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Guest Writer Doulos International Empty Re: Guest Writer Doulos International

Post  Admin on Thu 30 Dec 2010, 3:55 pm

The following email contains three URL addresses for three articles
written by our Doulos Correspondant in Pakistan (Ashfaq) about things
affecting Christians in Pakistan. These events are important and I hope
you will take the time to read the stories.



In Christ, Robert Barkley, Doulos International
----------- --------- ----
Dear Brother Robert, I have written the following story for Assist News
Service USA. They have published my stories. Have a look on it.
Christmas Bazaars
http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2010/s10120145.htm
Sharing the Joys of Christmas with Prisioners
http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2010/s10120151.htm
Poor Christian Brick kiln workers unpaind on Christmas
http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2010/s10120156.htm
In peace,
Ashfaq Fateh Pakistan
The following URL was sent today from Pakistan--it opens a Picassa Album
of pictures showing the Christmas Bazaar that Ashfaq has written to us
about.
This Bazaar is very important for the Christians since it represents a
shift in the attitude of the government toward including Christians in
the subsidizing of holidays--which the Pakistani government has done for
years for the Moslem population but until last year did not include
Christians.
Ashfaq, who works with Doulos International has been successful in
encouraging the Pakistan authorities to treat Moslems and Christians
fairly and equally has been instrumental in bringing about this
betterment of treatment for the Christians. Take as look at the
pictures:
------------ --------- ------
Dear Brother Please click below the link to view the pictures of
Christmas Bazaars.
http://picasaweb.google.com/ashfaq.fateh/SubsdizedChristmasBazaars2010#
In peace, Ashfaq Fateh Pakistan
----------
Here are a few pictures Ashfaq sent of the Christmas party for disabled
children in Pakistan.
In Christ, Robert Barkley, Doulos International
http://picasaweb.google.com/ashfaq.fateh/SharingTheJoysOfChristmasWithDisabledChildren
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Post  Admin on Thu 02 Dec 2010, 9:40 am

Nothing New Under the Sun (2)

by T.M. Moore/Nov 30, 2010

I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is
vanity and striving after wind.
--Ecclesiastes 1:14

The starting and ending point of secular thinking is that there is no
God, no spiritual realm, nothing beyond what we can see, feel, hear,
taste, and touch. "The cosmos is all there is or was or ever will
be," as the late Carl Sagan expressed the secularist's basic
presupposition. But when you start with only yourself and the world, you
still have to address the basic questions of life: Who am I? Where did I
come from? What kind of being am I? Why am I here? And so forth.

Human beings live a perpetual quest to understand themselves and their
world and to make sense and meaning out of their experience. Secularism
may deny the Biblical teaching about the image of God in men, but it
cannot escape the reality of it or the quest for understanding that
basic reality engenders.

Solomon's decline into a form of secular thinking was a gradual
process, as, indeed, it was in the Western world. Having achieved the
pinnacle of wealth and success, he began to think too highly of himself
and his achievements (Eccl. 2:1-9), which led him to speculations about
the world and his place in it that rejected the revelation of God and
sought to rely on the strength of observation and reason alone. Nagging
questions drove him to examine the patterns of nature – rain, sun,
the winds, and the cycle of waters – and the lessons to be gained
from history (Eccl. 1:1-11).

But no solid meaning presented itself. He meditated on politics and the
ways of rulers and nations; explored the realm of madness and folly; and
milked his work and his relationships in a futile attempt to forge
meaning out of experience.

In the end, he could not; his contemplations and studies apart from God
led him to the conclusion that one cannot make sense of life without
submitting to God and His Law (Eccl. 12:13). In his quest for
understanding from an "under the sun" perspective, Solomon ended
up disappointed, disillusioned, and despairing – much the way our
secular generation has come up against the box canyon of its own
worldview.

The secularist trumpets with confidence his conclusion that life makes
no sense, has no purpose, and is devoid of absolute meaning or value,
but he says it with such conviction and passion that he seems almost to
be pleading with someone – anyone – to talk him out of his
absurdist views.
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Guest Writer Doulos International Empty Re: Guest Writer Doulos International

Post  Admin on Wed 01 Dec 2010, 1:49 pm

Doulos Meditation for November 30

Guest Author—Matt Anderson (Ministry Student at Abilene Christian
University).

