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Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

syrophoenician She is arrested in her approaches to Christ by the information that He will not see anyone. She is denied His presence, and then [finally] in His presence is treated with seeming indifference, with the chill of silence and unconcern. She presses and approaches, the pressure and approach are repulsed by the stern and crushing statement that He is not sent to her kith or kind, that she is reprobated from His mission and power. She is humiliated by being called a dog.

Yet, she accepts all, overcomes all, wins all by her humble, dauntless, invincible importunity. The Son of God, pleased, surprised, overpowered by her unconquerable importunity, says to her: “O woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt.”

Jesus Christ surrenders Himself to the importunity of a great faith.

“And shall not God avenge His own elect which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them?”

By illustrating in a parable, Jesus Christ puts ability to importune as one of the elements of prayer, one of the main conditions of prayer. The prayer [and fervent effort] of the Syrophoenician woman is an exhibition of the matchless power of importunity, of a conflict more real and involving more of vital energy, endurance, and all the higher elements than was ever illustrated in the conflicts of Isthmia or Olympia.

praying

There is neither encouragement nor room in the Bible religion for feeble desires, listless efforts, lazy attitudes; all must be strenuous, urgent, ardent. Inflamed desires, impassioned, unwearied insistence delight Heaven. God would have His children incorrigibly in earnest and persistently bold in their efforts. Heaven is too busy to listen to half-hearted prayers or to respond to pop-calls.

In the end, the [prayer] closet is not an asylum for the indolent and worthless Christian. It is not a nursery where none but babes belong. It is the battlefield of the Church… Importunity, it may be repeated, is a condition of prayer. We are to press the matter, not with vain repetitions, but with urgent repetitions. We repeat, not to count the times, but to gain the prayer.

“Men ought always to prayer, and not to faint…” -Jesus

When was the last time you were on your face in your own prayer closet? Interceding for souls, or simply adoring Him?

jailWhen were you on your knees as the “persistent friend” for those imprisoned for their faith in Christ?

widow

Pleading for the widow?

orphan The orphan?

IsraelIsrael?

The voiceless?

Quotes taken from the book, “Purpose In Prayer”.
By: E.M. Bounds

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1. If you believe the Bible to be the perfect Word of God, free from error, completely true, absolutely living and able to transform lives, you are a fool. If you believe the Bible to be just an ordinary book with a lot of black and red writing, old stories about dead people and whales, you must be wise indeed.
 
2. If you believe that a man, named Jesus Christ, died at the hands of the Jews and the Roman government all the while claiming to be the Son of God, who claimed to be equal with God, who claimed to be God Himself, who claimed to have created the Heavens and the earth and every living creature in it, and believe what He said, you are a fool. If you believe Him to be just a good man, a very influential man, but not God Himself, then you are wise indeed.
 
3. If you believe that the Good News of the Gospel has the power to change people, that it gives people the ability to say no to sin, that it is able to take away their desires to ruin their bodies from smoking or drinking, that it gives them the power to stop lying, stealing, cheating, sex sin, lust, and that it implants a desire to be Holy like God, to be more loving and patient and more like Jesus Himself, that it gives the power to say, Hallelujah! those sins are taken away, I AM a new creature, and not like my old self, not like I used to be, then you are a fool. If you believe that you can still live how you want, that there is no need to change, that you should embrace all the endearing qualities that make you who you are, that you should stand for your right to assert your sinful lifestyle because its “love” to you, or welcome all the things that are unwholesome to God, then you are wise indeed.
 
4. If you share this Good News with others, this new life you can have by coming to a crucified Lord that was hung up on a jag of wood, in order that He give you the power to live right, to go from a sinner to a saint, to renounce sin and pursue holiness and purity and have wonderful peace and contentment doing it through His power, if you’ve been accused of converting people to a religion, or if you love going to church to hear about The One who died yet now is alive this very day at the right hand of the Father, you are a fool. Or, if you believe that followers of Jesus are using a dead man as a crutch in life, then you are wise indeed.
  
