Interfaith Harmony between Islam and Other Religions?


can-islam-be-peaceful

John R. Houk

© February 6, 2017

 

My Brother in Christ Shamim Mahmood was involved in the Pakistan version of the World Interfaith Harmony Week is a feel-good annual global event instituted by the United Nations in 2011:

 

World Interfaith Harmony Week is an annual event to be observed during the first week of February starting in 2011.

 

World Interfaith Harmony Week was proclaimed by the General Assembly in resolution A/RES/65/5 adopted on 20 October 2010. In the resolution, the General Assembly, points out that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace and establishes World Interfaith Harmony Week as a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith.

 

Recognizing the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people, the General Assembly encourages all States to support during that week the spread of the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship, on a voluntary basis and according to their own religious traditions or convictions. (World Interfaith Harmony Week; United Nations) 

 

It is my opinion most of the world’s religions can have a cooperative dialogue; however once one or more religions become upset with one or more other religions proselytizing among adherents, then I suspect the cooperation will come to a screaming halt. And yet if competition halts cooperation, most religions are tolerant enough in their belief systems to not erupt into riotous violence in these modern days of the 21st century – THAT IS except one religion in particular. ISLAM!

 

Let’s look at the significant religious tenets of some major religions in relation to dealing with hostile people against a particular faith.

 

Buddhism

 

Much like Christianity Buddhism has various sects that I am not going to examine. There is a central belief among all Buddhists on violence even there is doctrinal disagreement on other issues.

 

The Buddhist tradition is most clearly associated with non-violence and the principle of ahimsa (“no harm”). By eliminating their attachments to material things, Buddhists try to combat covetousness, which in itself has the potential to become a source of anger and violence against others. …  Some Buddhist texts do sanction taking human lives in exceptional cases to protect the sangha or defend the innocent. However, most Theravada and Mahayana Buddhists today reject even these exceptional justifications of killing. … (Buddhism on Peace and Violence; Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World AffairsGeorgetown University)

 

More thoughts on contemporary Buddhism in regard to violence: Buddhism: Peaceful or Violent Religion? By ALAN PETO; AlanPeto.com; 6/23/13)

 

Hinduism

 

The subject of violence has engaged the best minds in India’s religious history. Although Mohandas K. Gandhi has made non-violence synonymous with Hinduism, the tradition has long recognized legitimacy of violence under some circumstances. The dominant, pragmatic approach has endorsed violence when necessary to protect one’s state or people from external or internal attacks. A divergent tradition, insisting on the complete renunciation of violence, was ascendant during the period of the Upanishads. It asserted that violent action must, by the law of karma, produce a violent reaction, and that any action that promotes the interest of one at the expense of another individual is rooted in spiritual delusion that obscures the single spiritual reality—Brahman. The conflict between these competing approaches to force constitutes the heart of the Bhagavad Gita, a dialogue between the god Krishna and the mighty warrior Arjuna, who refused to fight in a righteous cause. Krishna explains that violence is not only necessary for the defense of justice, but that such violence need not conflict with spiritual life. The contradiction between the two values is resolved by disciplined action (action without regard for its fruit), insightful action (recognizing the true nature of the self), and complete devotion to Krishna. (Hinduism on Peace and Violence; Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World AffairsGeorgetown University)

 

Most Americans think of Hinduism as a non-violent faith. Compared to Islam it is true but compared to the central tenets of Christianity (not often observed by history’s Christian rulers), Hinduism can have a violent side. Read these cherrypicked excerpts from the essay entitled “The Co-Existence of Violence and Non-Violence in Hinduism”:

 

The most famous Hindu of all times, Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) is widely perceived, especially in the West, as embodying the Hindu worldview and ethos. Gandhi made ahimsa (non-violence) the cornerstone of his philosophy and practice and spoke of it as constituting the essence of Hinduism. …

 

n recent years, several Hindu organizations have become aggressive and militant in rhetoric and method, reminding us that while Gandhi championed the ethic of ahimsa, there are ancient traditions within Hinduism which sanction violence under certain circumstances and that ahuimsa and himsa (violence) have coexisted uneasily in Hinduism for centuries. The relationship between violence and non-violence is a complex one and Gandhi’s representation of Hinduism must be properly contextualized.

 

 

Vedic society in ancient India did not scrupulously adhere to ahimsa as its highest value. Sacrificial rites involved the slaying of animals and Indra, one of most popular deities of the Vedic period has many warrior-like attributes. While Manu (ca.200 B.C.E.-100 C.E.), ancient India’s influential lawgiver, lists ahimsa among the general human virtues, the ksatriyas are exempt. He permits killing in self-defence and for implementing the injunctions of the Vedas. Two of the most popular epics in the Hindu tradition, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata culminate in lengthy and violent battles.

