Daily Topic for April 23, 2008

Acts 15:16-18
"...that the remnant of men may seek the Lord."

Some Judean Christians went to Antioch and taught the Gentile believers that they had to be circumcised in order to be acceptable to God. This upset Paul and Barnabas, who decided to go to Jerusalem to talk with the church leaders. James concluded the discussion at this meeting by quoting the prophets, affirming God’s intention to include the Gentiles in His redemption. The council concluded that circumcision was unnecessary. That decision was a watershed event in the history of the expansion of the Christian faith.

Father, give wisdom today to missionaries and national church leaders who must carefully distinguish between biblical absolutes and cultural norms.

Arab Iraqis in Sweden

Thirty thousand out of the 50,000 Iraqi expatriates in Sweden voted in Iraq’s presidential election in 2005! Iraqi refugees have been welcomed to Sweden, a country that commonly accepts war and political refugees. More than 6,000 went to Sweden in 2006.

Acclimation has been difficult. The cold climate is opposite of the scorching heat Iraqis are used to. Pine trees and forests replace the familiar desert horizons. The language is difficult for Arab tongues to pronounce. The meat isn’t prepared in the Islamic way, and the Swedes generally don’t regard family to be as important as do Middle Easterners.

The Iraqis are grateful that they are treated well, according to a May, 2007 article in the “Los Angeles Times.” One Iraqi refugee stated, “I’m thankful to the Swedish people. They are compassionate. They follow the things Jesus taught.”

Could this be a divine appointment? Could the ravages of war be the door through which the gospel presents itself to these suffering Muslims?

Learn more at joshuaproject.net

Give thanks for the witness of the Swedish Christians through their kindness and respect. Pray that the Holy Spirit will soften the hearts of those so far from their familiar surroundings and that many will accept Christ as their Lord and Savior.-PE

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