Message From Matt | October 5, 2018

Wide Awake to Worn Out!          

Had one of those nights this week where I woke up at 2:45 AM and was wide awake.  After laying there for a little while, I thought about getting up and doing some computer work or getting in the Word but  I thought I might just fall back asleep in a little while so I stayed in bed.  Unfortunately, I was wrong!  I didn’t fall asleep until it was close to time to wake up.  I went from being wide awake for 3+ hours to falling asleep for a few minutes and waking up exhausted!  

I know that I am getting a little older, but I can’t blame my lack of sleep on old age…not yet anyway!   My problem was that I was thinking too much…but not necessarily on good things.  In fact, I was thinking about all the things that I needed to do, all the things that I wanted to accomplish, and all the barriers that I thought were in the way of meeting my goals. The more I thought, the more my problems seemed to get bigger and the more negative my thinking became!  My thinking and over-thinking kept me awake until I couldn’t stay awake any longer!  

With all of the thinking that I was doing that night, I should have thought about Peter’s words in 

1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” and then maybe I would have fallen back to sleep a little sooner.  But I didn’t.  Instead, my mind was like a snowball rolling down a steep mountain that was quickly becoming a boulder! 

Have you had one of those nights?  If you haven’t, I am happy for you!  But, if you do have one of those nights in the future, please take my advice…give your cares to God sooner than later!

What’s it mean to “cast” our cares?

It means what it says…to cast or to throw!  It gives a picture of someone who has struggled long and hard with a care (burden or weight) and that they can’t go any longer without taking the weight off of them.  It is literally throwing it off of yourself and throwing it upon God!  It’s saying, “God, take this, because I can’t handle it!”  

The great thing is that God willingly takes it!  He wants to take your burden!  Just think about it this way, the God of the world wants you to throw on Him your burdens!  Why wouldn’t we?  

Today, maybe you aren’t burdened by anything…that’s awesome!  But then again, maybe you do have burdens!  If you are burdened, remember that you have a God that cares for you!  He loves you (John 3:16)!  He won’t leave you (Hebrews 13:5)!  He won’t forsake you!  He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7)!  Lean on Him today!   

Speaking of those who have burdens – please read this article and pray for Christians in foreign lands that are suffering for Christ! 

Church Calls for Help as Police Block Stairwell

ChinaAid

(Zhengzhou, Henan—Sept. 29, 2018) Officials in Zhengzhou, capital of China’s Henan province, sent people to blockade off the church during a service on Sunday, Sept. 16. In response, the church posted an SOS notice online, calling on all Christians in the area to support them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               The message appeared at 9:00 a.m., calling on other adherents to Christianity to help Dali Church as government officials blocked its stairwell, forcing the churchgoers to worship on the first floor. Around 300-400 Christians were present, and the authorities sent additional people to raid the church.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just five days before, government personnel broke into the church but were intercepted as a few hundred Christians protected it.                                                                                                                                                                                                          In another announcement, Dali Church stated that the current crackdown on Henan churches, spurred by the adoption of the new Regulations on Religious Affairs on Feb. 1, is the worst the area has seen in the past 40 years. The government has ordered the removal of crosses, closed churches, smashed their possessions, and beat and harassed Christians, making it difficult for them to attend church and leaving them endangered, grieved, and enraged, but so intimidated that they fear to speak up.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        All of these actions have happened to Dali Church.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Such oppression is also happening in other parts of the nation, such as Chengdu, Sichuan, where Early Rain Covenant Church, a large, unregistered church, is facing repeated harassment. On Sept. 16, Linxishu Evangelical Church, a branch of Early Rain Covenant Church, was raided by local officials. The church’s minister, Cao Qingen, was taken into custody.                                                                                                                                                                                               According to congregants, a dozen officials from the religious affairs bureau and the public security bureau claimed that the church was not yet approved and organized illegal activities. Dozens of churchgoers had information from their identification cards taken down and had to provide their cell phone numbers to the authorities.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by Christians in China, in order to stand in solidarity with Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.