Once More Into the Breach

Finding Nonsense and Beating it Sensible

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I used to watch TV news and yell at the box. Now I jump up from the couch, sit at the computer and begin to type laughing maniacally saying "Wait until they read this." It's more fun than squashing tadpoles

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Friday, June 30, 2006

GOP Eyes U.N. for Budget Cuts

The UN is an institution that long ago outlived its usefulness. The concept of a world governing body is so attractive to government types both left and center that its perpetuation has lingered in the forlorn hope that it can someday be something other that a kleptocracy for third world politicians. A comparatively long period did occur where the US refused to pay its exorbitant "dues" in an effort to bring about reform. This of course was not the result. We managed to cut our "dues" for 33% of the UN's budget to 22%. In spite of our critical role as fiancer of the UN, it continues to be the platform for the anti-American Left throughout the world. Congress has begun to cut the funds being send into the black hole that is the UN budget.

Republicans in Congress moved yesterday to cut U.S. contributions to the United Nations budget just one day before the world body is scheduled to lift a budget cap imposed by the United States and other donors and to resume spending as usual.

At least $17 million has been sliced this week from the Bush administration's appropriations request for the U.N. regular budget, as frustration with the United Nations continues to fester among conservative lawmakers.

Rep. Scott Garrett, New Jersey Republican, yesterday won approval in a House subcommittee to cut $2 million from the U.S. contribution to the U.N. budget, saying that taxpayer money should not be used to lobby the U.S. government.

He was referring to a recent speech by Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown, who told two left-leaning think tanks, the Center for American Progress and the Century Foundation, that Washington should do more to defend the international organization in public.

Like the adolescent child who wants money from his parents but complains when they wish to know what he is to do with it, so the kleptocrats at the UN are telling the US government to crack down on the critics of the institution like they do in their own countries. Congress continues to hope for reform, but the organization is beyond that. I can think of no place the UN has taken to solving problems that the problem didn't get worse. I say cut it off completely and let it bleed to death.

Day 37 Forty Day ‘Pray for Iran’ Campaign.

Jesus went through all the towns and villages - preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.’ Matthew 9:35

Despite massive urbanisation, still 38% of Iran’s 70 million population live in the country’s 68,000 villages. Some are barely hamlets, while others are quite sizeable with up to 5,000 living in them.

To the tourist these villages can seem almost idyllic. You will see the shepherd strolling on the hills with his flock of sheep; old men sitting in the streets making shoes or a handicraft; a small group of school children dressed in a simple uniform returning home.

But behind this seeming tranquility, there are painful problems. There is wide-spread poverty, high unemployment, and very little proper health-care. In the 1960’s the Shah gave a lot of land to the villages, but this led to subsistence farming as the economies of scale were too small. Then in the 1970’s and 1980’s, manufacturing and the construction industry in towns and cities began to boom and there was a mass exodus from rural areas as young people went in search of work. Though both Ayatollah Khomeini and now President Ahmadinejad have made promises to inject economic life into these villages, little has actually happened.

So though many people still live in rural areas, they are usually the elderly, often having to care for themselves. If there are some young people, most are unemployed and many have turned to opium or heroin to escape the monotony of life, because there is little else for entertainment.

Iran’s villages are full of vulnerable people – just the sort that Jesus ministered to as he went from village to village. They are the most unreached people in the world. Thousands of them will not be able to have an internet connection or a satellite dish – they will only hear the Gospel if someone goes and tells them. So today let us with a loud voice intercede for the villages of Iran:

* Pray that the Lord will raise up labourers who will follow in the footsteps of the Master and go and preach the Gospel in the villages. Pray they will be able to bring practical help to those who are suffering.
* Pray for young people who have left the villages to work in cities. Pray they will hear the Gospel in the city and return to preach.
* Pray that the light of the Gospel will dispel the deep rooted superstition in rural areas which holds people in darkness and controls many lives. Pray that fear and worry will be replaced by the liberating joy of the Lord.
* Pray especially for the headmen and the Mullahs of the villages who have a lot of influence. Pray that they will see the light of glory of Christ and that whole villages will turn to Him.

Once again, we are so thankful for your prayers.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Day 36 Forty Day ‘Pray for Iran’ Campaign.

So the Word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.’ Acts 6:7

About 200,000 Mullahs (Islamic clergymen) work in over 50,000 mosques and seminaries in Iran. They lead the Friday prayers; deliver sermons; officiate at weddings and funerals; and they are very active in numerous Muslim schools and charities. All of this means they have tremendous influence in the cities and particularly in the towns and villages.

As many of the government positions in Iran are held by Mullahs, some of these men are motivated by political power. However, we must remember that thousands of Mullahs are men who have never heard the Gospel and sincerely believe in the religion they were brought up with. Many have a longing to please God, and as their religion teaches, they strive to ensure that their good works outweigh their bad.

Many of these Mullahs can become ‘obedient to the faith’. Like religious men in Paul’s day they ‘are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.’ So today we want to pray for them with ‘unceasing anguish’ in our hearts that they will understand ‘the righteousness that comes from God’ and stop seeking to establish their own.

Let us go to prayer fully assured that our God is able to do far more than we ask or imagine. Let us also remember that we are praying for ordinary men with wives and children, with family problems, with financial challenges, with work pressure. They are people who face the inevitability of death with no assurance of sins forgiven.

As you pray with a loving spirit you will be part of what is probably the largest number of people to ever pray for Mullahs in Iran. So let us expect miracles and transformation in the lives of Iranian Mullahs and the masses they influence.

Lord – with one voice we pray:

* That the Mullahs of Iran will hear the Good News. We pray that they will find copies of the Word of God, and learn about the Gospel from the Internet, Christian TV or radio programmes. We pray that they will meet and be impacted by the lives and testimonies of Christians. We ask that the Holy Spirit will speak to them in dreams and visions.
* We pray that a large number of Mullahs and their households will become obedient to the faith. We pray that the Holy Spirit will convict them of sin, convince them that Jesus is the Son of God and give them the grace to repent and confess Him as Lord and Saviour. We pray that they will find joy and peace in Jesus and that their needs will be met.
* We pray for the 23,000 young men and women studying Islamic theology in Islamic seminaries in Iran. We pray that as they study they will discover the freedom that comes by knowing the Truth in Christ.

Thank you so much for praying.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cannon Wins in Utah

Bad news on the Illegal immigrant amnesty front. In Utah where a primary challenger was running against an amnesty supporting Republican incumbent, the incumbent won.

Rep. Chris Cannon -- with considerable help from President Bush -- easily turned back a primary assault yesterday aimed almost entirely at his stance on immigration.

For months, the five-term conservative Republican representing the state's 3rd District has been accused of supporting amnesty for illegal aliens by land developer John Jacob and others outside Utah who support tougher immigration laws.

Mr. Cannon maintains that he supports no such thing. Rather, he said, he wants to secure the border and at the same time allow the 12 million illegal aliens already here to enroll in a guest-worker program.

I don't know anything about his challenger, he could have been a week candidate. Temper this with Arlen Spector's comments that he would consider an enforcement first bill. The only problem with that apple is the guest worker poison it is laced with.


Winchester, Not Dead Yet

While some have written the obituary of Winchester, or as it's official title states, U.S. Repeating Arms Company there is yet a glimmer of hope. No one disputes the legacy of the Winchester lever action rifle. Its mystique as "The Gun That Won the West" will live as long as the films that feature it as the weapon of choice of the American Cowboy. Because of this their is one man, Michael Blank of St. Louis-based MHB Enterprises who sees a future for a company that wants to begin producing high quality "reproductions" of the original Winchesters bearing the Winchester brand. So in partner with Kevin S. Tierney, of Workout Solutions, Inc. To find such a buyer for the venerable company.

