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New hope for the Christian community: The church bell rang seven years later in Mosul

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A bell was inaugurated at a church in Mosul on Saturday to the cheers of Iraqi Christians, seven years after the Islamic State group overran the northern city.

Dozens of faithful stood by as Father Pios Affas rang the newly installed bell for the first time at the Syriac Christian church of Mar Tuma, an AFP correspondent reported.

It drew applause and ululations from the crowd, before prayers were held.

“After seven years of silence, the bell of Mar Tuma rang for the first time on the right bank of Mosul,” Affas told them.

IS jihadists swept into Mosul and proclaimed it their “capital” in 2014, before they were driven out three years later by the Iraqi army after months of gruelling street fighting.

The return of the Mosul church bell “heralds days of hope, and opens the way, God willing, for the return of Christians to their city,” said Affas.

“This is a great day of joy, and I hope the joy will grow even more when not only all the churches and mosques in Mosul are rebuilt, but also the whole city, with its houses and historical sites,” he told.

The bell weighing 285 kilogrammes (nearly 630 pounds) was cast in Lebanon with donations from Fraternity in Iraq, a French NGO that helps religious minorities, and transported from Beirut to Mosul by plane and truck.

The church of Mar Tuma, which dates back to the 19th century, was used by the jihadists as a prison or a court.

Restoration work is ongoing and its marble floor has been dismantled to be completely redone.

Nidaa Abdel Ahad, one of the faithful attending the inauguration, said she had returned to her home town from Arbil so that she could see the church being “brought back to life”.

“My joy is indescribable,” said the 40-year-old teacher. “It’s as if the heart of Christianity is beating again.”

Iraq’s Christian community, which numbered more than 1.5 million in 2003 before the US-led invasion, has shrunk to about 400,000, with many of them fleeing the recurrent violence that has ravaged the country.

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ടോറോന്റോയിൽ PCIC പ്രമോഷണൽ മീറ്റിംഗ് ജൂൺ 1 ന്

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ടോറോന്റോ : പെന്തക്കോസ്തൽ ഫെല്ലോഷിപ്പ് ഓഫ് ഇൻഡോ കനേഡിയൻസ് കോൺഫെറൻസിന്റെ പ്രഥമ പ്രമോഷണൽ മീറ്റിംഗ് ജൂൺ 1 (ശനിയാഴ്ച്ച ) 6:30 PM ന് International Revival Church ( IRC) 4150 Chesswood Dr , Toronto യിൽവച്ച് നടത്തപ്പെടുന്നു . Pr. Finny George ( Professor of Bethel Bible College, Punalur) മുഖ്യ സന്ദേശം നൽകും .
Sources:gospelmirror

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Teen Denied Diploma Because He Mentioned Jesus in Graduation Speech

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A high school senior in Campbell, Kentucky was denied his diploma because he went off-script during a commencement address and mentioned the name of Jesus Christ.

Campbell County High School graduate Micah Price broke from his pre-approved address to give honor and glory to his “Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

“He is the light, He is the way, the truth and the life,” Price said. “Class, everyone in the audience today, I’m here to tell you if you don’t have any of those things in your life, you can’t seem to find the answer, my Lord and Savior is your answer. He will give you the truth, the way and the life.”

Price said in a post, which you can watch [here], that he stands by his decision and that he will accept whatever punishment the school decides to levy.

“If anyone is in the wrong, it’s me. I went against school policy, school rules,” he said. “I deserve to get punished.”

“All speakers were told that going off their submitted speech, or any unplanned choices at graduation, may have repercussions as they would at any school function,” Superintendent Shelli Wilson said in a statement to Local 12.
Sources:BREAKING CHRISTIAN NEWS

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Hope on Capitol Hill: ‘There Are a Great Number’ in Congress ‘Who Want to Bring Honor to God’

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I stood in awe at what a wonderful opportunity the Reverend Billy Graham statue unveiling event proved to be in terms of sharing the Gospel message. This month, within the walls of the elegant Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol, a prominent and faithful preacher was remembered and honored. Several speakers took the time to preach the good news, calling for those listening to put their faith in Jesus, “the Lord of lords and the King of kings,” as Senate Chaplain Barry Black proclaimed.

Looking at the world around us, especially when surrounded by contentious politics, it can feel utterly overwhelming and chaotic. Division appears to be the norm, and hope for a better society or government often feels scarce. But two weeks ago, I was struck with the beauty of hearing the Gospel proclaimed not once, not twice, but at least three or four times in the heart of our nation. It gave me hope. It was encouraging to listen as members of Congress, the Speaker of the House, and other authoritative figures represent Christ boldly. Who knows what seeds were planted? Perhaps their boldness will inspire other influential figures to be bold as well.

However, the question that lingered in my mind following the event was: How many faithful Believers do we have in our government? The short answer is that I don’t know exactly. But clearly, there are more than meets the eye. It would also seem there’s far more being done within the walls of the Capitol to edify, encourage, and equip Believers in government to stand firm.

