Archive for January, 2011

Your prayers are requested for those living in the Muslim world, as we see tensions rising in places like Egypt, as well as other parts of the Middle East — especially for our Christian brothers and sisters. A Christian sister (in a e-mail that was received from that region) shares her concerns, requesting prayer:

“My heart aches for the Muslim world… I realized that the troubles are just growing more and more every day. I see split personalities in people developing from liberal to extremist. And in the midst of that — whether Egypt or Tunisia; Yemen or Libya; we are called to be the presence of Jesus in this place. But we are held back so much because of security concerns and the control that has been placed on us as Christians in these countries. I just see a new wave of movement occurring across the Middle East. These ripples will reach those of you in the West. I assure you of that. These ripples, come from a stirring in the hearts and minds of passionate people under the influence of a very spiritual system.”

She goes on to talk about the persecution Christian face in her part of the world:

“There are people in Afghanistan awaiting trial for being Christian; people in Iran being watched every time they go to church or call their pastor; and then there is our sister Aasia, imprisoned for her faith. She is alone, cold, perhaps afraid and anxious. Who is with her today? Does she know its Sunday? ‘Lord let Aasia; our brothers and sisters in Egypt at this difficult time; the church in Tunisia; and my neighboring Christians in Iran, Afghanistan, be comforted by You. Let them know that many people around the world are praying f or them. Please, Jesus, surround them with your love. We remember the girls in Pakistan who were raped for being Christians (the family of Salman Taaseer). Please pray for pastors in Pakistan, and those that are serving throughout the Muslim world. They are tired and need so desperately to be upheld. Lord, so many needy people — where do I start? I will start on my knees before you!’”

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An Assemblies of God leader is calling for prayer for dozens of Iranian Christians. The denomination’s news service reported that Dr. George Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, and chairman of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, is urging church members around the globe to pray for more than 70 Christians who were arrested in Iran over Christmas. In addition, the pastor of the Assemblies of God church in Isfahan, was arrested on New Year’s Eve. Wood said, “These Christians represent the house churches in Iran. For the past year or two, we have seen efforts by the Iranian government specifically to stamp out these ministries.” Wood is asking Assemblies of God congregations to pray for these Christians in all services over the next few weeks.

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On Monday, January 17, 2011, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is a national holiday marking the birth date of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., observed on the third Monday of January each year, around the time of King’s birthday, January 15. King was a Baptist minister, and the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.

Dr. King led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, serving as its first president. King’s efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. There, he raised public consciousness of the civil rights movement and established himself as one of the greatest orators in U.S. history. In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. He was assassinated in 1968. Dr. King would have been 82 years-old.

I Have A Dream

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”2

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

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