They put together a bidding process that closed on June 23 that has generated about a dozen bids. Below is the timeline of when we may know if a buyer has been found

  • Proposal Submission Deadline: June 23, 2006
  • Due Diligence Period: June 2, 2006 – July 12, 2006
  • Negotiations for a new license with Olin after a "Qualified Candidate" Submits proposal that is deemed worthy as a potential winning candidate: June 23 – July 12, 2006
  • Announcement of Winning Bidder: July 15, 2006
  • Winning Bidder Posts 10% deposit: July 21, 2006
  • Closing: September 1, 2006

One can go to save Winchester.com for updates and more.

Carnival of Cordite #63 at Mr. Completely

Day 35 Forty Day ‘Pray for Iran’ Campaign.

O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act!’ Daniel 9:19

Throughout the Bible it is clear that for God to bless a nation there must be repentance. In the book of Daniel, we see that though he himself was a godly man, Daniel identified himself with his sinful nation, and he confessed the sins of his people (Daniel 9:20). He then asked God to remember His promise and restore his nation. So with this in mind, today as Iranian Christians we would like to humble ourselves and confess the sins of our nation and ask the Lord to forgive Iran.

God has placed bountiful natural riches and resources in Iran – enough for the nation to be a huge blessing to the region and the world. However, this is not happening. Our hearts are grieved as we think of the fact that for more than twenty-five years our nation’s policy has been to declare death and curses to some other nations. Even children in our schools have been taught to chant curses to these countries.

As a result, our own people are suffering and languishing in sin, drug addiction, depression, poverty, prostitution, and economic hardship. There is moral failure, corruption and deceitfulness. Furthermore, contrary to the friendly and hospitable Iranian culture, atrocities have been committed against religious minorities and other groups including Zoroastrians, Baha’is, Christians and minority Sunni Muslims. In particular, the hatred of Jews has been fostered.

Therefore today we want to confess the sin of our nation to God and plead with Him to forgive Iran. We want to pray that in His great mercy, the Lord will reverse the situation and cause Iran to be a blessing to others. We bless other nations and pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for peace in Iran.

Please join us in prayer:

* Pray that as Iranian Christians confess the sins of their nation, God will bring conviction and repentance throughout Iran.
* Pray that God, in His great mercy and love will forgive and heal Iran and make the nation a blessing to other nations.
* Pray for the establishment of the Kingdom of God in Iran - His righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Thank you again for supporting Iranian Christians in prayer today.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

First Amendment More Sacred for Some Than Others

I don't get the whole hand wringing thing over the freedom of the press as it relates to the latest perfidy down at the New York Times. By the opinions being expressed even by those that are appalled by the printing of classified programs, one gets the impression that the freedom of the press is absolute. The first amendment guarantees freedoms other than just that of the press, but all of those have restrictions on them. Just try to express one's religion whenever one chooses and one will find all manner of trouble. Speak freely about the actions of others and one may suffer a liable suit or be charged with a hate crime. Oh but print classified material and no one shows up to charge treason because the press must be free. Now would be a good time to establish a reasonable limit on the sacred press freedoms that are being used as cover for damaging the interests of our nation..

Monday, June 26, 2006

Transvestite Gang Loose in New Orleans

Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin is having to call the National Guard to help quell the murderous violence that has returned to his city just has no time to deal with the transvestite gang plaguing the Lower Garden District since May. Katrina and the looters afterwards may have been the worst thing the merchants of New Orleans have had to face, but no one expected a gang of shoplifting drag queens.

The transvestites first appeared in March when they raided Magazine Street like a marauding army of kleptomaniacal showgirls, said Davis, using clockwork precision and brute force to satisfy high-end boutique needs.

Since the police have been unable to help them, the merchants have taken matters into their own hands. Using a phone tree when one sees the flamboyant bunch strutting their way the alarm goes up. Speculation is they are dope fiends who's kartina relief funds have dried up so they resorted to stealing the only thing they really understand, clothes and accessories.

"The city's not functioning the way it was and I'm sure a lot of them were getting some kind of government aid, which they probably aren't getting any more so they're incredibly desperate," Ogle said.

The city sure isn't functioning as it was, it wasn't functioning before Katrina, yet incredibly it's worse. What can one expect when one's fellow citizens reelect a mayor who couldn't handle the job before the disaster? Maybe they thought since the population was half what it was he could deal with it better. Thought wrong.

Murtha and his Moonbat Friends

Rep. John Murtha was at a anti war gathering this weekend where he claimed the "American presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran". All the moonbats in attendance were impressed.

Ah, Mr. Murtha, the mothership is calling....

Day 33 Forty Day ‘Pray for Iran’ Campaign.

"I am 22 years old, I always watch your TV programs. I desperately ask you to show me the way to join the Christian faith and spend the rest of my life in peace and holiness, where there is no doubt."

In recent years Christian satellite TV has emerged as perhaps the most effective way of reaching large numbers of Iranians with the Gospel. Satellite dishes are very popular in Iran. Despite the fact that the government has banned dishes, there is an estimated potential 30 million viewers.

To reach this vast audience several ministries have worked to produce and broadcast Persian Christian television programs in the last few years. Now with 24 hour TV broadcasts into Iran many Iranians learn about the Christian faith in the privacy of their homes and as result thousands are making decisions to follow Christ. Hundreds of phone calls and emails are received each month as people respond and ask questions or request Bibles and other Christian materials. Many write just to share their joy and how they found the Lord, like the young lady who wrote:

"My sister and I became interested in Christianity through watching your programs. As a result we started researching the claims of Jesus. I have some good news… my sister and I have believed in Jesus. We love to worship Him.’

For many believers, Christian TV provides their main source of teaching and encouragement for their walk with Christ and often house churches will gather around the TV. Broadcasts include preaching, Bible teaching and evangelism programs, discussion panels, leadership training, Christian worship and music videos, programs for youth and children as well as programs dubbed into Persian from other languages. But there is still a great need for more programs that will speak to the hearts of the people and that will help establish them in Christ.

So today, let us pray that God will use Satellite TV in increasing measure to reach Iran with the message of Christ:

* Pray for all those already involved in TV ministry for Iran. Pray that they will be empowered by the Holy Spirit as they write, produce, direct and edit programs. Pray they will be led to deal with the topics and issues that will impact people in Iran. Pray the Lord will raise up more mature and anointed labourers who can develop new programs and shows.
* Pray for families and house churches that regularly gather together to worship and learn from the Christian TV programs. Pray that they will be strengthened and will become established in the Word of God and will lead others to a saving knowledge of Christ. Pray also for isolated believers whose only church family is on the TV. Pray they will soon be able to fellowship with other believers in their communities.
* Pray for those who live in the countryside and far reaches of Iran who have access to satellite dishes. Pray that they would stumble across Christian programming and be drawn to the love of Christ. Pray that through TV programs the Gospel will be preached into homes of unreached towns and villages. Pray that all attempts to block Christian programs will not work.

Thank you so much for praying.

Illegal Immigration Threatens Republican Incumbent

Illegal immigration once again is going to be the deciding factor in a pending election. This one is a Republican primary in Utah. The incumbent is seeking his sixth tern in the House yet he has already lost a vote in convention and now faces possible defeat in Tuesday's primary.

Mr. Jacob surprised Mr. Cannon by winning the May Republican convention, although his victory -- 52 percent to 48 percent -- did not get the 60 percent support needed to avert a primary. But at the time, Mr. Jacob was hardly known outside the most active Republicans who attended the convention, and the polls then had him trailing by as much as 20 points among Republican voters in general. The new poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, shows that wide support for Mr. Jacob has since spread to party regulars.

House Republicans are banking their control of the chamber in November's elections on the issue of immigration and their resistance to any plan they see as amnesty, including the bill passed by the Senate last month. Though House leaders -- along with Mr. Bush -- support the incumbent in this race, they are watching it closely, aides say, to see how the issue of immigration plays out.

So far, the race has cost more than $1 million, according to both candidates, and it has been almost exclusively about immigration.

And watch they should because the issue is the issue that people are hinging their support on. Our "leaders" in the Senate and the President have completely misjudged the issue of illegal immigration and the voters are making it painfully know to those who seek office. To this point it has been Democrats that have born the brunt of their ire, now it is a Republican incumbent that may fall. If he does expect a new dance in the general election to gain popularity, the anti amnesty shuffle.


