Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
6. I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle. 7. Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.
12. It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.
In the west the majority of countries don’t have kings as rulers, but I think this Scripture could also apply simply to rulers.
Leadership is established by doing what is fair, just, and equitable for all citizens. When rulers commit wickedness its an abomination, something that most refuse to or cannot see or understand.
In the USA many in positions of leadership use that position for personal gain, disregarding the very rules and/or laws they desire others to obey. Many have given into greed and other vices, losing all sense of moral clarity. This is also happening inside the Church.
Whereas the Churches use to be the center for defining acceptable societal norms and vices, nowadays the center has moved to the governmental funded educational systems. The Church has failed in its outreach to their local communities, instead turning inward. Church ministries for everybody and everything, sin is marginalized, repentance is trivialized and the heart of this nation whithers.
So wickedness is an abomination, if I may, to both kings and those in leadership positions, secular or religious. Now we are experiencing the fruit of their labor.
California’s proposed ethnic studies curriculum urges students to chant to the Aztec deity of human sacrifice.Christopher F. RufoMarch 10, 2021
Next week, the California Department of Education will vote on a new statewide ethnic studies curriculum that advocates for the “decolonization” of American society and elevates Aztec religious symbolism—all in the service of a left-wing political ideology.
The new program, called the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, seeks to extend the Left’s cultural dominance of California’s public university system, 50 years in the making, to the state’s entire primary and secondary education system, which consists of 10,000 public schools serving a total of 6 million students.
In theoretical terms, the new ethnic studies curriculum is based on the “pedagogy of the oppressed,” developed by Marxist theoretician Paolo Freire, who argued that students must be educated about their oppression in order to attain “critical consciousness” and, consequently, develop the capacity to overthrow their oppressors. Following this dialectic, the model curriculum instructs teachers to help students “challenge racist, bigoted, discriminatory, imperialist/colonial beliefs” and critique “white supremacy, racism and other forms of power and oppression.” This approach, in turn, enables teachers to inspire their pupils to participate in “social movements that struggle for social justice” and “build new possibilities for a post-racist, post-systemic racism society.”
R. Tolteka Cuauhtin, the original co-chair of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, developed much of the material regarding early American history. In his book Rethinking Ethnic Studies, which is cited throughout the curriculum, Cuauhtin argues that the United States was founded on a “Eurocentric, white supremacist (racist, anti-Black, anti-Indigenous), capitalist (classist), patriarchal (sexist and misogynistic), heteropatriarchal (homophobic), and anthropocentric paradigm brought from Europe.” The document claims that whites began “grabbing the land,” “hatching hierarchies,” and “developing for Europe/whiteness,” which created “excess wealth” that “became the basis for the capitalist economy.” Whites established a “hegemony” that continues to the present day, in which minorities are subjected to “socialization, domestication, and ‘zombification.’”
The religious narrative is even more disturbing. Cuauhtin developed a related “mandala” claiming that white Christians committed “theocide” against indigenous tribes, killing their gods and replacing them with Christianity. White settlers thus established a regime of “coloniality, dehumanization, and genocide,” characterized by the “explicit erasure and replacement of holistic Indigeneity and humanity.” The solution, according to Cuauhtin and the ethnic studies curriculum, is to “name, speak to, resist, and transform the hegemonic Eurocentric neocolonial condition” in a posture of “transformational resistance.” The ultimate goal is to “decolonize” American society and establish a new regime of “countergenocide” and “counterhegemony,” which will displace white Christian culture and lead to the “regeneration of indigenous epistemic and cultural futurity.”
This religious concept is fleshed out in the model curriculum’s official “ethnic studies community chant.” The curriculum recommends that teachers lead their students in a series of indigenous songs, chants, and affirmations, including the “In Lak Ech Affirmation,” which appeals directly to the Aztec gods. Students first clap and chant to the god Tezkatlipoka—whom the Aztecs traditionally worshipped with human sacrifice and cannibalism—asking him for the power to be “warriors” for “social justice.” Next, the students chant to the gods Quetzalcoatl, Huitzilopochtli, and Xipe Totek, seeking “healing epistemologies” and “a revolutionary spirit.” Huitzilopochtli, in particular, is the Aztec deity of war and inspired hundreds of thousands of human sacrifices during Aztec rule. Finally, the chant comes to a climax with a request for “liberation, transformation, [and] decolonization,” after which students shout “Panche beh! Panche beh!” in pursuit of ultimate “critical consciousness.”
The chants have a clear implication: the displacement of the Christian god, which is said to be an extension of white supremacist oppression, and the restoration of the indigenous gods to their rightful place in the social justice cosmology. It is, in a philosophical sense, a revenge of the gods.
