AA GROUP EXCLUDED OVER CHRISTIAN CONTENT IN MEETINGS

An Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group has been separated from the organisation because it includes Christian content in its meetings. Leaders of the group which meets in a church in Yeovil were told that prayer and talking about Jesus made new members feel uncomfortable. It’s now been removed from the AA online directory following a vote by local bosses. Minutes from a meeting of the Somerset Intergroup, which oversees AA groups in the region, describe the church-held group as a “Christian based meeting, lovely meeting but not along AA guidelines”.Concerns were also raised over an announcement in one of the recovery group sessions that the only way to recovery is through Jesus. The Somerset Intergroup claimed that, while there was nothing wrong with discussions about Jesus, they didn’t belong in an AA meeting.

1971 Bill Wilson died. His last words to AA members were, “God bless you and Alcoholics Anonymous forever.

John Palmer, a leader of the group, said: “AA was founded by Christians to transform lives. Over the years I have seen Christianity marginalised from the organisation. It is sad to see, and I think AA is having less of an impact on people’s lives as a result. “Of course, you don’t have to be a Christian to be part of an AA group, but if you cannot say the Lord’s Prayer in a church without being treated like this, what are we coming to? “We were shocked when we found out about the action being taken against us, but we are determined to carry on.” Campaign group Christian Concern is now taking action to get the group reinstated within Alcoholics Anonymous. Chief executive Andrea Williams said: “The message of the gospel is of a saviour who came to bring hope to every one of us. The power of the gospel is what inspired the setting up of AA following the radical transformation alcoholics experienced after encountering Jesus Christ.

Is now saying the Lord’s Prayer in a church offensive and not appropriate? “It is sad, but not surprising in our world of cancel culture, to hear from this group that the gospel message is no longer appropriate for AA and must be kept ‘separate.’ “We call on the AA to reinstate this group to the online directory and to recognise the crucial role Christian faith plays in transforming lives.”

Source: Premier Christian News

Separating and punishing Christians so that they cannot attract new members for sharing the gospel message of hope is disturbing and ludicrous but Biblical prophecy tells us that this is just one of the signs we are approaching the end of this age. Jesus soon coming return is in view and we need to be prepared for the increasing tribulation that God allows Christians to experience to refine His church.

 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:9-13

PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS INTENSIFIES

March 6th, 2022 China (International Christian Concern) – A Christian woman in China, named Zhou Jinxia was detained for her repeated attempt to share the good news of Jesus Christ with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan.

Using placards filled with Gospel messages, Zhou regularly stands outside a gated area in Beijing where top Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials reside. Last month, she did so to greet President Xi when he returned from the Winter Olympics, leading to her arrest for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” Authorities ordered Zhou to return to her hometown of Dalian, where her beef with the government began.

In 2009, local authorities seized and demolished Zhou’s house in Dalian without her consent, later turning it into a city square. According to the group China Aid, Zhou and her family members have spent years seeking justice, only to be detained and lose their jobs.

Religious liberty magazine Bitter Winter explains that Zhou “took seriously [President] Xi’s statements he would fight corruption.” So after his 2013 inauguration, she repeatedly wrote to him about her unjust eviction. Because Xi never replied, Zhou “concluded that no solution to China’s problem would be possible unless [the president and his wife] would receive Jesus in their hearts.”

The Dalian native was sent back to Liaoning province by the police after her action in Beijing. She was subsequently detained. On Feb. 20, Zhou went to Zhongnanhai in Beijing, the central headquarters for the Communist Party of China and the State Council of China, holding up a sign asking Xi Jinping to believe in Jesus.

The police in charge arrested her before Dalian police brought her back to Dalian. She was criminally detained and charged with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” on February 21. Her family received the notice of her criminal detention from Dalian’s Public Security Bureau’s Xigang Branch on March 1.

According to China Aid, in recent years, Zhou has attempted to share the good news with her Chinese leader more than 50 times. As early as March 2015, Zhou was detained for ten days for her evangelism activities. In March 2016 and March 2018, she was detained again for the same charge.

Beginning October 2020, Zhou has resided in Fengtai district’s Xiaobailou village in Beijing. She actively shares the gospel and is involved in her church. On June 27, 2021, she was driven away by local leaders and police, while her amenities of daily life were confiscated. As someone whose house was forcibly demolished by the government, Zhou is not unfamiliar with the injustice in China.

We need to pray for Zhou Jinxia and the many like her in China and other countries where Christians are persecuted. Moreover, we should ask God to give us the courage to be like her in the face of intense persecution that we will see intensify across the globe in these prophesied “last days” before Jesus returns.

PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS ESCALATING AS PROPHESIED

YouTube Labels John MacArthur’s Sermon Hate Speech After He Said God Made Us ‘Male and Female

We should not be surprised when this happens, God has given us many prophecies of what we can expect before Jesus pours out His wrath upon an unrepentant, lawless world and He returns to put things right and usher in His Millennial Kingdom. We are in those prophesied “end times”.

Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, CA, preached a sermon Sunday about biblical sexuality, which as CBN’s Faithwire reported was part of an effort by pastors across North America to protest a new Canadian law that took effect Jan. 8 after being pushed through Parliament with little debate.

The concern is that Canada’s Bill C-4 is broadly worded and could, in effect, ban biblical teachings on sexual ethics, and might even limit personal communications on the subject. Preachers are protesting the law at the pulpits, with 4,000 pastors affirming their opposition as well as willingness to speak out against it, Fox News reported.

According to Liberty Coalition Canada, the bill’s wording is broad enough to allow for “the criminal prosecution of Christians who would speak biblical truth into the lives of those in bondage to sexual sins like homosexuality and transgenderism.”

Standing in the pulpit on Sunday, MacArthur said, “There is no such thing as transgender. You are either XX or XY, that’s it. God made man male and female. That is determined genetically, that is physiology, that is science, that is reality.”

“On the one hand, the reality of that lie and deception is so damaging, so destructive, so isolating, so corrupting that it needs to be confronted, but on the other hand, that confrontation can’t exaggerate what already exists, which is a sense of feeling isolated in relationships,” he said.

But YouTube removed MacArthur’s sermon from its platform and told conservative commentator Todd Starnes that MacArthur’s video presentation was “hate speech.”

“Our team has reviewed your content, and, unfortunately, we think it violates our hate speech policy,” YouTube said, according to Starnes. “We’ve removed the following content from YouTube: ‘There is no such thing as transgender. You are either XX or XY. That’s it. – Pastor John MacArthur.’”

Critics worry the law will perpetuate religious persecution and could even govern private conversations. 

Americans should be preparing for a time when pastors and religious leaders will face persecution for teaching the Word of God,” Starnes warned

PRAY FOR OUR AFGHAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS

Watch this short video given by an Afghan believer as the Taliban take over his homeland. Sorry, the video has already been taken off Youtube (censorship?). The message below it is still relevant.

Please pray for the Afghan Church to have strength and endurance so they may continue to lead Bible studies, prayer meetings, and are proactively evangelizing during the very events you are seeing in the news. Pray for them to be hidden supernaturally by the hand of the Lord just like in John 8:59 when Jesus disappeared into the crowd.

The Afghan Church and Global Catalytic Ministries (Frontiers Alliance) believe that the best days are before us, and we will witness the greatest movement of salvation among Muslims from the ashes of this catastrophe. It is already happening in Iran.

  • Pray for those fleeing to the hills to be protected (Psalm 73, Psalm 91)
  • Pray for miraculous protection for women and children being forcibly taken and those that have already been taken for their protection, salvation, and deliverance. (2 Thessalonians 3:1-5)
  • Pray that the Afghan Church steps into her identity in Christ and walks in unity with the Holy Spirit. (Ezekiel 37, Romans 15:5-6)

HARD WORDS OF JESUS RELEVANT FOR OUR TIME

In the days ahead we will need to take these words of Jesus’ seriously:

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.Mark 8:34b-35

Agabus (one of several prophets who came from Jerusalem to Syrian Antioch where Paul was ministering) prophesied that, if Paul went to Jerusalem, he would be bound by the Jews there and handed over to the Gentiles. Paul’s followers pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. Paul’s response;

Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”  When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.” Acts 21:13-14

What a challenge this is to us.  Even today, while we enjoy relative safety in our country, many brothers and sisters in Christ in countries under anti-Christian regimes are making the same decision as Paul, and they and their families are suffering intense persecution and deprivation as a result. 

Who can forget this image?

Islamic State Beheads Egyptian Coptic Christians

God has used the sacrifice of these twenty Coptic Christians and one Ghanaian for His purposes. The relatives of the Coptic Christian recently shared their pride in the men’s refusal to deny Jesus and how the tragic deaths of their loved ones has strengthened the faith of the local community.

Three years after their relatives were murdered by ISIS in the infamous “A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross” video, members of the Coptic community of Minya province, Upper Egypt, gathered for the inauguration of a new church, The Church of the Libyan Martyrs, dedicated to the memory of these men.

