Beliefnet
Safe Place with Ruth Graham

This coming Sunday is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

Persecution of Christians is on the rise – 250,000,000  (250 million) Christians experience some form of persecution. Did you know that in 2016, 90,000 people were killed because of their faith in Christ? That doesn’t include beatings, rapes, house burnings or intimidation.

Open Doors is an organization that has the World Watch List that ranks the top 50 countries where the most severe persecution takes place. It is not a surprise that North Korea is the #1 place that targets Christians – Somalia is #2.

This Sunday, please ask your pastor to emphasize the persecuted in his morning prayer. We cannot sit idly by as our brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering in unimaginable ways simply because they profess faith is Jesus. We are all of the same body of Christ. We have to do something!  We can all pray.

I pray for God’s mercy to reign and His grace to enable. And I pray for those who are doing the persecuting that through the witness of those they target, they will see Christ in a powerful way and come out of the darkness.

Join me on Sunday as we praying for our brothers and sisters.

 

 

I just got back from a ministry trip to Ireland. My oldest grandson went with me and he thoroughly enjoyed his time there. He is into medieval history and the “Game of Thrones” and much, if not all, of that show is filmed there in Ireland. I’ve only seen one show and that was on the plane coming back!

It is a lovely country. The people are friendly and warm. I have friends from my last two visits to the island that are so dear. We had great fun driving around northern Ireland. They tend to talk over each other and it’s hard to choose which one to listen to! They are like chattering, happy birds.

I spoke 6 times in 6 days and had 4 hotels. Countless books to sign – on top of the jet lag. I’m afraid the last night I was so exhausted I wasn’t able to form my thoughts in an organized way. That’s when God takes over. And He did.

On that last night…the last person to come speak with me was a lovely lady with silver hair – gorgeous complexion. Her husband had been unfaithful for years, she felt marginalized by the Church and no longer attended church or fellowship events with her friends. She felt ashamed and terribly wounded. She felt shut out. My heart ached for her.

But boy! I could relate. I think the Irish church is where we were back in the 80s and 90s. They just don’t want to deal with the messy stuff. But it’s there whether they want to see it or not. In every Irish pew sits a broken heart. That’s true world-wide, no matter the country. People are hurting and unfortunately, the Church isn’t very helpful and, in many cases causes more damage. That was the case for this dear lady.

I encouraged her to find like-minded friends and, if need be, go to another church that would be more encouraging to her. But I know it is so hard to start again by yourself.

If you think of it, please pray for her. Her name is Elizabeth.

Good ministry took place. They were keen to hear about brokenness and how God uses it in our lives. So often we think broken or flawed, means useless, throw away. Not in God’s economy. Brokenness qualifies us. He doesn’t expect perfection and our goodness is not what He requires.

It is a privilege to touch people’s hearts and lives with the grace of God.

 

 

 

It is hard to imagine the sadness that has engulfed Las Vegas.  The recordings which have been played far too often, are horrifying. Why do broadcasters feel the need to play that stuff? Over and over.

And I know some are already calling for gun restrictions…I’m not convinced that’s the problem. I could agree with banning assault weapons…  My brothers may get mad at me…they like their weapons. I was never one to buy into that…But I appreciate that they do and act responsibly. Franklin is a big hunter and collector. So is my brother, Ned.

Rather than stricter gun laws, why don’t we tackle violent movies and video games? Have you seen them lately? Especially with Halloween coming up. They are obscene in their violence. Our children are feeding on this stuff. Eventually, it takes its toll on rational behavior and thinking.

I know, at one time, Tipper Gore was on a campaign about song lyrics. I agree with her. The song lyrics, video game and movies are, in large part, to blame for the violent mind-set of our nation. People who are off-balance are triggered to think violence will solve their problems.

Now Islamic terrorists are a different matter…I understand that. They just want to kill the infidels and sick, off-balance people have their own agenda.

I know there is freedom of speech…and as Americans we hate censorship. But something has got to be done.

It just takes common sense.

Of course, it really is a matter of the heart – it’s a spiritual problem. Only God can change the heart.

My heart aches for those who lost loved ones and I pray for their families. But also for the family of the shooter. Let’s remember them in our prayers. And pray for our President and his Cabinet – whether you voted for him or not – he needs God’s wisdom and strength.

 

 

I am borrowing this from my friends at Mission India who sent this to me in a letter:

God’s Word tells us how to find rest in an increasingly chaotic word where wrong is right and right is wrong. Everything is upside down and inside out. Evil is applauded. So how do we find the peace that Jesus promised?

1.) Remember God is present – always. He told us He will never leave or forsake us. (Hebrew 13:5) He told us He is near to us. (Psalm 119:152) He told us not to fear.

2.) Take thoughts captive. We can’t help the thoughts that pop into our minds but we don’t have to entertain them. When they come and we begin to fear what may or may not happen can lasso your thoughts and bring them to Jesus. (II Corinthians 2:5)

3.) Be a catalyst for good. When David was writing Psalm 37 he wrote the phrase, “fear not” 3 times. It must be pretty important. His antidote for fear and unhappiness, was not worry, or strategize, but to “do good.” Psalm 37:3, 27,Get busy thinking about the needs of others.

4.) Know you have a purpose at this time in history. Serving others, being busy with God’s work is your purpose – not wringing you hands or fretting. No one else can do what you can do for God. You are unique. Seek ways to serve Him when you become anxious.