God Reports

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Posted 9/12/13 at 2:38 PM | Mark Ellis

Stark dilemma for Christians in Syria, former ambassador says

Syrian Christians

By Mark Ellis

He was one of two Americans who investigated Saddam Hussein’s gassing of the Kurds in northern Iraq, and authored the Prevention of Genocide Act of 1988, which passed the U.S. Senate unanimously. Now he’s sounding the alarm about the plight of Christians and other minority groups in Syria.

“I’m against genocide and the plight of the Christians concerns me, but also the plight of the Kurds and Alawites,” says Peter W. Galbraith, former U.S. ambassador to Croatia and the author of two books on Iraq.

The population of Christians, Kurds, Alawites, and Druze make up about 35-40% of the Syrian population. Galbraith has been meeting with representatives of these minority groups over the last year. Without the support of these groups the opposition is unlikely to succeed -- even with increased help from the United States, he maintains. FULL POST

Posted 9/11/13 at 7:45 PM | Mark Ellis

9/11 Remembrace: Only known survivor from impact zone

Stanley Praimnath

His song of protection – Psalm 91:1

By Mark Ellis

The 9/11 Commission credits Stanley Praimnath as the only known survivor from the impact zone at the World Trade Center towers on September 11.

“The Lord saw fit for me to live,” says Praimnath, who works in the banking industry in New York. His riveting tale of survival is chronicled in “Plucked from the Fire” (Rosedog Books), coauthored with William Hennessey.

Praimnath, born in Guyana, came to America with little money in his pockets in 1981. When he arrived, Praimnath landed a job in the garment industry in Jersey City,New Jersey, where he earned $125 a week. Then he got a job as a file clerk for a bank in downtown Manhattan.

Growing up in Guyana, his mother insisted he attend church, but he rebelled and drifted away during high school. “I woke up one day in America and decided I wanted to be a good guy, whatever ‘good’ means,” he recalls. Then a friend called and invited him to church. “The more I went, the more I liked what I saw,” Praimnath says. He was born-again in 1983. FULL POST

Posted 9/10/13 at 5:21 PM | Mark Ellis

How actor Kirk Cameron lost his atheism

Cameron at Emmy Awards, 1989

By Mark Ellis

At age 17 he had it all. As Mike Seaver on the hit TV show Growing Pains, he became a teen heartthrob and was making $50,000 a week. Magazines like Tiger Beat featured him regularly on their covers. He traveled the world meeting famous people.

But in his pursuit of a young woman’s affections, the girl’s father made it clear that amid all his youthful fame and success, there was one thing he lacked – God.

“There’s still something you don’t have Kirk,” the man told a surprised Cameron. “You don’t have the Lord.”

“I don’t believe in God and that’s not something I’m interested in,” he informed the dad, matter-of-factly. Cameron considered himself a “staunch” atheist, too intelligent to believe in fairytales.

When the girl’s family invited him to attend church with them later, he went reluctantly. “I only went because the girl was really cute and I wanted to get to know her,” he admits. FULL POST

Posted 9/6/13 at 2:58 PM | Mark Ellis

Noted Tree Grower Gave Millions to Christian Ministries, Lived in Modest Circumstances

Bob and his trees

By Mark Ellis

The man responsible for the finest quality fruit trees sold throughout the world, Robert G. Durling, who gave millions to Christian causes yet lived in a trailer at the end of his life, passed to his reward on August 29, 2013. He was 94.

“The highest quality citrus trees are grown at Durling Nursery,” said Martha Stewart, in a television program she produced on location at the sprawling, 350-acre Durling ranch in Fallbrook, California. The Durling Nursery trees are sold through Home Depot and other outlets, and shipped as far as Europe and the Middle East.

Blessed with health and strength and the work ethic of a bygone era, Durling worked six days a week until his retirement at age 92. He believed his strength and success came from above so he could bless others. Indeed, he tithed over 90 percent of his income in his later years, according to a family member.

In 2004, he gave away the modest two-story home he and wife Eleanor lived in on the ranch, because her arthritis made it difficult to negotiate the stairs. They moved into an even-more modest mobile home set among the glorious groves of naval oranges, Meyer lemons, Mexican limes and avocadoes. FULL POST

Posted 9/4/13 at 6:28 PM | Mark Ellis

Fanatic Hindu hated Christians, then Jesus healed him

Pastor Paul Ciniraj and Thankappan

By Mark Ellis

Thankappan was a taxi driver and also a fanatic Hindu. He never liked Christian missionaries. He often spoke out against Christianity and even organized people near Hindu temples to challenge the Christians’ evangelistic activities.

Once when he was driving his taxi he happened to drive near a church meeting conducted by Pastor Paul Ciniraj Mohamed. He noticed a former Muslim and a former Hindu witnessing for Christ. This enraged him. He got so angry he spit at the meeting through his car window.

At that very moment – while his anger distracted him -- his car was hit by a large truck and he sustained substantial injuries. Hospitalized, he entered into a coma, and doctors offered his family little hope he would survive.

After few days, while still in the coma, something remarkable happened. He had a vision that Jesus Christ touched him and said, "I am giving you life again. Confess your sins and become my witness.” FULL POST

Posted 9/3/13 at 3:44 PM | Mark Ellis

SYRIA: Did Assad really order the use of chemical weapons?