What a challenge this is to all of us. I am not sure how I would respond but I cling to the firm promise of Jesus that He will give me the courage when I need it.

Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is GIVEN YOU AT THE TIME, for it is not you speaking, but the HOLY SPIRIT.” Mark 13:11

RESPONSE OF SOME EVANGELICALS TO PERSECUTION

Many evangelicals in the USA have been anticipating some kind of confrontation with the changing social order. Crawford Griffen writes about it in his new book Survival and Resistance in Evangelical America – Christian Reconstruction in the Pacific Northwest. Over the last five years, he says, ” I’ve been writing about what might be one of the most significant trends among American evangelicals – a migration movement into the Pacific Northwest that has resulted in the formation of some very successful and increasingly influential intentional communities.

From small towns in northern Idaho, and elsewhere in the region, writers, artists and polemicists are publishing books with Penguin, Simon & Schuster and Random House, and broadcasting talk-shows on Amazon Prime. While offering different perspectives, they present a similar sense of crisis. The nation is no longer held together by common values, they explain. They argue that the teaching of evolution in public schools, the debates about abortion, gender and marriage, and the guidelines that shut down churches for reasons of public health are different fronts in a long war against Christianity. They recognize that the neutrality of the public square is an impossible ideal. They understand that politics is always about coercion. And so they proposed their solution. While, in the grand scheme of things, the believers who have migrated to the Pacific Northwest are not numerically significant – although they may number in the tens of thousands – they do project considerable soft power. Many of these believers live very visible lives. The community of several thousand members that has been established in Moscow, Idaho, for example, supports a publishing house, a music conservatory and an impressive liberal arts college. Led by Douglas Wilson, whose many publications include a book that he co-authored with Christopher Hitchens, this community sets out to make Moscow a Christian town.

Other migrants into the region prefer more secluded lives. They are attracted by the idea that this region could form an “American Redoubt,” as James Wesley Rawles has argued, a hold-out for those who want to resist the cultural powers that be. Rawles is the author of several novels and preparedness manuals, which are published by Penguin, and his website, survivalblog.com, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every month. His work sets out a more ambitious agenda for survival and resistance, in which readers are encouraged to adopt evangelical piety while being ready, if necessary, for less spiritual forms of defensive combat. For obvious reasons, those who follow Rawles’ agenda prefer not to attract attention. But for all their differences, Wilson and Rawles agree that believers need to expect an extraordinary cultural crisis in the short to medium term, and prepare for the new world that will follow. While their tactics for dealing with opposition are sharply different, their vision of the future is much the same. Dark skies are on the horizon, but they predict huge numbers of Americans will be converted, the social and political life of the nation will be renewed, and the policy of a renewed republic will be built around the demands of biblical law. Their optimism is appealing but I don’t believe Biblical prophecies such as these two by Jesus supports this optimistic view.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:9-13

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.Matthew 24:21-22

I believe the Bible reveals that those Christians that adopt a praying church as it was in the Book of Acts intent on making disciples in their own communities, loving their neighbours and honouring Jesus regardless of the cost, will have the most impact for the Kingdom in these last days. The power of the Holy Spirit will be once more evident in this Home Church environment.

PERSECUTION WILL ESCALATE IN THE LAST DAYS

Police in Finland are investigating the leader of an entire denomination for publishing a booklet that disapproves of homosexuality.  The author of that booklet, Dr. Päivi Räsänen, which sets forth the Biblical teachings about sexuality, is also under investigation for the crime of “agitation against an ethnic group,” a statute which added “sexual orientation” to the list of protected classes.  The maximum punishment is two years in prison.

Dr. Räsänen, who is very impressive for her integrity in the way she speaks up for Christian truth in the public square.  (For example, she points out that the Finnish state church is obligated, by law, to base its teachings on the “Holy Scriptures,” and asks, how could it then be illegal to teach what the Holy Scriptures say?)  Here is a sample of what Dr. Räsänen, also a medical doctor, has to say:

Dr. Päivi Räsänen is a member of the Finnish parliament and a former Minister of the Interior, no less! 

I believe that ultimately the purpose of these attacks is to eliminate the Word of God and discard the Law of God. It is very problematic that expressing Christian beliefs is often seen as insulting in the West. For example, marriage between a man and a woman has become a concept that is understood as restrictive, even threatening. Concepts such as man and woman, father and mother, are dearly loved concepts, and as old as the history of humanity. The attempt to break down the gender system based on two different genders hurts especially children. It is unfortunate how uncritically the ideology of sexual diversity and LGBT activism has been supported and endorsed even by churches.