 

… We see quite clearly from the Bhagavadgita that while the tradition upholds the ultimacy of non-violence, exceptions are made for the use of violence. The Mahabharata war is referred to, in the Bhagavadgita, as a dharma yuddha. A dharma yuddha is a war fought in defence of justice and righteousness and for the security and well being of the community (lokasamgraha). …

 

 

The final characteristic of a dharma yuddha that I want to mention is that violence is justified as a last resort and only after peaceful methods of conflict resolution are exhausted. …

 

It is clear, therefore, that there are influential traditions within Hinduism which justify the use of violence under certain circumstances and which understand the use of violence to be consistent with the Hindu world-view. While it is true that ancient texts, such as the Upanisads, refer frequently to ahimsa, these texts were traditionally meant for seekers of liberation (moksa) who had entered the last of the four stages of life (samnyasa). Such persons were ritually freed from social and familial obligations and dedicated to the quest for liberation. READ ENTIRETY (The Co-Existence of Violence and Non-Violence in Hinduism; By Anantanand Rambachan; World Council of Churches)

 

Christianity

 

The practice of Christianity as embraced by varying nations that would define themselves as Christian have not followed the tenets set down during the earthly walk of Jesus Christ and the Christ’s amplifications as placed into words by direct followers of Jesus Christ. Many atrocities have occurred in history by Christian rulers in the name of Christianity that I am certain the Lord Jesus would have rebuked them:

 

51 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him [i.e. Jesus] to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”[a]

 

55 But He [i.e. Jesus] turned and rebuked them,[b] and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.[c] And they went to another village. (Bold text Editor’s – Luke 9: 51-56 NKJV)

 

Insulting Jesus was not lead to riotous violence. The Beatitudes sums up how Christians should act on a personal level:

 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven
. (Matthew 5: 3-10 NKJV)

 

The Lord Jesus Christ continues with the Sermon on the Mount (excerpted for the point):

 

11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

 

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause[b] shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.

 

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[b] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5: 11, 21-25, 43-45 NKJV)

 

The New Testament is full of the sentiment of DO NO HARM. As an individual, this is a journey to ever closed to the paradigm of Jesus Christ. Don’t abandon the paradigm because of other’s actions, rather stay on your journey. If you slip into a ditch. GET UP! And crawl out of the ditch to get back onto the journey of the Christ paradigm.

 

Christians are to defend themselves though. The defense should not be acted out of hate or revenge. Rather the defense is to protect the community. Protection does not mean pillaging and raping. It means protection.

 

Islam

 

In full disclosure and if you haven’t figured it out, I am a Christian. I am definitely not a perfect Christian and yet I am devoted to Truth as presented in the Word of God, especially in the New Testament. One standard of trust in of whose I am is John 14:6:

 

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (Bold Text Editor’s NKJV)

 

I have to guess all religions believe they hold the keys of Truth. I don’t have a problem with that until anyone representing a different faith or secular ideology tries to force me to think divergently from the Truth I trust. One such religion targeting the belief system of Christianity are the writings revered by Muslims in the Islam way.

 

Christian Truth: Jesus Christ is the Son of God:

 

Matthew 16:13-17

 

13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. (Bold Text Editor’s NKJV)

 

John 5:17-23

 

17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”

 

18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. 19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. (Bold Text Editor’s NKJV)

 

Quran 19: 88-95

 

88. And they say, “The Most Merciful has taken [for Himself] a son.”

 

89. You have done an atrocious thing.

 

90. The heavens almost rupture therefrom and the earth splits open and the mountains collapse in devastation

 

91. That they attribute to the Most Merciful a son.

 

92. And it is not appropriate for the Most Merciful that He should take a son.

 

93. There is no one in the heavens and earth but that he comes to the Most Merciful as a servant.

 

94. He has enumerated them and counted them a [full] counting.

 

95. And all of them are coming to Him on the Day of Resurrection alone. (SAHIH INTERNATIONAL)

 

This Quranic section is a mere tip of the iceberg in the anti-Christian writings inherent in Islam. And I am not even going into the anti-Jewish sections and the violence that ordered upon Christians, Jews and all non-Muslims who do not bow in submission to Islam’s moon god allah and its pseudo-prophet Muhammad.

 

A website that provides a brief of more anti-Christian surahs can be located here: “Does Jesus ever claim to be God, or the son of God?

 

Keep this in mind my fellow believers in Christ Jesus the Son of God, Lord and Savior:

 

1 John 2: 18-19, 22-23; 4: 13-15; 5: 19-20

 

2:

18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the[a] Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

 

22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

 

4:

13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

 

5:

19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (NKJV)

 

My above thoughts are a demonstration of skepticism that the government of the Islamic Republic is serious about ending Islamic Supremacism in the Pakistan Constitution. If Pakistan amends their Constitution to deliver the same Religious Freedom – including the Free Speech to share a non-Muslim faith without fear of retribution – that Sunni Islam enjoys, then I will be less skeptical.

 

At any rate, below is Shamim Mahmood’s participation and hope of the success of interfaith harmony between religious faiths in Pakistan.

 

JRH 2/6/17

Please Support NCCR

***************

World Interfaith Harmony Week

 

Sent By Shamim Mahmood

Sent: 2/4/2017 7:21 AM

 

Power of interfaith transforms fear, anger & hatred into positive human relationship: Diplomats

 

Islamabad, February 04: Diplomats based in the federal capital have highlighted the fact that prevailing world security situation has necessitated need of interfaith harmony to convert the world into a better living place. It is high time for power of interfaith to work effectively to transform fear, anger and hatred into positive human relationship”.

