Idolatry and True Worship

Worship by nephilim919

I have been working on my book review of The Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer. But as I am flipping through the book looking over some of my favorite highlights, I am getting caught up in re-reading the book.

Tozer reminds us that Christianity is much more than a religion that dictates what you should and should not do. A follower of Christ is called to keep certain commands, but that is not the point of our faith. I am reminded of a catchy phrase; “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” (Thanks to Don Merritt at Life Reference, I now know the originator of the quote is Lee Iacoca). That main thing is God himself.

Church attendance, Bible reading/study, tithes and offerings, singing hymns and worship songs, prayer and quiet time… These are all very important to our Christian lives, but we cannot make the mistake of allowing these acts to become the very gods that we worship! It is possible to slip from the true worship of God and begin to worship idols in our lives that are made of precious acts of worship. The acts can never become greater in our lives than the one that they should be directed toward.

Do we attend church servicesto be known by God as good individuals. No we gather because our worship of him deserves a corporal setting. We go to services because there are others who God has called us to serve as an act of worship to him. We read our Bible not to achieve little gold stars on our record, but to better understand who God is and how he may guide our lives. We give not because God needs our money or so we can receive greater than we gave, but because by giving we place God first in our lives. We sing not to impress God with the gifts that he has given us, but because his greatness stirs a desire in us to let down our guard and allow our emotions to well up and praise as loudly as we can. Prayer should never become the time that we list our wants and cares to God without stopping to observe the fact that our pleas are going before the throne of our righteous King. Our prayers should always be more about God than ourselves.

Is it possible that we sometimes trade the worship of the one true God, for idolatrous acts of service/worship that become lesser gods? These acts were never intended to be our way to God, but our response to God. When you begin to understand the importance of God, a desire to know him more develops. He has left us much information about who he is, and we cannot mistake these acts as our God.

Stop for a moment and think on your understanding of who God is. If you do not get lost in a myriad of thoughts… ask yourself are you worshiping the one true God. He is a being that exists outside of space and time. Not a higher form of man, but something else completely. We are part of the creation, but God is the creator. He is not the same as us. Our thoughts of God should be so extraordinary, so high that when we stop to think of God our hearts should cry out in praise. There is no other response to a being of such magnitude.

I am going to go back to my book review now, but I had to share my thoughts with you as I spent some time wondering about God.

Was Jesus Married?

A few years ago when Dan Brown‘s book The Da Vinci Code was being made into a movie, I remember learning of this discussion by the major news media. At the time it had caught me off guard. I enjoy learning about my faith, and I had never heard a discussion regarding whether Jesus was married or not. Once I began to ponder the question, new questions formulated in my mind. “Why wouldn’t Jesus have married?” “Is there any conflict created if Jesus had been married?” “Would Jesus being married change my faith?”

Cover of "The Da Vinci Code (Two-Disc Ext...

Cover via Amazon

Recently the question has resurfaced. Yesterday morning one of my local television channel’s posted a link on Facebook to this story in the Washington Post. And by that afternoon media sites all over were talking about the supposed proof that Jesus was married. Here is the first article that I read:

The Washington Post – Health & Science

And the Cycle Begins Again…

It seems odd that these stories and accusation resurface so often. Those who are trying to push this view of Jesus are doing so to prove the Gospel to be false. The Bible makes no mention of Jesus being married, and I see no reason for the Bible’s omission of Jesus’ marriage unless it did not take place. The Christian faith believes marriage to a be a holy institution that was a gift to Adam and Eve and all of mankind. Jesus being married would not be sinful or destructive of the Gospel.

Not Just a Man

However, Jesus’ life had much more purpose than simply living a normal human life. Those who try to press that Jesus was married are doing so because they wish to prove that he was human and not God. In the Gospels, Jesus blatantly teaches that he is the divine Messiah, and God. Jesus came to earth to fulfill the Law and to be the sacrifice for our sins. Although a marriage would not have kept him from his work… I can’t imagine he would marry knowing the pain that his wife would go through when he died a martyr. The reason some are trying to prove that Jesus was married is because they do not want to believe that there is a God, they do not wish to believe that Jesus was divine. It does not fit into their world view to believe that Jesus was resurrected from his death and burial. They want to believe that Christianity is a fairy tale that was created to control society. They believe that if they can make Jesus a normal Jew, they can strip him of his historical importance, deny his sacrifice and resurrection, prove the Bible false, turn our early church leaders into snake-oil salesmen and finally be rid of Christianity. After all if Jesus was not divine than all who associate themselves as his followers are wasting their lives.