I believe that every person has the right to hear the whole truth of God’s Word, both the Gospel and the Law. Only people who recognize their sins need Jesus, the propitiation for our sins. We must have the courage to speak about the dangerous effects of LGBT activism. Debatable themes such as immoral sexual relations have to do with guilt. Guilt cannot be solved by denying it, but only by confessing it and receiving mercy and the message of forgiveness in Jesus’ sacrifice. It is impossible to think that classical Christian doctrine would become illegal in the West.

Please pray for Dr. Räsänen and for the other faithful Christians in Finland and in other parts of the world, where many are enduring much worse persecutions. Remember, persecution comes with the territory

COMING PERSECUTION

Many Christians worldwide are being persecuted, and the persecution is growing! In this Studio Elective, Michael Weis, who has ministered to the persecuted Church, gives biblical principles about the reality, expectation, and preparation for “Persevering Through the Coming Persecution.”

Hopefully, it will help prepare you for the coming persecution prophesied in the last days before Jesus returns. Persecution of Christians is certainly growing around the world. Christians are increasingly being accused of hate speech and being intolerant. Why, because of holding God’s values on abortion, marriage, sex and gender.

PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS ESCALATING IN INDIA

At least 5 Christians have been killed for their faith in India during a surge of violence over the past two months. Voice of the Martyrs radio host Todd Nettleton has the latest on the tragic deaths — and their inspirational stand for Jesus in the midst of violent persecution. Just further evidence that we are in the prophesied last days before Jesus returns

A young woman in the Khunti district of Jharkhand has become the fifth victim in a string of Christians killed in India because of their faith.

The woman, 25-year-old Suman Munda, was found dead on July 19 in a deserted place near her home, according to Vatican News. Just one month earlier, on June 24, another Christian, 27-year-old Ramji Munda, was killed outside a village in the Khunti district. Speaking out about Munda’s murder, Bishop Binay Kandulna said, “It is a matter of serious concern because the state witnessed a Christian man killed only last month in the same district.”

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Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Peter 4:12-14

GENOCIDE OF CHRISTIANS IGNORED

A genocide expert and former Congressman Frank Wolf have warned that violence being committed against Christians in Nigeria and the U.S. government’s “failed” response to it could lead to another genocide like the ones that occurred in Rwanda and Darfur. 

“When the world and the U.S. ignored genocide in Rwanda, hundreds of thousands of people died. History, I believe, is repeating itself,” Wolf contended. “Almost daily reports show increasing violence and death in Nigeria. An implosion of Nigeria will destabilise the surrounding countries and send millions of refugees into Europe and beyond.” 

The conversation comes as estimates show that thousands have been killed and millions displaced since 2015 due to attacks carried out by predominantly Muslim Fulani militias against mainly Christian farming communities in the Middle Belt of Nigeria as well as Islamic extremist attacks carried out by Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province in northeast Nigeria. 

Christians in Nigeria take part in funeral march in April 2019

“Boko Haram has committed genocide in Nigeria. They have killed over 27,000 Nigerians, more than ISIS killed in Iraq and Syria combined,” Wolf stressed during his opening remarks. “The Fulani militants are also committing genocidal massacres against Nigerian Christians.”

“Our own embassy is still denying that this is genocide, that the Fulani militias are committing genocide,” he said. “So have human rights groups. Human Rights Watch, for instance, thinks of it that way. The International Crisis Group thinks of it that way. These are very distinguished organizations and I have great respect for them. But they are dominated by what I would call conflict-prevention narrative.”

“In essential terms, the U.S. embassy’s policies on this violence have been what I call conflict resolution policies. They try to get the groups together and they try to have sort of ‘Kumbaya’ moments in which people talk to each other and everybody is hunky-dory and they get along.

Stanton argued that the problem with those types of policies is that they “do not reach the terrorist groups.”  “They also don’t reach the army and the police and others who need to be really conscious of this huge problem in their country,” he said.

Just further evidence that fits “last days” Biblical prophecies which should be a wake up call to the church to get on with Jesus command to reach out to their communities with the good news of Jesus and His soon coming return. His Kingdom will come. Jesus and the saints will rule the nations with a rod of iron.

“From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. Revelation 19:15-16

“The one (saints) who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.” Revelation 2:27

She (Mary) gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne…Revelation 12:5