Tuesday, March 15, 2005

counting the cost...and going anyway

Some words from Beth Moore today...

Our nation today knows very little about persecution. We too rarely hear
accounts of people like John and Betty Stam, missionaries to China, who
were beheaded just one month after their arrival in Tsingteh, leaving
behind a three-month-old infant. Or, what about Peter and Lydia Vins,
missionaries to the former Soviet Union? Peter was imprisoned and
never seen again. Lydia's imprisonment followed later. Such a heritage
might be enough to dissuade a child from faith in the gospel. Not so.
Their son, Georgi, surrendered his life to the same pursuit, on the same
field, and was ultimately imprisoned as well. Enough is enough, right?
Nope, his son, Peter, Jr., grew up, dedicated his life to Christ, and
followed the same path to prison. In 1979, under Jimmy Carter's
leadership, the surviving Vins family members were released
from prison, and they continue to serve faithfully in the United States
and abroad. Consider this excerpt from The Hidden Price of Greatness,
written by Ray Beeson and Ranelda Mack Hunsicker:

It seems a paradox that the death of Christians could be the key to
church growth. Yet as surely as the cross of Christ was essential to our
salvation, the sacrifice of believers is crucial to world evangelism. That
is as true today as ever. In fact, the rate of Christian martyrdom has risen
dramatically in recent years. The World Evangelization Research Center
estimates that there were approximately 35,600 Christian martyrs in
1900 compared to an estimated 325,000 in 1989.Martyrdom is a fact of
life in at least fifty countries. The Center concludes from its research that
out of the two thousand or so plans for global evangelization by A.D.
2000, martyrdom is probably the most potent and significant factor of all.

When we read such accounts, we wonder if people like the Stams had any
idea what their commitment might cost them. Would they have dared
surrender to such a sentence? Consider this excerpt from a speech
delivered to the Moody Bible Institute graduating class of 1932:

Let us remind ourselves that the Great Commission was never qualified by
clauses calling for advance only if funds were plentiful and no hardship or
self-denial involved. On the contrary, we are told to expect tribulation
and even persecution, but with it victory in Christ...It is ours to show, in
the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in personal communion with
Him, a joy unspeakable and full of glory that cannot be affected by outside

The speaker? John Stam, just before his departure to China.

Monday, March 07, 2005

mommy tip of the day

When trying to get those last few pounds of baby weight off, just don't even walk down the ice cream aisle at the grocery store...TORTURE!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

lessons from the nursery

there really is nothing like the feeling of holding your sweet baby in your arms and watching him fall asleep. baby jack is sick again and i feel so awful for him. this is the second ear infection in a month, and his little tummy is also not doing so well with the medicine for the ear...what a vicious cycle! he just wants me to hold him all the time, and i really don't mind because he is just about the most adorably cuddly little thing in the world! i finally got him to sleep for now...we'll see how many hours he goes before waking in pain...poor little guy, on top of it all he is congested...matt spent the night with him the other night on a blanket in the bathroom with a hot shower running so the steam would let him breathe...what a good daddy he is!

there really is something just so amazing about the fact that my arms have the ability to comfort this little person...to bring him a feeling of safety, warmth, peace, and love. my little boy continually gives me a new picture of God's love for me. i realize that i look to alot of other things to bring me comfort before looking to the source of ultimate peace. my little boy knows where to look...why don't i? i once heard chris seidman explain the holy spirit with an analogy of his little boy. Chris said he didn't think his baby always knew what he needed when he cried...he just knew he needed something, so he cried, and it was his job as a parent to figure out what he needed. in the same way, when we don't know the words to pray and all we can do is groan and cry out to God, the Holy Spirit intercedes and speaks to God on our behalf...i have always thought that was beautiful and it has taken on new meaning since jack was born. just recently i have been reminded again that i often put my faith in people and not in the Lord, and then i am disappointed when people fail me. but God will never fail me. as my baby boy grows, although i love his need for my comfort, i pray that He will always look to the Lord to be His ultimate strength.

one thing about chris seidman's analogy that must happen on our parts...we must cry out...we must look to the Lord...i have learned yet another lesson from my seven month old...help is not far away...all we have to do is cry out, reach our arms up and let our Father hold us in His arms...

things have been crazy lately...i have let myself get completely overwhelmed and unfocused...but as i held my sweet boy in my arms tonight, i cried...i prayed...and i rested in the overwhelming peace of knowing that the Father was holding us both.