Sins of Commission and Sins of Omission

We Can Do More!PRC 12/29/2017

When asked to describe the primary meaning of the Christian message, Mother Teresa would often hold up a child’s hand and say Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:40: “Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” She would then touch the child’s fingers one by one and repeat: “You. Did. It. To. Me.”

The year of 2017 brought a lot of changes and we have much to reflect on. According to the Pew Research Center the vast majority of the world’s population lives on a budget that falls well short of the poverty line in advanced economies. Specifically, 4.4 billion people – 71% of the global population of 6.2 billion – lived on $10 or less per day in 2011. In 2001, 86% of the world’s poor and low-income people lived in Africa and Asia-South Pacific, compared with 7% of the poor and low income in North America and Europe.

At the same time, only 6% of high-income people lived in Africa and Asia-South Pacific, compared with 91% of high income people who live in North America and Europe. So, in a nutshell we are comfortable with 91% of the wealth (materially blessed) in North America and Europe. Many of those referred to in New Testament who are poor, hungry, homeless, and in prison usually refer to followers of Jesus.Today, these are our brothers and sister who are being persecutedin other countries for their faith in the Gospel, and their testimony, for the Lord Jesus Christ. This has not really changed today in the 21st Century from 2,000 years ago. Many of us just don’t get it. We need to do more to help fellow believers who are suffering for Jesus and his Gospel. I pray that each of us will make 2018 a year of recommitment of our faith to follow and DO the Lords commands and not just to listen to the Gospel in the pews.

We Can Do More, especially to help our brothers and sisters in the faith.

“Those who have abundance should share with those who have nothing.” Luke 3:11

“Help widows and orphans in distress. Acts 6:1;” James 1:27

“Do good to all people, especially to believers.” Gal 6:10

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.” Proverbs 31:8

“Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Ps. 82:4

Gifts to help the servants of God are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. Phil 4: 14-19

“Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for the orphans and widows in their troubles.” James 1:27

“Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor.” Jeremiah 22:3

I hope that everyone who has supported Joshuacord’s Mission will continue to help us through prayer and support. We can do more because Jesus has said through the Scriptures “Whatever you did to the least to them you do to me.”

We are limited. Christ is Limitless

P.R. Carberry 11/5/2017

Dr. Johnson, said, “People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.”
I am sure you are aware that people are creatures of habit. We need to be reminded of things. And, we
develop patterns of behavior, both good and bad. St. Paul gave us an analogy that the Christian life is a
race. It’s more like a marathon, a life marathon. God gave us the scriptures to know about him as our
creator and to live our life in accordance with his purposes. He made us out of love. Did you know that
what God has revealed to us is for us and our children? In the book of Deuteronomy, “The secret things
belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we
may follow all the words of this law.” Deut. 29:29. Sometimes, people tend to think that the Bible is the
only revelation of God. Not even close to being true. God can revel himself in many ways. He does not
limit himself to what he has revealed to us in the Bible. Even though, it is his revealed word to us. But, it certainly is not all that God is and has done. For example, in the last chapter of John we are told that if someone was to write down what Jesus actually did in his life, all the books in with world would not be big enough to list everything. Wow!
“There are many other things that Jesus did, and if they were written down one by one, I think that not
even the world itself would be big enough to hold the written volumes.” John 21:23
When Philip was inquiring to Jesus to Show them the Father, Jesus said, “He who has seen me has seen
the Father. Do you not believe that that I am in the Father and that the Father in in me? I am not the
source of the words that I speak to you.” John 14: 7-11

Jesus is God. God is limitless in his love and power. He is timeless. No age or boundaries of time to hold God. He is the creator of all things.

The Old Testament taught the Israelites to love their fellow man. Jesus used teachings from the Old
Testament, from Deuteronomy and Leviticus, and summarized the law accordingly, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is similar: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22: 34-40) As Theologian Christopher Wright points out, “these are commands not just cheerful recommendations.”
The Lord expects us to show kindness and benevolence to our fellow man out of love. This may include
suffering for the Lord and for the Gospel.
Now more than ever, persecuted Christians in the Middle East and Africa need for Christians in the west
to stand up and speak up for religious freedom and liberty. We are to be imitators of Christ. God offers
help and guidance to anyone willing to bring comfort to others, but the responsibility lies with each
person to choose to do so, or to choose to increase suffering in the world, either actively or passively,
through neglect or apathy. 1