5. If you look back in the scriptures at the prophets, the apostles or the early church disciples and read about their lives, if you read about their shameful deaths at the hands of lions, being beheaded, ignited and burned on poles, crucified upside down, watching their loved ones die because they won’t renounce their love for this Jesus of Nazareth, if you read all these stories and envy them, consider them heroes of the faith, if you desire to seal your testimony just like them with your very own blood, you are a fool. Or, if you believe that you should live your best life now, live the American dream, look out for #1, live in prosperity, safety, conformity to the Jones’, or laboring to enter a cushy retirement fund, then you are wise indeed.
 
6. If you have nothing to offer society but a desire to see people saved, nothing to offer but a prayer for their salvation, nothing to offer but an ardent warning regarding eternal punishment and torment in Hell, or nothing to offer but God’s unspeakable gift that lies in His Son, then you are a fool. Or, if you are extremely productive, work everyday of your life and have no compassion on those looking for a “free ride” or your perception of that mentality, then you are wise indeed.
 
If you stand in the box labeled ‘wise’, in accordance with the above 6 points, then in the world, you are a wise human being. You are smart, hip and cool. You are relevant. You are a lover and a pursuer of knowledge. There is absolutely no need for you to be embarrassed about anything! You will die and your funeral will be a showcase encapsulating a supreme speciman of life. People and loved ones will mourn their loss for a great and special person who has passed away. Be honest, haven’t you ever wondered how your funeral will look, what people will say about you, how your legacy will live on or how you will be remembered?
 
I think about my death more than you know. I pray that at least one person will be sad that I have passed, and I know based on scripture that in the eyes of God, precious in His sight are the death of His saints. In the Bible, many of His saints were put to death some amongst a cheering crowd. People rejoiced when Christians were killed, and many times there was no one to mourn them. And, if there were, they wouldn’t want to be found out- they wouldn’t want to endure the same penalty for being a follower of Jesus so they grieved in silence. Even today, there are Christians who are killed in secret. No one mourns their death. The five missionaries to the Auca Indians in the 1950’s who were speared to death were buried in a tiny grave in Ecuador somewhere. “The most beautiful little cemetery in the whole world.”, was the quote from one of the wives. The world doesn’t recognize or otherwise wouldn’t know about great sacrifices as these for the cause of Christ, but God does. It is precious to Him! 
 
When your life is over, will your life be precious to God? Will He say to you, “Well done thou good and faithful servant. Enter now into the joy of the Lord.” Or, will He tell you to depart because He never knew you. What is more foolish? Living a life precious to YOU and in the end suffer for eternity, or live a life precious to God and be open to suffering for His cause now, and in the end for eternity live in the joy of the Lord?

This is what the persecuted church fights for. This is the message they speak. It is what they lay their lives down for in order that a special Someone be lifted up. In America, we can speak these truths and the worst that can happen to us is that we aren’t liked all that much. Maybe we’re even avoided. But in other countries were hostilities ring high against a “Western religion”, the persecuted church has to walk a very tight line or suffer for it. This message is so important, so crucial, so powerful, it’s even worth dying for. It’s a foolish message, a message no one can really understand until they come to the understanding that the eternal consequences for NOT believing it are too much to bear.

Last night, my eight year old astounded me. It was a pure example of God’s heart and I don’t say that lightly. It was as we laid in bed together watching the news. It was late, we were both tired and although I hardly watch the news, there was nothing else on to see, so we got stuck with Nightline. The reporter was in Egypt chronicling the riots and protests going on there. There was even a sticky spot that the reporter, who was a female, almost got into as she was interviewing whatever people she could in the crowd. In one clip, she was asking questions to a large group of Egyptian men, who quickly displayed their anger when one of them started telling her to get out of there. I don’t think she knew exactly what he was talking about until he said, “We hate Americans. We hate you. You must go NOW.” After a slow dawning of realization, the reporter immediately started to walk away- but not before this group really showed their anger and hostility which eventually lead to the newscrew car being damaged with rocks and fists.

