Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Aramaic Broadcasting Network

The Aramaic Broadcasting Network (ABN) is a unique ministry bringing the Gospel to Arabic speaking peoples, and specifically seeking to reach Muslims with the Gospel of Yeshua.

This is a harvest field of a great multitude and must be supported. The importance of this work cannot be overstated. The impact upon our world of effectively bringing Muslims to the knowledge of the Kingship and Lordship of Messiah Yeshua cannot be overstated.

ABN is holding a fundraiser as they expand in their mission. Let our prayers go out to them, and those of us who are able also give financial support.

ABN describes their vision as, "The Vision of ABN: Our vision is to spread the Word of God to Middle Eastern communities worldwide through media. We are raising funds now to get to those goals, and ultimately fulfill the mission of ABN – which is to spread the Word of Christ to these communities in North America, Europe and the Middle East."

[Read about ABN, and find out how to donate here]

I will be tuning in to the show "Jesus or Muhammad?" (part of their English language programming) with David Wood and Sam Shamoun today at 11:00pm Eastern Standard Time. You can tune into the show by going here and clicking "Watch Live!" in the upper right corner.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Prayer and fasting for "The Answers Conference" and Negeen

There is an apologetics conference taking place on March 13th in Virginia with a number of speakers including; David Wood & Nabeel Qureshi (from Acts17Apologetics), Mary Jo Sharp, Sam Shamoun, Mike Licona, Tony Costa, Mark Mittelberg, and several others.

I found out about this conference from the folks over at They also held a very successful fundraiser to send Negeen, a recent convert from Islam to Christianity to the conference (go here to watch Negeen's testimony).

A few of us who comment on the blog are planning to fast and pray, both for the conference in general, and Negeen specifically. Any brothers or sisters who are interested, and feel lead by The Ruach please join us!

Here is a prayer that I will be praying morning, midday and before bed, on the 12th and 13th of March, and I am suggesting it to others who would like to join:

Abba, we thank You for the blessing of communion in prayer with You, through Your Holy Spirit. We thank You, the Living God, all powerful, who hears our prayers and supplications, for your unmerited grace and infinite love. In the name of our Messiah, Yeshua, we come before You Heavenly Father and ask that by the mighty presence of the Holy Spirit You protect and guide the speakers at the conference, and protect and guide all the attendees as well. We specifically ask this on behalf of our precious sister Negeen, whom You saw fit to call out of the trap of Islam, into saving faith in Your Unique Son. Mighty Adonai, we ask that You will inspire all of us to follow You more completely, and to seek after Your heart in all things, and we offer up fasting and prayer in an attitude of taking up our own cross like Your mighty Messiah, that we may in this small way be reminded that our flesh is being crucified. We offer up the prayers of our lips as supplications that may be to You a sweet sound. We fast as a type and shadow that our flesh is passing away, and life is in Mashiyach. We trust, that according to Your word, as two or more of us gather, You will be in the midst of us Lord Yeshua, hearing and answering our prayers. Maranatha! Amen amen.

[Scripture meditations for the day of the fast]

Psalm 24

Psalm 72

Let it be well with us as we remember the words of our Messiah in regards to fasting:

"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (Matthew 6:16-18).

Any additional prayers or comments, please feel free to post to the comments section.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Jailed Iranian Christians set free!

I was out of the country and both extremely busy and away from consistent internet access for about 4 months, but I thought it fitting to resume my (somewhat sporadic) blogging right where I left off; with news about Maryam Rustampoor and Marzieh Amirizadeh, the two Iranian women were unjustly imprisoned in Iran. [Previous post]

"We rejoice to announce that, after 259 days in detention, Iranian Christians Maryam Rustampoor and Marzieh Amirizadeh were released from Evin prison on Wednesday November 18, 2009 at 3:30pm without bail. Elam Ministries notes that “they may yet have to face a court hearing and still need our prayers.” [Perscuted Church blog]

Amen amen!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Christian women imprisoned in Iran

Two Christian women are in prison in Iran because of their faith. The following is taken from The Voice of Martyrs blog, Persecuted Church:

"Two Iranian Christian women, Maryam Rustampoor (27) and Marzieh Amirizadeh (30), continue to be held in Evin prison in Iran because of their Christian faith, unfairly labelled as ‘anti-government activists’, because of the hostility of the government towards practising Christians.

