Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Persecuted Church

I have been a member and supporter of The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) for several years now. God revealed them to me through my sister, Dana, who gave me the book, "The Jesus Freaks" for Christmas almost ten years ago. At the end of the book was an invitation to join. I accepted it and have become as actively involved as I am financially able. Space doesn't allow a proper explanation on what VOM does, how they work, and the wonderful support they have provided the persecuted church for decades. All of that information is available on their website, which I have provided in this post. I hope you take a moment to visit their home page and read of God's work that's being performed through this wonderful organization. Perhaps you, too, will be moved to join in supporting them and our brothers and sisters in Christ who suffer far beyond what we can imagine. Their web address is (Thank you, Becky, for helping me figure out how to make this a live link!)

In the days to come, I will begin a monthly profile of a particular nation that VOM deems "hostile" or "restricted" to Christians. Each month, there will be a post indicating a particular nation with demographics and statistics, media and watch group reports that, I hope, will provide you with insight into the persecution they endure. I am also praying that my readers will see how close our own nation is moving towards restricting religious freedom by posting news reports from within our own borders. The problem is closer than most will admit.

And, as some of you are aware, I receive VOM's weekly prayer updates which I forward to you from my email. I will be adding a weekly "Prayer Request" post on this blog to keep everyone aware of those in dire need of our prayers and support and updates on their progress.

All around the world the Gospel of Jesus Christ is being preached by men and women whose very lives are threatened. But like the apostles, they are "rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name." (Acts 5: 41 NIV). Please continue to pray they will have boldness, healing, strength and a forgiving heart for their persecutors - for Christ's glory and honor.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Through The Sea

"Your path led through the sea, Your way through the mighty waters, though Your footprints were not seen." Psalm 77:19 (NIV)

ur lives often lead us in directions that seem opaque, as though we are looking through a glass that has been hazed and scratched, its surface marred with a cloudiness that prevents clarity of vision. Man often fears the unknown future. His heart quakes at unseen events, trembling at what must lie beyond the next bend, for his eyes are clouded with the cares and worries of what lies immediately before him. The Israelites must have felt this dread as they stood on the banks of the sea, its vast roaring waves stretching before them while Pharaoh's army bore down on their rearguard ready to devour them. The scene before and behind God's people must have filled their hearts with horror. And like the rolling waves that wash the sand into the sea, so, too, their hearts failed them as all hope seemed to be swept away. But a divine promise had been made and a path was opened to them.

Rather than knowing we are being led, we often feel as though we are being pushed by Pharaoh's army. Always looking over our shoulder, we run from life's circumstances. We squint our eyes and attempt to peer into the cloudy glass, looking for a way out of our predicament. Our hands grope around in the darkness, our feet taking tentative, mincing steps, unsure of the path we are on. We fail to trust the One Whose unseen footprints are left in the sand ahead of us to guide us through life's trials. As God went before the Israelites, He also goes before His children who love Him, leaving a pathway to which they can follow.

To those of us who are called to live by faith, His "way through the mighty waters" of life becomes more obvious in our sight. The glass that we strained our eyes to see through before now appears clearer, its hazy surface exchanged for one of brilliance - crystalline and pure. As we walk His path, the footprints He has left ahead of us lead us to safety and into His blessed promise of salvation and eternal peace. Our steps feel surer for the way is lit by His presence and we no longer fear what lies behind or ahead.

If we choose to trust His footsteps through the sea, He will make our path clear and home we shall be. And when we reach the other shore, the tumultuous, roaring waves of the sea will close upon the enemy that pursues us, nevermore to be feared.

Copyright 2007 Karen L. Brahs