 

Addressing a seminar titled “World Interfaith Harmony Week 2017” organized under the banner of “Parliament of the World’s Religions” [Blog Editor: The Parliament is an international organization. My antivirus software flags its website as a yellow risk. Wikipedia has a good history.] the Ambassador of Poland H.E Piotr Opalinski said that every person reserved the very right to manifest his religion or belief either individually or in community, with others and in public or private in worship, observance, he-mr-piotr-a-opalinski-polish-amb-to-pakistan-2practice and teaching without fear of intimidation, discrimination, violence or attack.

 

Piotr Opalinski reiterated that freedom of religion or belief was fundamental right of every human being.

 

H.E Ms. Marshal Anne, deputy head of European Delegation said that in the line with universal and EU human rights are committed to respecting, protecting and promoting freedom of religion or belief within their borders.

 

While speaking at the occasion H.E Joao Paulo Sabido Costa, Charge d’Affaires of h-e-joao-paulo-sabido-costa-portugalPortugal proclaimed that States have a duty to protect all persons within their jurisdiction from direct and indirect discrimination on grounds of religion o belief, whatever the reason advanced for such discrimination.

 

Ambassador of “Parliament of the World’s Religion” Mr. Shamim said that limitations to this freedom have to be strictly interpreted. He said that minorities have been increasingly targeted in hate in the country. Faiths do not bind in limits but allows social harmony and mutual tolerance for a better and progressive society. It is need of the day to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people from all faiths, he added.

 

Reference to the General Assembly resolution adopted on 20th October, 2010, the Parliament of the World’s Religions has organized “World Interfaith Harmony Week” to promote mutual understanding and inter-religious dialogue to establish interfaith harmony.

 

Members of civil society, religious leadership, media personal and diplomats have attended the event.

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Mahmood

 

SUPPORT Shamim’s Christian advocacy in Pakistan. First contact Shamim in case he has found an easy way to donate. I like to use Western Union sending money with this LINK to the destination of Islamabad (Contact Shamim in case he has changed cities). Shamim’s email is shamimpakistan@gmail.com, Western Union may ask for Shamim’s phone – +92-300-642-4560

 

shamim-masih-pakistani-christian-journalist

Shamim Mahmood

________________

Interfaith Harmony between Islam and Other Religions?

John R. Houk

© February 6, 2017

_______________

World Interfaith Harmony Week

 

Edited by John R. Houk

Text embraced by brackets and source links are by the Editor.

 

Email: shamimpakistan@gmail.com 

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Eushaw

Journalist, Blogger and Social Reformer 
http://oiwerk.blogspot.com/

+92-300-642-4560

 

Keep Shamim Reporting


Shamim Mahmood – Christian-Pakistani Journalist

 

Shamim has been the primary source in Pakistan demonstrating how Islamic Supremacism has been a devastating tragedy of persecution for Christians by the Sunni Muslim majority. Please take some prayerful consideration to support his oft times dangerous work as a Christian and Journalist in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

 

The best method to send funds to Shamim in Pakistan is Western Union (Name: Shamim Mahmood. City: Islamabad. Phone: +92-300-642-4560). For some reason my favorite money distribution method of Paypal is disallowed in Pakistan.

 

JRH 1/8/16

***************

Keep Shamim Reporting

 

By Shamim Mahmood [Masih]

Sent 1/8/16 12:28 AM

 

Hello Dear [Friend],

 

Greetings, I hope this email will find you in a good heath. I wish you a very Happy New Year, 2017. I report news that others dismiss and ignore. Please read and learn about my history and let me know how you can help me.

 

I’m an offbeat human rights reporter with a great deal of experience and a proven track record. I have an off and on perception of Islamic largesse in Pakistan. When terrorism strikes, I note the hypocrisy of a Constitution that stipulates equal rights for all Pakistani citizens regardless of religious faith. A Constitution that also stipulates Pakistan is an Islamic Republic. Pakistan that follows Sharia Law and enforces Blasphemy Laws that literally can lead to awaiting death sentences in jail, unless an observant Muslim mob kills the accused violator of the Muslim Blasphemy Law first. Due to the unacceptable and prompt reaction attitude prevailing in Pakistan, I have been facing many hurdles but kept on reporting on minorities issues parallel to my official responsibilities.

 

At the dawn of 2017, I conclude that there is no standard place for me in the mainstream work force.  The most good I can do for people is to keep writing and publicizing news, this is where I ask my friends and supporters to contribute a very small monthly amount to keep me out there.

I have supported religious minorities as well as the many victims of discrimination, police brutality, racism, sex abuse and other endemic problems through journalism for many years.  I see the human race as a single entity and I write on behalf of people countrywide.  I used to be a mainstream reporter but found this type of journalism restricting and frankly, over controlled by corporate interests.