"Arrested on March 5 , 2009, the two young women have now been in prison for four months. After being in solitary confinement for three weeks in May and early June, they were then put [in] one small cell together for about two weeks. Then, following the arrests of thousands of protestors after the disputed presidential elections, Marzieh and Maryam were moved to a larger cell to make room for new prisoners. About 600 women were brought [to] Evin prison during the days of the protests. There is still no clarity regarding their case. In one court session in June a judge told them that he would make sure they were both executed as ‘apostates’. Maryam and Marzieh have responded with courage, however, telling the judge to “expedite his sentence.”

“Maryam and Marzieh have demonstrated great courage and trust in God. They believe the promise of Jesus that they will be given the words to speak when they are taken before judges,” says Sam Yeghnazar, founder of Elam Ministries."
It seems quite clear that this is the fate of Christians and Jews under Sharia law. They are persecuted as second-class citizens and denied the free practice and expression of their faith. We shouldn't be greatly surprised when the Quran commands Muslims to force "The people of the Book" [Jews and Christians] to pay the Jizya tax in order to be subdued and humiliated as dhimmi.

Quran 9:29 - "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued (humiliated)."

Ibn Kathir's Tafsir ('commentary') of At-Taubah 9:29 can be read [here]. Read his explanation of Jizya being a "sign of kufr and disgrace" (9:30) [here]. This last link also details some of the penalties and apartheid measures placed against Christians in the Pact of Umar ibn al-Khattab. I highly recommend this as reading for a starting place of understanding what happens to Christians and Jews in an Islamic state.

Monday, June 8, 2009

"Do no Harm." It's a Mitzvah!

I had a discussion with an individual recently who is completely unlearned in Torah. The discussion eventually came around to the Torah Mitzvot [Commands] of “Do no harm”. Now, for anyone that knows anything about Torah or Judaism, there is absolutely no question whatsoever that portions of the Torah command us to avoid harming others. This is actually one of the greatest commands of all the Torah. After seeing a number of verses from the Torah where this principle is found, he basically just called it all “irrelevant” and even accused me of “twisting the Bible” and lying. I’m not sure why a non-Torah observant individual who doesn’t even believe the Bible to be the word of G-d would think he is qualified to tell me this, but nevertheless, he denied the plain fact that the Rabbis, all learned Jews, and Christians have historically, for hundreds upon hundreds of years understood these verses to teach a basic principle of “Do no harm” to others, and this basic principle is then to be applied to specific circumstances to guide the behavior and decisions of the believer. So, I now endeavor to undertake a small analysis of this topic. Let us begin by establishing the Torah verses that teach this basic and universal principle:

  • “You shall not murder” (Shemot 20:12), from the Mitzvot lo sa’aseh [negative commandments]. This is a prohibition from causing the ultimate form of harm to another. The taking of a life in murder harms the murdered and all the loved ones of the murdered.
  • “You shall not steal” (Vayikra 19:13), from the Mitzvot lo sa’aseh. This is an injunction from causing unjust monetary loss, and by extension is an injunction not to cause harm against others.
  • “You shall not place a stumbling block before the blind” (Vayikra 19:14), from the Mitzvot lo sa’aseh. If it is forbidden to place even a potentially harmful object in front of another, then it follows conclusively that it is forbidden to do direct harm to another.
  • “You shall love your fellow as yourself” (Vayikra 19:18), from the positive Mitzvot. This enjoins treating your fellow man/woman as if they were your own body, and prohibits the act of inflicting harm.
  • The Mitzvah of preventing someone from incurring a loss (Devarim 22:3) is not only applicable to property but to anything of instrinsic value, and can include people and their bodies as well as their property.

