For about fifteen years I have been receiving "Voice of the Martyrs," a monthly newsletter dedicated to serving persecuted believers. Every month I am reminded that this world is not my true home and that Jesus is alive and real. I am reminded that what God is doing in the lives of these persecuted Christians---giving them boldness, courage, strength, love for enemies---He wants to do in mine, as well.
I live an American life and must be on alert that the culture I live in does affect how I judge what is valuable. I need the testimony of those who are standing for something greater and for all that truly matters to remind me of what is worthy and eternal.
The Holy Spirit uses "Voice of the Martyrs" to help me see how fleeting and foolish much of what I desire is. When I read of Christians in Vietnam who continue to tell others of Christ in spite of being arrested, I get clarity. And when I read of those who continue to set up Bible schools to train leaders even when their last school was bulldozed, my spiritual eyes open. Suddenly, giving and going and telling others becomes more of a priority than a new iPhone or a trip to St. Simons Island.
Sometimes "Voice of the Martyrs" publishes some pictures that are hard to view.
When the burned face of Yubelina, a Christian woman who attacked by Muslims, was on the cover I wanted to look away. For the remainder of her life Yubelina will be marred and disfigured by those burns, and yet she was smiling and full of joy. When I think of the falsehood that passes for beauty in my culture, I think maybe I don't need to turn away. Maybe I need to rethink what is beautiful. Maybe sharing Yubelina's pain and joy can come only through looking into her face.