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Day 32 Forty Day ‘Pray for Iran’ Campaign.

There are 122 cities in Iran with populations of 50,000 or more and so today we want to pray for the people who live in these cities. The four largest cities after Tehran are Mashad, Esfahan, Tabriz and Shiraz.

Mashad is Iran's second largest city with well over 2 million people. Situated in the North East of Iran, it is regarded as one of the holiest cities in the Shia world. In 823AD it was renamed Mashad (‘place of martyrdom’) in reference to the death of Imam Reza, the eighth Imam of Shia Islam and today the city is the centre of pilgrimage for Iranian Shiite's. Before 1979 there were at least three active churches in the city, but all were forced to close. However, many God-fearing people in this city have accepted Jesus as their Saviour since then.

Esfahan is a former capital of Iran and today it is a centre of tourism. The saying in Persian goes: ‘Esfahan equals half of the world’ and the city’s ancient sites, beautiful handicrafts, and amazing architectural masterpieces make this a fitting epithet. In 1605 King Shah Abbas forcibly brought over 250,000 ethnically Christian Armenians to Esfahan from Armenia. They have maintained their Christian identity and contributed much to the community. The many beautiful church buildings they have constructed, 13 of which survive today, are a silent witness.

Tabriz is the largest city in North-West Iran and has a population of over 1.2 million. The city is the capital of Iranian Azerbaijan and most of its inhabitants are Azeri’s, the largest minority group in Iran. There is also a small ethnic Christian Assyrian and Armenian community. Christian workers were serving in this city before the revolution and many heard the Gospel, though now the government has closed the evangelical church there.

Shiraz sits in South West Iran. The ancient monuments of Persepolis and Passargard give the city special historical significance. Shiraz has always been a fertile ground for poetry and two of Iran's greatest poets, Hafez and Sadie, are buried in this city. Before the Islamic revolution, Christian missionaries were serving in a Christian hospital and the church, and many people in Shiraz and surrounding towns have received spiritual as well as physical healing as a result of the work of these Christians.

We wish we could write about all the cities of Iran, but unfortunately that is not enough room. However, let us unite in prayer together for them all:

* Pray for 60% of Iranians who live in urban areas. Pray for those who have heard about Christ or received a copy of the Scripture as a result of the presence of the church and Christians among them. Pray that they would be drawn to the love of Christ.

* Pray for the Christians in different cities of Iran. Ask the Lord to give them special favour and grace to be a blessing in their communities. Pray for the growth of house churches. Also pray that new believers can come into contact with other Christians and start having fellowship with them.

* Pray that spiritual strongholds in different cities will be broken and people will come to the knowledge of the truth. Pray also for the official churches in the cities that have been closed down by the regime. Pray that they would be allowed to re-open.

Thank you again for praying for Iran.

NYT spills the Beans Again

The perfidious jerks down at the Net York Times are publishing a classified report of troop withdrawal plans submitted by Gen. George W. Casey Jr.. The plan does not have any hard dates but is what looks to me to be an outline that the Iraqi government and the US can begin to work from.

American officials emphasized that any withdrawals would depend on continued progress, including the development of competent Iraqi security forces, a reduction in Sunni Arab hostility toward the new Iraqi government and the assumption that the insurgency will not expand beyond Iraq's six central provinces. Even so, the projected troop withdrawals in 2007 are more significant than many experts had expected.

General Casey's briefing has remained a closely held secret, and it was described by American officials who agreed to discuss the details only on condition of anonymity. Word of the plan comes after a week in which the American troop presence in Iraq was stridently debated in Congress, with Democratic initiatives to force troop withdrawals defeated in the Senate.

The US has lost the ability to keep a secret. After eight years of the Clinton Administration one can hardly be surprised. They placed people with no security clearance into sensitive positions as a matter of routine. That administration was so focused on politics, particularly those that effected the Clintons, that one should suspect that all levels of appointments and hires were done to fill some future political need. The intelligence problem seems to bare that out. And the NYT is there to happily accommodate them.

Real Clear Politics

Maliki's Master Plan To End the War

It looks like the negotiations have begun as the Iraqi government seeks a solution to the war. The details have yet to be revealed, but the outline is for a phased withdrawal set on conditional circumstances and a general amnesty for insurgents, as opposed to terrorists. The Sunni’s want a timetable with a drop dead date for the coalition the leave. The amnesty would be for those who were fighting the occupation, not for terrorist such as those who bombed Mosques and marketplaces.

A timetable for withdrawal would likely not make it into the final agreement. Remember this is just a draft that will be presented tomorrow. The Sunnis have pressed for a specific date but the government of Iraq would be foolish indeed to agree to one. It is imperative that the government assert itself in the security department now before the insurgents destroy its credibility with the population by stepping up attacks. What is of utmost importance is gaining control of the Shiite militias that plague the Sunnis and throw fuel on the fires of the animosity that has been between these two groups since the 8th century. The US may not be happy with the end result but has little choice in the matter. There would be no legitimate reason to stay if the government asked us to leave. Once we were out I doubt the Congress would be wiling to let us return even if the Iraqis asked us.

The politicians here in the US, especially the Democrats, are not happy about any kind of amnesty for Iraqi insurgents. They forget the general amnesty that Lincoln gave to the Confederacy after the war. Northern politicians wanted the treat the South as an occupied country. To do so would have resulted in the kind of insurgency that plagues Iraq now. Even after WW II we repatriated the German and Japanese POWs without prejudice. It should be no different with Iraq. It is vitally important to reconcile the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds or this nation will disintegrate as soon as we leave regardless of how prepared we leave the security forces.

War is bad business all around. It is a way of life in the Religion of Peace. Closing up shop and cleaning the mess afterwards is no more pretty than starting the whole thing in the first place. Lets hope the Iraqi government can keep its bacon out of the fire because I don’t think we’ll be back to pull it out once we leave.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Project Hero

QandO has the next Silver Star recipient tribute up on their site.

Our hero this week is LCPL Carlos Gomez-Perez, Silver Star

The armor-piercing round ripped through the right shoulder of then-Lance Cpl. Carlos Gomez-Perez, leaving a fist-sized hole.

Maybe it was the adrenaline, but the stocky, young Marine felt no pain during the April 2004 firefight.

One floor below him, as Iraqi insurgents fired relentlessly, Gomez-Perez could hear his fellow Marines shouting.

The El Cajon resident propped up his M-16 and pulled the trigger despite his bloodied chest, his thick, wide frame keeping his shoulder intact. He lobbed a grenade with his good arm.

Beside him, Marine Lance Cpl. Aaron Austin, 21, wounded by gunfire, was losing his fight for life. Below him, the shouting continued.

"All I heard was screaming and screaming," Gomez-Perez said.

Gomez-Perez decided he would die before he would be taken prisoner and made a bold move to lead his fellow Marines, several wounded, against their attackers.

His actions that day would earn him the Silver Star for heroism in battle, awarded at a ceremony Wednesday

"It runs through my head every day," said Gomez-Perez, who is indifferent about receiving the award. "I really don't know what it means."

Instead, he remembers the day, the fighting, the wounded and his actions.

"What could I have done differently?" he said he asks himself. "Austin - he's the one who died because I couldn't save him."

Day 31 Forty Day ‘Pray for Iran’ Campaign.

Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honoured, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith.’ 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2

Often overlooked in ministry is the need to pray for church leaders who are a primary target for the enemy. So today we want to bring all Iranian Christian leaders and their families before the Lord.

Much of the church growth among Iranians today has happened as men and women of God have stood in the gap and poured out their lives for the Gospel in Iran. They and their families need our prayers so that there will be continued healthy church growth. Also, we must not forget the wives and the children of the eight Christian ministers who have been martyred since 1979.

The Iranian church has a number of experienced leaders from various denominations who are much respected in the global church. Iran also has a growing number of emerging leaders who have a deep passion to see the love of Christ impact their nation. These are the ones who will lead the church in Iran for the next few decades and it is important that we pray for them too.

