Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The value of the hidden life

Hiding Place

"Hide thyself by the brook Cherith" (1 Kings 17:3).

God's servants must be taught the value of the hidden life. The man who is to take a high place before his fellows must take a low place before his God. We must not be surprised if sometimes our Father says: "There, child, thou hast had enough of this hurry, and publicity, and excitement; get thee hence, and hide thyself b the brook--hide thyself in the Cherith of the sick chamber, or in the Cherith of bereavement, or in some solitude from which the crowds have ebbed away."

Happy is he who can reply, "This Thy will is also mine; I flee unto Thee to hide me. Hide me in the secret of Thy tabernacle, and beneath the covert of Thy wings!"

Every saintly soul that would wield great power with men must win it in some hidden Cherith. The acquisition of spiritual power is impossible, unless we can hide ourselves from men and from ourselves in some deep gorge where we may absorb the power of the eternal God; as vegetation through long ages absorbed these qualities of sunshine, which it now gives back through burning coal.

Bishop Andrews had his Cherith, in which he spent five hours every day in prayer and devotion. John Welsh had it--who thought the day ill spent which did not witness eight or ten hours of closet communion. David Brainerd had it in the woods of North America. Christmas Evans had it in his long and lonely journeys amid the hills of Wales.

Or, passing back to the blessed age from which we date the centuries: Patmos, the seclusion of the Roman prisons, the Arabian desert, the hills and vales of Palestine, are forever memorable as the Cheriths of those who have made our modern world. Our Lord found His Cherith at Nazareth, and in the wilderness of Judea; amid the olives of Bethany, and the solitude of Gadara. None of us, therefore, can dispense with some Cherith where the sounds of human voices are exchanged for the waters of quietness which are fed from the throne; and where we may taste the sweets and imbibe the power of a life hidden with Christ.--Elijah, by Meyer

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

If we make ourselves available, He will increase our vitality!

Becoming Global Christians in the 21st Century

By Justin Long

Eastern Christianity beats Western Christianity hands down. For the last century, according to the World Christian Encyclopedia, Christianity in the West has grown mainly through births to Christian households--not through conversions.

During the same period of time, Africa and Asia added new members through both conversions and births. The result: Though Christianity's share of the Western population has declined--from 88 percent to 78 percent of the population--its share of Africa and Asia has increased dramatically, from 3 percent to 14 percent.

Eastern Christianity also reigns supreme in the spiritual character of the church. The people are radical in their commitment to Christ. Though there are numerous traditional mainline churches (Catholic, Protestant and so on), much of Christianity in the 10/40 Window is found in independent churches--tightly knit, committed communities of believers who are aggressively evangelistic.

"Song" (not her real name) is an example of one such believer. She spends every day sharing the gospel in the streets of China. At the start of the day, she prays to meet someone who will supply her financial needs by that evening. She has no home, no money and no consistent support except Christ.

"Timothy" is another. He took the New Testament into a nation where evangelism is punishable by death. Not knowing whom he should give the books to, he prayed until the Holy Spirit led him to a village where the residents had been waiting for someone to bring them the "Holy Book." They threw a party, and everyone came to Christ.

In spite of its lack of growth and vitality, however, Western Christianity does have some things to offer the rest of the world, and I believe God is calling us to expand our borders.

What Can We Give?

Most of what the West has that the 10/40 Window lacks are tools that have been developed and improved through the years. These can readily be put to spiritual use.

One is the capability to print Bibles--a result of the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg about 1444. Today, more than 53 million Bibles, 120 million New Testaments, 323 million Gospels and 4 billion Scripture selections are distributed annually by organizations such as the Gideons, Open Doors with Brother Andrew, The Bible League and the United Bible Societies. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these are distributed in areas where there is already a strong Christian presence.

Of the 53 million Bibles, for example, only 11 million are distributed among non-Christians--and of these, fewer than 1 million are given to people with very little access to the gospel. Scripture distribution needs to take on the radically evangelistic character of Africa and Asia and shift its distribution emphasis to those who need Bibles desperately--new Christians and non-Christians in the 10/40 Window, many of whom have never held a whole Bible before.

Another tool is the ability to produce films. Thomas Edison invented the motion picture camera in 1888, and the first theaters opened in 1905. Films were rapidly put to evangelistic use.

Jesus, one of the best known evangelistic films, opened in 2,000 theaters in the United States in 1979. Since then, it has been shown in virtually every country to more than 3.3 billion people, with 108 million new converts as a result.

Other films have been similarly used. Unfortunately many of them are now dated and less appealing to the next generation. New writers and directors, radically committed to Christ, need to begin reclaiming media to use for redemptive storytelling.

Radio is another means we have to reach people. Radio waves were discovered in 1887, and the world's first radio factory was opened on Hall Street in England in 1898.

The first continuous wave voice transmitter was invented in 1905. On Christmas Eve 1906, wireless operators on banana boats owned by the United Fruit Company heard the very first voice broadcast over the North Atlantic.

Today there are more than 2.5 billion radios and 1.3 billion televisions in the world, mostly in the West. Television and radio broadcasts carry the gospel across Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

In fact, some 20 million hours of programming were broadcast yearly this decade. Christian programs were aired in more than 300 languages, with responses from 200 countries. As a result, there were an estimated 150,000 isolated radio churches with 4.7 million believers.

But in spite of our track record, we are falling short in our ability to reach people through this medium. We need to produce radio broadcasts in more languages and develop ways to use the Internet to carry these broadcasts.

Since 1961 the Internet has grown to its current global status: 327 million users who send 3.4 trillion e-mails yearly, visit more than 1 billion Web sites and trade millions of files. Much of the Internet is dominated by sin, yet there are Christians at work in the domain, developing new methods of evangelizing its users. We need even more of these radical "virtual evangelists" who can create new methods for reaching the lost.

If we want the Holy Spirit to move around the world, the key is in the biblical principles of gospel, community and service.

We are commissioned to preach the gospel, make disciples, love one another and serve the world. Our community of faith must be a global one in which Americans, Europeans, Middle Easterners, Africans, Asians and Latins offer one another mutual edification, correction, teaching, protection, encouragement and life.

Each of us must make a conscious attempt to connect with the body of Christ globally. One way to do this is to share in the labors of the global church by supporting a ministry in another part of the world. Together, we continue to seek a radical devotion to the one who died for us. As we draw close to Him, we draw close to those He has redeemed and receive His heart for the lost.

Christians everywhere are frail and broken. Yet when we humble ourselves before God and give our frailties to Him, He becomes strong in our weakness, perfecting us through His mercy.

