James 2: 14-26

Floods, Persecution Crisis Grows in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, August 16, 2010 - Christians here, who have been suffering a new a wave of terror from Islamic extremists and criminals, are now facing terrible flooding. They are desperately in need of more emergency help now. The Christians in many areas are under a virtual state of siege according to eye-witness reports from indigenous missionaries in Pakistan.

"The crisis aid we sent in July for survivors of the persecution in Faisalabad got through and is making a big difference," says the Christian Aid director for South Asia, but there are now many more needs in Pakistan. This is all made more urgent by the worst flooding in 80 years.

More than 1,500 people have died and 200,000 Christian families are among the 20 million affected by the disaster. Three million are homeless. The flooding began in the frontier regions of Peshawar, northwest Pakistan and across the border in Taliban-infested Afghanistan. However, they have now spread downward throughout the country.

Christian Aid Mission had established an emergency fund to help care for survivors after Pastor Rashid Emmanuel and his brother were murdered during a court appearance in Faisalabad, Pakistan last month. The brothers were brought to court under draconian blasphemy laws designed to persecute Christians and other minorities. Since then, the needs have expanded beyond persecution.

Those wishing to help the widows, orphans and other survivors of anti-Christian violence in Pakistan and the flood victims may give online or send contributions to Christian Aid Mission, Box 9037, Charlottesville, VA 22906. Gifts should be designated to fund code 470PERS.

"Native missionaries are grateful for the help we are sending but the needs are increasing every day - we must send more help," said the director.

Most of the central provinces have been flooded including the rich agricultural heartland of Punjab. Bridges are out everywhere downstream, and in some places, like the Swat Valley, all the bridges are gone! There is a growing fear that cholera will spread and the reconstruction will take years.

Meanwhile, there is still a need for ongoing relief to thousands of Christian families who were burned out of their homes and shops during the organized persecution campaigns that began last month.

After the murders of the Emmanuel brothers by masked gunmen, thousands of Muslims went on a rampage in the nearby Christian communities of Warispura and Daunagar. Automatic weapons fire and rioting continued for days and Christian lawyers say the police did nothing to stop the looting of Christian shops and homes.

Christian leaders begged Christian Aid to alert Christians in America and around the world to pray for them - and response is starting to arrive.

The Christian brothers were falsely accused of posting blasphemous posters at a local train station by the single witness of Khurram Shahzad, a Muslim man. The posters were later proven to be forgeries by police investigators.

The Emmanuel brothers had headed a non-profit organization called the United Ministries Pakistan located in the Warispura Christian community of Faisalabad.

Almost daily over the last month, threats of violence and physical attacks have occurred against Christian Pakistanis. Several other reports of killings and burnings have been documented from various parts of the country and in nearby Afghanistan since this current anti-Christian persecution began.

"We will continue to send help to both the flood victims and persecuted believers in Pakistan," said the Field Director for South Asia, "just as we have for many years."

Click here to help persecuted believers and flood victims in Pakistan.

Christian Aid Mission

email: insider@christianaid.org

phone: 800-977-5650


The Pathway of Faith

August 4, 2010

The Pathway of Faith

Faith is the foundation of our Christian lives. Hebrews 11:1 gives us the biblical definition of this term: "faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (NIV).

True belief is more than something we express verbally; it is a pathway you and I follow. Throughout life, our heavenly Father takes us on a journey, allowing us to experience a real relationship with Him as we encounter each circumstance.

Today's passage illustrates that God has a purpose for everything we encounter. The Lord promised Abraham descendants as numerous as the stars visible in the sky. (Gen. 15:5). Then He directed His servant to obey several commands, such as moving from home. Abraham was not told the details of this plan.

We now know that he was the father of the Jewish nation, and his lineage included Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind. Though the patriarch did not obey perfectly, he did step forward in faith, trusting in God's ultimate purpose.

We, too, can know with certainty that the Lord is weaving together a beautiful plan. He isn't obligated to explain His reasoning or reveal every detail. Instead, God shows us the next step (Ps. 119:105), and our job is to obey, even when it doesn't make sense.

If you want to know what God is doing in your life, obey Him. Often, you won't understand the intricacies of the plan, but you can trust the goodness of His heart. Rest assured that all He does is purposeful and for your benefit. So step forward in faith, and you will see His faithfulness.


Eternal Life

August 3, 2010
Eternal Life
John 3:16-18

Each of us faces the same dilemma. We have a sin debt that we owe to God but no way to pay for it. None of our solutions--living a moral life, being religious, or doing more good deeds—can take care of our problem.

God Himself has provided the solution--one that both satisfies His justice and grants us mercy. He sent His Son to pay the penalty we owed. Jesus was qualified to be our substitute because He never sinned (2 Cor. 5:21). He willingly took our place on the cross and experienced the full measure of the Lord's wrath against our sinfulness. In dying for us, Christ secured our salvation by paying the debt for all our past, present, and future sins. When we trust in Jesus and surrender our life to Him, He becomes our personal Savior and Lord.

The great tragedy is that many have heard the gospel and rejected it. Some are like the rich ruler who placed his trust in material possessions and turned his back on the truth. Others have refused to even listen. Another group is convinced they are heaven-bound, based on erroneous confidence in their own good deeds. Only those who have entered into a relationship with Jesus through faith in Him will be welcomed into heaven.

If you're wondering, How can I have eternal life? There is only one answer: through faith in Jesus Christ (John 14:6). We have an Enemy who actively seeks to blind people to the truth (2 Cor. 4:4). Pray that many who are separated from the Lord will trust in the Savior and gain everlasting life.


The Rich Young Ruler

August 2, 2010

The Rich Young Ruler
LUKE 18: 18-23

Three of the four gospels contain an account of the young man who asked Jesus a very important question: "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (v. 18). A ruler with great wealth, he considered himself a moral man because he had kept God's commandments.

However, he was operating under the false assumption that good works bring salvation. He seemed to be asking Jesus what else he had to do to secure his place in heaven--besides all the good things he'd already accomplished.

This is what I refer to as the "great deception"--the false belief that eternal life can be earned through our own efforts. If we give credence to this lie, then we do not understand the problem of our sin and how it separates us from God. Scripture tells us that we have inherited a sinful nature from the first man (Rom. 5:12). Ever since that time, humanity has been in rebellion against the Lord and under His judgment. There is nothing we can do to pay for our sin. If this were the end of the story, we would be a people without hope for today or the future. But the good news is that the heavenly Father recognized our plight and mercifully provided the way to heaven (John 14:6).

When God made us in His image, He created us to live forever. So, though our earthly body will perish, our spirit will never die. The question about eternal life is important, as we'll spend eternity either with God in heaven or in an insufferable state, separated permanently from Him (Matt. 25:34, 41).

-Contributions from: Dr. Charles Stanley, Oswald Chambers, C.S. Lewis-
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