I've mentioned it before, but I absolutely love the Voices of the Martyrs newletters/magazine that I get every month. Every month (or few- I'm actually bad about finishing things on time) when I sit down to read the stories, I am just amazed by God's power. I mean really. You can't not be encouraged by hearing how the Holy Spirit is working in the midst of people's lives. And these are people who are literally being persecuted in the 'traditional' sense. Physical, emotional torment persecution. And yet they cling so adamately to Christ. It's inspiring- the right kind of inspiring.
It's a really great organization to support. VOM features stories and interviews of actual people and then lists the ways they are using money donated to further the gospel.
Here are some quotes I loved from a recent issue
* China- "I am happy that you and others tried to arrange for my release (imprisoned) but in one way I am happy that you failed. You almost made a big mistake. If you had been successful, there would be no church in that prison today."
---- I mean did you catch that. A big mistake. Release from prison a big mistake. Now don't take this the wrong way, but in the church we make this huge deal out of all that Paul did for the early church. He definitely deserves the respect, and he is one of my favorite Christian heroes. I guess what amazes me, is that there are still 'Pauls' alive today. People who still live as if "to live is Christ, to die is gain". I'm not one of those people at all. I am the queen of keeping things PC when it comes to religion in the real world. Because I don't want to ruin relationships. But these people have such focus, and I admire them greatly. I want to be like that. Also how amazing is God's sovereignty. There is no situation too dismal that God does not bring blessing out of if we are faithful to keep our eyes on him. Even prison. I just love it. I love how God works so many intricate details of our lives for His glory and ultimately our good.
* Pakistan- "Our Christ sacrificed his life on the cross for our sins... Our Christ is alive."- Asia Bibi
--- A couple reasons that quote stuck out to me. For one thing, this lady was arrested, tortured, imprisoned, and given the death sentence for those 2 sentences. She is currently waiting for either a miraculous release from prison so she can return to her family. Or waiting to be executed. You can sign a petition at www.callformercy.com through VOM who is working with the Pakistani Embassy to allow Asia to be pardoned. (see why I love this- real issues, real action, real results)
--- The other reason this quote stuck out to me was her saying that 'Our Christ is Alive'. I got so convicted because I have to admit, I think I take for granted that Christ is Alive. Don't get me wrong, walking through the marriage I had, the divorce, the single parenthood, I have no doubt Christ is Alive. I literally have felt Him carry me through all of this. I know he's alive. But I don't think I've ever considered how marvelous that really is. How it really sets Christianity apart. Buddha is a mere statue. Vishnu is a statue. But Christ is alive. I'm still trying to just meditate on that -- just to wrap my mind around it so I don't take for granted that beautiful truth any longer. Christianity is so blessed, so amazingly different from all other religions. I just love how that was what mattered to Asia in the midst of a muslim world. I'm trying to experience more 'My Christ is Alive' moments this week. It's just so unfathomably great.
What's Christ teaching you this week? I'd love to hear and be encouraged by it!