It is in this way that the Holy Spirit moves in each of us. And as He moves in us, so He moves in the world. If we make ourselves available, He will increase our vitality and show us how to use our resources to further His kingdom. *

Justin Long is an associate editor of the World Christian Encyclopedia and serves the Network for Strategic Missions as editor of its Web site,

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Lord, forgive them! Save them!

Kidnapped Iraq archbishop found dead

by Jennifer Gold
Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2008, 13:47 (GMT)

The Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul kidnapped in Iraq last month has been found dead, Church officials in Rome and Baghdad said on Thursday.

According to the Vatican, Pope Benedict was “profoundly moved and saddened” by the death of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho.

“All of us had continued to pray and hope for his release, which the Pope had repeatedly urged,” said Fr Federico Lombardi in a statement.

Bishop Shlemon Warduni of Baghdad was quoted as telling SIR, the news agency of the Italian Bishops Conference, "Archbishop Rahho is dead. We found his lifeless body near Mosul. The kidnappers had buried him."

Church officials said it was still not clear if the Archbishop had died as a result of ill health or if he had been killed. Local priest Fr Najeeb Mikhail told the Christian news agency Compass Direct not long after the abduction that Rahho’s health had deteriorated due to stress brought on by constant threats from militant gangs demanding extortion money.

According to Warduni, the kidnappers called on Thursday morning with directions to the site where they had buried the archbishop.

“We still don't know if he died of causes linked to his precarious health or if he was killed. The kidnappers only told us that he was dead,” he said.

The Chaldean Church, which practises an ancient Eastern rite, is aligned with the Roman Catholic Church and recognises the authority of the Pope.

Armed attackers abducted Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho as he left the Holy Spirit Church in the eastern area of Mosul in northern Iraq on 29 February. His driver and two bodyguards were killed in the attack, which has left the tiny and dwindling Christian population fearful that they will be next.

Fr Mikhail believes the attacks are part of a concerted effort by extremist Muslims to drive Christians out of the area.

“There are some Muslims that want to put Christians out of Mosul,” the priest said.

The abduction of Archbishop Rahho was the latest in a number of attacks on Christians in Iraq, following the murder of a Chaldean priest and three deacons last June, and a series of bomb blasts at Mosul churches in January.

“Through these criminals, they try to intimidate the relationship between Muslims and Christians,” said Fr Mikhail.

Speaking prior to the news of Rahho’s death, Fr Mikhail told Compass News that it would be difficult to rebuild confidence among Iraqi Christians following the Archbishop’s kidnapping.

“Within the last two or three months, the church is attacked and then the bishop is kidnapped, so how can people save their confidence?”

No spiritual formula to sow a Ford and reap a Mercedes!

-by J. Lee Grady.

Before he died in 2003, the revered father of the Word-Faith movement corrected his spiritual sons for going to extremes with their message of prosperity.

Charismatic Bible teacher Kenneth Hagin Sr. is considered the father of the so-called prosperity gospel. The folksy, self-trained “Dad Hagin” started a grass-roots movement in Oklahoma that
produced a Bible college and a crop of famous preachers including Kenneth Copeland, Jerry Savelle, Charles Capps, Jesse DuPlantis, Creflo Dollar and dozens of others—all of whom teach
that Christians who give generously should expect financial rewards on this side of heaven.

Hagin taught that God was not glorified by poverty and that preachers do not have to be poor. But before he died in 2003 and left his Rhema Bible Training Center in the hands of his son, Kenneth Hagin Jr., he summoned many of his colleagues to Tulsa to rebuke them for distorting his message. He was not happy that some of his followers were manipulating the Bible to support what he viewed as greed and selfish indulgence. Those who were close to Hagin Sr. say he was passionate about correcting these abuses before he died. In fact, he wrote a brutally honest book to address his concerns. The Midas Touch was published in 2000, a year after the infamous Tulsa meeting.

Many Word-Faith ministers ignored the book. But in light of the recent controversy over prosperity doctrines, it might be a good idea to dust it off and read it again.

Here are a few of the points Hagin made in The Midas Touch:

1. Financial prosperity is not a sign of God’s blessing. Hagin wrote: “If wealth alone were a sign of spirituality, then drug traffickers and crime bosses would be spiritual giants. Material wealth can be connected to the blessings of God or it can be totally disconnected from the blessings of God.”

2. People should never give in order to get. Hagin was critical of those who “try to make the offering plate some kind of heavenly vending machine.” He denounced those who link giving to getting, especially those who give cars to get new cars or who give suits to get new suits. He wrote: “There is no spiritual formula to sow a Ford and reap a Mercedes.”

3. It is not biblical to “name your seed” in an offering. Hagin was horrified by this practice, which was popularized in faith conferences during the 1980s. Faith preachers sometimes tell donors that when they give in an offering they should claim a specific benefit to get a blessing in return. Hagin rejected this idea and said that focusing on what you are going to receive “corrupts
the very attitude of our giving nature.”

4. The “hundredfold return” is not a biblical concept. Hagin did the math and figured out that if this bizarre notion were true, “we would have Christians walking around with not billions or trillions of dollars, but quadrillions of dollars!” He rejected the popular teaching that a believer should claim a specific monetary payback rate.

5. Preachers who claim to have a “debt-breaking” anointing should not be trusted. Hagin was perplexed by ministers who promise “supernatural debt cancellation” to those who give in certain offerings. He wrote in The Midas Touch: “There is not one bit of Scripture I know about that validates such a practice. I’m afraid it is simply a scheme to raise money for the preacher, and ultimately it can turn out to be dangerous and destructive for all involved.”

(Many evangelists who appear on Christian television today use this bogus claim. Usually they insist that the miraculous debt cancellation will occur only if a person “gives right now,” as if the
anointing for this miracle suddenly evaporates after the prime time viewing hour. This manipulative claim is more akin to witchcraft than Christian belief.)

Hagin condemned other hairbrained gimmicks designed to trick audiences into emptying their wallets. He was especially incensed when a preacher told his radio listeners that he would take their prayer requests to Jesus’ empty tomb in Jerusalem and pray over them there—if donors included a special love gift. “What that radio preacher really wanted was more people to send in offerings,” Hagin wrote.

Thanks to the recent resurgence in bizarre donation schemes promoted by American charismatics, the prosperity gospel is back under the nation’s microscope. It’s time to revisit Hagin’s concerns and find a biblical balance.

Hagin told his followers: “Overemphasizing or adding to what the Bible actually teaches invariably does more harm than good.” If the man who pioneered the modern concept of biblical prosperity blew the whistle on his own movement, wouldn’t it make sense for us to listen to his admonition?

