Thursday, December 29, 2011

Arabs are rising up

11/11/11 : Tens of Thousands of Christians
gathered to fast and pray for a revival in Egypt.
Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and other countries have all experienced unprecedented revolutions that shook the entire Arab world. One dictator after another has been removed.

Arabs are finally smelling freedom after decades of oppression by ruthless dictators. They are are crying out, "Freedom or death."

Once people taste freedom, they are not able to return to slavery. Will the Muslim Brotherhood take over? Will democracy work?

I don't know. But I know one thing for sure: We now have opportunities for the gospel that we have not had for decades.

(from Horizons International prayer letter, November 2011)

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Boy who cried "I found the Missing Link"

Widespread news reports recently proclaimed that a collection of primate fossils discovered in a collapsed cave in South Africa just might be an evolutionary “game changer.” ABC News reported that this creature, called Australopithecus sediba, “could be a key link in the process of evolution that led to modern human beings.”1 One headline read, “Rethinking Human Origins: Fossils Reveal a New Ancestor on the Family Tree.”2

If this fossil is a real “game changer,” then at least two things are expected.

1) It should also be found in earth layers that are significantly below, and that therefore pre-date, evidence of humans.

2) It should clearly demonstrate human evolution. Otherwise, it’s just an extinct kind of ape. It should show transitional features, such as bones and body proportions that are on their way to becoming shaped like a human’s.

Does this new fossil meet either expectation?

No - Sediba is not earlier than humans

The Sediba fossil is 1.977 million "evolutionary" years old. That's what the study authors argued.3 They then asserted that no Homo—the scientific name for human—fossil remains are any older than 1.9 million years, so that Sediba supposedly existed 77,000 years before humans. They reasoned that man therefore could have evolved from Sediba or a Sediba-like creature.

BUT what about these older dates for humans on the "evolutionary" time scale...

2 million years? Three fossils from Kenya and Tanzania dated by evolutionists at older than 2 million years that, morphologically [based on shape], are indistinguishable from modern humans.4

2.3 million years? More recent Homo discoveries include an upper jaw (maxilla) from Ethiopia and a lower jaw (mandible) from Malawi, both dated at 2.3 million years.4

2.6 million years? What about the evolutionary dating of “the first appearance of stone tools at 2.6 million years ago” that the Sediba authors acknowledged?5

3 million years? A human foot bone fossil—the fourth metatarsal—was recently found in Ethiopia , and assigned an age of three million years.

3.7 million years? Two recent analyses concluded that the famous Laetoli footprints in Tanzanian volcanic mud were made by feet that were essentially identical to those of humans.6,7 The tracks were tacked onto the evolutionary timeline at 3.7 million years ago.

How did the authors promoting Sediba as a “game changer” deal with these human bones, human foot tracks, and human tools, all deposited before Sediba? They simply dismissed them by saying “their age is uncertain.”3

No - Sediba's hand isn't on the way to being human

Did Sediba at least have transitional features, such as a part-ape, part-human hand?

The unique hand doesn’t look like a modern ape’s, a modern human’s, or any kind of gradual transition between the two. Its finger bones were long, curved, and demonstrate that this small primate was fitted for swinging through trees.5 (Human finger bones are straight.)

Also, Sediba’s thumb was long and skinny. A human thumb is proportioned to bear “large loads during stone tool production.” Thus, it could swing from tree branches and probably could not make tools out of hard stone.

"Game Changer"? More like another boy who cried "I found the Missing Link"!

When it comes to human evolution, headlines don’t match reality. For example, the fossil nicknamed “Ida” was promoted as the “missing link” in 2009, but almost immediately was debunked as an extinct variety of lemur with no evolutionary significance whatsoever.8

Australopithecus sediba was not a transition toward man, but an extinct ape kind. It is not an evolutionary game changer, but the hype surrounding it shows that the game of promoting human evolution with premature and misleading headlines has not changed at all.

