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If my people, who are called by my Name, humble themselves and pray (Part One)

The text, for those who have trouble with a rather individual cursive, reads as follows: Scandal after Scandal. No institution safe....

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Clueless politicians, unspeakable evil and spineless Western Christians.

On Saturday, I read something in another blog that was horrifying, moving to the verge of tears and made me angry and ashamed.

I was angry with Western Christians who seem to lack the spine to preach the gospel to our culture and also lack the courage to speak out about the persecution of our brothers and sisters in Syria and other such places.

Further down this blog you will see a picture of unspeakable evil that rivals the distressing picture I posted in January. http://thealmondrod.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/the-girl-in-blue-story-of-two-little.html

You are warned that the picture is equally distressing. It is a picture of unspeakable evil and of the martyrdom of a sister in Christ.

The famous Anglican blogger, Cranmer, has posted about Syria.


 I've used his header because I don't want you to see the image below unless you choose to view it. This header should appear in the links to my post on this subject.

I don't intend to rant about the perpetrators of such evil. 'Vengeance is mine ', says the Lord, 'I will repay'. Nor do I intend to belabour our clueless politicians in the West

I just think that 
it is time Christians in the West started to speak out about the Gospel and about the persecution of Christians elsewhere in the world. 
It is time that the Churches and their leaders ceased from PC navel-gazing and trying to conform to this world. 
It is time to call out people to prayer and to repentance. 
It is time to encourage Christians to share the gospel without fear and in a genuine love for the unsaved.
It is time to preach Christ and Him crucified.
It is time to be a prophetic voice to our nations and speak out against sin in all its forms.
It is time to sow the seed of the Word.
It is time to reap a harvest.
It is time to prepare for the coming of Christ Jesus.
It is time.

 You are warned that the picture is extremely distressing. It is a picture of unspeakable evil and of the martyrdom of a sister in Christ.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

'How to grow a fish in a desert' and 'Arab -Israeli conflict?'.

Just to be going on with, these two videos are linked by apparent paradox. This stuff is not supposed to happen. Fish don't grow in deserts, IDF soldiers and Arab children are like oil and water - or target practice for one or the other. We all know that don't we? Don't' we?


Friday, 7 March 2014

Slitting throats - kosher and halal food in the UK

The President elect of the British Veterinary Association (John Blackwell) has pronounced, from the dizzy heights of his medical knowledge, that kosher and halal food should be proscribed, because letting animals bleed to death is inhuman.

Is he right?

Letting any creature bleed to death is inhuman, but is that actually what happens? He certainly thinks that is the case, see this Telegraph article here by Miranda Prynne. Mr Blackwell graphically and convincingly describes the slow death of ritual slaughter. However, he does not say where he has witnessed this, in a Muslim slaughter house, a Jewish one or elsewhere.

Let us think this through. Special Forces are trained to slit throats. Is this because the still-beating heart will spatter blood everywhere, including onto the assailant, and the slowly dying victim will strive to raise the alarm? Or is it because, properly done, it is quick, silent and mostly bloodless?

Jews have been slaughtering animals in this manner since the time of Moses and Aaron, if not before, at least 3500 years. The ritual at the Temple was the duty of the priests (Hebrew - Kohanim). Would this have continued for so long if before the first couple of sacrifices were done there was blood everywhere and on everyone? It would render the whole thing ritually unclean. They will have learned how to do the job properly and efficiently. The animal's heart would stop and gravity would be used to bleed the animal out. See this picture illustrating the Telegraph article (below).

Chickens are hung in a slaughterhouse during the ritual Kapparot ceremony in the religious neighborhood of Mea Sharim, Jerusalem.
Chickens are hung in a slaughterhouse during the ritual Kapparot ceremony in Jerusalem Photo: Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images
Consider this article, also in the Telegraph, by one Harry de Quettville. He also graphically describes a ritual slaughter.

 Now the ritual slaughter that I saw was part of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim feast to celebrate God’s intervention to stay Ibrahim’s hand after asking him to sacrifice his son, Ishmael. In the Torah the story is of Abraham and Isaac. 

