What does it mean to you to be persecuted for your faith? Most of us automatically think of those in other countries who are dying because they refuse to renounce their belief in Jesus Christ. Places like Kenya, Pakistan, Nigeria, Libya, Uganda and Syria come to mind.
While there are other countries, most of us in America pay no heed to the stories of those who are killed for their faith. We sit in our comfortable pews on Sunday morning, participate in church activities and have no clue what it means to die for our beliefs. While there have been incidences in our country where Christians have been murdered in a church setting, they are not commonplace.
We take for granted our freedom to worship each Sunday in our chosen denomination. We read our Bibles without fear of having to conceal it. We can talk openly about our faith in the media and on the street corners, if we so choose. We aren’t afraid to share what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. The word persecution usually doesn’t enter into our vocabulary.
The ‘problem of pain,’ is atheism’s most potent weapon
against the Christian faith.
As a Christian columnist, I promote my writing worldwide via my blog and social media. While I’ve received emails from believers around the globe, I’ve also encountered hatred from non-believers as well.
Recently, I received a message in response to a tweet I’d posted on Twitter. For those who are unfamiliar with this online social networking service, users are only allowed 140-character messages to convey their thoughts. It requires creativity and abbreviations to communicate.
Injustice, chaos, violence, strife, racism and fear followed by anger, retaliation and nationwide unrest have come to define our country over the past several months. Beginning with the mass shooting in a gay night club in Orlando, FL, the shooting of a black man in Minnesota and another in Louisiana, and ending with the killing of police officers in Dallas, Texas, we are seeking answers and guidance.
Why does it take a tragedy or a series of tragedies to motivate people to speak out about the problems in our world? My thoughts, however, are, “Why are we just talking about it?”
We can give lip service to these shootings, point fingers and blame others, come up with “feel-good” slogans or we can hit our knees and begin praying.
Peace doesn’t come automatically.
Christian author Rebecca Barlow Jordan wrote on Facebook, “Praying for God’s comfort, love and compassion for those who have lost loved ones, friends, and family members in Dallas, and wherever lives have so senselessly been taken. And praying for a nation gone so far away from God. Praying that we can come back to the One who holds everything in His hand, not in a moment of silence, but through deep, deep, prayerful cries on our knees, prayers of submission, prayers of surrender, and prayers of longing to be a people who shine as lights in a dark world. How we need You, Jesus! Bring us back to You!”
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”—John 3:16 (NIV).
Slipping a $10 bill inside the last card, I sealed the envelope and prayed my grandchildren would be as enthusiastic as I was about my new Christmas tradition. The idea to give each one $10, along with a letter telling them the cash was not to spend on themselves but for someone in need, was born out of a discussion in my Sunday school class.
Lamenting the fact their grown children bought gifts they didn’t really need, one class member said, “Tom and I have everything. We’d rather them use the money they spend on our gifts to help others.”
She added, “I’m also going to use the money I normally spend on the adults’ gifts to help others. My children don’t need anything.”
Another class member spoke up, sharing a memorable Christmas when he and his adult siblings decided not to purchase gifts for each other. Instead, using their gifts and talents, they made presents for each other that year. “It was the best Christmas ever,” he said.
Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
At this time of year, I love reading and hearing stories of how others seek to help the needy. “Cooper’s Hope,” the headline on a recent “Tulsa World” news story grabbed my attention. Six-year-old Cooper Andrew spied a homeless veteran holding a sign, asking for help. Viewing the rain-soaked man, the first grader asked his mother, “How do people become homeless?”
After his mother explained, Cooper said, “How about we help them, instead of talking about them?”
“Day by day the Lord observes the good deeds done by godly men, and gives them eternal rewards”— Psalm 37:18 (TLB).
Barefooted and clad in a sheet, the man shuffled across the street. With head down, his demeanor suggested someone who was lost. This photo of humanity had been captured by a Tulsa World photographer and was plastered across the top inside page of a recent Sunday newspaper.
After snapping the photo, the curious photographer wanted to know the rest of the story. Why was this man walking across the street with a sheet around his shoulders? Upon approaching him, the photographer discovered the man had just been released from a criminal justice center early that morning, wearing nothing but a pair of shorts.
There are no limits to God’s amazing grace.
The man had called an ambulance in an attempt to get a night’s hospital stay. In addition to the ambulance, the police showed up. According to the man’s story, authorities then arrived and gave him a sheet to protect him from the cold until he could eat breakfast at a local soup kitchen and food pantry when it opened.
When the photographer first spotted the sheet-clad man, he said, “(It was) incredible for me because of the religious implications, but it was unusual to see a barefoot man walking down the street wrapped in a sheet.”
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’”—Matthew 16:24 (NIV).
Area residents from diverse backgrounds were recently interviewed by a large metropolitan newspaper. They were asked how they felt about the American Dream, how had it changed over the past decades and how hard is it to achieve?
A 68-year-old pastor who was interviewed said, “One of the things that has changed dramatically since the time I was a kid is the place of God and religion in the typical family life. I would suspect that there’s not as much practice of religion…And when you take God out of the picture and religious practice—which supports belief in God—I think the family also suffers.”
“The American Dream can very quickly become twisted into a self-serving vision and dominate our lives.”
The term, “American Dream,” was coined by author James Truslow Adams in 1931. Adams’ American Dream is “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”
Writing in “Relevant” magazine, Seth Silvers asked this question: Can you pursue the American Dream and follow Jesus at the same time?
“‘Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You go, and do likewise’”—Luke 10:36-37(ESV).
In the parable of “The Good Samaritan,” a lawyer puts Jesus to the test, asking Him, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus replies, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”
The lawyer replies, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and your neighbors as yourself.”
Jesus then says, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” Seeking to justify himself, the lawyer asks Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus continues the conversation with the parable of the Samaritan, the only one who stops to help a man who is attacked by robbers and left half dead on the side of the road. The victim had already been ignored by a priest and a Levite. But, the Samaritan had compassion, tended to the man’s wounds and took him to an inn, where he paid the innkeeper and promised to return and pay for any difference for the man’s stay.
When the man’s food arrived, the 5-year-old insisted on praying over it with him.
In the dictionary, compassion means “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” Synonyms for compassion include grace, mercy and kindness. Don’t those words describe God’s goodness to us?
5-Year-Old Begs His Mother to Feed a Homeless Man
Then he prays for him
To my readers: Sometimes, the media overlooks the positive news in our world. I found this article in a news feed on twitter and wanted to share this heartwarming story with you.
by John Callahan
Seeing a homeless man inside of a Waffle House in Alabama caused one little boy to respond with kindness.
After seeing that this man had no food, this boy quickly rushes over to his mother and asks if she can buy him a meal. The homeless man is in shock and it doesn’t end there. Josiah Duncan goes over to the man and begins to pray, and after that, there wasn’t a dry eye in the building.
This young boy has a heart of gold. His mother, Ava Faulk, was in complete shock and felt so blessed when he prayed for the man.
“He came in and sat down, and nobody really waited on him,” Faulk told a local radio station. “So Josiah jumped up and asked him if he needed a menu because you can’t order without one.”
The photo is now being shown all over the world to promote kindness, and it sure does touch your heart when you look at it.
“Watching my son touch the 11 people in that Waffle House tonight will be forever one of the greatest accomplishments as a parent I’ll ever get to witness,” Faulk said.
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/buzzvine/a-5-year-old-begs-his-mother-to-feed-a-homeless-man-then-he-prays-for-him-139299/#fgCekbTyOsHMzy4X.99