Giving in God’s Gift

Ex 35:4-29; Ps 116:12-19; Acts 13:1-3; John 3:31-36

INTRODUCTION:

As soon as you mention “giving” in Church most people begin to think about money. This is because what Jesus said is true, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34).

Money rules in most of our lives in ways that properly belong to the Lordship of Christ who should be our highest treasure (Luke 16:13; Eph 3:17).

If Jesus were the treasure of our hearts rules he would already be ruling our use of resources and sermons like this one wouldn’t be needed (2 Cor 4:7; Col 3:15).

A key to allowing Jesus into that place in our lives where only he, and not money, belongs comes from a text Dale pointed out recently.

In 2 Corinthians 8:5 Paul commends those who “gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us” (2 Cor 8:5).

We should give where we see God giving. But how do you know where God is at work.

One answer would be God is giving where numbers are increasing; judging the presence of the Spirit would however make us all Catholics, or Pentecostals. Perhaps then we should give where the need is greatest.

Sounds simple but as the old saying goes, “The need does not create the call.” I went to theological college assuming God would call me to a Third World country short of Bible teachers, but he never did.

In fact giving where God is giving requires us to grow in the Gift of God, who is Christ.

GOD GIVES TO ALL

Jesus was in no doubt about the indiscriminate giving love of his Father; “vs.44I say to you, Love your enemies… vs.45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”” (Matt 5:44-45).

The Father gives extravagantly even to his enemies.

The giving of God was at the cutting edge of Paul’s preaching to idol worshippers; ““he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness…. God…. gives to all mankind life and breath and everything…”” (Acts 14:17; 17:24-25).

Beer and barbies are made possible by the all-giving God.

James puts this brilliantly by saying, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17).

The Father is the giver of everything enjoyable; husbands, wives, family, food, friendship, music, sex, sun, stars, surf. But I haven’t noticed people spontaneously worshipping on the beach, breaking into singing on a star lit night or falling on their knees on a bush track. and glorify his presence in the bush.

The whole creation is a “dazzling theatre” of God’s glory (John Calvin) but people do not want to acknowledge this.

I remember climbing to the top of Uluru shortly after sunrise looking out across the vast desert plains and sensing the still presence of the Lord. But it was a bit hard to get away from people boasting on their mobiles about their achievements in climbing the rock. 

Paul puts the problem bluntly; “For although they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Rom 1:21)

UNACKNOWLEDGED

Our refusal to acknowledge God’s glory in giving to us “life, breath and everything” is incredibly stubborn.  When the painter doing our house the other week told me he had survived a serious operation, I said, “God saved your life.” So he said, “I thought it was the doctors!”, so I said, “Who gave the doctors the skills to save you?”, to which he said nothing.

Generally speaking the more God gives to a people the more obstinate their sin and idolatry becomes.

God gave himself as Husband to Israel but they so wickedly turned to idols that in Jeremiah he describes their guilt as “incurable” (Jer 30:12, 15).

Anyone who has visited churches in the Third World will testify you will find a spiritual zeal that embarrasses us e.g. the rest of my life will be impacted by the pure passion for Christ I saw amongst the children in rural Myanmar.

We turn the gifts health, wealth, education, liberty and happiness into weapons to shield us from our need for God. I sense that there is something in me, and in all that is spiritually stubborn and unyielding.

If you don’t sense this about your own life then I am truly worried for you (cf. Rom 7; Gal 5:17).

As a young Christian whenever I heard the Ten Commandments the Lord describing himself as a jealous God who must always come first I felt that there was something selfish about God (Ex 20:3, 5).

I sensed he wanted to take from me without giving back. My problem as a young Christian was that I didn’t know Jesus and the power of the cross well enough.

Only a revelation of the Gift of God himself can uproot our stubborn inbred convictions that God holds back in his giving (Matt 10:8).

THE GIFT OF GOD

What is the most famous verse in the Bible….; ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). At the centre of Jesus’ self-identity was his conviction he was the Father’s unconditional gift to humanity.

So he says about himself to the woman at the well; ““If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”” (John 4:10).

Paul shows his appreciation for Jesus as the Gift by ending his teaching on giving in 2 Corinthians with an outburst of praise; “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” (2 Cor 9:15). Jesus is the unspeakably, indescribably wonderful gift given to us from heaven.

There is no limit to the profuse giving in God.

In our Gospel reading today the Son of God testifies he has been given “the Spirit without measure” by the Father so that “all things might be given into his hands” (John 3:34-35).

That the Father has personally placed me in Jesus’ hands; the hands into which little children were placed for a blessing, the hands which healed lepers and cripples and of course the hands which were crucified for me (Luke 5:13; 7:14; 18:15 cf. John 10:28-29).

Knowing this should impart to us unlimited security. But we haven’t all had a revelation of such things. When Paul exhorts the Corinthians; “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9:7), he is first and foremost making a statement about the Lord’s own character.

God always gives joyfully; Jesus announced, ““Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32).

If giving as a duty rather than a delight we must be confused ask about the true spirit of giving; as most people are (John 8:29).

Let me illustrate.

Should we, “Give until it hurts”, “Give until it doesn’t hurt anymore.”, or “Give until it hurts not to be able to give more.”?

What do you think…?

I think every time we try to understand spirituality through principles we remove Jesus from his proper central place in our lives. In the last week two people separately asked me if they should give 10% of their income to their church.

These are questions sincere Christians ask because they don’t grasp that God has given his Son to us so that through his Spirit we might share in his giving of himself to the world.

We see the true spirit of giving is Jesus lamenting over Jerusalem; ““O Jerusalem, Jerusalem… How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”  (Matt 23:37).

Jesus spills his guts because they were unwilling to accept the gift of his protective presence giving.

There is a deep mystery in the spirit of giving that was understood by the Early Church and the thousands of Christian martyrs across the centuries; as Paul puts it, “For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” (2 Cor 4:11).

As we lose life our lives n the service of Christ life is given to others.

THIS IS THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS.

