This is from the book Sister Freaks: Stories of Women Who Gave Up Everything for God by Rebecca St. James
Like a crudely fashioned bracelet, Mulahn’s wrist is encircled in marred flesh–a result of torture at the hands of Muslim kidnappers. Captors singed her skin with sulfuric acid, erasing the carefully tattooed cross there. The cross had been Mulahn’s quiet proclamation that she was a Christian amid a culture of Islam. Somehow, Egyptian captors determined to sear Christ from her heart by burning her skin.
Mulahn grew up in Egypt in a Christian home. Her family represented a small religious minority in Egypt–the Coptic Christians numbering six million. Islamic fundamentalists began targeting Coptics in the 1990’s, believing them to be a real threat to Islam.
These Islamic zealots roamed the streets, looking for Coptics to harass and abduct. Mulahn’s closely woven community lived against that constant backdrop of worry, wondering if that day would bring yet another abduction. They were very cautious about whom they trusted and where they traveled.
On one ordinary day, a group called the Gamat Islamiya abducted 18 year old Mulahn while she was visiting friends. They spirited her away, and her abductors raped her repeatedly. They knew that if they did so, they’d essentially ruin Mulahn’s life–if they stole her innocence, they stole her ability in her culture ever to marry.
Everything they did was deliberate. Every torture they invented had a purpose: to dissuade her from Christianity and her culture.
During the ordeal, her captors moved her in stealth, blind folded and brutalized, to dingy hideouts. They worked day and night to convert her heart and mind to Islam and undermine her connection to Jesus Christ. “Pray to Allah!” they demanded. To survive, Mulahn had to do as they said, bowing low to the ground facing Mecca.
The kidnappers made Mulahn memorize pages of the Koran. Through sleep and food deprivation, mind-numbing memorization sessions, forced prayer, and repeated rape, Mulahn began to bend to her captors’ wishes.
Mulahn’s traumatized father sought help from the Cairo police. “You must find her,” he told them. “They will torture her.” Hot tears erupted from his dark eyes. “You must find her.”
“Forget Mulahn,” a police officer told him. “She’s now safe in the hands of Islam.”
“You don’t understand. They have taken my daughter.”
“You don’t understand!” the officer shot back. “You must sign this now.” He shoved a document toward Mulahn’s father, handing him a pen. The piece of paper declared that he would not search for his daughter. “Sign it!”
“I cannot sign this.”
“If you don’t, you will be responsible for any harm that comes her way. If your family searches, for her, she will be hurt. Mulahn is safe. She is being retrained in the ways of Islam. If you love her, you will leave her alone. Allah will take care of her.”
With shaking hand, Mulahn’s father signed the document, his tears blurring his signature. Still, he searched for her in secret, relentless in his pursuit.
During her “retraining,” Mulahn’s kidnappers required her to wear a veil, the traditional hijab Islamic women wear for the sake of modesty. Initially she refused. “They warned me that if I removed it, they would throw acid on my face.” she later recounted. After days upon days of brain washing torture, she acquiesced to her captors and signed papers saying she was convert to Islam. She quit fighting the veil.
And then, one day, she escaped.
A clandestine group called Servants of the Cross arranged for her rescue. This group sheltered her, nourished her. It protected her from harm and kept her safe from her captors.
Egyptian Shari’a law considers conversion from Islam to Christianity illegal–an offense that carries a swift death sentence. Even so, the Servants helped Mulahn find her way back to Christianity. Instead of demanding she shroud herself in a veil, the Servants gave her light. Instead of depriving her, they gave her food. Instead of forcing her to pray, they prayed for her.
The group helped Mulahn in other ways too. Because Egyptian law places the sole blame upon rape victims, not the rapists, the state often gives the victims a death sentence. Other rape victims are not allowed to marry; they are considered damaged. But the Servants introduced Mulahn to a Christian who later became her husband.
One Servant explained, “I supervised between thirty and thirty-five re-conversions every month. In all Egypt there are between seven thousand and ten thousand cases of forced conversions to Islam. It is our duty to save them.”
With the help of the Servants of the Cross, a tattooist place another cross on Mulahn’s wrist, just above her bracelet of torture. Today, she dares to be a follower of Jesus Christ–in a culture that longs to sear His cross from their land with disfiguring acid.
