come clean

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us
our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

1 John 1:9 NKJV

Those whom we serve on your behalf, who are persecuted for professing and practising their faith in Jesus Christ, increasingly remind us of the power of "prayer," and their utter dependency upon this vital means of accessing God’s limitless power. They pray fervently for their families and ministries, and they covet our prayers for them. But these dear souls, who endure the agony of horrific abuse, are not only the willing recipients of prayer, they are also some of the most effective "prayer warriors" among the global Christian body of our day. We should all, therefore, learn what we can from their experiences in and through their "faith walk," encompassing a deeply enriched prayer life combined with their meditation upon the Lord and His Word.

Note from our Chief Executive Officer: Once again, I am pleased to invite Jo Phillips, our VOMC Executive Assistant, to share some heartfelt thoughts of encouragement this month....

The faith of all followers of Jesus Christ allows us to say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust!" (Psalm 91:2 ESV). This is not a cry without foundation, nor without reward. Seen from a heavenly perspective, the promises of the Word stand firmer than the temporal firmament, and we can rely on them despite life experiences during our time on this earthly plane. We gaze into the future when there will be no more weeping, nor pain; no more mourning and no more death (Isaiah 65). This is true for Christians here in Canada, and no less true for those suffering for their faith in regions of persecution around the world.

You may, on occasion, have experienced God's presence in much the same way I have. It's not something that can (or frankly should) be "labelled," though I admit it is challenging to fully explain. It is also not something that can be manipulated or synthesized. Rather, it is an authentic and overwhelming sense of "knowing" that He is God, and that He is near at hand -- closer than "close" -- desiring only intimacy with His children (those who have chosen to believe in and follow Jesus). Through salvation in Him, we are granted access to the everlasting throne of grace and all of the rights that He, as God's Son, has acquired for us.

I wrote to you previously about the refining of silver and how it relates to those we serve who "may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials" so that their faith "may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed" (1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV).

It is this honour and glory about which I now wish to write to you! I've been thinking about reflection. Now "reflection" is a "throwing back by a body or surface of light, heat, or sound without absorbing."1 Yet, as far as I can gather, this is as it relates to inanimate objects. I am not an inanimate object, and what I want to reflect is not light, heat nor sound. Rather, I am a person made in the image of God, in order to live in relationship with Him forever and according to His will for me. I am a sinner who falls short of the glory of God...all the time! But thanks be to God for Jesus Christ and His sacrifice so that I can "put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator" (Colossians 3:10).

In the wake of a recent "sea change" in the Government of Canada, there has been a considerable amount of attention given to the matter of the continuance of the Office of Religious Freedom (ORF). As it happens, the Canadian ORF represents an issue that has risen in various shapes and forms within a number of countries genuinely and fashionably wrestling with the concept of religious freedom as one of the foundational rights of all human rights. "Human rights," those inalienable tenets upon which many societies purport to base their constitutional laws and other societal principles.

Once again, it is my pleasure to have invited my Executive Assistant, Jo (Joanne) Phillips, to share some inspired thoughts with you. I am always amazed at the way the Lord brings gifted people together to share their gifts with each other. I know you'll be blessed by Jo's comments, as expressed through her heart and passion for the "persecuted."
~ Doug J. McKenzie, Chief Executive Officer

The Bible is full of teachings on suffering and persecution. This fact has become more and more illuminated in my heart in recent times which have led to my work for The Voice of the Martyrs Canada. It is as if the Lord has been taking a highlighter pen to my Bible as I read, emphasizing these teachings on persecution that have always been there in the many passages familiar to me. But I have somehow failed to notice their full significance as a living reality in my life and the world around me. I am so grateful that the "words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times" (Psalm 12:6  ESV). I can rely on them to sustain and strengthen me, as well as my suffering brothers and sisters in Christ.