California parents should be concerned. Under the guise of “equity” and “empowerment,” activists within the public education system have developed this radical new curriculum in order to transform California schools into factories for left-wing political activism. They have recast the United States as an oppressor nation that must be deconstructed and subverted through politics. The curriculum’s vision statement makes this aim explicit: it presents education not as a means of achieving competency, but as a “tool for transformation, social, economic, and political change, and liberation.”
The religious element of the ethnic studies curriculum, with direct appeals to Aztec gods, is almost certainly a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. Public schools are prohibited from leading state-sanctioned Christian prayers; they would presumably be similarly prohibited from leading state-sanctioned chants to the Aztec god of human sacrifice.
The state board of education will vote on this curriculum next week. Any sane governing body would reject it wholesale. Given the nature of California politics, though, the board is likely to pass it. The best hope for opponents is to strike out some of the most galling material, such as the chants to the Aztec gods, and then devise a long-term strategy to push back against the public education establishment. For now, the activists appear to be driving the narrative—and they will not stop until they have solidified their “counterhegemony.”
Christopher F. Rufo is a contributing editor of City Journal and director of the Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth & Poverty. Sign up for his weekly newsletter and watch his new documentary, America Lost, which tells the story of three “forgotten American cities.” This article is part of an ongoing series on critical race theory in American schools
Throughout history there have always been men & women who had an understanding of the times in which they lived. Those who understood the good & evil, those who refused to bow to wickedness and evil rulers. Those who understood their faith & the end results of their actions and words.
1st Chronicles 12:32. And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.
1st Kings 19:18. Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
1st Peter 5:12. Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
From the Halls of the Faithful echoes Hebrews 11:32. And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33. Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36. And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38. (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40. God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Reader, all of these examples are people who knew and had an understanding of the times in which they lived. Believing in a Living GOD they trusted HIS words & love, not blindly but because they saw the hand of the Divine moving in their lives and in the world around them. Some saw miracles others only had the message yet they believed.
In our day, in Western societies, most calling themselves believers, have little understanding of the times. Their minds & heart have become clouded with the current Zeitgeist or spirit of the age. This Zeitgeist is a huge vague nebulous blob of ideas and beliefs which can be molded into nearly any form.
Ephesians 2:1. And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2. Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3. Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
In the west today, it seems governments are trying to emulate the first Biblically recorded attempt at world governance. History doesn’t repeat itself, it echoes through the corridors of time.
The EU headquarters looks to be designed after what the tower of Babel was thought to look like. Yeah, I know, some believers follow the mainstream narrative and scoff at the mentioning of similarities, others claiming to be believers decry such ideas as conspiratorial and ignore them. In my opinion those who do so are listening to The Spirit of the Age, they’ve chosen their Zeitgeist.
Sin running rampant, wickedness flowing from every crevasse of societies, corruptions of morals & norms both inside & out of the Chuches, with Scripture being delegated to mythological status. The world in which we are living is turning darker by the hour. Ignoring those proverbial signs is going to lead believers into more treacherous times.
Knowledge doesn’t equate to worries, stressors exist everywhere in our lives. Knowing something doesn’t mean you have to get stressed about what it is you know. As believers we read in 1st John 4:17. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19. We love him, because he first loved us. We as believers should have this understanding; that because we have this perfect love already inside of us, that perfect love is the Spirit of God which we received from Jesus the Christ. This world’s Zeitgeist brings with it fear & torment, but the Spirit within us is saying no to fear.
In our lifetime to have an understanding of the times is necessary now more than ever. As believers we need reach out to those around us, those in our circle of influence and lovingly share the Gospel or good news with them. We need to pray the Holy Spirit of GOD will convict them of sin, of righteousness, & of judgment, as we read in John 16:7. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9. Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10. Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11. Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. We as believers need to seek that wisdom from above, humbling ourselves daily before our Savior and prayerfully asking for guidance. As stated in James 4:8. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
Sharing with others the simplicity of the Gospel and planting seeds of real love & repentance in their hearts & minds is beyond value, as stated in 2nd Corinthians 1:12. For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. Knowing that time is short believers need to turn away from this worlds Zeitgeist and turn their hearts toward Jesus. Today is the day of salvation, none of us have a guarantee for a tomorrow nor do those around us.
Please do not ignore the signs around you. Aside from sin and wickedness the world governments and elites are reeling from their own hubris. Economic collapse stands at our doorsteps, inflationary signs are everywhere to be seen, earthquakes are increasing around the world, nations are preparing for war, Christians and other religious groups being persecuted & killed.