The terrible cry from the cross, ““My God… why have you forsaken me?”” means Jesus has been stripped of the Spirit of the all giving Father, so in agony he feels he has nothing to give for the glory of God and the salvation of the world. (Mark 15:34). 

Exhausted and at the point of death there yet remains one thing he can give, not physical strength, not mental capacity, not strength of will; he calls out, ““Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”” (Luke 23:46).

Jesus gives his crushed innermost being into the Father’s hands on behalf of a humanity that would never give its deepest life to God (cf. 2 Cor 1:8). The cross is the launching point of a new creation.

Jesus “was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God” (2 Cor 13:4).

The resurrection of Christ from the dead illuminates the mystery of all godly giving. In giving according to the will of God divine power fills and multiplies everything. This is how the seed of the Word in the parable of the sower brings forth “fruit, thirty-fold and sixty-fold and a hundredfold.”” (Mark 4:20).

This is why the tiny mustard seed hugely expands as a sign of God’s kingdom (Mark 4:31-32). Everything given to God in Christ multiplies because Christ himself is “a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies … but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24).

Psychotherapist Paul Tournier perfectly describes human nature when he says; if a brother or sister takes some toy of ours we protest, “No! It’s mine!”…. but “If I have courage and I give it to one of my patients, I end up with more courage. If I have faith and impart it to another, my own faith is increased.”

The love of God in Christ is limitlessly expandable, for it brings a share in the boundless ever giving inexhaustible life of a limitlessly giving Father.

As Jesus said; ““Give, and it will be given to you. Your gift will return to you in full – pressed down, shaken together to make room for more…. the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”” (Luke 6:38).

GIVING BACK

In giving himself in Christ God has given all that he could ever possibly give.

The gift of God’s Son is the gift which inspires all Christian giving in the confidence that;  “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom 8:32). But someone might think; “What do I have to give?”

Firstly, when Paul teaches, “each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.” (1 Cor 7:7 cf. Rom 12:6; 1 Pet 4:10) it means we all have something special to impart to others.

Often this gift will have been formed and refined through pain; since, for instance, I have had many bad experiences of the Church lots of hurt Christians gravitate to me looking for a word of wisdom. Perhaps you have experienced much mourning, or suffering in marriage, through mental or physical illness, family rejection.

Suffering turned to the Lord yields a powerful gifting.  When a father known to me found his lost 3 year old drowned in a creek he called out at the top of his voice asking to God to use his life to bring many people to Jesus….he has become a passionately effective evangelist.

When you yield agonising experiences to the power and presence of the crucified victorious Christ you will find a gift of God powerfully working in you for others. There is however something even more potent than all this to say about giving.

Paul points us to something exceeding wonderful in teaching us that when Jesus ascended to heaven he gave the gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher to the Church (Eph 4:10-12).

These are not gifts in people, they are gifts of people. E.g. Dale here, is not simply gifted in what he says and does, but as a person he is a gift to the Church.

Do you see yourself in Christ as a gift to the world?

Most Christians get stuck in giving because they still look at themselves and the poverty of their own resources instead of turning to Jesus who shares his life with them in the power of the Spirit of the all giving Father.

Forget about yourself, turn away from what you think you know about yourself or what others have to say about you, if I listened to the opinions of others I wouldn’t be here today.

When we look at ourselves through the lens of the crucified Christ we have a testimony in ourselves, in our weakness, brokenness and ignorance, of being a gift to the world (Gal 2:20).

I am not a visual person but the Spirit gave me a picture some years ago. When believers walks in submission to the Lord in the way of the cross they become like a prism through which the light of Christ shines with endless manifestations of his wisdom and love to give to the world (Eph 3:19-20).

The giving Church becomes a spectrum of all the colours of the rainbow glory of God so men and women might turn to Christ and be saved (see below).

CONCLUSION

Following Jesus is not about what God can give to me but to share in God’s Gift to the world.

There is no measure to how much the Father wants to share his giving with us no measure of how much delight he gets through this giving (Luke 12:32; Phil 2:13); no measure other than the immeasurable gift of Christ crucified and risen (2 Cor 9:15).

To the extent we know Jesus as God’s Gift to that extent we will have a heart bursting to give more of Jesus to the world.

Do you have a heart bursting to give more of Jesus?

If you can answer “Yes” then praise God for together God will help us give more, if you want to say “Yes” but are unsure or afraid about what this might mean, we can pray for you about that, if your honest answer is “No” then we can pray that you might give your life to Christ as your Lord and Saviour.

MESSAGE DELIVERED: 23rd July, 2017 | St Mark’s.

Author: Dr. John Yates


MESSAGE PODCAST: 28th July. 2017 |   


Related Link: Nil

Protected by Blood

INTRODUCTION

With those with ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches (Rev 2:7 etc.) alarm bells are ringing constantly and they show no sign of stopping.

This is not the first time I’ve experienced a heightened need to be alert and pray for divine protection.

Late in 2014 I was a part of establishing a regular night of prayer based on the words in Joel 2:1 called, “Blow the Trumpet… Sound the Alarm”. (We were eventually forced to drop “Sound the Alarm” by the host church.)

One of our most moving meetings came several months later in response to a video placed on the internet by Islamic State. It showed the beheading of 21 captive Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Christians for their faith in Christ.

The church was full that night, including with many young people who stood in the place of the martyrs, but as news of the persecution of Christians across the Middle East became more regular the dynamic for urgent prayer became less felt and those meetings petered out.

Since “judgement begins at the household of God” if our Father can’t get our attention by distant things he will begin to shake things closer to home (1 Pet 4:17).

Near the start of the year we had the Riverview financial fiasco and the resignation of its senior pastor, then I started to have people coming to me with more and more stories of pastors having breakdowns, let alone marriage breakups, of prophetic people being “moved on” from places of ministry and the suicide of the youth pastor at Life City Church seized the attention of many.

The Spirit of the Lord is shaking the Church in Perth but few know how to interpret the signs of the times (Matt 16:3; Heb 12:25-28). The people of God seem paralysed in terms of how to enter into God’s protective presence.

