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Posts tagged ‘Infant’

Let it begin with me…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”
-Romans 8:6

On Christmas Eve, I think about the shepherds. They’re out on this cold night tending to their flocks when the angels come to them and tell them the Good News. From scripture, we read that, despite the enormity of their experience, it is very peaceful as they come to see Jesus and bow before him.

In the Nativity scene, itself, we see the Prince of Peace. Even though he’s in a manger in a place not designed for newborn babies, where injuries could happen and the environment is dirty, there’s a sense of real peace, tranquility, and even joy and celebration.

Something is different. The peace that surrounds what could have been a very horrible situation in this stable creates hope that maybe peace won’t just stop there. Maybe it’s not an event in and of itself, mutually exclusive of the world around it. Perhaps, just maybe, this baby boy will bring shalom, will bring peace to the people, to Israel, to Syria, to the uttermost parts of the world. This peace that is right there in this manger, maybe it will enter into the hearts of broken and hurting people everywhere.

That’s exactly what the Christmas story is about – peace – and it begins with you, and with me, right in our hearts. With the arrival of baby Jesus, he was able to enter our very angry, broken, chaotic lives, causing us to live in peace, in shalom.

Peace is available to each one of us through Christ in us. At Christmas, Jesus came to be our Prince of Peace.

Prayer: Dear Lord, on this Christmas Eve, despite what is going on around me, let me feel your peace. And, as I interact with the people around me, let your peace begin with me. Amen.

Devotion: How will peace be a part of your Christmas Eve celebration?

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Peace amidst difficulties…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.” 
Luke 1:14

I remember two years ago when we had our second baby, when my wife Hannah went into labor, we arrived at the hospital to find that all the beds were occupied. So, they put Hannah in a bed in the hall, in full labor, with nurses scurrying around. We felt uncomfortable, angry, frustrated. We wanted to be in a private, clean, nice room to give birth to our baby.

I think about how uncomfortable that was – a very scary and painful experience. Then I imagine what it was like for Mary, in labor, no room at the inn. There’s nowhere for her to have this baby, which, especially in those days, was a very dangerous situation. And the best they could come up with was a stable out back.

There, Mary gives birth on a bed of straw. And Jesus is laid in a manger, a feeding trough, where the horses and cows eat. To make it ready for the baby, they had to clear away all of the dirt to make it as clean as possible for the newborn. There’s Mary with all of her injuries from having just given birth to a baby, and yet do you feel, when you read that story, any of the aggravation and anger I experienced when Hannah was giving birth? You don’t see that. You see this peace. You see peace in the midst of a very difficult situation.

Prayer: Father, when I read the Christmas story, every part of it is filled with your peace. No matter what the difficulty or challenge, your peace filled every heart that came close to the Savior. May my heart come close and find your peace in Jesus. Amen.

Devotion: What can rob your peace…and restore your peace…at Christmastime?

Baby Factory Problem, Evidence of Rochas Okorocha’s Evil Rule, What Can Imo People Do?.


Baby Factory

Rescue 16 pregnant teenagers
Imo State Police Command yesterday arrested one Dr. Ezuma for alleged human trafficking, operating under the guise of a non-governmental organisation (NGO). Ezuma, a native of Ndiokeke Ndiakunwanta in Arondizogu in Ideato Local Government Area of Imo State, was arrested in his residence at Egbu Road, Owerri which he had allegedly registered as an NGO called women and children rights protection initiative along with 16 pregnant teenage girls.
Parading the suspect before newsmen, the state Commissioner for Police, Mr. Muhammad Katsina, said the suspect had used the NGO as a cover for his heinous activities of encouraging teenage girls to get pregnant and after delivery, they were paid N100,000 on the condition that

they would abandon their babies. “You may wish to know that when a search was conducted in the premises being used as an office for an NGO, 16 pregnant teenage girls between the ages of 14 and 19 years, who are at different stages of pregnancy, were seen. Also recovered in the premises was an automatic eight loader pump action gun which is a prohibited firearm.” The police boss also  expressed concern over a missing newborn baby who was sold to unknown persons who were yet to be found. He said the child was delivered on November 24 by one Chinaza Nnachi, a native of Ebonyi State, who came to the home when she was stranded during her pregnancy. Katsina said efforts to locate the child proved abortive as the suspect had refused to lead the police to where the baby was being kept. “So far he has taken us to Abia State, where he said the baby is but we were unable to recover the baby; though investigations are still ongoing, the presumption at the moment is that the baby may have been used for ritual purposes.” The Imo State police boss alleged that the suspect was a gun runner who had been arraigned for unlawful possession of firearms. “It is pertinent to mention that the suspect was arraigned before an Owerri Chief Magistrate Court 1 in November 2013 for the offence of conspiracy and unlawful possession of firearms.” The police also found 10 unregistered vehicles which the suspect claimed to own; the commissioner however said Ezuma could not provide any proof of purchase or ownership of the vehicles. He warned parents and guardians to be vigilant and ensure that their children do not fall prey to exploiters, adding, that the command would continue in its campaign to ensure that the business of trading in unborn babies in the state was eradicated and the perpetrators brought to book.

