(Natural News) The opioid epidemic has been costly, there’s little doubt about that. With 47,600 deaths from opioid overdose in 2017 alone, the wave of death shows no signs of slowing down. And all the while, Big Pharma has been cashing out. Purdue Pharma, owned by the Sackler family and producer of the most infamous opioid, OxyContin, was raking in $1 billion in annual sales at one point — and now, unsealed court documents show that the pharma giant purposely deceived doctors and used aggressive marketing tactics to bolster their profits. While all pharma companies stand accused of putting profits before people, the latest revelations in the case against OxyContin (and similar drugs) certainly takes the cake.
Thanks to Purdue Pharma’s misdeeds and unlawful behavior, thousands of lives have been lost or destroyed. And yet for some reason, the Sackler family has escaped culpability. David Sackler himself denies any responsibility for the opioid epidemic — even though recently disclosed court documents show that the good doctor advised Purdue’s marketing team to hide the truth about OxyContin and the danger it posed.
Purdue founders knew OxyContin was dangerous
As Natural Health 365 reports, sealed court documents from 2015 have recently been made public. The evidence clearly shows that OxyContin creators knew that the drug had an enormous potential for addiction and misuse — and instead of doing the right thing, the company lied about the risks involved with their product.
Not only did the makers of OxyContin market the drug as being “less strong” than morphine (even though it’s actually stronger), sales representatives were encouraged to say that OxyContin “couldn’t be abused” and was not addictive.
We have seen how well that played out: Up to 130 deaths per day from opioid abuse.
As Vox reports, Purdue Pharma got approval from the FDA to market OxyContin as “less prone to abuse” because of its extended-release formula. Purdue Pharma claims that by releasing a lot of the drug over time, they could prevent misuse. However, this extended-release formula also allowed Purdue to put a lot more of the drug into each pill. Users can then bypass the “extended release” by crushing up their pills before use. Ultimately, this made the drug more prone to being abused.
Hundreds of thousands of people have died as a direct result of opioid abuse — and countless others have gone on to become addicted to heroin or other opiates thanks to opioids. Statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that 75 percent of heroin addicts started off with an opioid.
Purdue Pharma founders deny reality
Even after Purdue Pharma and three top executives plead guilty in 2016, and even after dozens of doctors have lost their licenses for getting kick-backs and over-prescribing opioids, the Sackler family continues to deny the truth about OxyContin. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, David Sackler even went so far as to claim that the addiction rate is only “between two and three percent,” and might rise to five percent with “more typical dependence and misuse.”
Never mind the fact that real science shows that the addiction rate with opioids is more like 26 percent — is it really supposed to be acceptable for a prescription drug to cause any level of dependence or misuse? Sackler isn’t just denying culpability — he’s normalizing drug addiction and talking about drug dependency as if its a simple fact of life.
Estimates suggest 22.4 million opioid prescriptions are doled out annually in the U.S. That’s 66.5 opioid prescriptions per every 100 people. Even if just two percent of those people were to end up addicted, it is two percent still too many. The opioid crisis has hit America hard, and it is high time the Sacklers owned up to what their misleading marketing tactics, shifty bribing practices and other bad behaviors have done to the country and its people. (Click to Source)
Its reported by the Daily Mail and the New York Daily News that Hollywood along with LGBT stars attended the first ever Lady Gaga performance at the famed Apollo Theater.
Where Lady Gaga along with her LGBT community celebrated their world pride week. As Lady Gaga took the stage at the Apollo Theater she asked “Are you ready to f—–g party tonight? Are we making history?”
The show celebrating LGBT drew quite a crowd including Hollywood movie stars as Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, music universe hard hitters as Clive Davis and Adam Lambert, also television, and LGBT stars.
Also attending the hedonistic performance, was megachurch and television ministry star Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria.
The show celebrated a new partnership between music streaming giants SiriusXM and Pandora, and tickets were not available to the general public with the celebrities scoring their invites by being stars in their respective industry.
The near-two-hour spectacle was made up of mini-sets where Gaga performed a selection of her most beloved hits dancing around, in a most homoerotic latex fantasy while dropping F-bombs.
