Nick And Kanae Vujicic – Love Without Limits

Even though he was born without arms or legs, Nick Vujicic created a “ridiculously good life.” As Nick grew up, he learned to deal with his disability and started to accomplish more and more on his own. By 19, Nick started to fulfil his dream of encouraging other people with motivational speeches revolving around his life story and the Gospel.

A desire for perfect love
Having gained revelation from God about the purpose of his existence and circumstance, Nick was still worried that he would never find a woman to love him and share his life. Dating disappointments and a failed relationship convinced him that love in the world had its limits and he became doubtful that any woman would want to marry such a flawed man.
When Kanae Miyahara met Nick in 2008 in Texas, she was impressed by his generosity in spirit and good humour. For her, Nick is so handsome, and “the perfect match.” For Nick, “it was electric, when she stood by me, I just felt right.” After courting for a year and being engaged for six months, the couple married, with Kanae giving birth to their beautiful son one day after their first wedding anniversary.
Now with a life that juggles parenting, marriage and ministry, Nick and Kanae have written ‘Love Without Limits’, a book in which they share their journey of love despite scepticism from others about their relationship. This inspiring book describes a godly courtship and the early years of the Vujicics’ marriage and parenting journey. Here is Nick’s introductory extract…

God’s gift of love
“I’ve often written and spoken about the insecurities that dogged me as a child and young man. Because of my lack of limbs, I feared no woman would ever love me or want to marry me. I had many doubts about my fitness as both a husband and father. Frankly, there were people close to me who had their own concerns in that regard. Some thought I would never marry or be able to support a family of my own.
For a long time, it seemed they might be right. I had the usual grade school crushes, but no long-term relationships. By the time I was twenty-seven years old, I’d had some relationships that started out strong but ended sadly. One of them, in particular, was quite serious. At that point, it seemed there were very real limits to the amount of love in this world, at least for me in my quest for a wife. Even though my family and closest friends were there for me, I’d become all but convinced that no woman would want to marry such an obviously imperfect man as me.
Many people think of me as an upbeat, undefeatable person, but when it came to matters of the heart, for a while I struggled to stay positive. I didn’t give myself enough credit, for sure, but even scarier, I didn’t give enough credit to God or to His gift of lasting love between two people. I don’t want you to make that mistake if you’ve struggled as I did while waiting for God to send someone to love you. As you likely know, God brought me an incredible woman whose capacity for loving me astounds me every day.

Love without limits
My wife is physically beautiful, for certain, but you can’t see the half of her true beauty in any photograph. Our perfect God has filled her with His perfect love, and she, in turn, loves me, such an imperfect man! For that reason, I know without a doubt that love has no limits.
Still, to be loved, you must feel worthy of love, and to be worthy of love, you must be willing to make sure you are deserving of this wondrous gift. Here’s the thing that many people fail to grasp: To receive love, you must first give it to someone else. This means, in essence, that you must love someone so much that you will put that person’s needs ahead of your own.
You must give up ‘me’ to create ‘us.’ Once you have abandoned yourself to the love of another, you open the door to a rich and powerful relationship that elevates your life beyond anything you might have imagined.

Lessons learnt
In our book, we focus on certain aspects of the search for love, the decision to give yourself up to love, the steps toward marriage, getting married, starting a family, and strengthening the bonds between you and your spouse over the years and through the challenges.
The primary messages we want to share are:

Never give up on love if love is what you want, because God planted that desire in your heart for a purpose.
You are worthy of love because you are the creation of a loving Father.
There is someone who could love you and share your life.
A successful marriage requires reciprocal and unselfish love as well as a shared, deep, and lasting commitment.
Parenthood will test your marriage. It will also strengthen your bonds of love, but only if you develop deep empathy and unwavering support for each other by putting your family’s welfare above self-interest.
The ‘work’ of being married is mostly about giving up our naturally self-centered ways and learning day by day to put God first, our family second, and ourselves third.
Your marriage, your family, and your home should always be a safe, loving, caring, and comforting place – a refuge from the world and all of its challenges.

