The persecution of Christians is not about human rights, it is a rite of passage.
| 2008/4/15 9:28|
This gift is for you.
What is it? the missionary asked his friend while preparing to go into North Korea.
Just take it. Youll know when to open it.
Disguised as a businessman, the missionary journeyed into North Korea. He was assigned a Communist guide with a penchant for long naps.
Seeing his opportunity, the missionary quietly left the hotel while his guide slept. He entered a nearby village and met up with a small group of believers. As soon as they realized the young missionary was an ordained minister, they said, You must baptize us! We have waited for someone to baptize us!
In a land where possessing a Bible can mean a fifteen-year sentence, a formal baptism could mean certain death.
Without any lake or river nearby, the missionary simply prayed over the believers one by one as a symbol of their faith. But to his amazement they were not satisfied. We have waited forty years for Communion.
One of the believers immediately brought out some rice cakes. The missionary thought. They had had a baptism without water, maybe they could have Communion without drink. Then he remembered the gift his friend handed him before going into North Korea. He quickly grabbed his travel bag and took out the packagea bottle of wine. Speechless, each villager wept openly, praising God for his timely gift.
While most people in modern culture could not imagine life without a calendar and a clock, God keeps his own time. He is not driven by the tyranny of the urgent. However, we must learn patience in order to happily live within his timing. Patience means trusting God is at work, even when we dont see the evidence. Patience is the principle of delayed gratification. When we wait for Gods blessings in our lives, we appreciate them so much more. What we wait for, we value more. Whether it is a rice-cake Communion or a specific need in our lives, Gods timing is certain. What concerns you regarding Gods timing in your life? Is it time for you to trust him?
| 2008/4/16 13:30|
wow..what a great story..love this word on patience..it has been on my heart today.I am relatively patient..have grown alot in this area..but lest I rest on my laurels,patting myself on the back for all the victory I have recieved due to the measure of patience I may have born previously,I will perhaps respond in what I consider to be a goodly amount of patience,love and prayer proceeding..but not have the joy and peace to go forth with the responce..instead it may be indignation,impatience,laced with defensiveness etc.Now I become uneasy..the peace is really not evident now..even momentarilty its absense is felt,as I then take my thoughts captive..oh..impatience has born it's rotten fruit again..and I see I need to ask for a greater grace...an active patience that grows with the challenges of now. What may have easily sufficed before is not enough..stretch me Lord..to hold more of your kind of patience..born out of mercy and forgivenes..help me wait on You,that in all I do I would :
Go out with joy and go forth with peace!
Thanks for the post.
G.M. (Destiny) Sweet
| 2008/4/16 21:48||Profile|
What may have easily sufficed before is not enough..stretch me Lord..to hold more of your kind of patience..born out of mercy and forgivenes..help me wait on You,that in all I do I would :
Go out with joy and go forth with peace!
Thanks for the post.
We used to sing this song in our home fellowship. Thanks for that good word. That was a rhema word for me. I need to pray more before I "go out". We should be going out with joy and peace. :-)
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
| 2008/4/16 21:56|
The only chance a torturer has to be saved may be through a Christian prisoner. They never go to church or read the Holy Bible. But a Christian prisoner can speak love to them, even while being beaten. Such is the belief of an underground church member.
Another woman who had spent her years serving Christ under danger of torment said, Throughout church history, many Christian prisoners have brought their tormentors to heaven. There is a plaque in a Roman jail containing the names of those converted while Paul was in prison there. They would be in hell if Paul had not given them the chance to beat him. She paused. I dont mind suffering if the salvation of torturers is the result.
Bishop Hannington knew the risk was high when he decided to bring the message of Christ to the cannibals in Uganda. A few weeks after the bishop arrived, the cannibals rejected his message and executed him. Before Hannington died, the cannibals heard the following words in a loud voice, Love your enemies . . . pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.
This was the same message the bishops two sons carried with them when they set out for the same village after their fathers death. They were determined to continue evangelizing the same people who had killed their father.
Some suppose Christs death and resurrection to be merely a hoax made up by wishful thinkers who wanted the memory of their beloved teacher to live on. However, how does that explain for the martyrdom of most of his disciples and generations more after them? It seems reasonable that they would admit their folly at the moment of their arrest and certainly before their certain death. Why would they willingly carry a supposed hoax that far? In fact, history documents their attempts to convert their torturers right down to the last minute. Their extreme evangelism was evidence of their conviction: This was the very gospel of God. How convinced are you of the gospel message? Are you willing to carry it as far as the brink of the extreme?
| 2008/4/17 10:03|
Japan, a country surrounded by beautiful mountains, was blessed by the faith of brave Christian brothers and sisters who decided to risk it all to be the first to bring Christs message of love and forgiveness to Japan.
In 1549, Francis Xavier was the first missionary to Japan. Under his ministry, many were converted and the church grew rapidly. But Japanese officials saw Christians as a threat, and severe persecution began. The opposition to Christianity grew like a jagged mountain against the skies of Japan, overshadowing the believers below. In cities like Unzen, Christians were boiled in volcanic lava. Others were crucified on wooden crosses in the town of Nagasaki. Japanese soldiers rounded up all known Christians in 1637, around thirty thousand of them, and killed each one.
Following this, the church went underground in hopes of protecting those who managed to survive. The church struggled for several years. However, by Gods grace the church survived. Faithful missionaries did not stop coming. They heard about the mountainous persecution and answered the call to minister to the few faithful believers who were left.
Japan now has 1.7 million active Christians, and the church is adding believers everyday. Xavier and the modern missionaries represent the faith of a mustard seed that moved a mountain of opposition so a nation could be changed.
Life is full of obstructed views. Believers often face a mountain of opposition from worldly family members who dont accept their beliefs. Many Christians come across the Alps of atheism in the workplace. Towering peaks of persecution from their own governments overshadow believers in restricted nations. However, a beautiful view is just beyond each mountain of opposition that faces the church today. The scene is of thousands of men, women, and children who hunger for the gospel. Faith can clear the way for others to be saved. Many Christians before you have been persecuted to demonstrate that truth. Will you continue their work with a faith that can move mountains? What mountain of opposition will you focus on today?
| 2008/4/18 14:18|
Earlier that morning, the young girls mother, their pastor, and twenty-six others in her North Korean village of GokSan were bound and taken before a screaming crowd of Communists.
One of the guards ordered Pastor Kim and the other Christians, Deny Christ, or you will die. The words chilled her. How could they ask her to deny Jesus? She knew in her heart he was real. They all quietly refused.
Then the Communist guard shouted directly at the adult Christians, Deny Christ, or we will hang your children. The young girl looked up at her mother. She gripped her hand knowing how much her mom loved her. Her mother then leaned down. With confidence and peace she whispered, Today, my love, I will see you in heaven.
All of the children were hanged.
The remaining believers were then brought out onto the pavement and forced to lie down in front of a large steamroller. The Communists gave them one last chance. Deny this Jesus or you will be crushed. The Christians had already given up their children; there was no turning back.
As the driver started the heavy piece of equipment, the singing from the villagers started softly. More love, O Christ, to thee, more love to thee.
More. Its what God gave when he sent his Son. More. Its what Jesus gave when he was crucified. More. Its what believers give simply out of love for Christ. They want to give more to the One who gave so much to them. In a worldly age that values giving only what one must to get by, believers set a new standard. More love to thee is more than just words in a traditional hymnal. Its a lifestyle without limit. Each day is a path of discovering how to give more love to Jesus Christ. For some believers, this path has led to their death. For others, more love to thee has meant financial sacrifice. What does more love to thee mean to your everyday life?
| 2008/4/21 13:58|
Now everyone wanted to see the movie. They whispered about it in the market and even in the mosque. What is it about? Is it really that bad, that people should get arrested for having it?
The movie in question was the JESUS filma high-quality film that portrays the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It shows the plan of salvation on the big screen, bringing the story of Jesus to life. In Jacobabad, Pakistan, two men were arrested for distributing the film and other Christian materials. Both men were beaten, and local mullahs, Muslim religious leaders, urged that charges be filed against them and others who had been involved in distributing the materials. They went one step beyond, encouraging Muslims in the city to take action against all Christians. Soon, a local pastors possessions were stolen, and shots were fired near a Christian school. The town seemed on the verge of outright violence.
However, things soon began to change. Instead of boycotting the movie, everyone in town wanted to see the sinful film. They wanted to know about all the fuss firsthand. Black-market copies began making the rounds, and eventually the JESUS film was even shown on local television. The city judge watched the movie, and he declared that it was not anti-Islam.
Through the unintentional efforts of the mullahs, the gospel message reached an entire community. They planned to erase the JESUS film from their country. However, their campaign actually promoted the ministry. God does not turn evil into good by conventional methods. He blesses the efforts of his servants, but not in ways we might anticipate. Christians in restricted nations are learning this the hard way, but they rejoice to see the mystery of God at work in their nations. God makes a way for us even when it doesnt make sense. There are times when everything seems to be going wrong. Are those the times when you trust God the most? He knows what he is doing even when you do not.
| 2008/4/22 15:32|
Nicolai Ceaucescu had a brainstorm called collectivization. As the vicious dictator of Romania, he probably thought it was a good idea to get the people to voluntarily surrender all of their possessions to the state for the common good of all.
Farmers, landowners, and peasants everywhere lost everything: fields, sheep, cattle, houses, and furniture. The once-thriving agricultural sector of Romania was destroyed. Every farmer now became a slave of the state, working for pathetic wages on the states field. Families stood in line just to obtain bread.
To keep the people from becoming resistant to his strategy, the dictator himself helped in the initial launch. In the Romanian province of Dobrogea, all of the villagers were gathered together in the town center and asked to willingly give up their possessions. When no one volunteered, Ceaucescu shot ten people with his own gun. The vote was taken again: Who is willing to give up all of their possessions?
They played military music and chanted the praises of Communism. As the people were forced to dance, a video was made propagating their enthusiastic adherence to socialism. One farmer who had lost everything reported later, They thought they took everything. But they left something very importantour hymnals. So we sat down and sang praises to the Lord.
People often play games to get new people talking and learning about each other. One of the more revealing questions is to ask people what one thing they would bring if they were stranded on a deserted island. Most people have a hard time deciding and have to be reminded that this is only a game. However, the people of Romania did not have the luxury of playing a game; they were experiencing real life. Their government didnt even allow them one possession. However, the villagers realized the presence of those overlooked hymnals brought joy to their village, which now resembled their own deserted island. The people treasured the hymnals, and God treasured the people.
| 2008/4/24 11:27|
Storm is right..nasty one at that..very strange idea of voluntary participation!Good they had their hymnals..but even without these..God will put a new song in our hearts..Praise God for His abundant provision..the more you get taken from you materially..the less you see you really needed.
G.M. (Destiny) Sweet
| 2008/4/25 0:18||Profile|