From GEORGE ONYEJIUWA, Owerri

Source: Radio Biafra.

Nigerian ‘baby factories’ bring profits and pain.


baby-factories

ENUGU, Nigeria (AFP) – The proprietor of Nigeria‘s Moonlight Maternity Clinic was not interested in discussing allegations that he sells newborn babies, with boys fetching higher prices than the girls.

“I have nothing to say to you,” Ben Akpudache, a stout 74-yeard-old, told AFP at the small, dimly lit clinic with concrete floors tucked between commercial shops in the southeastern city of Enugu.

“I can’t just have people coming in and asking questions.”

“Doctor” Akpudache, whose medical credentials are under question, had his clinic raided in July after a three-month sting operation in which the security forces discovered a so-called baby factory.

“We had our people posing as if they wanted to buy a child,” Nigeria’s Civil Defence Corps (NCDC) spokesman Denny Iwuckukwu told AFP.

Police had separately stormed his home in May, where they discovered that babies were also for sale.

The “factories” are usually small facilities parading as private medical clinics that house pregnant women and offer their children for sale. In some cases, young women have allegedly been held against their will and raped, with their newborns sold on the black market.

But security services say the majority of cases, including that of the Moonlight clinic, have seen unmarried women with unplanned pregnancies arrive voluntarily or through persuasion.

Their newborns are then sold for several thousand dollars, with boys fetching higher prices. The mother receives roughly $200 (150 euros).

Typical was Ebere Onwuchekwa, 29, who became emotional when asked about the sale of her son Prosper.

Speaking at the office of a child rights NGO, she said the father demanded she get an abortion, illegal in Nigeria, and she refused. Her mother ultimately brought in a “midwife”, who delivered the baby then sold him for $1500.

“She took him away… He was a day old,” said Onwuchekwa.

After learning what happened, her uncles tracked Prosper down and got him back. The 18-month-old sat quietly on his mother’s lap as she spoke.

When asked about the woman who sold her son, a resentful Onwuchekwa said “she doesn’t want me to say anything about what happened”.

As for Akpudache, he is out on bail and his facility, which he insisted in a brief, tense encounter was a “registered maternity clinic”, remains opens.

Authorities said it was not been shut down because they were waiting for the courts to take action, though the NCDC spokesman insisted Akpudache would face justice.

“Human beings should not be sold like animals,” said Iwuckukwu.

When police stormed Akpudache’s expansive, three-storey home in Ogui Eke village, roughly an hour outside Enugu, they found six pregnant young women.

In a video provided to AFP by the Enugu police, one of the women said she wanted to continue studying, not struggle as a single mother. Akpudache’s offer to host her through the pregnancy then sell the newborn seemed a solution.

In the same video, Akpudache said he was just trying to “help people in need”.

Despite a 2003 law against human trafficking, including selling children, it is Nigeria’s third most common crime behind fraud and drug trafficking, the United Nations has said. The European Union has cited Nigeria as the African country where the scourge is most common.

The maximum sentence is life in prison but sentencing remains at the judges’ discretion and offenders can get away with just a fine.

Baby trafficking, in particular, has intensified in the southeast, which is populated mainly by the Igbo ethnic group. The NCDC has several ongoing undercover operations targeting suspected baby trafficking rings in Enugu, underscoring the severity of the problem in this region.

The reasons given for why this “baby” market has developed here vary widely.

Some fear newborns are being sold to witchdoctors for rituals in a country where occult practices still occur. Some say fraudsters in the region had simply found another reliable way to earn cash.

But the security forces and activists said the majority of buyers are likely married couples struggling to conceive.

Oby Nwankwo, who spent years as a magistrates court judge in the southeast, said Igbo customs that place huge importance on male children may also play a role.

Widows and daughters have faced massive obstacles when trying to inherit family resources after the death of a patriarch, explained Nwankwo, also a member of a UN committee on discrimination against women (CEDAW).

In some cases, “if a man does not have a child, that’s it. His brother or distant relative will inherit”, said the ex-judge.

Nigerian courts have ruled against Igbo inheritance customs that discriminate against females, but the pressure on a couple to have a male heir remains intense.

Official adoption, managed by state governments in Nigeria, is excessively bureaucratic and involves a public record, a problem in a society where stigmas about adoption persist.

Iruka Nwokedi of the Women in Peace-Building Network in Enugu also blamed the intense pressure placed on having a son in the region.

“Most people want to go through the back door… they look for illegal means,” said Nwokedi.