Grateful for my family
I’ve been travelling around the world since I was nineteen years old, and I had never been so happy to return home as I am now. When I was a single guy returning to an empty house, it was always sort of a let-down to open the door after a long road trip and step into utter silence. Some people are perfectly happy living alone and even thrive being on their own. I respect that, and there is nothing wrong with leading a solitary life if that is what fulfils you. But from the time I was a teenager, I yearned for companionship and a loving relationship.
When you want a loving partner in your life and you don’t have someone, there is an aching void. I’ve heard it said that there is a God-shaped hole in each of us. It’s the place that God fills with His love while we follow His plans for our lives. I was complete and lacking nothing because of my relationship with Jesus, but I still desired strongly to be with someone. At times, I feared that day would never come. And I’d been looking to fill that void for many years before I finally found the love of my life.

The Lord is preparing you for love
For much of my childhood, I could not understand why God brought me into this world without limbs. When I finally realised that He had a purpose for me to serve as an inspiration to others, it gave my life new meaning.
For much of my young adulthood, I could not understand why God had not brought me a woman to love. I grew angry and impatient when relationships ended in heartbreak. What I didn’t know at the time was that my failed relationships offered lessons I needed to learn so that when I met my future wife, I would have a full appreciation and abundant gratitude for the wondrous gift her unconditional love represents.” 

10 Historial Myths About World Christianity

As followers of Christ and adherents of the Bible, Christians are called to be people of the truth. Thus, it is crucial that we seek to understand our tradition as accurately as possible. So consider these top ten historical myths about global Christianity.
1. Christianity is a Western religion
It neither began in Western Europe, nor has it ever been entirely confined to Western Europe. The period in which it appeared to be indissolubly linked to Western European identity was a relatively short one, lasting from the early 16th to the mid-20th centuries. The Church in China, India, Ethiopia, and Iraq is older than the Church in Europe.
2. Christianity was imposed by force on non-Western people
If this were true, it would reduce non-Western Christians, even today, to the status of passive recipients of Western ideological domination. In fact, Western missions never possessed the power necessary to achieve such capitulation, even if they wanted it, which they did not.
3. Missionaries destroyed local indigenous cultures
Indigenous cultures were not static entities. To suggest that they were is characteristic of Western modernity. Missionaries often displayed what we would term cultural blindness, but their message, once translated into the vernacular, acquired indigenous cultural overtones. Missionary contributions to the inscription and study of indigenous languages have helped to preserve and enrich cultures.
4. Christian missions operated hand-in-glove with the colonial powers
Sometimes they did, but frequently they didn’t. Missionaries were usually critical of the way in which empires operated, mainly because they conceived of empire as a divinely bestowed trust. True, they didn’t oppose colonial rule on principle, but then who did before the late 20th century?
5.Protestant missions began with William Carey in 1792
John Eliot’s mission work among the Native Americans of New England began as early as 1646. The first Lutheran missionaries arrived at Tranquebar in South India in 1706. In his famous ‘An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens’ (1792) Carey insisted that he had many predecessors.
6. The 19th century was the only great century of Christian missions
It was the great age of Western missionary expansion, but not the [only] age of indigenous conversion.[While the 20th century has had greater numbers of Missionaries and conversions, the depth of impact of the 19th Century missions was spectacular.]
7. “Christianity, Commerce, and Civilisation” was an imperial creed
It was essentially an anti-slavery humanitarian creed, associated especially with David Livingstone (though he didn’t invent it). For those reasons it often led to advocacy of imperial solutions. Fighting slavery actually led to imperial expansion as humanitarians called for deeper commitment from Britain to root out the slave trade at its sources in the African interior, setting captives free.
8. We live in a post-colonial age
We certainly don’t live in a post-imperial age. Formal colonial rule is usually a last resort adopted by powerful nations who run out of cheaper options of control. Decolonisation can be seen as a return to informal means of control. Definitions of what constitutes colonialism are contested: what about the subject status of [Tibetans in China, Arab Colonialism in North Africa and China’s neo-colonialism in Africa?]
9. To proclaim the unique saving value of the Gospel is to be intolerant of other religions
This is to confuse a Theological position with an attitudinal stance. Because of their understanding of the nature of truth, Christians can believe that others are fundamentally mistaken in their beliefs, yet still defend their right to hold and practise such beliefs.
10. We live in a post-missionary era
We most certainly don’t. There are approximately 426 000 foreign missionaries in the world today. In 1900 there were about 62 000. The United States, as one entity alone, still sends around
127 000 missionaries overseas per annum. 
Brian Stanley has taught in theological colleges and universities around the UK. He is now part of the faculty at the University of Edinburgh:

