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Owo Church Assault Kills Dozens of Nigerian Catholics on Pentecost Su… | Information & Reporting – ChristianityToday.com

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ABUJA, Nigeria – Terrorists introduced a gun and bomb assault on the finish of a Catholic Mass in southwest Nigeria on Sunday, killing an estimated 70 worshipers consistent with citizens and church leaders.
The terrorists attacked St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo state, at about 9 a.m., church leaders and citizens informed Morning Famous person Information (MSN) via textual content messages.
The carnage can have been higher. The church, one of the most greatest within the house, can cling as much as 1,200 other people and was once complete on the time of the assault.
A clergyman on the church, Andrew Abayomi, informed MSN that because the worship carrier was once coming to an finish, the terrorists threw explosive units and shot at worshipers.
“We have been in worship Mass when the terrorists attacked us. They shot on the congregation whilst breaking into the church via throwing improvised explosive units on the church construction,” Abayomi mentioned. “A few of us concealed within the church as they shot randomly at us. This lasted for approximately 20 mins sooner than they retreated.”
He mentioned it was once tricky to offer information about the quantity killed and injured, as leaders have been that specialize in moving the wounded to hospitals. Circulated movies confirmed bloody pictures of fellows, ladies, and youngsters strewed a number of the pews.
Amongst different Owo citizens, Loye Owolemi mentioned about 70 worshipers have been shot lifeless and others kidnapped when terrorists attacked the church carrier.
The Related Press reported that one kidnapping sufferer was once the presiding priest. Pope Francis was once conscious, mentioned the Vatican, and is praying.
Nigeria, ranked No. 7 on Open Doorways’ 2022 International Watch Record (WWL), led the sector in Christians killed for his or her religion final yr at 4,650 (from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021), up from 3,530 the former reporting duration. The West African country’s 470 assaults on church buildings trailed simplest China’s tally.
The Ondo governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, mentioned it was once a “black Sunday” in Owo.
“Our hearts are heavy. Our peace and quietness had been attacked via the enemies of the folks,” mentioned Akeredolu in a press observation. “It is a private loss, an assault on our pricey state. … I’m surprised to mention the least.
“Nonetheless, we will dedicate each to be had useful resource to seek down those assailants and cause them to pay,” mentioned the governor. “We will by no means bow to the machinations of heartless parts in our unravel to rid our state of criminals.”
Whilst nobody in an instant took accountability for the attack, predominantly Muslim Fulani herdsmen have been suspected, mentioned Adeyemi Olayemi, a lawmaker in Ondo. Such kidnappings and killings are most often related to northern Nigeria, however a contemporary native uptick in differently non violent Ondo brought on the state executive to put into effect restrictions on grazing final August.
The invoice additionally established a framework for the development of ranches.
“Now we have loved progressed safety since herdsmen have been pushed clear of our forests via this management,” Olayemi reportedly mentioned. “It is a reprisal assault to ship a diabolical message to the governor.”
Akeredolu is from Owo.
Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president, condemned the atrocity.
“It doesn’t matter what, this nation shall by no means give in to evil and depraved other people, and darkness won’t ever conquer mild,” Buhari mentioned. “Nigeria will ultimately win.”
Anselm Ologunwa, the Ondo state chairman for the Christian Affiliation of Nigeria (CAN), mentioned “nowhere is protected in Nigeria.” He connected the Owo bloodbath to the April assault on a northward educate from Abuja, the nationwide capital, that killed 9 and abducted dozens. He additionally cited final month’s abduction of a Methodist prelate.
After its chief was once seized within the southeastern state of Abia, the Methodist church paid $240,000 for the discharge of Samuel Kanu-Uche and two fellow pastors.
And two days sooner than the Catholic church bloodbath, CAN mentioned that armed assailants had attacked the place of dwelling of Yusuf Ashafa, a Baptist pastor in Kachia within the northern state of Kaduna. The abductors are challenging $96,000 to unlock the pastor’s 5 youngsters and an aged guy.
The Nigerian Senate not too long ago handed regulation to criminalize ransom bills, with 15 years imprisonment. Buhari has now not but indicated if he’ll signal it into regulation.