Source: Radio Biafra.

One Woman’s Quest to Share Christ With a Muslim.


Muslim woman
(http://www.istockphoto.com)

Eleven of us were taking a three-week class on politics at one of the most prominent universities in the Middle East. It was known to be the place where diplomats, presidents and kings sent their children to school. Our desire was to engage with the future leaders of the Middle East while we attended class there.

Our professor was quite distinguished. She was tenured, she was an author of two books on politics in the Middle East, and she had taught at Princeton and Oxford. It was an honor to be under her tutelage even for such a short time.

To be completely honest, as we headed into this summer, I wondered if our group could really make an impact in a Muslim country in just three weeks. What could possibly happen in such a short amount of time?

I learned that the answer is—a lot.

During the second week of school, we walked to class and found a note on the door informing us that our professor was not able to come to class that day. She had been in a car accident. The note said that she was fine and would be in class the next day.

Sure enough, our professor was in class the next day. She seemed more than a little dazed. She kept holding her stomach, but she taught the class, nonetheless. Afterward, I went up to her with one of the other students and said, “Professor Mohammad, I’m sorry to hear that you were in a car accident. We prayed for you when we heard about it. Are you all right?”

She smiled, nodded and said, “After the accident, the paramedics had a doctor check me out. He said that my baby will be fine.”

I had no clue what she was talking about at first. Then I realized she was sharing with me that she was pregnant.

I laughed and said, “What? I didn’t even know you were pregnant! I’m so glad to hear the baby is doing okay after that. I will continue to pray for you and your baby. I’ve really enjoyed your class, Professor Mohammad. I’m learning so much!”

Looking at me a bit surprised, she said, “Really? You think I’m a good teacher? But you’re auditing!”

I smiled and said, “Just because I’m auditing doesn’t mean I don’t want to learn. I have learned so much under you.”

I think that since I wasn’t taking the class for a grade, she believed me; I wasn’t kissing up to her.

Pensive for a moment, she looked at me and said, “I’ve lost two other babies. I was afraid I was going to lose this one too.”

I realized she was sharing something extremely personal with me as she embraced me in a firm hug and said, “Thank you for asking.”

All I had done was go up to her after class to ask how she was doing. I shared that I had prayed for her and expressed that I enjoyed her class. Those small steps seemed to open her up to me in ways I hadn’t anticipated or even looked for.

The Letter
That night, like every other night, I was graciously awakened at 3:30 in the morning by the loud call to prayer blaring outside of my bedroom window. Usually, I’d just wake up briefly and then the chanting would lull me back to sleep. This night was different.

I felt impressed in my spirit to pray for my professor, her unborn child and her daughter, whom she had taken to the airport to fly to see her father. As I was praying, the Holy Spirit nudged me to write her a letter.

My first thought was, Is it safe to write her a letter with spiritual undertones? Would she wonder what our group was doing here? Would it blow our cover?

Whether it was safe or not, I knew I was being asked to write it, so I did.

Dear Dr. Mohammad,
Talking to you after class on Monday was very significant to me. One of my highest values is vulnerable communication, and for whatever reason, you chose to be vulnerable with me. It was my most precious, sacred moment so far in this country. Connecting with a person at a heart level about real life, feelings, trials, challenges, fears and failures means the world to me.

I am so glad you shared with me that you are pregnant and that your baby is fine after the accident. I saw you holding your stomach during class and I wondered if you weren’t feeling well. I am sure the car accident was scary, especially in light of your previous miscarriages. Though I am not a mother and have not experienced the physical and emotional pain of losing a child, my heart broke for you and the challenges you have had to face.

You are a very successful woman. You have accomplished already so much in your lifetime. I feel privileged to be taking your class at such a significant time in this country’s history. You have taught me so much already. However, I also know that you are not just a professor. You are a woman with a life journey, a life story, filled with joys and pain.

I learned after class that you just sent your daughter to America to visit her father there. That must be so hard and heartbreaking. I am sure there will be a great void in your heart while she is gone.

Last night, the call to prayer graciously woke me up at 3:30 am. Unlike previous nights, where the call to prayer wakes me up only to sing me back to sleep again, I felt drawn to pray for you. I know very little about you, and I have no clue as to what your religious beliefs or practices are. But I felt impressed upon my heart to pray for you, your baby and your daughter heading to America. As I prayed for peace, comfort and safety, a poem came to my mind that is one I treasure. The prophet David wrote it, and it is found in Psalm 139 in the holy Bible.

My theory, as I’ve traveled around the world, is that we humans have two great desires: to be fully known (all of our good and all of our bad) and still be fully loved. I guess I’ve become skeptical that this could be found on this side of heaven. I truly believe, though, where man may fail us, God won’t. That is why I often cling to this psalm when I wonder, “Why was I born? Does God see me? Know me? Does He care? Does He have a plan for my life?” I have come to believe that He does.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SPIRITLED WOMAN.