Marko comments: Many scientists and their promoters in media continue to play the Missing Link game. Year after year, decade after decade, they bring forward new candidates as the ancestor of Man. Many of them are outright frauds. They do not what to face the fact that the real link that is missing is our link to God. Without understanding that we have a Creator, there is no scientific explanation for our origins that stands the light of truth!

(based on Brian Thomas, Evolutionary "Game Changer" Doesn't Change Anything, Acts & Facts, December 2011, Institute for Creation Research)

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References (selected)

1.Potter, N. Evolutionary ‘Game Changer’: Fossil May Be Human Ancestor. ABC News. Posted on September 8, 2011.

2.Kluger, J. Rethinking Human Origins: Fossils Reveal a New Ancestor on the Family Tree. Time Science. Posted on September 8, 2011.

3.Pickering, R. et al. 2011. Australopithecus sediba at 1.977 Ma and Implications for the Origins of the Genus Homo. Science. 333 (6048): 1421-1423.

4. Lubenow, M. The Problem with Australopithecus sediba. Answers in Genesis. Posted on August 11, 2010

5. Kivell, T. L. et al. 2011. Australopethecus sediba Hand Demonstrates Mosaic Evolution of Locomoter and Manipulative Abilities. Science. 333 (6048): 1411-1417.

6. Raichlen, D. A. et al. 2010. Laetoli Footprints Preserve Earliest Direct Evidence of Human-Like Bipedal Biomechanics. PLoS One. 5 (3): e9769.

7. Crompton, R. H. Human-like external function of the foot, and fully upright gait, confirmed in the 3.66 million year old Laetoli hominin footprints by topographic statistics, experimental footprint-formation and computer simulation. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Published online before print July 20, 2011.

8. Thomas, B. 2009. The Ida Fossil: A Clever Campaign for a Lackluster “Link.” Acts & Facts. 38 (7): 17.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Bible prophecies fulfilled by Jesus' birth

Isaiah foreshadowed the virgin birth of Jesus
Prophecy written: Between 701-681 BC

Isaiah 7:14: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem
Prophecy written: Sometime between 750-686 BC

Micah 5:1-2: Marshal your troops, O city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel's ruler on the cheek with a rod. "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."

The Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah
Prophecy written: As early as 1400 BC

Genesis 49:10: The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.

The Messiah would be a descendant of King David
Prophecy written: Sometime between 626-586 BC

Jeremiah 23:5: "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.

Kings will present gifts
Prophecy written: 1000-970 BC

Psalm 72:10: The kings of Tarshish and of the isles will bring presents; The kings of Sheba and Seba will offer gifts.

Children will be killed
Prophecy written: about 600 BC

Jeremiah 31:15: Thus says the LORD: "A voice was heard in Ramah,lamentation and bitter weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.

(for more, see Bible prophecies fulfilled by Jesus' birth, Prophecies & Fulfillments Concerning His Birth)

Friday, December 23, 2011

An Orphan's Difficult Journey

Martin grew up in a dreary Slovakian orphanage, but when he turned 18 he "aged out" of the orphanage and was forced to leave. Without money or any idea how to earn any, he decided to try stealing from local shops in hopes of getting arrested. At least in jail he would have a warm place to sleep and regular food. His plan worked and he spent most of the winter in prison. Aimless when he was released, Martin turned to alcohol to dull the pain. His bed was a park bench.

Lukas, a youth worker trained by New Hope Slovakia, spotted Martin sleeping in the park one afternoon. After waking him up and giving him some food, Lukas struck up a friendship with Martin and ended up spending time with him every day. Martin enjoyed his company - and the food Lukas brought him. And each day Lukas told Martin about Jesus.

It took several months, but Lukas had the joy of introducing Martin to Christ recently. Today Martin is super-charged about his faith and he's enthusiastic about telling others what God has done for him. Just last month, Martin began training other Slovakian believers for a special outreach inside a local orphanage.

