Please Pray For Egyptian Christians

Elections began yesterday

Christians in Egypt are asking for prayer for the nation’s parliamentary elections, a process that will begin tomorrow, 17 October, and last for some weeks. It is due to be Egypt’s final transition from military rule.

The years since the Arab Spring in 2011 have not been easy for Christians in Egypt. One believer, Yusuf*, says: “For reasons unknown to us, God allowed the Muslim Brotherhood and all their affiliated Islamic radical groups to take over the country… For Christians and moderate Muslims, fear of the state was replaced with fear of radical Muslims.”

Although stability in Egypt has been restored considerably since the early days of the Arab Spring, there are concerns that extremists may wish to disrupt the elections. Please join our Egyptian brothers and sisters in prayer for their nation.

Please Pray:

  • For a peaceful election process, and that any planned attacks would be thwarted
  • That those in small villages and towns will not be prevented from voting by extremists – this has been a problem in previous elections
  • For the small number of Christians who are standing in the elections, that God would be glorified through them
  • For a parliament to be elected that will be a true reflection of Egyptian society.

Pressure refines Egyptian church

The increased pressure on Christians in recent years has caused many to leave. Yusuf says: “The accelerating pressure on the church and individual Christians was hard for many Christians to take and this resulted in a significant wave of emigration of Christians.”

This pressure continues, as demonstrated by the raid on the offices of SAT-7, the Arabic Christian TV channel, on 10 October.

However, Yusuf believes God has used the situation in Egypt for good. “While many left what seemed a sinking ship, others came together. The increasing pressure on the church ignited a spirit of prayer and unity among Christians from different denominations.”

Your support changing lives

Thanks to the prayers and support of brothers and sisters like you, Open Doors works through local partners to provide vocational training, literacy programmes, discipleship training and Bible distribution, amongst other projects. Sonia took part in an Open Doors-sponsored literacy programme, and now she teaches others: “I can help others become empowered to change their lives as I did,” she says.

Many thanks for your continued prayers

Lisa Pearce
CEO Open Doors UK and Ireland

http://www.opendoorsuk.org

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

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The Seven Wonders of the World

A group of students were asked to list the Seven Wonders of the World.

Though there was some disagreement, the following got the most votes:-

  1. Egypt’s Great Pyramids
  1. Taj Mahal
  1. Grand Canyon
  1. Panama Canal
  1. Empire State Building
  1. Peter’s Basilica
  1. China’s Great Wall

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one quiet student hadn’t turned in her paper. So she asked the girl
if she was having trouble with her list. The girl replied, ‘Yes, a little. I couldn’t quite make up my mind because there were so many.’ The teacher said, ‘Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help.’

The girl hesitated, then read,

‘I think the Seven Wonders of the World are:-

  1. to touch
  1. to taste
  1. to see
  1. to hear

She hesitated a little, and then added

  1. to feel
  1. to laugh
  1. and to love

The room was so full of silence you could have heard a pin drop. Those things we overlook as simple and ‘ordinary’ are truly wondrous. A gentle reminder that the most precious things are in front of you.

Your family, your faith, your love, your good health

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

We Are Proud Of Them Says The Brother of Egyptian Martyr

Families of the 21 Coptic Christians beheaded in Libya have astonished the world with their expressions of forgiveness.

The brother of one of the martyrs said:-

“They were martyred in the name of Jesus Christ. They kept the faith until the last moment. They didn’t deny the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We are proud of them.”

A video showing the beheading of the Egyptian Christians was put online by a group linked to the self-proclaimed Islamic State. They were clearly targeted because of their faith: a caption accompanying the video referred to them as ‘people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian Church.’

Pope Francis said, “The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard….it makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood confesses Christ.”

Please join with me today by praying –

* For protection and strength for Christians in Libya, particularly migrant workers

* For the hearts of IS militants to be transformed by the grace of God.

May God add His blessing to all members of the persecuted church

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Statement on the Murder of the Coptic Christians by IS

I am sure that, like me, you were appalled at the killing of the 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians by IS.

The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference,  the Revd Ken Howcroft and Ms Gill Dascombe, have issued this statement in response to the murder of 21 Coptic Christians by Islamic State in Libya:

“We deplore the horrific killing of 21 Coptic Christians who had travelled to Libya for work. These people were taken hostage and killed because of their faith as Islamic State and affiliated groups seek to divide communities through the most corrupt and brutal methods imaginable. The majority of IS victims in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere have been Muslim. This demonstrates that we face a battle against a perverted ideology that people of all faiths who value tolerance will want to oppose.

“Our most effective response must be to redouble our efforts to meet with people of all faiths and share with each other those insights that enable us to achieve understanding, overcome difference and celebrate our common values. Today our prayers are for the families and communities affected by this appalling atrocity and for our sisters and brothers in the Coptic Church community who are hurting at this time.”

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Please join with me in praying for the families of the Coptic Christians, killed by IS, as they must be devastated in their collective grief.

God Bless all these grieving families

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

The Seven Wonders of the World

A group of students were asked to list the Seven Wonders of the World.

