DAY 35 – DEBT RELIEF – 18/04/2011

Poor You – Compassion for Those Enslaved to Debt

 
Graham Kendrick’s song ‘Beauty for Brokenness’ was commissioned by the charity Tearfund to mark its 25th Anniversary. I was part of the Songs of Praise choir that sang with presenter Sir Cliff Richard for that special edition service, and the words of the chorus have stuck with me ever since:          

God of the poor, friend of the weak

 
Give us compassion we pray…*

 
It is easy to turn a blind or charity-fatigued eye to the desperate situations of poverty around the world, yet when we pray for compassion we pray that God will make that poverty ours too. Cash handouts are not the only answer, but church planting, microfinance initiatives, financial planning advice, local empowerment and political campaigning are making a difference. Regular planned giving helps charities like Tearfund work most efficiently with the little they receive.
Let us pray today for the work of http://www.tearfund.org and similar charities as they strive towards eradicating poverty and resolving economic injustice. Pray for the cancellation of escalating third world debts where they still remain. Ask God to guide you prayerfully in the stewardship of your own resources and to speak up for those who need a voice.

Today’s Scripture Text: Leviticus Chapter 25
*[Graham Kendrick © 1993 Make Way Music. http://www.grahamkendrick.co.uk International copyright secured. All rights reserved. Used by permission.]
Offered by Stephen

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DAY 34 – DISABILITY – 16/04/2011

Zechariah 7:9
“This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.

In 2006, after months of abuse, Steven Hoskins was killed by a drug dealer and his friends who had been stealing his benefits.  In 2007, Brent Martin, a 23 year old man with learning difficulties, was beaten to death by a gang for a bet.  In 2009 Fiona Pilkington killed herself and her daughter Frankie, who had severe learning disabilities, after being terrorised by local young people for 10 years.  These are not isolated incidents; in the last few years there has been an escalation in the number of vicious attacks against people with disabilities. 

Disabled people are also facing financial difficulties.  With the recent government cuts, over 800,000 people with disabilities in the UK, may find their benefits slashed or even stopped altogether and their access to services reduced.   

The care of vulnerable people in society is an issue that is all too often pushed to the bottom of Government agendas.   

Pray that people in power will take seriously their commitment to justice for all people, especially those who may find it harder to speak for themselves.

Give thanks for those who campaign tirelessly for the rights of disabled people.

Pray for opportunities to share the love of God for all people with those you meet today.

Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

Offered by Debs

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DAY 33 – HIV / AIDS – 15/04/2011

Are you seeing Red ?                               (HIV/AIDS in today’s World)

Global :
• There are 33 million people living with HIV and AIDS worldwide.
• 370,000 children under the age of 15 were diagnosed in 2007 alone. 290,000 children died of an AIDS-related illness in 2007.
• Since HIV was identified over 25 years ago, more than 25 million people have died.
• Every day, nearly 7,500 people are newly infected with HIV and nearly 5,500 die of AIDS – UNAIDS Report (2009).
U.K :
• Over 80,000 people are now living with HIV in the UK.
• Over a quarter of people with HIV are unaware they are infected.
• 7,370 people are newly diagnosed with HIV in 2008.
• 75% of sexually active youngsters are not using condoms, says the Staying Alive Foundation survey (2009).
Christians are in the business of Shaping Attitudes – Challenging Injustices – Changing Lives (The National AIDS Trust slogan); so what are you doing to help those infected/affected by HIV/AIDS?
Prayer : When we consider the blood of Christ, we think of the promise of Life. A South African pastor Xola Skosana caused scandal in Cape Town in November when he claimed Jesus was HIV-Positive. He wanted to show that Christ associated himself with the pain and stigma of all those in his community.
Loving God, you alone know the end from the beginning. We lift up all those with HIV/AIDS to you. God, where there is pain we ask please remove it, where there is despair God grant them new hope and, Father, let them never doubt your power to save and heal. We pray Lord, to be with the families of all those infected, protect them and give them strength. God we pray for politicians and pharmaceutical companies and all those involved in research, funding and treatment – fill them with wisdom and give them the breakthroughs needed for Life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
For further Info ;
www.tht.org.uk  www.nat.org.uk  www.acet-international.org 

Offered by David

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DAY 32 – HOMELESSNESS – 15/04/2011

HOMELESSNESS
Homelessness is an issue that can be wildly misunderstood.
It’s an issue that can be dismissed as the fault of the homeless person, or the state, or a family.
So often this issue is discussed with derogatory terminology that if used in a conversation about sexuality or race, would be deemed inappropriate.