The Daily Mail when describing the attending Hollywood, music, LGBT, and television celebrities, called out “prosperity gospel preacher Joel Osteen wore a navy blazer with a gray–blue shirt, while his wife Victoria Osteen had on an elegant black dress with cut-outs over her short sleeves.”
The entertainment press reported the show as making history for Gaga, as it was her first appearance at the famed theater in Harlem, and that her fans were excited to see her celebrate their Pride.
The attendance of the modern Christianity television star is also a part of prophetic history, in that it’s a strong sign of the Last Days era indicating the nearing end of the age of the Church Of Jesus Christ and His Apostles in the Holy Bible.
Jesus Christ in His Last Days prophecies in Matthew chapter 24 foretold how the Last Days would be when iniquity or lawlessness will abound. And this is the characteristic of modern Christianity, in that it is un-tethered from the Bible Scriptures.
The great sin of modern Christianity is the sin of iniquity or lawlessness … which is the practice of no longer staying within the boundaries of the Biblical teachings of Holy Scripture.
Instead of conforming to the Bible and the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29) described therein, there is conforming to the world (Romans 12:2) instead. Which the Biblical Christian is warned (1 John 2:15) to not love the world nor the things therein.
And be the called out ones, who are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).
These are signs of the Last Days revealing its time to prepare for the nearing appearance of Jesus Christ by being born again spiritually into the Kingdom of God as Jesus said we must (John 3) and His Apostles (Matthew 16:19) who were authorized described how (Acts 2). Which brings peace and joy in the Holy Spirit in this life and eternal life in the world to come. (Click to Source)
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WASHINGTON, D.C., July 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – With a meeting near its end and more than two dozen victims of global religious persecution about to be ushered out of the Oval Office, President Trump insisted that they stay longer so that he could listen to more of their testimonies and requests for help.
Twenty-seven people from 16 countries who had been or are persecuted for their faith gathered around the president’s desk on Wednesday. Some spoke briefly of their harrowing plights and others simply thanked President Trump for his administration’s efforts to promote and protect religious freedom.
Among the guests was Pastor Andrew Brunson, who languished in a Turkish jail before the Trump administration intervened to secure his freedom.
“What you have in common is each of you has suffered tremendously for your faith,” noted the President as he welcomed his guests to the Oval Office. “You’ve endured harassment, threats, attacks, trials, imprisonment, and torture.”
“Each of you has now become a witness to the importance of advancing religious liberty all around the world,” he said. “It’s about religious liberty.”
“In America, we’ve always understood that our rights come from God, not from government,” continued the President. “In our Bill of Rights, the first liberty is religious liberty. Each of us has the right to follow the dictates of our conscience and the demands of our religious conviction. We know that if people are not free to practice their faith, then all of the freedoms are at risk and, frankly, freedoms don’t mean very much.”
“That’s why Americans will never tire in our effort to defend and promote religious freedom,” said the President. “To me, it’s very important. It’s vital. It’s really vital.”
“You’ve been through a lot — more than most people could ever endure,” added the President. “It’s really an honor to be with you, and I will stand side by side with you forever.”
“Thank you for your leadership, standing up for humanity, standing up for religious groups and their rights,” said a man who survived the horrific Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque massacre, where 51 perished. “And God bless you. And God bless the United States.”
“Sir, I am from Bangladesh,” said one woman. “My request is: Please help us. We don’t want to leave our country. Just help, Mr. President. I have lost my home. They burned my home. They’ve taken my land.”
Ms. Zhang, a Falun Gong practitioner, told the President that her husband remains a prisoner for his faith in China. “And the forced organ harvesting still exists.”
“Mr. President, one to three million Uyghur population are locked up in concentration camps in China, including my father, who is now serving a life sentence. I haven’t seen him since 2013,” explained Ms. Ilham.
When President Trump asked her if she is able to communicate with her father, Ilham explained, “I haven’t heard about him since 2017, because that’s when the concentration camps started.”
“Anyone who goes to ask about anybody’s family members’ news will never make their way back to their own homes,” she added.
