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It is not until a man finds his faith opposed and attacked that he really begins to think about the implications of that faith. It is not until the church is confronted with some dangerous heresy that she begins to realize the riches and wonder of orthodoxy. It is characteristic of Christianity that it has inexhaustible riches, and that it can always produce new riches to meet any situation.

WILLIAM BARCLAY—THE DAILY STUDY BIBLE



 2008/3/16 15:09









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As the train began to pull out of the station, the Christians standing on the platform unbuttoned their coats and pulled out hundreds of gospel tracts. Quickly they tossed the tracts, handfuls at a time, through the open train windows to the Russian troops inside.

The Russian soldiers, some of them no more than sixteen years old, laughed and whistled, especially at the attractive young women throwing things through the window. They grabbed at the tracts, wondering what was being thrown into an army train. When the political officer boarded the car, the soldiers quickly stuffed the tracts in their pockets. Soon enough they would read the strange booklet and find out more about this “King.”
Back on the train platform, the Christians gathered, laughing nervously. When police officers took one aside, he opened his coat willingly because there was nothing inside. All of the tracts he had brought to the Romanian train station were now on the train, headed to the heart of Communist Russia.
The train-car evangelism was just one of the methods that Richard Wurmbrand taught the youth of his church to reach Russians for Christ. These “allies” were stealing all of his country’s wealth and murdering many of its people, yet Richard welcomed the soldiers. In each soldier he saw a mission field and sought a chance to harvest a soul.


A mission is not so much a place as it is an attitude—one’s approach toward life. A missionary is simply someone who embodies this determination and single focus and expresses it in everyday living. Richard Wurmbrand was a man on mission, and his fervor spread through the ranks of young people who recognized his purposefulness. In that sense, we are all missionaries—ambassadors for Christ—wherever we are serving. Being on mission means you are always on the alert for new opportunities to further God’s kingdom. At the watercoolers at work. At the grocery store. On the commuter train or bus. At school. The everyday world is your mission field when you are determined to further God’s kingdom.


 2008/3/17 5:11









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When Stenley got off the boat on the remote Indonesian island, he felt the spiritual darkness. The people practiced a combination of witchcraft and Islam. Stenley was fresh out of Bible school and ready for the work to which God had called him, reaching these island people for Christ.

Stenley preached boldly, calling people to turn to Christ and then to burn their idols and the relics of their old life. One Muslim burned his idol, but inside it was a scroll from the Koran. When radical Muslims heard of the burning of the Koran, they reported Stenley to area officials. Stenley was immediately arrested.

Although Stenley was horribly beaten and lay comatose, his mentor from Bible school, Pastor Siwi, came to see him and witnessed tears streaming from his eyes. Soon after, Stenley died from his injuries.

But even death could not end Stenley’s ministry. When his story was told in his home village, eleven Muslims accepted Christ as Savior. Fifty-three villagers made the decision to attend Bible school, seven of whom asked to be sent as missionaries to the very village where Stenley had died.

Hoping to extinguish the gospel fire, village officials snuffed out Stenley’s life. But even in the midst of their violence, God’s hand was at work. Today the flames of the gospel burn brightly in that village.


“Leave the light on.” That’s what all who follow Christ should aim to do when they leave this world behind. A committed Christian leaves the light on for a world that is lost in darkness. It’s called leaving a legacy. It seems we often hear of famous people who leave behind a legacy in film, sports, or some other public arena. However, while the lives of many Christian saints are extinguished in anonymity, their faithful lights still burn brightly throughout the world. Their legacy of faith, integrity, hope, and love cannot be doused by their death. In fact, death may even accelerate the flame. For a legacy like that is often willingly imitated by those who remain.

 2008/3/18 10:49









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The woman was one month away from graduating from Bible school along with her daughter. It was the same Bible school where her son, Stenley, had gone before he went to another Indonesian island as a missionary. Stenley was killed for carrying the gospel, but his testimony had prompted many others to go to Bible school and to accept God’s call to share his love.