Video footage allegedly shows rebel loading chemical weapons on launcher

By Mark Ellis

A number of credible intelligence analysts and Middle East journalists believe President Assad’s forces were not behind the use of chemical weapons in Syria, but the weapons were supplied by Saudi Arabia to draw the U.S. into the civil war.

“Assad’s forces were winning hands-down,” says Elizabeth Kendal, international religious liberty analyst and advocate. She is an Adjunct Research Fellow in the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths at the Melbourne School of Theology.

“It was the rebels who were desperate and the rebels who gain the most from this chemical attack,” she notes. “The thing that makes the least sense is that Assad would do it. That makes no sense at all.”

Kendal cites the work of Yossef Bodansky, whom she considers the best terrorism analyst in the world. Bodansky carefully documented the movement of troops in the area leading up to the August 21st chemical weapons attack. FULL POST

Posted 8/29/13 at 6:56 PM | Mark Ellis

Businessman’s near-death experience in hell transformed his life

Matthew & Nancy Botsford

By Mark Ellis

He was attending a business convention with his brother and another family member when random shots sprayed a crowd outside an Atlanta restaurant.

Three intoxicated young men were denied entrance to the eatery and retaliated with a burst of nine-millimeter bullets from an Uzi submachine gun. One shot entered the back of Matthew Botsford’s head, lodging itself in the frontal lobe of his brain.

“They were angry, so they took a shot straight up the sidewalk,” says Matthew. “If you took a hypodermic needle, heated it up, and stuck it in your head, that’s what I felt,” he says. “It was a searing hot pain, then things went black.”

His body slammed to the pavement and the last thing he remembers is the cold, hard cement amid “inky” darkness.

He was at the edge of death – if not clinically dead -- three times after his heart stopped once on the sidewalk, once in the ambulance, and once in the emergency room of Piedmont Hospital. But weak vital signs returned and doctors induced a coma that lasted 27 days to reduce brain swelling. FULL POST

Posted 8/28/13 at 4:19 PM | Mark Ellis

Kirk Cameron film and live event will tackle life’s most vexing question: ‘Why does God allow suffering?’

By Mark Ellis

Actor Kirk Cameron considers his new film project, UNSTOPPABLE, one of the most unique of his entire career. It forms the centerpiece of a live event at Liberty University on September 24 – and broadcast live via satellite to theaters around the country.

“It’s by far the most personal project I’ve ever made regarding my faith,” says Cameron. His motivation to embark on the film stems from the untimely cancer death of a 15-year-old friend this year. After the funeral and burial of his friend, Cameron began to reflect on questions universal to the human experience.

Where is God in the midst of tragedy and suffering? he wondered. Why does he let bad things happen to good people?

“These are questions that have destroyed many people’s faith and baffle so many,” he notes. His pondering led to the UNSTOPPABLE film, which he believes will “give people hope and inspiration and a reason to continue to trust God through difficulties.” FULL POST

Posted 8/22/13 at 12:32 PM | Mark Ellis

Peruvian woman miraculously healed by God, treks mountains proclaiming the Gospel

Sister Luz with digital audio player

By Mark Ellis

Sister Luz’s husband died when she was 35, which left her to raise four children by herself. When a prolonged and serious illness brought her to death’s doorstep, Jesus – the Master Surgeon – touched her life and changed her forever.

At age 50, after dealing with sickness for several years, Sister Luz’s children insisted she get medical help. She went to doctors in three different cities, but there was nothing they could do for her.

Fearing the worst, she called her grown children to her bedside, said good-bye to them, and distributed her farmland between them. She asked if they would hold a mass for her.

After that, Sister Luz drifted in and out of consciousness for several weeks. At one point, she opened her eyes and saw Jorge, her oldest son, on his knees, crying out to God. He had told her before about finding a personal relationship with Jesus. He said he had been forgiven and had changed, but she didn't understand what he was talking about. FULL POST

Posted 8/15/13 at 3:14 PM | Mark Ellis

Honduras: Son of Missionaries, 12, Kidnapped at Gunpoint, then God's People Rose up to Pray

Sowers family with Ben standing in front

By Mark Ellis

The son of missionaries in Honduras was kidnapped at gunpoint and ransom demands were made for his release. Within minutes, thousands were alerted through social media and began to pray.

Missionaries Allen and Trish Sowers have lived in Honduras since 2001, along with their six children, ranging from 12 to 23 years old. On August 12, as Trish and her youngest son, Ben, traveled down a road in Gracias, Honduras, they were accosted by two young men with handguns.

Both mom and son were abducted and taken to a remote area, but Trish was released. Then the kidnappers began to make ransom demands for Ben’s release.

“We negotiated for over 28 hours and varying amounts were demanded,” says Steve Beam, president of The Foundation, the interdenominational mission sending agency supporting the Sowers family.

But the kidnapper had no way of knowing an army of God’s prayer warriors had been released through the internet. “Through social media, within 12 hours there were over 100,000 people praying,” Beam notes. “After 20 hours there were over a quarter million praying. At the end, 300,000 people had logged in to our website and were praying around the globe.” FULL POST

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