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
This is from the book In the Grip of Grace by Max Lucado
Oh, the gradual grasp of hatred. Its damage begins like the crack in my windshield. Thanks to a speeding truck on a gravel road, my window was chipped. With time the nick became a crack, and the crack became a winding tributary. Soon the windshield was a spider web of fragments. I couldn’t drive my car without thinking of the jerk who drove too fast. Though I’ve never seen him, I could describe him. He is some deadbeat bum who cheats on his wife, drives with a six-pack on the seat, and keeps the television so loud that neighbors can’t sleep. His carelessness blocked my vision. (Didn’t do much for my view out the windshield either.)
Ever heard the expression “blind rage”?
Let me be very clear. Hatred will sour your outlook and break your back. The load of bitterness is simply too heavy. Your knees will buckle under the strain, and your heart will break beneath the weight. The mountain before you is steep enough without the heaviness of hatred on your back. The wisest choice–the only choice–is for you to drop the anger. You will never be called upon to give anyone more grace than God has already given you.
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the scepter of thy kingdom is a right scepter.
This is from the book Open Heart and Open Home by Karen Burton Mains
In order to become a family we must learn to know one another. Once we know, we can love, for loving does not come unaccompanied by understanding. We must learn to talk to one another, to tell who we are, and why we are the way we are, and who we hope to become. Tolerance grows in our Body because we have had honest glimpses of those inner men. Sensitized through the work of the Holy Spirit, we become able to breathe deep draughts of compassion. Our hearts become opened to Him, and opened to one another, and His love is able to flow through us to our brothers.
Some have not developed the best way to share their thoughts and feelings. Do not be discouraged or upset with them. We are to be patient. We are to ask the Holy Spirit to see them through His eyes and heart. We have needed plenty of patience in the past for ourselves, now we serve another in the same way.
Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.
This is from the book God Will Make a Way: Stories of Hope
Dave Berland was on his way to work at 4:00 in the morning on January 31, 1987. As he drove along the left-hand lane of the interstate, he started up a long upgrade–and that is the last thing he remembers about that morning.
According to witnesses, a van was parked on the median, half on the shoulder and half in the lane in which Dave was driving. He hit the right rear of the van, shot across the median and all four lanes of oncoming traffic, ran up the side of the hill to the right of the freeway, and then rolled back down into a ravine.
Dave was unconscious during most of the accident itself, but as he lay on the operating table, nervous and frightened, he asked the Lord to give him a word of comfort. The Lord spoke back to his heart in song, reminding him of the words of a praise tape he had recently received. “a very present help in trouble.” He closed his eyes and felt someone lay a hand on his chest. He didn’t open his eyes, but instead held onto the hand. To him, that warm hand was God’s own hand of protection on his life. A great peace engulfed him.
During his recovery from the surgery, song after song came to his mind. The Holy Spirit used music, which Dave had loved all his life, to comfort him and to build him up both spiritually and emotionally. The stronger his spirit and emotions, of course, the more quickly his body healed.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you
Me: What a beautiful image to capture the heart of Dunedin.
Prodigal: Yes, we are created in an image also.
Me: Yes, we are!
This is from the book Reclaiming Your Heart by Denise Hildreth Jones
How can we not have value when we were created in the image of the Creator himself? And yet the enemy of our heart would try to convince us that we were created in the image of something broken or damaged. Oh, what a liar he is! And how deadly the fallout of the shamed heart can be–because that basic lie can spawn one false belief after another that not only keeps us trapped in the box of shame but can also endanger our very souls.
You are not the lie that is the enemy is telling you. It may seem loud at this time. It may seem overwhelming. Do not listen. Instead listen to the voice of your shepherd. He has cared for you and loved you this whole time. The enemy would like to separate you from this shepherd. The shepherd just wants what is best for you!
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Me: God is with us and He says it will all be alright.
This is from the book Vocabulary of Faith by Hampton Adams
At the end of earthly existence there is no meaning without God. Some, whistling in the dark, say that they do not care if the last pulse beat is last of everything. But what meaning does life have if there is not even a memory of it and no one to remember? You might say that you do not care for your own life to go on; but can you say honestly that you do not care about the lives of those you love? What are you saying when you say dogmatically that life ends with the death of they body? You are saying that the miracle of life–the birth of a child is nothing short of a miracle–all of its achievements,its disciplines,its wonders come to absolutely nothing. Is that not more incredulous by far than believing it means something? Furthermore, you can know that life means something–has infinite meaning–when you have fellowship with God. “This is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3).
Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.