Lenten reflection: March 27th, 2019.
Welcome to our forth reflection for Lent 2019. Each Wednesday we are Reading, Thinking, and Praying towards Easter. Lent was an early church custom, formalised at the Council of Nicaea in AD325. It was and is a helpful practice for preparing for Easter week. For those who choose, it is generally a time of biblical reflection and sometimes self-denial. It is a way of rejuvenating one’s faith, and if followed in a group, a good way to encourage and be encouraged.
We continue week four with another biblical reflection on The Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl to inspire your own life, and fuel prayers for various people groups in Southeast Asia. Our FEBC focus this year is on Persecuted Minorities in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Southern China. Peoples to whom we broadcast the good news of Jesus Christ.
Read: Matthew 13:44-46
13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
13:45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Think: What motivated the worker to buy the field?
I find it truly liberating to read that it was “joy” that motivated the worker to re-evaluate his whole life and buy the field. He was compelled by the deep pleasure of possessing something greater than anything else he owned already. It was not obligation, or fear, or pride, or greed. He discovered something exceedingly positive and it made him happy to rearrange his life to possess it.
Perseverance in life is fuelled by a focus ahead to eternity, to our undisputed presence in the kingdom of heaven. This was Jesus’ encouragement – “For the joy set before him, he endured…” (Hebrews 12:2). The writer to the Hebrews describes this motivation as – knowledge that heaven is “a better and lasting possession” (Hebrews 10:34).
Pray: for the Jarai people of Southeast Asia.
The Jarai are a communal people who live in fear of evil spirits. Their villages are square and everything is arranged around the village centre. They are musical, making instruments out of bamboo. Traditionally animist peoples, the Jarai believe that demons inhabit creation and so animals are sacrificed to appease the spirits.
Please pray that:
- these people will be so filled with joy by what they hear on the radio that they reevaluate their lives, and know that following Jesus is worth it!
- joy overcomes their fear of death when they hear that Jesus has destroyed the work of the devil (1 John 3:8), and that people find freedom from the spirits;
- the Christian Jarai would compose inspiring worship music on their traditional instruments;
- the distribution of MP3 players and radios will reach every community and will be unhindered by government officials and territorial restrictions;
- shortwave signals will be loud and clear;
- programmers will tell the stories of the Bible with great creativity and love, and that many more will hear and believe.
- praise God that the church is present and some Jarai have become followers of Jesus. Pray for initiatives to reach out to their own peoples in neighbouring countries.
To donate for broadcasts to Persecuted Minorities in Southeast Asia and help reveal hidden treasure, please click the link below.
Thanks and God bless, see you next Wednesday.