He continues with the description of a makeshift slaughter -'tent' in a car park behind a housing estate in the outskirts of Paris. The slaughterers are the heads of families. This approach takes us back to pre-Mosaic times, so there is no trained class of slaughterers. de Quettville describes the fear - of the men about to do the deed. The most important paragraphs in his article are these:  

What followed depended entirely on the man with the knife. If his hand was shaky, death was grim. If his hand was steady and very firm, however, I was astonished, really astonished, to see the speed with which the strongly kicking and twisting animal of a moment before was absolutely still and dead.   

Now I was there to report on such illegal slaughterhouses (so unregulated that some of the sheep had even been kept in bathtubs in tower block flats beforehand). No doubt conditions there could not have been more different to those currently in regulated ritual slaughterhouses (which I haven’t seen). But that is not what I am comparing. I am simply stating that right up close, at the sharp end, it was my impression that, when done effectively, death through the knife was extremely swift.  

My highlights. 

Which rather takes us back to our putative Special Forces assassin. What does Mr Blackwell want? Is he just ignorant of the medical and actual facts? Does he really imagine that Islam will abandon the practices of some 1500 years in Islam and at least 4000 years since Abraham? 
Is it about having a go at religion? Certainly the militant atheists have crawled out of the woodwork to have a go at everyone, including Christians - but we don't do kosher or halal  for other reasons.

Another quote from Miranda Prynne's article:

Shimon Cohen of Shechita UK which aims to educate people about Jewish slaughter customs, said bans on kosher and halal slaughter had been designed to drive out Jewish and Muslim populations since the 19th century.
He questioned why the Government was only considering labelling religious methods of killing and not including information on non-religious slaughter practices such as shooting, gassing, electrocution and drowning.
He said: “I will be seeing the Muslim Council of Britain shortly. We are at one on this.” 

A rare instance of Jewish-Islamic unity. Note, if you are not a Jewish reader, that he is a Cohen (plural Kohanim, see above).

Shechita UK  is clear, simply explained and very informative.

Does Mr Cohen really think that the Muslim population is about to be driven out? Somehow I doubt it.

It's all about the Jews.

Monday, 3 March 2014

The Wedding at Cana - The proof of an active faith is an act of faith

We've been doing a series on the Symbols of the Holy Spirit at HTWB, see here . In the morning they are part of the monthly all-age service and this morning we reached 'Wine'.

My readings for this sermon were Amos 9:13 - 15 and John 2:1 -11. Amos is an old friend from my days at Bible college, when I had to sit a three hour examination, without a Bible, on him and Hosea. 

The Wedding at Cana was a part of the syllabus I used to teach at the first school I ever taught in. In those days we could teach a Judeo-Christian syllabus. 

US readers are reminded that I was a teacher of Religious Education at a State school in the UK. I can promise you that it is not indoctrination.  Some friends committed to pray for me one  day and the lesson caught fire. The kids were totally attentive and afterwards I realised that I had the makings of  a brilliant sermon. Since then, I have preached on the Wedding on many occasions. This is only one of them.

Photo © Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Avraham Hay
Large jars
Herodian period, 1st century CE
Soft limestone
Israel Antiquities Authority
Accession number: IAA I.2222, 1931.175, 1991-461, 1992-844, 1999-3982

The numerous large barrel- and goblet-shaped vessels that were discovered in Jerusalem are among the most impressive examples of Jewish stoneware from the Second Temple Period. They were shaped on lathes, each one from a single block of stone. The New Testament tells of stone jars, apparently of this type, that were used “for the Jewish rites of purification” (John 2:6).

I hope you find the PowerPoint interesting and instructive.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

I've been busy - Mission, Prayer and my apologies for the prolonged absence.

To those who look in regularly, my apologies. I have been busy with many things. Our church is organising a mission and there is much to do  We are staging our outreach to West Bromwich in conjunction with another church from a different denomination. 

The mission will take place during Holy Week. You learn more about it here. Not every planned event has been listed, as yet.

One of my tasks is to encourage people to underpin the mission with constant and regular prayer. I would like to ask you to join with us is seeking the Lord's blessing on this outreach.

I'm looking for committed intercessors. If God burdens you for this outreach , please contact me.

Every Blessing in Jesus,