The Road Map for Life

While we deal with isolation from our typical activities, and are subject to the 'doom and gloom' being offered continually through the world's numerous media outlets, it is easy to fall prey to fear and depression. I have felt a level of anxiety creep into my subconscience, looking to latch on and gain a foothold in my mind. I would have succumbed to its poison had not the Word of the Lord come to me to provide an antidote to counteract this "fear" virus before it harmed me:

"Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually!"
1 Chronicles 16:11 ESV

The Road Map for Life

"Holy words long preserved, for our walk in this world.
They resound with God's own heart. Oh, let the ancient words impart.
Ancient words ever true, changing me and changing you.
We have come with open hearts. Oh, let the ancient words impart."

Lyrics of "Ancient Words" by Lynn DeShazo

According to a World Religion News report from 2017, 87 percent of the homes in America have a Bible. The American Bible Association and the Barna Group, in an earlier 2014 poll, reported that the average number of Bibles per household is 4.7. Yet, today, Christians in many parts of the world have never even owned a Bible, nor will they likely ever retain one in their lifetimes.

Building Steadfastness Through Counsel

"Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all
who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.'"
~ Proverbs 31:8-9 ESV

Hostility against Christians in India continues to increase. VOMC's ministry partner reported that 2019 marked the highest number of violent incidences against Christians in one year. They documented many of these incidents through their helpline and a network of human rights advocates and lawyers.

With your help, VOMC provided funding for the helpline, facilitated by a call centre that has been a source of legal advice for persecuted Christians in India who otherwise would have no defender. With the partnership of various Indian human rights agencies to provide backend legal, over 500 Indian Christians received vital counsel and legal advice in 2019 alone. There is every indication that more Christians will need to access this support as persecution intensifies in the country -- people like Sarah.

Worthy is the Lord of All!

"Be enthroned upon the praises
Of a thousand generations.
You are worthy, Lord of all.
Unto You the slain and risen King,
We lift our voice with heaven,
Singing, 'Worthy, Lord of all.'"
~ Jeremy Riddle

The peace Christ brings and the joy we express during Christmas celebrations need not get packed up with all the decorations of the season. In other words, we can start the new year as we've finished the old -- treasuring Christ's presence and worshipping Him as the "Lord of all." Although we live in this world filled with dangers, I pray that you will experience an abiding yearlong peace and joy.

Reflecting Thankfulness

"Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done, in whom His world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today."
Martin Rinkart

Now Thank We All Our God is a beautiful hymn often sung during a traditional Thanksgiving Day service. The lyrics of this classic remind us that in this world, there are numerous occasions to express a heart of gratitude to our Lord. Such joy should not be limited to one day of the year where, with family and friends, we recount the Lord's gracious provisions. Every day, our lives must reflect an attitude of thankfulness, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.

Prayers for the Persecuted

By Matthew Giesbrecht

Each year in November, believers around the world participate in special services that focus on praying for the persecuted church. This year's International Day of Prayer (IDOP) presents us with yet another opportunity to intercede on behalf of the estimated 245 million believers around the world who are experiencing some form of persecution due to their faith.

A noteworthy understanding derived from each year's IDOP services is that the persecuted Christians being represented typically don't request prayer for their persecution to end or be avoided. Rather those being persecuted for the name of Christ make a point of rejoicing in times of suffering, and their prayer requests mainly focus on their country's current affairs and the resulting implications on fellow local believers. Even so, we should keep in mind whenever interceding for the prayer needs of the world's persecuted Christians that some important generic elements ought to be impressed on the hearts of all who pledge allegiance to Christ. This IDOP message attempts to present these needs in what I've called, Prayers for the Persecuted, which are all founded on the hope referenced by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:9-11 (NIVUK):