Here is a short story from The Voice of the Martyrs’ monthly magazine, from September, 2021. The story makes a great statement about where to look (still, today) for “all the answers,” and reminds how blessed we are here, in this country, for the freedoms we enjoy. Freedoms that, frankly, just don’t exist in so much of the world today:
Tala came to faith in Christ last year, but she was afraid to tell her family. In Iran, where it is illegal to leave Islam, Christian converts often face charges of “acting against national security” as well as potential imprisonment.
But recently, Tala came upon a surprising sight: her brother reading a Bible and her sister working on a crossword puzzle in a Christian magazine. Christian workers had secretly delivered the Bible and Christian magazine to the home of Tala’s family, and her siblings were interested in the materials.
“My sister was asking questions on how to solve the crossword,” Tala said. “When I asked them how they are answering the crossword puzzle questions, they pointed to the Bible and said, ‘This book has the answers to all the questions.’”
Encouraged by their interest, Tala asked workers at a Christian ministry for advice on how to start talking to her family. “Pray for them to find Jesus and that God will use you for that,” they told her.
The Iranian government seeks to silence any witness for Christ, but Voice of the Martyrs continues to support strategies such as Bible distributions and sharing the gospel through various media outlets. Through these efforts, Christian workers are able to connect with many Iranians, such as Tala’s siblings, who might otherwise never hear the gospel.
“Keep praying for all families inside Iran who are looking for answers about real love and a relationship with God.”
Recently, I “attended” the first Voice of the Martyrs Virtual Conference, which was amazing. The first speaker was Joni Eareckson Tada, who shared her story (it had been 50 years since her accident), and how this had coincided with the 50th anniversary of the release of Richard Wurmbrand’s book, “Tortured for Christ.”
I was searching for the video of her address when I came across this message, from Ken and Joni Tada, taped at their home in California.
So … I’d like to share this with you … a message for now … and, really, encouragement for “always.”
We continue to be blessed to support the life’s work and ministry of Joni and Ken Tada … and Friends. The way they love Jesus, and each other, is a great witness and inspiration to us all. For now, and for always.
One of the most powerful statements I learned during ministry training is this: “You will never look into the eyes of someone who has not experienced great pain.”
Another statement to go with this is so simple, yet profound: “You never know what someone else is going through.”
Over 4 years ago, I discovered this video, and have saved it until now.
Henry David Thoreau said: “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”
I’ve driven past Walden Pond 2 times this week, and will write about an earlier experience at the Pond, at some later point.
For now, I’d like to share this video, making the point that, if you were able to see what someone else is going through … would you treat them differently?
This video was produced by the Cleveland Clinic, which is an academic medical center located in Cleveland, Ohio, and has the reputation for being one of the top hospitals in the United States. They serve over 4 million people each year. It appears that they have produced a series of videos.
Here’s a link to their hospital web page, which I share in gratitude for producing videos like this: Cleveland Clinic
I was looking through some old cookbooks, and found this in the opening pages of a cookbook that was put together for the Bi-Centennial Celebration (1778-1978) for the Town of Effingham, New Hampshire. That was 41 years ago. There is no author listed.
The cookbook was put together by the Effingham Bi-Centennial Committee, and the introduction was written by Ollie Keller, Chairman of the Committee.
Once again, you just never know where you’ll find inspiration … just always “be on the lookout.”
Enjoy this “Recipe” from 1978:
Recipe For Happiness in the Home
Take one Christian man Add one Christian woman Use a marriage ceremony performed by a minister of God Stir gently with love Add children as provided by God Blend thoroughly with more love and understanding in an atmosphere of Christian fellowship and devotion to God’s word. To this mixture add a combination of patience, humor, discipline and self-sacrifice. Sprinkle with just enough troubles and cares to hold all ingredients tightly together, Add prayer continually Allow to grow and brown slowly but Thoroughly in the sunshine of God’s grace and blessings.
A friend, at School, was cleaning out their office, and found this among the files. Not sure how old this is, but I’m sure it’s “been around” for a while. I’m equally sure that this one has been emailed around the country, so I think it qualifies to be included in our “classics.”
I don’t write ‘em … I receive ‘em …
I usually don’t comment at all on these “classics” I share, but, in this case, I just couldn’t help thinking about Pro Athletes salaries … I just don’t seem to see many “outrage” emails about those … Now, I’m reminded of a quote from Andy Rooney: “Why is that?”
Here’s the “email,” exactly as I received it:
Are you sick of highly paid teachers?
Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work nine or ten months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do — babysit!
We can get that for less than minimum wage.
That’s right. Let’s give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and planning — that equals 6-1/2 hours).
So each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day…maybe 30? So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day.
However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.
That’s $585.00 X 180= $105,300 per year.
What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8.00 per hour X 6-1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800.00 per year.
Wait a minute — there’s something wrong here! There sure is!
The average teacher’s salary (nationwide) is $50,000.