There are many problems to their way of thinking. One, the Bible is made up of 66 manuscripts that are THE most verifiable documents in history. Both the Old and New Testaments have been proven to be accurate by history and archeology.

Two, the early church leaders did not make up Christianity’s beginnings to control society. If they were they did a poor job of crafting the story. There is WAY too much incriminating evidence that would have been humiliating to the early church. You read stories of the disciples failures and mistakes… propaganda does not include such stories.

Three we know that Jesus lived and we know that the tales of his miracles were believed by those who hated him. His miracles and statements about being God are why he was murdered on the cross. His very execution can be seen as proof to his claims. We also know that the Romans could not explain the disappearance of his body. We know that hundred reported to have seen Jesus in his resurrection and many saw him ascend from earth.

Not Just a Good Story of a Good Man

The Gospel of Christ is not a fictional epic that was made up and passed through the centuries as a good story. It is not like the mythologies of Greece. We know that Jesus lived, died, was resurrected and ascended. With all of the accumulated knowledge and proof of the Gospel, it is laughable to say that one writing on a papyrus supposedly written during the 4th century (That is three to four hundred years after Christ by the way, for those of you using CE instead of AD). To say that one writing is as important as the volumes of information that we have from the time that contradicts what this one piece says, is asinine.

This is similar to saying that we now have proof that Abraham Lincoln was a vampire hunter because this past year a film was distributed that said he was. Or that John F. Kennedy started the moon race because he knew transforming robots had crash landed on the moon’s surface. Both events happened within two hundred years from present day, and both of these stories have documentation that is more easily found. .

Here is an article that was published yesterday that raises questions on the authenticity of the papyrus.

Washington Post – Fraud

Don’t allow these stories to cause you to experience an emotional reaction. These stories have two objectives. One, to place doubt in those whose faith is not yet strong. And two, to cause hateful reactions that prove Christians to be… well, hateful. Try to remain calm, and allow this news to open doors of compassion for a hurting world.

UPDATES

Christian Scholars Not Fazed By ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’

Smithsonian Channel Cancels Program due to Scholarly Rebuke

Coming Soon – Book Reviews!

“Leaders are Readers.” – John Maxwell

A few years ago, a leader within my church began mentoring me on leadership. One point that he successfully drove home was that in order to lead I must continually read books on leadership, ministry, and of course my Bible. Since then, I have successfully completed every book in my library (yeah… I had a discipline problem when it came to finishing books), expanded my library (even bought a kindle this past year), and have borrowed several good books on the subjects.

Wall of Books

I felt that a Category on book reviews may be encouraging for my readers. There are many books that have been influential in my walk with the Lord. Books like Knowledge of the Holy, God As He Longs for You to See Him, Purpose Driven Life, 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, and Crazy Love are some of my favorites that come to mind. It may take me a little while to get the reviews polished, but check back here for Studying the Way’s new Book Review section!

What’s Your Aim?

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

1 Timothy 1:5

How’s Your Aim?

Paul’s letters to Timothy are often regarded as containing pastoral content. Although it is true that a shepherd of God’s flock can learn much in these letters (as well as in Titus); it should not be overlooked by the general body of Christ. Paul’s letters to Timothy are full of good instructions that are beneficial for all believers.

The main point of this post will be to look at Paul’s charge to Timothy, but let us begin with the context of the verse.

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

1 Timothy 1:3-7

Paul is writing this letter to Timothy, a young man who God has called to aide in the spreading of the Gospel. Timothy has spent some time traveling with Paul, but at this moment Paul has left him with the Ephesian Church. It is apparent from Paul’s writing that there were some who sought to add or change the Gospel, and Paul was worried for the church. In the verse that we are going to look at more closely, Paul is instructing Timothy on how to approach those who distort the Gospel and oppose him. Paul is instructing Timothy not to lash out in anger, but to allow love to pursued those who have strayed back to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now, let us break down the verse.