1 Donal P. O’Mathuna, “‘Why Me, God?’ Understanding Suffering,” Ethics & Medicine 15.2 (1999): 44-52.
The world is not the way that God created it and because of that, all are vulnerable to the effects of sin in the world. Why does one person suffer and another does not? Why do catastrophes happen to some
and no others? It is because sin is in the world. But there will come a day when the Lord will return and
cleanse this world of all sin and all suffering. C.S. Lewis described pain as God’s megaphone and it can be a terrible instrument. It could lead a man to God or to final and unrepented rebellion. At the same time,it gives bad men the only opportunity they are afforded to achieve atonement. 2 Let’s pray not only for
the Persecuted but also for those who are doing the persecution. Let’s pray that God would remove
their blindness so they can see and hear the good news of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus
2 Lewis, The Problem of Pain, 93-94.

Persecution is Exacerbating Starvation for Millions of Christians

Christian Persecution and Starvation

Martyrdom, suffering death because of one’s religious faith, was not confined to the early church and the Middle Ages. Statistics show an upsurge in Christian martyrdom due to widespread social, economic, and political unrest, increasing from 35,000 in 1900 to an estimated 260,000 this year. However, death is not the only trial Christians must face. The social, economic, and political chaos in many areas of the world lead to malnutrition and starvation. Those who suffer the most are single mothers, children, and the elderly who have no one to take care of them.
Most recently, food shortages in South Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen, Somalia have hit an estimated 20 million people, putting them on the brink of starvation. The situation has been described by the UN as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.

An estimated one million people fled South Sudan due to conflict and lack of food resources, establishing informal settlements in northern Uganda. Now, although the famine declared in South Sudan has been lifted since June, there is still a great deal of hunger. There are reports that refugee camps in South Sudan are forcing Christian children to pray Muslim prayers before receiving food.
Although many displaced Christians in Nigeria find shelter with family, friends, or fellow Christians, preferably in big cities, which provide greater safety against the insurgents, some Christians must join government-run refugee camps. In the state of Borno, Christians face persecution at the hands of Muslim camp officials. Not only are most of the refugees in the camps Muslims, but also the Nigerian refugee camp-workers who are Muslims often persecute the Christian refugees. When supplies come in and the people queue up, fights break out. Christians are insulted and harassed.

As many as 3.4 million Kenyans are facing hunger as a result of prolonged drought.

Not only has Kenya’s food production been affected, but also millions of wild and domestic animals suffer the devastating effects of no rain. Nineteen counties, mostly at the Coast of northern Kenya and Rift Valley, have had inadequate rain for six years. Nearly 130,000 households and more than 600,000 cattle in Kajiado County are at risk of starvation.

People must travel long distances seeking water for livestock and domestic use. It is estimated three million Kenyans are going hungry, as both livestock and crop production decreases. Some local markets have seen livestock prices drop by 50%. Those who suffer the most are children and the elderly. Many children under five suffer from malnutrition.

Another result of the drought is the death of native vegetation. For example, at Petanguo, many residents have run out of alternative sources of food and income. Those who depend on charcoal burning have no more trees. As one resident said, “This place is quickly turning into a desert.”
Drought effects every area of a suffering family’s life. Children must drop out of school to join their parents in search of water and food for themselves and their animals. In some areas, school attendance has dropped more than 20%.

Although the government is assisting as much as possible, Kenyans are still suffering. Water is trucked to the areas with the most need, and the national government is also building a huge dam at Jila. However, these efforts take time and do not provide relief to all areas.

County governments have initiated plans for irrigation systems to reduce reliance on rain-fed agriculture. However, building these systems also takes time and other factors prolong the agricultural problems. In Tana river, an infestation of armyworms in the fall reduced yields within their irrigation system.

Over 10,000 Christian living in Tana River, Wajir, and Garissa, not only live under constant threat from deadly attacks by Somali militants, but also face possible starvation. In Lamu, Al-Shabaab attacks have displaced people from their farms, creating further food shortages. With 2,500 people living in camps, unattended farms are destroyed by wild animals. Thus, political unrest and starvation often go hand-in-hand.

In other areas of the world, Christians face starvation and persecution.
Vietnamese congregations have been disbanded and their buildings destroyed with hundreds of pastors sent to “re-education” camps. Christians died of starvation and disease when fields were confiscated and harvests stolen.

