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Length of Days - Search for Freedom

Monday, March 23, 2015

Write God's Words on Your Heart

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” Deuteronomy 11:18 (NIV)
“… store up for yourself treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; … Matthew 6:20 (NIV)
Last evening, 60 Minutes reporter, Lara Logan reported on “Iraq’s Christians.” I will quote her words that you can read and hear by typing “Iraq’s Christians – 60 Minutes” into Google.
“On the side of a mountain, overlooking the Nineveh Plains of ancient Mesopotamia is the Monastery of St. Matthew. It’s one of the oldest on earth…. There are few places on earth where Christianity is as old as it is in Iraq. Christians there trace their history to the first century apostles. But today, their existence has been threatened by the terrorist group that calls itself Islamic State. More than 125,000 Christians—men, women and children—have been forced from their homes over the last ten months.” (60 Minutes March 22, 2015)
These Christians had to leave their homes and churches quickly. Refugees packed a few books along with personal possessions. However, the urgency of their departing meant that some of the oldest Christian manuscripts, books, and papers on earth were left behind. Some dated to the first century. Father Joseph Ibrahim, of the Monastery there, said their services were in the language of Jesus Christ, Aramaic. It may have been the last place on earth were Aramaic was spoken, kept alive in their prayers and church services. Father Joseph Ibrahim said there had been only seven monks left at St. Matthew, founded in 363. It had “survived the Persian and Ottoman empires, Mongol invaders and Kurdish conquests… and now is threatened by the Islamic State…” But, they are now gone from that Monastery.
We live in dangerous times. Because we do not live on the Nineveh Plains does not mean that the destruction of Christians in Iraq does not impact our lives. “Much of what took almost 2,000 years to build has been lost in a matter of months” in Iraq. How long would it take for our culture to fall if the Islamic State were to come here? How many Bibles would remain? Libraries? The Lincoln Memorial? The Washington Monument?
Are we completely helpless in this battle over beliefs? For today, I challenge every one of us to read and know the word of God well enough that it becomes written on our hearts. Some may complain, “But, I can’t memorize anything.” Still, the flavor of God and the perfume of His presence can be with us if we know Him through His own words and repeat them in our homes.
I was one of the lucky third-graders who had Miss. Weimer for our teacher. The secret to her popularity was her story telling. At the end of a school day, Miss. Weimer would “act out” the stories we loved. She “told stories;” she didn’t read them. Her tales live in my heart to this day.
What stories are we writing on our children’s hearts for them to remember and cherish for a lifetime? In light of the present destruction of the Christian culture in Iraq, bury His words in your heart and mind where no one can break in and steal. Share His words as often as you can; where ever you can; as lovingly as you can; for as long as you can. Let’s pray:
“Dear father of our Lord Jesus Christ, I bow before your name, your holiness. During this season of Christ’s Passion, when I am called on to remember you more frequently, more clearly, I ask that your words may be planted in my heart like seeds for the harvest. Give me the memory to recall your words in my home, my work and my gathering places. Forgive me when I have not taken my sacred ministry, to remember, seriously. Today, I will remember. In the name of your son, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen”
"God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”
Copyright 2015 Doris Gaines Rapp

A few of my novels:
Length of Days – Beyond the Valley of the Keepers (2nd in the trilogy in which the Keepers memories books before they were all destroyed)
News at Eleven – A Novel (April 2015 the novelette expansion that first appeared in Glo Magazine - winter 2015)

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