We seem stuck, even in our thinking about revival, in the cycle characteristic of the Old Testament period of the Judges.

In times of prosperity Israel forgot her covenant with the Lord and turned to idols, so God subsequently handed them over to enemies as a punishment, in pain they called out to the Lord who faithfully delivered them, then they became prosperous only to have the whole pattern repeat itself (Judges 2).

In the New Testament the strong discipline of the Lord on a self-confident church is represented in Corinth (1 Cor 10:12; 14:37) where Paul needs to explain to the Christians that because of their disunity, “That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.” (1 Cor 11:30).

The relative rarity of healings across the church is a sign we are under the discipline of God, and he will hand us over to more suffering until we accept his ways of Fatherly correction and protection.

Pastorally speaking however the most obvious sign of a spiritual crisis in Church and culture is confusion about marriage. Not everyone is called to marry, but in God’s order everyone is meant to be able to see through Christian marriages the glory of the eternal relationship between the Church as the Bride of Christ and Jesus as her heavenly Bridegroom.

To understand the roots of our current confusions about marriage and gender we need to go back to Eden.

MARITAL PROTECTION

Before the creation of Eve Adam was charged by God to “serve and guard”1)For details supporting this translation, including scripture references see, for example, see Article the garden of eden a temple and adam a priest the Garden as a place of holy beauty for his coming bride (Gen 2:15).

Essential to his vocation of watching over Eden was the wisdom of the Word of the Lord spoken to him not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:17).

The preservation God’s presence in Eden depended on Adam as a husband taking up the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and using it to repulse the devil when he entered Eden to seduce Eve (Gen 3:6; Eph 6:17).

In practice Adam’s passivity in the face of evil meant he denied God’s Word was “living and active” and most marriages have been devoid of the power of the all protecting Word of God ever since (Heb 4:12).

The absence of the Word will always mean the presence of evil.

Paul lays out the spiritual foundation of marriage by quoting from Genesis 2 and asserting; “vs.31Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.vs.32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” (Eph 5:31-32).

Human marriage exists as a sign of the eternal marriage between Jesus and the Church. Most men have a huge problem understanding this. Two Saturdays ago I was asked to read from Ephesians 5 on husbands and wives at a wedding and afterwards I was mobbed by people with quite strong responses.

The men have no idea how to draw out submission from their wives because they haven’t taken initiative in laying down their lives in spiritually protecting them in Spirit and Word. Walk in this way of self-sacrifice men and your wives will respect you; that’s certainly my experience (Eph 5:22-32).

My main point here is not about the state of marriage but the state of the Christianity. In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul applies matrimonial language to the ravaged state of the Church, vs.2I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. vs.3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” (2 Cor 11:2-3).

The church in Corinth was in disarray because they had accepted those preaching “a different Jesus…a different kind of Spirit and a different kind of gospel…” than that brought by the apostles (2 Cor 11:4 cf. Gal 1:6).

Wherever the people of God are stained by the sins of the world (Eph 5:27; James 1:27) rather than a radiant Bride it is because they are submitting to a “different teaching” from the Word of Christ (1 Tim 6:3).

This is our problem across the churches today.

In God’s great purposes all should be able to see shining through the holiness of the Church and the splendour of Christian marriages that the ultimate state of the universe is marital bliss.

In the nineteenth chapter of Revelation the heavenly hosts announce the impending “marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19: 6-9) and John records a scene alarming to unbelievers but comforting to the followers of Christ; “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war…. vs.13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. vs.14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. vs.15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations…

Elsewhere in scripture Jesus is called “the second Adam” (1 Cor 15:45) and here he does what Adam and all his cowardly imitators have failed to do, he appears as the true Husband who fights for his Bride the Church with the all conquering all protecting Word of God.

If this Word of God is rarely manifested across our churches today, if few are taking up the spiritual arms of the Word of prayer in union with Christ in his conflict with the powers of evil the reason is clear. Satan’s strategy is to gradually dim the light so our eyes become adjusted to the darkness.

When evil is no longer named as the horror it is the consequences for church and culture is disastrous. When seeker sensitive preachers try to replace the old fashioned offensive word “sin” with terms like “mistake” you will find that the ultimate power which cleanses the Church and keeps her holy and protected from the ravages of the world, and the painful discipline of God, is lost.

We lose the power of the blood of the cross.

THE PROTECTION OF BLOOD: ISRAEL

The need for blood sacrifice goes back to the very beginning of human rebellion. Adam and Eve tried in vain to cover over their shame with fig leaves but God covered them with animal skins (Gen 3:21).

The provision of a blood sacrifice to cover a sinner speaks powerfully to a guilty conscience that there is yet hope for undeserved mercy from the Judge.

It was in Moses’ time however that the importance of the protection of blood was made unmistakably clear.

At the time of the first Passover in Egypt God promised; “For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the top and sides of the door-frame, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.” (Ex 12:23).

Only those whose doorposts were painted with lamb’s blood were protected from the destroying angel. Do you know that God commanded that the lamb destined for the slaughter be cared for in the Israelite houses for 4 days before Passover?

A beloved family pet was to be slain teaching a lesson of the painful price to be paid for the covering love of God. For us the Passover lamb is a prophetic symbol of Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Isa 53:7; John 1:29).

Throughout the Old Testament there are hundreds of references to sacrificial blood as a gift given by God to protect Israel from his judgement on sin (Ex 30:10; Lev 4:25; Lev 16:15, 27; Ezek 45:19 etc.).

When a faithful Israelite took an animal to the tabernacle cut its throat and watched the priest throw its blood against the altar they had a wonderful experience of “atonement” i.e. being covered (Lev 1).

In their conscience they knew they were being guarded by a God-given provision; “blood” meant forgiveness (Lev 4:20-35; Heb 9:22).

A forgiveness that however that was never complete and could never impart a sense of eternal security. To understand how sinful humanity could be fully covered and protected from God’s judgement and the power of sin, Satan and death we must speak of the death of Christ.

JESUS

Longing to supply divine protection to his people Jesus laments, ““O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings”” (Luke 13:33-34).