~J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma. The Midas Touch is available from Kenneth Hagin Ministries at-


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The wonders of the universe should move us to praise God

The Universe Is God's

He touches the hills, and they smoke. —Psalm 104:32

Rising 6.3 miles from its base on the ocean floor and stretching 75 miles across, Hawaii's Mauna Loa is the largest volcano on Earth. But on the surface of the planet Mars stands Olympus Mons, the largest volcano yet discovered in our solar system. The altitude of Olympus Mons is three times higher than Mt. Everest and 100 times more massive than Mauna Loa. It's large enough to contain the entire chain of the Hawaiian islands!

Long ago, David looked up at the night skies and stood in awe at the wonder of his Creator's universe. He wrote, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork" (Ps. 19:1).

But the stars and the sky were not all that stirred the wonder of ancient writers. Earthquakes and volcanoes also inspired awe for the Creator. Psalm 104 says, "[God] looks on the earth, and it trembles; He touches the hills, and they smoke" (v.32).

As space probes explore more of our solar system, they will continue to discover unknown wonders. But whatever they find is the work of the same Creator (Gen. 1:1).

The wonders of the universe should move us to praise God, just as they moved a shepherd boy long ago as he gazed up at the heavens (Ps. 8:3-5). — Dennis Fisher

I sing the mighty power of God
That made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad
And built the lofty skies. —Watts

All of creation bears God's autograph.

Sin has a way of growing

Pet Sins

November 15, 1999

Sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. --James 1:15

For 8 years, Sally had been the Romero family pet. She was only 1 foot long when they brought her home. But Sally grew and grew until eventually she reached a length of 11 feet and weighed 80 pounds.

Then one day Sally, a Burmese python, turned on 15-year-old Derek, strangling the unsuspecting teenager until he died of suffocation. Police said that the snake was "quite aggressive, hissing, and reacting" when they arrived to investigate the young man's death.

Sin is like that snake. When a sin first enters our lives, we think of it as harmless, almost cute. Yet it doesn't stay small. Sin has a way of growing. We think we can handle it, but then it begins to handle us. And it always leads to death--sometimes physical death, and often emotional death. At other times it leads to the death of a relationship.

And if sin is not confessed and forsaken, it will bring spiritual death. That's why James warned us that "sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death" (1:15). His purpose in saying that was not to spoil our fun but to preserve our highest joys.

If you are playing with a pet sin in your life, God urges you to beware. It's a life-and-death matter. — Haddon W. Robinson

Just one little sin, what harm can it do?
But give it free rein and soon there are two,
And then sinful deeds and habits ensue;
So guard well your thoughts or they'll destroy you. --DJD
Toying with sin invites disaster.

The Commodification of Motherhood

Selling Her Body, a Few Eggs at a Time

By Michael Poore

The Commodification of Motherhood

This article is from the October 2006 BreakPoint WorldView magazine. Sign up today to receive the free online edition 10 times a year!

The women at elite colleges and universities see the ads all the time—WANTED: egg donor, tall, attractive, athletic, good health, under age 26, SAT scores above 1,300, compensation $5,000. A very attractive offer for a busy, cash-strapped college student. At more prestigious schools—Harvard, Yale, or Brown—the offering price can range from $15,000 to $60,000 per donor cycle. A few years ago an ad ran in the Stanford Daily offering $100,000.

Students are not the only respondents to such ads. A recent article in USA Today describes a Virginia attorney who received $7,500 for her first donation of fifteen eggs, and she expects to receive another $7,500 for a second cycle. This money will be used to help pay off her $175,000 college debt. Women with families also sell their eggs. Whether a working mother or stay-at-home mom, these women have a track record—they have already produced children with their eggs.

Even so, the attorney and the Ivy League grad student may have an advantage over the stay-at-home mom in the human egg market—a market in which the highest prices go to those who possess the characteristics most in demand: intelligence as demonstrated by academic achievement, beauty, athletic ability, and a family history of good health.

The demand for eggs is not likely to decline soon. Those in search of eggs are highly motivated, often desperate. Many are career women who delayed having children and are now in their late thirties, forties, and even fifties. At this age, the risk of genetic defects for children born with their own eggs has risen dramatically, and purchasing younger, healthier eggs is a solution.

This buying and selling of human eggs—although thinly disguised as compensation for time and trouble—is controversial. Should women sell their eggs? Should they be allowed to sell their eggs? Yes, according to the libertarian thinking that dominates the fertility industry: Consenting adults should be able to do whatever they want with their bodies as long as no one else is harmed. However, the mental, medical, moral, and social dimensions of egg donation are not that cut-and-dried.

Julia Derek, a Swedish journalism student studying in the United States, discovered many of the hazards of egg donation the hard way. Desperate for cash and looking for a job, she came across an ad in the Washington Post offering $3,500 for an egg donor.

At first, she was repulsed by the idea: “If I donated my eggs to a woman—or sold actually—I would become the mother to that woman’s child, wouldn’t I?” But her desperation soon led to a host of rationalizations. It would not be the same as giving away a child. It would be like giving away a cell, the same as giving someone a hair. It could not be her child since it would not be in her womb nine months. The real mother is the woman who raises the child, not the one who only contributes her genetic material.

In the end, she started selling her body, a few eggs at a time. After all, why wait tables if you can get thousands of dollars by becoming an egg donor?

From the beginning, Julia knew that “donation” was not donation. No one would provide eggs without compensation for the considerable time and trouble—physical exams, daily hormone injections, frequent blood tests to monitor hormone levels, and ultrasounds to track development of the eggs. Then, there’s the small chance that fertility drugs, used to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs, could lead to serious complications, sterility, or even death. This time-consuming process takes about four weeks and is completed by minor surgery, during which the ripened eggs are suctioned from the follicles of the woman’s ovaries.

All of these burdens and risks were not enough to discourage Julia from donating repeatedly, sometimes providing thirty eggs per cycle—all chronicled in her book Confessions of a Serial Egg Donor. Her lifestyle and dreams demanded an income well beyond what she could earn as a physical fitness trainer. Living off “egg money” became a way of life.

But Julia’s donor career came to a traumatic halt with her twelfth donor cycle. “Another Visit in Hell” is the chapter in which she describes the consequences of a serious hormone imbalance that took months to correct—deep depression, severe headaches, prolonged periods of weeping, and suicidal thoughts. Help came from a reputable gynecologist who provided proper medical care and a six-month prescription of the anti-depressant Serafem. With time, her body regulated its hormones naturally.

As Julia Derek’s story confirms, egg donation can be dangerous, even though the fertility industry touts its safety. Beyond the short-term dangers to body chemistry, no one knows the long-term effects of the powerful drugs and hormones used to stimulate and control the donor cycle. And the ovaries can be damaged during removal of eggs.