Open Doorways’ WWL ranks Nigeria first on its listing of Christians abducted, with greater than 2,500 tallied final yr. And because 2020, UNICEF counts a minimum of 1,500 scholars kidnapped within the northern areas.
“That is uncooked persecution,” mentioned Israel Akanji, president of the Nigerian Baptist Affiliation, at the Owo killings. “Those persons are possessed, demonic, and aren’t operating for the great of the rustic. Might God descend and struggle [them] from their roots.”
John Hayab, president of Kaduna’s CAN bankruptcy, wondered to CT the paying of ransoms—pronouncing maximum church buildings can be not able to take action. And he faulted the federal government for its rhetorical reaction with out providing concrete motion to modify the protection realities.
Testimony Onifade, senior particular assistant to CAN’s president, was once furious. Ransom cash is healthier used to arm the group, he informed CT. And peculiar believers, he believes, are outraged sufficient to agree.
“How lengthy lets wait, staring at them kill our other people, after which give them our cash to shop for extra weapons?” he requested. “Christianity does now not imply stupidity.”
Gideon Para-Mallam, head of an eponymous peace basis, mentioned church leaders will have to in an instant discuss with the world to offer religious and humanitarian reinforce. Uniting in prayer, such early intervention will calm the location and save you retaliatory violence.
However ransom bills, he mentioned, are inevitable.
“The federal government is just like the ostrich with its head within the flooring, leaving voters defenseless,” mentioned the previous Jos-based Africa ambassador for the Global Fellowship of Evangelical Scholars. “Nigerians had been left to the mercies of kidnappers and terrorists, and it’s only an educational workout to signify criminalization will make a distinction.”
The president of the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria referred to as in a similar way for the formative years not to take the regulation into their very own arms. However in calling at the government to forestall nationwide violence, he warned that their failure pushes within the path of Onifade’s view.
“I wish to categorically state right here once more that as believers in Christ Jesus, we’re referred to as to be peace-loving other people and to evangelise it with each phrases and movements,” mentioned Henry Yunkwap. “However that doesn’t imply we shouldn’t be delicate to happenings round us and take motion when important.”
As Christians, they’ve had sufficient.
“Any executive who can not supply safety for her other people,” he persevered, “is not directly telling them to shield themselves, via no matter manner they are able to.”
Those “animals in human shape,” mentioned the Catholic press observation, are suspected to be bandits. Yunkwap differentiated them from the non secular extremists who killed Deborah Samuel, the varsity pupil attacked via a mob for her alleged blasphemy.
Numbering within the thousands and thousands throughout Nigeria and the Sahel, the predominantly Muslim Fulani include loads of clans of many alternative lineages who don’t cling extremist perspectives. However some Fulani do adhere to radical Islamist ideology, the UK’s All-Celebration Parliamentary Workforce for Global Freedom or Trust (APPG) famous in a contemporary file.
“They undertake a similar technique to Boko Haram and ISWAP (Islamic State West Africa Province) and display a transparent intent to focus on Christians and potent symbols of Christian identification,” the APPG file states.
Christian leaders in Nigeria have mentioned they imagine herdsmen assaults on Christian communities in Nigeria’s Heart Belt are impressed via their want to forcefully take over Christians’ lands and impose Islam, as desertification has made it tricky to maintain their herds.
However because the country struggles now for a simply answer, the president of CAN eyed the long run eschatological peace.
“What took place nowadays was once a carnage and irreparable crisis,” mentioned Samson Ayokunle. “The tip of the age has come, and the satan is at the prowl. Because the Lord lives and reigns, the satan won’t move a long way—however be disgraced after all.”
First revealed at Morning Famous person Information. Further reporting via Jayson Casper.
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The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother

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The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother

Embracing True Friendship: The Friend Who Sticks Closer Than a Brother

Friendship is a valuable asset that enriches our lives by providing companionship, support, and a shoulder to cry on. But have you ever had a buddy who goes above and beyond—someone who remains closer than a brother? In a world where relationships can be fickle, a friend who sticks by us through thick and thin is a rare and priceless gift.

