Celebrated a birthday last week. I've not been one to let "that number" define me... people are so unique, why be a slave to disappointing conventions. But with this birthday, its had kind of an exclamation mark to it. Old things have passed away, God is doing something new. It's in the air: the vibrant color of the leaves in this area have peaked and the air has turned from pleasant to chilly. It was the day that all the leaves were finally off the tree in the front yard. So, I don't feel "older" per se but find myself captured and listening to the rhythm of the Creator God putting the earth to rest. Winter is making its way steadily through these woods, along with the increasing silence of creation at rest.
A temptation to getting "up there" is to think that patience cannot any longer be rewarded, there is not enough time for this any longer and so your opportunities might be lost and promises are left on God's desk, not unread but yet forever unkept. Yet in this is the importance to wait. To ponder before the One who fastidiously treasures the human tear, and who wisely hides His answer so that we might perhaps draw closer. Perhaps grab His face and desperately turn it to ours and there find His concern has been deeper than we could have known or imagined, His eyes steeped in earnest desire to share His life with us. His gaze carefully insisting that we cannot know Life without Him always in our consideration, the One Who Made Us calling us time and time again to set Him before us and lavishly love Him and honor Him for His unending perfections and beauty. Jesus said it brilliantly to The Father - "Now this is eternal life: ... (to) know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (John 17:3)
Finding life is about losing it for the sake of love. And as the clock continues its foray into the 7 or 8 decades we might have been allotted, the choice to lose it in such a way as this yields an even greater reward than before because the currency we have to spend is less. These are the lessons of my 49 years. I have tasted and I have seen that the Lord is good.
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.
Two Christian brothers, Viktor and Didrikh Leven, have been convicted of participating in religious worship without state registration in Akmola Region, Kazakhstan, according to Forum18 News. On Oct. 14, Viktor, who was born in Kazakhstan but holds German citizenship, was found guilty of "carrying out missionary activity without local registration" under Article 375-3 of Kazakhstan’s Administrative Code. Viktor was fined 6,480 Tenge (US $43) and ordered deported. He successfully appealed his sentence, and his fine and deportation were annulled. Meanwhile, on Oct.28, Didrikh was convicted of violating Article 374-1 of the Administrative Code, which forbids "leadership or participation in the activity of an unregistered social or religious organization." He was fined 100 times the minimum monthly wage. Reportedly, Didrikh plans to appeal to the same Akmola Regional Court that overturned Viktor's punishment. On Nov. 5, Feruza Utegenova, a member of New Life Church in Aktau on the Caspian Sea, was deported to Uzbekistan. She had been convicted and fined in June for "carrying out missionary activity without local registration" (Article 375-3) after she gave a Christian children's magazine to a 12-year-old girl in her neighborhood. The Voice of the Martyrs stands with these and other believers facing persecution in Kazakhstan. Pray that the charges against Didrikh will be dropped. Pray that God will grant Feruza strength and guidance as she seeks to serve Christ. Pray that authorities will stop harassing Christians in Kazakhstan.
CHINA — House Church Banned — China Aid Association
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
On Nov. 2 more than 30 officials from four government agencies barged into the Wanbang Missionary Church in Shanghai, China and accused believers of holding an illegal meeting, according to China Aid Association. Leaders from each of the agencies, including the Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB) and the State Administration on Religious Affairs, then interrogated the senior pastor, Cui Quan. PSB officers also questioned other church partners affiliated with the church. After concluding that church members were meeting “illegally,” police officers banned the church and forbade the believers from meeting in the future. Pray that these believers will be encouraged to continue to meet together despite opposition. Pray for significant and lasting advances in religious freedom in China.
UGANDA — Muslims Attack Worshippers — Compass Direct News
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
On Nov. 1 more than 39 Muslim extremists armed with machetes and clubs attacked the World Possessor's Church International in Namasuba, just outside the capital city of Kampala, Uganda, while believers were holding a worship service. When the church members heard the Muslims outside, they gathered at the front door to try to prevent them from entering. Some believers were able to escape through the church's rear door. When the Muslims noticed one of the Christians taking photographs of them, they beat him severely. Nearby residents eventually arrived on scene and helped the Christians ward off their attackers. When police arrived, they assisted in stopping the assault but made no arrests. Pray for God to sustain all the victims of this attack through His peace and grace. Pray that the members of the church will grow in to be like Christ even though they face ongoing opposition.