Sunday, August 4, 2013
Helping the Broken Body
Matthew 25: 34- 40 "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in, I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'
Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when we did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick or in prison, and come to You?
And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me.' "
Five Simple Steps to Helping the Persecuted Church
1) Prayer- If you remember nothing else, remember this one. I hosted an outreach to raise awareness of Christian persecution in my local area and the VOM (Voice of the Martyrs) representative told me the #1 request of repressed believers was for prayer.
VOM publishes a full color prayer calendar that focuses on requests for every country that is hostile or Christianity is outlawed. There are many countries, you would be surprised! There is a request for every day of the year. If you go to their website www.persecution.com, you can find out about their free newsletter and it will tell you how to purchase these materials, or you can purchase them online at their online bookstore at the same link.
2) Go- If you have the time and are motivated graciously to help in some way, you can find a way to give of yourself. My sister and her husband are in the medical field and have gone with their church on mission trips to Haiti, for example. But I say this not to rouse a feeling of guilt that you must go, only if the Spirit is prompting by love. You would never would want to do it from a sense of guilt, because all of guilt, shame and blame has been taken care of already at Jesus' cross. This is a "get to," not a "have to." If you carefully examine I Corinthians 13: 1-3, and then verse 13 you will see that only love is the proper motivation to serve on the mission field in any capacity.
3) Awareness- Make yourself aware of what is really going on. Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) has a weekly prayer update that you can print out and intercede for the requests. You can request the free book Tortured for Christ from their website and get their free monthly newsletter. visit www.persecution.com or visit Gospel for Asia's page to learn of their outreach to children http://nolongeraslumdog.org/ http://persecutionproject.org/ (PPF) is another wonderful organization that helps Christians facing genocide in the Sudan and also are commited to providing them with clean drinking water.
4) Educate- a)Teach your children about loving all people groups, and to care about children in other lands who are in need of compassion. VOM has a kids page on their website: http://www.kidsofcourage.com/ and there are materials in their bookstore that you can buy for teaching purposes.
5) Educate- b) Other adults in your circle of influence. A lot of Christians aren't fully aware of what believers in other lands are going through. If I was in their shoes, I sure would hope that someone would care. It is edifying to read some of the biographies of some who have gone before us who underwent severe trials.
A couple books I have read that have really touched my life are: Christ in the Communist Prisons by Reverend Richard Wurmbrand, The Pastor's Wife by Sabina Wurmbrand, Perpetua: A Bride, A Martyr, A Passion by Amy Rachel Peterson, and Watchman Nee, Man of Suffering by Bob Laurent.
One day (maybe very soon) we will all stand at the Bema seat of Christ and we will give account, not for our sins (they are paid for) but what we did with the time God allotted us.
2Cr 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things [done] in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
My conviction is that we should help shoulder the burden of our brethren, if we can, and are motivated by His agape love. God is not surprised if we have neglected this, and He will not condemn us (Rom.8:28) as we confess it before Him.(I John 1:9) He knows that only He can perform anything good in us that has to be done anyway. (Philippians 2: 13) For there is no good in any one of us, sorry to say. (Romans 3: 10) Ask Him to give you HIS love shed abroad in your heart for His broken Body. (Romans 5: 5) If He doesn't work it within us, it will not be accomplished, period.(II Thess. 2: 17)
How gracious our Heavenly Father is to work inside us to love others through us! It's a not a burden, but a joy. "...And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." Nehemiah 8: 10b