sad day for Iraq

Dr. Riham Yaqoob was assassinate by unidentified assailants on Wednesday. Her death followed that of another activist on Friday when caused citizens to take to the street in protest. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi dismissed Basra’s chief of police and other security officials in response to the killings.

hail Xi Jinping!

Chinese church leaders, in state approved churches, have been order to either praise the communist party and Xi Jinping or are not allowed to re-open.

May we suggest a few sermon topics for these church leaders? How about dominion belongs to the LORD and He rules over the nations, including communist China with its leader? Mybe Isaiah 40:17-18, how before Him all the nations are as nothing? Or perhaps Ezekiel 14:13-18? if a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply and send famine upon it and kill its men and their animals, even if these three men – Noah, Daniel and Job – were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness,’ declares the Sovereign Lord. . . . ‘Or if I bring a sword against that country and say, ‘Let the sword pass throughout the land,’ and I kill its men and their animals, as surely as I live,’ declares the Sovereign Lord, ‘even if these three men were in it, they could not save their own sons or daughters. They alone would be saved.

Plenty of material in the Old and New Testament to show the place that Xi Jinping occupies in the grand scheme of things – certainly he is included with others in ‘every knee shall bow.’

While this may not be what the communist party had in mind with its directives, there is plenty of material in the scriptures that it is not just Western leaders of ‘christendom’ who are ruled by the Sovereign Lord of History.

Preaching about national affairs, as ordered, ought not to be a problem as the Old Testament contains plenty of material. The prophets have a great deal to say about nations. China and Xi Jinping are certainly just modern examples of past nations where rulers thought they were supreme. It ought not to be too difficult to find instances of the United States falling short of God’s standards either (Psalm 33:12-19).

As to Chinese cultural traditions? “Daoism” is one of the great traditional religions of China. It is concerned principally with the reign of heaven Heaven’s will is a Chinese political and religious teaching that was used in ancient China to justify the rule of the King or Emperor of China. Heaven, or Tian 天, bestows leadership.

The King of Kings and Lord of Lords knows that Xi Jinping is ruling China, even if Xi Jinping doesn’t know to whom he will answer.

In 2018 the government of China declared there were 44 million Christians in China. If the underground churches are included, the number is closer to 80 million. This means there are probably more faithful Christians in China than the US. Consider this, only 23 percent of people who claim to be Christians in the US attend assembly each week which would be about 55 million people. By 2030, there will likely be 247 million Christians in China.

The underground church is growing in China. The government has an official five year plan issued nit 2018 which calls for inserting “patriotic education” and “socialist core values” into churches, revising the Bible and using church sermons to enforce party leadership and reject foreign influences, killing some for organ harvest, targeting children (banned Sunday school), renouncing Christianity, revere Xi Jinping, and retranslating and annotating the bible.

Here are examples from the “new” version of the bible. The first commandment reads, “Thou shall have no other gods before me, except as required by Chinese law.” How about, “Thou shall not kill, unless thou are killing rightest, counterrevolutionaries, running dogs, separatists, religious extremists, hostile foreign forces, etc. The New Testament has also been revised.

You might want to be proactive and memorize scripture, unless you don’t care about the rise of China. Meanwhile, remember the Lord is in charge.

Algorithms to Live By

It’s not often we recommend a book, but this is useful one called Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions. It was written by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths.

This book takes powerful lessons from computer science and explains how they can be useful for regular humans. I don’t want to ruin the book for you, but here are a few gems: 1) older people take longer to retrieve information from memory, not because they are getting senile, but because they have more stored, 2) piles are the most efficient way to store the paperwork on your desk, 3) there is an optimal time to search for an apartment or mate before taking the plunge. I am not giving the rest of the book away, but it is really interesting and insightful.

Lament for Beirut

Beirut is one of the oldest cities in the world, it has been inhabited for more than 5000 years. It is the seat of government in Lebanon. The blast devastated neighborhoods and impacted half the city. Ammonium nitrate, 2,750 tons, exploded near the port and caused mass casualties. Emergency workers are still searching for survivors. A 2012 study found that 40 percent of the population of Beirut is Christian. Christianity in Lebanon is nearly as old as the faith itself. Paul preached in Lebanon, having lingered with the early Christians in Tyre and Sidon. Maybe you know the place as home of Phoenicians. Luke 10:1-42 mentions the place.