Such an invincible protection could however come in only one way. If the blood of the prophets needed to be shed to seal the sincerity and veracity of God’s marital and covenantal word of appeal to Israel then the blood of the Word himself must be shed (Luke 11:50-51).

Commenting on Ephesians 2:13, “in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”,

“Spilled blood speaks louder than a voice.  If God hears the prayers of oral petition and intercession – how much more does he hear the cry of his beloved Son, the Messiah! Blood augments/empowers the urgency of intercession.”

The link between shed blood and prayer is expounded by the writer to the Hebrews who witnesses from a heavenly perspective, “you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…. and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” (Heb 12:22, 24).

If the blood of the murdered Abel reached heaven with its cry for vengeance (Gen 4:10) the blood of Jesus fills heaven with its plea for forgiveness.

If, as the psalmist says, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” their “blood is precious in his sight” (Ps 116:15; Ps 72:14), then the pleasing sacrificial aroma that arose from the cross has infinitely overwhelmed the stench of the world’s sins (Eph 5:2).

In Christ God has no wrath (Isaiah 27, John 19:30; Eph 2:12-16; Col 1:20).

If, as John tells us, “as he (Jesus) is so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17), the Lord can God can no more strip away his protection from you than he could abandon his Son in heaven. But it is exactly at this point that the consciences of Christians get stuck.

Where was the all protective Father when Jesus cried out, from the cross ““My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”” (Mark 15:34).

If Jesus is to die not only for the least, last and lost, as politically correct preachers would put it today, but for sinners, ungodly, wicked, lawless, defiled, immoral and perverted people, as Paul puts it, he must die unprotected (1 Tim 1:9-10).

Christ’s holy conscience must be plunged into that place where sinners are, a Paul puts it in his exposition of God’s wrath in Romans 1, “handed over” to the consequences of their own depravities “freed” from all divine Fatherly protection (Rom 1:18, 24, 26, 28).  

What does this look like?

Someone sent me a doctor’s blog from the UK recently, there people are saying Bible believing Christians not be allowed to be politicians, there are calls for the complete decriminalisation of abortion, plans to combat ‘”non-violent extremism” (i.e. conservative Christians opposed to gay marriage) and so on.

The title of the article was “Troubled times – Is God giving Britain over”?2)published Friday, 14 July 2017 Posted by Peter Saunders at 04:41 Article Link: pjsaunders.blogspot.com.au  Article Title: Troubled times – Is God giving Britain over?

I am not so polite as this Englishman; God is giving over not only the UK but Australia, to the weight and pain of our ever intensifying sins. Morally, relationally and spiritually our culture is becoming more and more blind and mad because the Lord’s hand of protection has been removed. We must however not lose hope for this is all part of a greater purpose.

John Yates

As things get harder in the lives of people, as their addictions to food, fun, sex, travel, drugs and other hedonistic activities fail them, as more and more relationships fail to fulfill, through the witness of Christians people will discover that the one person who understands the depths of their hopelessness and hellish pain is the person who has been there and conquered, it is Jesus!

What the Church must understand in this terrible hour of need is that the blood of the crucified Christ possesses a powerful wisdom surpassing human imagination (1 Cor 1:24).

When John is transported to the heavenly world and comforted by the words of the angel, ““Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah… has conquered” (Rev 5:5) our natural human response is to expect him to see a muscled up super-Saviour (like Aslan in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe) who will overpower the devil who “prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Pet 5:8 cf. Mark 3:27).

But at the summit of his vision of God’s plan to protect his people John sees the exact opposite. He sees a creature famous for being weak and defenceless, “a Lamb standing, as slaughtered” that is, a resurrected and crucified Lamb whose sacrificial blood has achieved what no amount of supernatural strength could accomplish, it has “freed us from our sins” we are fully forgiven (Rev 5:6; 1:5).

The world today needs the Church more than ever before, it needs a Church with a wisdom to understand that God not only protects us from pain but protects us through pain (Heb 5:7-8). The world needs a Church powered by blood.

POWERED BY BLOOD

access to heaven’s throne is through the Blood of Jesus

One of my Arabic speaking friends said Islamic State made a big mistake in releasing the video of the beheading of the Coptic believers onto the internet with the audio turned on, because at the very last moment of their lives these men cried out in one voice, “Jesus”; “they have conquered him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” (Rev 12:11).  

These young men were so able to confess Christ in their moment of supreme need because they felt the all protective presence of God in the blood of Jesus. Few understand the mystery of such power.  Let me illustrate.

When I visited the World Prayer Centre in Colorado Springs in 2007 the entryway was peppered with quotes from famous Christians. Only one struck me as particularly Spirit-inspired.

Jack Hayford said, “Direct access to heaven’s throne through the Blood of Jesus is the grand privilege of prayer.

Hayford understands that the blood of the Lamb is the key to connecting with God’s throne of grace (Heb 4:16; Heb 10:22).

The blood of the cross speaks with crystal clarity of an absolute love sacrifice powerful enough to crush the assaults of all evil powers in their accusations against the children of God (Job 1:9; Job 2:5; Zech 3:1; Rev 12:10).

Under the blood of the cross a faithful Christian is unassailable; “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.” (1 John 5:18 cf. Ps 5:11).

Christ’s blood testifies  to our consciences that for us God is wrathless and in Christ we are guiltless and without shame or blame (Rom 3:25; Rom 5:1; Rom 8:1; Eph 1:4; Col 1:22; Rev 14:5 etc.).

The power of the blood can never however be experienced by an easy going lifestyle Christianity which turns away from the path of self sacrifice.

Many of us love this scripture; “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” But few understand its dynamic is contained within the verse which precedes it, “As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” (Rom 8:36-37).

Only those who are willing to be slaughtered for the sake of others can share in the power of the Lamb slaughtered and resurrected who is at the centrepiece of all of God’s prevailing purposes (Rev 5:6).

Only true disciples can know the protective cover of the Blood of Christ has annihilated the threat of sin, Satan and death once and for all time (1 Cor 15:54-56; Heb 2:14-15; Heb 10:12, 14).

