Monday, March 15, 2010

A Country A Month

I recently started receiving material in the mail from Voice of the Martyrs, an organization that supports persecuted churches in restricted and hostile nations all over the world. (click to see what the difference is between the two!) As I've probably said before on this blog, one of the Scriptures the Lord has laid heavy on my heart is Philippians 3:7-11:
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (emphasis mine)
Remember Vibia Perpetua? She had this mindset, one of complete denial of self and of flesh, counting everything as loss, esteeming an intimate relationship with her Creator much more important and significant than anything in this temporal life. So with the Lord's guidance I've been trying doing the same thing by "daily dying", in the things say and don't say, do and don't do, watch and don't get the point! May not seem to be big things to most people, but I want to be a good steward of what God's doing in my life right now so He can continue using and growing me later! But anyways, back to Voice of the Martyrs (VOM). It's so incredibly mind-blowing to me that there are people across the world, believers to be specific, who are taking this Scripture to heart in ways I can hardly imagine. When Christians in these persecuted nations read I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, they mean it!! These people quite literally "share in the sufferings of Christ" through consistent persecution, and since refusal to denounce the name of Christ is, in many of these restricted nations, a death sentence, there are some who even "become like him in his death." 

I have a heart to share Christ with the world, but aside from sharing Him currently where I'm at, what else can I do? Think, think, think...ah! I can pray. (novel concept, huh?) One of the materials I received from VOM was a map showing all of the restricted and hostile nations in the world. I posted the map on the wall in my room and have decided to pray for a country a week. Last week I prayed for Columbia. For their government, for their economy, for the churches, pastors, believers, unbelievers, persecutors, children, parents, and more. This week I'll be praying for Chiapas, Mexico. Praying is the least I can do! I'd love to support financially, but I'm not in a position to do so. However, I realize that my Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and my prayers will be heard by the One Who's able to control all that is going on in these countries--for His glory!! If we aren't careful, we can forget the power that can be found in prayer. The Bible clearly tells us this in James 5: 
Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (emphasis mine)
and this in Philippians 4:
 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (emphasis mine)
So let me get this straight. There are Christians, who I'll probably never see until heaven, all over the world who are suffering, under intense persecution (think beaten, tortured, abused, jailed, chained, etc.) boldly sharing the unwanted but needed truth of the gospel in places that I'll probably never go.They are desperately in need of support. Now add this: my God says that the prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective, and that I should present all my requests before Him. With all that being said, I don't plan on missing out on the great opportunity of lifting up these saints in prayer any longer! Not when God has promised to hear and respond! (This isn't to say their persecution will all out stop; it's clear in the Word that believers will face sufferings in this life! But God always knows how to provide for and look out for His own.) 

So anyways, I definitely encourage you guys to check out the VOM website and request some of their free material. It's always a good thing to see a world outside of our own (especially if the most we've seen of the world has been limited to the luxuries America offers!). There are believers, our brothers and sisters in Christ, people saved by grace through faith just like us, who are suffering persecutions for this very same faith - persecutions that we may never, ever experience! We should desire to edify these saints in whatever way we can, and it can all begin with interceding for them in prayer.

1 comment:

  1. What an inspiring post! I agree, it can be hard when you are not financially in a position to help, and you see so many in need.

    Thanks for sharing!