Breaking Christian News’ Aimee Herd emails:
Three times now, Ebola survivor Dr Kent Brantly has donated his blood to a patient suffering with the deadly disease—the latest recipient being Texas nurse, Nina Pham, who contracted Ebola from caring for Thomas Eric Duncan who died last week.
The first person who received a blood transfusion using Dr Brantly’s blood was fellow humanitarian aid doctor Nick Sacra, who has recovered from Ebola and been released from the hospital.
Once he heard his blood type matched, Dr Brantly (Pictured right) also donated his blood to NBC News freelance cameraman, Ashoka Mukpo, who was diagnosed with Ebola after working with a crew in Liberia. Mukpo is reportedly recovering. ’This act of kindness and generosity makes me believe in the goodness of humanity,’ his father told the press regarding Dr Brantly’s donation. (Photo: Dr Brantly/via ABC News)
In Dallas, Texas Nina Pham (26, pictured below) who had the Ebola virus also received a blood transfusion from Dr Brantly. The first nurse to be diagnosed with the Ebola virus after she helped treat Thomas Eric Duncan, Nina has just been released from the National Institutes of Health, after being declared free of Ebola.
‘I feel fortunate and blessed to be standing here today. I would first and foremost like to thank God, my family and friends,’ said Nina Pham, described as a ‘devout Christian.’ She added that she is praying for all who have Ebola, and especially her co-worker and fellow nurse Amber Vinson, who was being treated in Atlanta.
In a news conference, Nina thanked those who prayed for her, and especially Dr. Kent Brantly who had donated his plasma to aid in her treatment. Dr Brantly was the first American to recover from the deadly disease and has since donated his blood to several other Ebola victims; all of whom have since recovered.
In a side note, Nina Pham’s dog, Bentley – a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who has been quarantined since Nina was diagnosed with Ebola – is reportedly ‘doing great’ and has tested negative for the virus, though he will fulfil the required quarantine period.
(Photo: Nina Pham/Facebook/via Daily Mail)
Teacher of Nina’s Bible class, Tom Ha, told reporters, ‘The family is very dedicated and go out of their way to help people. I expect, with the big heart she has, she went beyond what she was supposed to do to help anyone in need.’
Aimee Herd is editor of Breaking Christian News and program director for ElijahStreams iRadio. Link: firstname.lastname@example.org See also her Focus article this month.
ROCHESTER HILLS, MICHIGAN
Pastor’s response to Houston mayor’s demand that ministers’ sermons be subpoenaed
Linking with Aimee Herd’s Focus article is Kenneth Tanner‘s following comments (Excerpted from Patheos (http://www.patheos.com) …
According to the Houston Chronicle, attorneys for the city of Houston have subpoenaed sermons given by prominent local pastors opposed to what the paper calls an ‘embattled’ equal rights ordinance.
Their subpoena seeks ‘all speeches, presentations, and sermons’ related to the new ordinance, to the mayor of Houston, Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity ‘prepared by, delivered by, revised by, approved by you or in your possession.’
Regardless of the issues at stake, this is beyond troubling. Any politician who wants to hear my sermons is welcome to attend the public worship services of the church I serve on any given Sunday.
To require that I submit my sermons to the scrutiny of attorneys or to any political use outside the context of worship – for whatever political end, left, right or indifferent – is so egregious a violation of religious freedom that it’s unthinkable that a city attorney in as large a city as Houston would not automatically refuse such a directive.
That the elders of a major American city imagined that this was somehow a legitimate use of civic powers is unbelievable.
I have friends across the religious and political spectrum. I cannot imagine any of them supporting these actions, not for a blessed moment.
Kenneth Tanner is pastor of Church of the Holy Redeemer in Rochester Hills, Michigan. His writings have appeared in Books & Culture, Huffington Post, Sojourners, National Review, Christianity Today, and Real Clear Religion.
Now available – The BIBLE Miniseries DVD
From Executive Producers Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel) and Mark Burnett (The Voice, Survivor) comes The BIBLE – an epic 10-part miniseries retelling stories from the scriptures for a whole new generation.
Breathtaking in scope and scale, The BIBLE showcases powerful performances and visual effects that span Genesis to Revelation.
The Bible feature score by Oscar and Grammy winning film composer Hans Zimmer and it’s narrated by Emmy winning Keith David. Link: http://www.elijahshopper.com/the-bible-dvd/
Batman meets Moses as Hollywood goes biblical
Breaking Christian News highlights this item by Raphael Poch, a senior reporter for Breaking Israel News (breakingisraelnews.com/raphael_poch) living in Jerusalem with his family :
‘She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”’ (Exodus 2:10). In a continuing trend of Hollywood epic movies of biblical proportions and themes, a new movie entitled, Exodus: God and Kings, is set to be released in December.