Over the past years, I have devoted my time and energy almost exclusively to a number of subjects that most media ignored or reported with great bias.  An outline of my recent efforts includes …. The Gojra incident [Dawn & Express Tribune] that left the killing of seven Christian family members. The breaking story of Rimsha Masih who was a minor Christian girl accused of blasphemy. The twin blasts in Peshawar Church. A Christian couple burnt alive in Kot Radha Kishan. Zafar Bhatti blasphemy accused and still suffering in jail. Others accused under Pakistani Blasphemy include Asia Bibi, Sawan Masih and Nabeel Masih [Christians in Pakistan & BPCA]. And the Youhanabad Church blasts and many more.

 

SUPPORT Shamim’s Christian advocacy in Pakistan. I like you to use Western Union sending money with the destination of Islamabad. Shamim’s email is shamimpakistan@gmail.com, Western Union may ask for Shamim’s phone – +92-300-642-4560 

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Mahmood

email. shamimpakistan@gmail.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Eushaw

 

Journalist, Blogger and Social Reformer
http://oiwerk.blogspot.com/ 

+92-300-642-4560

 

 

___________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Reference links are by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Mahmood

 

Christmas Train Travelling from Khayber to Karachi


Shamim has an off and on perception of Islamic largesse in Pakistan. When terrorism strikes, he notes the hypocrisy of a Constitution that stipulates equal rights for all Pakistani citizens regardless of religious faith. A Constitution that also stipulates Pakistan is an Islamic Republic. A Pakistan that follows Sharia Law and enforces Blasphemy Laws that literally can lead to awaiting a death sentence in jail unless an observant Muslim mob kills the accused violator of the Muslim Blasphemy Law first.

 

During this Christmas season in Pakistan a combine Christian/Muslim effort has put together a Christmas Train that travels through various Pakistani cities ending at Karachi on New Years’ Eve. The object of the Christmas Peace Train is to promote harmony between the Sunni Islamic majority and the multiple religious minorities which in Shamim’s case include Christians. Apparently collective of dignitaries are providing peace speeches along the trip.

 

JRH 12/26/16

Please Support NCCR

*******************

Christmas Train Travelling from Khayber to Karachi

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent 12/24/2016 2:59 AM

 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Christians are peace ambassador in Pakistan and working to promote harmony in the country, says Kamran Michael. Talking to the media at launching [the] ceremony of [the] Christmas Peace Train at Margalla Railway Station, Islamabad Federal Minister for Human Rights Senator Kamran Michael reiterated his commitment to save the rights of the marginalized segment of the society including children, women and minorities in Pakistan.

Kamran Michael said that minorities have served the nation and Christmas Train initiative is to show the work done by the minorities’ representatives to fellow citizens of Pakistan.

 

Earlier, [the] Christmas Peace Train was launched from Islamabad as part of Christmas celebrations. Federal Minister for Human Rights Senator Kamran Michael and Minister for Railway Khawja Saad Rafique jointly inaugurated the Peace Train at Margala Railway station in Islamabad.  Besides, diplomats, officials of Railway and Human Rights; a large number of people were present on this occasion. Addressing the inaugural ceremony of [the] Peace Train, both Ministers expressed their happiness and said that this initiative is taken for the very first time in sub-continent in continuation of acknowledging those efforts which Christian community has made for Pakistan. This endeavor will be fruitful to minimize the distances between Muslims and Christian communities. They further added that Christian community has served this county with devotion and passion and we always acknowledge that struggle. This Peace Train would be a source of interfaith harmony and will reflect the strong bonds of Muslims and Christian communities.  Minister for Human Rights Kamran Michael said that the present day, Pakistan has become a Pakistan of our dreams with no differences of religion, cast, colors, or creed. He further expressed that [the] Peace Train is a symbol of peace, love, equality and harmony and it will spread the message of love and peace. He said that [the] Peace Train will create awareness about tolerance and interfaith harmony. Railway Minister, Saad Rafique said that minorities have been playing pivotal role in progress, development and prosperity of Pakistan.  Our constitution guarantees the equal rights to all citizens living in this country. We need to hold the hands of each other to touch prosperity and success. He urged Christians and Muslims to work collectivity by forgetting all differences for the sake of country.

Decorated with three galleries and two floats, [the] Christmas Peace Train started its journey from Peshawar and is scheduled to reach Karachi on December 31, 2016 by covering different cities like Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Lahore, Sahiwal, Rohri, Tando Adam and Hyderabad.

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Mahmood [Masih]

SUPPORT Shamim’s Christian advocacy in Pakistan. First contact Shamim in case he has found an easy way to donate. I like to use Western Union sending money with this LINK to the destination of Islamabad (Contact Shamim in case he has changed cities). Shamim’s email is shamimpakistan@gmail.com, Western Union may ask for Shamim’s phone – +92-300-642-4560

 

email. shamimpakistan@gmail.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Eushaw

 

Journalist, Blogger and Social Reformer
http://oiwerk.blogspot.com/

+92-300-642-4560

______________

Edited by John R. Houk

All text enclosed by brackets are by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Mahmood [Masih]

 

Chanukah – Christmas, 2016


Intro to ‘Chanukah – Christmas, 2016

John R. Houk, Editor

Posted December 25, 2016

By Ari Bussel

 

I am a Christian Zionist. A person decried by the American Left, many if not most Progressive Christians (typically Mainline Christians) and a lot distrusting Jews (I’m guessing among the Jewish Left and distrustful Observant Orthodox Jews.

