Category Archives: News Worthy

I Dare to “Prophesy” (Or Is It Wishful Thinking?)

I have been doing a lot of reading lately about Judean Christians, Messianic Evangelism and the underground churches of Asia. And I have found both wonderful and disturbing things. The approach of the Gospel during the last two hundred years in Asia, Israel and to the Jews in America and Europe have been done without the understanding of the people being witnessed to.

In the case of the witness to the Jews, it was done (past tense) to “hurry up the End Days” and Jews were not allowed to keep the culture and history as The Chosen of God. In Asia as well as Africa, the witness to the people was done to “Westernize” them and “Anglicize” them. As a result the efforts were less than successful. Fortunately, the efforts have changed and those of Asia, in particular China and India, have created homegrown evangelists with culturally appealing motives and results. Hundreds of people are coming to the Messiah, Jesus daily. But still the efforts in America to evangelize the Jews is still grounded on the theory that it all related to the “Second Coming” of Jesus.

This is what disturbs me. The true motive should be that the Christ came first for the Jews and then the Gentiles. Westernizing them and turning them into “Good Protestants” is not in the plan of God. Jews are to come to Christ because of His Love for them as the Chosen People of the Father. We, the Western Christians have no more right in turning Jews into Anglicized Christians than we have the right to make Chinese WASP think-alike’s.

We need to let the Chosen Children of God be the people that God made and to promote the message of Jesus in context to the understanding that they are the first of His children. Somehow that is inconceivable to our superiority complex type of thinking. I know that the approach of the “Jews for Jesus” is more in tune with the biblical teaching of Isaiah and Ezekiel, yet they attract as many non-Jews as Jews to their calling. Messianic Judaism is also effective in bringing American Jews to the Lord Redeemer. But the fear of the last thousand years of persecution of the Jews by European Christians will not be erased so easily.

The conflict is still there but that does not seem to be a problem to the Chinese Christians. They and the Believers in India accept Western help but seek to put their “twist” on the Word and make it not American or British, but Asian. Korean Evangelists have been expressing the Gospel with their Eastern perspective that does not have a history of animosity toward the Jews or to the Muslims. Their efforts have shown some success in the Middle East for where ever they go to find work, they set up places of worship. India will soon be reaching out to their neighbors and will join with the Chinese Christians in spreading the Gospel westward into Asia Minor and North Africa as they also seek work ourside of India. But the Chinese are the leaders in the spread of the Good News of Jesus throughout Asia.

And they have a vision! That vision is to bring the Gospel from China along the “Silk Road” all the way to Jerusalem. Even though they suffer persecution in China, they desire to spread the Good News westward into Nations of Turmoil and adversity and plant Churches where ever they are. The goal is to plant faith based communities in every nation. Because of this effort being done under persecution, they will spread the word just as the Christians of the early church did. Their efforts will be more successful because of the persecution. Where the Western efforts show little results, their efforts will reap vast converts and I predict that through the efforts of these persecuted Christians, Jerusalem will become a Nation of Christ and still remain the Nation of Jews.

I have no Bible verses that confirm this other than the belief of Paul that Jerusalem would accept their Messiah before the Second Coming of Jesus. I do not accept some of the ideas that have been presented over the last hundred and fifty years regarding the End Days but I do hold that Jerusalem will be the center of Christian thought rather than Rome or any other Western City. It is an understanding that those who suffer for Christ are better witnesses that those of us who have no concept of suffering. The Gospel spread throughout the Roman Empire during the early years with termendous persecution. In China and India, and now North Africa, persecution of Christians is growing and the Word of God is spreading. I have a warm place in my heart for the Children of Abraham and it has always been my prayer as one adopted into the Family of God, that they would be like the prodigal son and return to the Father and seek his mercy.

So my “prophecy” is that Israel will not come to Christ by the West but by the East. The evangelical approach of America and Europe will fail because they will not trust us. They will accept the Faith of those who will come to them from the East because their motives will be pure while ours will seem to be with strings attached. Perhaps this is the message to the West; let our motives be as pure as the Message. Seek to redeem the Children for their sake and not for any other motive. Let God’s grace guide us and bless us so that we can be fruitful witnesses to His Word.

“God, Torah, Messiah” What a Book!