So let us together fervently intercede on behalf of these servants of the Most High and bring them before His throne of grace:

* Pray for protection for leaders and their families. Pray especially for their spouses and children and ask the Lord to bless the marriages of Iranian church leaders. Pray there will be much joy in their homes and that as a family they will be delivered from every wicked scheme of the enemy. Pray that the Lord will grant them health and strength.
* Pray for the anointing of the Spirit in their ministry. Pray according to Ephesians 6:19-20 that God would give them the right words to boldly explain the Good News. Pray they will be able to feed and care for the flock and that their gentleness will be evident to all. Pray that they would be diligent in their work and able to order their priorities and redeem the time as they have many demands on them.
* Pray for the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. Pray that they will live in purity of faith and conduct. Pray that as they give out, they will be replenished and will grow to know Christ more deeply.
* Pray for provision. Pray that the Lord will supply all their needs according to His riches in glory.

Thank you once again for praying.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Day 303 Forty Day ‘Pray for Iran’ Campaign.

We read in the Bible that our God is a defender of the poor, the widows, the orphans and the oppressed (Psalm 68), and there is no shortage of such people in Iran.

Despite sitting on an enviable wealth of oil and other national treasures, Iranians today are still grappling with the issue of poverty. Economic mismanagement, corruption and decades of trade sanctions have caused many people to continuously struggle to make ends meet. In 2002, nearly 40% of the population were living below the poverty line, and 7.3% (about were living on less than $2 a day. Most of the poor in Iran are living in small towns or villages, some of which still lack basic necessities such as electricity and clean drinking water.

Ironically, it was the poor who started the 1979 Islamic Revolution and helped sustain it. In fact, one of the main mottos of the revolution was the re-distribution of wealth. The Muslim clergy were promising people that they would take national assets out of the hands of the rich and distribute it among the poor and the oppressed. Yet, nearly three decades on, the poor and the oppressed still find themselves in the same situation.

The 8-year war with Iraq has also made matters worse. There’s hardly a family in Iran that did not lose a family member and many young women and children have become widows and orphans as a result of the war. This also means that a lot of families lost their breadwinner and have suffered. Though various charities in Iran aim to help such people, the help is often not enough.

One group which is particularly vulnerable in today's Iranian society is that of the families of prisoners. In addition to the social disgrace, many families also have to cope with the economic impacts of this. They also continue to suffer once their loved one is released, as it is usually very difficult for someone with a prison record to find a job.

So with this in mind, let us lift up the vulnerable in Iran before the Lord:

* Pray for those who are vulnerable to know the true God as their only true defender. Pray that as many of them are let down by those who claim to champion the cause of the poor, they will consider the claims of Jesus.

* Pray specially for the families of those who have loved ones in prison or who have a family member that has been executed. They are shunned by nearly everyone, and are exactly the sort of people Jesus came for.

* Pray for those who in desperation have turned to prostitution in order to earn money (there are an estimated 300,000 prostitutes in Iran). Pray they will come to know the Lord as their provider.

* Pray for the charities and aid groups working to alleviate the suffering of the oppressed. Pray specially for the Christian groups who are showing the love of Jesus in this very practical way.

Thank you for standing in prayer for Iran.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Day 29 Forty Day ‘Pray for Iran’ Campaign.

Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" John 20:15

One of the most remarkable things about Jesus is the love and respect he showed to women. After His resurrection He first appeared to Mary Magdalene and called her by name, and so today we want to pray that women in Iran will also know how much Christ loves and honours them.

God has blessed the women in Iran with many gifts and talents. A high percentage of Iranian women are literate and more than half of university students are female, showing that Iranian women desire education and personal development. Iranian women are also often praised for their hospitality and deep commitment to their families. However, while many young ladies grow up with a real zeal for life, their passion is often soon quenched as they face up to the realities of living as a woman under Iran's law and practice.

In family law, women do not have the same rights as men when it comes to marriage, divorce, child custody and inheritance. In employment law, women are prohibited from entering certain careers, and when it comes to criminal cases, women do not enjoy the same legal safeguards as men. A man’s testimony is worth twice that of a woman’s, and women are entitled to only half the compensation that men receive.

On the social front, women are not allowed to participate in some entertainment and sports activities. Recently there was uproar because the Supreme Ruler ruled that it is not Islamic for women to attend soccer matches. This includes all non-Muslim women also. Also, after the revolution it became mandatory for all women to wear a head covering from the age of nine.

As a result of all this, many Iranian women have become activists seeking equal rights. The most famous was the prominent Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi, who received the Nobel peace prize in 2003 for her struggle to implement human rights for Iranian women and children.

Let us pray that women in Iran will experience the true liberty that only Christ can bring.

* Pray that discriminations against Iranian women will be overcome. Pray also for those suffering through domestic violence and the drug addiction of fathers and husbands which have lead and dramatically increased depression, running away from home, prostitution and suicide among women.
* Pray for female Christian workers ministering among women, that they will have wisdom to introduce Jesus Christ to women in all parts of society. Pray that the women in Iran would come to realize their true value, the way God sees them, and will know how to walk accordingly. Pray that older women and mothers would be excellent role models for younger women and their own children.
* Pray that women of excellence would be recognized, honoured and appreciated by society. Pray also that their many gifts and talents would be used to bring love, joy, peace and harmony in their own homes and community as well.

We are so grateful for your prayers.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Day 28 Forty Day ‘Pray for Iran’ Campaign.

‘Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony.’ John 4:39

One of the ways that Jesus has revealed Himself to Iranians has been through amazing supernatural encounters. And once they have experienced Christ, many Iranians cannot help but share their new found faith with others.

Iranians grow up learning that Jesus was a man of great love and a miracle worker. Some famous Persian poetry talks about supernatural things Christ did and so many Iranians have called out to Him in times of desperation. ‘My son was very seriously injured,’ shares one lady, ‘I had done my ritual prayers for 35 years, but had not received any answers so I decided to pray to Jesus and see if he would heal my son. The next day my son was completely well.’

Similarly, many Iranians have testified that while they or a family member was sick, Jesus appeared to them in a dream or vision and healed them. Others share how they had experienced a miracle after they had been persuaded to pray to Christ by reading the New Testament, seeing the Jesus film or hearing from a Christian friend.

‘I have a 5 year old daughter, but she cannot speak. Can Jesus heal her?’ a man asked his Christian boss while he was travelling for work. ‘By faith all things are possible,’ the Christian replied and he prayed for the young girl in the name of Christ. When the man returned home the next day, he saw his wife and daughter approach him and he was amazed when the girl called him ‘father’ for the first time. Excitedly he asked his wife when she had started speaking. The wife told him it was 5pm the day before – the exact time the Christian had prayed for her.

Let us pray that more Iranians will have a supernatural encounter with Christ and that others will believe because of their testimony.

* Pray that the Lord will show His mercy in increasing measure to the sick and those suffering from pain and depression in Iran. Pray for many more supernatural encounters with the Lord. Pray that the testimony of those who have been healed will bring many to faith and repentance.
* Pray that the Lord will revive faith in the hearts of His Christian servants to pray for the healing of the sick. Pray that God’s servants who go to visit the sick in the hospitals will be endued with power for miracles and healings.
* Pray the Lord will give compassion, wisdom and strength to doctors, nurses and all hospital staff for the healing of the sick. Pray that they will come to know Jesus as the great physician.

Thank you for praying. May the Lord meet your own health needs.

Episcopalians refuse affirmation of Christ

Not to be out done by the Presbyterians redefining the concept of the Trinity, the Episcopalians have abandoned Christianity altogether. The defining belief of the Christian is that the forgiveness of sin and reconciliation to God is through the finished work of Jesus Christ and no other. The very name Christian means to be of Christ.

COLUMBUS, OHIO (6/20/06)-The House of Deputies of the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church today overwhelmingly refused to even consider a resolution that affirmed Jesus Christ as the "only name by which any person may be saved."

