Displaying items by tag: Praise
On 24 June a court in Kano State acquitted Professor Solomon Tarfa on charges of ‘running an illegal orphanage’ and ‘criminal conspiracy and abduction of minors’. He has faced a series of false charges, including child abduction and forgery, and appears to have been targeted simply for running a Christian orphanage. On Christmas Day 2019, over 60 plain-clothes policemen raided his orphanage and arrested him. Later, 27 children were removed from the orphanage and placed in a government-run home, where they have been harassed, prevented from attending church, and reportedly assaulted. Five of the youngest children were forcibly relocated to an orphanage in a remote area. A source said that three of these children looked ‘ill and emaciated’ and had had their names changed to Muslim ones. The ordeal is not over. Sixteen children are still waiting to be returned home, and Professor Tarfa will appear in court again on 27 July to defend the forgery charge.
The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is thanking supporters after they increased their giving enabling it to step up its response to the pandemic. Benefactors donated £14 million more last year than in 2019 as the charity rushed out emergency Covid projects amid growing persecution globally. The pandemic dramatically worsened the plight of Christians who found themselves literally, almost overnight, without work, pay or food. ACN's benefactors remain true to the charity with great generosity, for which the charity and those in need are profoundly grateful.
A Hungarian children's book promoting minority rights drew criticism last year. Now Hungary's ruling nationalist party has submitted legislation to ban content which it sees as promoting homosexuality and gender change to minors. The draft law would ban LGBT literature for under-18s, including educational material, and advertisements deemed to be promoting gay rights. Several human rights groups denounced it, saying it was similar to Russian restrictions on LGBT activities. Hungary's constitution states that marriage is for heterosexual couples and proposes a same-sex adoption ban.
A Jesus Film team begin their day by praying, ‘Holy Spirit, where should we go today?’ One day as they walked and prayed, they heard children’s voices. Following the sound, they entered a compound of 672 children and began talking to them about Jesus. The team had no idea the risk they were taking. The police heard about them and arrested them. Before being hauled away a team member turned on a NewLifeBox in his backpack and left it behind. The police beat them and then let them go. The team returned to the compound to retrieve the backpack. To their amazement hundreds of children were quiet, sitting in groups, eyes fixed on their smartphones, watching the Jesus Film. The battery-powered NewLifeBox they left behind creates a Wi-Fi hotspot, inviting anyone looking for a hotspot, and within 150 feet, to watch a film about Jesus. The children asked them questions about what they had watched and heard, saying ‘Can you help us tell our parents about Jesus?’
11-year-old Chan-Rey always wondered who created the whole world. Her mother didn’t know, so she kept searching for an answer. One Sunday a girl invited her to church. The Sunday school class was watching the Superbook episode ‘In the beginning’, about the creation of the world. ‘The story was AMAZING!’ she declared. ‘I saw the Spirit of God flying around. He said, “Let there be light”, and there was light! Then He made the world. It looked so beautiful. Then He created a man from dust and let them take care of everything!’ After watching the episode, Chan-Rey prayed with the teacher to become a Christian. She couldn’t wait to tell her family about what happened. ‘I shared the gospel with my parents and sisters. Then I brought them to church. Now they believe in Jesus too!’
The Queen was ‘delighted’ after Harry and Meghan announced the birth of their second child, Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana Mountbatten-Windsor. Lilibet is a very intimate name that the Queen has used since she was very little and her sister could not pronounce her name properly. Many believe this is a diplomatic olive branch offered to the royal family after what has been a fractious year between Harry and Meghan and the rest of the royals. Lilibet was born in a California hospital, weighing 7 lbs 11oz.
Israel: God’s chosen people in Scripture, the very bloodline of Jesus Christ: yet most Jews in Israel still wait for the Messiah, not realising or recognising that Jesus already came to save them. But the Holy Spirit is moving. A growing number of Jews are recognising Jesus as their Saviour, and Arabs in Israel are also turning to Christ. In fact, following the recent violence, Arab and Jewish Christians gathered at the Gaza fence to pray together!
Seth Mahiga, the former secretary of a society called Atheists In Kenya, has resigned from his role after becoming a Christian. A video has emerged showing Seth accepting Jesus in church. He said he had been experiencing ‘difficulties in life’ prior to his resignation. A pastor in the video can be heard saying ‘Amen’ at the end of Mr Mahiga's words, and he then added, ‘Can we give the Lord some praise in this house. Hallelujah!’ Atheists in Kenya posted the footage on its Twitter page, describing the conversion as ‘surreal’.
In June, hay meadows burst forth in a glorious blaze of colour. For centuries, flower-rich hay meadows were a defining feature of our countryside, providing hay for livestock through the winter and essential habitats for many different flora, fauna and fungi. In the 20th century, however, most hay meadows gave way to more intensively managed grassland. But they can be restored by ‘impoverishing’ the soil (withholding grazing, cutting hay later in the season, and sowing a semi-parasitic plant called hay rattle). Likewise, the Lord uses discipline to refine us; then, in time, we blossom and bear fruit to His praise and glory. Give thanks for the beauty of our meadows and for the way they reflect the glory of their Creator. Give thanks to the One who sends the rain to water the meadows and whose coming was, is, and will be, ‘like rain upon the meadows’.
‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’ (Acts 1.8, ESV) Believers today have the same gift of the Holy Spirit that was given in Acts 2, and no matter how stony the ground might appear to be, we have the power to witness to others about ‘the mighty works of God’. This is a gift we have as individuals and as a body of believers, the Church. Pentecost is often described as the birthday of the Church. This year, via the internet, over 46,000 Christians united from different church traditions, different languages and races, standing together as God's people to celebrate Pentecost and asking for a fresh outpouring of His Spirit upon the church, our families, our communities and Nations. The event was saved on YouTube; click the ‘More’ button to view and engage with what God is doing today.