In my mind, I was wondering why someone would have so much anger for a country he’s probably never been to, rationalizing that he probably doesn’t even know any Americans in real life and, most likely believes every negative thing he hears about America, case closed. Yet all the while I was thinking this, I was looking over at my beautiful little girl (she didn’t know I was watching her) and wondered if this man if given the chance to simply look upon her in her sweet innocence, would still have hate in his heart for her; an American. I considered the possibility that he still might have hatred even looking at her, and at that consideration, the mama bear side of my brain came out and I was instantly angry about it. So, to come up off it, I quickly changed the channel and suppressed the thought until it was gone.

After about 5 minutes (seemed longer than it was), and I had stopped thinking about the news, my daughter quietly said, “I love them.” Since I put the issue out of my mind, she caught me off guard and I genuinely didn’t know who she was talking about. So I quickly asked, “Who are you talking about?!” Not sure if she had dozed off or was talking in her sleep or what, I just wasn’t sure who ‘them’ was until she said the men on the news who hate us. Immediately guilt flooded my heart, she was right. What a Godly heart of great price she expressed! I said, “You are so right. What a Godly Spirit you have to love those who hate us.”

What was so eloquently expressed by an eight year old, through very little effort I’m sure on her part, convicted me and put me in reverential awe of God Almighty. It made me meditate upon the amount of love God has for us considering the truth of how He loved us first, even when we were His enemies. Even when we hated Him, He STILL sent His Son to die for us. He offered the peace agreement to us when we were still engaged, and continue to wage war upon Him. His astounding gift that we, as followers of Jesus labor to bestow to others, even at the cost of our lives, even when the danger is high and the odds are so very against us.

After my daughter said those three words, we took hold of the moment and made intercession in prayer on behalf of the men we saw on the news. We prayed for them to receive the opportunity to hear about God’s Good News in the sending of His Son, that the light of the glorious Gospel would be shone to them and that God would work in their hearts, to be receptive enough to accept this precious gift of salvation provided only through Jesus Christ. It is with this mind that I want to bring up my labors in why I do what I do…

Over the past month, I have worked really hard to put gifts in my shop on Etsy. I really want to put a spotlight on it because every purchase will go to helping the persecuted church. It helps those who are oppressed and afflicted physically and spiritually, it also helps their families when loved ones are in prison, it helps rebuild houses and families that have been torn down by persecutors, and it will help share the Gospel in the toughest nations on earth as it provides literature and Bibles to those who need it. It is with these men I wrote about, who hate Americans that I think about. It is them I want to reach with the Gospel! These are the people that need Jesus Christ more than anyone on earth- the hateful, the broken down and angry, the violent, the afflicted, the hurt. The Gospel turns lions into lambs and I know after reading story after story from brothers and sisters in Christ who beg for our help in countries like Egypt that I can help supply to them the tools they need to reach the people I never will.

After all, our greatest commission is to preach the Gospel to every creature. As a follower of Jesus and a laborer in His love, every single penny goes to benefit others. I do not take anything for myself. Ten percent goes to tithing in my own church that provides support to 25 missionaries every month, and everything else above that will go to VOM. As a stay at home mother, I praise God mightily for the abilities He has given me! He has supplied a way for me to have my own shop, He has supplied the materials in order that I have a product, He supplied the ideas of what to make and He supplied the time and the effort.

God and His unspeakable gift is worth being a fool for! 

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I can’t seem to get the javascript code for a gallery picture of my shop to work, so I have to use a link. Will you click below and take a peek? Help me help them…
 
  
Thank you for your time. I’ll leave with some sweet scripture to ponder…
 
1 Cor. 1:18 – For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
 
1 Cor. 1:23 – But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
 
1 Cor. 1:25 – Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men
 
1 Cor. 1:27 – But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
 
1 Cor. 3:18 – Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
_____________________
  
Serving Him, and those who serve Him, 
Joy

 

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I really need to share how God spoke to my heart this week. I know that I have taken a couple detours around the purpose of this blog, however I can assure you that it all ties in. As followers of Christ, affliction does come. The apostle Paul tells that the Godly will suffer persecution and Peter even tells us not to be surprised. It’s normal. It’s what drives me in my ever-constant remembrance of our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in hostile/restricted nations. That there are siblings in this world who live in places where they are shunned from society, that they can’t even buy food because store keepers will not sell to them because they are Christian. It is in light of this truth that it can become very hard to pray for myself and even for others. My complaints become so… petty. And inconsequential.

