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Archive for the ‘fire’ Category

Help me, for I am being
persecuted without cause.
Psalm 119:86
 
A plea to help the church in Egypt
 
If one hundred American churches were burned to the ground, those of us who live in the U.S.A. would want Christians in other parts of the world to notice and care. There was little public outrage for 101 churches and many homes that were burned and attacked in Egypt in August of 2013.  Most of the people I have asked about these events had minimal knowledge of this tragedy.  I only knew about it because I heard a man from The Bible Society of Egypt speak at church last Sunday.  Here is a news story with more details about what occurred:  
 

Massive riots in Egypt in mid-August left behind more than 800 dead, and at least 4,000 were injured, as Egyptian police and soldiers clashed with demonstrators. Unfortunately, supporters of jailed Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi also vented their wrath at the country’s Christian minority, in what activists described as “the worst coordinated attacks on Egypt’s Coptic community in modern history.”

Even Associated Press, which isn’t considered a pro-Christian news outlet, reported on the extent of the assaults.

“In the four days since security forces cleared two sit-in camps by supporters of Egypt’s ousted president, Islamists have attacked dozens of Coptic churches along with homes and businesses owned by the Christian minority,” reported AP. “Nearly 40 churches have been looted and torched, while 23 others have been attacked and heavily damaged since Wednesday [August 14].”

A more detailed report lists 56 churches attacked in a 24-hour span that started on August 14. Fifteen more were hit over the next two days. Dozens of Coptic institutions like schools, monasteries, bookstores, and even an orphanage were also attacked.

The Bible Society of Egypt has been operating for 129 years, and this is the first time it’s been the victim of assaults like those carried out on two of its bookstores. Both were burned to the ground.

On August 18, AFP talked with Dr. Halim Meawad, a deacon for 26 years with St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church, the largest Coptic church in the Washington, D.C. area.

“St. Mark was the founder of the Coptic Church in 45 A.D.,” Meawad explained. “All of Egypt was Coptic for almost a thousand years until the Muslims invaded and started imposing heavy taxes on the Christians. Those who couldn’t pay were forced to convert to Islam under pain of death. Today’s Muslims in Egypt are descendants of Copts who couldn’t pay their taxes hundreds of years ago.”

“The Copts today are only 10% of Egypt’s population of 90 million,” said Dr. Meawad, “but they have much economic and social influence in Egypt. They are the largest Christian community in Egypt and also the largest in all the Middle East.”

Asked what brought about the recent riots and the attacks on Copts, he explained:

“Since its founding in 1929, the Muslim Brotherhood has been involved in assassinations, arson, and terrorism, with the single goal of making Egypt an Islamist republic. They co-opted the Egyptian revolution of 2011, which was a genuine grassroots movement against [former Egyptian President Hosni] Mubarak’s tyranny. Shortly after Morsi came to power last year, he started changing the constitution to give himself and the Muslim Brotherhood unlimited power. Millions of Egyptians, including moderate Muslims, secularists, liberals, and Christians, protested against his government last November, but he continued with his goal of turning Egypt into an Islamic republic. On June 30, 33 million Egyptians demonstrated against him in what was probably the biggest demonstration in history, causing his ousting on July 3.”

“The Copts were attacked because as Christians, they were a convenient scapegoat for the Brotherhood,” explained Dr. Meawad.

“Since Morsi’s ousting, his supporters set up camps on town squares and refused to leave,” said Meawad. “They were blaming the Copts for Morsi’s downfall and had already started threatening and attacking us. The sheer scale of the recent attacks against us proves that they were orchestrated rather than a byproduct of chaotic unrest.”

“Neither the Copts nor the military are responsible for Morsi’s ouster,” Dr. Meawad explained. “The Egyptian people simply did not want him. Morsi was elected with only 14 million votes last year, but 33 million Egyptians in the streets on June 30 told him they didn’t want him.”

Thank you, Pete, very much for getting our voice heard out there.  We definitely need as much spreading the word about the atrocities our fellow Copts are enduring as possible.  Sadly, from the day you have reached out to us [August 18, 2013] till today [September 1, 2013], a total of 101 churches have been burned down/attacked. 

  –St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church  

For the full news story, click here. 

According to the man I heard speak from The Bible Society of Egypt, those who started the fire did so with the intent that the Christians would retaliate and cause the country to be thrown into a civil war.  He reported that there was no retaliation!  They considered their churches being burned as a burnt offering to God, and they choose the path of peace. 

So what can we do in response to the persecution the church in Egypt has faced?  November 10, 2013 is the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church.  Joining together with Christians around the world to pray for those being persecuted is a great place to start.  We can also contribute to The Bible Society of Egypt.
 
The Bible Society of Egypt exists to make the Scriptures available to all at an affordable price.  They are the largest publisher of Arabic Bibles in the world.
 