In June of 2017, starving residents told of terror in the southern city of Marawi, where 180,000 residents fled from the fighting between the Philippine army and Islamist militants. Many of those who escaped urgently needed food and water.

So, what should be the response when faced with statistical information and personal accounts of suffering from lack of food? For Christians, Matthew 25:35 says, “I was hungry and you gave me food … What you did to the least of these my brethren, you did unto me” (v. 40). In Luke 3:11, the Bible says, “He (Jesus) answered them, ‘Whoever has two shirts should share with the person who doesn’t have any. Whoever has food should share it too.’”

Although Christians often feel overwhelmed by the extent of the tragedy, when they are made aware of the severity of the situation, they are more than willing to help. Christian organizations provide relief for those suffering and need your donations. Additionally, remember to pray for those suffering in East Africa, especially for our Christian brothers and sisters suffering persecution. Statistically, there is enough food for everyone in the world; it just needs to reach those without the ability, for whatever reason, to feed themselves and their families. With prayer and work, hunger can be defeated.

The Most Dangerous Countries for Christians & How to Help

Throughout the world, millions of Christians fear for their lives simply because of their beliefs.  Oppressive governments, extremist Islamic leaders, and other forces are pushing Jesus followers into the dark. Here are some of the countries where Christians are facing the most difficult situations, and what you can do to help.










Population: 32 Million Religion: Muslim 99.8%, Christian 0.05%

Ideology: Islam

Threat to Religious Freedom:  Taliban and Islamic Extremism All Afghan Christians come from a Muslim background. Believers who are discovered face discrimination from family and community, Muslim clergy and local authorities. The government treats converts in a hostile manner, using any means possible to make them recant. Christians cannot meet in public; meetings in private homes are possible. However they require great caution. Not a single official Christian church building remains in Afghanistan.

What can you do?

  • Give to Afghani Christians
  • Pray for those that are suffering extreme persecution under Taliban rule.
  • Pray that God would bring Justice and Peace to the region.







Population: 82.5 Million

Religion: Muslim 88%, Christian 12%

Ideology: Islam

Threat to Religious Freedom:  Islamic Extremism – the Muslim Brotherhood.

In rural areas, Egyptian Coptic Christians are constantly terrorized, while security forces turn a blind eye; Coptic girls are abducted and forced into Islamic marriages. Support for the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists was growing. The Salafist Nour Party in 2011 won a quarter of the seats in the Egyptian parliament.

What can you do?

  • Give to Egyptian Christians
  • Pray for those that are suffering extreme persecution by the Islamic Extremists groups
  • Pray that God would bring Justice and Peace to the region.







Population: 35 Million

Religion: Shia 60%,  Sunni 37%, Others 3%.

Ideology: Islam

Threat to Religious Freedom:  ISIS – Islamic Extremism

Over the past year, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria aka ISIS emboldened by the Arab spring and the Syrian crisis, heightened Sunni-Shia’ tensions through a series of inhumane brutal attacks, rapes, murder, beheadings and kidnappings in Iraq.

What can you do?

  • Give to Iraqi Christians
  • Pray for those that are suffering extreme persecution under Islamic Extremism and evil.
  • Pray that God would bring Justice and Peace to the region.






Population: 175 Million

Religion: Muslim 50%, Christian 50%

Ideology: Islam

Threat to Religious Freedom:  Boko Haram, a Jihadist Islamist group Muslim with links to Al-Qaeda which wants Islamic systems under Sharia law.

Boko Haram translated means ‘Western Education is forbidden’.  remains an uncompromising Islamic terrorist group in Northern Nigeria. Their brutality and is only second dot IRSIS. Boko Haram seeks to impose a strict version of Sharia (Islamic law), ridding the country of Christianity. The country’s president, Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed, has embraced a version of Sharia that mandates the death penalty for those who leave Islam. Source: Compass Direct News.

What can you do?

  • Give to Nigerian Christians
  • Pray for those that are suffering extreme persecution by the terrorist group Boko Haram.
  • Pray that God would bring Justice and Peace to the region.







Population: 10.5Million

Religion: Muslim 99%

Ideology: Islam

Threat to Religious Freedom:  Al-Shabaab, a Jihadist Islamist group Muslim with links to Al-Qaeda which wants Islamic systems imposed for all Somalia under Sharia law.