But the problems raised by egg donation go well beyond donor safety.

What about the exploitation of financially strapped young women? At twenty-four, it may be easy to say thoughtlessly that eggs are “just DNA” when anticipating a $10,000 check. At thirty-four, things may look very different when the woman starts her own family and comes face-to-face with the reality that she has other children—in London, New York, or San Francisco—whom she will never know or even see.

The psychological effects of donation, like the physical, are impossible to predict. One poor Ukrainian woman, whose eggs went to couples in England, thinks of the ages and appearances of the children who are half-brother or half-sister to her own two children. Her five donations are a closely guarded secret: “I don’t want anybody to know; for me it’s unpleasant that I have sold a part of myself. That I have sold myself for money.” Her shame springs from the magnitude of what she’s done—sold her genetic heritage, her eggs, some of which have become her unknown children, for money. Her body and her motherhood have been reduced to a commodity, sold at a price established in a competitive market by buyers in search of the perfect baby.

Yes, for prospective parents, the search is for the perfect baby. It’s not just about having a baby, any baby. It is about having a certain kind of baby, a baby that can be designed by selecting the eggs of a woman who is intelligent, beautiful, artistic, athletic, and from a healthy family. But the moral ramifications of this project are rather sinister—they’re eugenic. No, it’s nothing like the Nazi eugenics programs of sterilization, euthanasia, and death camps. Rather, it is best described as “consumer eugenics.”

Egg-donor recipients, as they are called, shop for eggs that have a certain pedigree. They talk with egg brokers. They look at pictures of potential donors and at pictures of their children, if they have any. They study the answers to extensive donor questionnaires. They may meet and interview prospective donors. Then, they purchase the eggs that best match their desires, in preparation for creating embryos by in vitro fertilization.

Additionally, they may use genetic screening to eliminate embryos with genetic defects. Screening can also permit them to choose the sex of their child, if that is one of their goals.

All of this destroys the meaning of parenting and family. Children are not seen as a gift and certainly not as a “heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127). These children are “made,” not “begotten.”

At root, this approach to parenting is profoundly gnostic. It rejects the world as it is. It separates who we are from our bodily nature. The human will is the real self, and our bodies and all else are but raw material from which to fashion the satisfactions of our desires.

The human body, kinship, and intergenerational obligations are treated as social constructs rather than essential parts of the created order that, though broken, retains an essential goodness that can be preserved and cultivated to the health and benefit of all generations.

Biomedical technologies are being used, as C. S. Lewis worried, to seize control of human nature. “[T]he power of Man to make himself what he pleases means . . . the power of some men to make other men what they please.” In Lewis’s words, the children of egg donation are “artifacts”; they are manufactured products. The destruction of our concept of what it means to be human—the “abolition of man,” to use the title of one of Lewis’s books—is well underway.

Michael Poore is executive director of The Humanitas Project: A Center for Bioethics Education, located in Cookeville, Tenn. As director of The Humanitas Project, he writes and speaks on a wide variety of topics relating to bioethics and biotechnology, as well as on issues related to Christian discipleship in a post-Christian culture.

Monday, March 3, 2008

I stand in awe of God!

Ps 144:3 O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him?

Earth's size in comparison with some of the planets

Earth in comparison with some of the larger planets

Earth in comparison to the Sun

The Sun in comparison to other stars

Sun in comparison to Betelgeuse and Antares

Earth cannot even be seen in this size, what more about humans?

Yet God is willing to stoop down and care for us - by sending Jesus to die on the Cross for our sins!

Who are we that the God of the Universe should even bother to think about our souls?

And yet we think we should DEMAND from Him! rather than DELIGHT Him as the True Creator!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Malaya, was therefore a derivative from Himalaya?

Contesting Malayness

It's been interesting to read such free-flowing comments on an all "Malaysian" free for all. While we are on the subject, how many of you have read the book entitled "Contesting Malayness"? Written by a Professor of National University of Singapore . Cost S$32 (about). It reflects the Anthropologists' views that there is no such race as the "Malays" to begin with.

If we follow the original migration of the Southern Chinese of 6,000 yrs ago, they moved into Taiwan, (now the Alisan), then into the Phillipines (now the Aeta) and moved into Borneo (4,500 yrs ago) (Dayak).

They also split into Sulawesi and progressed into Jawa, and Sumatera. The final migration was to the Malayan Peninsular 3,000 yrs ago. A sub-group from Borneo also moved to Champa in Cambodia at 4,500 yrs ago.

Interestingly, the Champa deviant group moved back to present day Kelantan. There are also traces of the Dong Song and HoaBinh migration from Vietnam and Cambodia. To confuse the issue, there was also the Southern Thai migration, from what we know as Pattani today. (See also "Early Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsular".)

Of course, we also have the Minangkabau(s) who come from the descendants of Alexander the Great and a West Indian Princess. (Sejarah Melayu page 1-3.)

So the million Dollar Question: Is there really a race called the "Malays"? All anthropologists DO NOT SEEM TO THINK SO.

Neither do the "Malays" who live on the West Coast of Johor. They'd rather be called Javanese. What about the west coast Kedah inhabitants who prefer to be known as "Achenese"? Or the Ibans who simply want to be known as IBANS. Try calling a Kelabit a "Malay" and see what response you get. You'll be so glad that their Head-Hunting days are over.

The definition of "Malay" is therefore simply a collection of peoples who speak a similar type language. With what is meant by a similar type language does not mean that the words are similar. Linguists call this the "Lego-type" language, where words are added on to the root word to make meaning and give tenses and such. Somehow, the Indonesians disagree with this classification. They refuse to be called Malay. Anyhow you may define it. Watch "Malays in Africa" - a Museum Negara produced DVD. Also, the "Champa Malays" by the same.

With this classification, they MUST also include the Phillipinos, the Papua New Guineans, the Australian Aboriginies, as well as the Polynesian Aboriginies. These are of the Australo Melanesians who migrated out of Africa 60,000 yrs ago.

Getting interesting? Read on.

"Malay" should also include the Taiwanese singer "Ah Mei" who is Alisan, as her tribe are the ancestors of the "Malays". And finally, you will need to define the Southern Chinese ( Funan Province) as Malay also, since they are from the same stock 6,000 yrs ago.

Try calling the Bugis a "Malay". Interestingly, the Bugis, who predominantly live on Sulawesi are not even Indonesians. Neither do they fall into the same group as the migrating Southern Chinese of 6,000 yrs ago, nor the Australo Melanesian group from Africa.