CHURCH UNDER ASSAULT

The Church in Australia today is under Satanic assault like never before and needs to discover the power of prayer that penetrates the heavens. I remember when our youngest son was in junior high school and he used to take the train to school every day.

We need to discover the power of prayer that penetrates the heavens.

As I was driving to work early one morning I felt compelled to pray for his safety.

When he came home later the same day he told us how someone on the train had pulled a knife on him and demanded money; he was not frightened at all and simply told the person that he wasn’t going to give them anything, at which point they became afraid!

God gave him a word of testimony that overcame the present power of evil. Prayer, prayer and more prayer is what we need. Let me raise a few urgent examples.

In our day we are witnessing the sexualisation of everything! Unless there is a revival of prayer in the Church the avalanche of indecencies confronting girls and young women on the internet, and with the “Safe Schools” project coming, the moulding of young minds towards sexual permissiveness will become overwhelming.

To resist this tidal wave of perversion God is calling for a tsunami of contending prayer (Col 4:12); bands of women travailing in the power of the Spirit of the cross giving birth to new spiritual life amongst multitudes of young women and girls marked by the devil for the debasement of the flesh (Isa 53:11). The Spirit wants to raise up thousands of “Fighting Women”.

There is an equally strong call for men to rise up in the face of the onslaught of dark powers against masculinity and to resist the grip of lying pacifying evil powers that say men are useless.

Men begin to lay down your life in prayer and enter into what in Australia is the culturally unthinkable, bands of men praying together for their marriages and families taking hold of the Word of God and breaking off the bonds of evil forces (Eph 5:25ff.).

When Ephesians 6 exhorts us to “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” it uses the plural participle indicating this is something that the Church should be doing (v.16).

Where then are those bands of pastors gathering across the suburbs united in prayer to protect the Body of Christ from the arrows of accusation, suspicion and condemnation raining down upon the people of God?

We are in a bad state when Australia’s largest interdenominational Christian newspaper (Eternity) runs an article by a well known local pastor (John Finkelde) with the title, “Hillsong Perth is launching – should pastors panic?”3)see article Hillsong Perth is launching – should pastors panic? 

Is it the case that the Church is attacking itself?  

Does the Church need to be protected from itself  because it is full of the competing visions of insecure leaders?

In many places the answer to these questions is “Yes!” But it doesn’t have to be like t because Christ has triumphed by his blood. Let me quote twice from Ecclesiastes.

In an age which believes “money answers everything” (Eccl 10:19) we need to learn “the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money,” (Eccl 7:12).

When the people of God and their leaders lay down their lives for one another (John 13:14) a spiritual canopy of protection will be raised up over our city (Is 4; 54), a cover of love far above the reach of the “rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Eph 3:10), a cover under which the work of God prospers to maturity and God’s kingdom will mature amongst us.

Conclusion

In conclusion, let me finish where I began.

Alarm bells are ringing in the Spirit because the Church of God is under attack from within and without and our only recourse is to learn again the victorious power of the blood of the Lamb.  

More remains to be learnt from the story I began with from Libya.

After the beheadings the Coptic Church released the names of their martyrs, but there were only 20 not 21 names on their list.

It was later learned that the 21st martyr was a man from Chad.

He was originally not a Christian, but when he saw the immense faith of the others, and when the terrorists asked him if he rejected Jesus, he reportedly said, “Their God is my God”, knowing that he would be slaughtered.

This is the testimony of Jesus, the invincible witness of the blood of the cross to a love that can protect our hearts and keep them faithful to God not only by protecting us from pain but even more protecting us through pain (John 19:34-35; 1 John 5:6ff.).

To be a martyr for Jesus you may not have to shed physical blood, but you do have to be willing to bear whatever cost he calls you to carry.

I am exhausted by the stupidity and superficiality of so much of the church in our city, so I want desperately to share in the testimony of the blood of Jesus, whatever it takes; how about you (Rev 1:2, 9; Rev 12:17; Rev 19:10; Rev 20:4)?

MESSAGE DELIVERED: 16th July, 2017 | Zion Fellowship.

Author: Dr. John Yates


MESSAGE PODCAST: N/A |   


Related Link: Nil

References   [ + ]

1. For details supporting this translation, including scripture references see, for example, see Article the garden of eden a temple and adam a priest
2. published Friday, 14 July 2017 Posted by Peter Saunders at 04:41 Article Link: pjsaunders.blogspot.com.au  Article Title: Troubled times – Is God giving Britain over?
3. see article Hillsong Perth is launching – should pastors panic?

Fighting Women

INTRODUCTION

One lunch time I was in a coffee shop with a mature sister who was lamenting the young women she knew that were looking for (Christian?) men online for sex, plus those in long term relationships where the guys weren’t proposing marriage because, “They already have what they want.”

The night after this disturbing encounter I was listening to an expert on sex trafficking and prostitution exhorting Christians to be salt and light into this terrible global epidemic.

The following morning the Lord drew my attention to Naomi’s counsel to Ruth, ““It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted.”” (Ruth 2:22).

From one end of the Bible to another men are dangerous to women (1 Tim 2:14).  From God’s point of view any sex outside marriage, even if it is mutual, is a form of moral, mental and spiritual abuse.

The urgency of the hour demands older Christian women rise up as spiritual mothers and grandmothers to a generation of younger women and girls whose sexual and relational future is looking bleak beyond hope.

STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT SEX

We are witnessing a moral situation unique in history; the exposure of children to explicit sexual images online at ever younger ages.

This is not primarily a function of technological change, but a strategy of the powers of evil to pervert the very nature of human moral sensitivity (Rev 19:2).

A generation is being conditioned to think sex of all sorts outside the covenant of marriage is not only 100% normal but to not live like this is warped.

With the “Safe Schools” project coming to a venue near you the moulding of young minds towards permissiveness will become overwhelming –  without a counter thrust through the Church into families, youth groups and so on that manifests divine power (Rom 12:1-2).