Esther Bitrus of Nigeria shook the President’s hand as she said, “I escaped from Boko Haram.”
Mr. Ju spoke of his family’s plight in North Korea, saying, “All of them, they are in political prison camp.”
“I don’t know where is; they just took [them] at the dawn,” because they are Christians, said Ju. He also explained that his cousin’s family had been executed.
Among the last to speak was Nadia Murad, who received the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for her work in helping women and children who are victims of abuse and human trafficking.
Murad told President Trump about her harrowing experience as a girl in Iraq: “When ISIS attack us in 2014, they killed six of my brothers. They killed my mom. They took me to captivity with my … sister-in-law, with all my sister and my nieces.”
“Today we have 3,000 Yazidi women and children in captivity,” she added.
During the course of the meeting, Pastor Paula White commended the President for his courageous leadership. “I have watched, from day one and even before you took this office, you be a relentless fighter for people of all faiths and religious liberty.”
“We see it stateside — from you saying we can say ‘Merry Christmas’ again; to the DOJ passing laws that no other administration could pass to give high holy days to all religions to be able to take off of work and to honor that,” said White.
“So we thank you, President, for being the leader — the courageous leader to stand up not only in our nation, but countries all around, for all faith, of all people that we should have the practice and the right to practice our religion,” she added. (Click to Source)
Addiction Ends at the Foot of the Cross by True Salvation thru Yeshua the Messiah – Jesus Christ
Sharia-adherent nations have long “sought a determination from the United Nations that any criticism of Islam or Muslims is ‘Islamophobia’ and banned globally.’”
But somehow Westerners still generally refuse to acknowledge the real meaning and intent of the concept of “Islamophobia.” In short, it’s intended to promote the supremacy of the Sharia by discrediting and silencing critics of Islam. The UN declared its intention to become closer with the OIC years ago, and it has happened. Now:
Nations belonging to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and other governments adhering to Shariah law across the world are ramping up their new campaign with the United Nations to prohibit all speech that Muslims consider offensive.
This aggressive campaign is the logical next step following years of appeasement, thanks to politically correct Western leaders. There have been enough warnings. Now, the final stage for Western subjugation has arrived, and the more Westerners fight for their own right to the freedom of speech, the more aggressive the “Islamophobia” brigade will become, particularly in light of the fact that they have come this far through bullying, intimidation, deceit and manipulation. They’re not about to surrender now, as they have been encouraged by too many Western dhimmis surrendering to them.
Pakistan Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi incited more support to silence any opposition to Islam and its adherents – including speech condemning Islam for its scriptural inciting of terrorists to conduct jihad (holy war) on “infidels.”
Mainstream Muslim groups in the West share the message of Lodhi and routinely persecute those who call out the truth about Islam. Lodhi stated a common message which is now embraced across the West in describing the so-called consequences of those who offend Islam:
“An inevitable consequence is to fan the flames of bigotry, intolerance, anti-Muslim hatred and xenophobia”
An “inclusive political process for durable peace” by rejecting “Islamophobia” is what Lodhi — and other stealth jihadists who are promoting the Sharia — have duped Westerners into believing as they promote Islamic anti-blasphemy laws.
“UN poised to launch global ban on all criticism of Islam,” by Michael F. Haverluck, One News Now, June 23, 2019:
Nations belonging to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and other governments adhering to Shariah law across the world are ramping up their new campaign with the United Nations to prohibit all speech that Muslims consider offensive.
“Islamist nations … long have sought a determination from the United Nations that any criticism of Islam or Muslims is ‘Islamophobia’ and banned globally,’” WND reported, noting that with 57 members, the OIC represents the largest voting bloc in the U.N. “But each time it has come up for a vote, more realistic arguments prevailed and the campaign never was legitimized.”
Pakistan putting on the pressure
After U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres unveiled the new “U.N. Strategy and Plan of Action” to fight so-called “hate speech” at a special meeting in the packed Economic and Social (ECOSOC) chamber, Pakistan Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi incited more support to silence any opposition to Islam and its adherents – including speech condemning Islam for its scriptural inciting of terrorists to conduct jihad (holy war) on “infidels.”