Ready for this?

The Bugis are the cross-breed between the Chinese and the Arabs. (FYI, a runaway Ming Dynasty official whom Cheng Ho was sent to hunt down.) Interestingly, the Bugis were career Pirates in the Johor-Riau Island areas. Now the nephew of Daeng Kemboja was appointed the First Sultan of Selangor. That makes the entire Selangor Sultanate part Arab, part Chinese!

Try talking to the Bugis Museum curator near Kukup in Johor. Kukup is located near the most south-western tip of Johor. (Due south of Pontian Kechil.)

Let's not even get into the Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Kasturi, Hang Lekiu, and Hang Lekir, who shared the same family last name as the other super famous "Hang" family member, Hang Li Poh. And who was she? The princess of a Ming Dynasty Emperor who was sent to marry the Sultan of Malacca. Won't that make the entire Malacca Sultanate downline "Baba"?

Since the older son of the collapsed Malaccan Sultanate got killed in Johor, (the current Sultanate is the downline of the then, Bendahara) the only other son became the Sultan of Perak. Do we see any Chinese-ness in Raja Azlan? Is he the descendant of Hang Li Poh?

Next question. If the Babas are part Malay, why have they been marginalized by NOT BEING BUMIPUTERA? Which part of "Malay" are they not? Whatever the answer, why then are the Portuguese of Malacca NOT BUMIPUTERA? Did they not come 100 yrs AFTER the arrival of the first Babas? Parameswara founded Malacca in 1411. The Portugese came in 1511, and the Dutch in the 1600's. Strangely, the Babas were in fact once classified Bumiputera, but discovered that they were strangely "declassified" in the 1960s. WHY?

The Sultan of Kelantan had similar roots to the Pattani Kingdom making him of Thai origin. And what is this "coffee table book" by the Sultan of Perlis claiming to be the direct descendant of the prophet Muhammed? Somehow we see Prof Khoo Khay Khim's signature name on the book. I'll pay good money to own a copy of it myself. Anyone has a spare?

So, how many of you have met with orang Asli(s)? The more northern you go, the more African they look. Why are they called Negrito(s)? It is a Spanish word, from which directly translates "mini Negros". The more southern you go, the more "Indonesian" they look. And the ones who live at Cameron Highlands kinda look 50-50. You can see the Batek at Taman Negara, who really looks like Eddie Murphy to a certain degree. Or the Negritos who live at the Thai border near Temenggor Lake (north Perak). The Mah Meri
in Carrie Island looks almost like the Jakuns in Endau Rompin. Half African, half Indonesian.

By definition, (this is super eye-opening) there was a Hindu Malay Empire in Kedah. Yes, I said it right. The Malays were Hindu. It was, by the old name Langkasuka. Today known as Lembah Bujang. This Hindu Malay Empire was 2,000 yrs old, pre-dating Borrobudor AND Angkor Watt, who came about around 500-600 yrs later. Lembah Bujang was THE mighty trading empire, and its biggest influence was by the Indians who were here to help start it. By definition, this should make the Indians BUMIPUTERAS too since they were here 2,000 yrs ago! Why are they marginalized?

So, in a nutshell, the "Malays" (anthropologists will disagree with this "race" definition) are TRULY ASIA!!! (Main continent and West Asia

Here are some comments from Michael in answer to some Malays who have attacked him for penning this commentary.

Greetings. This is Michael Chick. Unlike others who hide behind "anonymous synonyms" I came clear with my real name. The post which I put up was not a figment of my imagination but the end result of 3 years extensive research. As such, the facts presented are clear-cut, straightforward and unassuming. Perhaps you would all like to chat with any anthropologist at UM before sending-off any flaming sparks in my direction again. These Professors should be as Malaysian as any of you.

The subject matter is fact-based. To Bayi, "Contesting Malayness" is available at Kinokuniya at Takashimaya 4th floor, Orchard road. At a cost of S$32. It is also available at National University of Singapore. Why? 'Coz it's their textbook. Let me repeat -"Contesting Malayness" is an NUS textbook, published by NUS Press, written by Professor Tony Milner.

To Achmad Sudarsono, calling the Malays a "race" is akin to calling the Hokkiens or the Javanese a "race". Please do not confuse the term "orang" with "Bangsa". What do I mean? The term 'orang' is used by Malays to describe Orang Bugis, Orang Acheh, Orang Laut, Orang India, Orang Melayu. And here is where the confusion was. Orang Melayu merely refers to the residents of Kampung Melayu near Jambi, near Palembang . Please use Google Earth to find its exact location.

Unless you can say that all "Orang Melayu" are descendants of that village, you simply cannot be called Orang Melayu. In fact the name "Malay" has been traced to Lembah Bujang, where the Indian traders used to call the locals "Malai" (in Tamil) to describe the locals. The locals were animistic pagans at that time, and readily adopted Hindu practices and Indian customs. "Raja" and "Sultan" are Indian titles. The adat bersanding with the pelamin are of Indian origin. Even the "gifts-bearing" walk by the groom has its Indian roots. Please attend an Indian Wedding before flaming me again. Or have a chat with Prof Nik Hassan who is in charge of the Lembah Bujang archaeological excavations.

Malaya, was therefore a derivative from Himalaya. "Sejarah Melayu" therefore was describing the Kampong Melayu origins. But here is where, from pages 1-3, it will tell you that Kampong Melayu are descendants of Iskandar Zulkarnain (Alexander the Great) through the bloodline of a West Indian Princess. This came from Sejarah Melayu. This book is cheap. You can buy it at the University Malaya Bookstore for a mere RM35. It is published by MBRAS (Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society). Its patron member is Tun Hanif (ex-IGP).

Please speak with Datuk Prof Zuraina Majid, who excavated "Perak Man". She will tell you that Perak Man is a descendant of the Australo-Melanesian stock. African National Museum of the Phillipines will verify that they came from Taiwan . And National University of Indonesia will confirm that they came from the Phillipines.

Nik Aziz (PAS leader from Kelantan) will tell you that his grandfather came from Champa. To all Kelantanese, please explain the newly changed name of a Kampong near Bachok (close to the Pengkalan Chepa airport) to "Kampung Champa" to our friends here.

Please also visit Museum Negara to see the exhibits on the "Dong Song" brass drums and Gua Cha in Kelantan near Gua Musang to see the Hoabinhian Caves. Dong Song and Hoabinh are in Indochina. And therefore, the locals are descendants from that region. The entire Northern States also have their roots from the Pattani Kingdom; which today we call Tahiland. In fact, please visit the Kelantan WWII museum to see the article on how Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu was part of Thailand from 1943-1945. Then walk over to the Kelantan State Museum to see the exhibit on Gua Cha to read their explanations of the Hoabinhian Cultures of Early Kelantan settlers.

