Wednesday, January 16, 2008

GOSPEL: Freedom Awards!

Romans 10:15b
The news report read: “The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) presented its 1999 International Press Freedom Awards last night to four journalists — from Columbia, Kosovo and Pakistan — at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.”

The report told of the heroic exploits of four journalists who kept on reporting the news in spite of beatings, imprisonments, and death threats. A fifth reporter would have been recognized expect he’s in a Cuban jail for proclaiming the truth.

Founded in 1981, CPJ focuses attention on free press abuses all over the world. The awards are to honor newsmen and women who’ve put themselves in harm’s way to deliver the news and to preserve freedom of the press worldwide.

[“CPJ Holds Its Ninth Annual Awards in NYC,” by Tracey Middlekauff; November 24, 1999; © 1999, News America Digital Publishing, Inc., d/b/a Fox News Online.]

Two thousand years ago, and again and again since, men and women have put themselves on the line to bring the Good News of a great joy to mankind. They too have been beaten, imprisoned, and threatened; in fact for many it has cost them their lives.

I think of Paul in his report to the Corinthians [2 Corinthians 6:4-5]. I recall the accounts preserved for believers in the “Hall of Faith” [Hebrews 11:32-38]. My mind reflects on the lives of the Apostles; men who where reportedly skinned alive, torn asunder, crucified upside down, and decapitated … all after torture and great hardship. Fox’s Book of Martyrs annoys my mind for those who’ve served and suffered and been slain.

But most of all I think on the Son of God who, for the love of God, came bearing Good News … only to be trodden upon, beaten, and crucified for telling the truth: All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God [Romans 3:23]; you must be born again [John 3:3]; and no one comes to the Father but through Me [John 14:6b]. It is a gift of God [Ephesians 2:8].

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