An inevitable consequence is to fan the flames of bigotry, intolerance, anti-Muslim hatred and xenophobia,” Lodhi proclaimed before ambassadors, senior diplomats and high-ranking U.N. officials, as quoted in a press release, according to MSN. “My Prime Minister Imran Khan has recently again called for urgent action to counter Islamophobia, which is today the most prevalent expression of racism and hatred against ‘the other.’” (Click to Source)
The California State Assembly has passed a resolution telling pastors to affirm homosexuality in violation of their biblical beliefs.
Assemblyman Evan Low and three dozen other lawmakers pushed the resolution in the state Assembly Judiciary Committee that’s aimed at telling religious leaders in California what they should preach from their pulpits.
The measure passed this week, thanks in part to the help of Dr. Kevin Mannoia, Azusa Pacific University chaplain and the former head of the National Association of Evangelicals.
Liberty Counsel says Mannoia “has become a prop for the LGBT agenda by directing pastors and counselors to reject biblical views of sexuality and deny counseling for those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion.”
Liberty Counsel states, “Mannoia recently testified before the judiciary committee in favor of ACR 99 and directed pastors and counselors to affirm LGBT behaviors. In a letter submitted to legislators, Mannoia wrote, ‘On behalf of some Christian pastors and church leaders, I write to express various levels of support for the Resolution ACR 99 dealing with Conversion Therapy and LGBTQ persons’.”
“It’s really disappointing that he would put aside the truth of the matter just to gain some favor, perhaps a seat at the table of this discussion,” said Roger Gannam, vice president of legal affairs for Liberty Counsel. “Everyone deserves respect in this discussion and dialogue about what kind of counseling should be allowed in California. But to join in a document as Dr. Mannoia has done, that really slanders the church and slanders good counselors and good patients. It’s unexplainable and it’s really inexcusable.
The resolution also condemns counseling for unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion, known as conversion therapy.
More than two dozen doctors, counselors, former homosexuals, and other Christian leaders signed a letter condemning the resolution, which they said violates religious freedom.
“We have a track record,” said Gannam. “We have actual patients and clients who have benefitted from therapy to help them with their unwanted attractions. We’ve helped them change their lives. We’ve helped them to live heterosexual lifestyles with strong and healthy marriages and so it’s really a slander against them to say that this practice is somehow unethical and harmful.”
Gannam explained how this resolution is bad all the way around.
“It blames the church and religious leaders for the high rates of suicide among those who identify as LGBT,” he said. “That’s simply a false claim. It cannot be backed up empirically and yet this resolution states it as if it’s a fact.”
“It’s a foreshadowing of worse things to come,” Gannam noted.
“This resolution is perhaps an incremental approach to getting to the same goal, which is to make it illegal to have a conversation in a counseling room that tells a person that if you want to change, that it’s possible,” he said. And that’s what’s so dangerous about it. Putting aside the blatant violation of the First Amendment. It just shows the church is under attack.”
“In some regions, the level and nature of persecution is arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN.” — The Independent Review of FCO support for Persecuted Christians.
“The assailants asked the Christians to convert to Islam, but the pastor and the others refused. They ordered them to gather under a tree and took their Bibles and mobile phones. Then they called them, one after the other, behind the church building where they shot them dead.” — World Watch Monitor, May 2, 2019.
As the British report demonstrates, persecution against Christians and other non-Muslims is not about the ethnicity, race or skin color of either the perpetrators or the victims; it is about their religion.
If these crimes are not stopped, it is highly likely that the fate of the African Continent will be like that of the Middle East: Once it was a majority-Christian region; now, Christians are a tiny, dying, defenseless minority.
According to a recent interim report published in the U.K., “it is estimated that one third of the world’s population suffers from religious persecution in some form, with Christians being the most persecuted group.”
Although the full report — commissioned by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and conducted by the Bishop of Truro, the Right Reverend Philip Mounstephen — was due to be released by Easter this year, “the scale and nature of the phenomenon [of Christian persecution] simply required more time,” accordingto the report. As a result, Mounstephen explained, the “interim” findings released in April are incomplete, and the final report will be published at the end of June.
