Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Would You Be A Martyr?

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you.” John 15:18-20 NIV

The national news has recently reported about an Iranian pastor who is facing execution for converting others to Christianity and refusing to denounce his Christian faith.

As I read the stories about this pastor, I can't help but wonder would I be willing to die for my faith? This man is just 32 years old, and has two young children. Yet, according to all accounts, he is risking and may in fact lose his life for his faith.

Biblical and historical accounts tell us that John the Baptist, Peter, Thomas, James and most of the apostles were martyred. But as Americans we take for granted the religious freedoms we are given every day.

So today I challenge you with two questions:

1. Would you be willing to give your life for your faith?

2. If it were a crime to be a Christian, would there even be any evidence to prosecute you?

It's something to thing about, isn't it? Pray for the Christians throughout the world today.

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 2 Timothy 3:12 NIV

Chatty Kelly

Monday, October 3, 2011

Relationship vs. Request

"And Lord, please let the electricity go out again. Amen."

I didn't know whether to laugh or groan at my 7 yr old daughter's prayer request. After being without electricity for several days in August, due to Hurricane Irene, the electricity had finally come back on. But evidently too soon for her. She'd enjoyed the extra outside play time, and fun of "roughing it," although honestly since we have a generator we weren't roughing it too much. We had refrigeration and lights, but no air conditioning, television, phone or Internet. Other people had suffered far more than we had. Thankfully God said no to her prayer.

But how many times have I prayed for something that made God laugh or groan? Things that seem just perfect in my little world, not realizing the impact that it would make on the world at large. Not realizing others suffering, or that they would suffer if my request got a "yes" answer.

The best prayer is "Thy will be done." But so often I pray "MY will be done!" Not literally, no. But certainly my requests seem that way.

Even if I tried, I can't see the big picture like God can. And that is why relationship is so much more important than requests. God wants to know our hearts desire, just like I want to know my daughter's. But that doesn't mean either of us are guaranteed to say yes. It's the relationship that matters, even when we say no.

Spend some time today building that relationship with God through prayer. And remember that sometimes he loves you so much that he answers no.

Chatty Kelly