 

Being a Christian Zionist means I believe in the sovereign existence of the Jewish State of Israel. AND since I’m a Right Winger that believes Israel is the Promised Land to the Jews, I also fall on the side of the Greater Israel as the Land of the Jews. That belief steps on the toes of a lot of current sovereign Muslim nations and not just the Arabs pretending to be the non-existent Palestinians.

 

I say all this because I am quite appreciative of my online friends Ari Bussel and Norma Zager who often share the Jewish perspectives on current events affecting Israel and the Jews still spread around globally.

 

In this case Ari sends a Christmas message to Christians which includes a very succinct explanation of Chanukah which should bring at least a little self-musing by non-Jews of how God Almighty’s hand is upon the Jews – the Twelve Hebrew Tribes – and their God-given Land.

 

From a Christian perspective, without Jews there would be no Redeemer Jesus the Christ come to save humanity from the curse bequeathed by Adam and Eve to their descendants.

 

JRH 12/25/16

Please Support NCCR

********************

 

 My father, Capt. Dr. Bussel, second from left, with friends for life Chanukah in the Sinai Desert, Yom Kippur War, 1973

 

Chanukah – Christmas, 2016

 

By Ari Bussel

Sent 12/23/2016 7:04 PM

 

In Israel, especially in Orthodox neighborhoods, there are candelabra at the balconies, protected by glass structures, illuminating the surroundings.  For eight days, Israel is lit by light, laughter, play and song.

 

 

Candelabra on Balcony

 

In Israel, freshly cut Arizona cypress trees are being distributed for a symbolic price for the Christian community (and foreign diplomats and the foreign press) to utilize and enjoy. 

 

This year, terrorism hit with widespread forest fires.  The headlines read, “Israel is burning.”  Yet, all that terrorism achieved is to galvanize the spirit, reignite the determination and conviction and remind us what is really important.

 

 

As he called to wish Chag Samech (Happy Chanukah), my friend Brad Greenberg said: “Be thankful there is Christmas; be grateful that you can celebrate Christmas!”

 

The joy of the season is magnified this year in light of what is happening all around us.  The mere ability to worship, celebrate and enjoy the spirit of Christmas – something we take so readily for granted – is like the light of candles in the darkness:  fragile, uncertain, yet with immense potential to conquer the darkness.

 

1) Baluza Post  – 14 (002)

 

In Europe, Christmas is being ushered by terrorist attacks (and if last year is any indication, women beware during New Year).  There are entire areas under Sharia Law with no access to Christians, and there are countries where the name “Christ” is no longer allowed.

 

Europeans are dying, and their birthrate is approaching negative territory, whereas the immigrant Muslim population is exploding.  Europe is being replaced by Eurabia.

 

In Israel, the birthplace of Christianity, any connection between the Temple Mount and the Holy Temple with Judaism and Christianity has been conveniently erased by a UN body:  UNESCO declared the place to be a Muslim heritage site.  It may seem inconsequential, but it is not.  The poison is percolating the global mindset.  Another victory has been achieved.

 

The process of erosion has accelerated:  First, physical evidence has been destroyed when hundreds of truckloads of “dirt” from Solomon Stables on Temple Mount were removed by the Muslim Wakf that manages the place and dumped like trash to a ravine.  Then, the spiritual connection is being destroyed, thus leaving humanity with a mere memory of what once were Judaism and Christianity.

 

Nine centuries before the appearance of Muhammad, Jews in Judea and Samaria fought the Greeks and prevailed.  Today we are told these areas of Zion Jerusalem are “occupied” by “settlements,” and the UN is planning to send observers and to segregate any product from there by special markings.  (Some eighty years ago, the Nazis used a Yellow Star to identify Jews.  Today, the UN is marking Israel, in preparation to what may come next.)

 

We already hear the voices that call the Jews to pack their belongings and return to the places from where they came.  Stripped of any connection to the land, Jews may once again become unwanted guests in lands-not-theirs.  The craving of two millennia “for next year in Jerusalem,” the promise “If I forget you, Oh, Jerusalem,” praying toward Jerusalem and the fact that wherever Jews are buried, they always face Jerusalem, are all ignored, as is the Bible, archeology and any historical records.

 

Once before, the Nazis tried to do something similar.  First they started burning books, then they burned the Jews, apparently refusing to acknowledge history:  Empires rose and fell, and the Jewish people are still here.  The Jews are not vermin or cockroaches; the Jews are a Light Unto the Nations.

 

The two centuries leading to the Common Era saw the rule of the Greeks.  From 175 to 164 b.c., Antiochus IV (also known in Judaism as “Antiochus the Evil”) was in charge, and the Jews of Israel were being Hellenized.  The Greeks did not want to eradicate the Jews or erase them off the map.  Quite on the contrary, they had a great respect to the Jews.  But they expected the Jews to become one of them, in behavior and thought.