Terrorism: The New Normal

Almost 18 000 people were killed in terrorist attacks in 2013, a 61 percent increase from 2012. Last year the world witnessed in horror, the rise of ISIS and their barbaric tactics; 17 891 people died globally at the hands of cowardly terrorists.
Four terrorist groups, the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Boko Haram were responsible for two thirds of all such deaths around the globe. The Global Terrorism Index, produced by the London-based Institute for Economics and Peace, also found that 80 percent of terrorist attack fatalities occurred in only five countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria.

Escalating violence
Since the turn of the millennium, the number of deaths due to terrorist activities has increased fivefold, many motivated by political and jihadist agendas (though the liberal media is always reticent to acknowledge that most of these acts of terror are all carried out by Muslims).
Globally, even in the West, there has been a sharp increase in the number of terrorist attacks, however, nearly 50 percent of them did not claim any lives as they were either foiled, or contained by police and military personnel. Since 2000, the Taliban has been responsible for the most deaths, 8763, from terror attacks, closely followed by Al-Qaeda with 8585.
A shared religious agenda
That being said, the Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL) and Boko Haram both became more active in 2009, which was the first year that either group killed over 300 people. Based on data up to the end of 2014, these two wealthy terrorist groups have killed in excess of 30 000 people in four years!
As the world’s attention has been hijacked by ISIS by their brutal and provocative beheadings, Boko Haram has run rampant in Nigeria, killing innocents, kidnapping young girls and forcing Christians into Islamic slavery and human trafficking. 
“There is no doubt it is a growing problem. The causes are complex but the four groups responsible for most of the deaths all have their roots in fundamentalist Islam,” notes the Institute for Economics and Peace founder Steve Killelea. “They are particularly angry about the spread of Western education. That makes any attempt at the kind of social mobilising you need to stop them particularly difficult – it can just antagonise them more,” he further explained.
The report states that, “The rise in terrorist activity coincided with the US invasion of Iraq. This created large power vacuums in the country allowing different factions to surface and become violent.”
Tactics used by attackers
In Iraq, bombings are one of the tactics almost exclusively used by terrorist groups, with this method accounting for 87 percent of deaths and 97 percent of injuries. Suicide attacks also continue to be used, with a very high cost to human life – an average of over seven deaths per suicide attack. Since 2000, suicide attacks have caused 5 percent of deaths in terror activities, and this modus operandi is most favoured by militant group Hamas. This terrorist Palestinian organisation has carried out 195 attacks, 24 percent of which have been suicide missions.
According to data, 60 percent of attacks involved explosives, 20 percent firearms and 10 percent through other actions, such as arson or attacks with motor vehicles. And yet the US government and many of the United Nations’ members continue to ignore the facts and endorse Hamas and the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood (and by default, their express desire to “wipe Israel off the face of the earth”). As the saying goes, there is none so blind as he who will not see.
from caves, to internet cafes.
Since the civil war in Syria started in 2011, there has been a massive increase in terror activity. Though political gripes have been a huge catalyst in the proliferation of terror in these war-torn countries, both Syria and Iraq have witnessed religious struggles between Sunni and Shia Muslims, which has led to massive violence. Religion as a driving ideology for terrorism has dramatically increased since 2000; prior to 2000 nationalist separatist agendas were the biggest motivators of terrorist organisations.