Yes all of these outward signs have always existed in their own various shades & colors, but never before has all of these events been able to affect so many on a global scale at a single point in time.
Here is a decent article on Ways to Survive an economic collapse, I would highly recommend reading it.
If you do a search for survival or prepping you’ll find an abundance of resources. There will be those who will say I’m not going to worry, God will provide. Those people are partially correct, God is providing, HE is providing you with the opportunity to prepare both spiritually and physically for what’s coming. To ignore the warning signs is like this:
So people wake up, see and know, having an understanding of the times.
16. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20. Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21. Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
A strange comic book that was commissioned for publication by the European Union in 2012 eerily predicted almost exactly what has unfolded with the Covid-19 global pandemic. However, in this propaganda laced presentation of the outbreak, unelected globalist bureaucrats save the planet.
The comic book, titled ‘Infected’, was a production of the European Commission’s international cooperation and development arm. It was not intended for widespread public consumption, but instead to be distributed inside EU institutions. Only a few hundred of the comic books were made.
The EU’s description of the strange publication states that “While the story may be fictional, it is nevertheless intertwined with some factual information.”
The graphic novel depicts scientists inside a lab in China experimenting with deadly pathogens.
1. Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. 2. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. 3. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? 4. Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 5. But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6. Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7. To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8. But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9. Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10. But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11. For there is no respect of persons with God.
There are several issues today within the proverbial Evangelical community, not only in America but around the world, that I see as nothing more than the collapse of the Biblical Christian faith and a move toward the acceptance of a more globalist view of religion in particular.
I believe we are looking at the fulfillment of a dramatic paradigm shift in the role of the Christian Community in the Western World. Here at this site http://www.letusreason.org/Curren38.htm there is a very good explanation of what it titled as a New Way of Thinking. In this article, one of many, it states, “… For new ideas to replace the old ones one, we must disregard the old and only embrace the new. We have come to identify this by what they call it, “the paradigm shift.”…”
Also we read this statement, “To change the system one must change people’s values and their thinking. Something must be introduced that would bring a new paradigm. Something that would affect not a few, but many at the same time.”
In the Christian communities across the world there seems to have been a change in our way of perceiving the world in which we live. I mean this from the perspective of viewing the world through the eyes of Scripture. As stated in the above article we read this, No truer words can be applied to this paradigm than- “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Col. 2:6-9). The reason we are warned is because the Bible gives us standards that are based on absolutes from our creator, it is didactic; these are instructions that are based on moral absolutes.
These words dear reader point to the heart of the problem I think personally, we are being deceived through the empty deceit that is coming from our leadership, both national and religious, from our government schools, from our financial institutions. This empty deceit is rearing its head in our acceptance of sin and wickedness, our growing cold and indifference to the welfare of others let alone our lack of spreading the Gospel and witnessing for our Savior. In Matthew 24:12 we read this, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
Today I found this at the bottom of my drafts as I was cleaning house, I thought I would go ahead and finish it.
Five years later:
We have a new President in America, there is more divisiveness shown in various groups, manifesting in an outright hatred being shown by those on both the left and right of the political spectrum.
It seems people, whether political or religious desire to be lied to by their leaders.
Unemployment is the lowest its ever been, lie. It is slowly going down but we are told the U3 numbers, the U6 is what has been traditionally used.
People extol MAGA or KAGA as if its a new religious mantra, citing the POTUS as the greatest President ever, yet he is like the previous ones, ignoring Constitutional limitations on power, growing the policestate, debt increasing, etc
The left in this country doesn’t need a partial list as their lies and deceit is constantly thrown into our faces. From abortion to same sex marriage to sexual perverts dancing in libraries in front of children, and the list goes on.
As I wrote above, ….To change the system one must change people’s values and their thinking… this is what’s happening. Our morals and values are and have been changed, both politically and religiously.
As a Christian the only comfort I can find is found with Christ, because in the end, all things work together for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. We as mere humans are limited to seeing what’s placed before us, but GOD sees all, knowing the desires and intent of the heart. Only HE knows the complete truths surrounding us.
As it is written in Psalms 118:8. It is better totrust in the LORDthan to put confidence in man. 9. It is better totrust in the LORDthan to put confidence in princes
In the Lord we should trust, not in what we are told by mankind.
With the spectre of an international conflict rising as storm clouds across the Middle East, with the societal breakdown of families, communities, and Biblical norms that have prevailed in western culture for two thousand years being tossed aside, we need to look up, strengthen our faith, pray without ceasing, & put on the whole armor of God because the battles are only going to get harder.
Proverbs 3:5. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
13. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; 14. Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. 15. Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. 16. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
32. But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. 33. A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. 34. For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35. He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.