 

God had to cease, so no circumcision, no Shabbat observance and no other acts unique to Judaism.  The men were to join gymnasiums and dress like the Greeks, and God was to become one of many, reduced to non-being.  Many Jews in Israel followed suit, fully assimilating, but a small group stood firm.

 

A Jewish high priest from Modi-im rebelled.  Matityahu and his five sons, also known as the Hashmonaim or Maccabim prevailed and ruled until 32 b.c. (the Maccabiah Games are derived from the same word, that abbreviates four words from Moses Song, Exodus 15:11: “Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the might?”).

 

It was that rebellion that is considered a miracle.  A few against many led by Judea the Maccabi.  Two millennia later, a handful rose again, in the Warsaw Ghetto, and for almost an entire month stood their ground against the Nazi war machine.

 

The miracle of God’s greatness – of a few against the many – is thus remembered and celebrated to this very day.

 

Another miracle is highlighted.  When the Hashmonaim cleared the Temple (the one that is now controlled by the Muslim Wakf and has apparently no connection to Judaism), the olive oil there used to light the Menorah was not sanctified, and it would have taken time to prepare new olive oil suitable for worship.

 

Only a tiny tin was found with olive oil that could be used, enough to last for one day.  Another miracle happened, and the olive oil lasted for eight full days (until new olive oil was available to continue the work of the Cohanim – priests – at the Temple).

 

Thus, to this very day, we light candles for eight days, starting with one on the first night and adding an additional one each night.  These candles are to be watched and enjoyed but not used, so we are not allowed to use them to light one another.  A separate candle is used, “The Server,” or Shamash.

 

Candelabra

 

Eight indicates transcendence from the orderly world (the seven days of creation) to the spiritual.  (Circumcision, for example, takes place on the eight day.)

 

Thus came about Chanukah, the holiday of miracles.  It is also known as the Festival of Lights, or Festival of Inauguration (re-dedication of the Temple).  We are told (Maccabim Book II) that it was really the Festival of Tabernacles postponed (as it could not be celebrated before the rebellion).  For eight days, we eat potato pancakes (“levivot”) and doughnuts (“sufganiot”), all reminding us the miracle of the oil.

 

Latkes for Chanukah – Potato Pancakes

 

Chanukah is not included in the Jewish Bible, but it is mentioned in the New Testament (John 10:22):  It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. (New Living Translation)

 

Chanukah is celebrated starting the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev for eight days:  25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31st, 1st.  While the Hebrew calendar is a lunar one, the fact that Christmas later evolved to be on the 25th of December, “in the middle of winter,” just eight days before New Year, is not a coincidence.

 

Nor is it a coincidence that this year, when the two calendars (Jewish and Gregorian) identically overlap, we celebrate Christmas Eve and the eve of the first night of Chanukah at the same time.

 

It is a signal to all of us – Jews and Christians alike – that we are one; we must stand together lest “a house divided falls.”  Our roots are one and the same, making us inseparable.  Also, our enemies do not differentiate between us – to them, we are all one enemy, the army of non-believers, composed of “pigs and apes,” the Saturday and the Sunday people.

 

So let us celebrate Christmas; let us celebrate the eight days of Chanukah, for miracles happened at that time so long ago and in these very days.  Let us celebrate the Glory and Might of God, Lord of Hosts, for He is our Salvation, our past, our future and our present.

 

Here is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Christmas greetings (2016):

 

To all of our Christian friends around the world, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

I send you these greetings from Jerusalem. I’m standing in the courtyard of this magnificent International Christian Embassy. I’m so proud of our relations with our Christian brothers and sisters. I wonder for many of you if you remember the experience you had when you first visited Israel, when you saw the Church of the Holy Sepulcher or the Via Dolorosa or the Sea of Galilee or Nazareth. I’m sure it moved you deeply.

 

And it moves us deeply to have this bond with you because we all know that this land of Israel is the land of our common heritage. It changed the story of humanity, it changed civilization. What a magnificent heritage it is. Yet, we also know that it is under attack these days, that the forces of intolerance, of barbarism that attack all religions attack Christians with particular vehemence. We stand with you and I’m proud of the fact that in Israel, this is the one place in the Middle East that the Christian community not only survives but thrives and it’s no accident. It’s because of our commitment to religious freedom; it’s because of our embrace of our heritage; it’s because of our embrace of our common future.  

 

So please come to Israel. Come and visit me, I’m waiting for you. It will be a great experience for you. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.

 

_____________________

This is the latest in the series “Postcards from America – Postcards from Israel,” a collaboration between Zager and Bussel, a foreign correspondent reporting from Israel.

 

Ari Bussel and Norma Zager collaborate both in writing and on the air in a point-counter-point discussion of all things Israel related.  Together, they have dedicated the past decade to promoting Israel.

© Israel Monitor, December, 2016

 

First Published December 23, 2016

Contact:  bussel@me.com

Chanukah’s Chanukiah (candelabrum)

Merry Christmas from Jerusalem!


Nothing is impossible with God through His Son Jesus Christ – Savior and Healer.

 

JRH 12/25/16

Please Support NCCR

****************

Vimeo VIDEO: Merry Christmas from Jerusalem!