Like the other biblical movie that was recently released, Noah, one of the main attractions will be the use of dazzling special effects to highlight the famous story of the Jewish exodus from Egypt. In a similar style to the more famous exodus story starring Charlton Heston as Moses, The Ten Commandments, Christian Bale will be playing God’s messenger in the upcoming adaption.
At a recent preview of the movie, Christian Bale (Batman) told the audience, ‘You can’t out Heston Charlton Heston.’ He emphasised that this retelling of the biblical story will be ‘very different’ from previous versions of the tale, according to Variety Magazine. Bale said that his portrayal of Moses will focus on the complex aspects of the character, stating that Moses was a troubled and tumultuous man.
The movie, directed by Ridley-Scott, presents the story complete with big battle scenes and aerial panoramas of ancient cities, rustic settlements and military camp, all rendered in the new technologically available 3D CGI glory. According to insiders who have already previewed the movie, the footage really shifted into high gear with the depiction of four of the 10 plagues. More may be present in the film, but only four were depicted in the preview.
The movie is set to be released as early as December 4 in some countries, with a US release date of December 12, and an Israeli release date of December 11.
Australian doctor shares about her father’s healing miracle
Dan Wooding, Founder/Director ASSIST Ministries, recalls:
Back in May a Queensland, Australia doctor movingly shared at a unique Christian medical conference in Sofia, Bulgaria, how her own father was miraculously healed from a terminal illness.
Dr Zoe D Scounos, a thoracic and sleep physician and senior lecturer, University of Queensland, made her highly personal presentation at 11th Annual World Christian Doctors Network (WCDN) Conference at the Sofia Balkan Hotel, which was attended by some 240 medical delegates from 38 countries.
They had gathered to ‘Glorify the Great Physician’ and discuss ‘Medicine, Science and Spirituality.’
Dr Scounos’ case study pertained to a surgical emergency in the form of a distal small bowel obstruction, which, she said, proved to be related to an ischaemic bowel, and was so serious that it could have taken the life of her 76-year-old father. She explained that his symptoms included vomiting, diarrhea, along with haematezia for four days, intermittent fevers, and eventual abdominal pain, with distension necessitating presentation to the emergency department. ‘However,’ she told her follow doctors, ‘with a strong faith in God, a recovery defying medical odds unfolded.’
As relevant medical data was shown on two large screens in the hall where the conference was taking place, she said that her father had symptoms ‘consistent with a small bowel obstruction” which was ‘proven radiologically.’
Subsequently, the doctor went on to say, it was ‘found to be related to an ischaemic bowel necessitating an emergent exploratory laparotomy within 24 hours of presentation due to the development of early sepsis along with intensive care treatment.’
Dr Scounos (left) went on to say that a ‘right hemicolectomy was needed along with part resection of the ileum. Further resection was required upon a re-exploration of the ileum and a jejunostomy was created. However the lining of the stoma appeared ischaemic and hence the rest of the bowel in-situ was likely similarly affected. Despite supportive treatment and inotropic support the chances of survival were bleak.
But then she said, with a huge smile on her face, prayer changed everything.
Dr Scounos said that during a family meeting, with her mother and younger sister, they were faced with an ‘impossible situation medically.’ So they joined hands, and she prayed, ‘Father God, your word says when two or more people gather together in prayer you are present. Please restore the circulation through the rest of the bowel and restore Dad completely.’
She then stated, ‘Within 24 hours of prayer. a rapid clinical improvement ensued and was proven radiologically. Within the above time frame supportive treatment including inotropic support was weaned and seven days later successfully extubated, despite the development of a critical proximal myopathy. TPN was no longer required within a few days of discharge from intensive care. Short bowel syndrome ensued but managed with isotonic fluids and adequate nutritional support was attained.’
Dr. Scounos said that ‘successful recovery’ came about five weeks later during which ‘two weeks of rehabilitation’ were required, resulting in ‘a full physical and functional recovery.’
Close to tears, she said, ‘The result was astounding. There was no evidence of vascular disease which was identified intra-abdominally and his vasculature was divinely restored. This was an example of a miraculous recovery from a surgical catastrophe, with a limited chance of survival. It was a timely answer to prayer by the grace of God.’
She also quoted the following scriptures:
• Matthew 18:19-20 – ‘Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them.’
• Mark 10:27 – ‘With God all things are possible.’
