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Prayer Needed: American Missionary Phyllis Sortor Kidnapped in Nigeria

The Free Methodist Church in the U.S. is now calling for prayers after one of their working missionaries, the Rev. Phyllis Sortor, was abducted by masked and armed men in Nigeria Monday morning who’ve demanded a $300,000 ransom for her safe return. Her distraught family, however, say they cannot afford it.

“Early this morning we received a report that Rev. Phyllis Sortor, our missionary in Nigeria, was abducted from the Hope Academy compound in Emiworo, Kogi State, Nigeria, by several persons. The U.S. Embassy has been notified, and the State Department and the FBI are working with local authorities to find and rescue her. We are calling on the U.S. church to join together in prayer for Phyllis’ safety and speedy release,” the church noted in a statement posted on its website Monday.

The Christian Post reached out to Free Methodist World Missions for further comment on Tuesday but one was not available at the time of publication.

Sortor was reportedly taken by a gang of five armed men after they jumped the walls of the Hope Academy compound in Kogi state in Nigeria and fired shots at about 4:30 a.m. Sortor is the financial administrator for Hope Academy, according to the church’s website.

Kogi State Police Commissioner Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi told NBC News that he believes Sortor was targeted by her abductors because no one else was taken or injured and they are now demanding $300,000 to release her.

“We will do all within the available resources to ensure the safe rescue of the victim,” said Ogunjemilusi.

The missionary’s stepson, Richard Sortor, told Q13 Fox that her family in the U.S. haven’t been told much about what happened to her but they are clamoring for her speedy return.

“She was taken in front of her house by three guys with machine guns,” said Sortor, outside the Free Methodist Churchin Seattle, Washington, where parishioners prayed for the abducted missionary’s safe return Monday night.

We are just a working-class family, we don’t have money. That’s not a huge church, they don’t have money. Why they took her, who knows? The people that are doing this stuff, these guys have no backing — they’re just cowards,” he added.

More of this news release with photos at The Christian Post

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UN Report Reveals Israel is Coordinating with ISIS Militants Inside Syria

There is much we poor ignorant American citizens are not in the ‘know’ about. Frankly I’m somewhat glad to be kept in the dark….ignorance can indeed be bliss when the alternative is the realization the world and world’s leaders are insane. This news item is one example.

This story has been completely blacked out in the US and UK English-speaking corporate media, even though the Israeli press has actually reported this numerous times (see multiple links below).

See: UN Report Reveals How Israel is Coordinating with ISIS Militants Inside Syria

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EXPLAINING CHRISTIAN ZIONISM TO ISRAELIS

Interesting article and turn of events. It appears an Israeli “think tank” (Molad) has been quietly investigating the influence American Christian Zionist groups have had (and continue to have) on Israeli politics and politicians, and has now published a full report.

quote,

To many Israelis, the world of Christian Zionism is largely hidden from public view. But a new report out from the Israeli progressive think tank, Molad, aims to change that, casting a bright light on the oddly symbiotic alliances between Christian Zionist activists and Israeli leaders. The investigative report, released Friday, documents these relationships, as well as those between Christian Zionists and the settler movement, which benefits from their largesse.

Christian Zionists, says Liat Schlesinger, Molad’s researcher for the report, are routinely referred to in the Israeli press as “Christians who love Israel.” But that description obscures their theology. “It doesn’t allow a critical look into their theology, what is their purpose, what is their interest in Israel,” she said in an interview in which she shared many of the report’s findings.

The term Christian Zionist, said Schlesinger, “is very confusing” to Israelis. “What we’re showing in the report is they’re not Zionists if they wish for the destruction of the Israeli state. Zionism is one thing and their religious motive is something else.”

The narrative is familiar to Americans who follow religion, politics, and the Middle East: Christian Zionists support Israel. When in Washington, they will frame this support—frequently described as biblically mandated love—in political and policy terms, such as opposing a nuclear deal with Iran or negotiations with the Palestinians. (Or, more recently, supporting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to a joint session of Congress.) But at church, on religious television, in books, and at religious conferences, this love for Israel and Jews is unabashedly presented as biblical prophecy come to life…

While Christian Zionists (and Messianic Jews, and evangelicals who straddle both) remain largely outside the orbit of the average Israeli, these activists from around the world have made themselves crucial allies to Israeli lawmakers. The Molad report, which is currently available only in Hebrew, aims to show Israelis the role Christian Zionists play in the country’s politics, and how Israeli politicians dismiss violent end-times prophecies as mild theological differences among friends. Schlesinger noted that the Israeli right wing often accuses the left of accepting foreign money, but there is “secret funding that comes to right-wing parties from evangelicals that is completely hidden from the public.”