More Than Just Blood Ties

Consider the tie between siblings, which is based on blood and shared history. Consider a buddy who is more than just a family member. “One who has untrustworthy friends soon comes to ruin,” says Proverbs 18:24 (NIV), “but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

This verse describes a friendship that goes beyond basic conditions. It’s a bond founded on trust, loyalty, and real concern for one another.

Continuous Support

Consider a buddy who is present not only during happy times but also during difficult times. This type of friend is unconcerned about changing circumstances or personal gain. They provide their presence, encouragement, and steadfast support.

Jesus expresses the core of such friendship in John 15:13 (NIV): “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. This selfless affection serves as the foundation for a lasting connection.

Journeys Together

Consider a friend you’ve shared many stages of life with—the highs, the lows, and everything in between. This shared experience forges a link that extends beyond surface-level exchanges. The value of companionship is brilliantly captured in Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 (NIV): “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”

A friend who sticks closer than a brother is someone who goes beside us through life’s ups and downs, lending a solid hand and an ear to listen.

A Mirror of God’s Love

As a symbol of God’s love for us, consider the buddy who sticks closer than a brother. God Himself offers an unbroken, unchanging, and everlasting companionship. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” says the Bible in Romans 8:38–39.

God’s love is the ultimate paradigm of true friendship—a love that is not conditional but remains faithful regardless of what happens.

Conclusion: Value true friendship.

A friend who sticks closer to you than a sibling is a treasure to be treasured. This type of friendship is founded on love, trust, and mutual care rather than convenience or shared interests. May we seek to be that sort of friend to others in our lives, just as God offers us His unfailing love.

In a world where relationships can be fleeting, let us create friendships that will endure. Let us be the sort of friends who are present in both joy and sadness, who offer unconditional support, and who mirror God’s unfailing love. We are reminded of the beauty of true friendship, which clings closer than a brother, as we welcome and cherish these unique and valuable ties.

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The Just God

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The Just God

The Just God: The Divine Balance of Justice and Mercy

The concept of justice is intertwined with the fabric of human society. We seek justice, responsibility, and reparation for wrongs done. But have you ever pondered a God who is not only just but also perfectly just? The Just God is a lighthouse of truth and righteousness, providing a profound awareness of justice and kindness that transcends human comprehension.

Justice in Pursuit

Consider a world where wrongdoers go unpunished and the disadvantaged have no recourse. The pursuit of justice is a natural human goal that reflects a feeling of rightness and order. And if we as humans value justice, how much more should the Creator of the universe, who is completely just?

According to Deuteronomy 32:4 (NIV), “He is the rock; his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. He is a loyal God who does no wrong, who is straight and just. This verse reveals God’s character, which is characterized by unwavering justice.

Justice and Mercy in Balance

Consider yourself in front of a judge who holds you accountable for every action and decision you make. Imagine that same judge showing mercy and giving you a second opportunity despite the evidence against you. The just God is kind as well as just.

This delicate balance is captured in Psalm 103:10–11 (NIV): “He does not treat us as our sins deserve, nor does He repay us according to our iniquities. For his love for people who fear him is as high as the skies are above the earth. God’s justice is balanced by his unending love and kindness.

The Redemption of Justice

Consider a debt that you will never be able to repay—a debt of mistakes and wrongs that weigh heavy on your soul. In His perfect justice, the just God provides a solution. God provides a mechanism for justice to be served and redemption to be offered through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” says Romans 3:23–24 (NIV), “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. This is an example of justice being met via the redemptive act of Christ’s sacrifice.

A Call to Justice

Consider a society in which justice is not simply a notion but a way of life. In our interactions with others, the just God calls us to exemplify justice. Micah 6:8 (NIV) states unequivocally, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. What does the Lord expect of you? Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”

Living justly entails treating people with fairness, compassion, and respect, as the character of the just God requires.