For Christmas my wonderful wife ordered the book “God, Torah, Messiah. The Messianic Jewish Theology of Dr.Louis Goldberg” edited by Dr Richard A. Robinson. This massive study is offered by JEWS FOR JESUS and is available through their website book store (www.store.jewsforjesus.org). I will tell you that is not light reading even though it read fairly easy. The content and the context of the work require a clear and focused mind and as I am one whose mind tends to wonder, it was difficult for me to read for long periods of time. Yet because it was so intense, it was equally as hard to put it down. Still, I feel that much of it was lost to me and I will read it again and again to grasp what was conveyed.

This book is going to have a prominent place in my library and must be kept close at hand. It is for serious students of the Messianic Faith and an encouragement to mainstream Gentile Christians. Every Evangelical pastor should have this work in his library and it should be taught in every Christian and Jewish school. While most Christians are totally unaware of teh Messianic Jewish movement, it has been around from the very beginning. As Gentile Christians, we tend to overlook that the first churches were in Judea and all members were Jewish. We over look that fact the some of the Pharisees hear the call of Jesus and repented and believed. This book give insight as to how and why Jews chose to either accept Jesus or to reject Him. The Theology and the history of the early church and the teaching of the synagogues played an important role in the development of the early followers of Christ.

I will warn you that the book is very long (711 pages) and that some chapters need to be read in parts because of their length (130 pages), but the effort to read it is worth every word. I gave myself headaches trying to “burn the words” into my brain. If you love to learn how others came to walk in the Way of the Lord, this is the best work on Jewish Faith and Jesus.

Islam Loves to Hate Christ!

Islamic thugs kill seven Christians on Coptic Christmas (Jan 6) in Egypt.

Malaysian mob fire-bombs three Christian Churches,

35 of the 50 countries on Open Doors watch list of worst persecutors are Islamic. It is now more than ever we must be vigilant in our Faith because as much as Muslims claim to be a loving belief, its history is one of war, hate and intolerance. Now more than ever, the “radical” teachings are being brought to focus and instead of bringing Islam into the frame of peaceful existence with other faiths, the true nature of Mohammad is portrayed as the vengeance of God against humanity and the destroyer of Christians, Jews and infidels the world over.

Never before have I believed that we are in the days of the “Anti-Christ” but I am forced to believe by the actions of the Islamic radicals and the failure of World Powers to stop them that we will face a war that will end mankind as we know it. Yet in all the turmoil and strife, Christ’s church grows! Even in China, the underground churches grow daily. In India, under the persecution by radical Hindus and now attacks by Muslims, one group claims that new churches increase their numbers of new converts to Christ by as much as 700 a week.

It is the law of Islam that if a Muslim converts to Christ, he is to be killed. Even though the Koran states that Christians, Jews and Islamics believe in the same God, they still plan to rid the world of all religious beliefs other than their own. And when they rid the world of “infidels” then they will make war on each other. In fact, they do that anyway. Sunni against Shi’a, an ancient conflict, continues in Iraq and in many former Soviet nations.

In these days there is no one of the many Islamic cultures to take the lead and bring an end to the hatred because the Law of Islam is based on hate of mankind. Pray for the Christians in the persecuted land each day. Support through Open Doors, ICC or other Christian organizations the pastors and missionaries in Islamic Nations and start watch groups in your local churches to keep the world aware that Islam is not a friend of the Peace of God but a tool of Hate and injustice.

Islam Take Note: Meet a True Martyr, Pervaiz Masih

On October 20, 2009, two suicide bombers tried to enter a Muslim school with the intention of killing as many young men and young women as possible. The fact that this school is in Pakistan’s Capital, Islamabad, is not lost in the story. Islamic Terrorists hatred of education and advancement of the mind is so great they will kill their own children rather than allow them to advance.

One man, a lowly janitor, a Christian man who was glad to have even a part-time job, stood in the way of destruction. 300 young girls were packed into the cafeteria when the suicide bomber tried to enter, dressed as a woman. Pervaiz Masih blocked his way and told him that he was not allowed to enter. The bomber was forced to detonate the bomb early and outside of the building killing only himself and the janitor and three young girls. Had he been able to get inside the room, most of the young students would have been killed.

Pakistan is calling him a hero. Professor Rateh Muhammad Malik, the rector said, “Despite being a Christian , he sacrificed his life to save Muslim girls.” The fact is that as a Christian, he responded as is expected. Jesus tells us that no greater love has a man than to lay down his life for another. Pervaiz Masih gave his life not for just one another but for 300 girls that do not share the same faith as he does. He stood in harms way to protect the very people whose religion calls for the destruction of anyone who does not accept Islam as the only path to God.