 

From ICEJ

Posted December 19, 2016

 

Dr. Juergen Buehler, President of ICEJ wishes you a Merry Christmas from the ICEJ headquarters in Jerusalem, Israel.

 

2017 Prophecy: The Lord Is Releasing the Angels of Abundant Harvest


jesus-born-lived-died-for-you

A couple of things to reflect on with this cross post.

 

1) Christmas is not about receiving presents, drunken office parties, sparkling glitz and retail sales. Not that any of that is bad because really, it is not. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Savior of mankind come to earth as equally God and equally man as the perfect sacrifice to redeem an unworthy humanity from the curse Adam and Eve brought upon their descendants.

2) Reflect on our decisions – the good ones and the bad ones. It is time to do something about the bad decisions that has sown corrupt patterns in your spirit and the decisions morally hurtful to Christians first and to the non-Christians that received the wrong witness of Christ in you the hope of glory.

 

Think on these things and ever strive to be a better person in Christ Jesus, the Son of God and the Lamb of God – the Great Redeemer of those who BELIEVE.

 

JRH 12/9/16

Please Support NCCR

***************

2017 Prophecy: The Lord Is Releasing the Angels of Abundant Harvest

 

By JENNIFER LECLAIRE

10:00AM EST 12/6/2016

Charisma Magazine

 

field-ripe-for-harvest

“This is one of the most profound prophetic words I have ever received.” (Flick)

 

This is one of the most profound prophetic words I have ever received, second only to what the Lord told me in 2007 about a Great Awakening coming to this nation. In September, the Lord spoke these words to me:

 

An abundant harvest is at hand. I am releasing angels of abundant harvest into the nation. You will reap what you have sown. This is a double-edged sword.

 

Where the enemy has resisted your harvest in years past, you will see a multiplication effect of blessing in your life. Doors will open unto you that no man can open. Opportunities will come your way that you never dreamed, imagined or even thought to ask for. Provision will enter your life from unexpected places.

 

If you have sown to the Spirit, you will reap from the Spirit. If you have sown into My kingdom business, you will see a return on the investment of your time, your finances and your relationships. Reinforcement will come to support the work of your hand. You will find that lack is no longer in your language. You will see blessings chase you down and overtake you. You will find that I am leading you and guiding you with greater precision. You will hear My voice and dream My dreams and see My visions. You will rest in Me and have confidence and faith in me that defies the enemy’s plans for your life. This is a year of abundant harvest.

 

Be warned, though and be ready because the other side of this double-edged sword is a harvest of the enemy’s agenda for those who have refused My mercy and have not heeded My voice. I am calling you to repent now before that day of reckoning comes. I will not be mocked. Whatever a man sows he will reap. There are laws of the harvest and they are in effect.

 

If you have been holding back what belongs to Me, release it. If you have been muzzling the ox, loose him. If you have been sowing seeds of discord among My children, go to them in humility and make it right. If you have been defying My will, get in alignment with me now. Right now.

 

If you have been sowing to the flesh, you will reap from the flesh if you do not repent quickly. You will begin to see a trickle of the rotten harvest spring forth in your life if you do not choose My ways. My ways are higher than your ways. But there is still time to repent. There is still time to choose mercy over judgment. There is still time to push back the enemy’s work. Yes, there are consequences for your choices, but you can start planting new seeds now to reverse the curse of sin.

 

I am releasing the angels of abundant harvest. They will minister blessings to the heirs of salvation. They will bring provision and protection from the enemy’s sword. I am releasing the angels of abundant harvest. Make your choice. Choose this day whom you will serve with your whole heart. I am a God of justice. I am also a God of mercy.

 

You have put Me to the test in the last season, and a season of abundant harvest is coming into your life. Prepare your hearts now to receive what is in store for you and repent for the poisonous seeds you’ve sown so you can escape the snare of the fowler. I am Your God, and I love you with an everlasting love. I am releasing angels of abundant harvest.

 

Charisma House has raced to publish a teaching book based on this prophetic word so that you can apply biblical principles in cooperation with the angels of abundant harvest. Visit angelsprophecy.com to learn more and read what James Goll and others have to say about this teaching.

_________________

© Copyright 2016 Charisma Media, All Rights Reserved.

 

About Charisma Magazine

 

Empowering believers for life in the Spirit

 

To passionate, Spirit-filled Christians, Charisma is the leading charismatic media source that inspires them to radically change their world. Since 1975, Charismamagazine has been a trusted source of news, teaching and inspiration to help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

As the voice of the charismatic movement, Charisma has steadily combined award-winning news coverage of what the Holy Spirit is doing around the world with relevant, timely messages from leaders in the Spirit-empowered community. Yet even from its earliest days, Charisma has always been about more than what’s on the pages of a monthly magazine.

 

 In the 1990s and 2000s, Charisma led the way for Christian news outlets through such vehicles as a news wire service, television news specials and a robust website. At the same time, the magazine’s  READ THE REST

 

About Charisma Media

 

Charisma Media is a leading creator of diversified Christian resources that empowers believers for God’s purpose. Our vision is to inspire people to radically change their world.