When they had completed their training, the woman and her daughter planned to go to the very village where Stenley had died. She hoped for a chance to show Christ’s love, even to the men who had beaten her son to death. A visitor to the Bible school, hearing of her plans, was surprised. “Are you not afraid to die?” he asked her.
The woman seemed confused by the question, as if it was not something she had thought of before. “Why should I be afraid to die?” she answered simply.
Her faith in God’s goodness was complete. If he chose to use her in the village where her son died, so be it. And if he permitted her to die there, she would accept that call as well. Her death would bring her into the presence of the Christ she loved. Death was not an obstacle or a punishment, merely a doorway into the eternal presence of God.


Facing death can remind us of children standing above the edge of a water hole. We hug our own shoulders tightly to our bodies, shivering with the anticipation of the unknown. Will it hurt? Will I make it? We don’t want to be the first to jump—not with all these uncertainties. Fortunately, we don’t have to. History is full of family members who have leaped across the boundary between life and death. They are saints who died in full assurance of their destination. Jesus Christ, in fact, has gone where no other person has gone before—to death and back again. Christ, the head of our Christian family, has taken the terror out of death and replaced it with assurance. Heed the call to come on in. The water’s fine.

 2008/3/19 21:21









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“I spent many years in Soviet gulags,” began the handwritten letter. The text was neat, yet evidenced a small shake in the hand—a reminder of old age and years in prison.

“In the camp, I was forced to work under the ground in a mine. The labor was hard, and our guards were without sympathy or human decency. One day, in the mine, there was an accident. My back was injured, and since that day I have been a hunchback.

“One day,” the letter continued, “there was a boy who would not stop staring at me. ‘Mister,’ he asked, ‘what do you have on your back?’

“I was sure that some harsh joke at my expense was coming, but nevertheless I said, ‘a hunchback?’

“The child smiled warmly. ‘No,’ he said, ‘God is love. He gives no one deformities. That is not a hunchback you have; it is a box below your shoulders. Hiding inside the box are angels’ wings. One day, the box will open, and you will fly to heaven with your angel wings.’

“I began to cry for joy. Even now,” the letter concluded, “as I write to you, I am crying.”

Many persecuted Christians bear the marks of their experience on their bodies. Sometimes God must remind them, even through the voice of an innocent child, of the hidden blessings beneath these scars.


There is only one reminder of earth in heaven. Jesus, even in his resurrected body of glory, still bears the scars of his own persecution. Jesus showed his scars to the disciples soon after his resurrection. Thomas touched the wound in his side and the scars on his hands. One day, his nail-scarred hands will embrace us, too, when we enter heaven. They will serve as a loving reminder of the blessings brought forth from his sufferings. However, the scars from our own difficult lives will be erased in our new, heavenly bodies. Those who have endured sufferings, insults, and injustices for his sake will exchange their scars, one by one, for God’s richest blessings.



 2008/3/20 17:48
bluinos
Member



Joined: 2005/2/4
Posts: 78


 Re:

Quote:
There is only one reminder of earth in heaven. Jesus, even in his resurrected body of glory, still bears the scars of his own persecution. Jesus showed his scars to the disciples soon after his resurrection. Thomas touched the wound in his side and the scars on his hands. One day, his nail-scarred hands will embrace us, too, when we enter heaven. They will serve as a loving reminder of the blessings brought forth from his sufferings. However, the scars from our own difficult lives will be erased in our new, heavenly bodies. Those who have endured sufferings, insults, and injustices for his sake will exchange their scars, one by one, for God’s richest blessings.



Oh Psalm 18, please continue with your devotion, i don't know what i said to recieve such an accusation, such a remark, i'm tired of crying, and i'm tired of trying, why am i spoken too like that, i don't deserve that kind of treatment, why must i endure all of this?

 2008/3/20 18:02Profile









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“I will not allow it,” Chinese pastor Wang Min-tao said to the Japanese soldiers. “I will not hang that picture of the emperor in my church.”

Several years later the Communists demanded that Pastor Wang hang a picture of their leader, Chairman Mao, in his sanctuary.
“I do not even have a picture of Jesus in my church,” the pastor said. “I refused to hang a picture of the Japanese emperor, and I refuse to hang one of Mao.”
Wang was arrested in 1955, and for two years he was subjected to severe torture and brainwashing. Driven nearly insane by the torture, he finally signed a “confession” outlining all his “crimes” against the People’s Republic. With the confession, Pastor Wang secured his release from prison.
But outside the prison he had no peace. He told himself, “I am Judas. I am like Peter when he denied Christ.” Finally, he went back to the Chinese police.
“I renounce my confession,” he told them. “Do with me as you will.”
The guards were not satisfied to merely imprison Wang again. So they put his wife in as well. In a letter from the prison, he wrote, “Do not be anxious about me; I am of more value than many sparrows.”
Wang Min-tao died in prison, guilty of only loving his Savior.


Who wouldn’t want to be brave like Peter, impulsively striking those who came to arrest Jesus Christ? Yet, who isn’t also weak like Peter, denying Christ in almost the same instance under the threat of opposition? God does not chide us for our humanity. He accepts our weakness and works with us until we are strong again. Just as God restored Peter and other believers like Wang Min-tao to a position of faith, he can restore our stout courage again as well. Have you suffered from the memory of a missed opportunity to stand up for Christ? Ask God to restore you today. He will begin to prepare you even now for your next opportunity to stand strong.

 2008/3/21 15:42









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“Sign the statement!” screamed the Cuban officer, forcing a pen into the Christian prisoner’s hand. “Sign the statement!”

The written statement in front of the prisoner contained accusations about other Christians. His signature was all the government needed to arrest the others.
“I cannot sign this paper,” the Christian said, calmly looking the officer in the eye.
“Why not?” asked the captain, with exaggerated calm, before swearing at the man. “Do you not know how to write your own name?”
“It is because of the chain, my friend. The chain keeps me from signing this.”
Grabbing the prisoner’s hands roughly, the officer held them in front of his face. “But you are not in chains, you idiot!” he screamed.
“Oh, but I am,” said the Christian believer. “I am bound by the chains of witnesses who throughout the centuries have given their lives for Christ. I am yet one more link in this chain, and I will not break it.”
Though he was threatened and roughed up, the prisoner refused to sign.


Christian martyrs leave behind a rich testimony of incredible poise in the midst of horrific circumstances. Their strength is heroic. Their words are wise. Their calm is unshakable. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “Words pronounced by the martyrs before authorities are not human words, the simple expression of a human conviction, but words pronounced by the Holy Spirit through the confessors of Jesus.” Life by life, link by link, the words spoken through the power of the Holy Spirit in the midst of oppression are forming a powerful testimony. You, too, have the potential to add your own chapter to the pages. You, too, are a link in the chain of believers. Will you hold it together?

 2008/3/22 15:39









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The mood was somber, almost harsh. The Lithuanian court was meeting to determine the sentence for Nijole Sadunaite. Her “crime,” like so many others’, was simply being a Christian in a Communist nation.

Then the judge offered her a final chance to speak. He eagerly waited for the young woman to tearfully beg for mercy. Perhaps she would even renounce her ridiculous faith in God. Yet he was in for a surprise.
There were no tears from Nijole. Her face shone, and a beautiful smile began to form. Her eyes held warmth, even for her accusers.
“This is the happiest day of my life,” said the condemned woman. “I am on trial for the cause of truth and love toward men.”
Now, every eye in the courtroom was on her. “I have an enviable fate, a glorious destiny. My condemnation here in this courtroom will be my ultimate triumph.”
The passion in her voice was unmistakable. “I regret only that I have done so little for men. Let us love each other, and we will all be happy. Only the one who has no love will be sad.”
She turned her attention away from the judge and peered into the eyes of other believers who watched the trial. “We must condemn evil, but we must love the man, even the one in error. This you can learn only at the school of Jesus Christ.”


When it comes to learning about those who have been persecuted for the sake of Christ, take notes. Class is in session. From the relative safety of our homes and communities, we may read the stories of Christian martyrs. We may even shudder as we turn the pages. However, are we ready to enroll in the school of Jesus Christ? Are we ready to study side by side with those who have walked the lonely path of oppression? We must apply what we learn from them about faith, love, holiness, and endurance. Only when we identify with the sufferings of Christ through the experiences of others can we truly call ourselves “Christians,” meaning “little Christs.” Only then will we be ready to pass the test.

 2008/3/23 14:11









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Suffering may prevent sin, but sin will never prevent suffering.

A HANDWRITTEN COMMENT FOUND IN AN 1800S EDITION
OF Foxe's Book of Martyrs



 2008/3/24 8:24





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