Over 24 nations across the world have been rocked by widespread terrorism endeavours, including Israel, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Turkey, America, France, Spain, ­Nigeria, Kenya, Ukraine, England and the list goes on. No-one is immune – terrorism is no longer a “Middle East” problem, the terrorists have moved and multiplied from the caves of ­Afghanistan to the internet cafés of Paris.
Why such popularity?
There are multiple factors influencing the burgeoning popularity of terrorist movements, so it is difficult to pinpoint just one or two. Having said that, we as Christ-ians know that there are forces of evil working on the earth and that in the last days lawlessness and sin will abound.
The clash of Islamic ideo­logy with principles of democracy, free speech, freedom of religion and peaceful co-existence, has also claimed centre stage. Even within Islam, a battle is taking place between “moderates” and “extremists”. The religion is undergoing its own internal crisis as the world looks on…but…one has to ask, why have the “moderates” not taken a definitive stand against the acts of terror? Why have Imams remained silent? When a secular-Arab state such as Turkey, run by an Islamic leader, actively blocks efforts to thwart terrorism, you have to wonder what the underlying pillar of “moderate” belief really is…
What makes a terrorist?
But how do we account for the scores of Western teens participating in jihadist attacks? Bored, disenfranchised youth with limited employment opportunities, coming out of broken homes, seem to be the target market of terrorists the world over. Many Western terrorist-sympathisers claim to be taking a stand against political hegemony, but this is often just a smokescreen – as no act of terror could ever validate a cause or lend credence to a campaign.
As Christians, we recognise the role that a nuclear family, led by a present and loving father plays – an absence often existent in the families of potential terrorists. The inference of the moral concepts of right and wrong, have often been skewed or lacking in the lives of jihadists, and of course, the thrill of power, invincibility and lawlessness remains a universal drawcard to youths across the decades and the diaspora.
How is the world responding?
Despite America and the West spending tens of billions of dollars on counterterrorism operations, statistics show that only seven percent of terrorist groups have been quelled due to military action. The majority of terrorist groups ended by joining the political process, or were destroyed by active policing and intelligence agencies breaking up the group and either arresting or killing key members. Military force in of itself was rarely responsible for ending terrorist groups, a report published in the General Terrorism Index (GTI), stated.
Many terrorist groups proliferate through technology, and it is interesting to note that the tactics for counter-terrorism have inclu­ded cyber-attacks, shutting down twitter and facebook accounts of terrorists, and infiltrating jihadist social networks through scams. While these strategies certainly can play a role in reducing the impact of terrorists, the only lasting way to halt the violence, is to adopt a
spiritual plan of attack.
How should we respond?
Redeemed hearts, saved souls and cleansed motives in the hearts of men and women, is the only sure way to stop potential terrorists emerging. You, as an individual, have a part to play in this “war on terror”. Your weapons of warfare are spiritual: tactical ongoing prayer for nations, leaders and against terrorism, is vital. Revival amongst the youth and the disenchanted is critical.
Support missionaries and evangelists working in these lands, give to their cause so that the Gospel may be spread and reach every cave, every café and every couch.
Creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God (Rom 8:19) – as believers, we need to take charge! God has not given us a spirit of fear (2 Tim 1:17); what is impossible with man, is possible with God (Luke 18:27); greater is He that is in us, than he that is against us (1 John 4:4). Speak to your church and decide to make regular prayer for terrorists a priority! 
Compiled by Jackie Georgiou