Sunni Muslim Sunni Muslim (Islam) is the official religion of the country. Al-Shabab states that all Somalis are born Muslims. Therefore any of those found practicing other faiths or converting to Christianity is considered guilty of “apostasy”, or leaving Islam, and should be put to death. Al-Shabaab seeks to impose a strict version of Sharia (Islamic law), ridding the country of Christianity.

What can you do?

  • Give to Somalia Christians
  • Pray for those that are suffering extreme persecution under al-Shabaab Islamic Extremists.
  • Pray that God would bring Justice and Peace to the region.








Population: 21.8 Million

Religion: Majority Sunni Muslim

Ideology: Islam

Threat to Religious Freedom:  Terrorist groups and Islamic Extremism.

*UN estimates, as of mid-March 2014, the Syrian crisis had led to more than 2.5 million regis­tered refugees, mostly in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt. More than half of the UN-registered refugees are women and girls, and close to half of those are under the age of 17. Terrorist organizations use violence to attempt to create of an Islamic state with no room for religious diversity. They terrorist groups mostly aligned with Al-Nusrah front and AQ affiliated group have carried out religiously-motivated attacks and violent executions and massacres against Muslim Alawite, Shi’a, and Christian groups.

*US Commission on International Religious Freedom

What can you do?

  • Give to Syrian Christians
  • Pray for those that are suffering extreme persecution in Syria.
  • Pray that God would bring Justice and Peace to the region.

Christianity: The Most Persecuted Religion in the World

Christian persecution, hostility experienced from the world as a result of one’s identification as a Christian, includes everything from verbal harassment to outright violence. In many areas of the world, Christians pay a heavy price for practicing their faith. Over 75% of the people in the World live in areas with “severe religious restrictions” (according to The Pew Research Center). The U.S. Department of State identified over 60 countries where Christians face persecution from their government and society simply because of their religious identification.

Christians are beaten, tortured, confined and imprisoned; subjected to discrimination in employment and education; suffer in slavery, and are even killed on a daily basis. According to Open Doors, USA, each month:

  • 322 are killed for their faith.
  • 214 Christian properties and churches are destroyed.
  • 772 acts of violence (rapes, abductions, beatings, forced marriages, arrests, etc.) are committed against Christians.

blood-crossThe Reasons for Religious Persecution of Christians

Freedom of religion helps define us and serves as a foundation for our contribution to society. If one lives in a country whose government restricts or abuses freedom of religion, they are denied a basic human right and suffering results. Christian persecution occurs for many reasons. The three primary ones are:

  • Authoritarian governments seek to control all religious thought and expression and consider members of many religious groups a threat as their beliefs do not put loyalty to the state and its rulers of primary importance. An example is North Korea.
  • Majority populations persecute minority and nontraditional religious groups. For example, Islamic majority countries often persecute Christians and other minority religious groups.
  • Some countries lack basic human rights in many societal areas, including religion, causing persecution and the need for citizens to flee the country. The African country, Eritrea, lacks basic human rights and, according to Human Rights Watch, has a human rights record considered among the worst in the world.

The Frequency of Religious Persecution of Christians

Christian persecution continues its alarming increase. Many have called Christianity “the most persecuted religion in the world.” Christianity is even facing extinction in its Biblical homeland as between half and two-thirds of Christians in the Middle East have been killed or left the area over the last one hundred years.

One of the first steps in decreasing the incidences of Christian persecution is becoming aware of its prevalence.

  • JoshuaCord, a religious persecution watch group, bringing awareness to some 215 million Christians around the world facing some degree of persecution.
  • Christian persecution by nationalist Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim religious movements, has increased in Pakistan, India, and Myanmar.
  • Approximately 39 million Christians – more than have of the 64 million Christians in India, have experienced direct persecution, according to a study by Open Doors.
  • Incidents of Christian persecution are on the rise in Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations, in addition to Syria and Iraq, where ISIS targets Christians.
  • Despite the facts that Christianity is the most practiced religion, North, Central, and South America have also seen increased Christian persecution, with Christian leaders in Mexico and Colombia killed specifically because of their faith. Mexico, with more than 80% of their population Catholic, has had several priests attacked and killed in the last few years.

Without government intervention, a responsive media willing to report on and condemn Christian persecution, and individual awareness and active resistance to occurrences of Christian persecution, the suffering of Christians around the world will only increase. Once one knows how serious the problem of Christian persecution has become, it is impossible to remain passive to this growing problem. One should actively explore ways to alleviate the suffering of Christians.

