Monday, November 14, 2011

IDOP Everyday

Yesterday was the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. We prayed yesterday (and will hopefully continue to do so!), but the reality of that persecution is faced today by so many around the world. Here's a brief video put out by Gospel for Asia that will give you a taste of what our persecuted family faces.

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. (Hebrews 13:3)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"I Am Happy That You Failed"

From Voice of the Martyrs (sent to me by Chuck Barmore): 
Zhang Rongliang, one of the most prominent house church leaders in China, was sentenced in 2006 to seven and a half years in prison for using an illegal passport. But even as Christians pressured communist leaders to release Rongliang, he was building a ministry inside the prison.
"I am happy that you and others tried to arrange for my release, but in one way, I am happy that you failed,"
Rongliang told a VOM contact.
 "You almost made a big mistake. If you had been successful, there would be no church in that prison today." 
After his release on Aug. 31, Rongliang was immediately admitted to a hospital for 15 days. Doctors treated Rongliang's high blood pressure and diabetes.

Though imprisoned, the utter freedom of his freedom betrays our slavery and shames us. Lord, grant us such freedom in Christ that we will be happy for "failures" (or unanswered prayers) that serve Providential plans for Freedom.
Genesis 50:20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Technology: Master or Servant?

Mouthwash Recommended

Walter Hooper is a trustee of the C.S. Lewis estate. He served as Lewis' personal secretary for a short time and knew Lewis quite well. He wrote the introduction to Present Concerns: A Compelling Collection of Timely, Journalistic Essays. The essays were written by Lewis and later compiled by Hooper. In the introduction, Hooper recounts the following exchange he had with Lewis:
"Who is Elizabeth Taylor?" asked C.S. Lewis. ...
"If you read the newspapers," I said to Lewis, "you would know who she is."
"Ah-h-h-h!" said Lewis playfully, "but that is how I keep myself 'unspotted from the world'."
He recommended that if I absolutely "must" read newspapers I have a frequent "mouthwash" with The Lord of the Rings or some other great book.
I read this quote on vacation awhile back and found one more reason to love C.S. Lewis! Funny how timely and relevant Lewis was and still is for not having read newspapers! If this was his opinion roughly a half a century ago in England, what would he say to us today in America?!

So much of what passes for "news" is not "newsworthy." When "news" becomes more a business than a service, it's bound to shoot itself in the foot. When the compulsion to gain a greater market share trumps the responsibility to inform the populace of real and newsworthy news, "(cheap) entertainment value" might rise, but news as a good and public service dies.

As you walk through this holiday season, you might have a little extra time on your hands here and there. Shut off the TV, close your internet browser, and sink your teeth into a good book -- like this or this (present Book of the Month) or this or this or this or this (or this, if with your kids) or this or this or this. It's a great way to wash the world off your teeth.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Axe Your Boasts

The Lord is most graciously helping me to see how absolutely nothing I am without Him, and helping me to keep little in my own eyes. ... The axe cannot boast of the trees it has cut down. It could do nothing but for the woodsman. He made it, he sharpened it, and he used it. The moment he throws it aside; it becomes only old iron.
(Samuel Brengle, as quoted in Spiritual Leadership by Oswald Sanders, 63)