Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New Year: Sweet Persecution.

A message from Brother Andrew.
"Persecution is not the latest buzz word; it's for real.  It happens when either a political or religious system takes away our liberties of Christian witness.  Can it ever be sweet?  Only in the victorious lives of those who choose to pay the price-beginning with Stephen."
                                                          -Brother Andrew

Another year is coming to an end.  2012 was pretty amazing and as I look back I am reminded of everything that the Lord made happened.

1. I was able to create a new body of work for God when I was asked to be apart of the UNDERGROUND art show.  God showed me a new level of creating art, to bring light to scripture and to show others His glory.

2. I became a homeowner.

3. I went on my first missions trip, doing outreach for churches.

4. I participated in and won the ONE BODY, MANY GIFTS contest by Open Doors USA.

5. I was able to photograph the iGo AweStar Missions conference and meet Pastor Mony from Cambodia.

These things are just a handful of the blessings God has given me.  I want to remember them and never feel ungrateful or unappreciative to the goodness of my God.  I also never want to think that I did these things on my own strength or by my own will, but by His grace and his perfect plan for His glory.
[Romans 11:36]
"For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen."
On this day after Christmas I also remember my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I think about those whom, on Christmas day, were not allowed to celebrate openly their love and adoration for our Jesus who came down to earth.  I remember those who pray on bended knee about the true reason for the season, and I remember those who celebrate Christ's coming without a tree or presents, but IN HIS PRESENCE.  I think how foolish we must seem to those who only need God on what should be one of the most reverent days of the year.  This quote sums it up for me:

"Santa Claus fits the theology of the world. He can drink with you at parties and he can cater to your selfish desires.  The Christ child calls us to worship; something bigger than we can understand is happening here." -Nathan Johnson

Now don't get me wrong, I did celebrate with my family.  We ate together and exchanged gifts, but I fear that for many the main reason has been lost amongst the heap of wrapping paper waiting to be thrown out after the excitement of presents has dissipated.  I pray for my own self that as this year comes to a close I keep Christ at the forefront and my eyes upon his eternal glory.

For the new year I will be starting this devotional called Sweet Persecution: A 30-Day Devotional With Reflections From the Persecuted Church. (click the link to find it on amazon) The book is under three dollars and if you want they even have a Kindle edition for 2.99. Will you join me as the new year begins? Will you focus our thoughts and prayers not on yourself or a new years resolution, but let us, you and I, be resolute to put God first and pray for those brothers and sisters who suffer persecution for the name of our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ.
[Acts 5:41]
The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.
-A.

Prayer Requests:

1.  Still working on getting a passport and deciding where I should go for my visit with persecuted Christians.  Please pray for guidance.

2. Pray that our brothers and sisters and Christ would rejoice in their suffering and know that they are not alone.

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