Malaysian Archaeologists call the early settlers Proto Malay. And the current settlers Deutero Malay. The scientific term is actually, Australo Melanesian (African) and Austranesian (Chinese, or Mongoloid). This is a DNA and bone structure classification. Even the term Negrito transalates from Spanish to mean "mini Negro".

I hope that I've made myself comprehensible enough. Feel free to ask any further questions to help clear the air. The "Malays" are NOT a race. I'm so sorry that you are only hearing this now. The rest of the Academic World has known it for years.

By: Michael Chick on May 30th, 2007 At 2:44 am
To address Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Lekir, Hang Kasturi, Hang Lekir and Hang Li Poh. They were all related by the family name of "Hang".

Please visit their graves in Malacca. Their graves are clear-cut Hindu. This was during the "Great Malacca Empire" when Parameswara was supposed to have converted to Islam. Why are the graves of the "Legendary Defenders of the States" Hindu? They do not have the spiral headstones or the Batu Acheh type headstones - instead, they are solid concrete blocks with triangular holes for incense and oil-lamp burning.

Hang Tuah's grave (Kampong Keling) is another "conspiracy". Please read the inscriptions on the side: "they found a large stone marking a grave, and therefore it must be Hang Tuah...". This grave was merely designed to be a tourist destination. Note that there are no names engraved anywhere. Just a big non-descript stone marking that a human body lies underneath it. Lastly, why is a Muslim buried in Kampong Keling - 'Keling' meaning Indian?

The subsequent question is why is Hang Tuah removed from current school history textbooks?

One of two suggestions comes to mind. He was pure fiction (please read Hikayat Hang Tuah before flaming me again), or as the Bugis Museum Curator in Johor will insist, that Hang Tuah was Chinese. So were the rest of his "blood brothers". They were all Chinese; and related to Hang Li Poh.

Let me pose a simple question to you: Why is it, that when you visit Malacca to see the great historical Malaysian City/State, you see the Portugese "A Famosa" gateway, or the Red Dutch buildings like Christchurch, or even St. Paul's Church on St. Paul 's Hill? Where is the evidence of "The Great Malaccan Empire"?

Let me help you with that answer. Published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka in a publication called "Melayu Journal" in 2005 - "...we had to look for an icon by which the Malays would be proud of..." Since Majapahit, Acheh, Lembah Bujang (Langkasuka) were either Hindu, on Indonesian soil, or both, Malacca was the only location left. The great Parameswara is, by the way buried on Fort Canning Hill downtown Singapore, for those of you who want to visit it. They call it the "Keramat" and it's immediately behind the National Musuem of Singapore.

Please enlighten me by showing me ONE single piece of evidence of "The Great Malaccan Empire". Even Dewan Bahasa couldn't. Perhaps any one of you could. Evidence, and not mere gut-feeling please.

Also, please consult Prof Khoo Khay Khim before flaming me again; Thank you.

Maxyn Forest

churches should always be looking at how they welcome new people!

‘Mystery worshipper’ scheme could go nationwide

by Jennifer Gold
Posted: Saturday, March 1, 2008, 11:07 (GMT)

Following the highly successful ‘mystery worshipper’ trial in December and January, the researchers behind the pilot project are now looking into the possibility of rolling out the programme nationwide.

The mystery worshipper programme is based on the ‘mystery shopper’ scheme that has become an established tool in the business sector, helping retailers in particular identify their strengths and areas in need of development.

In the pilot project, 13 mystery worshippers, who are not regular churchgoers but paid mystery shoppers for research organisation Retail Maxim, were enlisted to evaluate churches across the Midlands, all of which were unaware of the visits. They looked at warmth of welcome, length of sermon and style of music, among other aspects of the church service.

The inspectors were generally impressed with what they found, with the churches involved averaging a rating of 85 per cent, and five churches scoring a full 100 per cent, reports The Baptist Times.

Evesham minister, the Rev Edward Pillar, told the newspaper that he was “chuffed to bits” with the findings of their mystery worshipper.

Now the researchers behind the pilot project, the Christian Research Organisation and Christian Resources Exhibition, are exploring the potential of a nationwide service which would allow churches to pay for a professional, non-church-going evaluator to join in worship services and return a quality report back to the church, reports Baptist Times.

Benita Hewitt, chief executive of CRO, told The Baptist Times that a national mystery worshipper programme could be in place as quickly as May.

“I come from the commercial sector, where the practice of using a mystery visitor to assess an organisation is normal,” she said.

“I wondered if it could be adapted to churches, to show areas where they are doing well, and to highlight how they can better meet people's needs.

“We found we were able to do that, and were pleasantly surprised by the findings.”

She said that CRO and CRE were in discussions about the expansion of the programme.

“We have a lot of research to do, to see how much churches would consider paying for this, but that is what we are looking at,” she said.

Stephen Goddard is public relations consultant at CRE and co-editor of Ship of Fools, which has already been running a voluntary mystery worshipper service for the last 10 years.

He believes that mystery worshippers could help churches make more tailored preparations for Back to Church Sunday, in which churches across the UK send out thousands of invitations to lapsed Christians inviting them back to church. This year’s Back to Church Sunday takes place on 28 September.

Mr Goddard said, “These are professionally trained researchers from a non-church background looking for things like eye contact, help with directions and other measurable things, while Ship of Fools is much more impressionistic.

“The advantage is that it's using someone who doesn't normally come to church. That person is the eyes and ears of an outsider, and it's sometimes easy to forget the outsider.

“There are possibilities, and at this stage I must stress they are notional, of whole denominations or dioceses paying for a pilot project, and of using it to help churches prepare for Back to Church Sunday.”

Mrs Hewitt said, “We thought the results were astonishing. The researchers had not been to church for several years, and were surprised and excited by what they found.

“I think in many churches, the love of God really shone through. There was a genuinely warm welcome to the stranger.

“I think the trial shows that churches can have more confidence in what they do.”

The Rev Ian Bunce, head of the Baptist Union of Great Britain's Mission Department, expressed his support for the mystery worshipper programme and its possible extension, saying that churches should constantly review how they welcome strangers.

“I think churches should always be looking at how they welcome new people,' he told the newspaper.

“For people who don't go to church, they don't know what's behind that solid door. 'It's as culturally alien as it would be for a Baptist to go into a betting shop. You would get through the door and then would not know what to do.”

He pointed to the use of non-churched people as a particular strength of the mystery worshipper scheme. “And it's very encouraging that they found a great story,” he added.

