A Living Example of Love

Here I sit, pondering, trying to figure out what to write. I saw a picture online today of Pastor Saeed that reminded me of what he is dealing with every second of ever day. If you don't know, he is a Pastor that went to Iran to do God's work and was arrested and thrown in prison for it. He has been suffering daily since the summer of last year. Every day. He suffers. For Jesus.

I have thought of him almost daily since I found out about his persecution and I always whisper a prayer when I do. Putting a face on "those suffering for Jesus" makes it much more real to me. I find myself stopping my complaints about what I don't like or how bad my day is when they start to roll of my tongue. Seeing the face of someone suffering daily for loving Jesus has given me reason to check my attitude about a lot of things I think and say. I don't mean I feel guilt or condemnation. I mean that the living spirit of God in me is very aware of what's going on in the world and is making me more aware of it. This awareness has me seeing things the way Jesus does; seeing people the way He does. 

I read that in a moment of rage, a prisoner attacked Pastor Saeed because he is a Christian. In an Iranian prison, being a Christian is the worst kind of offense, even to fellow prisoners. Pastor Saeed is not caving in. Praise the Lord, he is staying the course! He may die a martyr, leaving a wife and children, or he may come out alive. Either way, he is staying the course. 

I guess what I'm getting at is that in light of what is happening on the other side of the world, to a brother in Christ, today, I am feeling the challenge to rise above. I want to love beyond the hate I see so many professed believers spewing to each other, and worse, to unbelievers. I want to rise to the place that hides me so deep in God's love and light that it illuminates everything in my path. I want to deny my desire to be right, and raise the cross high. I want it to be raised so high that it is a beacon for anyone who can see it. It's not about me. It's about Jesus. Jesus is the song I sing, and if I mean that then my actions and words need to say so. If I mean that, then I have to hold my tongue sometimes. I have to resist the temptation to lash out. I have to offer the other cheek. I have to get in the mud with Jesus, where the cast off's and unwanted are found. I have to weep for the lost, not condemn them or attack them.

Oh, and it won't be because I need the works to earn my way to Heaven that I do any of these things. It will be because the fire of God's spirit in me cannot be quenched and it will just start spreading, like a forest fire..it will spread.

Please, Jesus, burn a fire in me.

We all have a choice, friends. We can choose to either raise the cross high, even when it hurts and our arms burn from the weight of it, or hide it behind our own ambitions, our own desires, our own rigthness. I pray, that this humble Pastor, suffering for our Lord, will be a reminder to us all that we are called to a higher place. We are called to love when it hurts, when it's messy, when it's dangerous, when it doesn't make sense.

We are called to love. Jesus, help us to love.

"Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." 1 Corinthians 13:7


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