The handful of Christians remaining in Raqqa tell me what life was like under ISIS – and how they still need help to survive.
The churches of Raqqa lie in ruins following the defeat of ISIS. But remarkably the city’s Christian community has survived.
Before the Syrian conflict began in 2011, Raqqa was home to hundreds of Christian families. Today there are a mere 30 or so individuals, almost all men.
It’s not just the churches that have been reduced to rubble. The rest of the city was largely destroyed in the operation to oust ISIS. In October 2017, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by Western air power, seized Raqqa from the militants. Although the fighting has ended, the atmosphere remains tense. The Kurdish-led SDF remains in charge, and reconstruction is slowly underway, though ISIS still operates underground.
Anyone who has followed the news over the last few years will be familiar with the crimes of ISIS. They include beheadings, crucifixions and the subjection of non-Muslim women to sexual slavery. Throughout this reign of terror, a small number of Christians remained in the city. They did their best to avoid incurring the wrath of ISIS.
Raqqa’s Christians tell me that, before ISIS took over, the city had been an ideal place to live. They had good relations with their Muslim neighbours. Unlike in other cities in Syria, such as Damascus and Aleppo, Christians did not live in separate neighbourhoods from Muslims, but were spread throughout the city and were fully integrated into the social fabric. They spoke Raqqa’s unique dialect of Arabic. Some of the Christian presence in Raqqa dates to the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1917, when Arab residents of the city protected Armenian Christians from the Ottoman government, and others moved from other parts of Syria as the city grew during the 20th century.
After ISIS took over, the Church of the Forty Martyrs – used by both the Armenian Catholic and the Syriac Orthodox communities – became an Islamic court and a centre for the hisbah, or morality police. Just around the corner, the Greek Catholic Bishara Church became a field hospital. Residents say that both churches were deliberately destroyed by ISIS. But an air strike also hit the Bishara Church, leveling it entirely.
An empty shell of cement and rebar is all that remains of the Church of the Forty Martyrs. It looks out on Harun al-Rashid park, a sad reminder of the city’s recent history.
When ISIS took over, Christians went from being equal citizens to lower than zero, as one Christian from Raqqa told me. (Everyone interviewed for this article – five Christians currently in Raqqa and two living elsewhere in Syria – asked that their names not be used, as the security situation remains uncertain.) When ISIS first seized power, about 100 Christians – mostly men whose families had fled elsewhere – remained. Over the next four years that number steadily decreased.
ISIS viewed the Christians as infidels and repeatedly tried to convert them to Islam. Their approach was strikingly different from that of the first Muslim rulers of Raqqa in around 640 AD. In one version of the conquest of Raqqa, told by the 9th century historian al-Baladhuri, an agreement was reached guaranteeing the safety of the Christian community’s members, churches and money, albeit with certain restrictions. These were, by today’s standards, fairly stringent and included the payment of a jizya tax (levied on non-Muslims) and a ban on displaying crosses or building new churches.
ISIS most certainly did not read this agreement – which might have theoretically bound them as Islamic rulers of Raqqa – when they destroyed the city’s churches. ISIS members would visit the homes of Christians and talk to them about Islam. They would also gather Christians for meetings every month or so and provide lectures by converts from Christianity. (One was French and one a former Coptic Christian, recalled one resident.) ISIS reinstated the jizya tax, which had long ceased to be imposed. The amount paid differed depending on the family’s economic situation.
Christians could not – and did not dare – celebrate feasts such as Easter and Christmas. One resident said people would sometimes discreetly pass by their Christian neighbours’ homes and wish them a happy holiday. But even this was not common as people wanted to avoid attracting attention.
So if you were a Christian from Raqqa, why stay? Most of the people I interviewed said that they knew ISIS’s rule would end soon. They were simply waiting for the storm to pass, and noted that if Christians left, then their homes and businesses were stolen by ISIS. Those who fled risked losing everything they had.
Christians who stayed, however, were allowed to leave for short visits to other areas. They had to present a request to an ISIS official who would approve a visit for a specific length of time. If they overstayed, their possessions would be confiscated.
One resident said he received a call while outside ISIS territory telling him not to bother coming back: the group had taken his house and he would not be able to go back to it, even though he had not exceeded his allotted time.
While the Christians of Raqqa were doing their best to keep their heads down and survive, an international military campaign was underway to defeat ISIS in both Syria and Iraq, as well as Libya and other countries where the group had established a presence. As the campaign to liberate Raqqa moved forward, air strikes intensified and became more unpredictable.