His Faith, his God, and his personal resect for humanity caused him to rise up and stand in the gap so that others may have life. In Pakistan there is a movement to protect those who are not Islamic but it is met with fierce opposition. Those who live to hate, want the right to kill any who disagree with their brand of vile intolerance.

But to all who can reason I say; look to Pervaiz Masih to know what it is to be a martyr. Learn from him what it means to die with glory for the True God. See what manner of man it is who knows what love for man and God really means. Turn from the lies and tragedy of hate and hear the message of love, peace and assurance that is offered by the true God. Would your religion ask you to die for 300 Christian children? Would you die to protect a Buddhist, Hindu or Sikh child? My God would! Jesus did!

International Day of Prayer and Fort Hood Killings

This Sunday is the International Day of Prayer and the focus is on the Persecuted Church. But a new concern has come up here in America. While it was an Islamic who went on a rampage and killed twelve soldiers and wounded thirty-one others before being brought down, he was an American Officer and it is unclear as to his motives.

This man was educated in America, enlisted in the military and sent to Medical School to learn to be a physiologist. He was trained by the military to help others deal with the stress of war and to cope with the conflicts of human nature that come with the violence of conflict. He was trained to aid service personnel to reenter into society and to be able to function without the constant fear that soldiers live with in war torn areas.

Somewhere down the line, he lost control of his own life and his superiors failed to take head of his personal conflicts with the war in Iraq. We may not ever know if it was because of his Islamic beliefs or some twisted belief about the American presence in Iraq. What ever was the reasons, he caused a tremendous amount of grief and heightened the fear of Islam here in America.

On this day of Prayer, we should lift up those families touched by this tragic event and pray for the families and friends not only of the victims but also for the family of Major Hassan. They also are victims of this event. Many Islamic Inman here in America have already came out condemning this shootings as well as the family of Major Hassan. The preliminary investigations show that there is no terrorist treat and his actions where a result of a single person’s mental state.

While his religion may have played a part in his attack, it is possible it was not the cause of it. I stress this because we do not want to react as a “mob” and condemn irrationally Muslims in America because of a single man’s deranged actions. Unlike the reactions of many in other parts of the world, we tend to think before acting. This is one of those times. Let our reaction be a moral example of Christian Love to those who fear and hate us irrationally.

As we go into prayer this Sunday, pray for healing, safety and the peace of God for all effected by the tragedy. As you pray, separate the needs of the Persecuted Church from Fort Hood. Before you go to church this Sunday, open your Internet to Open Doors and International Christian Concerns and read about the persecutions throughout the world so you have an understanding of the need of prayer and for whom you should lift in prayer. Pray that the Nations of Persecution soften the hearts to the Word of God and those Countries of Concern turn their hearts to the message of religious tolerance and allow the Word of God to be freely shared.

Even if your local church is no participating in the IDP, spend time with God for the needs, safety and care of those who live in constant fear because of their faith in Christ.

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Chevron’s Deal with the “Devil”

Asia News International reports that two energy giants, Trout Industries (France) and Chevron Corp (USA). have been helping Myanmar (Burma) train its forces to kill, imprison and abuse its citizens to the tune of US$ 5 billion!

This report has been confirmed by many other news sources including Yahoo News, The Himalayan Times, Sydney Morning News, the Seattle P.I. and the Daily News(Bangladesh). I have reported in the past the need for prayer for the people of Burma, especially the children, but to find out that an American Icon, Chevron is financing the slaughter of these children for the expectation of Natural gas purchases is “Making a deal with the Devil.”

To all Americans, I say it is vital that we express our outrage at these actions by condemning Chevron with our pocketbooks, not only boycotting them and their products but writing to the company, emailing them and publicly proclaiming out disdain. That a company that proudly proclaims that it is a true American Symbol and quietly pay off a violent government and hide the money in banks in Singapore, is equal to murder for hire. The money are used to “train” Myanmar to protect the gas fields, but in reality, they are used to commit forced labor, murder, and bribery. As a Free People and a People of God, our voices should be heard and we are to be the voice of the tormented and oppressed. Say no to chevron and to any enterprise that profit from the death of chirldren and tha manipulation of human rights.

After Forty Years, What Next?

Sep. 7,1969 Paul Shiras and Colleen Byers became Mr. and Mrs. Paul Shiras

I can hardly believe it. Colleen and I have been married forty years! And my two wonderful children and my extra sweet daughter-in-law helped make it memorable by allowing us to kick back and do nothing. While there was no gift giving, the best gift was thier showing how much they cared and loved us.