Please share this information with your family and friends.  For more information about the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church, click here. 
 

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overflow with hope

 
May the God of Hope
 
Fill you with all joy and peace …
 
So that you may overflow with Hope.
 
Romans 15:13
 
 
When I find something that truly helps someone who has overcome horrific physical and emotional pain, I pay attention.  My friend Christine gave me the book The Allure of Hope for my 40th birthday.  This book helped her tremendously after she was burned in a grease fire.          (You can read about her story by clicking here.)
 
In the book The Allure of Hope, Jan Meyers Proett clearly shows how hope is not a passive concept, but an active, life-changing reality.  This book touched my heart by giving words to how it feels when I am “jolted by life’s suffering.”  Seeing hope as a radical way of responding to life, rather than a mere desire for something good to happen, helps me to coexist with pain.  When you live with pain on a daily basis, it is hard to have hope, but it is possible.  This book invites you to do the courageous — and glorious work — of hoping.
 
Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts.  Romans 5:5
 

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Place me like a seal
over your heart.
Song of Songs 8:6
.  
.
Place me like a seal over your heart….for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.  It burns like blazing fire like a mighty flame.  Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away (Song of Songs 8:6-7).
 
 
The Holy Spirit’s love burns like a
Blazing Fire
Nothing can quench
Love
 
  
Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13

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Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us…?  Luke 24:32

 
Jesus still wants to talk to us today. 
Question of the day:
Am I listening?
 
from my journal January 20, 2005
 
A prayer from Teresa of Avila
Father of Holy Fire,
in all things that I do today,
however simple or great,
let me act out of reverence for You…
out of love and respect for others,
whom You call me to serve…. 
Let my greatest honor be this —
that others may hear me speak,
or watch my actions
and think more highly of You.
 
Majestic is Your Name, David Hazard and Teresa of Avila 

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time to dance

 

 
A time to laugh…and a time to dance.
Ecclesiastes 3:4
 
  
Jesus was fun to be with.  He was anointed with the oil of joy (Hebrews 1:8).  Parents wanted him to be with their children (Mark 10:16). When He spoke, people listened to Him with delight (Mark  12:37).  He spent a lot of time eating and drinking with those the religious people looked down upon (Matthew 9:11).  Jesus is still fun to be with:  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  Hebrews 13:8
 
I feel like I used to be fun to be with, but now, not so much.  Last weekend, my family and I were driving to the Smoky Mountains and we were listening to a disco CD.  Even though I was not feeling very well, I was trying to have fun.  I heard the song “Don’t Leave Me This Way”, and I thought, “Yes, this is my prayer for the day.”  Here is my version as a prayer.
*************************************************************************************
Don’t leave me this way
I can’t survive, I can’t stay alive
Without your love, oh Jesus
Don’t leave me this way
Oh Jesus, my heart is full of love and desire for you
So come on down and do what you’ve got to do
Your started this fire down in my soul
Now can’t you see it’s burning, out of control
So come on down and satisfy the need in me
Because only your love can set me free
Don’t leave me this way
Please understand how I’m at your command
So Jesus, please don’t leave me this way
************************************************************************************
I found a fun version of “Don’t Leave Me This Way” on youtube.com (song starts at 0:39). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtO_2-A15H4  

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His word is in my heart like a fire…
Jeremiah 20:9
 
 
My Dad has started writing poetry; I love it when people surprise me.  His favorite style of poetry is haiku, and he has written over 2,000 since August 2008.  I asked him to write about fire and he sent me these two poems.
 
I can go no other place
And find the abiding peace
In quiet He comes with fire
Lighting up my soul
 
Come be the fire inside me
Your presence is what I need
To make Your presence real here
This is my desire
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
© Terry S. Smith
 
 

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consuming fire

 
God is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 12:29
 
This is not one of my favorite verses; actually, it has been one of my least favorite verses until recently.  On a snowy day (as I turned 40,) I listened throughout the day to a song about fire: ”Almighty God,” by Amy Stroup.  Since then, I have been noticing the theme of fire in the Bible and am trying to understand it better. 
 
Almighty God
Words and Music by Amy Stroup
©AmyStroup/SolidityMusic©2003

Almighty God
King of Me 
Come with fire 
And restore me
Almighty God
King of Me 
Come with fire
And restore me

I fall down  
I lay my crown 
At Your feet  
You say to me 
Lift your head 
You turned to me and said 
Come home

When I confess 
I am blessed 
When I lay it down
At Your feet
And patiently  
You say to me
Come home
~~~~~~~~~
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Hebrews 12:28
 
A note about Amy Stroup. 
I have had the privilege of knowing Amy since she was born. Our dads worked together for a small church in Boston, Massachusetts.  Amy is an amazing singer and songwriter who passionately loves the Lord.  To hear her song click here:  Almighty God (scroll down until you see Music Player on the far left.)  

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