Note from our Chief Executive Officer: Once again, I am pleased to invite Jo Phillips, our VOMC Executive Assistant, to share some heartfelt thoughts of encouragement this month....

The faith of all followers of Jesus Christ allows us to say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust!" (Psalm 91:2 ESV). This is not a cry without foundation, nor without reward. Seen from a heavenly perspective, the promises of the Word stand firmer than the temporal firmament, and we can rely on them despite life experiences during our time on this earthly plane. We gaze into the future when there will be no more weeping, nor pain; no more mourning and no more death (Isaiah 65). This is true for Christians here in Canada, and no less true for those suffering for their faith in regions of persecution around the world.

When Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem just before the final sacrificial Passover was to take place, He entered by the Lion's Gate. This entrance way is also known as St. Stephen's Gate, in memory of the martyred follower of Jesus who was stoned to death for sharing the "Good News" of the Gospel. After entering the gate, our Lord willingly followed the "way of pain" (Via Dolorosa), which included passing by the "House of Mercy" (Pool of Bethesda) where He had previously healed a man who was crippled for 38 years (John 5).

After climbing all the way to the "place of the skull" (Golgotha), Jesus -- who was to be the final Passover Lamb of God -- willingly yielded His surrendered life unto death. Such is the path of choice for any true Christian "martyr" or "witness." Though this may not always come to pass in a literal sense, it is certainly being fulfilled through the "dying of one's self"; in other words, the "laying down our wills," only to be replaced by the perfect will of our Heavenly Father. Remember, He is no tyrannical leader, but rather a King who is slow to anger and so rich in love!

Jesus asks nothing of us that He was not willing to undergo Himself; and, in this case, no servant is greater than his Master. Matthew Henry's Commentary, in reference to the Hebrews verse below, reminds us of this comforting truth: "The consolations of God are strong enough to support His people under their heaviest trials. Here is a refuge for all sinners who flee to the mercy of God...."

"We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Mechizedek" (Hebrews 6:19-20).

Arlene, the wife of Greg Musselman (VOMC's Vice President of Media & Domestic Ministry), has been a supporter of VOMC's ministry for many years. As an inspired and gifted artist, Arlene had been so moved during a recent visit to Jerusalem that she painted an amazing work of art that's titled, Stephen's Gate. The painting was motivated by the verses of Revelation 6:9-11, describing those slain for the Word of God in heaven thereupon receiving their reward.

In support of VOMC's numerous overseas projects, Arlene has granted the ministry certain rights of reproduction to her painting. This means you can purchase your own copy of the Stephen's Gate artwork -- featured on either mounted canvas or finely-printed paper -- directly from the ministry. Alternatively, for a chance to win a free copy of the special canvas edition, you may opt to fill in and submit our survey which was launched recently online in order to gather much-needed information from our faithful constituents.

May I take this opportunity to thank you so much for your support of our ministry? We are so very mindful and grateful for what you bring to the organization. We could not accomplish all that we are called to do without your assistance.

May you be blessed as you seek to bless,

Jo Phillips
CEO's Executive Assistant
The Voice of the Martyrs Canada