According to the “overview” section of the interim “Independent Review of FCO support for Persecuted Christians”:
“In some regions, the level and nature of persecution is arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN.”
Africa — now home to the greatest number of Christians in the world — is one such region.
On June 16, for instance, a Christian elementary school in a Muslim village in Uganda was destroyed, International Christian Concern (ICC) reported.
On June 15, “a mob of Muslim protestors set a church ablaze in Maradi, the third largest city in Niger. The incident was a response to the arrest of a very prominent Imam who was arrested after he claimed the country’s proposed legislation on worship was ‘anti-Islamic.'”
On June 9 and 10, two terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso left 29 Christians dead. This purposeful slaughter of Christians came less than two months after the April 28 massacre of 80-year-old pastor, Pierre Ouédraogo, and other members of his congregation in Burkina Faso, by armed Islamists. A local leader, who requested anonymity, told World Watch Monitor:
“The assailants asked the Christians to convert to Islam, but the pastor and the others refused. They ordered them to gather under a tree and took their Bibles and mobile phones. Then they called them, one after the other, behind the church building where they shot them dead.”
On June 7, a Christian woman in Niger was kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists and released three days later with a letter calling on all Christians to “leave the town within three days or be killed.”
The above incidents are not isolated. According to the 2019 World Watch Listcompiled by Open Doors, a persecution watchdog group:
“While the violent excesses of ISIS and other Islamic militants have mostly disappeared from headlines from the Middle East, their loss of territory there means that fighters have dispersed to a larger number of countries not only in the region but, increasingly, into sub-Saharan Africa. Their radical ideology has inspired, or infiltrated, numerous splinter groups such as Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a deadly group that broke away from Nigeria’s Boko Haram that also enslaves Christian women and girls as an integral part of their strategy.”
Terrorist groups are not the only sources of persecution in Africa. Many Muslim governments and individuals also target Christians.
According to the Open Doors 2019 report, the situation in many African nations is as follows:
In Somalia, there is a “life of violence and isolation” for the Christian community that numbers only a few hundred.
“Estimates suggest that 99 percent of Somalis are Muslims, and any minority religions are heavily persecuted. The Christian community is small and under constant threat of attack. Sharia law and Islam are enshrined in the country’s constitution, and the persecution of Christians almost always involves violence. Additionally, in many rural areas, Islamic militant groups like al-Shabab are de facto rulers. Somali Christians often must hide their faith to stay safe.”
Libya is home to a Christian population of only around 38,000.
“Converts to Christianity face abuse and violence for their decision to follow Christ. Libya is also home to many migrant workers who have been attacked, sexually assaulted and detained, which can be even worse if it is discovered they are Christians.”
Sudan is home to 1.9 million Christians.
“The country has been ruled as an Islamic state with limited rights for religious minorities and heavy restrictions on freedom of speech and press. Christians, whose population is over 1,900,000, face discrimination and pressure— multiple church buildings were demolished in 2017 and 2018, leaving some Christians without a place to worship. Christian converts from Islam are especially targeted for persecution.”
In Eritrea, sometimes called “Africa’s North Korea”, there are around 2.5 million Christians, and many suffer in prisons.
“Since 1993, President Isaias Afwerki has overseen a brutal authoritarian regime that rests on massive human rights violations. In 2018, there were raids on churches, and hundreds of Christians were imprisoned in inhumane conditions. Additionally, there are estimates that other Christians are currently in Eritrea’s vast prison network, but no one knows how many there are or if they are still alive.”
Nigeria, where over 90 million Christians live, is one of the worst places in Africa for Christians.
“Nigeria’s score for violence has stayed as high as possible, primarily due to the increased attacks on Christian communities by militant Fulani herdsmen. These attacks claimed the lives of hundreds of believers during the reporting period, and villages and churches burned to the ground. Additionally, in parts of northern Nigeria, Christians are treated as second-class citizens. Christians from Muslim backgrounds face persecution from their own families”.
Christians in Egypt, whose Christian population is 9,937,600, suffer from persecution in various ways.