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Why We, As Christians, Should Be Concerned About Christian Persecution


Every day, Christians around the world experience persecution – harassment, abuse, rape, assault, slavery, unjust imprisonment, and death.

Christians in over 60 countries face daily persecution from their governments or those living close to or with them because of belief in Jesus Christ, according to the U.S. Department of State. The persecution of Christians should be of concern to all those who profess belief in Jesus Christ for humanitarian, economic and political, and religious reasons.

Christians in over 60 countries face daily persecution from their governments or those living close to or with them because of belief in Jesus Christ, according to the U.S. Department of State. The persecution of Christians should be of concern to all those who profess belief in Jesus Christ for humanitarian, economic and political, and religious reasons.

iStock_000027046369LargeKIDSHumanitarian Reasons We, As Christians, Should Be Concerned About Christian Persecution

Countries that persecute Christians are often the same countries that deny their citizens other basic human and social rights, such as freedom of speech, assembly, and the ability to determine one’s occupation and receive an adequate education. In addition:

  • These countries usually lack adequate food, clothing, and shelter, often placing a burden on neighboring countries.
  • People fleeing countries where persecution occurs, create imbalanced populations.
  • Fleeing refugees experience difficulty settling and readjusting to a new culture.

Economic and Political Reasons, We, As Christians, Should Be Concerned About Christian Persecution

Christian persecution creates problems that economically impact the rest of the world. Religious beliefs and traditions form the foundation of a healthy society with stable beliefs and a basis for morality. When a country persecutes its citizens for their religious convictions, the very fabric that holds its society together is destroyed. Economic chaos and political unrest usually result.

Often entire communities are devastated. Economic and political burdens are placed not only on the citizens of the country involved but on its neighbors, as those who are persecuted flee from danger.

hangReligious Reasons We, As Christians, Should Be Concerned About Christian Persecution

Every day children are orphaned as parents are killed. Women are widowed and left without the emotional and financial support of husbands who are killed or imprisoned. 

The Bible says in James 1:27 (New International Version – NIV) that “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Thus, Scripture admonishes us to care for those left suffering and alone.

Day to day living conditions for Christians in many countries are deplorable. For example, Christian families in Egypt are rejected by the government, forcing entire Christian communities to live in the slums on the outskirts of Cairo. They survive collecting and recycling garbage. Without the basic necessities of life, they suffer from disease and illness.

In Romans 12:5 (New International Version – NIV), the Bible tells us: “so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Therefore, Christian persecution becomes a shared experience for the members of the body of Christ; as our brothers and sisters in Christ suffer, so do we.

So, what should be our response to Christian persecution?

First of all, we should pray for those who persecute Christians (Matthew 5:44). We must also stay informed about the reasons for persecution and watch for opportunities to assist those who come to this country seeking religious freedom.

Finally, you can encourage your local congregation to be actively involved in assisting those who suffer persecution for their religious belief.  Encourage them to schedule a screening of Joshuacord’s new documentary, Christians In the Mirror.  Only with knowledgeable involvement can we begin to stem the increasing occurrence of violence against and persecution of Christians.





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Are you prepared?

iStock_000023191651LargePrayingThe dictionary defines a martyr as “a person who is killed because of his religious or other beliefs.”

Interestingly enough, the English word martyr is really a word transliterated from the original Greek martyr, which simply means “witness.”  The first martyr is Stephen who is found in the Book of Acts: 6 &7. I was re-reading John Foxe’s “Christian Martyrs of the World”. It was first published in 1554. It was not based on a pleasant or feeling good about ourselves book. It’s certainly not a self-help book. However, generations were brought up on John Foxes which, according to some, was the most readily writings that was read aside from the bible, during the 16th century. It is a Christian who believes and puts into practice the teachings of Jesus.

The martyr in Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” is the hero. In today’s world, we are all of different people groups, or of different countries, and backgrounds, but, if we are truly Christians, we are no longer just that, we are members of the body of Christ…no matter where we were born, raised, background, or language.

Being a Christian is not a matter of country or association or denomination, it’s a matter of HIM who called us to be one with his body. “For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, is one body: so also is Christ.” 1 Cor. 12:12

As I read and listen to the news of today, I wonder what St. Paul listened too. It was not CNN or Fox News. Perhaps, he and others were more concerned with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and less concerned with the ongoing trouble of the time.  “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 8: 38-39.