Though there was some disagreement, the following got the most votes:-
1. Egypt’s Great Pyramids
2. Taj Mahal
3. Grand Canyon
4. Panama Canal
5. Empire State Building
6. St. Peter’s Basilica
7. China’s Great Wall

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one quiet student hadn’t turned in her paper. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list. The girl replied, ‘Yes, a little. I couldn’t quite make up my mind because there were so many.’ The teacher said, ‘Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help.’

The girl hesitated, then read,’I think the Seven Wonders of the World are:-

1. to touch

2. to taste

3. to see

4. to hear

She hesitated a little, and then added

5. to feel

6. to laugh

7. and to love

The room was so full of silence you could have heard a pin drop.

Those things we overlook as simple and ‘ordinary’ are truly wondrous. A gentle reminder that the most precious things are in front of you.

Your family, your faith, your love, your good health!

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

You Are What God Says You Are

Jacob looked at Joseph and saw a good son! The ten brothers looked at Joseph and saw a useless dreamer!

The travellers looked at Joseph and saw a slave!! Potiphar looked at Joseph and saw a fine servant!! Potiphar’s wife looked at Joseph and saw a potential boyfriend! The prison officers saw in Joseph a prisoner! How wrong were all of them!

God looked at Joseph and saw a Prime Minister of Egypt in waiting!! Don’t be discouraged by what people see in you!! Be encouraged by what God sees in you!!

Never underrate the person next to you because you never know what the Lord has deposited in that person.

Your maid may be a Chief Executive Officer in waiting for a company which shall employ your child. Your garden-boy may be a president in waiting. (Remember David got the anointing of becoming a King while he was a simple child herding sheep. Esther was a simple orphaned girl yet she was a Queen in waiting).

Let’s share God’s love and make the world a better place to live.

Show that love by sharing this message with those you love.

YOU ARE WHAT GOD SAYS YOU ARE! !!

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Does God Control Random Events?

What about seemingly random events? Does God control them?

THE FLIGHT OF AN ARROW

First Kings 22 contains a striking case. Micaiah, speaking as a prophet of the Lord, predicts that Ahab, the king of Israel, will fall in battle at Ramoth-gilead (1 Kings 22:20–22). Ahab disguises himself in battle to avoid being a special target for enemy attack (v. 30). But God’s plan cannot be thwarted. The narrative describes the crucial event:

But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. Therefore he [the king] said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.” (v. 34)

“A certain man drew his bow at random.” That is, he was not aiming at any particular target. An alternative translation would be that he drew his bow “in his innocence” . The alternative translation might mean that the man shot at Ahab, but he did not know who it was (he was “innocent” of knowing it was the king).

Whichever interpretation we take of this detail, we should notice that the arrow struck in just the right place. Ahab was dressed in armor. If the arrow had struck Ahab’s breastplate, it might have simply bounced off. If it had struck his scale armor, it would not have wounded him. But there happened to be a small space between the scale armor and the breastplate.

Perhaps for just a moment Ahab turned or bent in such a way that a thin opening appeared. The arrow went right in, exactly in the right spot. It wounded him fatally. He died the same day (1 Kings 22:35), just as God had said.

God showed that day that he was in charge of seemingly random events. He controlled when the man drew his bow. He controlled the direction of his aim. He controlled the moment the arrow was released. He controlled the flight of the arrow. He controlled the way Ahab’s armor was put on earlier in the day, and the position that Ahab took as the arrow came nearer. He controlled the arrow as it struck in just the right spot and went in deep enough to produce fatal damage to organs. He brought Ahab to his death.

Lest we feel too sorry for Ahab, we should remind ourselves that he was a wicked king (1 Kings 21:25–26). Moreover, by going into battle he directly disobeyed the warning that Micaiah the prophet gave in God’s name. It was an act of arrogance and disobedience to God. God, who is a God of justice, executed righteous judgment on Ahab. From this judgment we should learn to revere God and honor him.

Ahab’s death was an event of special significance. It had been prophesied beforehand, and Ahab himself was a special person. He was the king of Israel, a prominent leader, a key person in connection with the history of God’s people in the northern kingdom of Israel. But the event illustrates a general principle: God controls seemingly random events. A single outstanding event, like the arrow flying toward Ahab, has not been narrated as an exception but rather as a particularly weighty instance of the general principle, which the Bible articulates in passages where it teaches God’s universal control.

COINCIDENCES

We can find other events in the Bible where the outcome depends on an apparent coincidence or happenstance.

In Genesis 24, Rebekah, who belonged to the clan of Abraham’s relatives, happened to come out to the well just after Abraham’s servant arrived. The servant was praying and waiting, looking for a wife for Abraham’s son Isaac (Gen. 24:15). The fact that Rebekah came out at just the right time was clearly God’s answer to the servant’s prayer. Rebekah later married Isaac and bore Jacob, an ancestor of Jesus Christ.

Years later Rachel, who belonged to the same clan, happened to come out to a well just after Jacob arrived (Gen. 29:6). Jacob met her, fell in love with her, and married her. She became the mother of Joseph, whom God later raised up to preserve the whole family of Jacob during a seven-year famine (Genesis 41–46). When God provided Rachel for Jacob, he was fulfilling his promise that he would take care of Jacob and bring him back to Canaan (28:15). Moreover, he was fulfilling his long-range promise that he would bless the descendants of Abraham (vv. 13–14).

