DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT MONDAY – A HEART STARTER #28.
It is said that Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, once had captured a prince and his family. When they came before him, the monarch asked the prisoner, "What will you give me if I release you?" "The half of my wealth," was his reply. "And if I release your children?" "Everything I possess." "And if I release your wife?" "Your Majesty, I will give myself." Cyrus was so moved by his devotion that he freed them all.
As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, "Wasn't Cyrus a handsome man!" With a look of deep love for her husband, she said to him, "I didn't notice. I could only keep my eyes on you- -the one who was willing to give himself for me." – Source Unknown.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is true worship. - Rom 12:1.
Well folks, the weekends over, and it’s back to work for those who live in the Southern Hemisphere, for those who don’t, please continue to enjoy your weekend, but remember, Mondays coming! And as we know by experience, Mondays can be very sluggish, especially after a lovely weekend, where we managed to spend some quality time with our families and friends, and suddenly it’s back to the grind.
I thought by way of encouragement, that we could have a ‘Heart Starter’ from the word of God, rather than the six cups of coffee, or whatever it takes, to get started for the rest of the week!
As you will have realised earlier, our subject today is SACRIFICE…
People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply acknowledging a great debt we owe to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny? It is emphatically no sacrifice. Rather it is a privilege.
Anxiety, sickness, suffering, danger, foregoing the common conveniences of this life--these may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing compared with the glory which shall later be revealed in and through us. I never made a sacrifice. Of this we ought not to talk, when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father's throne on high to give Himself for us. - David Livingstone.
Eric Fellman speaks of meeting a Chinese couple in Hong Kong, while traveling to China. "A friend took me down a narrow alley to a second-floor flat to meet a man recently released from prison in China. I knew I would be pressed to carry Bibles and literature on my trip. But I was hesitant and tried to mask my fear with rationalizations about legalities and other concerns.
A Chinese man in his 6Os opened the door. His smile was radiant, but his back was bent almost double. He led us to a sparsely furnished room. A Chinese woman of about the same age came in to serve tea. As she lingered, I couldn't help but notice how they touched and lovingly looked at each other. My staring apparently didn't go unnoticed, for soon they were both giggling. "What is it?" I asked my friend. "Oh nothing," he said with a smile. "They just wanted you to know it was OK--they're newlyweds."
I learned they had been engaged in 1949, when he was a student at Nanking Seminary. On the day of their wedding rehearsal, Chinese communists seized the seminary. They took the students to a hard-labor prison. For the next 30 years, the bride-to-be was allowed only one visit per year. Each time, following their brief minutes together, the man would be called to the warden's office. "You may go home with your bride," he said, "if you will renounce Christianity." Year after year, this man replied with just one word; "No."
I was stunned. How had he been able to stand the strain for so long, being denied his family, his marriage, and even his health? When I asked, he seemed astonished at my question. He replied, "With all that Jesus has done for me, how could I betray Him?"
The next day, I requested that my suitcase be crammed with Bibles and training literature for Chinese Christians. I determined not to lie about the materials, yet lost not one minute of sleep worrying about the consequences. And as God had planned, my suitcases were never inspected. - Moody Monthly.
Wow! Now that our hearts are beating regularly, let’s consider what we have just read over a cup of Java, and thank the Lord that He will never leave us, or forsake us, and also for the power of the Holy Spirit, that reminds us of these powerful promises.
Loving Father, I thank you for the beautiful weekend that I have just had. Help me by the power of the Holy Spirit to start off this week, by taking on board some of the advice that I have just read, and to remember that I am safe in my Saviour’s arms. In the wonderful and mighty name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.