At the end of the day, what really matters, 2 Peter 3:8–9 ‘But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’

So, it really does not matter what the news is. The Lord is coming. Maranatha!

Freedom to love our neighbors as ourselves

Christians – Pray for the Persecuted daily. Freedom to love our neighbors as ourselves

Every Christian is a member or a part of the Body of Christ. We are HIS Church. Christ’s body is not one denomination – it’s all denominations. So, if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. (1 Cor. 12:26). We should feel it. We should have empathy and compassion for the part of the body that is suffering. But, do we?

We all know that Jesus is no longer on this earth. We are his body. We are his feet, his hands, his heart, and his compassion. Christ’s body is still suffering through his body of the Persecuted Church. Remember when Paul was on the road to Damascus and Jesus asked him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? (Acts 22:7) These are the Lords words. In persecuting the followers of Jesus (HIS body) he was persecuting Jesus. Is that any different today? Has the body of Christ changed or have we changed?

St. Paul, admonished us to help those that are suffering for the sake of Christ with actions not just words. Paul, the former enemy of the Church became the most prominent persecuted member of the Church. St. Paul, knows of what he spoke. St. John told us, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but indeed and in truth” (1JN.3:18) and, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (JN.13:35) In John Piper’s Desiring God he wrote a very good description of putting Love into action. He said, “Love is the overflow of joy in God that gladly meets the needs of others”

It’s up to each of us to stand up for those members of the body of Christ who cannot speak up and help themselves and to help them in their hour of need. (Pr. 31:8-9) Please show your love and solidarity for the Persecuted Church by joining us at the Joshua 1:9 Freedom Run on Saturday November 14, either in person or virtually, we are all one body no matter where we are. If you can’t attend please pray for the Persecuted Church and if you are able, please donate.

God Bless

Patrick Carberry, Founder
Joshua 1:9 “Be Strong and Courageous”

Love, Loyalty and Character

When I read this article there were two scriptures that come to mind. Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this, that a man lives down his life for his friend.” JN 15:13 Jesus listened to this reply, and was astonished, and said to the people following Him, “I solemnly tell you that in no Israelite have I found faith as great as this. MTT 8:10

Jesus was talking about joy, friendship, love, and how his followers would bear fruit which would be demonstrated by their love for one another. Jesus commanded us to love one another. Love is an act of the will. Jesus said, the greatest act of love is to lay down one’s life for a friend. Just like Jesus if this story is true, the Muslim man Jamal Rahman, had a choice. Jamal Rahman chose to stand and die with his Christian friends. Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this, that a man lives down his life for his friend.” JN 15:13

On the second scripture, it was a Roman Centurion who had a servant boy who was bed written and paralyzed. The Centurion was a soldier who had authority over his troops. He knew that when he gave an order it was carried out. He did not have to be in the same area to verify it. He knew what power his command had. The Centurion also had faith is Jesus power to heal by commanding it to happen and it would happened. Jesus told the Centurion “I will come and heal him.” But the Centurion did not feel worthy enough for Jesus to come under his roof but said “speak the word only and my servant shall be healed.” Jesus listened to this reply, and was astonished, and said to the people following Him, “I solemnly tell you that in no Israelite (or all of Israel) have I found faith as great as this. MTT 8:10.

Jamal, laid down his life based on loyalty and love for his friend. The Centurion had faith and did not need to see it happen to believe. The scriptures tell us that the boy has healed within the same time Jesus had spoken the words. Both stories speak to a man’s character not just in words but based on their beliefs and actions.

Hope and Faith

I just caught the news again of the harsh persecution realities of what our brothers and sisters are going through in the Middle East and in Africa and it made me rethink some scriptures about hope, faith and love. I wanted to share my thoughts. “Now faith is the substance (confidence or assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

In spite of all the negative things going in our lives, and in the world, Jesus is still Lord and God’s ultimate will is being carried out.  Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  In the Greek it is (panta sunergei) which has the idea that it is God who makes all things work together for our good according to his purposes. I think it was Barclay that said things work together can also be translated to intermingle. So, Gods purpose, though we do not always understand it, can intermingle all things together by somehow making those things we don’t understand useful for his purpose, and for our good, according to accomplish his ultimate will.

So, we must walk by faith, having hope, confidence, and love for God, knowing that He is accomplishing His will, for our good, in all our lives because he loves us. Even in the midst of persecution. This is costly and easy to say but it takes real faith to endure. Which is the faith Jesus expects us all to have.


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