One resident said that for the first few years of ISIS’s rule, air strikes were generally directed at specific targets and were limited in scope. But as the Western-backed SDF approached, they became more frequent and less accurate. It was difficult to distinguish ISIS members from civilians, because the terrorists avoided large crowds, and because all residents were required to follow ISIS’s strict dress codes: beards and Islamic robes for men, full covering for women with no skin or hair showing.
As coalition forces approached, the Syriac Military Council, a Christian-led unit of the SDF, began using its networks within the community to identify how many Christian residents were left in the city and where they were located. As circumstances allowed, they were smuggled to safety. The Syriac Military Council saved many Muslim civilians too.
ISIS was keen to use civilians as human shields, so those working to rescue civilians would wait until coalition airplanes were flying overhead, which usually sent ISIS fighters into hiding to avoid getting hit by bombs. Civilians would then run to safety with the SDF.
Now, more than a year after ISIS’s defeat in the city, a handful of Christian residents have returned to Raqqa. Everyone I spoke to in the city said the security situation is good thanks to the efforts of the SDF. The main barrier to more Christians returning is the destruction of homes and businesses, not the remaining ISIS cells which have attempted to upset the improving security situation in the city.
Local Christians complain there has been no support for the community from inside Syria or abroad. They say that they have received little help from the respective churches which have congregants in the city or from international organisations which have worked to help Christian communities elsewhere rebuild in the wake of ISIS.
More than anything else, this prevents more Christians from returning to the city and rebuilding their lives alongside their Muslim neighbours. Will that support be forthcoming? Will the global Christian community help their brethren in Raqqa to rise from the rubble?
Samuel Sweeney is a former US congressional staffer and is now a writer and translator based in the Middle East. He has a master’s degree in Islamic-Christian Relations from l’Université Saint-Joseph in Beirut
18. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 20. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
Open Doors asks for your prayers as Brunei intensifies their requirements to obey Sharia Law—Islamic regulations that govern Muslim conduct. They are introducing what is called “penal law,” which their Sultan warns will dispense strict punishments.
The first phase of the Penal Code, implemented in 2014, mandated jail terms and fines for failure to attend Friday prayers, “indecent behavior,” and other offenses. Unfortunately, we have recently learned that a second phase of the Penal Code is planned to launch on April 3rd.
“Pending provisions in Brunei’s Penal Code would allow stoning and amputation as punishments – including for children, to name only their most heinous aspects,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Brunei Researcher at Amnesty International.
This code could further endanger Christians in Brunei, as the country already considers it illegal to share Christ with others or to convert away from Islam.
Please pray for the people of Brunei, including Christians, who will be subjected to this law.
Pray for the church to be both wise and bold in living out their Christian faith. Ask God to be present with them and to give them discernment for how to minister to their communities despite these increasingly fearful conditions.
Pray for the Sultan, especially that he would come to know Christ—he has the power to reverse the Penal Code and return Brunei to its former position.
*Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.
In a final act of depravity, fleeing ISIS beheaded 50 Yazidi sex slaves,dumping their headsinto trash bins for coalition soldiers to find.
ISIS fighters were besieged in their last stronghold – a small area in Baghuz located in eastern Syria. One hundred ISIS jihadis were killed in the final battle in which British Special Forces (SAS) fired 600 mortar bombs and tens of thousands of machine-gun rounds against the terror group.
Speaking toThe Mail on Sunday, a source said:
“In their hour of defeat, the jihadis’ cruelty knew no bounds. They conducted a cowardly slaughter of these desperately unfortunate women as a final act of depravity and left their severed heads behind for us to find. The motivation for such a sickening act is beyond comprehension for any remotely normal human being.
“None of the SAS troops who entered Baghuz will forget what they saw, which some soldiers likened to a scene from the filmApocalypse Now. Their only solace is that they have contributed to bringing Islamic State’s reign of terror to an end.”
Surviving ISIS fighters tried to escape by going underground to a system of tunnels they constructed under the town. However, SAS mortar teams and U.S.-French artillery units pounded the openings of the tunnels which were located by drones.
About 200 jihadis still hold an area of about one-fifth of a square mile outside Baghuz where intelligence sources say an equal number of civilian hostages are held. The terror group once controlled 34,000 square miles of territory between western Syria and eastern Iraq, which they called their “caliphate” and ruled over close to 8 million people according to brutalsharialaw.
In 2014, when ISIS roared into Iraq, close to 3,000 women, teenage girls and young boys wereabductedby the group. The hostages were Yazidis, Christians, Turkomen and Shabak – all minority groups in Iraq. The women and girls were turned into sex slaves and the boys were recruited as the next generation of jihadis. During the takeover operations, ISIS simply slaughtered the men and teenage boys.