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

1 Timothy 1:5

You may be familiar with some other letters that Paul wrote about the importance of love in a Christian lifestyle. He once wrote a letter to the Church in Corinth that stresses the importance of love in the Christian lifestyle.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Paul believes love to be the most important character trait of a believer. Once you have experienced the love of God; a fountain of his love will spring up, and if you allow it, will outflow into the lives of those around you. Paul charges Timothy in his letter not to stand against those who are wrong because he wants to prove himself right, not because he wants to prove them wrong, but because God’s love can be found in the correct teaching of the scripture.

In this passage, Paul explains where this loving reaction originates from.

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

1 Timothy 1:5

Paul informs Timothy that his motive in ministry has to be love. When facing those who have fallen to false teachings and teachers, when living our faith before the world, we should always keep love at the forefront of everything we do. If our purpose and motivation is anything less than love, than we are fighting a worthless battle. Our love should come from a pure heart. Ministry is not about being the person with all of the answers. Evangelism is not possible from a heart that does not love those who hear the message. If we speak, act, or respond from any other motivation than love… we are practicing a false religion of self-importance. A pure heart is necessary to put God’s purposes above our own.

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

1 Timothy 1:5

A good conscience is important, because without one we waste considerable time finding fault in others to justify our own short-comings. When our personal walk is spent wandering off the path, we tend to track mud into our lives. A good conscience is necessary to see past the flaws of others. You cannot love from a guilty conscience. That is why a life of repentance is so important for a Christian. Our lives should be marked by our desire to move away from our sinfulness, and that means repenting of our sin often.

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

1 Timothy 1:5

Paul’s charge to Timothy includes the call to a sincere faith. A pure heart and a good conscience is only possible when our lives are directed by a sincere faith in Jesus Christ. Success in our walk with the Lord is not found in our own ability, but in Christ’s. It is because of his dependability that we can say that God is changing us.

A sincere faith does not attempt to promote self, but to promote Christ. A sincere faith is one that allows the Holy Spirit to guide and direct. A sincere faith does not get caught up in the desires and ambitions of this life, but in the promotion of the Gospel. A sincere faith is one that seeks true devotion to God and his causes. Sincere faith is to worship God with the individual’s entire heart, all of their soul, and their whole mind, and to love others. A sincere faith will lead to keeping a good conscience; it will purify your heart, and create love for others.

Paul’s charge to Timothy expresses the importance of love in a Christian’s life. And gives insight to how sincere faith, a clear conscience, and a pure heart can create influence in the lives of others.

Remembering 9/11

I have struggled today with how to respond to the memory of September 11th 2001. It was a day that changed the course of our country. The first year or so was filled with mourning. So many lives lost in a single act of hatred, in the name of a religion. Innocents… fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends… We look at the number of people who died that day and maybe we see only the number, but do we see the people? These families experienced the horror of losing their loved ones in a senseless act of cowardice.

I have two daughters who will grow up with the events of 9/11 as history to them. They will read about it in a text-book, and I anticipate being asked questions. I remember that day very vividly. I remember where I was, what I was doing, my feelings, my fears, and my anger. But much has changed since those last days of 2001. America is back to things as usual. We set aside “Patriot Day” to remember those who were lost, those who fought, and to celebrate that we are still here.

So how do we celebrate Patriot Day?

Remember the Heroes and Victims

There were many heroes on that day, people who put the lives of those around them before their own. Of course we should remember the first responders who lost their lives. As everyone else was fleeing the towers, these brave men and women were working their way up to challenge the flames and save as many as they could. Many of their final days and hours are documented. We should remember those who gave their lives to save the victims. We should remember their families and their fellow first responders.

In the chaos of 9/11, average men and women put their own safety behind them and made sure others were out of harm’s way. They were people with no training or commitment to saving lives. Their world was falling around them, but they refused to cower to their circumstances. They sought to help others reach safety. We have many stories of survivors who only made it out of the towers because of someone who did not. Today, we should honor and remember those civilian heroes who made sure they were not the only people to exit the towers.