Priase God for his work to bring orphans to Himself!

(from New Hope International prayer letter, December 2011)

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Prep for Facebook's Timeline Layout: 6 Must-Do Privacy Tweaks

Get ready for your Facebook past to come back with a vengeance; the social network is now rolling out its new profile layout, Timeline, to all users worldwide. Timeline is basically an online scrapbook that displays your Facebook activity in reverse chronological order going back to when you first joined the social network.

You can hide the embarrassing bits of your Facebook life before your new profile goes live, the good news is you can! Here are 6 steps to follow to safeguard yourself:

Get Timeline. There are three ways Timeline could arrive on your profile....

Hide Old Posts. If you want to get rid of an old status update, photo, article link or like, go to the post on Timeline and hover over its top right corner. Click the pencil icon and select "Hide from Timeline...."

Check the Log. If you want to keep a post on your Timeline, but don't want specific people to see it you can change an individual post's settings using your Activity Log....

Feature Old Posts. If you have a post you'd like to feature, such as a photo of a wedding or graduation, hover over the top right corner of the post again....

Set your cover photo. The top of your profile will now include a large photo called the cover photo that will be one of the first things people landing on your profile will see....

View as Public. After you've edited your Timeline, you may want to check what others will be able to see on your revamped profile....

Marko comments: Timeline will be mandatory for all Facebook users, that's what they're giving us!

(for the complete post see Ian Paul, Prep for Facebook's Timeline Layout: 6 Must-Do Privacy Tweaks, PCWorld, December 16, 2011)

Monday, December 19, 2011

I’m proud that my father is passing this exam

Sasha was just 10 years old when authorities in Uzbekistan burst into her family’s home to arrest her father, Dmitry Shestakov, for preaching the gospel. Although Sasha was devastated by her father’s imprisonment, she was encouraged by his commitment to the church.

“I am proud of my father’s strength, that God gives him power,” she said. “I’m proud that my father is passing this exam. He is in prison because he is pastor of a church. I ask you to pray for him.”

Praise the Lord, Sasha’s prayers were answered this year when her father was released after serving four years in prison.

(excerpted from Voice of the Martyrs newsletter, December 2011)

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Explain this without God: Big tuna are warm-blooded!

Paul Greenburg, a secular journalist for the New York Times, ponders the inability of evolutionary thinking to account for the tuna’s brilliant body and behavior:
Even the most confirmed enemy of “intelligent design” theories can have a hard time imagining [much less providing forensic evidence for] the forebears of these great fish inching slowly down an epochs-long evolutionary course to become modern tuna. They seem like deus ex machina incarnate or, rather, machina ex deo—a machine from God. How else could a fish come into being with a weird slot, as hard and fixed as the landing-gear slot on an airplane, into which it retracts its dorsal fin to achieve faster speeds? How else could a fish develop a whole new way of swimming where a slim crescent of a tail, insignificant in size compared to most fish tails, vibrates at astronomical speed while the rest of the body slips forward with barely any bend, pitch, or roll? And how else would a fish appear within a phylum of otherwise cold-blooded animals that can redirect the heat that its muscles throw off back into its very flesh and raise its body temperature by as much as twenty degrees above ambient conditions? Yes, the biggest tuna are warm-blooded.1
Tuna—what a magnificent (and nutritious) fish! The seaworthy body and behavior of every living tuna exhibit the design and manufacturing brilliance of He who commissioned “fishers of men.”

(excerpted from James J.S. Johnson, A Christmas Carol in Four-Part Harmony, Acts & Facts, December 2011, Institute for Creation Research)

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References (selected)

1. Greenberg, P. 2010. Four Fish, the Future of the Last Wild Food. New York: Penguin Books, 199-200.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why send out Bibles if they bring people danger?

"If you are caught with a Bible in Iran, you may be rejected by your family and locked in a prison. In Algeria, you might be beaten by police. In North Korea, where we drop gospel tracts from balloons (see photos below), you would be executed."

"Readers sometimes ask Voice of the Martyrs why we distribute Bibles if it brings such danger to the recipients. The answer is found in the Bible itself In John 15:20, Jesus says, "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you."

"Those who ask for Bibles know the risks better than we do. Some have never had a Bible and may never have read the verse above. But when they do read it, the words ring true. And then they ask for more Bibles."

(excerpted from Voice of the Martyrs newsletter, December 2011)

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Silly Road Signs

From bloggingthechurch: Have you ever noticed how silly some of the road signs are that we see on highways around the country?

For instance: FRESH OIL; LOOSE GRAVEL. The street or highway department sprays oil and tar on the road or shoulder, than they cover it with chat which sticks to the tar like flies on a no-pest strip. When this is done in town* (see explanation below), it seems everyone is upset and grumbles and gripes about it because it messes up our cars. On the highways in particular, in the right circumstances, it can be dangerous and wrecks can happen as cars slide around on the loose chat. The sign is warning us of a possible hazard ahead.

Or, DON’T DRIVE INTO SMOKE. January 1978 was my first experience on the Will Rogers Turnpike as I drove into Oklahoma. As I was heading toward Vinita, Oklahoma, I see these signs with a peculiar warning, “Don’t Drive Into Smoke.” I’m think, “What? What a stupid sign. This is a highway. Where would smoke be coming from on a highway?” My limited intelligence, experience, and imagination could not figure a good reason for the warning. When it was explained to me by an Okie, I finally understood. Sometimes, people burn off their fields near the highway and the highway department burns off the shoulders of the road and the smoke may roll onto the highway obscuring your vision. It could hide the danger of a slower or stopped truck or car. The sign is warning us of a possible hazard ahead.

Or my favorite, BRIDGE MAY ICE WHEN COLD. I’ve seen these signs mostly in Arkansas and Louisiana. The first time I saw one of these signs I began to imagine the bridge with a mind of its own and the highway department is warning drivers to beware. I could see someone driving across a bridge in the winter when the bridge decides to ice over and cars begin spinning.

In Louisiana, I saw a couple of bridges with the signs on the exit side of the bridge, as if some demented highway employee is playing a joke on drivers. The bridge ices and you start spinning. As you spin past the bridge and see the sign, you yell out, “O yeah. . .thanks. . .for the. . .warning!!!!!” But, ice on bridges when the road is clear is a very real danger. The sign is warning of a possible hazard ahead.

The Apostle Paul says, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes“ Ephesians 6:11. The devil is a liar and a deceiver. He plots and schemes ways in which to trap you in sin. The Bible warns us about the devil and his tricks. Beware, the devil has a trap ahead, around most every turn in life, just over the rise each day may be one of his tricks.

He may trip us up, and cause us to stumble: FRESH OIL; LOOSE GRAVEL.
He may hide behind a smoke screen of grumbling of some sort: DON’T DRIVE INTO SMOKE.
He may change the conditions quickly to cause you to slip up: BRIDGE MAY ICE WHEN COLD.

By knowing God’s word and way, we can, with the help of God’s own Spirit, see the road signs and dangers and YIELD AND STOP, keeping us out of danger. Beware, the devil is a roaring lion looking for whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). He may be around every corner trying to snatch you away from God.

* Many small towns such as in northern Missouri pave their roads (and on some two-lane highway shoulders), tar and oil is spayed on the road surface and chat spread to cover and adhere to the tar and oil and it makes a sort of pavement type surface and until it settles in, cures or whatever the correct term is, the dust and the tar mess up your car.

(reposted from BloggingtheChurch, October 19, 2011)

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Please sign the Call for Mercy petition for Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi, was arrest and imprisoned in June 2009 in Pakistan for her Christian witness. In, November 2010, Asia was convicted of committing blasphemy against the prophet Muhammad and sentenced to death. At press time, she was still locked in an eight-by-ten prison cell near Lahore, Pakistan, awaiting the results of her appeal.

