Thursday, February 28, 2008

Christian Heroes

This past Christmas, our pastor gave this book to many of us who have served in our church in some capacity. Actually, I think just about every household ended up with one. The title is The One Year Christian History, a daily glimpse into God's powerful work, by Mike and Sharon Rusten. It's a devotional book, with a two page spread for each day of the year. Each day, some event or person is spotlighted, according to the date of some some occurrence in history. The earliest date is in 763 B.C. and the latest is in the year 2000. The 366 devotions can be started any time in the year.
This book is a blessing. You may want to get one for your family. I'm sure you, too, will be blessed. The publisher is Tyndale House, but Amazon and others have it. I've been captivated by some of the stories about people whom I can only refer to as Christian Heroes. It's mind-boggling how many martyrs there have been, some at the hands of other so-called Christians. It did strike me that all persecutors have not been Communists, Muslims or Hindus, but many have been burned at the stake and endured horrible atrocities at the hands of the particular orthodoxy of a time and place. Wow. You'll read about courage that you may not have known existed in the hearts of men and women. My heart has been touched reading these stories. I think yours would be too.

By the way, I've had a series going at the business blog called "Christian Heroes." Maybe you'd like to check those out from time to time and talk to your children about some of the heroes of our faith. I often link to "Glimpses for Kids", a very good site for children, which has all kinds of facts from Christian history. I think it's impotant for our children and grandchildren to know about these things, as it might encourage their young hearts towards greatness.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Remember the Apostle Paul

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 1 Timothy 1:15
From time to time, as many of you know, I feel constrained to write a post about those of Christ's church who are persecuted for their faith. But a post that Stacy Harp made yesterday at the persecution blog made me think. I don't pray enough for the persecutors. If you can, read Stacy's post--it's real food for thought.

I know it may be difficult to hear about some of the horrible atrocities that are committed against Christians and then turn around and pray for God's mercy and grace towards the perpetrators, but I do agree that the Apostle Paul, former persecutor and blasphemer, is a reminder that there is no category of man which is outside of the grace of our God.

Do you pray for the persecutor as well as the persecuted? My confession: I don't. At least not often enough. So as Stacy is reminding us, Paul teaches us a lesson about this.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Great Gain in Great Loss

Jesus, my all in all thou art;
My rest in toil, my ease in pain,
The medicine of my broken heart,
In war my peace, in loss my gain...
~~Charles Wesley

I looked back and couldn't believe my last Aunt Jane's Hero post was on November 8th. Imagine that. To think that last July I had grand intentions that this would be a weekly series on this blog, one I even thought could be finished by now. I hate to say this, but sometimes I have expectations which come far short of reality. Well, enough of that--I've beaten up on myself sufficiently. I go forward with new resolve to be more diligent, even if I don't meet my initial goals. Now for Chapter 5 . . .

". . .The Young Men's Christian Association opened its arms to him; he became interested in the once-despised Mission School, and once or twice his voice was heard at the weekly prayer-meeting which he never used to attend. He felt, at times, that he had gained through loss; that he was a happier, better man; and yet a voice often whispered in his ear; that next to the love of God he needed the love of a Christian woman."

Horace? Is this speaking of Horace? Yes, a different Horace as you can clearly see. These final lines of the chapter are evidence that the most wonderful thing that could possibly happen to any wandering young man had occurred--he had been brought back to his God. In Horace's case, it had happened as a result of the heavy hand of divine providence. The episode is a stirring account of how our young hero, in the midst of great loss, came into possession of great gain, even Christ. We stand in awe, as if this fictional character were someone we knew.

Last night, during prayer time at our church, someone asked prayer for their wayward son. At that point I took a mental excursion around the room and counted four families who have either a son or a daughter who has strayed. As I thought about them, I thought of Horace and what happened to him in this chapter. I don't wish on any of these young people that they'd experience a loss such as the one Horace endured; but, oh, I pray they'll lay hold of his gain. Then, my thoughts went even further to ponder whether any of these parents would just as soon see God have hard dealings with their wandering ones if it's the only way. It's a tough call--to an area of prayer where any parent would tread with trepidation.

Note: I've intentionally not mentioned what Horace's great loss was. Remember, these posts are little prods to get you to read the book!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sunday Snippet - The Greatest Wonder

I am rejoicing in the mercies of my God today. His kindnesses to this poor weary saint have been manifold. A good study with my Sunday school children this morning, two good sermons today, wonderful hymns at each service,the Lord's Supper, and a precious time of prayer tonight have left me ready to face another week. We heard about the "Seven Wonders of God" tonight as Pastor R. finished off with the greatest wonder of all: That God loves us. For those of us who have come to Him through His Son, we can be assured that He loves us. That indeed is a wonder and wonderful. The final words of the sermon:

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean.

Wishing God's blessings to all my fellow pilgrims throughout this week.