The Episcopalians think that is just too exclusive. They are correct, Christianity is exclusive, but it is meant to be so. Jesus Himself said "No one comes to the Father but through Me." Not ambiguous is it? If there were any other way one would think that He may have mentioned it? One would also think that if there were any other way outside of the death on the cross that He would have taken it? I don't begrudge the Episcopalians believing whatever they choose, I am just saying that they should no longer consider themselves to be Christians.

The Rev. Eugene C. McDowell, a graduate of Yale Divinity School and Canon Theologian for the Diocese of North Carolina rejected the statement but made a good point on the importance of doing good he emphasizes works over faith.

McDowell explained that how one lives his life is the more important issue than whether one affirms Jesus as Lord. To place a statement of belief over actions is the essence of "self-righteousness," he said. "Actions speak louder than proclamations. What Jesus calls us to do is to live our lives."

McDowell outlined his basic theology of grace: "Salvation by grace is remembering that we are the children of a living God. Grace is already there. And salvation is realizing we now live into that salvation. And sanctification is the transforming of my life from one that's me-centered to one that's God-centered."

Though this is true he implies a person need only do good to be acceptable to God. The grace he is referring to is available because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The grace he describes however is one of merit because of the actions of the believer. This is not compatible with the teaching of scripture. If we could by our actions gain the favor of god, we would not be pleasing a true god because that would place god in a position of debt to us, an absurd idea. By what scale do we, a created being, obligate the Creator? It implies that He is in need of something we have to offer that He does not already possess.

Acknowledging Jesus as Lord is acknowledging from whom the power to change emanates. Take this analogy as the difference between the person who acknowledges the saving work of Christ to one who relies upon one's own efforts to live righteously.

Two carpenters are building walls. Both recognize that something is not right. One goes to the boss to point out the error and learn how to repair it. The other continues to finish the wall and covering it with drywall. It looks fine, but underneath there are problems that are not being addressed. One acknowledges his error the other tries to make up for it by making it look good. One satisfies his employer the other puts himself in charge in place of this employer. So it is with the grace of God. We acknowledge our weakness and seek the master's help, or we try to gloss over our error by our own actions It is by acknowledging Jesus as Lord that. We gain God's grace and power to change what is wrong. To do otherwise is not to hold the Christian faith.

Silver Blue over at Ramblings of Silver Blue linked to this post.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Presbyterians mull 'phrasing' change for Holy Trinity

What happens when a group of Christians abandon the doctrine of the inspiration of scripture? In the case of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) They develop some rather interesting concepts about who God is.

At some Presbyterian churches the Holy Trinity -- "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" -- will be out. "Mother, Child and Womb" is in....

... Besides "Mother, Child and Womb" and "Rock, Redeemer, Friend," options include:
• "Lover, Beloved, Love"
• "Creator, Savior, Sanctifier"
• "King of Glory, Prince of Peace, Spirit of Love"

Next they'll include Moe, Larry and Curly.

God in His wisdom gave us His Word so we would not be subject to the capricious nature of man. He so esteems it that it states in Psalm 138 "you have exalted above all things your name and your word." NIV . His Son Jesus called himself The Word. In light of this why would they come up with such non sense about the trinity?

What we call God is not a difficult concept to grasp. He introduces Himself as The Father, The Son and The Spirit. When I'm introduced to a person, especially one to whom I owe respect, as Mr. Smith, I don't then just begin to call him by another name. So why then do so with the creator of all that was, is and will be? It is because they worship a god of their own creation. One who fits nicely into their life style. That God of the bible is just too demanding.

Conservatives responded that the church should stick close to the way that God is referred to in the Bible and noted that the Lord's Prayer, which Christ instructed his followers to say, was addressed to "Our Father."

The delegates sang a revised version of the familiar Doxology, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow" that avoids male nouns and pronouns for God.

2 Timothy 3:5 "having a form of godliness but denying its power." sums it up . They want to have a religion but without the power that God gives us. That power is the power to change. To become someone new. That is the meaning of saved, saved from what we have made ourselves so we may be transformed into who God intended us to be. If this is not our purpose than we do need a god who we have the power to change. One who will not expose our deeds.

The assembly votes today on a proposal to give local congregations and regional "presbyteries" leeway on ordaining clergy and lay officers living in homosexual relationships. Ten conservative Presbyterian groups have warned jointly that approval of what they call "local option" would "promote schism by permitting the disregard of clear standards of Scripture."

No surprise there. They could change the name of the denomination from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) To the Church of What's Happening Now while they are at it.

Chistian Carnival 127: Voltron Edition

What is Wrong With This Picture at the World Cup

The international soccer association FIFA has little problem with the overwhelming demand on the part of those attending for the services of prostitutes and the likelihood of the use of "slaves" from that purpose.

BERLIN: With the World Cup on, sex workers in Berlin have gone into extra time and are doing double shifts to cash in on the mega event.

"Berlin's hookers are groaningâ€"all brothels are creaking at the seams," the daily Bild reported. "In some establishments, the girls already have to put in double shifts owing to the World Cup," the paper added, saying clients were virtually queuing up to get into the host nation's 'freudenhauser' (literally, joy houses).

One taxi driver was quoted as saying that at least four of the customers he had taken to the capital's red light district, which has some 8,000 prostitutes, were sent back. "They were turned away as the places were full," he said. ...

... In the run-up to the event, international organisations and foreign governments had warned that women were being forced to travel to Germany to serve as prostitutes for an army of football fans and up to 40,000 women could be abused.

Yet they are so acutely aware of the possibility that one may be offended by the presence of chapels in the stadiums that they have seen fit to close them.

BERLIN (ANS) -- The international soccer association FIFA has closed and sealed the chapels in two world cup venues. The Olympic stadium in Berlin and the arena "Auf Schalke" in Gelsenkirchen are the only soccer venues with chapels in Germany.

According to Bernhard Felmberg, sports liaison officer of the Protestant Church in Berlin-Brandenburg, FIFA gives two reasons for the closures: security concerns and respect for adherents of non-Christian religions.

The problem they have is they're the ones who are offended by the chance that the chapels will be used, because they would have to acknowledge people who do not practice vise, thus pricking the conscience they so much wish to ignore.

Day 27 Forty Day ‘Pray for Iran’ Campaign.

Thousands of people, impacting millions, work in the Iranian media. All need our fervent prayers. There are seven national TV channels, five major daily newspapers and a host of magazines and provincial newspapers. In addition each province has its own TV and radio network. There is a lot of high quality material, and thankfully there is no pornography or anything of a lewd nature. For this we should thank God.

However, there is no press freedom in Iran. All media must be in accord with Islamic principles. State officials check all printed and broadcast material. This obviously means there is no legal voice for Biblical Christianity. There is no serious political debate or unbiased commentary. Under President Khatami there was more freedom – but as criticism emerged, the state hit back. Between 1998 and 1999 five journalists were killed, a number were put in prison; and after 2000 over 100 publications were closed down. In April 2000 the prominent journalist Akbar Ganji was arrested and sentenced to six years imprisonment for his political views. His hunger strike gained world wide attention and he was released in March this year. There are now nine journalists in prison and the last to be killed was Elham Alfrooton, nineteen, in February this year. She had written a satirical piece about the Islamic Revolution.

The government is also trying to control the censor-free web where Iranians have established one of the largest blogging communities in the world. On the 100,000 plus sites you can find every shade of opinion. The government tries to block political sites, and they have made a number of arrests which has intimidated Iranians inside the country. The government has also tried, with limited success, to confiscate satellite dishes which receive hundreds of channels from abroad. They have also been known to arrest performers in the satellite programmes when they visit Iran and are working on technology to block the transmission. Despite this pressure, satellite TV is one of the most effective ways that Christians can reach right into people’s homes.

Let us turn to prayer today believing that the Lord can impact this crucial area of Iranian life.

* Pray fervently for more press freedom in Iran. Pray specifically that programmes with the message of Christ can be shared in the national press and on the air waves.