These verses above, and others like them, have always been the foundation of Judaism’s understanding that G-d wants us to avoid harming others. I challenge anyone to go to a Rabbi; Orthodox, Reformed, Reconstructionist, Karaite, Messianic, or otherwise; and get him to tell you that these verses do not teach this! Now let’s take a look at some of the Nazarene writings and see how The Mashiyach has taught us in his role as the living breathing Torah manifest on earth, as well as what His Shlichim had to say:

  • Matthew 22:37-39 when He said, “’You must love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and most important commandment. 39The second is like it: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Torah and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.” This is an affirmation of what the two greatest principles of Torah and Judaism are. Namely, a) love G-d, b) avoid harm to your fellow man/woman.
  • Matthew 7:12 when Mashiyach said, “Therefore, whatever you want people to do for you, do the same for them, because this summarizes the Torah and the Prophets."
  • Matthew 5:39 where we are taught to “Turn the other cheek” and not to return violence and harm when insulted.
  • Galatians 5:14 where we are told, “For the whole Torah is summarized in a single statement: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’”
  • "If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself', you do well." (James 2:8)

These are just some of the verses that have been seen to teach the foundational Torah principle of “Do no harm” for hundreds upon hundreds of years. Anyone who denies this is quite simply ignorant of Torah and the historical understanding of these verses in all forms of Judaism and Christianity.

To see an example of a basic principle from Torah being applied to a complex modern situation take a look at this Jewish perspective on healthcare discussed at the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture. Of course, from a Nazarene Jewish perspective, any citation of oral traditions in Mishnah and Talmud are only accurate in so far as they agree with the written Torah in our Bibles, but it demonstrates application of the general principle to the specific moral question. It is understood, and well established as historical practice, that the verses of injunction against doing harm within the Torah are applicable to an inumerable multitude of ethical questions regarding personal behavior and community. Everything from business dealings, to family matters, to marital questions, and even personal health can be guided by these core foundational verses and the principle from the Creator they reveal.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tehillim Remix

A little "remix" from the book of Psalms (Tehillim)

Hear my cry, O Elohim; Give heed to my prayer[1]. Let the lying lips be mute, which speak arrogantly against the righteous with pride and contempt[2]. There is nothing reliable in what they say; their inward part is destruction itself, their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue[3]. The words of YHWH are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times[4]. We will sing for joy over your victory, and in the name of our Elohim we will set up our banners, May YHWH fulfill all your petitions[5]. Your adversaries have roared in the midst of Your meeting place; they have set up their own standards for signs[6]. Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised[7]. My shield is with Elohim, who saves the upright in heart[8]. And my enemy will say, "I have overcome him," and my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken[9]. I have set YHWH continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken[10]. From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength because of Your adversaries, to make the enemy and the revengeful cease[11]. I call upon YHWH, who is worthy to be praised[12]. YHWH of hosts is with us; the Elohim of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah[13]. Arise, O YHWH, confront him, bring him low[14], That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving and declare all Your wonders[15]. What elohim is great like our Elohim?[16] You are the Elohim who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples[17], You have by Your power redeemed Your people[18]. I will give thanks to YHWH with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders[19]. Arise, O Elohim, and plead Your own cause,[20] For by You I can run upon a troop; and by my Elohim I can leap over a wall[21]. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your right hand upholds me; and Your gentleness makes me great[22]. YHWH lives, and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the Elohim of my salvation[23]. Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of YHWH, our Elohim[24]. I shall lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of YHWH[25].

[1]Psalm 61:1, [2]Psalm 31:18, [3]Psalm 5:9, [4]Psalm 12:6, [5]Psalm 20:5, [6]Psalm 74:4, [7]Psalm 10:2, [8]Psalm 7:10, [9]Psalm 16:8, [10]Psalm 13:4, [11]Psalm 8:2, [12]Psalm 18:3, [13]Psalm 46:7, [14]Psalm 17:13, [15]Psalm 26:7, [16]Psalm 77:13, [17]Psalm 77:14, [18] Psalm 77:15, [19]Psalm 9:1, [20]Psalm 74:22, [21]Psalm 18:29, [22]Psalm 18:35, [23]Psalm 18:46, [24]Psalm 20:7, [25]Psalm 116:13