Singer-Actress Jennifer Hudson Says the Bible Changed Her Life: ‘It Hasn’t Failed Me Yet’

Actress and singer Jennifer Hudson, 36, revealed in a recent interview that the Bible has been an important influence in her life.

Hudson was thrown into the spotlight after she became a beloved contestant on American Idol in 2004. From that point, her singing and acting career took off, but she never forgot her roots.

In the interview with The Guardian Hudson recalls growing up in Chicago and what an important role her mother played in her life. “I owe my mother everything. I wouldn’t be where I am today if she hadn’t been there to raise me right,” she said.

She also shared that she has achieved her dream career. When asked what she wanted to be growing up, she said, “I always wanted to be a singer.” One of her earliest memories even involves her pretending she was a famous singer. She said she remembers “Sitting on the steps of my mother’s home in Chicago when I was little, singing into a brush like it was a mic.”

Perhaps the most revealing answer Hudson gave in the interview was her answer to the question: “Which book changed your life?”

“The Bible,” she responded. “I’ve been reading it since I was little and it hasn’t failed me yet.”

Hudson is continuing her singing career as a coach on The Voice UK, which starts this month. She lives in Chicago with her son.

Culled: Christian Headline

Photo credit: Google 

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Trending: North Korea Tops 2018 Open Doors World Watch List; Islamic Extremism Expands at Alarming Rate

North Korea claims the No. 1 spot on the 2018 Open Doors World Watch List—an annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution. With more than 50,000 people in prison or labor camps, such a ranking is little surprise for the totalitarian regime that controls every aspect of life in the country and forces worship of the Kim family.

But the new report reveals an alarming trend as countries driven by Islamic extremism, such as Afghanistan (No. 2), reach persecution levels rivaling those in North Korea. Of the 50 countries on the Open Doors World Watch List, 30 saw an increase in persecution during the reporting period.

Within the countries on the Open Doors World Watch List, approximately 215 million Christians experience high, very high or extreme persecution. Trends show that countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East are intensifying persecution against Christians, and perhaps the most vulnerable are Christian women, who often face double persecution for faith and gender.

Every day six women are raped, sexually harassed or forced into marriage to a Muslim under threat of death due to their Christian faith. The 2018 Open Doors World Watch List documented 2,260 such incidences against women—a number that only covers those who had the courage to report such an incident, and is estimated to be a mere fraction of those actually raped and harassed in this way.

“Open Doors monitors the intensity faced by Christians around the world, and the World Watch List quantifies what we see,” said David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA. “This year, as incidents of violence related to persecution have increased—especially those related to women, it is imperative we continue to advocate and call leaders to prioritize issues of religious freedom.”

The Open Doors World Watch List is a global indicator of countries where human and religious rights are being violated, and those countries most vulnerable to societal unrest and destabilization. This is the 26th year of the Open Doors World Watch List, and it remains the only comprehensive, annual survey to rank the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

Quick Facts

One in every 12 Christians in the world lives in an area, or in a culture, in which Christianity is illegal, forbidden or punished.

North Korea tops the list for the 16th year in a row.

The countries where persecution increased the most are Egypt, India, Libya, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkey.

Nepal and Azerbaijan are newcomers to the list.

Comoros and Tanzania fell off the list.

Pakistan had the most violence recorded against Christians.

Islamic extremism remains the global, dominant driver of persecution, responsible for initiating oppression and conflict in 35 of the 50 countries on the list.

Middle East

Dramatically increasing persecution against Christians in all areas of their lives, Afghanistan models alarming trends that reverberate through the top 10 on the list: no central government, extremist Muslim factions trying to control the country and an intense, conservative Islamic population.

“Afghanistan and North Korea nearly tied. Never before have the top two countries been so close in incidents. Both countries are extreme in intolerance and outright persecution of Christians in every area Open Doors monitors. Afghanistan now meets the same level of persecution as North Korea in five out of the six areas. This is a tragedy considering the efforts being made by the international community to help rebuild Afghanistan are failing to ensure freedom of religion,” said Curry. “Reports of violence and human rights atrocities from North Korea are pervasive, while the situation faced by Christians in Afghanistan may be underestimated. It is hard for westerners to imagine a second country could nearly meet the levels of persecution seen in North Korea, but Afghanistan has reached that level this year.”