$50,000.00/180 days = $277.77 per day. Divide this by 30 students and that’s $9.25 per day. Divide $9.25 by 6.5 hours and that’s $1.42 per hour per student — a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!
The Voice of the Martyrs presents the inspiring new movie, Tortured for Christ, a cinematic retelling of the testimony of VOM founder Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, as written in his international bestseller “Tortured for Christ.” This movie was produced to honor the 50th anniversary of the book’s 1967 release.
Filmed entirely in Romania, including in the very prison where Pastor Wurmbrand endured torture and solitary confinement, this powerful film uniquely presents the story with live action rather than interviews. The dialogue is presented in English, Romanian and Russian (with English subtitles) to hold to the authenticity of this true story.
I can’t think of any better way to share the joy of new beginnings and renewal, than by sharing these free resources from Gregory Dickow Ministries.
Here’s a special Easter Message, a link to a free teaching series, and then a short video to introduce the second installment of Pastor Dickow’s “Fast From Wrong Thinking” series, which is a 40-day series, with each lesson sent to your email, daily, for 40 days.
It’s true: “Right thinking produces right living.”
Here’s the Easter Message from Pastor Dickow:
We’re celebrating the most incredible event in history: Jesus’ resurrection! This is what changed everything for you and for me, and this is the Good News that I have dedicated my life to proclaim to the world. Thank you for standing with me. Lives are being changed now and for eternity because of your prayers and support. I want you to know how much I appreciate everything you’re doing for the Gospel.
Not long ago I was in Jerusalem, and I had the opportunity to go to the Garden Tomb, the very site at which the event we’re rejoicing over this weekend took place. This empty tomb not only represents our salvation because Jesus rose from the dead, but it is a reminder of an invitation God gives us: an invitation to happiness.
You see, we live in a world of sadness, loneliness and discouragement, but when Jesus conquered sin and death He also conquered all the negative emotions that beat us down and limit us from living a life of purpose and victory. That doesn’t mean we’re never going to have troubles, but the Gospel is an invitation to happiness in an unhappy world, to joy in the midst of trials, to peace in times of fear and to a celebration of a right relationship with God.
All of our emotions come from what we believe, and if we don’t believe that God will keep His promises, or that they’ll work for others but not for us, then we feel discouraged, depressed and defeated.
But when you believe that God will keep His promises, joy and peace will be yours!
“I will watch over My word to perform it.” Jeremiah 1:12
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:13
While I was at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem I thought about Mary’s experience there. Remember the story? She was weeping because the tomb was empty and she didn’t know where Jesus was. But then He appeared to her and asked “Woman, why are you weeping?” (John 20:1-18). He asked her that because He wanted her to be happy. He wanted her to have joy, and He is asking you the same question. Why weep when you can rejoice? Why weep when you can be happy?
Jesus had said on at least five occasions that He would be killed and rise again on the third day, and Mary was weeping because she didn’t believe it would happen. But Jesus’ resurrection not only provides for our salvation but is the proof that He does what He promised He would do!
And if Jesus could keep that promise He can and will certainly keep His promises to you!
Maybe you have bills you can’t pay. God always comes through and will supply your needs. Maybe you have a body that’s sick and in pain, but God’s Word is true and it says by His stripes you can be healed. Maybe you’re going through something that you just don’t know how to overcome, but God said you’re the head not the tail, above only not beneath. And God said what He started in your life He will finish. Perhaps you’re discouraged about one of your children who has gone away from the Lord. The Bible says you and your whole household shall be saved!
Why are you weeping?
I wonder what things are making you sad today. I wonder what’s discouraging you today. Let me tell you, it’s going to end!
Believe that God will keep His promises to you!
There are three things that cause us to be unhappy. Let’s deal with them right now.
First is Bad News, which I call wrong information. You’re hurt by what people say about you. You’re impacted by what you see going on in the world. Life is uncertain and you’re worried about what the future holds.
Where we get our ‘news’ or information from is critical. We can get the news about us from others, from the enemy, or from God. The good news that God has to say to you and about you & your future will produce joy and happiness.
Get your information from God’s Word.
Number two: Bad Memories produce unhappiness, guilt and shame. We have all fallen, failed and made mistakes. But the Bible says in Hebrews 10:17 that we’re under a Covenant of Grace because God doesn’t even remember your sins and failures. Jesus came out of the tomb but your mistakes and shortcomings are still buried there and forgotten.
Your past is over. Bad memories cannot control your life anymore.
And the third thing that robs us of happiness is Bad Focus. We’re focused on what we don’t have, what we haven’t done, and what is going wrong. God wants us to focus on what He’s already done and what He’s promised He will do. That’s when your perspective will change; and peace and joy will be the result.
Focus on what God has already done for you (Psalm 103).
Note: Just by reading Psalm 103, the entire chapter, you will be blessed, as you read about all of benefits you already have, in you possession, right now! I can also promise that, if you’ll go through the entire “Fast From Wrong Thinking” series, it will change the way you think … and, by doing so … it will change your life.
Here’s the video to introduce the new “Fast From Wrong Thinking” series: