Did You Know?

Three men and zero women have been

executed in the United States in 2019.

134 Killed Mali
At least 134 individuals have been killed, and 55 others injured, in an ethnic Peuhl village in Ogossogou, Mali. Among those killed were small children, pregnant women, and the elderly. An ethnic Dogon militia, who are Islamic extremists, is believed to be responsible for the attack. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Pleas pray for healing for the injured. Please pray for peace.
417 Killed in Mozambique
At least 417 individuals have been killed in Mozambique as a result of Cyclone Idai. Approximately 300 others have been killed in Zimbabwe and Malawi as a result of the cyclone. There is also severe flooding, which has contributed to the many deaths, and risk of further flooding. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for the safety of all in the regions. Please pray for all affected.
Flooding in Australia
Northern Australia has been struck by Cyclone Trevor, with another storm, Cyclone Veronica on its way. Cyclone Trevor has already caused significant damage with strong winds and rains. There have been nor reports of injuries or deaths. While Cyclone Veronica is not expected to make landfall, flooding is still a major concern. Please pray for all who have been, and could be, affected. Please pray for safety.
1 Injured in Nice, France
At least one elderly woman has been injured during a banned “Yellow Vest” protest in Nice, France. The 73-year-old woman was struck over the head with a metal post in an incident captured on video. She sustained a skull fracture and bleeding next to the brain. She is currently in the intensive care unit. During the protest, soldiers were deployed to help police maintain security. Please pray for healing. Please pray for any others that may have been affected. Please pray for peace.
Last Islamic State Stronghold Falls
The terrorist group known as the Islamic State no longer holds any territory, and thousands of its fighters have been captured in recent months. However, many fighters continue to carry out operations in secret. Please pray for peace. Please pray for all that have been affected since the Islamic State came to power.
3 Killed in Nebraska
At least three individuals have been killed as a result of severe flooding in Nebraska. Thousands have been forced from their homes in Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri due to flooding. Further flooding is feared as temperatures increase and snow begins to melt. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for all those affected.
Protests in Morocco
Thousands of teachers are protesting in Morocco over working conditions. Among their demands are permanent contracts, better working conditions, and the rising cost of living. An overnight sit-in was broken up by police in riot gear with water cannons. Please pray for peace.
Protests in Algeria
Protests have been ongoing against current President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. President Bouteflika was planning on running for a 5th term in office, despite his declining health, however, he has announced that he will not seek another term. He has been in office since 1999. Protests initially began against his seeking a 5th term, but now protesters are demanding that he step down immediately, arguing that his health is allowing others to rule through him. Please pray for a peaceful resolution.
49 Killed in Mosque Shootings
At least 49 individuals have been killed, and 20 others injured, in two shootings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Four suspects have been arrested in connection with the shootings. Police also discovered explosive devices nearby. Officials has designated this incident as a terrorist attack. Please pray for the families of the deceased. Please pray for healing for the injured. Please pray for peace.

It was no light matter, what those 56 men did.  They risked death, for indeed they had just signed their own death warrants.  And when we remember them on this 4th of July, we remember what they did for this country, and why they did it.  We remember the freedom they fought for by signing the Declaration of Independence, the freedoms we still have and fight for today.

 

Many of those freedoms are highlighted in the Bill of Rights; the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution, which governs this nation.  These amendments are often mentioned as what sets America apart and makes her governing different from other nations in the world.  These freedoms are guaranteed and cannot be taken away by the government.  They were important, because they were what the founders felt was lacking from the British rule they were under.  

 

The First Amendment guarantees that, “Congress shall make no low respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”  How fortunate we are to live in a nation where we may freely practice whatever religion we desire!  In whatever manner we choose!

 

This was not always the case and, in some countries, certain religions are still forbidden today.  Sometimes even worshipping the wrong form of the religion can lead to your death!  The Founding Fathers knew this, for many in the New World had left England due to religious persecution for refusing to worship as the State demanded.

 

Then these high officials and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.”Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.  When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” Then they answered and said before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”  Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him. Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”  Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” (Daniel 6:6-16, ESV)

 

We are extremely fortunate in America that we have our religious freedom, for throughout history, religious freedom has been a rarity.  Daniel - and the other Israelites - did not always have it.  Jesus and His disciples were persecuted for their beliefs.  Early Christians were not welcomed in the Roman world.  Even today, there are many parts of the world where Christians must hide their faith and their worship - and face death if they are caught.

 

We can go to church every Sunday without fear.  We can go to church everyday without fear!  Yes, things have changed in the past years - we are no longer allowed
to publicly pray in school or have prayer before major sporting events - but we are still allowed to offer up our personal prayer.

 

This 4th of July, enjoy the fireworks and BBQ!  Enjoy lounging by the pool, cold drink in your hand!  Enjoy the day off from work and time with friends and family!  But take a moment to remember and celebrate the freedoms of this nation.  The freedom to worship!  And pray for those who are not free.  “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!”

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Only through a relationship with Jesus Christ can anyone hope to separate themselves from the power of sin in this world. Through Him, all things are made new. For a complete listing of readings, please download our Bible Study.

 

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