Feeling Adrift

When she woke on that Sunday morning, Susan lay in bed for a while and wondered why she felt as she did. She normally spent a few moments praying, but today it was just too difficult.
Feelings of isolation
Three hours later, walking into church with the two kids, she realised they were late again but she was past caring and practically fell into a seat in the back row. For some reason, getting the kids to school and herself to work by 9am on a weekday was done with military precision, but to get to church by 11am on a Sunday seemed all but impossible and always ended up with her yelling, screaming – and then feeling guilty.
Practically comatose in her chair, she suddenly realised that she was the only one sitting. The rest of the congregation were on their feet, some with hands raised upwards, singing a song about winning battles. She struggled through two verses and then it hit her – a feeling deep in her being of utter loneliness, of isolation even, from those around and especially from God. She said under her breath,  “I just don’t feel part of all this” and for a moment she had an overwhelming
desire to grab the kids and just leave.
Downcast and confused
I wonder whether the emotions that she felt that day were echoes of an experience felt by the poet who in Psalm 42 wrote, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?” It seems to me that the author of those words is saying something like this: “I really don’t know why I feel as I do, but something is wrong in my very being: if you ask me to explain what it is, I won’t be able to. I feel a mixture of sadness and fear, and I’m just not sure why.”
Struggling to connect with God
I sometimes feel this way myself and the strange thing is that when it happens it’s difficult to put my finger on it. As with Susan, such periods are often connected with something of a breakdown in communication between myself and God and that’s challenging because it’s at this very time when I need Him most.
It’s as if somebody has pulled up the drawbridge and though I’d love to get into the castle, I’m left sitting on the grass outside.
So, my soul, why are you downcast within me? Have I done some great wrong that is now haunting me? Well, of course, it could be that. Or is it that I am a spiritual sissy and what I really need is a kick in the backside and to be told to just get on with it? (If you think it will work, kick me now!) Or is it that I’m just plain tired?
As I look back at those times I can see that life has often been incredibly busy. I may have  been responding to the needs of others, perhaps I’ve been hurt a little along the way or experienced special pressures, but whatever has happened seems to have taken the wind out of my sails. One minute I was flying along on smooth sea under a clear blue sky and then suddenly the breeze stopped. I’m drifting and I’ve lost direction.
Busy and distracted
If I stay busy, I’m reasonably alright. The sheer activity helps in so many ways: it stops me thinking, it gives me a sense that I’m achieving something – that life is basically still on course.  But when the busyness stops, when I come home to myself, when I lie in bed in the early morning darkness – the old fears and the old sadnesses come to haunt me.
The Psalm begins with such a powerful image. It is of a deer exhausted because of thirst, tongue out, panting, hoping against hope that around the next hill there will be a valley with streams of water. The mystery is that at the very time when, in so many ways, we feel distant from God – we feel the need of Him more than ever.
Well, Lord, here I am – outside the castle when the party’s going on inside, stranded in the middle of the sea with limp sails at the mercy of every current, and thirsty – desperately thirsty – for You.
There is hope in our God!
The final verses say, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God,” Psalm 42:11. It is almost as if the psalmist is saying, “Don’t give up – you will come through this.”
Perhaps, like me, you are grateful to the one who wrote so long ago and yet shared his heart in a way that touches our lives today. We suddenly understand this is not just our experience but that others have been there and come through it. And the very second we realise this we find that our head lifts a little for, although we are still dry, we can somehow smell water on the wind, and even though we are feeling adrift, we can imagine again sails full of wind, power, and direction and…even the faint sounds of a drawbridge being lifted. 
Rob Parsons, is the  founder of Care for the Family. Contact Focus on the Family: 031 716 3300 or

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Lessons From Loving and Losing A Pet

Just days after the death of a loved one last year, I had to travel halfway across the country for a conference. Because I carried grief in my stomach, I couldn’t eat. Weakness from not eating, combined with the usual exhaustion from travel, had me feeling sick. At a lunch meeting, I couldn’t bring myself to explain why I wasn’t eating.
The beloved who had died was my dog, Belle. If I had been mourning the death of a person, my life would have been understandably put on hold. I wouldn’t have been expected to go to work the day following her death. I could have cancelled my trip.
Mourning alone
When a family member dies, the bereft are offered sympathy, support, and condolences, from meals and visits, to cards and flowers, to the funeral service, burial, and beyond. Not so when the family member that dies is a pet. When we mourn the loss of a pet, we mourn alone. We go to work, we have our lunch meetings, and we come home. Perhaps we share our grief privately with other members of the household, but not, generally, with the world.
What can we learn from our pets?
I’m not suggesting that the death of a pet should be treated with the same moral, emotional, or social weight as the death of a person, but this kind of grief, the inconsolable grief that comes from losing a much-loved non-human companion, does have much to teach us about our humanity, our Creator, our relationship with both Him and His creation, and His immense love for us.
Unconditional love and loyalty
For some of us, the love we have for our pets, and the necessary grief that comes with their short lives increases the love we have to offer the world. The sheer gratuitousness of the love we give and receive from animals offers both a picture of and portal into the infinite, gratuitous love of God.
Loving the animals that God has given us responsibility for
Animals show us what our own fragility looks like before God. When we mourn these lesser creatures, we taste, I think, a bit of God’s sorrow over us in our human frailty. When we love fellow humans, we love as equals. When we love an animal, we bring with that love all the might and grace of one both in and above the world of that creature. It is like the love God has for us, with all the joy and grief we bring Him. As human is to divine, so animal is to human. I think perhaps we are no more like God than when we love an animal.
A note from JOY!
The same God who sent His only Son to die for humankind does not let one sparrow fall to the ground outside His care (Matt 10:29). He loves animals, but in the very next verse Jesus tells us that we are “worth more than many sparrows.”  Your human relationships should also be “worth more” to you than your love for your pet.  
KAREN PRIOR is a professor of English at Liberty University. This article was originally published by Christianity Today: