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While on holidays, I enjoyed reading Christ and Culture by D.A. Carson. Among other things it reminded me that Christians around the world live in very different contexts to me! Some live in very hostile environments; some live in overtly Christian contexts, others (like those of us in Australia) live in a place that has been greatly influenced by Christian values and ethics in the past but where those values have been severely eroded and the church and Christian belief marginalised
In each of these contexts, God's people are called to live as His witnesses, to be 'salt and light', agents of reconciliation, God's hands, feet and voice. We are called to 'seek the peace' of the place where we live, to submit to ruling authorities, to obey God, to give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's. This is no easy task and sometimes, these requirements appear contradictory!
Thanks be to God that he gives us his Spirit and his Word to help and guide us. Thank God for Christian brothers and sisters who encourage us and thank God for the wonderful gift of prayer through which we can draw near to God and find grace to help us in our need.
This month may I encourage you to pray not only for our brothers and sisters in difficult places but for all God's people, that in what ever situation he places them they will be faithful disciples. Pray especially for the church in Australia, that we will not be sucked in by the ungodly attitudes and values that characterise our society, but that we will live lives that demonstrate genuine love for God and for our neighbour.
Let us remember that the 'mission field' starts at our front door, maybe even inside it, and consequently seek to be witnesses to Jesus in our own 'Judea and Samaria' and to the ends of the earth.