It was 11:00 o'clock on Remembrance Day.... My VOMC staff and I stood respectfully, with hearts brimming over in gratitude, for those who had paid a painful price -- possibly even the "ultimate price" -- to ensure the religious freedom that, as of today, we still enjoy in our beautiful Canada. My ministry team and I prayed together, thanking God for the privilege of freely living and expressing our Christian faith. Some of us remember, or have heard stories of our own kinfolk, fighting "just wars" against evil fiefdoms. For their most profoundly demonstrated love and faithfulness, we are humbled and grateful.

Recently, we also engaged in VOM's International Day of Prayer (IDOP) program, praying for the persecuted throughout many of our Canadian churches. Members of our VOMC "team," while standing at attention with the deepest respect for Canada's selfless veterans, were once again immensely moved by the historical and present-day reality of the imprisoned, tortured, disentitled, and fallen followers of Christ. These faithful ones have experienced, and perhaps are presently enduring (even as we reflect on this sobering occasion), horrific attacks in and around much of the world.

Some of you will recall an article I wrote that was published in our November 2013 newsletter titled, War & Peace. In that commentary, I referred to "the war to end all wars," as World War I came to be known. It was a pitifully hopeful way of describing something that simply could not be expressed in real terms. As terrifying and heinously incalculable as that war had become known, and any war in its succession, it was completely overshadowed by the real "war to end all wars."

I am referring, of course, to the war that Jesus fought on behalf of humanity when He dragged all of our sin (past, present, and future) into the very pit of hell...defeating death itself forevermore. Other than believing in, and accepting the free gift of Christ's immeasurable love, the true "war to end all wars" did not require that any of our own blood be spilt, as Jesus' blood was fully sufficient and eternally atoning for our salvation.

And now, as we approach Christmas, remembering God's gift of Jesus in the fulfillment of His salvation plan, let us be mindful of those who are in bonds as bound with them (Hebrews 13:3); and those who are tortured or cast out, in the light of our oneness with them in the body of Christ.

John's comments on sacrificial "love" are a beautiful reminder of these great truths as recorded in 1 John 4:7-12 (NIV):

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us."

The love that you have expressed to our persecuted brothers and sisters is appreciated beyond words. Our prayer is that you and yours will be blessed as you bless those who are in peril for Christ, and that you will continually grow in the faith as you come to a deeper understanding of God's love through His unspeakable and perfect gift of life through Jesus...the "Prince of [true] Peace"...the 'Baby of Bethlehem.'


In Him,

Doug J. McKenzie
Chief Executive Officer
The Voice the Martyrs Canada