A few weeks ago, I attended a lecture through Faith & Law (FL). If you’re unfamiliar, FL met for the first time on Capitol Hill in 1983 with pastor and theologian Dr. R.C. Sproul as their guest speaker. Other prominent FL speakers include Carl F.H. Henry, Os Guinness, and Nancy Pearcey. According to their website, FL’s “mission is to encourage and equip Christian policymakers to more fully understand the Biblical worldview and its implication in their calling to the public square.” The FL event I attended featured Ligonier Ministries’ CEO Chris Larson and Chairman Robert Godfrey to discuss the current challenges Christians face in society.

“Christians, along with a lot of other people in our society, are confused these days,” Godfrey said. “Things have changed a lot” in recent years, and “the source of our confusion,” Godfrey added, “is that a major shift has occurred in western history” in that we have dramatically shifted away from Christendom—the state of having a Christian-majority. That was Godfrey’s argument, but it’s not unique to him. A variety of scholars and experts refer to our day as a post-Christian society. But, as Godfrey emphasized, Christianity is not the same as Christendom. And so, to say we have moved away from Christendom in no ways means Christianity is of the past.

The societal turning point Godfrey emphasized was the legalization of same-sex marriage. Interestingly, he wasn’t arguing that the legalization marked the degradation of Christendom, but rather, that the public reaction did. Christendom served as a way of “establishing Christianity in law in some sense,” Godfrey said, and in many ways, it was a “unifying factor of civilization.” But in 2015, when the Obergefell decision legalized same-sex marriage, we saw that unity slip farther away. As Godfrey noted, a serious, vehement, and organized effort to overturn that decision did not seem to occur. Were there many against it? Surely.

But it stands to reason many lawmakers, such as former President Barrack Obama, who once claimed to oppose homosexual marriage, now champion the ideology. The same is true as we investigate society. Today, the push for LGBT ideology feels inescapable—and with pride month just around the corner, it will soon make that cultural domination painfully blatant. This sweeping secularism seems most obvious in the Pride mayhem, but it’s also seen in the rampant push for killing the unborn, the increased justification (and perhaps encouragement) of crime, and the list continues.

So, what’s there to glean from these observations? Well, according to Godfrey, the most important takeaway from this breakdown of moral impact on society, at least for Christians, is to recognize God’s sovereignty over all things. This is the first step towards garnering peace in a world of confusion and calamity. Regardless of the current cultural climate, we serve a God who’s in control of all. Hebrews 13:8 says our Lord “is the same yesterday and today and forever.” So, really, there’s no failure in store for the one with faith, because our God is a God of victory, and He’s secured His kingdom from now into eternity. “I will build My Church,” Jesus proclaimed, “and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

But the second step in securing peace during a time of frustration would be to pay attention to how the Lord is working in government. In my short time in DC, I’ve seen groups such as Faith & Law, the Word on the Hill, and others faithfully raise up Gospel truth within our Capitol. There are also plenty of congressional members who carry the armor of God into their political battles, and they need our prayers and support. In a conversation with Representative Michael Guest (R-MS), I got a glimpse into what it means to be a Christian lawmaker.

“You know,” Guest said, “I think we’re all challenged at certain times in life, whether you serve in a public capacity or whether you have a job in the private sector.” But a particular challenge Guest highlighted is how much time he must spend away from his family. Community is crucial, especially for the Believer, and it’s taxing to be away from home so frequently. The congressman explained how he’ll often be traveling Monday through Friday for four to five weeks in a row, with little time for his family on the weekends. In this regard, Guest makes sure to have a strong Christian community in his personal life, as they’re what “keep us grounded and … on track,” he told The Washington Stand.

Reflecting on when he first came to Congress, he emphasized, “it was important … for me to find fellow Believers.” And by God’s grace, he did. Guest shared there are multiple ways in which the word of God is alive and active on the Hill. “There’s a group of Believers … that meet every Wednesday morning when we’re in session, and we spend time in God’s word and time in prayer.”

He continued, “[W]e have the prayer caucus that meets between votes,” which he noted provides “the opportunity to be with those Believers and to pray about the things that we’re going to be doing that week in Congress.” And in addition to praying about their work, Guest said the prayer caucus also serves “to bring forward individual prayer requests of people in our district who may be suffering from some sort of bad diagnosis, or [may have just] lost loved ones.” Ultimately, “[T]here are a number of ways in which members can be plugged in with other members of similar faith and belief. And I think in this environment, it is so important to find those fellow Believers you can associate with.”

When it comes to having faith and being in government, Guest urged that both in words and in action, Christians are called to be a witness to the light of the Gospel. “Being able to share your faith and being able to talk about the things that God has done in your life is important,” he said, “but I [think], as a Believer, people are watching how we act. Do we act as the world acts, or do we act different? Do people see something different about us than they do non-Believers?”

Guest concluded, “I think it’s important for people to know that there are a great number of Believers here on Capitol Hill. … [P]eople who want to bring honor and glory to God” and “see our nation turn from our sinful ways and want to see God continue to bless this land that we’ve been so proud to call home for so long. … God is not done with America,” he insisted. “We have great days ahead, and … there are men and women of faith in Washington, DC and in our state capitals and in our local government who God will use to continue to see that we prosper.” S
Sources:BREAKING CHRISTIAN NEWS

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