Excerpts from our August Newsletter
From the Pastor…
Determination and Persistence
In the beginning of the 19th century Henry Martyn had already done more than his share of missionary work in India, yet he announced that he was going to go to Persia (now Iran) to continue his missionary work. His doctors advised him that the sun in India would kill him, yet he was going to Persia which was even hotter.
Martyn arrived in Persia and immediately started to study the Persian language and work on a Persian translation of the New Testament and Psalms. He finished the translation in an amazing nine months, but was then told that he could not circulate the translation without the permission of the Shah.
Martyn traveled 600 miles to Terhan, only to be denied permission to see the Shah. He then turned around and made a 400-mile trip to find the British ambassador. The ambassador gave him credentials and told him that was all that he could do. Martyn would have to present the credentials to the Shah in person.
Barely able to stand on his feet, Martyn rode at night on the back of a mule and rested in the daytime, protected only by a strip of canvas from the sweltering heat. He finally arrived and was eventually received by the Shah who gave him permission to circulate the Scriptures to the Persians.
Martyn had decided to go back to England, but only long enough to gain the strength needed to continue his missionary work. Unfortunately, he died in Turkey in 1812 before he was able to return to England. Shortly before his death he wrote in his diary, “I sat and thought with sweet comfort and peace of my God. In solitude, my Companion, my Friend and my Comforter.”
I think about the determination and persistence of Henry Martyn under very difficult circumstances and wonder how determined and persistent are we to have a relationship with God. You see, all too often we let the world get in our way. I can’t go to church today, it’s my only day to sleep in. I can’t go to church today because my children have some kind of sports practice. I can’t pray at night because I am just to tired. I can’t do my devotions in the morning because I have to go to work. I can’t pray before my meal at the restaurant because I might get embarrassed. Over and over again we put our relationship with God on a shelf, only to retrieve it when it’s needed. But when it’s needed will it be there, and will it sustain us?
Henry Martyn was able to accomplish a great deal under very difficult circumstances because he found peace in the presence of God who was his Friend, his Companion and his Comforter. Considering your relationship with God, just what are you able to accomplish in God’s name? One would hope that you would be able to accomplish a great deal, but that is something only you can answer!
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Prayer in Times of Trouble
God of wind and water, stillness and storm, your Spirit sweeps over the surface of the sea. Give us faith to seek you in times of trouble. Reach out your hand to us when we are sinking so that we may believe and worship you; through Jesus Christ, Sovereign and Savior.
(based on Matthew 14:22-33)
Prayer for Peace Amidst the Storm
Living God, our refuge and strength, even the wind and sea obey your voice. Put the wind back in its place, and say to the sea: Peace! Be still!
Fill us with great faith, and save us from the surging water,
so that we may tell the good news of your saving love; through Jesus Christ, our hope in the storm. (based on Mark 4)