 

We are a Christian multimedia company known for the last 30-plus years as Strang Communications. The name change was a part of a company-wide rebranding that went into effect Feb. 1, 2011.

 

This shift correlated with a series of recent corporate shifts, including relaunching the company’s flagship magazine and renaming its book division. Founder and CEO Steve Strang says the moves not only positioned Charisma Media for growth in the digital age, but also undergirded the organization’s purpose and vision.

 

Charisma Media is best known for its magazines such as Charisma, Ministry Today and Christian Retailing. But its book group, now called Charisma House, has grown rapidly in recent years with multiple New York Times best-sellers and has become the largest part of the company. The Spanish group, called READ THE REST

 

 

SPLC out to “completely destroy” us


splc-sinister-people-lying-center

Okay, this cross post is a Liberty Counsel fundraiser. NEVERTHELESS, using the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Leftist hate-group’s anti-Christian agenda in stripping Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice (Roy Moore) of his judicial prerogatives is an excellent focal point. Support the Liberty Counsel or not, these kinds of choices are yours. Regardless, get on board to denounce the SPLC and protect the Christian faith from Left Wing groups such as the SPLC.

splc_anti-christian

JRH 11/17/16

Please Support NCCR

*******************

SPLC out to “completely destroy” us

 

Sent by Mat Staver

Sent November 17, 2017 9:05 AM

From Liberty Counsel

 

For over 6 years, Liberty Counsel has been in the crosshairs of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as they leveled unjust accusations and animosity toward us and other Christian-based organizations.

 

The organization currently lists 892 “hate groups” operating in the United States. Listed among them is Liberty Counsel, for our opposition to the LGBT agenda and defense of natural marriage. Liberty Counsel and other widely-respected Christian groups are mixed in with a motley assortment of KKK, neo-Nazi, skinhead, black separatist, and other fringe racist entities.

 

While the SPLC proclaims its dedication to “fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society,” their true agenda appears far more disturbing. Mark Potock, editor-in-chief of the SPLC’s quarterly journal, the Intelligence Report, defined the SPLC’s real goal this way, “I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups, to completely destroy them.”

+ + The SPLC is out to “completely destroy” Christian organizations like Liberty Counsel and Christians in positions of authority like Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore – all who stand for biblical values.

The SPLC filed the original complaints against Chief Justice Moore with the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC). Then, in a brazen move, the JIC hired John Carroll, a former Legal Director of the SPLC to prosecute its politically motivated charges against Chief Justice Moore. Utterly outrageous! Carroll has been very vocal in his critique of Justice Moore and the Alabama Supreme Court.

 

Liberty Counsel’s legal team is doing everything in our power to see that Chief Justice Moore is restored to his rightful elected position.

 

+ + The Southern Poverty Law Center has been completely exposed for profiting by advancing radical propaganda!
Liberty Counsel researchers have exposed the radical agenda of the Southern Poverty Law Center in a new resource exclusively for our team members.

Every Christian should have the facts about the SPLC in this concise, eye-popping expose’. You’ll learn their history, beliefs, fundraising tactics, actions, and radical ideology.

splc-exposed-bk-jkClick here to make a special generous tax-deductible donation and receive a copy of our powerful expose’ on the Southern Poverty Law Center!

Please pray that the veil covering the SPLC’s hypocrisy and radical agenda will be lifted and the organization totally exposed for who they are.

May God bless you!

Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman
Liberty Counsel

P.S. The presumed goal of the SPLC is to take down groups that champion biblical values – enduring principles for social good, which the SPLC somehow transmutes into “hate.”

 

We cannot allow radical Leftist groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center to win the cultural war through manipulative and dangerous assertions.

Please get your booklet, The Southern Poverty Law Center Exposed, by clicking here and making your best gift possible, which will help Liberty Counsel in our defense of Chief Justice Moore and with the many other cases were are currently litigating.

_________________

Liberty Counsel, with offices in Florida, Virginia and Washington, D.C., is a nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and the family.  Liberty Counsel . PO Box 540774 . Orlando, FL 32854. 407-875-1776

 

Liberty Counsel
PO 277
Maxwell, IA 50161

 

About Liberty Counsel

 

ADVANCING THE MISSION THROUGH THREE PILLARS OF MINISTRY

 

Liberty Counsel® is an international nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics. With offices in Florida, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and an outreach in Israel, Liberty Counsel has hundreds of advocates around the world.

 

Recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization, this Christian ministry is funded by tax-deductible donations from concerned individuals, churches, businesses, foundations and other organizations.

 

The purpose of this ministry is to preserve religious liberty and help create and maintain a society in which everyone will have the opportunity to discover the truth that will give true freedom.

 

Liberty Counsel sends a Liberty Alert® email to inform subscribers about breaking news, and publishes The Liberator® newsletter to overview current issues and legal cases.

 

Liberty Counsel produces several multimedia programs dealing with various legal, religious and policy issues, and is active in social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

 

Read more about Liberty Counsel® (sometimes referred to as Liberty Council®) in our Annual Report.

 

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

 

Natural laws are laws that transcend time, cultures and political institutions. The Declaration of Independence recognizes those  READ THE REST