Two planes hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and another plane hit the Pentagon. With the hit on the Pentagon, our assailants made known their intentions. This was a religious and political statement against the United States of America. Men and women who served our countries Department of Defense were targeted. We should never forget that our defenses were attacked on 9/11 as well as civilians.

As these three planes were being hijacked, a fourth plane was being seized by members of the attack. United 93 will forever be remembered for the passengers’ unwillingness to be used to kill others. Many on the plane knew of the other attacks, and news quickly spread of the hijackers’ intentions. No doubt the passengers hoped to gain control of the plane and land safely, but they knew the chance of success was low. The passengers could have cowered and waited on their fate, but they chose to storm the cockpit and save lives. In doing so, United 93 crashed in a Pennsylvanian field. It is believed the target was the capital. Those brave individuals saved lives, who knows how many would have died if United 93 had made it to its destination… Remember those who were unwilling to allow evil to accomplish their goals. Remember those who fought for the sanctity of life.

On 9/11 we should always remember the victims. We should remember the victims who never even knew their attackers. Many of them never knew what happened. As the planes hit the towers and the Pentagon at accelerated speeds, they basically disintegrated on impact, taking whole floors of the towers with them. Many died instantly. Many others died in the flames or suffocated, trapped in adjacent floors. Even lives on the ground around the towers were not safe. As debris began to fall, lives were at risk around the towers. We must remember our heroes, but do not forget the victims.

Remember Our Unity

Shortly after the attacks, our government’s legislative bodies met on the front steps of the Capital Building to show their united effort to keep America going. It was a moment where all American’s were relieved to see party politics swept to the side. We needed united leadership for the days ahead. American’s all over the country rallied behind the effort to secure our skies, protect our country, and find who was responsible.

Those who attacked New York City that day sought to divide and destroy us. They sought to create fear in our lives. They wanted us to cower as every September 11th came each year after their attack. They do not want us to become unified, and they do not want us to become stronger. That is what 9/11 should represent each year.

I believe that as we remember those heroes and victims of 9/11 we should remember that we are Americans. Not leftist or conservatives, not republicans nor democrats. Today should not be about being in the spot-light. It should be a day to remind us that we are all Americans. That it doesn’t matter your race, or religion, your politics, or your profession. Today we celebrate the lives that were lived before 9/11, we remember the magnitude of loss that our country experienced on 9/11, and today we should stand united against those who would see us destroyed.

Related Post: Why Does God Allow Evil?

30,000 Bibles for China

China and Taiwan outline map

The non-profit ministry, Bibles for China has a group of four people preparing for a trip to China where they will distribute 30,000 Bibles into rural China. It is believed that between 80-130 million Christians may live in China, and the government imposes restrictions on the Church’s activities. Bibles for China’s trip and Bible distribution has been approved by the government.

I love this quote,

“People would grab me and hug me and cry all over my shirt. The emotion that was packed into them receiving a Bible after having prayed for it for years, was unbelievable,” Werner said.

If you would like to partner with Bibles for China in providing Bibles to rural China, you can visit their website at www.biblesforchina.org/about . $5 donates a single Bible to a Christian brother or sister who desperately hungers for the Word of God. 

Keep the four missionaries in your prayers, and do not forget to pray for your persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/bibles-for-china-prepares-to-deliver-30000-bibles-to-eager-christians-81224/

Pastor Youcef Acquitted of Apostasy, Released From Jail

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s Story | American Ce...

The news this weekend of Pastor Youcef’s acquittal and release is certainly a reason for celebration this week. But do not forget the thousands of others who are imprisoned around the globe for their confession of faith in Jesus Christ.

Iran Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Acquitted of Apostasy, Released From Jail.

Go, And Do The Same

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”

And he answered, “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 neighbor as yourself.”

And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 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 10:25-37

Vincent van Gogh, 1890. Kröller-Müller Museum....