* Pray for all those working in the Media: in TV for script writers, producers, directors and film editors. In print media, for journalists, designers and editors. Pray they can hear the Gospel.

* Pray fervently for those who risk imprisonment and even death by speaking out for freedom and justice. Pray for journalists who are in prison today. Pray that they will be set free and come to know the truth in Jesus.

* Pray also for the government officials who have to sensor material. Pray they will have a generous and gracious spirit, and that they too will be influenced by the Gospel.

We are so grateful for your prayers.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Murtha claims support for Iraq pullout plan

Rep. John P. Murtha claimed on Meet the Press that 2/3 of Democrats support his plan to leave Iraq now. He may very well be right. Sen. Dianne Feinstein thinks the mission has taken too long and she is supposed to be the Democrat's leader on national security. Just one ore example of how totally clueless they are.

His justification for the pullout plan are the latest examples of a cut and run approach, Beirut and Somalia. These are poor examples because both efforts were doomed from the start by unreasonable restrictions placed on American forces. Beirut was a disaster because suicide bombers successfully crashed the gate to the troop's barracks because the guards were not allowed to have their weapons loaded. Somalia was a UN food delivery mission that had its mission modified on the fly. Iraq is a full scale invasion to replace a hostile dictatorship with a democracy. The better comparison would be with Vietnam. Since the Left is so fond of that comparison they should look real close at the parallels.

South Vietnam was suffering from a domestic insurgency supported by a foreign nation. Our plan was to make the South Vietnam's government stable and it's military strong enough that we could leave them to take over their own security. The enemy relied on terror to try to destabilize the government. The insurgency was defeated by an unwise offensive led by North Vietnam that resulted in most of the insurgents being killed. Then a national security effort pacified the countryside so people could conduct their daily business in relative peace.

While our efforts at accomplishing this were successful, before they could bare fruit the Left used Watergate to wound the President politically while the press painted the defeats of the enemy on the battlefield as victories highlighting the death of our troops rather than the accomplishments their sacrifices made possible. Political weakness caused the acceleration of the program to train the Vietnamese forces to fight independently. The eventual result was an earlier than appropriate withdrawal fro the country. Sadly the final blow came not from the enemy who had already been defeated, but from Congress and the President who failed to honor the commitments to support the government of South Vietnam after we pulled our troops out.

It is not difficult to see the Democrats moving down this same path with the war in Iraq. Every proposal I hear from them resembles one of the above mentioned betrayals of our ally. The phased redeployment Murtha and others are calling for is the same as the phased withdrawal from South Vietnam and just as we did there they will want to accelerate the phases. Look at this statement from Meet the Press and judge for yourself the likelihood of him calling for a quicker withdrawal after he gets a commitment to start the withdrawal.

MR. RUSSERT: But in 2004, you had a view that was much different than you had now, and this is what you wrote in your book: "A war initiated on faulty intelligence must not be followed by a premature withdrawal of our troops based on a political timetable. An untimely exit could rapidly devolve into a civil war, which would leave America's foreign policy in disarray as countries question not only America's judgment but also its perseverance." Aren't you now advocating that?

REP. MURTHA: Yeah, you're absolutely right. That's what I said then. And I think in the early stages, you have to judge that. But there comes a time when you got to change direction. There comes a time when you have to say to yourself, "OK, we've done everything we could do, we can't win this militarily."

You can bet that once the troops are out of country they will never return just as when we left South Vietnam with a promise of air and naval support which never materialized. Then bet the farm that the Democrats will want to balance the budget by cutting our financial support for the Iraqi government leaving the in the lurch just as they did to our ally in the war on Communism.

I some what dismissed the Left in their betrayal of the Vietnamese because they were sympathetic to communism. But I see no natural alliance between the Left and the Islamists other that they both hate America. Sure the Lefties say they are patriotic and all, but the fact remains that they consistently support the enemies of our nation. I think they are loyal to a vision of America that never existed except in their dreams. Their dreams are our nightmare.

For a more detailed analisys of the Meet the Press interview with Rep. Murtha see the http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/007239.php

Global Week Prayer for North Korea

God is not surprised by the events on earth, but he has required His people to ask for His help and Intervention. As North Korea rattles the sword we must seek God's will and pray ready to step into the fray if necessary. This is why I want to highlight the efforts of Christians throughout the world to solicit the prayers of others for the troubles in their part of the world. A fatalistic attitude that the world will get worse as we approach the return of Christ is not proper in light of scripture. The Spirit in the Church is here to extend the Kingdom not sit back and wait for the end.. He wants to bring all his children back and will not leave any behind. It is our job to tell the them to get ready.

Pray for North Korea
Please Pray:
- That the state enforced idolatry of North Korea' leaders which is imposed throughout the
country will be broken.
- That the leaders, especially Kim Jong Il, will be convicted and converted.
- That there will be true religious freedom and that the True God who really reigns in the
heavens will be proclaimed as God.
- That all would freely hear and receive the good news of Jesus.
- For God to uphold those believers who follow Christ so wholeheartedly in such a spiritually
hostile environment.
- For all those Christians detained for their faith and subject to inhumane treatment, appalling
conditions and horrific abuse.
- For those who are undergoing torture and interrogation at the moment.
- For those facing execution for their faith.
- For family members who are incarcerated.
- That God would be with believers in the fiery furnace as he was with Shadrach, Meshach and
- For the secret believers in North Korea to grow in their faith and be shielded from those who
would persecute them.
- For the growth of the church and the spread of the gospel, even in this harsh environment.
- For those desperately clinging to life and for their loved ones.
- That aid would not be diverted to the military.
- For effective international access to those areas where ' classes' reside, which are
deliberately cut off from food by the regime.
- For those ministering aid in the country.
- For the North Koreans in hiding along the border areas, for their protection as they seek
food and shelter and as they come into contact with Christianity, usually for the first time.
- For North Korean women who arrive in China terribly vulnerable to being sold as brides and
subjected to appalling sexual, physical and emotional abuse.
- For refugees who become Christians, that they would grow in their faith and be protected.
- For those forcibly returned to North Korea from China, especially those who have become
Christians who face very severe torture and likely execution if their faith is discovered.
- For protection, wisdom and guidance for all those helping North Koreans.
- For those who have been arrested and detained in China and those abducted from China to
North Korea because of their efforts to help North Koreans.
- For solutions to be found so that North Koreans can reach freedom and safety.
Resource produced by Christian Solidarity Worldwide UK
W: www.csw.org.uk E: admin@csw.org.uk T: +44 (0) 20 8942 8810

Day 26 Forty Day ‘Pray for Iran’ Campaign.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has well over half a million men in its military: Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Qods Force, Basij Force (mainly youth), and Law Enforcement Forces. These will be the people who are likely to suffer first in any new war and they will suddenly be called the ‘enemy’ by the international media.

Jesus and Paul never called the Roman soldiers the enemy, but rather reached out to them as individuals. Jesus healed the centurion’s servant and in Acts 16 Paul stopped the jailer from killing himself and told him how to be saved. So today, we want to reach out in prayer to these young Iranian servicemen and women in Iran’s military system.

Some, like the 125,000 in the Revolutionary Guards, are ultra conservative, but they are certainly not beyond the love of God. Many others, such as the 200,000 conscripts in the regular army, are ordinary young men and women with varying levels of commitment to their religion. In the army they receive ceaseless indoctrination and are expected to be fervent in the practice of Islam. They can be in serious trouble if they are not, and this makes life very difficult for Christian conscripts from a Muslim background.

Let us pray today for the individuals in Iran’s armed services:

* Pray for senior officers and other leaders. Pray there will be people like Cornelius in the book of Acts. Pray that they will experience the power of God as they seek to look after the needs of others.

* Pray that leaders in the army will stand up to any evil counsel that would plunge the country into crisis and war. Pray that peace will prevail.

* Pray against the recruitment of child soldiers. Tens of thousands of children, some as young as nine, died after being deployed in the Iran-Iraq war.