Mining public documents, Schlesinger uncovered at least 69 trips Knesset members took around the world—including some to attractive destinations seemingly divorced from the turmoil of the Middle East, like the Caribbean, Barbados, and Rome—paid for by Christian Zionist organizations, and one, even, by the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America. Many of the Christian Zionist organizations are hardly household names, even in the U.S., highlighting that many small, obscure Christian Zionist organizations together make up a subculture invisible to Israelis yet deeply influential to their country’s politics….

While U.S. ethics requirements mandate that members of Congress disclose the funders and purpose of foreign travel, including specific locations visited and meetings held, Israeli law only requires disclosure of the funder and destination. (Because of those requirements in the U.S., the American public can discover more details about Christian Zionist-funded trips American lawmakers take to Israel and the occupied territories.)

In turn, Schlesinger said, MKs provide the flourishing Christian tourism business in Israel with special treatment: VIP meetings with members of the Knesset, officially sanctioned awards to prominent Christian Zionists, MK endorsements of the Christian ministries, useful for the ministries’ fundraising activities, and Christian worship services featuring Israeli soldiers, and even one in the Knesset. Israeli MKs look the other way when Christian Zionists attempt to import the American culture wars, by opening crisis pregnancy centers or bringing anti-gay rhetoric to Israel.

The Israeli right wing, said Schlesinger, “is promoting the idea that Christian Zionists love Israel, so it’s free. We take their money and we don’t convert.” ….

While the prospect of evangelicals influencing Israeli law or policy on LGBT issues or abortion seems remote, their influence on settlements, the occupation, and opposition to a peace deal with the Palestinians has a far more profound impact. (Christian Zionists, for example, are big supporters of continued settlement growth and of what they call an “undivided Jerusalem,” which would negate the possibility of a Palestinian capital there and thus a two-state solution.)

Schlesinger said the relationship between Christian Zionists and settlers has also spawned a shadow tourism industry in the occupied territories. Evangelicals, said Schlesinger, enjoy visiting the West Bank, “they like to come to Ariel and ride in armored cars.” American evangelicals harvest grapes for wine made in the West Bank, and they fund a range of services from kindergartens and libraries to security equipment.

The Molad report has already been featured in an Israeli television broadcast focusing on the relationships between Christian Zionists and Israeli and settler leaders….

The reporter asks Revivi if rabbis would say not to take money from Christian Zionists. Most, says Revivi, advise taking it. Money, he says, has power.

Source

*Also interesting reading at a few of the links included.

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The Promise of His Coming

God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over.

“God is going to invade, all right, but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else–something it never entered your head to conceive–comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choices left? For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side… That will not be the time for choosing: it will be the time when we discover which side we really have already chosen, whether we realized it before or not.

“Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.”

~ C.S.Lewis

This is now the second letter that I have written to you, beloved, and in both of them I have aroused your sincere mind by way of reminder; that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles. First of all you must understand this, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation.” They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago, and an earth formed out of water and by means of water,through which the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist have been stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up.

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening[b] the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! 13 But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.  2Peter 3:1-13 

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Remembering our Brethren

In the midst of our own trials and tribulations, let us not forget our brethren who are facing death daily in the middle-east. 

(CNN)Egyptian warplanes staged a second wave of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Libya on Monday in retaliation for the slaughter of 21 Egyptian Christians by ISIS militants, Egypt’s state-run Ahram Online reported, citing security officials…

The bombing raids came after ISIS released a gruesome video Sunday that appeared to show ISIS militants beheading men they said were Christians on a beach.

Threats from English-speaking jihadi

The footage, bearing many of the hallmarks of previous ISIS videos of the killing of hostages, has intensified international concerns about ISIS’ deepening reach into countries far beyond its strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

The slickly produced video shows the apparent mass killing, with jihadists in black standing behind each of the victims, who are all dressed in orange jumpsuits with their hands cuffed behind them.

Twenty-one Egyptian Christians were kidnapped in the Libyan coastal city of Sirte in two separate incidents in December and January. They were reportedly from impoverished villages and went to Libya looking for work.

Although the ISIS video showed around a dozen men being beheaded, Egyptian officials said that all 21 Christians were believed to have been killed.