“Those with Muslim backgrounds face enormous pressure from immediate and extended families to return to Islam. Severe restrictions on building or securing places for worship prevent Christians from congregating, in addition to hostility and violence toward believers who do gather. In recent years, Islamic extremist groups have targeted Christians and churches in numerous violent and deadly acts of persecution.”
In the Central African Republic (CAR), the main religion is Christianity, and the Christian population numbers more than 3,450,000.
“Over the last year, the situation has worsened for CAR Christians who face intensifying pressure from Muslims. Christians are also threatened by jihadists and criminal groups in the country whose actions often overlap. And Christian civilians are still caught in the violent conflict between the mainly Muslim Seleka and self-defense militant groups called anti-Balaka.”
Algeria, where around 125,000 Christians live, “has seen an increasing number of churches closed” over the last year.
“At the same time, Christian converts have become more open about their faith, leading to a backlash by Muslim families and the intolerant society. Laws regulating non-Muslim worship, banning conversion and prohibiting blasphemy make proselytizing and public expression of the Christian faith dangerous as well.”
In Mali, the Christian population is 425,000.
“The West African country has become increasingly militant. In the northern part of the country especially, this intolerance has resulted in increasing violence against Christians from jihadist and criminal groups that have a vested interest in keeping the country mired in chaos and instability.”
In Mauritania, there are only around 10,000 Christians from population of 4.5 million people.
“The ‘Islamic Republic of Mauritania’ — the autocratic government of Africa’s 11th largest country — often acts as protector of the Islamic religion. As a result, the state is a major source of persecution. Radical Islamic preachers and militants contribute to the radicalization of society, fueling antagonism and hatred toward non-Muslims. Additionally, a caste system marginalizes darker-skinned Mauritanians and those who do not adhere to Islam.”
In Ethiopia, where the main religion is Christianity and the Christian population numbers more than 64 million, “radical Islam is growing at the local, regional and national levels. Particularly in the rural areas, where Muslims are the majority, Christians are harassed and often denied access to communal resources.”
Morocco has a Christian population of around 31,500.
“Christians suffer persecution from both the state and society. There are restrictions imposed by the state on Christians, such as confiscation of Christian materials written in Arabic, restrictions on evangelization and difficulty getting places of worship for believers from a Muslim background. Radical Muslims within the general populace also put pressure on Christians. In rural areas, pressure from family and community can also be considerable.”
In Tunisia, for the small community of Christians numbering around 24,000, “life within Islamic society comes with hostility and daily pressure.”
“And the threat of Islamic militant activity—especially by those returning from fighting with ISIS—is still worrying, with one suicide-attack on a police station in Tunis in September and a major attack in the border region with Algeria in July 2018.”
In Kenya, another African nation where the main religion is Christianity, Christians are targeted both by Muslim officials and terror groups.
“Inspired by Islamic radicals in Somalia, Muslim politicians have made it their agenda to eliminate Christianity. Officials often demand churches do things that are not in line with their faith, while militants viciously carry out suicide bomb attacks and other brutal acts against those considered to be the enemies of Islam. Due to corruption inside the government agencies, those operating against Christians tragically often enjoy impunity.”
In a May 21 article for Open Doors, Lindy Lowry says that Boko Haram, founded in 2002 in Nigeria, has expanded into neighboring countries:
“They have conducted terrorist attacks in Niger, Chad and Cameroon, which have resulted in dramatic refugee and humanitarian crises. They are even regarded as ‘slave raiders’ who target women in raids for ‘wives’ in the areas around Lake Chad, which borders Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria…
“In Rwanda, the country has closed thousands of churches and has arrested at least six pastors since February 2018 for ‘noise pollution’ and failing to comply with building regulations. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s eastern province of North Kivu, leaders of the church have been targeted and killed. Reportedly, at least 15 armed extremist groups were known to be operating in the area.”
As the British report demonstrates, persecution against Christians and other non-Muslims is not about the ethnicity, race or skin color of either the perpetrators or the victims; it is about their religion. In Africa, various Islamist groups and individuals are attacking and attempting to annihilate Christians for being Christian. If these crimes are not stopped, it is highly likely that the fate of the African Continent will be like that of the Middle East: Once it was a majority-Christian region; now, Christians are a tiny, dying, defenseless minority. (Click to Source)
Uzay Bulut, a Turkish journalist, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.