Please sign the Call for Mercy petition on her behalf ( Thousands have already done so.

"Pray for us," her husband Ashiq asked. "Pray for Asia so she may soon come back home, and she can say thanks to the entire world when she comes home. Muslims say all she has to do is make a proclamation of Islam and she will be released, but she's faithful and she will never deny her faith."

(excerpted from Voice of the Martyrs newsletter, December 2011)

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Friday, December 09, 2011

So what! Since evolution is true, I know you are wrong...

Many people with the evolutionary mindset refuse to listen to any evidence presented against their position. Here are some basic truths that simply cannot be refuted, as given by Tim Stout in his pamphlet How Science Shows There MUST Be A Creator.

1. Biological chemicals fall apart much faster than they could ever spontaneously appear! This behavior is the outworking of the laws of chemical equilibrium. Therefore, for a person to believe in a natural origin of life, he needs to reject the laws of chemical equilibrium.

2. Consider the very common enzyme, succinate dehydrogenase, which is comprised of a string of over 1,100 amino acids. The probability of getting this particular amino acid sequence, by chance, are 1 in 101,100. (that's a 1 with 10 thousand zeros after it).  Natural selection would be useless in gradually bringing about its initial formation, because natural selection does not choose between the better of two failures. Therefore, to believe in a natural origin of life a person needs to ignore the laws of statistics.

3. A living cell is essentially an information-driven machine. must have all. All of the components of a cell must performing properly right from the very beginning, not gradually over time. Otherwise, it does not work, period, end of story. This is the exact opposite of a gradualistic evolutionary processes. Therefore, to believe in a natural origin of life, a person needs to reject basic principles of information-driven machines.

The evidence is so powerful that anyone can see it who is willing! We can present the evidence, but only God can make it take root and grow (1 Corinthians 3:7). Because of these truths, we need to be relying on God to work in the hearts of those to whom we speak, to make things clear, and not to rely on our own efforts.

(based on Timothy R. Stout, Responses to the Testimony, published in Creation Matters, a publication of Creation Research Society, Volume 16, Number 5, September/October 2011, to appear at

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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Bible Receptions into the Red Zone...of the Columbian civil war

Russell powers up his Cessna 170 and accelerates down the runway for takeoff. He distributes Christian literature and Bibles in Colombia's red zone by dropping them from his airplane in bags suspended beneath
small parachutes.

Russell also meets directly with FARC guerrilla leaders. Recently, his daughter Alethia traveled with him to a guerrilla camp, where she met about 10 female guerrillas. The women had become Christians through Russell's ministry, but they could not tell the other guerrillas and kept their Bibles carefully hidden.

"They love Christ and are members of a violent movement," Alethia says. "It is hard to reconcile. But they just don't know another way. If they leave the guerrillas, they will be killed. My father has taught me not to judge them, just to love them and be a witness and leave the rest up to the Holy Spirit."

(excerpted from Voice of the Martyrs newsletter, December 2011)

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Monday, December 05, 2011

Human Rights Lawyer jailed in Iran for defending Christian Pastor

Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, was sentenced to nine years in prison in July 2011 for "actions and propaganda against the Islamic regime." He is co-founder and spokesperson for the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), was sentenced by Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court on 3 July, to nine years in prison, a ten year ban from teaching in universities, a ten year ban from practicing as an attorney, $300 in fines, and five lashes. Dadkhah’s charges were, “cooperation in the soft overthrow of the regime,” “propaganda against the regime,” “interviews with some media outlets,” “distortion of members of the regime,” “dark portrayal of the state of cultural heritage,” and “compiling the book ‘Writing and Reporting’”, which was published by the DHRC. For more about this brave Iranian human rights lawyer see International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran's web page.

