with two episodes airing each week. The final episode of the miniseries will air on Easter Sunday and will feature the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Biblical Accuracy & The BibleIC1562420_l

The Bible miniseries is not a documentary, it is a scripted, acted docu-drama filmed on location in the Middle East and Morocco. Inspired by re-watching the classic Ten Commandments film, the Mark Burnett and Roma Downey set out to show the scarlet thread of redemption found in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, using the latest special effects and quality film-making techniques.

To help insure the accuracy of the miniseries many Christian scholars served as advisors and hundreds of Christian leaders have given their endorsement for the miniseries – click here to see endorsements.

According to an interview with Ms. Downey the miniseries, “…is being made with full hearts. We’ve had scholars and theologians help. We’re not pretending to be biblical experts. We brought experts in once the scripts were created to take a look at the scripts to make sure we were accurate and true to the Bible, but obviously we’re making a movie, and so we breathed creative expansion into that.”

Endorsements

rw“I’ve probably seen most, if not all, of the films about the Bible produced in the past 50 years. This one stands alone, in a class by itself, as the best I’ve ever seen. Brilliantly produced with stunning cinematography, a Hans Zimmer score and academy-worthy acting, it stands head-and-shoulder above the rest. Too many ‘Bible’ films end up feeling like documentaries, with stilted dialog, second-class sets, and narration that feels like a lecture. In contrast, this series, draws you into the story from the start. The key to its effectiveness is that it lets the Bible speak for itself, without commentary, excuse or qualification, which makes it unique. This is living history at its best!”
– Dr. Rick Warren, Author, What On Earth Am I Here For?, The Purpose Driven Life

tj“Unlike any other film or miniseries I’ve ever encountered, The Bible brings the Word of God to life in the full richness of its scope, diversity, power, and magnificence. History and mystery collide as Mark Burnett and Roma Downey infuse every scene with their divinely inspired vision for sharing the poetic beauty and timeless wisdom of Scripture. This series helps us all to experience the flesh-and-blood stories of the Bible in a new light and draws us to the Divine Author who continues writing His eternal masterpiece. You will be enthralled, encouraged, and inspired by The Bible – seeing really is believing!”
– Bishop T.D. Jakes, author, pastor, The Potter’s House

lp“I can’t think of anyone better than producer Mark Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey to bring to television The Bible. The Holy Bible is the greatest book ever written, for in its pages God Himself speaks to mankind. I’m thrilled that this coming Spring 2013 millions of people, many for the first-time, will discover through this 10-hour docudrama the history, power, inspiration and life changing message of the Bible. The Bible alone truly answers the greatest questions of life. I’ve seen video clips of Mark and Roma’s straightforward interpretation of some of these greatest stories in history as told in The Bible and the production is absolutely captivating, especially the telling of the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This will easily do for the History Channel what Roots did for ABC-TV back in 1977.”
– Luis Palau, president of Luis Palau Ministries

 

(Content taken from The Bible at http://www.bibleseries.tv/ and Outreach at http://www.outreach.com/campaigns/the-bible-resources.aspx)