Nevertheless, I feel very deeply that God is calling me to exalt Himself. All to His glory and to fulfill His command of making disciples and praying for, “…those that are in bonds, as bound with them…” (Heb. 13:3). His commands are my delight, and at the same time they are my strength.

With this truth, I will be marching headlong into the battlefield as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. I will place on my head, the helmet of salvation and on my body the rest of God’s armor. Me and my kids are going out dressed in Ephesians 6 (spiritually, not literally!) to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to a neighboring trailer park. I’ve only told one other person about this (you know who you are!) as of yesterday, but now I’m making it public. I humbly beseech you for your prayers. May it draw many souls to salvation through Christ Jesus (Romans 1:16).

But, I want to go back to sharing how God spoke to my heart this week. I had heard on the radio about a lady who passed away. Apparently she was a strong Christian lady who deeply loved the Lord, but it seems that God had called her home suddenly, in spite her age (50’s) and physicality (healthy). From what I had heard, the passing was quick, that there was no suspicion of foul play, and she was in no danger of illness. She had a husband, children and grandchildren who adored her and a congregation who loved her as well. She was known for loving the Lord and strong in her witness.

Now. I know, that I am not the first person in history, nor the last to question why God takes some of what seems to be persons who bear a lot of fruit for Him home so quickly. As Christians, we deeply ponder how this could happen, and we perpetually ask the super difficult question of, “why?” We reason within ourselves that she could have greatly furthered the Kingdom, so what is going on here? Doesn’t scripture tell us that it’s the wicked who die young (please don‘t misinterpret, I am not talking about children). So, how can we reconcile this? What about the 41 million plus martyrs around the world that have given their lives for Christ, and at that, some very young. How can we process this information without going crazy, or losing some of our faith?

Well, it was the Lord, as gentle as He always is to my spirit, who said that He does what He does to accomplish HIS will. How many times does the Lord command us to, “Trust Him”. He’s basically telling us that He KNOWS what He’s doing. To sum it up, He IS the great I AM. He is Sovereign, and He will do what He will to accomplish His purpose in this earth regardless of what we think He should do. He reminded me that I can trust His purpose for why He took this lady home to be with Him and how He is willing that none should perish, but all should come to repentance.

So, after His reminding truth I had peace flooding through me; I can trust she did not die in vain, nor does anyone who gives their lives for the cause of Christ. Unfortunately for us though, we are not privy to knowing the number of souls who may come to Him through His servant’s death at this time. But isn’t it wonderful to know that we can rest in His assurance that He is doing what He does to accomplish His will? Romans 8:28-31 are some of the greatest verses in the bible, and has brought comfort to many. I pray that it brings comfort to you now:

28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.

29 – For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30 – Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.

31 – What shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

32 – He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

Tell me that that doesn’t give you hope and comfort! Those verses are a great gift to us. They should not be taken lightly and most importantly, God forbid, they should not be taken for granted! What a blessed thing to know that God works all things to the GOOD for those that love Him, for those that are called according to His purpose, for us who are being conformed to the image of His Son. And, if this is what is going on, then the Apostle Paul says, who can be against us? Because if God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up to die for ALL OF US, how shall He not freely give us all things? Wow! I never get tired of hearing this kind of information. And in reality, this is the kind of truth none of us should get tired of hearing. Oh, what a tragedy it is to see dusty bibles!

Isn’t God good, though? Taste and see that the Lord is good! His salvation is free, and it’s precious. It’s why people give their lives to hold on to it- to hold onto Him. He is better than any lottery, any material object, He is fairer than the fairest, and I will follow after Him no matter the cost. He is worth it, and for those who don’t know Him, He is real. This isn’t some one-sided relationship, folks!

So, please let’s remember those that are grieving for loved ones this week. For those that have lost family members, let’s endeavor to lift them up in prayer, remembering that to the Lord the death of His saints are precious to Him. May He draw many souls to Himself because of what they gave. John 12:24 says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”

Pray also for myself and our labor of love in the Gospel as we go out into the world. Pray for our light to shine before men that we may bring glory to our Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit no matter what it costs us. May we all grow in knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

As always: YSIC,
Joy

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That need our prayers, letters and support. 

 

On Feb. 4, Gao Zhisheng, was abducted by Chinese secret police from his hometown. Since 2005, Gao has been repeatedly arrested, imprisoned and severely tortured by Chinese authorities, mostly for his work defending Chinese Christians. In 2006, he and a group of prominent human rights lawyers created the Association of Human Rights Attorneys for Chinese Christians. In 2007, he was arrested and spent over 50 days behind bars where he was tortured. “I was beaten so badly that my whole body began shaking uncontrollably on the floor,” Gao writes of his torture in an open letter.The Chinese government does not acknowledge that Gao is in one of their prisons, as a result his letters of encouragement are being mailed to the Chinese embassy in Washington DC.

 

I read about Gao a few months ago. Sad to say that his whereabouts are still unknown. Gao does have a wife and children if I remember correctly. I encourage you to pray for not only him, but his wife and children as well.

In September 2007 Chinese government officials closed Alimujiang Yimiti’s business and accused him of using it as a cover up for “preaching Christianity among people of Uyghur ethnicity.” He was later arrested in January 2008 and accused of “subversion of the national government and endangering national security,” a crime punishable by death. Alimujiang, a former Muslim, became a Christian more than 10 years ago and has been an active Christian in the growing Uyghur church. On May 27 Alimujiang’s case went to trial. His case was referred back to the Chinese Public Security Bureau’s prosecutors due to “insufficient evidence.” He remains in custody.

 

There is an address for Alimujiang so a letter can be written. PrisonerAlert.com will have information on how to do this if you are interested. Or, you can contact me and I can help you as well.

 

On June 10, a Chinese court sentenced Christian bookstore owner, Shi Weihan,38, to three years in prison for “illegal business operations,” and imposed a US$21,975 fine, according to China Aid Association. Shi Weihan operated a legal bookstore and only sold books with the government’s approval. His Holy Spirit Trading Company printed Bibles and Christian literature and distributed then freely to local house churches. Weihan was arrested in November 2007 for printing and distributing Bibles and other Christian literature. He was released in January 2008 due to insufficient evidence, but was arrested again in March and held indefinitely. China Aid reported his sentence will run from November 2007 to November 2010. Believers hope that Weihan could appeal his sentence because of medical reasons. While in prison his diabetic condition worsened.

 

I don’t think any of us have any clue what it would be like to operate a business only to have the government control it. To see that an entity can tell you what you can and can not sell. And on top of that, if you sell something that they are against they can put you in prison. We heartily need to be approaching the Throne of Grace on Shi’s behalf due to his medical condition. All it takes is a few moments and it can make all the difference in the world for him. Shi is also able to receive letters at the detainment center where he is held.

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Thank you for reading. These men desperately need us to pray for them and to uphold them. Will you take just a moment to plead to our Heavenly Father on their behalf?

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The Family SnapshotToday I mailed in my application to be a representative for VOM’s, ‘Voice Volunteer Network’. I’m excited to see where God will lead me in it.

It took me quite a while to get the whole family together for a picture, but we did it last night. Not the greatest picture, but it was accomplished and that’s all that matters.

I don’t have many expectations at this point, but I am excited at the possibility of being used by the Lord to accomplish His will. May He do many wonderous things through me and by me in this ministry for the persecuted Church.

I covet your prayers now at the start of this journey. May it be used to bring glory to the Father and bring furtherance to the Gospel of Christ.

This blog’s purpose is personal and yet, public. To show the world all the possibilities in Christ Jesus. My redeemer, my Savior.

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