Good morning, my friends!
For those of you who are doing the Kay Arthur Covenant Bible study, this has been a sobering and quite possibly, troubling week of study. Not many of us like to talk about death and yet that was just the subject this week: "a walk into death" through the covenant Jesus made for us. Like so many other things in the Bible, we are hit smack in the face with what seems to be conflicting themes. God offers us life everlasting, but the cost on His end of the covenant was the sacrifice of His Son and our cost, dying to ourselves and taking up our Savior's cross.
So now it is time for a bit of honesty. I am pretty comfortable here in America living as a Christian. Oh, sure, the media makes fun and mocks me sometimes, calls me judgmental, insensitive and even violent (and if we are going to be REAL honest, there are those who have called themselves "followers of Christ" who have done some pretty heinous things in His name which has caused some of these misconceptions), but I have not been imprisoned for my beliefs or had my property confiscated or lived in terror of being "found out." So, here I am living in a country that allows me the freedom to love God, to follow Him, to go to church, to talk of my faith (although that freedom is being eroded a bit, still I have WAY more freedom to talk about Jesus than most around the world), to live out my faith without the persecution others face. At first I thought to myself...well, Cherri, "dying to self" is part of that "walk into death," choosing to do His will over my own, choosing to bless and serve others rather than seeking to be blessed and served. And I think that is true, but (and you knew there would probably be a "but") I think we are called to more...especially because we live in a country of freedom. The verse in Luke 12 comes to mind. In verse 48 Jesus says this: "...From everyone who has been given much, much shall be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more." I don't think this verse is talking solely of money-though that is surely part of the meaning-Jesus was most likely talking of more anything...more time, more talent, more ability, more influence, more....Could it be that God is telling those of us who have more freedom to use our freedom to help those who don't?
A few years back a good friend told me about an organization that helps those around the world who are being persecuted and imprisoned for their faith in Jesus. It is called "The Voice of the Martyrs." They have a ministry called PrisonerAlert.com where they give practical ways to help those jailed for their faith. If you sign up to be on their mailing list, they will send you "alerts" and a link to a prisoner who needs help right at that moment. They give you letters to write to officials in the country and also letters you can write to encourage the prisoner. They do all the translation...you print the letter and send it off. I signed up for their newsletter and alerts and so many times have allowed them to sit in my junk mail until they disappear off my screen. One time I did sit down and compose a letter, printed it off and then debated whether or not I should put my return address on the envelope (My old enemy whispering the "what ifs" in my mind) and there the letter sat on the printer until it vanished as I "tidied up" one day. Then this week I read these verses in Hebrews: "Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves are in the body" from Hebrews 13:3 but this next verse was the clincher on my heart: "But my righteous one shall live by faith; and if he (read that "she") shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him (her)." Hebrews 10:38. Killer.
From now on, I'm writing letters...it is the least I can do. If you would like to join me, simply go to Persecution.com and sign up for their newsletter. You can also go to PrisonerAlert.com to see specifically who and how you can help. I love that we live in a age where we have the opportunity to help those all around the world who are with us in the body of Christ. We may not be facing persecution the way these saints are; however, we can support them to the very best of our ability through whatever we have the freedom to do.
This was a "heavier" week, however, I cannot help but feel grateful. It is a good to have the light shone on an area in life that is bringing displeasure to the Lord and to realize there is something I can do to turn that completely around. He is so good that way, you know...He shines the light but then also shows the way!
So much lately, for me at least, has been to grow up in my faith. All through the summer and into the fall, the theme He has going in my life is to keep growing in obedience and in faith.
So glad to have such friends to grow along with:)
Love to you...