Some of the hostages cry out “Oh God” and “Oh Jesus” as they are pushed to their knees..

Source: CNN

Read the below news item last night which seems to confirm what many of the experts have been saying recently. 

The hacktivist collective known as Anonymous hacked into hundreds of ISIS Twitter accounts and email addresses in a major strike called #OpISIS.

In a statement issued by Anonymous, the group which describes itself as “Muslims, Christians, Jews …” and said they “come from all races, countries, religions, and ethnicity” declared that ISIS militants are not Muslims.

Source: CPost (see full article if time allows)

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Why evangelicals should think twice about equating modern Israel with Israel of the Bible

Steve Lumbley (Apostasy Watch) posted this both at Facebook and at his website. I found it very interesting, but that could be because until last year, questions concerning modern-day Israel plagued me. They no longer do, as I can no longer equate the modern State called Israel today, with the Israel of the Bible. The author of this message brings forth one of the reasons I found also during my studies. Adam, at Pursuing Truth, if I’m not mistaken, has at least one or more posts on the topic (of modern-day Israel–who, what, etc) as well. If anyone is interested I’ll be happy to locate them for you. 

From the website of BEN IRWIN

The other day, I raised a question for evangelicals who think standing with Israel means supporting them no matter what. How do you reconcile a “never criticize Israel” mentality with the overwhelming witness of the biblical prophets?

If you’ve been told that unconditional support for Israel is the only “biblical” position, that the modern-day state enjoys the same kind of “most favored nation” status with God as ancient Israel did, then here’s another question. If Israel today is entitled to the covenant blessings spoken by the Old Testament, what about their covenant obligations?

The Bible never spoke of Israel’s covenant blessings apart from their obligations. It’s no use trying to have one without the other. And at least one of these obligations poses a bit of a problem for the modern state of Israel, if it is indeed the same nation as the one in the Bible.

Ancient Israel was not supposed to have a standing army. They weren’t supposed to stockpile weapons. There were no taxes to fund a permanent military. Israel’s rulers were forbidden from amassing large numbers of horses (Deuteronomy 17:16-17)—which was about as close as you could get to an arms race in the ancient Near East. Israel’s king was not supposed to make foreign military alliances. God stipulated that Israel should remain militarily weak so they would learn to trust him for protection.

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Patriotism is Harlotry

This article was shared at facebook by Teresa Cassie under a post in which the “big block-buster film” American Sniper is being discussed. Hope you’ll read it. As I wrote there, America’s reaction to this film shows me we’ve reached the bottom of the barrel, folks. And what the author of this article below (which was written 2 years back) says, is true.

Written by one who used to be fervent and violent patriot. But Christ delivered me…

Social consensus cannot grant moral legitimacy to military members or their actions. As Christians if we accept this argument then we are guilty of embracing another law-source. Our ethic at that point is derived from another authority, one that sets up a moral code contrary to the Kingdom of God.

This is a form of apostasy often called idolatry and in particular a form of spiritual harlotry. The world tempts us and entices away from the Kingdom of Truth. Rather than be a faithful bride we turn and find fulfillment elsewhere. Satan offers us the kingdoms of the world and great power. He can even hide it behind false Scriptural exegesis. But unlike Christ all too many who claim to be his followers are quick to take it. When they do so, they embrace a multitude of theological errors and a new moral code that teaches allegiance to power.

And they’re quite proud of it. In fact many will be celebrating it during the next several weeks as our society navigates what I call the Patriotic Liturgical Season. From Memorial Day to Flag Day to the celebration of rebellion on July 4…American Churches will set up the banners of Babylon and sing hymns to the Beast they’ve confused with Zion. Many recognize America is quickly turning into Sodom-Babylon, if they would read Romans 1 they would find out why this is happening.

Their so-called Christian country has precious few Christians in it and the Church has sold itself to do wickedness. The state of things at present is simply Divine Judgment. You can’t worship power, violence and money and expect to be left morally intact and escape decadence. This nation is receiving its just desserts. The apostasy in the Church, the fact that is subscribes to this idolatry, yea even promotes it, is God sent delusion…

The Church of Jesus Christ is celebrating men and women taking up weapons, bringing violence to people in other lands, destabilizing their societies, overthrowing their governments and raining death from the air, land and sea. And somehow it’s for God and country?

Constantine and Charlemagne would be proud and Satan is surely laughing with delight…

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