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Cultural Commentary

Countering Satan's strategy for Muslims

A child walks near members of the Muslim community attending midday prayers at Strasbourg Grand Mosque in Strasbourg on the first day of Ramadan July 9, 2013 (Credit: Reuters/Vincent Kessler) When you think of Muslims, what images come to mind?  9/11Fighting in Iraq?  Terrorism alerts?  Long security lines at the airport?  This is precisely the way Satan wants us to think about Islam.

My dear friend Tom Doyle is longtime missionary to the Middle East with e3 Partners.  When he and I were presenters at a recent radical Islam summit, he shared an observation I've not forgotten.  Tom noted that more Muslims have come to Christ in the last 15 years than in the previous 15 centuries, many after seeing visions and dreams of Jesus.  At the same time this spiritual awakening began, radical Islam became a daily headline in the West.  According to Tom, this is Satan's counter-strategy to the Spirit's evangelistic work.  Our enemy wants us to fear and even to hate Muslims at the very time our Lord wants us to love them and pray for them.

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An urgent call to prayer from Anne Graham Lotz

Anne Graham Lotz on stage teaching at a Just Give Me Jesus Conference (Credit: AnGeL Ministries) As a child, I pictured God as a kind grandfather in heaven, complete with flowing robe and long beard.  I imagined him looking over the banisters of paradise watching his children play.  In junior high I began reading Greek mythology and changed my image to an angry Zeus throwing lightning bolts at anyone who displeased him, a divine judge who looks for reasons to punish us.

When I became a Christian at the age of 15, my image changed to a Father of grace and mercy.  He forgave all my sins and accepted me as his child.  From then to today, I have been grateful every day for his compassion and favor.

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Christian convert running for his life in Afghanistan

A former Muslim prayed somewhere near Kabul, Afghanistan, in hiding from relatives who want to kill him for forsaking Islam and converting to Christianity. (Credit: The New York Times/Diego Ibarra Sanchez) Josef is one of a small number of Afghan Christians.  He witnessed so much violence in the name of his native Islam that he renounced the religion and began a spiritual quest.  He studied Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity.  "I think I was impressed by the personality of Jesus himself," he says.  "The fact that he came here to take all our sins, that moved me.  I admired his character and personality long before I was baptized."

Seeking asylum in Germany, he was held in a refugee camp where he was visited by missionaries.  Under their influence, he made Christ his Lord.  He traveled to Pakistan to be with his wife. When his family learned of his new faith, his in-laws beat him and locked him in a room.  He escaped, eventually returned to Afghanistan, and has been on the run ever since.  Now his brother-in-law Ibrahim is hunting him to kill him.  He recently offered a reporter $20,000 to tell him where Josef was hiding.

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Is the same-sex marriage battle lost?

A same-sex wedding cake topper is seen outside the East Los Angeles County Recorder's Office on Valentine's Day during a news event for National Freedom to Marry Week in Los Angeles, February 14, 2012 (Credit: Reuters/David McNew) "Is gay marriage a reality?  Has the train left the station?"  That's the question I'm being asked more and more as every day seems to bring news of another victory for same-sex marriage supporters.

Last week, leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted during their General Assembly to change their Book of Order to describe marriage as being between "two people."  Their decision opens a path for same-sex marriage in the denomination's 10,000 churches.  Now a majority of the church's 172 regional bodies must approve the decision before it becomes final, a process that may take up to a year.  The body also approved a measure to allow pastors in states where same-sex marriage is legal to officiate such weddings.

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Sitting causes cancer

A man sitting on his couch in his underwear eating a bowl of cereal (Credit: Lisa F Young via Fotolia)You may want to stand up to read this Cultural Commentary.  It turns out people who spend most of their day sitting have an increased risk for certain kinds of malignancies, particularly colon and endometrial cancers.  In fact, those who spend the most hours watching TV have a 54 percent increased risk of colon cancer.  Regular exercise apparently does not offset the risks of too much sitting.

Tony Gwynn was anything but sedentary.  This Hall of Fame baseball player was one of the best hitters and most gracious athletes of his generation.  He died last week at the age of 54, a victim of oral cancer.  More than 40,000 people are diagnosed with this disease each year; only a little more than half will be alive in five years.  Gwynn blamed chewing tobacco for his disease.  After his untimely death, many are calling for a complete ban of tobacco in baseball.

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