* Pray for the ordinary soldiers and their families whose hearts might be shaking at the prospect of war. Pray they will receive revelation of the true Lord and Saviour.

* Pray especially for all Christians in the armed services who are forced to work under such difficult circumstances.

Thank you for praying.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Day 25 Forty Day ‘Pray for Iran’ Campaign.

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.’ 2 Peter 3:18

Thousands of Iranians who have recently come to faith in Christ need our prayers today. They need grow as disciples so that they will spread everywhere ‘the fragrance of the knowledge of Him’.

The challenge of discipling new Iranian believers is often greater than winning them to Christ.

Much time needs to be spent to help ground them in the Word of God as they have no previous experience of the Bible or Christian life and conduct. How they are taught at the beginning of their walk with Christ shapes them for the future.

The problem is that there are not enough trained workers who are able to teach and model the Christian life effectively. While the Iranian church does possess qualified and faithful leaders, there are simply not enough of them to cope with the rapid church growth.

The church is not officially allowed to run Bible schools in Iran, though they do their best to provide some training. Traditionally the Iranian church held many one-week training and discipleship conferences, but even these have been stopped by the government in recent years.

Another challenge is that many believers are isolated and have very little opportunity to fellowship with others. For many, their only Christian community may be a handful of other new believers who know little more than they do. There are some new believers who have no regular contact with other Christians.

Let us pray that people will not only hear the Gospel, but that they will have the opportunities to grow as faithful followers of Christ.

* Pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen new Iranian believers with power through His Spirit in their inner beings, so that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith. And pray that they, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that they may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19
* Pray, according to 2 Timothy 2:2, that more new believers will be taught the Word of God and that in turn they will entrust it to men and women who will also teach others.
* Pray for all efforts to disciple and provide teaching through Satellite TV, radio, and the Internet. Pray also for Iranian believers around the world who are discipling friends and family members back in Iran through emails and telephone calls.
* Pray for those who are faithfully discipline believers in Iran. Pray they will be encouraged and that they will sense the power, presence and protection of the Lord.

Thank you for praying.

Father's Day

My father passed away four years ago. As with all other fathers he has left a lasting mark on the way I see and understand the world around me. Most significantly is his holding in high esteem the pursuit of knowledge.

When I envision my Dad I see him coming home from he library with a bag full of books. Then each night seeing him read each one through while sitting in front of the TV. He read technical, historic and philosophic books of all kinds. When ever was there was a question, technical or trivial he had an answer. He was like a Google search before the Internet.

The radio station was always tuned to a news station long before talk radio. Newspapers and magazines abounded. Current events were a constant subject of discussion and he was conservative before conservative was cool. I caught myself any times echoing the words of my Dad while reading some bit of non sense on the Internet, "Am I the only one who sees how stupid Congress is?"

As most teenagers I became skeptical of the accuracy of his opinions. For several years I embarked on a pursuit to understand what I believed and determine the usefulness of the philosophy I held for addressing the issues of the day. The more deeply I delved the more I appreciated the insight of the "old man." The method I used was one I learned from his example. If I needed to know something I just found books on the subject and began to read. As time passed I found that my beliefs differed in most cases only by degree from those of my Dad. He demonstrated to me the tools used to ferret out the truth and I still use them today. I wish he had lived to blog because it is a forum he would have enjoyed thoroughly as I do.

To be a father is to be an influence both good and bad on one's children. An accurate predictor of the likelihood of children to attend church as adults is whether or not their father did so. Overwhelmingly it is the father's example that children follow when they become adults. It is unmistakably so with me. I often compare my decisions with what I think my father would do.

One of the great joys I have is answering the phone and finding one of the kids on the other end asking for my opinion on some subject. It was my father who led my to this place.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Project Hero

QandO has the next Silver Star recipient tribute up on their site.

Our hero this week is SSG Anthony Viggiani, Navy Cross

Viggiani’s June 3, 2004, patrol with Company C, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit started out like many days in the Zabol Province of Afghanistan.

“We were rolling through and got intel reports to sweep a village,” he said. “And we got reports that they had spotted some guys.”

Soon, Viggiani led a squad on a chase of the insurgents, which led them into mountainous terrain that thwarted some of the technological advantages normally held by U.S. forces.

“We had no idea where our second squad was because of the mountains,” he recalled. “The radio transmissions were pretty jacked up.”

Enemy forces began firing on one of Viggiani’s teams from a well-entrenched cave position, pinning them down.

Under fire from another enemy position, Viggiani scrambled to lob a fragmentation grenade into a cave holding the forces that had trapped one of his teams with furious gunfire.

“I’ve got a rifle in my right, a frag in my left,” he said of his race down a ridge to take out the cave position. Soon, Viggiani saw a small hole leading into the cave. The enemy was close.

“I saw a cloth in there and fired three or four rounds inside,” he said. “The cloth moved, and I saw skin. I fired about three, four more rounds. Then I pulled the pin on the frag, dropped it down, took two steps and plastered myself against the rock. [Expletive] went everywhere. Cloth, blood, everything.”

Soon, machine gun fire came in Viggiani’s direction from across the way. He took a shot to the leg as he and another noncommissioned officer tried to avoid the fire. Air support soon came through and cleaned out the enemy position that had hit Viggiani.

Three to four hours after spotting the enemy forces, Viggiani’s company took out 14 enemy fighters.

Seeking medical treatment for his wound during a lull in fighting, while the enemy was still precariously close, was just not an option that day, he said.

Instead, Viggiani focused on the other guys who were injured, and how things could have been much worse.

Day 24 Forty Day ‘Pray for Iran’ Campaign.

Natural or man-made disasters never seem to be far from Iran, and as a consequence there are millions of shattered lives. So today we want to bring these precious people before the throne of grace.

In terms of caring for refugees, Iran is actually one of the world's unsung heroes. Because of various wars since the 1980’s in neighbouring Afghanistan and Iraq, more than 2 million Afghans and Iraqi Kurds have fled to Iran as refugees, and for some time now Iran has hosted the second largest refugee population in the world, after Pakistan. It has done this with little assistance from the international community.

Iran has always provided good camps for the refugees to live, and the Iranian Red Crescent has often co-operated with the Iranian church to help provide for the needs of these displaced people. While most Kurds were able to return to Iraq after the end of the first Gulf war, most Afghan’s have remained in Iran.

Iran has also experienced several major earthquakes in recent years. In December 2003, a huge earthquake in Bam killed over 40,000 people in just 12 seconds. In February 2005, a devastating earthquake in Zarand left 612 people dead and thousands injured and homeless, while in March of this year 70 people were killed and tens of thousands made homeless by an earthquake in Lorestan.

Iran lies on numerous faults and earthquakes seem increasingly commonplace. According to official figures there have been 17 earthquakes in the last 12 months of magnitude five or greater. The major concern is for Tehran, and experts expect an earthquake will hit the capital city. If it is powerful enough, they believe more than one million people could be killed.

Finally, we cannot forget the 1980-1988 war with Iraq which killed one million people. Thousands that were severely injured or maimed, and left with deep psychological scars are still suffering.

So let us now pray for refugees and the victims of wars and disasters in Iran:

* Pray that the God of all comfort will touch the lives of those who are still suffering. Pray they will not be forgotten and ask the Lord to send His people to bring comfort, hope and healing.
* Pray for all aid workers in Iran and emergency services such as the Red Crescent that they would be effective in their work and be prepared for any future disasters.
* Pray that the Church will continue to provide bold and compassionate service to refugees and victims of disasters. Pray that those who are suffering will come to know the Lord God as their refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.
* Pray for Tehran, that God in His mercy will spare the city from great disaster.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Day 23 Forty Day ‘Pray for Iran’ Campaign.

Iran is the only country in the world that is ruled by Islamic clergy. Today we want to join in prayer for Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamanei, a man whose decisions not only affect 70 million people in Iran but millions across the globe.