Too easily reflection on the issue of homelessness quickly descends into pop psychology, with words like, ‘drink’, ‘drugs’, ‘abuse’, ‘neglect’ flung caustically into the air.
Homelessness is too complicated an issue to pin down in a sentence.
On a local level, this issue can be disregarded.
On a societal level, this issue can be misunderstood.
On a national level, this issue can be underestimated.
On an international level, this issue can be forgotten.
Throughout this reflection so far, the word issue has been used repeatedly.
On purpose.
Hopefully it has annoyed you.
Or at the very least bugged you.
A bit.
Because homelessness is a situation, or an experience, it is a circumstance, or a reality.
Homelessness is an issue – for those who are homeless.
Homelessness should also be an issue – for those of us with homes.
Not because we don’t like the homeless.
But because we cannot stand the injustice.
Not because we like to blame homelessness on a variety of factors.
But because we don’t believe homelessness should be the only reality many people face.
The Big Issue does some really good things – you know that.
Soup-runs in London have been under threat (many say they still are) – you probably know that.
Some statistics on homelessness don’t take in to account ‘sofa-surfers’ – you might not know that.

——————————————————————————————————————-
Matthew 25:31-40 is a helpful place to begin a prayerful reflection on this subject.

 Please pray for the work of charities and organisations that help the homeless in your area.

 And please pray for your local social services.

 And please pray for Barnabus in Manchester: http://www.barnabus-manchester.org.uk

 And please pray for the Big Issue.

And please pray for more open discussion about homelessness.

Offered by Tim.

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DAY 31 – DRUG TRADE AND FAMILIES – 13/04/2011

The illegal drug trade has an impact on families or is it the families that fuel the drug trade?

We know that families are broken up by drug abuse, because of swings in moods, through the need for a fix, resorting to petty crime or worse still, the loss of a child caught in the crossfire? Drug abuse is higher for those in dysfunctional families leaving them more susceptible to their peers.

But it works the other way, a dysfunctional family means it members are more vulnerable and open to drug abuse, ultimately getting caught up in the drug trade.

Children are impacted by the way they are brought up, the lack of emotional stability in their life, maybe through over discipline, or absent parents or some other reason. They then become more susceptible to their peers or adults who provide the attention that a child may crave. Is the breakdown of family life fuelling the drug trade?

What seems to be at the centre of this is a lack of love: of knowing what it is to be loved and also knowing how to love. God’s love and his sacrifice for us, gives us as Christians, the knowledge and understanding of what love is about.

Let us pray and reflect at how we as individuals can make a difference, to promote love and family cohesion and decide what we can do protect those who are vulnerable, through promoting the love of God and the importance of family unity.

For more information on the families and the drug trade, please go to:

http://www.unodc.org/pdf/technical_series_1998-01-01_1.pdf.

Offered by Julie.

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DAY 25-PERSECUTED CHURCH-06/04/2011


Blasphemy prisoner Qamar David found dead  16/03/2011

An average of 171,000 Christians worldwide are martyred for their faith per year. Taken from http://christianity.about.com/od/denominations/p/christiantoday.htm

Please read Acts Ch 7:51-60 and Revelation Ch7:9-17

Thank God for the work of organisations like Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Open Doors and Amnesty International who work tirelessly to keep the plight of the persecuted Church before the eyes of the world and in the prays of the church.

http://www.csw.org.uk/portal.htm

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/

Creator of all the earth, hold your children in your hand.

Farther of your people, defend those you love, from the valiant tyranny of mankind.

Only son of the Farther, be close to people who are rejected for believing on you.

Holy wind of heaven, move as a refreshing breeze, in prison cells shut off from the lights of day and night.

God remember your people in exile when they cry out to you, and hold us their brothers and sisters to intercede and act for them as we should. Amen

Offerd by Aian

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DAY 24-EDUCATION-05/04/2011

A Lass And A Lack – Education in Crisis

Nanyamka is a happy girl in her village of Mwanadama in Malawi. Happy because the long-awaited school in her village has just been opened. Happy because she is one of only a few girls who have successfully enrolled.

Most girls Nanyamka’s age are not allowed to go to school since boys still take priority and she is expected to stay at home to cook. Most villages don’t have a school because of the simple lack of funds to build them. In many places where there is a school, the teachers are usually unpaid volunteers struggling with a lack of even the most basic resources.

Please pray today for schools like Nanyamka’s:

1)  For increased investment in education

2)  For basic materials like paper, pens and books to be made available

3)  For the teachers in most LEDCs, many of whom are unpaid

4)  For charities such as www.readinternational.org.uk who send used textbooks overseas, and their new Director, Hannah Mitchell

5)  For increased access to computers and internet facilities by school children in the developing world, providing a cheap means of accessing up-to-date and relevant educational resources

Give thanks for your own education too, and ask God how he wants you to apply it to growing his kingdom. Consider volunteering as a governor of your local school so that you can be a voice of encouragement and light.

Today’s Scripture Text: Psalm 86:11

Offered by Stephen

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