Scripture: Matthew 13: 45-46 – "Again, the kingdom of heaven is
like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great
value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it."

Reflection: This parable is troubling on the surface for Christians who
question the materialism that is overtaking many parts of the world.
However, a second glance reveals something deeper, a profound claim
about the kingdom of heaven. For Jesus, the kingdom of heaven is both
here on earth and coming at the end of time. It is the realm of
God's dominion, both here and in eternity. This parable helps us
understand what happens when someone truly encounters heaven.

The merchant did not simply buy the pearl, but sold everything in order
to do so. This pearl is not just valuable, it was worth his life. If you
sold everything you had to buy a pearl, you would not be rich. For it is
not the worth of the pearl that captivates, but the beauty. It is not
the benefits that heaven offers that should compel us to pursue it, but
the beauty of a place where God is truly on His throne. The true value
we place on something is always shown by what we are willing to lose to
have it.

Prayer: Lord of heaven and earth, teach us what it means to seek your
kingdom. Help us to let go of the things we hold valuable that we might
embrace your work and your mission in this world. Let us be seekers and
builders of your heavenly kingdom. Amen.
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Post  Admin on Wed 27 Oct 2010, 9:36 am

Guest writer: Matt Anderson, ministry student at Abilene Christian
University
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 - There is nothing better for mortals
than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil. This also, I
saw, is from the hand of God; for apart from him who can eat or who can
have enjoyment?
Reflection: The writer of Ecclesiastes explores the chaotic nature of
life and the common fate of all mortals. In the midst of his reflections
on life he has two refrains. One is that all that man achieves is
meaningless in the face of death. The other is that, due to the first,
man should enjoy eating, drinking, and working.
This second idea is especially important for Christians today. The new
fact of Jesus' death and resurrection has largely removed the fear
of death from the religious realm. (That is not to say we no longer fear
it, we simply do not speak of fearing it in our churches. That is a
disparity to discuss another time.) We have the hope of a future
paradise, thus it is of no consequence that our achievements are
fleeting.
However, this can lead us to ignore the work set before us. We have lost
much of the enjoyment in our toil. What is our toil?—to love
radically and live communally, building one another up as we share the
grace of our Lord with those around us. Let us hope for heaven, but let
us not neglect the work of the kingdom to be done now.
Prayer Starter: God of Love, Maker of all that is good, give us the
passion to touch the world around us. Give us peace and hope for the day
that this world will fall away and we will finally be with you. Yet,
never let us stray from our duty. Amen.
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Post  Admin on Wed 20 Oct 2010, 11:35 am

Guest Writer Doulos International
Guest Writer: Matt Anderson, ministry student at Abilene Christian
University
Scripture: Mark 10: 23-27 - Then Jesus looked around and said to his
disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter
the kingdom of God!" 24And the disciples were perplexed at these
words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to
enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the
eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of
God." 26They were greatly astounded and said to one another,
"Then who can be saved?" 27Jesus looked at them and said,
"For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things
are possible."
Reflection: This conversation between Jesus and the disciples takes
place right after a rich man questions Jesus about inheriting eternal
life. I am not so much interested in the disciples' reaction to
this, but our own tendencies when reading this story.
We read that the rich man went away sad because he did not want to sell
his possessions but we neglect the section of the story above. Yet, it
is here that Jesus introduces the essential difficulty of the rich to
enter the kingdom.
It is a question of reliance. The rich have means and resources, and so
they do not rely on the actions of others to sustain them. However, the
only way to reach the kingdom of God is to fully rely on His grace. How
often are we caught up in security? We forget that God is our bread, our
wine, our life.
Self reliance is the eye of the needle. We can try, but it simply will
not work.
Prayer Starter: Almighty God, Giver of Grace and Salvation, help us to
be people who cling to you for life. Let us release control and security
to you, that we may enter your kingdom by your power. Amen.
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