Finishing: Adoring the Just God

The Just God asks us to comprehend the breadth of His justice—a justice that supports truth, requires accountability, and strikes a balance between mercy and justice. God’s justice and mercy merge in the person of Jesus Christ, offering us redemption and restoration.

May we turn to the just God as our ultimate standard as we traverse a world that frequently grapples with issues of fairness. May we seek His wisdom and counsel in order to live justly and treat others with love and justice. We find not only a paradigm of perfect justice but also an invitation to experience the transformative power of His kindness when we embrace the Just God.

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The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Pathway to Achievement

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The Joy of Serving Others: A Pathway to Fulfillment

The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Highway to Contentment

Have you ever ever felt the nice and cozy glow that effects from lending a serving to hand to a stranger, the enjoyment that lasts for days after the act of kindness? That emotion offers a way of the pride of serving to others. The straightforward act of serving to can give us a sense of function and pleasure in contrast to the rest in a society that incessantly pushes us to place our consideration on ourselves.

The Want to Serve

Believe a society the place everybody labored to fortify the lives of people of their instant neighborhood. The need to lend a serving to hand, proportion a load, and supply comfort is on the core of carrier. The instance used to be established through Jesus Himself when he stated, “For even the Son of Guy didn’t come to be served, however to serve, and to provide his lifestyles as a ransom for plenty of.” (NIV, Mark 10:45)

Serving others is extra than just a nice deed; it is a way to emulate the compassion and love that Christ proven for us.

Discovering Pleasure in Selfless Giving

Believe spending time with the aged or going to a neighborhood refuge to hear their stories and cause them to really feel essential. Those tiny acts of kindness won’t appear to be a lot, however they be capable to make any person’s day higher, create relationships, and toughen a sense of group.

A better feeling of pleasure emerges after we set aside our personal issues and be aware of the wishes of others. The Bible admonishes us, “Every of you can use no matter present you’ve gotten won to serve others, as trustworthy stewards of God’s grace in its more than a few paperwork.” (NIV) 1 Peter 4:10 We specific the particular talents God has given us through serving others, and it’s in those deeds of carrier that we discover authentic pleasure.

Have an effect on Unmeasurable

Take into consideration the impact if all of us realized to experience serving to others. If we take a bit spoil from our tense schedules to lend a hand a neighbor, supply a sympathetic ear, or donate cash to a reason we reinforce. Small acts of kindness have the facility to unfold, sparking a sequence response of generosity and optimistic exchange.

In step with the NIV translation of Matthew 25:40, Jesus stated, “Actually I inform you, no matter you probably did for this sort of least of those brothers and sisters of mine, you probably did for me.” No longer simplest can we fortify the lives of other folks we serve, however we additionally perform Jesus’ command to like and deal with the ones round us.

Development Relationships and Connections

Believe the sensation of camaraderie that comes from cooperating with others to reach a shared purpose. Folks come in combination via carrier, growing ties and friendships that differently won’t have took place. It serves as a reminder that we’re all part of a broader group, and that group would possibly take pleasure in the acts we do.

Serving others permits us to peer the arena from many angles and to realize the demanding situations and victories of other folks round us. Our lives are enriched and {our relationships} are deepened through this sensitivity.

Conclusion: Discovering Contentment Via Carrier

Every people has a skill that is able to be opened: the pleasure of serving to others. It serves as a reminder that our lives are meant to be about extra than just our personal pursuits; they’re an opportunity to fortify the lives of others.

Let’s thus embody the pride of serving to others, if it is by means of deeds of kindness, volunteering, or simply being conscious about their wishes. The easy act of serving would possibly supply mild and hope in a global that every so often turns out overwhelming. As we emulate Christ and prolong ourselves in love, we no longer simplest exchange the lives of others but additionally revel in a deep feeling of success and enjoyment that overflows into our personal hearts.

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