If you were asked to list the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, you would probably name nations in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. But I doubt you would include Mexico.
Last year the Pew Forum released a report indicating that social hostilities had remained low in the Americas (even below the global median), but increased from “moderate” to “high” in Mexico. In fact, for the first time in three years, Mexico returned at 38 to the World Watch List, an annual survey of the persecution of Christians around the world.
Every conversion is a miracle. There is no such thing as a boring testimony. Each story of coming to faith in Christ is an example of God invading the soul like a bolt of lightning, granting faith and repentance to a sinner in need. Moreover, we should praise God for the “boring” conversions. No Christian mom prays over her infant, “Lord, please give him an exciting testimony.”
And yet there is a reason Nabeel Qureshi’s spiritual autobiography, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity [interview], is such compelling reading. The heart sings to see God at work among Muslims. Though many are hostile to the gospel of Jesus Christ, God is faithful to reveal himself to the nations—and this includes our Muslim friends. Nabeel was one of them, and his story is profound.
SAINT ALBANS, VT—Describing it as a terrible tragedy that has sent shockwaves throughout the region, sources confirmed Thursday that a hit-and-run driver struck and killed a prominent member of the local deer community.
Reports indicate that the respected and popular white-tailed doe, who was widely regarded as a generous, loving mother of two fawns, was returning home at dusk when she was hit by a driver in an SUV who immediately fled the scene after the fatal accident.
You can read the full article, including interviews with the local deer community, from the Onion article.
As someone who played in jazz bands for years, I found this to be a creative analogy.
God is the musician; Isaiah, Paul, and Peter are the various instruments he plays, each with its distinct sound.
Nobody listening to Louis Armstrong playing in a jazz club would have asked whether it was Louis or his trumpet making the music. The breath and tune came from Armstrong, but the trumpet was the instrument through which his breath flowed in order to become audible. Likewise, the biblical authors are instruments of revelation—a trumpet here and an oboe there—each making its own sound. But the musician, the skilled artist who fills them with his breath and ensures the tune is played correctly, is the Holy Spirit.
And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.Matt. 6:16-18 (ESV)
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.Rev. 19:7 (NIV)
Dear Jesus, it’s Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. For the next forty days we have the privilege of fixing our gaze on you—the Author and Perfecter of our faith. For your glory and our growth, we ask you to overwhelm us with fresh mercies and irrepressible grace in the coming weeks.
Don’t let this be a typical Lenten season, Jesus. Saturate and empower it with the gospel. It’s all about you, Jesus. It is all about your finished work—not out constant failings, and vain promises of doing better and doing more. Whatever fasting we may choose to practice, may it be as a betrothed Bride, not as gloomy hypocrites. Our deepest repentance is always born out of seeing more of your beauty, more of the gospel, more of you, Jesus.
Indeed, Jesus, we begin Lent today anticipating our wedding, not our funeral. The law has been fulfilled and judgment is complete; the dowry has been paid in full and our wedding dress is your righteousness; the invitations have been sent out and the date has been secured. We praise, bless, and adore you.
Over these next forty days intensify our hunger and fuel our hope. Break us that you might beautify us. Increase our love for holiness as you supersize our love for your glory. Free us from our idols, as you reveal their emptiness and silliness, in comparison with your beauty and bounty. So very Amen we pray, in your exalted and near name.