If a list were made of the top ten stories the Hebrews are known for during their sojourn in the wilderness, the account of the twelve spies would certainly be found. Many fingers have been pointed at the faithless reports given by the ten spies. Is there a deeper level of understanding regarding the reason behind the difference in the statements shared by the ten versus the two? Could we find another lesson from their experience that can give instruction to us today? Let’s see.
The Hebrew word translated as spies is “tuwr.” It is interesting that the word sounds like our English word “tour”, though it is not the actual root of the word. We can use the comparison to draw a lesson. We can look at these men, not as it describes as “in the Land”, but rather as tourists? At the time, they were travelers, not dwellers. Consider, after all, when they returned to camp they brought back souvenirs of fruit of the land to show off. The fruitful bounty could have been inspiration to take the Land as Yah directed. Yet, it is not what they brought back on their shoulders which truly mattered, instead, it was what was in their hearts.
It is hard to envision the immense feast of produce these men saw or the terror of the massive size of its inhabitants during their “tour.” A few years back a section of the wall of Hevron was found that dates back to the time of Scripture. On one of my trips in Israel I was able to visit that section of unearthed wall. I remember just staring at it. I have always had a connection to Joshua. The haftorah readings for the Torah portion related to my birthday are verses in the first section of Joshua. That day at the wall I just stood and stared as I considered that ancient stone and pondered whether it may have been a spot Joshua had fixed his own eyes upon.
All twelve of the men saw the same sites, ate the same food and walked the same soil, so why the different accounts given upon their return? Most would say it was based on their level of faith which to some measure, I agree with. Going back to our original question whether we have another lesson from the spies experience, let us consider this point of view. I believe we can also reflect on the word “connect”. Joshua and Caleb connected with the Land. They were able to see past the giants inhabiting the area, even the bountiful harvest. It was their King’s Land. He was calling them to possess His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! Their heart connection to Yah instilled a deep passionate connection for His Land, their inheritance. It appears the other ten did not make this connection.
My friend and brother Hanoch Young says it best, if you connect with the Land, the Land will connect with you. For Joshua and Caleb, the Land became a part of their very hearts. Sadly it seems for the others it was just another random handful of dirt.
As with Joshua and Caleb, you and I will fight for our heart’s desires and what and who we are connected to. That connection will manifest itself in actions which may in the end be termed faith, but faith begins with the relationship established in our heart.
What did Joshua and Caleb connect to? The answer is found in Deuteronomy 11:12 which reveals to us that the eyes of Yah are continually on that Land. Eyes do not lead your heart, they follow your heart. What your eyes gaze upon is an outward manifestation of where your heart is.
The eyes and hearts of Joshua and Caleb connected with the eyes and heart of the Father Himself. This is why they were allowed to enter the Land and would later give their very lives to possess it.
What caused Joshua and Caleb to connect with the Land and the others did not? I wish I could give you a complete answer. What makes one person go to Israel and weep while another is engrossed in taking pictures and playing on their cell phone? That is a question I cannot answer, but I am certain it involves the heart.
I have taken hundreds of people to Israel through the years. Most everyone will take pictures, bring home souvenirs and have stories to tell friends and family when they return. For the majority the memories will fade and become like the memories of taking the children to an amusement park. For others, life will never be the same. What is the difference? I do not know. What about the person who has never stepped foot in Israel, but yet the mention of the word brings tears to their eyes? I don’t know.
Joshua and Caleb connected to Israel on that day. They joined to the heart of their Father. This connection gave them the faith to see past giants and other obstacles. Their relationship gave them the blessing to cross over Jordan and enter into the Promise Land!
My prayer as I read this Torah portion is, “Father, I desire a heart like Joshua and Caleb, a heart for what is important to you. Give me the heart that brings forth the faith to see past giants so I too may enter your Land, my destiny!” (Click to Source)
It may surprise you that the fastest growing church in the world is in Iran. Yet that’s the assessment of those who have seen and heard the remarkable story of millions turning away from Shiite Islam and turning toward Jesus Christ.
