President Jonathan Tells Christians To Pray for Violence-free election At lent.

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President Goodluck Ebele A. Jonathan of Nigeria

By Ben Agande, Abuja.
President Goodluck Jonathan has called on christian in the country to use the period of Lent to pray for a successful and peaceful election.
In a message to christians to mark the Lenten period during which christian fast for 40 days, President Jonathan urged them to imbibe the virtues of lent.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati quoted the president as calling on all “political leaders in the country, Christians and non-Christians alike, to rededicate themselves to the commitment they have made to peaceful, non-violent campaigns and elections, and do their utmost best to ensure that their supporters across the country uphold that commitment”.
The statement reads in part: “As they undergo the rites of the 40-day Lenten season which runs from today, Ash Wednesday, to Easter Sunday, with constant prayers, penitence, fasting and self-denial, President Jonathan urges Christians in Nigeria to pray fervently for peaceful, violence-free and successful general elections in the country on March 28 and April 11, 2015.
“The President also seizes the opportunity of the commencement of Lent to call on all political leaders in the country, Christians and non-Christians alike, to rededicate themselves to the commitment they have made to peaceful, non-violent campaigns and elections, and do their utmost best to ensure that their supporters across the country uphold that commitment.
“In the spirit of that commitment, President Jonathan further urges all those seeking political office in the coming elections to eschew hate speech, incitement to violence, divisiveness and the malicious denigration of opponents.
“He urges all political parties in the country to join the federal government in giving the fullest possible support and cooperation to INEC to ensure that it delivers free, fair and credible elections.
“As they observe Lent, President Jonathan urges the Christian community to reflect more on all the ideals of human existence taught by Jesus Christ during his ministry on earth.
“He calls on Christians to make those ideals, including piety, love for others, tolerance, humility, selfless service to others, honesty, fairness, justice and equity more manifest in their daily lives.
“President Jonathan prays that God Almighty will answer the prayers of all Nigerians and bless the country with successful elections, continued unity and further progress”.
Do you have a memorable lent experience to share?

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What Does Ash Wednesday Have to Do with Lent?

John Stonestreet | BreakPoint | Wednesday, February 18, 2015 

In many ways, today is one of the strangest days of the year. Everywhere—at work, the grocery store, shopping, exercising—we’ll see all kinds of people walking around with dark smudges on their foreheads.

Now whether or not their own church participates in this ritual, most Christians will know that the smudge is the sign of the cross, and that today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent.

To the unbelieving world, Ash Wednesday is at best quaint (it’s sort of cool to have traditions, you know). At worst, it’s somewhere between bizarre and even anti-social. After all, to a culture committed to the pursuit of self-fulfillment and feeling good about oneself, this whole fasting and self-sacrifice stuff is an existential smack in the face.

Think of how these words contrast with our contemporary illusions of autonomy and self-determination: I am not my own. And I will die one day. And so will you. As the minister tells us when he rubs the ashes on our foreheads, “remember thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return.”

And here’s the bolder statement still, a way-more-weird and counter-cultural claim—We are rotten to the core. We are sinners. So much so that God became a man and died on a cross in our place. He loved us that much! And then, get this: He came back to life. His body wasn’t eaten by worms in a tomb. He was resurrected from the dead.

What happened on that Resurrection Day, which we’ll commemorate 40 days from now, is the most important event in the history of the world. As Russell Moore has said, “Christians from all over the world, despite all this science and all this progress and all this technology, [still confess] what the earliest believers in the catacombs of Rome cried out: ‘Christ is risen indeed.’”

We confess it because what it says about God, the universe, and us is TRUE. On Ash Wednesday and during the season of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving called Lent, we redouble our efforts to heed Jesus’ call to pick  up our crosses and follow him. We meditate and remember with Paul that we have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us.

Crucified with Christ! Our hopes, desires, politics, intellect, and yes, even our sexuality—crucified with Christ. What a thing to say! Jesus, who redeemed us by His blood, lays claim to all of these things.

This is not the God of what sociologist Christian Smith has dubbed “moralistic therapeutic deism,” a god who demands nothing more than that people take it easy on themselves and be nice and fair to one another.

This is a God who says the two greatest commandments are to love Him with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. And as Jesus said, to love Him is to obey Him (talk about counter cultural!) and to believe in the One He has sent. To love our neighbors, we preach the Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection and His triumph over sin and death. We feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, take care of the widow and orphans.

Friend, what could be more authentic, more relevant, than to conform our lives to Jesus, who is the Way the Truth and the Life? Jesus did not and will not conform Himself to the culture. Why would we? How dare we urge others to? As Paul says, we were called to freedom in Christ, which is a freedom from conformity and from the desires of the flesh and a freedom to serve one another in love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5).

Now that’s a lot to swallow, which is one reason that for nearly two millennia, Christians have taken this long season of Lent as an opportunity to repent of our conformity to the world, draw near to Jesus, and prepare ourselves to celebrate the day that changed the universe.

Culled from

How Obama Offends Christians

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WASHINGTON — President Obama may have thought he was giving a straightforward history lesson at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday when he compared the atrocities of the Islamic State to the bloodshed committed in the name of Christianity in centuries past.
But that is not how many of his longtime critics saw it.
“The president’s comments this morning at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime,” said Jim Gilmore, the former Republican governor of Virginia. “He has offended every believing Christian in the United States.”

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Jim Gilmore
Rush Limbaugh devoted a segment of his show to what he said were the president’s insults to the “whole gamut of Christians” and Twitter’s right wing piled on. Guests on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News show spent 15 minutes airing objections to the president’s comments.
“Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” Mr. Obama said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

                                                            Rush Limbaugh
The president stressed the importance of religious speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Tuesday.
Still, the president went on to focus on the terrorism carried out under the guise of Islam, saying that the last few months have shown the degree to which faith can be “twisted and misused in the name of evil.” 
“From a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris, we have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith — their faith — professed to stand up for Islam, but, in fact are betraying it,” he said, describing the Islamic State as “a brutal, vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism.” 
Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League, said in a statement that Mr. Obama was trying to “deflect guilt from Muslim madmen.” He said the president’s comparisons were “insulting” and “pernicious.”

Mr. Gilmore said the comments go “further to the point that Mr. Obama does not believe in America or the values we all share.”
The White House had no comment on Thursday night about the criticism.
In his speech, Mr. Obama said the use of religion to justify violence and killings “is not unique to one group or one religion.”
“There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency, that can pervert and distort our faith,” he said.  
The talk of terrorism was the sharpest note in a speech that was otherwise a reflection on religion and humility, and it was Mr. Obama’s latest effort to avoid branding recent violence by the Islamic State or those professing common cause with it as “Islamic” extremism. His team has said that doing so would play into the hands of terrorist organizations, legitimizing their message.

What do you think?

Culled from The New Times