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Monday Mornings are Pleasurable
Monday mornings are pleasurable, not only because the kids are back at school but also because it’s when I receive the weekly devotion from Christian Monitor.
Christian Monitor is, to my mind, one of the finest of all the websites monitoring the persecuted church. Paul Sharpe, who started it last year, works with a team of volunteers to present a regular and comprehensive round-up of persecution stories from around the world. (I’ve written previously about Christian Monitor.)
The devotions are new, and show Paul’s concern that we might grow in our knowledge of God, while also learning about the dreadful conditions being endured today by many fellow Christians.
This is something that has concerned me, too, for a while, and I’ve been wondering what to do about it. Does anyone know of a course, or a study guide, or a set of devotionals, that connects the Bible to what is happening today to persecuted Christians?
There’s plenty of material for those interested in mission and evangelism. Several people in my church have been taking a course called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. One of them has lent me the text, a magnificent 780-page work, that:
presents a multi-faceted collection of readings exploring the biblical, historical, cultural and strategic dimensions of world evangelization. Writings from more than 90 mission scholars and practitioners introduce lay people and students to the history and astounding potential of the global Christian movement. Every one of the 125 articles offers practical wisdom enabling Christians to labour together in bold, biblical hope to finish the task of seeing that Christ is named and followed among all the peoples of the earth.
Some websites offer resources for churches or individuals concerned with suffering Christians, such as prayer points or advice on letter-writing campaigns. But I do not know of anything similar to the Perspectives course and text.
I know of one excellent publication, Extreme Devotion, from The Voice of the Martyrs, containing 365 “daily devotional stories of ancient to modern-day believers who sacrificed everything for Christ”. I have bought three copies and am trying (with marginal success) to use these as a regular devotional with my three sons.
But with the average pew-sitter in the West knowing little of the horrific persecution that continues to afflict too many Christians, I feel we need more resources that remind us how God views this issue.
I’m thinking of trying to write something myself, perhaps a short study guide of the kind used by numerous church small groups.
For example, a ten-week guide might include a study on God’s deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, the words of Amos on those who sold the Israelites into slavery, Habakkuk’s pleas to God, the experience of Daniel and the teachings of Jesus and Paul on suffering, along with studies of persecuted Christians who over 2,000 years have found inspiration in God’s word.
Actually, I can’t believe such a study guide doesn’t already exist. Any suggestions?
July 14th, 2003