Evesham’s Rev Pillar added: “The first I knew about the mystery worshipper visit to Evesham was very much after the event.”

“If people in Evesham are to make a spiritual journey with us then surely we can at the very least try to make their first, often uncertain steps, as painless as possible and hopefully as kindness-filled as possible.

“Love and kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness go a long way as we welcome people to make their journey with us.”

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Anglican chief sparks debate on sharia law in UK

Archbishop of Canterbury calls for adoption of parts of Islamic law in Britain.

LONDON - The adoption of parts of sharia law in Britain seems unavoidable, the head of the Anglican church said Thursday, prompting Downing Street to underline that British law must remain paramount.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams called for "constructive accommodation" over such issues as resolving marriage disputes.

He told BBC radio that people should approach Islamic law with an open mind, while stressing there was no place for "extreme punishments" and discrimination against women in Britain.

Williams conceded that some people may be surprised by his comments, but underlined the importance of making all communities in Britain "part of the public process" in order to limit any oppression.

The issue of Muslim integration has been particularly sensitive in Britain since July 2005 bombings in London in which four young British Muslims killed themselves and 52 others on the public transport system.

Britain is home to nearly 1.6 million Muslims, representing 2.7 percent of the total population, according to the 2001 national census.

Williams said: "There is a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law as we already do with aspects of other kinds of religious law."

It would be "quite wrong" to sanction a system which gave people no right of appeal, he continued, "but there are ways of looking at marital disputes, for example, which provide an alternative to the divorce courts as we understand them."

He added: "It seems unavoidable and, as a matter of fact, certain conditions of sharia are already recognised in our society".

But Prime Minister Gordon Brown's spokesman said British law must be based on British values.

"Our general position is that sharia law cannot be used as a justification for committing breaches of English law, nor should the principles of sharia law be included in a civil court for resolving contractual disputes," he said.

He noted that Britain had made some concesssions to its Islamic community, notably by relaxing laws which would force Muslims to pay taxes twice.

"In general terms, if there are specific instances that can be looked at on a case-by-case basis, that is something we can look at," he said.

But he added: "The prime minister believes British law should apply in this country, based on British values."

Williams called on people to look at sharia "with a clear eye and not imagine, either, that we know exactly what we mean by sharia and just associate it with ... Saudi Arabia or whatever.

"Nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of inhumanity that has sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states: the extreme punishments, the attitudes to women."

Williams, whose comments come ahead of a lecture he was due to give Thursday night entitled "Islam In English Law", has consistently called for Christian and Muslim leaders to work together.

Background of Rowan Williams

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is a former academic who became head of the Anglican Church in 2002.

Williams was born in the Welsh city of Swansea in 1950, the son of a mining engineer, but his prowess rapidly took him into academia, first at Cambridge and then Oxford, where he became the youngest professor at 36.

He was ordained in 1977 and was a chaplain in Cambridge in the mid-1980s, but his clerical career really took off when he became bishop of Monmouth in his native Wales in 1992, and he was enthroned as Archbishop of Wales in 2000.

Two years later, he replaced George Carey to become the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, head of a church which claims to have 80 million followers around the world.

Williams is highly respected as a theological writer, drawing on his adacemic background and supported by his wife Jane, a lecturer on theology with whom he has two children.

Williams speaks seven languages including Welsh

Resentment is like taking poison

What Makes Forgiveness So Hard?

Forgiveness versus Resentment

Why Forgiveness is so Hard? And how we can change? Human behavior that suggests that people are “hard-wired" to experience ruptured relational bonds, psychological distance, physiological arousal, and the desire to retaliate when they have been hurt by another person. Our pride or self-esteem is injured. Our expectations or dreams are disappointed. We lose something very valuable to us. We want recompense for the damages.

What are the other resistances which block our motivation to forgive?

1. Automatic thoughts or beliefs: What automatic thoughts or beliefs do we have that would impede us from forgiving others? We tell ourselves, "I won't forgive because he/she never accepts responsibility for what he/she does" or "I would be a hypocrite if I forgave because I do not feel like forgiving" or "Forgiving is only for weak people".

2. Explanations for behavior: When someone hurts us or lets us do we generally explain his/her behavior? We Tend to assign internal causes for behavior to others: personality or character traits:

“He’s just so forgetful or careless” “She doesn’t appreciate me” “She did that purposefully” We judge them harshly.
When we do something wrong or hurtful/ do we generally explain our behavior? We tend to excuse our own behavior by attributing external causes: “My child made a mess” “There was a car accident on the highway.” We tend to let ourselves off the hook and give ourselves permission to fail.

This is called the Fundamental Attribution Error...when we assign total
responsibility/blame to others/spouses for their behavior while explaining away our own negative actions in terms of situational factors.

Understanding and accepting the error in the Fundamental Attribution Error does not relieve offending people of moral responsibility. The goal is to promote empathy and forgiveness and look more realistically at the hurtful events from their point of view...”thinking the best” as 1 Cor. 13:7 reads: "Love always hopes, always trusts..." and using the Causal Agnosticism exercise: “one can never know the precise causes of a
person's/spouse’s hurtful behavior...

3. Lack of empathy (empathy is the psychological highway to forgive others) for others....
We need to develop empathy for others by beginning to change Fundamental Attribution Error way of thinking we have about people’s actions to a more empathic view and use the Causal agnosticism exercise which says, "One can never know the precise causes of another person's behavior".

When have you been able to have empathy for someone who has hurt you? Ask yourself “do I want things bitter or better?” Recall when you have needed forgiveness....

Don't let resentment imprison you for life. Resentment is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. It will destroy you and your other relationships. Lewis Smedes wrote: "To forgive is to set the prisoner free...and to discover that the prisoner was you."

Let go of the pain. Give it to God. For God alone understands more than anyone the pain and humiliation you feel. Jesus felt more pain, rejection and humiliation than any person. He came unto His own and His own did not receive Him. Not only did the created not receive the Creator, they tortured him and put him to death... on a cross.

Phil 2:5-8 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! (NIV)

And then Jesus said as He hung on the cross dying for our sins, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do".

May God give you the grace to forgive. To not only set the other person free but to set yourself free from the past and to become more like Christ.

© copyright 2007 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC

Be released from the grip of bitterness!

Forgiveness is a Choice

Choosing to Forgive

Forgiveness is not easy. It can be painful. Actually, from God's perspective, forgiveness had a great price..the death of His one and only Son. But our forgiveness towards another human being doesn't cost us our lives. It may cost us our pride, giving up retribution towards them and the loss of personal belongings. Certainly, you can forgive someone for past offenses but still hold him or her accountable for present responsibilities.