What finally drove the Iranian regime to punish a lawyer so severely? Dadkah had the audacity to defend Iranian house church Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. Nadarkhani, who has remained in prison since his arrest in October 2009, was convicted of apostasy for converting from Islam to Christianity and for encouraging other Muslims to convert to Christianity. Nadarkhani was sentenced to death by hanging in November 2010 afi:er a regional court in Rasht convicted him of apostasy.

Iran's Supreme Court reviewed the case on appeal in July 2011 and ordered the lower court to reinvestigate the apostasy charge. The lower court ruled that Nadarkhani was Muslim at birth and ordered him to "repent" of his Christian faith. The pastor replied, "Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?" The judges said, "To the religion of your ancestors, Islam." Pastor Nadarkhani then replied, "I can not." At press time, he remained in prison.

Iranian Christians say the government has targeted Pastor Nadarkhani because of the rapid growth of his house church, which now includes more than 400 believers. Pray for Pastor Nadarkhani as well as his wife, Fatemah, and their two sons. Pray that our Iranian family will be encouraged and emboldened by his witness. Pray that lawyer Dadkhah would be released, and that God would raise up other brave lawyers in Iran to defend the defenseless, followers of Jesus.

(excerpted from Voice of the Martyrs newsletter, December 2011)

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Saturday, December 03, 2011

Gurinder turns from drugs to Jesus

"Gurinder*, a Punjabi Sikh man who had moved from India to live in a Western country, was troubled by drug addictions for a number of years but he could have never been prepared for the stroke he was to experience in December 2010. He had heard me speak about Jesus on numerous occasions but was never receptive. The stroke kept him in the hospital for six months and then he was transferred to a rehabilitation centre. Gurinder's left side was totally paralyzed as his arm and leg would not move. I continued to visit him, share about Jesus and pray for him.

"About two months ago I went to see him and he had a smile on his face (I don't remember seeing this smile before!). Gurinder told me that he had prayed to receive Jesus and that he wanted to follow him. His left leg began to work again and I saw for the first time a happy man who was once weighed down in addiction.

"Gurinder's arm is still not working but he has found a spiritual healing.

"He went home about four weeks ago but now the family will not let me talk to him or see him. PRAY for an open door to visit Gurinder and for total healing."

(from a Christian newsletter, November 2011)

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Thursday, December 01, 2011

See, Here is Water

It can be difficult for those of us raised in an established church in the free world to imagine someone being baptized outside of a church building with no significant examination of faith beforehand.

In areas of severe persecution, some believers still have difficulty finding someone to baptize them. In Egypt and Malaysia, many mainstream church leaders are afraid to baptize a Muslim convert to Christ. They will only baptize those from a non-Muslim background. Likewise, in the four communist countries of Asia, more than 80 percent of baptisms are illegal because of government restrictions. Believers there have to function "outside the box:' so they are sometimes baptized in a barrel!

When Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch on the side of the road (Acts 8), the Lord had already prepared the Ethiopian's heart by leading him to read the prophecies about Jesus. Perhaps the man felt the urgency to be baptized because he didn't know if he would ever meet another Christian who could baptize him. Consequently, he exclaimed to Philip, "See, here is water." They stopped the chariot and he was baptized on the spot. The man would soon be returning to Ethiopia, where the apostle Matthew, according to Church history, was later nailed to the ground and beheaded under orders from King Hytacus.

This kind of situation led two zealous Muslim converts recently to ride their small motorcycles to the ocean and baptize themselves. They believed they needed to go under water three times, so they got a lot of saltwater in their mouth. But they rejoiced as they sought to be obedient to Christ's commandments.

I recently witnessed the baptisms of 20 Muslim converts to Christ in a Muslim nation. They had sewn their own baptismal robes. Their exuberance, delight and overflowing joy washed over me like the water pouring off of them. In their country, there is no church building where they could be safely baptized.

Making use of the primitive means available is not about being different; it's about finding a way to obey God.

(excerpted from Tom White Voice of the Martyrs newsletter, November 2011)

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