In the life of Joseph, after Joseph’s brothers had thrown him into a pit, a caravan of Ishmaelites happened to go by, traveling on their way to Egypt (Gen. 37:25). The brothers sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites. They in turn happened to sell Joseph to Potiphar, “an officer of Pharaoh” (v. 36). Joseph’s experiences were grim, but they were moving him toward the new position that he would eventually assume in Egypt.

False accusation by the wife of Potiphar led to Joseph being thrown into prison (Gen. 39:20). Pharaoh happened to get angry with his chief cupbearer and his chief baker, and they happened to get thrown into the prison where Joseph now had a position of responsibility (40:1–4). While they were lying in prison, both the cupbearer and the baker happened to have special dreams. Joseph’s interpretation of their dreams led to his later opportunity to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams (Genesis 41). These events led to the fulfillment of the earlier prophetic dreams that God had given to Joseph in his youth (37:5–10; 42:9).

After Moses was born, his mother put him in a basket made of bulrushes and placed it among the reeds by the Nile. The daughter of Pharaoh happened to come down to the river and happened to notice it. When she opened it, the baby happened to cry. The daughter of Pharaoh took pity and adopted Moses as her own son (Ex. 2:3–10). As a result, Moses was protected from the death sentence on Hebrew male children (1:16, 22), and he “was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22). So God worked out his plan, according to which Moses would eventually deliver the Israelites from Egypt.

Joshua sent two spies to Jericho. Out of all the possibilities, they happened to go to the house of Rahab the prostitute (Josh. 2:1). Rahab hid the spies and made an agreement with them (vv. 4, 12–14). Consequently, she and her relatives were preserved when the city of Jericho was destroyed (6:17, 25). Rahab then became an ancestor of Jesus (Matt. 1:5).

Ruth “happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz” (Ruth 2:3). Boaz noticed Ruth, and then a series of events led to Boaz marrying Ruth, who became an ancestor of Jesus (Ruth 4:21–22; Matt. 1:5).

During the life of David, we read the following account of what happened in the wilderness of Maon:

As Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them, a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have made a raid against the land.” So Saul returned from pursuing after David and went against the Philistines. (1 Sam. 23:26–28)

David narrowly escaped being killed, because the Philistines happened to conduct a raid at a particular time, and the messenger happened to reach Saul when he did. If nothing had happened to interfere with Saul’s pursuit, he might have succeeded in killing David. The death of David would have cut off the line of descendants leading to Jesus (Matt. 1:1, 6).

When Absalom engineered his revolt against David’s rule, a messenger happened to come to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom” (2 Sam. 15:13). David immediately fled Jerusalem, where otherwise he would have been killed. During David’s flight, Hushai the Archite happened to come to meet him, “with his coat torn and dirt on his head” (v. 32).

David told Hushai to go back to Jerusalem, pretend to support Absalom, and defeat the counsel of Ahithophel (v. 34). As a result, Hushai was able to persuade Absalom not to follow Ahithophel’s counsel for battle, and Absalom died in the battle that eventually took place (18:14–15). Thus, happenstances contributed to David’s survival.

When Ben-hadad the king of Syria was besieging Samaria, the city was starving. Elisha predicted that the next day the city of Samaria would have flour and barley (2 Kings 7:1). The captain standing by expressed disbelief, and then Elisha predicted that he would “see it… but… not eat of it” (v. 2). The next day the captain happened to be trampled by the people who were rushing out the gate toward the food (v. 17). “He died, as the man of God had said” (v. 17), seeing the food but not living to partake of it. His death was a fulfillment of God’s prophecy.

When Athaliah was about to usurp the throne of Judah, she undertook to destroy all the descendants in the Davidic family. Jehosheba happened to be there, and she took Joash the son of Ahaziah and hid him away (2 Kings 11:2). So the line of the Davidic family was preserved, which had to be the case if the Messiah was to come from the line of David, as God had promised. Joash was an ancestor of Jesus Christ.

During the reign of king Josiah, the priests happened to find the Book of the Law as they were repairing the temple precincts (2 Kings 22:8). Josiah had it read to him, and so he was energized to inaugurate a spiritual reform.

The story of Esther contains further happenstances. Esther happened to be among the young women taken into the king’s palace (Est. 2:8). She happened to be chosen to be the new queen (v. 17). Mordecai happened to find out about Bigthan and Teresh’s plot against the king (v. 22), and Mordecai’s name then happened to be included in the king’s chronicles (v. 23). The night before Haman planned to hang Mordecai, the king happened not to be able to sleep (6:1). He asked for an assistant to read from the chronicles, and he happened to read the part where Mordecai had uncovered the plot against the king (vv. 1–2).

Haman happened to be entering the king’s court at just that moment (v. 4). A whole series of happenstances worked together to lead to Haman’s being hanged, the Jews being rescued, and Mordecai being honored.

Vern S. Poythress

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey