Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Applaud, Please

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven… Matthew 5:12

May I have everyone’s attention please? I have an announcement to make. Ready? I have COMPLETED the income taxes. I repeat. I have COMPLETED the income taxes. Not only do I feel that I deserve applause, but that a standing ovation would be in order. Not once did I scream at the computer, calculator, or 1040 forms. Not once did I stay awake at night over this or that problem that had me befuddled. Nor did I ever, the entire time, throw any of my papers across the room. No headaches, tears, or stiff necks. Aren’t you proud of me? I hear the applause and the cheers. Thanks, guys.

On a much more serious note, however, it has come to my attention what other Christians have been going through while I’ve been making such a big thing over this one small irritant in my life. Here are a few of those situations:

1. Pastor Wang Weiliang remains in prison, having been there for over 250 days. His primary crime was that he was preaching the gospel.

2. Five Christians were charged with blasphemy in Pakistan. They are living under threat of attack because of their faith in Christ.

3. A letter written by a member of the underground church in Romania has been smuggled out. It speaks about Christians bearing willingly the cross for Christ’s glory.

4. The Iranian government tried to force some Christians there to deny Christ. These believers have suffered various attacks.

These are hardships being reported at Persecution Blog this week, but I’m sure there are many more. PRAY, sisters and brothers. They need our prayers.

At the present time, I’ve been traveling through the book of Matthew during personal devotions, with J. C. Ryle as a much appreciated companion. I’ve journeyed with him many times before—he’s one of my favorite comrades. Last week, our feet landed on Matthew 5:10-12. Listen to what Mr. Ryle had to say about that:

“…the Lord Jesus calls these “blessed” who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. He means those who are laughed at, mocked, despised, and ill used, because they endeavor to live as true Christians. Blessed are all such! They drink of the same cup which their Master drank. They are now confessing Him before men, and He will confess them before His Father and the angels at the last day. “Great is their reward.”

I have to bring the persecuted ones before us periodically. I don’t know about you, but for me they are vivid reminders of our risen Lord. They help me not to forget that Christianity is true and real. In China, the gospel is rapidly spreading, even though its leaders may be imprisoned; there are still Christians living their faith in Pakistan; in Romania, even though they have to go “underground”, believers speak of living lives that are Christlike; and our brothers and sisters in Iran refuse to deny their Savior.

I’m thankful for them and I hope you are too. If it were appropriate, they are the ones who deserve a standing ovation.

5 comments:

chrisd said...

Hi, Maxine. Thank you for posting these things on your blog. We Americans have no idea what's going on the world around us.

Beverly said...

Thanks, Mom. I'll add these things to prayer time today. We have no idea what other Christians are going through. We forget too often.
Congratulations on finishing your income taxes. I am very proud of you -- and you kept a sense of humor throughout!

Beka said...

Thank you for that much-needed reminder! I will be sure to lift up those persecuted Christians today. As Bev said, we definitely too-often forget what others are going through, as we make mountains out of our little mole-hills of problems.
And HOORAY! for finishing your taxes without throwing anything across the room!

Mommysmart said...

Hello!

Thanks for swinging over to my mommy blog. I followed you back home and I love your blog. I will be back for more visits.

Have a blessed day!

Elise said...

What a wonderful re-focus. I'm so very glad you have finished the taxes, and I'm also thankful to have been reminded of much more important things worthy of prayer that are going on.