Here are some guidelines and scriptures which will help you as you consider forgiving someone and letting go of the past hurts.

  1. Deal constructively with the root cause of anger towards the person... Proverbs 29:11
    a. Ask: What am I angry about? What is my responsibility? What is his or her responsibility?
    b. Forego Retribution: "Do not repay evil for evil . . ." (Romans 12:17-18) "... overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:19-21)
    c. Pour out your anger to God & leave it there. (Psalm 10:1-18)
  2. Plan a constructive confrontation (Matthew 18:15)
    a. Apologize, if appropriate (Matthew 7:1-5)
    b. Use a soft, loving approach. Think about how much God loves you & has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32; Psalm 103: 11-12).
    c. Be honest, yet tactful (Ephesians 4:15,25)
    d. Indicate the behavior change needed
  3. Choose to forgive
    a. Release him or her from guilt & bondage (Ephesians 4:32-5:2)
    b. Let go of your demands on this person
  4. Return good to him or her (Matthew 5:43-46)
  5. Depend on the power of Christ to change your attitude towards the person. (Philippians 4:13)

    Forgiveness is worth it! When all is said and have to give up the power, the pride, the hurt because you need to be released from the grip of bitterness. And the other person needs your unconditional love. "Love cover a multitude of sins" 1 Peter 4:8
    Then you will discover that "forgiveness is a choice you make based on the forgiveness you have already received in Christ."

    Order and read the following:
    1. The Healing Power of Forgiveness by Dr. Ray Pritchard
    2. What's Good About Anger? anger management books and certificate courses These books and programs teach how to turn your anger into faith, assertiveness, problem-solving, conflict management and forgiveness!
    3. To Forgive is Human : How to Put Your Past in the Past by Michael E. McCullough, Everett L. Worthington (Contributor), Steven Sandage (Contributor)
    4. The Freedom & Power of Forgiveness by John MacArthur

    © copyright 2007 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC

Forgiveness cancels a debt someone owes us and restores relationship.

The Power of Forgiveness as published in The Godly Business Woman magazine's Jan/Feb 2002 issue. © copyright 2002 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC

It's challenging to think about forgiving people who have hurt us, isn't it? We don't want to let go of the painful memories of abuse, put-downs, broken promises, harsh words, family or work offenses.

One outstanding example of forgiveness occurred when Corrie Ten Boom met a former Nazi Officer who had abused her and her sister during imprisonment, assisting in the death of other prisoners. He told her he had become a Christian and proceeded to ask Corrie to forgive him. As he reached out his hand towards her,

Corrie resisted. Then, in obedience to God, as she extended her hand towards him she felt the surge of the Holy Spirit pour through her in a supernatural act of forgiveness.

Chuck Colson tells the story about a Mrs. Washington who, during a graduation ceremony for inmates completing a Prison Fellowship program, swept to the stage to wrap her arms around a graduating inmate, declaring "this young man is my adopted son." Everyone had tears in their eyes for they knew that this young man was behind bars for the murder of Mrs. Washington's daughter.

Accounts like this are amazing! How could people like Corrie and Mrs.Washington endure such great injustices and then turn around to forgive the villains? Yet all they did was purely obey the command: "forgive each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32

Phillip Yancey wrote: "Forgiveness is another way of admitting, 'I'm human, I make mistakes, I want to be granted that privilege and so I grant you that privilege.' "

Forgiveness cancels a debt someone owes us and restores relationship. It is the only solution in a world ridden with sin and evil to help us start over with people and with God.

We learn about real forgiveness at the foot of the cross where Jesus Christ shed His blood to pay for the sins of the whole world. That is God's kind of forgiveness- - free, sacrificial, no cost on our part.

When we experience His forgiveness we want to obey Him like Corrie and Mrs. Washington, extending that forgiveness to others.

So, how do we practically forgive someone who has hurt us? Here are some Steps to Forgivingness. Applying these steps to our lives can help deliver us from bitterness and work towards forgiveness:

1. We need to know and experience Christ's love and forgiveness deeply in our own lives. Col. 3:13

2. We can make the choice to forgive. When Corrie Ten Boom extended her hand to the former Nazi officer, she did it choosing to follow Christ versus her feelings. Paul writes in Eph 4:31-32 "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."NIV

3. Christ can help us overcome negative thoughts and beliefs which block forgiveness. We can ask Him to soften our hearts and change our minds towards that person, granting us the power to forgive him/her. Phil. 4:8, 13

4. We can recognize that we are sinners in need of forgiveness. This helps us empathize with those who have injured us. Mrs. Washington's acceptance of her daughter's killer was based on her realization that she was a sinner in need of grace as well. Paul writes in Rom 15:7-8

"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God."

5. The Holy Spirit can empower us, when we surrender to Him daily, with the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self-control towards those who have hurt us. Gal. 5:22-3

6. When it's still hard to forgive, we can place our trust in God Who will someday judge all the wrongs in the world. We can leave revenge and ustice up to Him..... because Proverbs 20:22 says "Do not say, "I'll pay you back for this wrong!" Wait for the Lord, and He will deliver you." and Paul writes in Romans 12:19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.

7. When we are stuck in unforgiveness, we can ask to talk and pray with a confidante, a pastor or a counselor to help us deal with the resentment and hurt we feel towards the offender. This will provide a context for release of the painful feelings we are experiencing, provide support, and a better understanding of the person and situation.

When others hurt or abuse us, disrespect or humiliate us, we can forgive them as Corrie and Mrs. Washington did. God, Himself, is the power behind our ability to forgive. He can enable us to do the impossible: "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose". Phil 2:13

Perhaps the most powerful outcome of forgiveness is that it changes and enables us to become more like Christ Who said as He hung dying on the cross... "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

God's love and grace is the power behind forgiveness, granting us supernatural power to forgive others, the power to overcome resentment, the power to redeem relationships and show God's love to a hurting world.

© copyright 2001 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC as published in The Godly Business Woman magazine's Jan/Feb 2002 issue.

Order the What's Good About Anger? anger management courses and certificates this book and program teaches you how to turn your anger into faith, assertiveness, problem-solving and forgiveness!

Lynette J. Hoy is a Marriage and Family Counselor in private practice in Oak Park, Illinois. Lynette regularly presents seminars on: women's issues, assertiveness, "What's Good About Anger?", stress and conflict management, PREP's "Fighting for Your Marriage", grief and divorce recovery. Lynette is a National Certified Counselor and the Chairwoman of CBWC: Chicago-land's Connecting Business Women to Christ. Contact her for seminars, articles or counseling needs at or 708-524-3333. See web sites: , .