Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday: The Prelude to the Crucifixion from the four evangelists

Matthew 27.1 -10 
When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death. They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor. When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. He said, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ But they said, ‘What is that to us? See to it yourself.’ Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself.But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, ‘It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.’ After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter’s field as a place to bury foreigners. For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.’

Mark 15. 2-15 
Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ He answered him, ‘You say so.’ Then the chief priests accused him of many things. Pilate asked him again, ‘Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.’ But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed. Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom.Then he answered them, ‘Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Pilate spoke to them again, ‘Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?’ They shouted back, ‘Crucify him!’ Pilate asked them, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Crucify him!’ So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them;

John 19. 1-7 
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them, ‘Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.’ So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’ When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.’ The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.’

Luke 23. 26-28 
So Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. He released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished. As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.

prayer diary Good Friday 18 April 2014 ( Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

He said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 
John 19.30

Reflection
Christ died on the cross for you. He who was without sin gave up his life so that sinners might have eternal life. Do not reject the sacrifice that he made for you.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

NIGERIA: ONGOING CONCERNS FOR MISSING SCHOOL GIRLS

a Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) press release

There are ongoing concerns for the safety of 129 female students kidnapped from their school in Chibok in Borno State on 14 April by members of the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram, amid disputes over a statement issued by the Nigerian military on 16 April claiming to have freed most of them.

On the evening of 14 April, Boko Haram gunmen invaded the predominantly Christian town of Chibok in the Gwoza Local Government Area (LGA), setting fire to homes and public buildings and looting food items, before kidnapping 129 students from Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS), who were taking the West African Examination Council (WAEC) examination.

In a statement issued on 16 April, the Nigerian Defence Headquarters had stated that most of the victims had been freed 'in the ongoing Search & Rescue operations;' that 'the Principal of the school confirmed that only eight of the students are still missing', and that one Boko Haram member involved in the abductions had been captured. Earlier, 14 of the girls had managed to escape their captors when the vehicle transporting them ran into difficulties.

However, the principal of GGSS Chibok, Asabe Kwambura, has informed local media that the school was 'still waiting and praying for the safe return of the students. All I know is that we have only fourteen of them, and the security people, especially the vigilante and the well meaning volunteers of Gwoza, are still out searching for them.'

Borno state governor Kashim Shettima has offered a reward of around £180,000 for information leading to the girls' release.

Meanwhile, attacks in the area have continued. On 16 April, Boko Haram gunmen ambushed two buses carrying traders near Wala Village in Gwoza LGA, killing 18 of them, reportedly after identifying them as Gwoza residents, and injuring several others. On the same day, other Boko Haram gunmen had attacked Sabon Kasuwa Village in Hawul LGA, where they murdered the District Head in his bedroom before killing his guard and fleeing the scene

Last week Idrissa Timta, the Emir of Gwoza, appealed for effective protection, informing local media that Gwoza residents are being forced to flee and trade in food and goods is being disrupted: 'We want action from government so that lives can be saved; if nothing is done, we have no other option than to desert our homelands and flee into the neighbouring Cameroon towns where we may perhaps get protection.'

Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), said, 'We join with all people of goodwill throughout Nigeria in praying for the well-being and safe return of the abducted girls. We also condemn the continuing targeting of Gwoza residents and echo the calls of the Emir for effective action to increase security in Gwoza LGA so that normal life can resume and people are not forced to abandon their homes and livelihoods.'

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Kiri Kankhwende, Press Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on +44 (0)20 8329 0045 / +44 (0) 78 2332 9663, email kiri@csw.org.uk or visit www.csw.org.uk.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a Christian organisation working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.


prayer diary Maundy Thursday 17 April 2014 ( Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 
John 13.5

Reflection
Christ, God and man, was not above the humble service of others. What are the ways in which you are too proud to serve, thinking such actions beneath you?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

prayer diary Spy Wednesday 16 April 2014 ( Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ 
John 13.22

Reflection
Do not in your pride despise Judas. Rather, consider the ways you daily, even hourly, betray your Lord.

prayer diary Tuesday 15 April 2014 ( Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

'unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 
John 11.24

Reflection
Deny yourself that you may die to self and thus bear much fruit for Christ.

Monday, April 14, 2014

prayer diary Monday 14 April 2014 ( Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

'You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’ 
John 11.8

Reflection
There are some who think themselves too busy with the practical work of the Gospel to spend time in worship. Christ demands both of those who follow him.