We wanted no gifts because we know that they each have to keep a tight reign in the finances and we want for nothing. The only thing we wanted was to enjoy their company and to share in family time. But the real grace is in how they treated us. We cooked no meals, washed no dishes and watched old movies and played games. And, as in every time they come together, we worshiped together.

Our lives are blessed because as parents, we know that all our children, love the Lord in whatever they do. We are blessed with a cute grandson and even though he is on the verge of the ‘terrible twos”, he is still a sweet little boy who laughs more than he cries and really tries to be a good little boy.

The sermon lesson this week was on “Succeeding in Your Life Mission.” I would like to think that as parents, we did succeed and because of the way our children express honest and gracious love toward us, it is easy to praise God for the blessings of being a parent. Sometimes the mission of God may be as simple as that; teach your children in the way of the Lord.

What is next? Well, how about continuing in the path of Righteousness so that my grandson (and soon his sibling) will know that God is Good even in the hard times. To support and encourage my daughter-in-law as she raises these sweet gifts of God. To continue in the search of a perfected life through Christ. And to continue to love my wife as Christ loves me. And while loving Colleen is easy, loving her as much as Christ does is not all that easy. But I figure that I have at least a few more years to learn how to do it. It will be my lifelong ambition. To learn to truly love my wife, my soul-mate, my life partner, as Christ loves me.

Yes forty years may seem like a long time, but remember, God loved us even before He created the first atom. he loved us before He said, “Let there be light.” I guess if He can do that, I can at least be faithful to the love of my wife by living to love and to honer her. So to Colleen Shiras I say as did the song on our wedding day, ” I love you more each day, I love you more than I can say.”

Death of an American Icon

While many Christians on the Far Right may not agree, Sen. Ted Kennedy was a Icon in the scheme of American politics. and while I only agreed with about half of what he stood for, he still was a strong and powerful voice in the American conscience.

His strength and his weakness was his true concern for the majority of the people and the the protection of those who could not defend themselves against the powerful. His benevolence was his legacy and he lived to make right the law. To many this view of righteousness appeared to be “Leftist” and to those who lived to gain power over the weak, he was a threat. But his politics reflected his religious beliefs as well as his personal convictions, he was true unto himself.

But I believe that he truly believed that he was doing what was righteous and good for all Americans. Because of that, I can mourn his loss even though I did not agree with much of his convictions. America will miss him. So I pray for his family and for America at the death of a great man. May his soul rest in peace and may he be received in Heaven to join his brothers to the praising of their Savior, Jesus.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My Word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgement, but have passed from death into Life.”


Listen

24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (ESV)

Urgent Prayer Need – Uyghur Christian witness in China

After being “detained” at Kashi Detention Center since Jan 21, 2008, Alimujiang Yimiti has a trail date set for July 28. That is today! He has been charges with “revealing state secrets or intelligence to overseas organizations.” However, the real charges are that he is a Christian Witness and shares his Faith among the Uyghur people, his neighbors.

Pray all day for a judgement that will allow him his freedom and for all the other Christians in Chinese prisons.

Good News from the Mission Fields, and Some Bad.

I am encouraged by the news I get from the different Missions fields. The Baptist Standard tells me that Jimmy and Rosalynn Center Offering for Religious Liberty has been successful in training young women to start home Churches in Iran. In Thailand, I hear that the children that were run out of Burma are under protection from the militants who would cross over into Thailand to take the children back and use them for porters and minesweepers.

In India, the Roman Catholic Church reports that Christians are now being offered protection from Hindu militants and are allowed to start rebuilding their homes and churches. In England, doctors and health workers are demanding the right to pray for their patients.

All these things are good news yet there are still many reports of Christians under attack in these same places as well as in China, Africa and the Near and Middle East. The saddest things I hear are that the Christians are under attack in Israel and in Palestine, not by Arabs or Hezbollah, but by Ultra-conservative Jews. Muslims and Hindus are not the only ones persecuting Christian converts, Messianic Jews are also under attack. Continue to pray for these brave souls and for the Christians in Iraq, Iran and in Pakistan. With every battle won, there are still many more lost.

I am confident that the prophecy of Micah will still be fulfilled, “In the last days, the Temple of the LORD in Jerusalem will become the most important place on earth. People from all over the world will come and say, ‘Come let us go to the mountain of the LORD, to the Temple of the God of Israel. There He will teach us His ways,so that we may obey Him.'” That day can not come until Christ is received as the Redeemer of the Nation of Israel, no the secular nation but the Spiritual Nation, the Nation of God.