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By Jo Phillips, Executive Assistant The Voice of the Martyrs Canada

You and I, and our brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe, were not meant to feel at home in this world. Not really. Not completely. For we don't really belong here. Even though we are purposely planted in our various delegated and different 'soils and toils,' fulfilling ministries and roles that are intentionally chosen for us before the foundation of the world, this world is not our real home.

So then, what are we here for? To love God, to love our neighbours, and to love our enemies. We have the capacity for this as we abide in Jesus; in other words, when we remain connected to the True Vine. When we live this out, we bear good fruit for God's Kingdom and bring Him glory. We 'bear witness' of Jesus. The original Greek word is "" or "martyreite" which means to "...bear witness, give evidence, testify, give a good report." 1 Therefore, we become "martyrs," witnesses for Jesus. This sets us apart from the world.

The Scriptures also state that this world has a ruler who is opposed to God's good, pleasing and perfect purposes. As we choose to follow Jesus -- who is "the Way, and the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6 ESV) -- we oppose the ruler of this world. Jesus never hid this fact from us but rather encourages us to remember...

"...if they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.... In the world you
will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." 2


The thought of persecution or tribulation sounds uninviting when considered from the perspective of "home" in this world. If we choose a home, we want it to be comfortable and safe. However, Christ warns His followers that they will face persecution and suffering; cross-bearing and service. If we choose to live as His "witnesses," then this means that our home-warming party will be "postponed."

Yet, we can be assured that this life is not all 'doom and gloom.' In the meantime, while living out our various callings, we are promised many wonderful benefits and tools at our disposal. We can ask for whatever we need in prayer, and we will receive it. In spite of life's challenges, we can have joy, fruit and rewards from our labours. But the best of all these is the promise of God's Holy Spirit! His Spirit will help and guide us every step of the way. As we trust in Him, He will "guide us into all the truth" (John 16:13); provide counsel and comfort; and bring healing, power and peace. These things cannot be bought nor found elsewhere in this world. They are priceless.

Our international persecuted family is discovering that a personal relationship with Jesus is worth all the suffering. (Can the same be said of the church in Canada?) Yet, this is the joy set before us: Jesus promises that He will come again! He has prepared a place for each one of us. How He longs to take us to Himself so we can be with Him forever (John 14:3).

"...you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you." 3

No matter where we live in this world, each of us must decide where our "home" is going to be. And by this decision, we will know how to live. Will we choose to be a "martyr" for Christ, even though it would lead to persecution and a stance of opposition to this world?

I leave you with the following words from this old hymn:

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace." 4


Thank you so much for your support of The Voice of the Martyrs Canada as we seek to bring help, encouragement and provision to our family in Christ who are living as "martyrs" in this world.

May you be blessed as you seek to bless,

Jo Phillips
Executive Assistant


Endnotes:
1 Strong's Lexicon: www.biblehub.com/parallel/john/15-27.htm
2 John 15:20b; 16:33
3 John 16:22
4 The Heavenly Vision, commonly known as Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, by Helen Howarth Lemmel