This spiritual counteroffensive must be led by “mothers in Israel”.

MOTHERS IN ISRAEL

In her song of triumph Deborah declares; “The villagers ceased in Israel; they ceased to be until I arose; I, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel.” (Judges 5:7). 

The scriptures never mention Deborah’s own children; rather she is a leader who brings Israel back from the edge of the grave by giving them new birth through victory over their enemies.

Naomi is another mother in Israel, but in a way that points more directly to Christ. Through her counsel Ruth comes to the field of Boaz, who recognising her covenantal fidelity to Naomi declares in the Spirit; ““The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!”” (Ruth 2:12).

Following the secret plan of Naomi Ruth lies at the feet of Boaz and declares to him in an intimate fashion,““Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”” (Ruth 3:9).

In time the couple marry and of their line David and Jesus will be born. As the younger Ruth unhesitatingly obeyed the wisdom of her mother-in-Israel Naomi to be covered by the resources and character of Boaz so spiritual mothers in the Church must unremittingly counsel their daughter in the Lord to seek the protection of the one true redeemer, Christ.

The destructive sin of many young women today is to seek a life-partner with greater urgency than which they seek the one who alone will watch over them forever, Jesus.

RE-VIRGINISING

Paul’s exhortation, “I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” (2 Cor 11:2), employs the language of a holy spiritual presence. But lacking deep spiritual intimacy with Christ the Church has traditionally reverted to legalism in the area of sexual morality.

More recently much of Christianity has simply abandoned this area as “too hard” to police. These approaches are equally destructive. Jesus himself was neither moralistic nor permissive but brought a presence that cleansed away the deepest shame.

He united fallen spirits with the Holy Spirit of God so empowering sexual purity; “the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit” (1 Cor 6:17).

The power of the gospel can mean, “once you weresexually immoraladulterershomosexuals” (1 Cor 6:9-11). This power is still with us.

After preaching on the reconciling power of the cross Geoff Bingham was approached by a young woman who said, “If what you have said is true, then I’m a virgin again.”

In the sight of God this re-virginising is true for all who are being “cleansed by the washing of water through the word”. In Christ they are “in splendour, without spot or wrinkle… holy and without blemish.” (Eph 5:26-27).

To be in touch with Jesus in a deep holy intimate way imparts to a woman a sense of ageless beauty far deeper and more indelible than the attentions of any man, or cosmetic, can impart (Ps 45:3-4; Rev 19:7-8). Such a profound transformation however does not come without a fight.

APPLICATION: TIME TO CONTEND

The Church is desperately short of mothers-in-Israel because first of all there are so few men, including husbands or pastors, who are earnestly contending for the faith of God’s holy people (Jude 1:3).

Too many are spiritual wimps rather than warriors.

Until something changes both spiritual and sexual impurity will keep advancing in the Church.

All is not lost, for there are times when women have to take initiative shaming men to take up their call in the Lord.

This was so when Barak took up arms at the exhortation of Deborah to defeat the Canaanites (Judges 4).

Such things can still happen in our times.

When the communists invaded Romania many church leaders publicly aligned themselves with those in power.

In one such meeting Sabina Wurmbrand pinched her husband’s arm and said fiercely; . “Richard, stand up and wash away this shame from the face of Christ. They are spitting on his face!”

“If I do so,” Richard Wurmbrand answered, “you will lose your husband.” Her eyes bore into his. “I don’t want a coward for a husband.” Submitting to his wife Wurmbrand would spend 14 years in prison but become a global leader for the cause of the persecuted Church. Where is all this heading?

I see bands of women travailing in the power of the Spirit of cross giving birth to new spiritual life amongst multitudes of young women and girls previously marked by the devil for the debasement of the flesh (Isa 53:11).

The tidal wave of perversion can be rolled back by a tsunami of contending prayer (Col 4:12). God is calling for fighting women; Your KING and Country need You.

Enlist Now! Then get some of your friends to pray with you into this specific issue on a regular basis.

MESSAGE DELIVERED: 3rd July, 2017 | Location unknown

Author: Dr. John Yates


MESSAGE PODCAST: – / – / 2017 |   


Related Link: Nil

Daily Mail Reports: Kidnapped Australian surgeon, 82, is one of six hostages shown in ‘proof of life’ video released by al-Qaeda-linked group in Mali as French president visits country

• Australian surgeon Kenneth Arthur Elliot has appeared in a terror hostage video

• The 82-year-old was seen wearing a pink shirt and brown headscarf

• He appeared with five other hostages in the video shared online on Saturday

• It was released by Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen ahead of French presidential visit to Mali

An al-Qaeda-linked group in Mali has released a proof-of-life video showing six foreign hostages, including one Australian.

The SITE Intelligence Group, who monitor jihadist communications, reported the existence of the video from the recently formed Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen shortly before the French president’s arrival in the West African country for an anti-terror summit on Saturday.

The video shows Stephen McGowan of South Africa, Kenneth Arthur Elliot of Australia, Iulian Ghergut of Romania, Beatrice Stockly of Switzerland, Gloria Cecilia Narvaez of Colombia and Sophie Petronin of France.

Mr Arthur, a surgeon, is 82. In the video he appears with a thick white beard, wearing a pink top and a brown headscarf.

He was first captured with his wife Jocelyn in January last year, though his wife was released a month later.

Dr Kenneth Arthur Elliot was seen in a proof of life video released by Mali terrorists on Saturday

He was captured with his wife Jocelyn, and the pair had previously built a hospital from scratch in Djibo (pictured) and worked there together

The 82-year-old surgeon was seen in a brown headscarf and pink shirt in the video

Dr Elliot and his wife travelled to West Africa in 1972 and built the only hospital in Djibo ‘from scratch’ and had worked there together before they were both captured.

A number of the hostages have been held for years – with the February capture of Ms Narvaez – a nun- near the border of Burkina Faso being the most recent.

Of the six shown in the video, McGowan was the earliest seized, abducted in 2011 from a hostel in Timbuktu.

‘No genuine negotiations have begun to rescue your children,’ a narrator says in the clip.

The narrator also mentions the recently elected French 

President Emmanuel Macron, saying that Petronin ‘is hoping that the new French president will come to her rescue.’

Dr Elliot and his wife travelled to West Africa in 1972 and built the only hospital in Djibo

His wife Jocelyn (pictured above) was also captured in January last year but was released just a month later

Macron meets Sunday in Mali with heads of state from five nations across Africa’s Sahel region to build support for a new 5,000-strong multinational force meant to counter extremists there. Deadly attacks in recent years in countries once considered relatively safe have alarmed the international community.

In March, a video announced the creation of Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen from a merger of three extremist groups: the al-Qaida-linked al-Mourabitoun, Ansar Dine and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen claimed responsibility for last month’s attack on a resort area popular with foreigners outside Mali’s capital that killed at least five people.

The video comes after Sweden’s government on Monday announced the release of Johan Gustafsson, who was held by Islamic extremists in Mali for six years.

It remains unseen as to whether Mr Elliot will be released. He is being held along with a nun, who was captured in February this year.

Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen – the group holding Dr Elliot – claimed responsibility for last month’s attack on a resort area popular with foreigners outside Mali’s capital that killed at least five people

Kidnapped Australian surgeon, 82, is one of six hostages shown in ‘proof of life’ video released by al-Qaeda-linked group in Mali as French president visits country

THE SUN Reports: SIGN OF LIFE Al-Qaeda group in Mali releases proof of life footage of SIX foreign hostages – as French president vows to eradicate ‘thug’ terrorist captors

The recently formed Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen issued the video Saturday on Telegram, according to SITE

AN al-Qaeda-linked group in Mali has released a proof-of-life video showing six foreign hostages ahead of the French president’s visit to the country for an anti-terror summit.The recently formed terror group Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen issued the video Saturday on Telegram, the SITE Intelligence Group said.

The group said Sophie Petronin was ‘is hoping the new French president will come to her rescue’
The video shows shows hostage Elliot Kenneth Arthur of Australia

The video shows Stephen McGowan of South Africa, Elliot Kenneth Arthur of Australia, Iulian Ghergut of Romania, Beatrice Stockly of Switzerland, Gloria Cecilia Narvaez of Colombia and Sophie Petronin of France.

A narrator can be heard saying: “No genuine negotiations have begun to rescue your children.”

The narrator also mentions the recently elected French President Emmanuel Macron,  saying that Petronin “is hoping that the new French president will come to her rescue.”

Macron said he welcomed the first sign of life for several months from Petronin.

He said of the jihadis: “These people are nothing. They are terrorists, thugs and assassins.

“And we will put all of our energies into eradicating them.”

Macron met Sunday in Mali with heads of state from five nations across Africa’s Sahel region to build support for a new 5,000-strong multinational force to counter extremists there.

Deadly attacks in recent years in countries once considered relatively safe have alarmed the international community.

In March, a video announced the creation of Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen from a merger of three extremist groups: the al-Qaida-linked al-Mourabitoun, Ansar Dine and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Gloria Cecilia Narvaez of Colombia is one of those shown in the footage
Hostage Beatrice Stockly of Switzerland is shown in an unknown location

The new terror super-group claimed responsibility for last month’s attack on a resort area popular with foreigners outside Mali’s capital that killed at least five people.

A number of the hostages have been held in Mali for several years.

Of the six shown in the video, McGowan was seized earliest, abducted in 2011 from a hostel in Timbuktu.

Romanian captive Iulian Ghergut is among those being held by the group
South African hostage Stephen McGowan is shown in an unknown location

Narvaez, a nun, was the most recently seized, abducted in February near the border with Burkina Faso.

The video comes after Sweden’s government on Monday announced the release of Johan Gustafsson, who was held by Islamic extremists in Mali for six years.

Date-stamped: 2017, July, 2nd . | Time-stamped: 6:05 pm | By: Tom Michael  | Article Linkthesun.co.uk | Article Title: SIGN OF LIFE Al-Qaeda group in Mali releases proof of life footage of SIX foreign hostages – as French president vows to eradicate ‘thug’ terrorist captors

News 24 Reports: Al-Qaeda in Mali releases video showing six foreign hostages alive

Bamako – Al-Qaeda’s Mali branch has released a proof-of-life video of six foreign hostages, including elderly Australian surgeon Arthur Kenneth Elliott and Frenchwoman Sophie Petronin, US-based monitoring group SITE said.

The 16 minute, 50 second video by Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen, also known as the Group to Support Islam and Muslims, was released on Telegram on Saturday, SITE said.

The other four hostages shown are South African Stephen McGown, Romanian Iulian Ghergut, Swiss missionary Beatrice Stockly and Colombian nun Gloria Cecilia Narvaez Argoti.

No group had previously claimed responsibility for kidnapping Frenchwoman Petronin, who was abducted in late 2016 by armed men in the northern Malian town of Gao, where she ran an organisation for malnourished children.

After a video clip showing Petronin, the narrator said she was hoping the French president would help return her to her family, according to SITE.

‘It’s a long time to be away’ 

The video was released just before President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Mali on Sunday to consolidate Western backing for a regional anti-jihadist force.

In the video, the hostages are separately introduced by a narrator, who says that so far there have been no negotiations for their release.

The first shown is McGown, who was abducted in Timbuktu, northern Mali, in November 2011.

“It’s a long time to be away … Until when do you think this will come to an end? Now we’re making a new video, but I don’t know what to say. It’s all been said in the past. It’s all been said in previous videos I’ve made,” McGown says, according to a transcription by SITE.

He is followed by Australian Elliott, in his 80s, who, along with his wife Jocelyn, was abducted in January 2015 in Djibo, Burkina Faso, where the couple had run the sole medical clinic since 1972. Jocelyn was released in February 2016.

Next in the video is Romanian mineworker Ghergut, who says he was captured in Burkina Faso on April 4, 2015.

‘No genuine negotiations’ 

The women are then shown, including Swiss missionary Stockly, who was kidnapped in Mali in January 2016.

Colombian nun Argoti was seized by armed men in the Mali village of Karangasso close to the Burkina Faso border in February 2017.

At the end of the undated video, while not spelling out any demands the narrator tells the hostages’ families “no genuine negotiations have begun” for their release but then adds that negotiations are “still active”.

In 2012, Mali’s north fell under the control of jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda who exploited an ethnic Tuareg-led rebel uprising, though the Islamists were largely ousted by a French-led military operation in January 2013.

Since then, jihadists have continued to mount numerous attacks on civilians and the army, as well as on French and UN forces stationed there.

Please continue to pray. Please continue to avoid wider circulation.

Published: 2017 July, 02 | Date-stamped: 11:10 | Article Link: news24.com | Article Title:  | Al-Qaeda in Mali releases video showing six foreign hostages alive

BBC Reports: Hostages shown in al-Qaeda Mali video as Macron flies in

KEN ELLIOTT LISTED IN HOSTAGES – SEE

French hostage Sophie Petronin was abducted from Gao in December

AMali-based al-Qaeda affiliate has released a video of six foreign hostages ahead of a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to the country.

They include a French NGO worker, an elderly Australian surgeon and a Colombian nun.

No “genuine” negotiations to release them have taken place, the video says.

Mr Macron is in Mali to consolidate western backing for a regional force against the militants.

Among the hostages seen in the footage is Sophie Petronin, who was abducted last December in the town of Gao, where she ran an NGO helping malnourished children.

The video’s narrator said Ms Petronin was hoping that Mr Macron would help return her to her family.

Speaking in Mali’s capital Bamako, Mr Macron said France and the “Sahel G5” countries – Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania and Niger – had to work together to eradicate “terrorists, thugs and murderers”.

Mr McGown has been held since 2011

He said France would “put all our energy towards eradicating” those who had kidnapped Ms Petronin.

The video also shows South African hostage Stephen McGown asking when his ordeal will come to an end.

“Now we’re making a new video, but I don’t know what to say. It’s all been said in the past. It’s all been said in previous videos I’ve made,” he says.

Analysis – Thomas Fessy, BBC West Africa Correspondent

The release of this video will lead many to believe that it was timed to coincide with a meeting of West African leaders and France’s president in Mali on Sunday.

It is a reminder that al-Qaeda affiliates remain the main jihadist threat across the region. Some of the hostages were abducted a few years ago while others more recently – keeping hostages that long and seizing new ones show how much al-Qaeda relies on ransom money to operate.

The deployment of yet another force, discussed on Sunday, is part of a huge security build-up in the Sahel, where foreign military presence has increased in the last few years.

But observers say political solutions are also needed across the impoverished region, where a lack of 

infrastructure and opportunities allows jihadist groups to thrive.

Mr McGown was kidnapped from a hotel in Timbuktu in 2011 along with two others, Swede Johan Gustafsson – who was released last month – and Dutchman Sjaak Rijke – who was freed by French special forces in 2015.

Also shown is Australian Ken Elliott, who is in his 80s. He was abducted in January 2015 in Djibo with his wife Jocelyn, where the couple had been running the town’s only medical facilities. Jocelyn was released in February 2016.

“To my family I just want to say again I love you all,” he says.

MEDIA: Dicko Seydou from Djibo

.

.

The others are Romanian mineworker Iulian Ghergut, who says he was abducted in Burkina Faso in April 2015, Swiss missionary Beatrice Stockly, kidnapped in Mali in January 2016, and Colombian nun Gloria Argoti, seized in Mali in February.

The 17-minute video was released by a group calling itself the Group to Support Islam and Muslims, formed in early March as a result of a merger between Mali-based jihadist group Ansar Dine, al-Mourabitoun, and the Sahara branch of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

In November the NGO Gift of the Givers said AQIM elders had agreed to release Mr McGown but younger members did not want to.

Mali’s security has gradually worsened since 2013, when French forces repelled allied Islamist and Tuareg rebel fighters who had seized control of much of the north.

Mr Macron wants greater support for the Sahel G5, who are setting up a 5,000-strong force based in Sévaré in central Mali to fight rising militant attacks.

He hopes to help raise funds for the force – so far, the EU has pledged only €50m (£44m; $57m), while Mali’s

foreign minister has estimated that the force would cost closer to €400m.

Mr Macron said attempts to combat terrorism needed to be accompanied by parallel efforts to improve development in the region, including fighting climate change and improving governance.

There are 4,000 French troops and 12,000 UN peacekeepers in the region.

Last month, five people – soldiers from Portugal and Mali, a Malian woman working for the EU mission and civilians from China and Gabon – were killed when gunmen from an al-Qaeda-linked group stormed a tourist resort near the capital Bamako.

Published: 2017, July, 2. | Article Link: bbc.comArticle Title: Hostages shown in al-Qaeda Mali video as Macron flies in

Ken Elliott Australian surgeon, 82, is still alive

Ken Elliott listed in hostages – see





(VIDEO): SITE Reports: Media Unit of Al-Qaeda’s Mali Affiliate Releases Proof-of-Life Video of Six Foreign Hostages

A media unit of Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen, al-Qaeda’s (AQ) branch in Mali, released a proof-of-live video showing six hostages, three of them female missionaries, from Australia, Colombia, France, and Romania, South Africa, and Switzerland.


Media by: SITE Intelligence Group

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Date-stamped: 2017 July 1st | Article Link: ent.siteintelgroup.comArticle Title: Elderly Australian couple kidnapped in northern Burkina Faso

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RELATED: 

Date-stamped: 2016 January 17th | Day: Sunday | Time-stamped: 10.40 AEDT  | Article Link: theguardian.com | Article Title: Elderly Australian couple kidnapped in northern Burkina Faso

Date-stamped: 2017, July 3rd | Time-stamped: 3:45 PM | Article Link: leaksource.wordpress.com | Article Title: Al-Qaeda Mali Branch Releases Proof of Life Video Showing 6 Foreign Hostages (ZA, AU, RO, CH, CO, FR) (Proof-of-live Video Full Copy available in article)