The image Iran presents to the world is large demonstrations with shouts of ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel’.
Those who have seen Iran from the inside, however, paint a very different picture.
“You can’t believe the images on TV. Because for example, all the protests you see on the streets, those are mostly contrived. They’re young people on the streets and they’ve told us if we don’t go to the streets, we won’t get our grades so we’re forced to go and protest,” one Iranian church worker said.
He spoke to CBN News on condition of anonymity.
He says there are two Irans. The one you see on the news and the other hidden from the world.
“I would say there’s a 10 percent Iran and a 90 percent Iran. Ten percent control the country in a more oppressive manner, hardline, religious manner and then the majority of the people, 90 percent of the people love America. They don’t hate Americans. I think that’s the message that Americans need to hear. They tell us all the time, we don’t hate Americans, we love America.”
He wants Americans to know that forty years after Iran’s Islamic revolution, there’s another spiritual revolution underway.
“Awaken to the truth that we live in a time that’s very special. More people have come to faith in Iran in the forty years than in the previous 1400 years. So, there’s a once, not only in a lifetime, but in history where we have a moment where Iranians are coming to faith at such a rapid rate.”
Frontiers Alliance International (FAI) is producing a documentary called Sheep Among Wolves to introduce the Iranian church to Christians worldwide.
“What’s taking place in Iran right now is spectacular,” says FAI founder and director Dalton Thomas. “It’s the fastest growing church in the world that owns no buildings, has no 501c3’s, that owns no property, that has no bank accounts; that has no centralized leadership; that has no denominational leaning and yet it’s multiplying like crazy … What the Lord is doing there is staggering.”
The evangelism results in intense persecution that Thomas says leads Iranian believers to seek prayer but not in a way you may think.
“Typically, the way we pray is we expect that they want us to pray for the persecution to end and they say, no, no, don’t do that. Persecution is growing the church. When the persecution stops, the growth stops. What we want is the Gospel to spread far and wide and deep in Iran.”
With Iran and the use on the brink of war, Thomas says it’s important to see what’s happening behind the Iranian veil.
“When Muslims from Iran come in contact with the Man from Nazareth, something beautiful happens. And when they realize that they have been bought and saved and purchased with Jewish blood; prophesized by Jewish prophets in a Jewish Bible something crazy happens; something beautiful happens and that’s what we’re seeing take place in Iran.”
Thomas believes one day the world may wake up to find Iran’s church growth in the 21stcentury rivaling that in China and Korea in the last century. (Click to Source)
These mortal bodies of ours are but mere shells and the life is not in the shell. It is a temporary confine that enshrouds an ever-growing, ever-maturing life force and acts as a transient guardian of the life inside. The shell is synthetic in comparison to the eternal life it clothes.
Every true Christian has been imbued with eternal life. It is planted as a seed in our mortal bodies that is constantly maturing and it must eventually break free out of the shell to become a new form of life. This glorious life of God in us exerts pressure on the shell, and, at the very moment resurrection life is mature, the shell breaks. The artificial bounds are broken, and like a newborn chick, the soul is freed from its prison. Praise the Lord!
As a child of God, at the precise moment our Lord decides our shell has fulfilled its function, we must abandon our old body. Paul said, “To die is gain!” (Philippians 1:21). That kind of talk is absolutely foreign to our modern, spiritual vocabulary. We have become such life worshipers that we have very little desire to depart to be with the Lord. But was Paul morbid? Did he have an unhealthy fixation on death or show a lack of respect for the life God had blessed him with? Absolutely not! Paul lived life to the fullest but he had overcome the fear of the “sting of death” and could say, “It is better to die and be with the Lord than to stay in the flesh.”
Those who die in the Lord are the winners and we who remain are the losers. I encourage you to refocus your attention on the glorious city that God has prepared for those who die in the faith (see Hebrews 11:16). Ask him to cut you loose from the ties of this world so that you might look forward with precious anticipation to being in his presence — whenever that may be. (Click to Source)