Vincent van Gogh, 1890. Kröller-Müller Museum. The Good Samaritan (after Delacroix). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do Unto Others…

Those who attend church regularly might recognize this passage of scripture as “The Story of the Good Samaritan.” It is commonly used to teach Christians the Golden Rule; “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The lawyer asks Jesus a question that he knew the answer to. He was after all a lawyer. He had studied the law and knew exactly what it said. The problem was not in his understanding; his problem was that he was seeking a way around obeying the scripture. This lawyer understood his responsibility to reach out to those in need. He knew what God’s Word said; he just didn’t want to follow it.

We sometimes forget that Jesus (and the Jewish Law before him) placed as much emphasis on taking care of others as worshiping God. How could the Church’s influence change if we sought to take care of those in need? We spend so much time taking care of the needs of the Church that we sometimes forget about the needs of our communities and neighbors.

If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? James 2:15

The term neighbor has certainly lost a great deal of its meaning over the last few generations. One of my favorite movies of all time is The Sandlot. It is one of those fun movies that would never be made today. The Sandlot is about a bunch of kids playing baseball over the summer of 1962. One scene shows the boys leaving their homes on July 4th to go play ball under the fireworks. You see the characters running through their neighborhood and all the people have set up tables with food in the middle of the streets. Their neighborhood was celebrating the Fourth of July together. People lived as communities back then. I was born in the early 80s and I have always wondered what it would have been like to have grown up in those earlier generations. Today we barely know the people who live around us, and we are definitely not familiar with their needs. But Jesus said that taking care of our neighbors is equal to worshiping God.

God Will Teach You to Love

As a young Christian, I read and studied God’s Word more than most kids my age. I do not say that to brag; I was not reading for enlightenment or to grow. I read because I was afraid of an eternal punishment in hell and needed to make sure that faith in Jesus alone was all that I needed to be spared everlasting torment. I was convinced there had to be some responsibility on my part that I was missing. Weekly church attendance, don’t eat pork, never watch a rated-R movie… something! Because of my fear I spent more time reading verses that dealt with spiritual growth and paid little attention to the sections about relationships with others. I felt that it was more important to take care of myself first.

When I did come to a believing faith in Jesus, I began to better understand the scriptures that spoke about family, friends, and neighbors. The Holy Spirit started to cultivate within my heart a compassion for others. I started to care more for those imprisoned by addiction, I found my heart breaking for those who cared more about their worldly obsessions than God’s promises, and I realized that if I wouldn’t reach out to that guy on the side of the road, who would? If you want to grow closer to God and experience the abundant life; then you have to allow him to soften your heart for those that our society would rather look past.

Made to Love

You see, if you are a disciple of Jesus than you know there is more to this life than the daily cares that we allow to bind us. The Bible says that God doesn’t want anybody to go to hell. Life isn’t about missing hell. Life is about gaining God’s favor. Life is about experiencing the creator of the universe. Life is about understanding that he loves us, not with a circumstantial love like we often experience in this life. But a REAL love that “surpasses all understanding.” If we have been blessed with this amazing position in life; how can we ever keep it for ourselves? How can we ignore those who are hurting? How do we turn our heads at injustice?

We cannot.

We must scream it from the rooftops. We must share it with our family, our friends, co-workers, acquaintances, our dentist, our mechanic, and the girl at Kroger’s, anyone who will listen.

There is a creator and he loves you!

God does not want anyone to experience hardship in this life on their own. He wishes for everyone to experience his love and peace during suffering. God offers comfort despite our troubles in this life. To the lost world whose blindness doesn’t allow them to acknowledge God’s love, he has sent us to be his ambassadors. We have been tasked with loving them through their pain, reaching out to them during their sorrow, so we have the opportunity to credit God and his love.

Jesus instructed the lawyer to “go, and do like wise.” This is what he instructs his Church to do. We cannot sit in our pews content that we have made the list while the world desperately needs Jesus in their lives. We have been commissioned to be his hands and feet. We have been called to live our lives in a manner that sets us apart. We have been called not to judge the world, but to spread the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Messiah.

Do not allow your neighbor to suffer on the side of the road. Reach down, pick them up, and be a good neighbor.

 

Missional Blogging

Take a moment and humor me. I want you to clear your mind (for some this may take longer than others, but take your time). Stop worrying about that work project due this week or that grocery list that you have been compiling, and allow yourself to begin a new thought process for a few minutes. I am going ask you to use your imagination.

Imagine you live in a place where your faith is not in the majority. Try to visualize that you live in a place where your belief in Jesus Christ actually makes you an outcast. Imagine that you must be careful of what you say about your faith in public, because most of the people in your country are hostile to your belief system. Your faith may cost your family nourishment, shelter, or other necessities of life that you normally take for granted. Picture what it would be like if you could not speak of your faith at work because others who have are now unemployed and unable to find a job. Could you sleep at night if an entire city block just down the street from your home was looted and burned because the businesses and homes were owned by Christians? How would you handle having to walk your little girl to school and back every day because people prey on Christian girls and the authorities ignore the incidents? What if, you were no longer able to meet in a church because men had started waiting outside the church and harassing those who attend the worship services?  Now imagine that you have been forced to  lead and host the worship service because your pastor is in prison, serving a six-year sentence because he was holding these services in his home. And in this gloomy picture visualize that all of the scripture you have to read to your fellow Christians are Romans Chapters 8 and 9…

I know, for many of us this is hard to imagine. Most of my readers (and all of my followers) are American. Unless you have visited a country that is intolerant to Christianity you probably have little to no concept of what close to 200 million Christians go through every day. The scenarios that I started this article with came from headlines about the persecution of Christians around the world. (If you would like to learn more about Christian persecution visit: www.persecution.com). Contrary to popular belief, Christianity is the fastest growing religion in the world. It is estimated that in the previous ten years; one million churches have been started, and the last 30 years may have seen the strongest growth rate of the Christian Church in the world.

While I do believe Romans Chapters 8 and 9 would be my scripture of choice if I were living this scenario, it is very sad to know that many of these 200 million Christians may never have the opportunity to read more than a chapter or two of the Bible. Being able to freely read and study God’s Word has profoundly shaped my life. It offers support and encouragement, instruction and insight; there is knowledge and wisdom, and a love story that has no equal. I cannot imagine my life without at least one of my Bibles to read daily.

I first learned about the persecuted church through Voice of the Martyrs, and recently after attending one of David Platt’s Secret Church simulcast I had begun researching into persecuted areas. To be honest, I have not been passionately looking for ways to help my persecuted brothers and sisters. My zeal only led me to researching the facts. But I could not help but wonder what can we do to help? (Visit www.persecution.com for opportunities to help those in need).

If I were to compile a list of ways to help the persecuted church; one thing that would never have made my list would be blogging. But I recently learned that God is using Christian blogs to empower His Church.

I recently came across a blog called Life Reference by Don Merritt. Actually Don came across Studying the Way and was gracious enough to like one of my articles. Trying to be a good WordPress blogger, I visited his blog and found a wealth of informative Christian teaching and writing. Don is a Sunday school teacher at his church, and like me, has a passion to teach the Word of God.

While reading about Don and his blog I came across a reference to the amount of people from foreign nations who visit his blog on Sundays. Don pointed out that in many of these countries, the Gospel is illegal. He feels very humbled by the fact that people who are being persecuted for their faith have found a means of spiritual nourishment through his blogging. Don didn’t set out to reach the persecuted church by blogging, but the persecuted church has found a way to obtain scripture through blogs like Don’s. I spoke with Don about writing this article, and I asked if I could share his story. He asked that I emphasize that he has in no way created this phenomenon nor does he take credit for what is taking place. God has provided this opportunity.

I found Don’s story to be very exciting. The Church is currently trying to find ways to get the Bible to the persecuted church so that they may grow in the knowledge of our Savior.  And I find it moving to see God allowing Don to share his Sunday school notes with our brothers and sisters who live in persecuted areas of the world. God has led persecuted Christians to find his notes and use them to learn about Jesus! Doesn’t it just make you want to rejoice!

This news has brought me new purpose in blogging. It is an opportunity to assist faithful brothers and sisters in receiving the Word. Studying the Way is not about making much of me, but about spreading the good news of Jesus. Our goal should always be to share the Word of God with anyone who is seeking it. I praise God for what he has already been doing, and we should all pray for those who continue to log onto Christian blogs looking for the Word of God.

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