From a family of Muslim clerics, Ayatollah Khamanei was a devoted follower of Ayatollah Khomeini who led the 1979 Islamic revolution. He was often imprisoned under the Shah. After Ayatollah Khomeini’s death in 1989, Ayatollah Khamanei was appointed the Supreme Leader by the ultra conservative ‘Assembly of Experts’. His position is for life.

Though there is a parliament and an elected president in Iran, the Supreme Leader controls all the key levers of power and has the final say in all matters. He appoints the heads of the military, the judiciary, the media and the Sepah, which is the separate Islamic army. He also appoints six members of the twelve strong ‘Council of Guardians’ who can veto parliamentary candidates and all legislation passed by the 290 elected MP’s.

During the 17 years of his leadership, Ayatollah Khamanei has faithfully followed Khomeini’s Islamic policies and consolidated the power of the ultra conservative hardliners. He made sure that while the moderate President Khatami was in power between 1997-2005, his reformist policies had little or no impact. Operatives reporting to Ayatollah Khamanei silence the regime’s critics and also persecute religious minorities. Six key church leaders have been martyred and the church has suffered greater persecution since Ayatollah Khamanei came to power. Yet ironically it has been during his time as Supreme Leader that the largest number of conversions to Christianity has occurred.

So let us now pray for Ayatollah Khamanei.

* Pray that God will influence his decisions for the good of the country and her people.
* Pray that the Holy Spirit will bring a deep conviction of sin and the revelation of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
* Pray that while he is ruling, he will serve the nation in righteousness and integrity.
* Pray that the Lord’s purposes for Iran will prevail and that Iran will be a blessing to the rest of the world.

Thank you for standing in prayer for Iran.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Winchester Has a Champion

The Wall Street Journal today has an article in its Marketplace section about Michael H. Blank. He is a former stock broker and a collector of Winchester rifles. What has drawn their attention is his efforts to find a buyer for the Winchester factory in New Haven, Conn.. The plant is owned by the Hershel Group, a Belgian firm who holds the license to the name Winchester which is owned by the Olin Corp.. Mr. Blank is looking for a company that will not just take over the New Haven plant, but will make replicas of the old versions of the lever action rifle, but with the Winchester name.

The replicas that are produced today are made in Italy. Some sell for as much as $1200 but they cannot carry the Winchester name. Mr. Blank believes that high quality replicas, or more accurately, reissues of previously discontinued models, would fill a large market and put the Italian firms out of business because these would be authentic Winchesters.

A laudable plan that I feel has great merit. Winchester enthusiasts know the value of the pre 1964 models which were made under higher standards than the later models. Much of Winchester's financial woes come from a focus on the economy rifle market rather than the collector and high end rifle enthusiast. There are still hurdles in the way of resurrecting the rifle that won the west, but they are not insurmountable. With a man such as Michael Blank working on it, it might get done.

Thanks to Old 'n Cranky for the heads up on the article used for this post authored by Timothy Aeppel, Wall Street Journal June 15, 2006 page B1.

Also check out the Cowboy Action Shooting enthusiasts at White Mountain Regulators of New Hampshire

Carnival of Cordite #62 at Spank That Donkey Anthroblogogy

Day 22 Forty Day ‘Pray for Iran’ Campaign.

For any society to enjoy freedom and prosperity one of three critical components is a reasonable expectation of justice. In a repressive justice system the individual will seek anonymity rather than pursuing his dreams for fear of losing what little liberty he has. A preferential system will breed corruption. Neither allows for a free exercise of religion.
‘He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’

Today we pray that justice and mercy will prevail in Iran.

Iran has multiple security organizations and judicial institutions. The regular police and the civil judiciary are generally recognized as doing a good job and we should give them credit. Use of torture is against regulations, although reports of it exist even in the domestic press. The streets are relatively safe and the police work hard to fight crime. Tourists and visitors to Iran often report they felt safer in Iran than in some Western countries.

However, the multiple security organizations in operation, the largest of which is the Revolutionary Guards, seek to enforce Islamic principles and deal with ‘enemies’ of the state. They bring these ‘criminals’ not to the civil courts, but to the Islamic Revolutionary Courts.

Anyone in Iran can be brought before the Revolutionary Courts, and this is one of the most frightening aspects for citizens in Iran. The accused have no guarantee of legal counsel and do not have procedural safeguards. Furthermore there have been many reports of torture used to extract false confessions. International groups such as Amnesty International have constantly denounced these courts for falling well below international standards. It is these courts who have charged Christians from a Muslim background with apostasy.

In addition to imprisonment, all the courts can impose fines, amputations, flogging, and the death sentence as punishments. In 2002 the head of the judiciary announced a moratorium on stoning.

In recent years, Iran’s prison population has risen to over 160,000 prisoners. Conditions in prison are very basic and Iran has attracted criticism for executing political prisoners as well as criticism for executing people convicted of crimes committed when they were under 18.

Please join intercessors around the globe to pray that justice may flow like a river in Iran according to Amos 5:24.

* Pray for all the judges and lawyers working in the traditional, civil courts. Pray that they will receive a special revelation of the true wisdom that Proverbs speaks of and that they will do what is right and just and fair. (Proverbs 1:2,3)

* Pray that the civil judiciary and regular police will be considered sufficient for delivering safety and justice in Iran. Pray the Revolutionary Courts will be dismantled.

* Pray for the abolition of the law of Apostasy. Pray there will be freedom of religion and there will be no prisoners of conscience.

* Pray for all prisoners, especially those facing the death sentence, that the Holy Spirit will miraculously show them the cross of Christ.

Thanks very much for praying.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Flag Day 2006

Today is Flag Day. Flags are the symbol of the nation it represents. Various people who have lived overseas have told me how they were moved when returning to the US they saw our flag. Our National Anthem is about the importance of our flag during wartime. Those who hate our nation will burn our flag to demonstrate their ire. So it is entirely appropriate to set a day apart to honor our flag.

Here are some links that provide useful information about our flag.

Flag Rules and Regulations
Flag Timeline
Betsy Ross: Her Life
The History Of Flag Day

Day 21 Forty Day ‘Pray for Iran’ Campaign.

‘Should I not be concerned about that great city?’ Jonah 4:11

Tehran, is not a forgotten city. Just as God was concerned about Nineveh, God is concerned about Tehran.

With a population of more than 12 million, Tehran is one of the largest capital cities in the world. It is a sprawling city at the foot of the beautiful Alborz mountain range and its citizens are warm and hospitable. Visitors always feel welcome.

Tehran is home to numerous museums, art and cultural centers, as well as an historic bazaar and large universities which have played a very active role in the socio-political affairs of the nation. Tehran is also an industrial city with an immense network of highways. Towering buildings have been erected all over, and an array of giant cranes dotted around the city show that the development is far from over.

And yet this bustling city is not short of problems. Most of Tehran’s residents live under extreme economic burden. The strict Islamic rule has placed people under immense pressure and most people either run away from religion or pretend to be religious. Whatever the case, there is a great deal of disillusionment and despair, and many are open to alternatives.

Tehran is also one of the most polluted cities in the world and is nearly always covered with a black layer of smog. This has led to a surge in heart and respiratory diseases and on some days the government advises the elderly not to leave their houses because of the air pollution. Other problems associated with the rapid increase in Tehran's population are high unemployment and housing shortages which lead to serious social ills such as drugs, crime and a surprisingly high level of prostitution.

Tehran is in a great need of our very special prayers.

* Pray that the active churches in the city will bring warm Christian life to the dying soul of Tehran and brighten the dark and polluted air with Christian faith, hope and love.

* Pray that the God who created the beautiful world will show his favour to Tehran by pouring His grace. Pray that the dark cloud of smog, both literal and spiritual, would be lifted from above this city.

* Pray for those who are seeking alternatives. The people of Tehran have historically been more open to other ideas, and many are looking for hope on Satellite TV and the Internet. Pray they will discover the Christian faith and know the change only Christ can bring.

* Pray for the people of Tehran to come to the knowledge of the truth and be set free and pray they will sense His peace in the midst of their daily pressures.

Thank you so much for praying for this great city.