• Mark 9:23 – ‘All things are possible to him who believes.’
So, once again, here was a medical doctor who personally witnessed a miracle in what seemed an impossible situation, and she received warm applause after sharing her story with her fellow medical professionals. Link: www.assistnews.net
Christian and Jewish leaders sign historic letter to halt persecution of Middle East Christians
Michael Ireland, ASSIST Special Correspondent, writes:
Prominent leaders of major Jewish and Christian global organisations have signed a historic joint initiative calling on world leaders to take firm action to halt the brutal persecution of Christians in the Middle East.
The letter was sent to 95 democratic countries and co-signed by Dr William M Wilson, president and co-chairman of the Empowered21 Global Council and president of Oral Roberts University (www.oru.edu); International Christian Embassy Jerusalem executive director Dr Jürgen Bühler; and World Jewish Congress president Ronald S Lauder.
The joint initiative was unveiled at a press conference on Monday, October 10 in Jerusalem during the annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) – link: www.icej.org.
‘This letter gives an important voice to Christians who are being persecuted and even killed for their faith around the world, especially in the Middle East,’ said Dr Wilson. ‘In this age of technology, we have a greater awareness of these types of alarming oppressions and a greater responsibility to protect Christian communities. Most Christ followers in these difficult situations will not respond with violence and therefore need global governmental authorities to stand with them against these injustices.’
Dr Wilson (Photo: Barnabas Agency)
He continued, ‘I was humbled that Mr Lauder, whose people have persevered through some of the greatest persecution in the world’s history, joined to sign this historic letter. To see this prominent Jewish leader stand with Christians in this moment should speak volumes to these world leaders.’
According to The Voice of the Martyrs, there are more Christian martyrs today than there were in 100 AD – in the days of the Roman Empire. Of the top 10 countries of the worst Christian persecution listed by Open Doors, eight are in the Middle East. The rise of ISIS has continued to raise concern for the safety of Christians in the Middle East.
Information from World Watch Monitor shows an example of the threat: ‘Where Islamic State has gained power, their reign of terror is driving all Christians and other minorities out. Before Islamic State began its rampage, about 3,000 Christians had been living in Mosul, down from 35,000 after the 2003 war. Now, there are virtually no Christians left. The mainly Christian town of Qarakosh has been abandoned as well, along with other villages; the last Christians have left the northern town of Bartella. Tens of thousands of Christians have become internally displaced, fleeing to the Kurdish region, with cities like Erbil and Dohuk taking in thousands of them.’
Also on hand to speak at the press conference was Canon Andrew White, known as the ‘Vicar of Baghdad,’ an Anglican cleric who has become one of the leading voices of the persecuted Christians of Iraq.
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem executive director Dr Jürgen Bühler said: ‘The current plight of Middle East Christians is heart-breaking and even western churches have to do more to bring the suffering of our fellow believers to the forefront worldwide. But to have a prominent global Jewish leader lend his voice to this moral call for protecting the region’s persecuted Christians is unprecedented in modern times. We welcome all others of goodwill who will take a stand now for these vulnerable ancient Christian communities.’
In explaining his participation, World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder stated: ‘Just as Christians defend Jews against antisemitism, just as Christians support Israel, we Jews have an obligation to speak out against the growing persecution of Christians in many parts of the world. Islamist extremists have launched a full-fledged assault on our Western values, on our civilization, and Jews and Christians must work hand in hand to defeat this threat. For too long, the world has remained silent in the face of this evil. We must act before it is too late.’
According to a media release about the event, ‘There are more than 600 million Spirit-empowered Christians around the world. Empowered21 aims to help shape the future of the global Spirit-empowered movement throughout the world by focusing on crucial issues facing the movement and connecting generations for inter-generational blessing and impartation.’
Their vision is that every person on Earth would have an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit by Pentecost 2033. Empowered21 will bring Christians together to contemplate the critical issues facing the Spirit-empowered movement at the upcoming Global Congress to be held May 20-25, 2015 in Jerusalem. This congress is a call to all believers from around the world to celebrate Pentecost in the land of Pentecost.
The event is expected to bring thousands of Christians to the region for a time of teaching, praise and prayer. Main sessions will be held in the new Jerusalem Payis Arena with the final session on Pentecost Sunday scheduled as a intergenerational global launch toward renewed world evangelisation under the theme To the Ends of the Earth. Information: www.jerusalem2015.com.
Among world leaders addressed in the letter are Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations, Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, US President Barack Obama, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.
Full letter link: http://empowered21.com/feast-press-conference/feast-joint-letter.pdf. ASSIST News articles link: www.assistnews.net