In addition to Pakistan being the most violent toward Christians, the country scored the highest in churches or church building attacks, abductions, and forced marriages.

Asia

Twenty-two of the 50 countries on the list are in Asia. India experienced a dramatic rise in persecution, moving from No. 15 in 2017 to No. 11 this year. Radical Hinduism and Indian nationalism are driving factors in the increasing levels of unrest and instability Christians face. In 2014, India scored only 55 points, while during the 2018 reporting period, Open Doors World Watch List researchers assigned 81 points to the nation—one of the fastest and most intense increases seen. Nepal appears on the list for the first time and lands stunningly at No. 25 due to India’s religious nationalism spilling into the country.

Africa

Ethnic cleansing based on religious affiliation is becoming common in a number of sub-Saharan African countries like Somalia (No. 3), Sudan (No. 4), Nigeria (No. 14) and Kenya (No. 32). Terrorism connected with extreme Islam continues to plague many African nations, resulting in increased persecution of Christians.

The Americas

Mexico (39) and Colombia (49) remain the only two nations outside the Middle East, Asia and Africa to make the list. Both experienced increases in persecution, primarily attributed to organized crime, corruption and governmental instability.

Top 10

According to research calculations, the top 10 nations where Christians found it most dangerous and difficult to practice their faith in 2017 were:

1. North Korea (94 points)

2. Afghanistan (93 points)

3. Somalia (91 points)

4. Sudan (87 points)

5. Pakistan (86 points)

6. Eritrea (86 points)

7. Libya (86 points)

8. Iraq (86 points)

9. Yemen (85 points)

10. Iran (85 points)

Syria dropped out of the top 10 down to No. 15, while Libya jumped back up to No. 7 (since being No. 10 in 2016).

Persecution at a Glance

Christians remain one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world. While persecution of Christians takes many forms, it is defined as any hostility experienced as a result of identification with Christ. Christians throughout the world continue to risk imprisonment, loss of home and assets, torture, beheadings, rape, and even death as a result of their faith.

Source: Christian Headline 

If You Trust God, You’ll Never Be Afraid: Repost

By: Rania Naim

If you trust God, you’ll never fear the unknown because you know that his light will guide you through the darkest nights. You know that his wisdom will help you when you’re lost. You know that his way may not be the easiest way but it’s the best way. It’s the only way that will protect you from what could hinder you and the only way that will protect you from what could harm you.

If you trust God, you’ll understand that you didn’t really ‘lose’ anything or anyone. God took things and people away from you for a reason. He knows when certain things have served their purpose. The messengers he sent you have taught you the lessons you needed to learn. Your mistakes made you a stronger person. The pain you went through brought you closer to him. You never really lose because God only takes away what could destroy you. He takes away what could break your heart even more.

If you trust God, you’ll never lose hope. Even when your whole world is falling apart. Even if you feel like you can never get anything right. Even if it feels like everyone is abandoning you. God is always with you. God is making room for something bigger in your life when he closes so many doors at the same time. He’s telling you that you need to change your path and your life and he will bring you this change. I learned that a lot of things in life will make you feel that God is not fair but if you look back on all the times you thought God was being ‘unfair’ you will realize that he was actually preparing you for something wonderful. Every time he made life harder, he was preparing you for something that will make your life significantly easier.

If you trust God, you’ll never question him. You’ll always have faith in him even when you don’t understand him. You’ll have faith in his timing even if it’s been years and the clock is ticking and you just can’t wait anymore. You’ll always know deep in your heart that you’re not ready for what you’re asking for.

You’ll understand that the universe is not working against you but is working for you because you know that the universe doesn’t just give you what you’re asking for right away. It gives you what you need at a time when you can appreciate it and love it. At a time when you won’t take it for granted. At a time when you’ve healed from your past and your pain and you’re praying for all the right reasons.

If you trust God, you’ll be happy. Happiness won’t be such an elusive concept. It won’t be something you have to chase. It won’t be something you have to work that hard for. You’ll simply be content and happy with his plans. You’ll be happy that you don’t have to worry about everything because you believe in his mercy and his power.

You’ll be happy once you stop getting so attached to life and start getting more attached to God because with God by your side, there’s really nothing to fear. There’s nothing to worry about. You’ll never be alone. You’ll never be sad.