HOLLY MELTON

William, Kate, Show off Newborn Royal Baby Boy.


A beaming Prince William and his wife, Kate, have shown their newborn baby boy to the world.

Kate carried the future monarch outside St. Mary’s Hospital in central London Tuesday so he could be photographed by the waiting press.

The photos are likely to be reprinted for decades as the baby grows into adulthood and his role as a future king.

The young family is expected to head to an apartment at Kensington Palace.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: NEWSmax.com

Why Your Spiritual Growth Matters.


Daniel Darling

Last week I preached a Mother’s Day message from 1 Thessalonians 2:7-9. Paul compares discipleship to the actual practice of a mother nursing her child. In this, the mother is a source of life for her child. So it is that we as Christians, must be conduits of life-giving spiritual nutrition for those around us.

This has a lot of implications for the way we live. First, it matters what we ourselves are eating. A mother who is breast-feeding has to be very, very careful about her diet because what she consumes will then make up the milk for her baby.

As a Christian, what are you consuming? Are you growing yourself? Are you taking in the meat of the Word so you can feed others. You see, there is a progression here. You can’t exactly give a baby a steak or pork chops or pizza. A mother has to take in the food, chew it up, digest it, and then her body produces milk. A baby’s digestive system needs the simple formula that breast milk gives.

When our little Emma was a baby, she had such digestive problems that we had to purchase very expensive formula–$45 a can. It broke down the proteins so finely that it enabled her sensitive system to process it and for her to get good nourishment. Paul’s comparison to a nursing mother and her baby tells us something about the way we grow. We begin, as spiritual infants, with milk. Another Apostle, Peter, picks up this theme:

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
1 Peter 2:2-3 (ESV)

Notice Peter’s words. We begin with the pure spiritual milk of the Word—not diluted or polluted–but the pure milk of the Word. Kingdom as children, taking in the very basics, the very pure, refined, simple milk.

But, God doesn’t intend for us to stay that way. He intends for us to grow up. To do that, according to Paul, it seems we need to be fed and nurtured by someone more mature than us. Someone who can take the heavy meat of the word and feed us and help us to grow.This is why pastors and teachers and spiritual leaders are given to the Church (Ephesians 4).

Sadly, there are some Christians who still drinking milk who don’t pursue growth. Paul discussed this, in his frustrations with the Corinthians:

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,
1 Corinthians 3:1-2 (ESV)

This is a crisis. Imagine my little Emma Rose—now three years old—is still on that expensive $45-a-can formula. When she was a newborn, it was a stage we knew she’d get through. But if, at three, she is still on the milk, we’d be going to doctors and experts and wondering what is wrong. She should be on to the meat by now.

And so it is with some Christians. They are still drinking milk. They’ve not pursued, with intentionality, the deeper things of God. They are content with milk. And something is wrong. It’s not always a matter of how old you are or how long you’ve been a Christian. It’s the way you approach your spiritual nourishment.

Sometimes you can present a child with food, but he doesn’t eat it. A good parent makes their kid eat. God as a good father, bring circumstances in your life that force you to look deeply into the word, to lean on him, and to grow up in your faith. But if you continue to resist, you will not grow. It’s up to you to take your fork and eat.

This means you prioritize church. This means you make Bible study, reading and prayer a habit. I think of Paul, who at the end of this life, was still asking for his books. I’m amazed that my wife, who watches four children, homeschools our two older ones, runs woman’s ministries, takes care of the house—she still finds time to grow in her faith. She’s probably read more books this year already than many Christians. Did I mention to you that she’s dyslexic and has a hard time reading?

The truth is that there are may Christians who are still spiritual infants, who haven’t grown much in the last few years, and still need milk. And here’s the tragedy of this, really. God has created each of us to a fountain of spiritual nourishment, a conduit of His grace to others. But when we fail to grow, we can’t feed others. We can’t help build the church. We can’t be a light in our communities.This was the concern of the writer of Hebrews:

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Hebrews 5:12-14 (ESV)

Do you see what Paul is saying here—it should be a sober warning to all of us. You see, to live on milk means we can’t digest, can’t handle the meat of the Word. And the reason we need to handle the meat of the Word is not so we can be Bible nerds and know all the ways to pronounce Hebrew words, but so we can feed and give life to others.

The Christian life is to be one of giving, of making disciples, of growing up into salvation. It is allowing the gospel to so capture us that we grow up, so that we handle the deep things and pass them on to others.

There are people in our world God is calling us to feed, to love, to care for, to disciple, to nurture—are we fulfilling our role?  When we don’t grow spiritually, it’s not just a matter of our own malnutrition, it directly affects the community. People may be starving because we haven’t grown enough to feed them.

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