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Frank and Julius,
I appreciate your insights. The martyrs have always amazed me that they have gone to their deaths with courage and many times even with joy, praying for the very ones that put them to death. This is something that is supernatural. It is not natural for a man to be cheerful in persecution. There is suffering involved, but the grace of God is more than enough. I think of the death of Steven who as he was being stoned saw the Son of God standing at the right hand of God. If we could walk that close to the Lord, knowing that He is there, and if we could see Jesus, there is nothing that can defeat us.
| 2015/11/9 11:11||Profile|
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Amen Mike. So many testimonies of the martyrs courage to encourage us. Indeed it is a supernatural thing. Foxes book of martyrs is a very encouraging book to read for anyone wanting to see that God indeed never leaves us nor forsakes us. The quote below is a portion of a letter from a martyr called Algerius from the 1500s. When this letter was written, he had already been in prison for three years and would die about three weeks later. The amazing thing is that he is the one writing t encourage the saints on the outside. He had encountered God in such an even deeper way in his dungeon, deeper even that his radical Christianity that had led him to be imprisoned in the first place. I know that you will be encouraged by reading this small portion of his letter.................. bro Frank
In a dark hole I have found pleasure; in a place of bitterness and death, rest and hope of salvation; in the abyss or depths of hell, joy; where others weep, I have laughed; where others fear, I have found strength; who will believe this? In a state of misery I have had very great delight; in a lonely corner I have had most glorious company, and in the severest bond, great rest. All these things, my fellow brethren in Jesus Christ, the gracious hand of God has given me. Behold, He that at first was far from me, is now with me, and Him whom I knew but a little, I now see clearly; to whom I once looked from afar, Him I now behold as present; He for whom I longed, now offers me His hand; He comforts me; He fills me with joy; He drives from me bitterness, and renews within me strength and sweetness; He makes me well; He sustains me; He helps me up; He strengthens me. Oh, how good is the Lord, who does not suffer His servants to be tempted above that they are able, Oh, how easy, pleasant and sweet is His yoke. Is there any like God the Most High, who sustains and refreshes those that are tempted? He heals them that are bruised and wounded, and restores them altogether. Isa. 41; 43:20. None is like Him. Learn, most beloved brethren, how sweet the Lord is, how faithful and merciful; who visits His servants in trial (Isa. 43:2); who humbles Himself and condescends to be with us in our huts and humble abodes. He gives us a cheerful mind and peaceful heart.
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So true. Appreciate your heart. Keep those truthful thoughts coming.
Pro 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
| 2015/11/9 11:39|
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"In a dark hole I have found pleasure; in a place of bitterness and death, rest and hope of salvation; in the abyss or depths of hell, joy; where others weep, I have laughed; where others fear, I have found strength; who will believe this."
All I can say is wow! and I am not there yet.
It seems as if this dear saint of God never knew the Lord in this way until he was put in a situation where there was no one to help, no earthly comforts, and He found Jesus Christ to be all sufficient. We would all shy away from the trial, but how we desire the Lord's presence and comfort.
When you look at the Apostle Paul's life and the things that He suffered, there was little difference to him whether he lived in the outward blessing of the Lord or in affliction and bonds for he rejoiced in all these things, and in prison, the Apostle was given the epistles that we so greatly cherish.
"Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things [c]through Him who strengthens me." (Phil. 4:11-13).
| 2015/11/9 13:42||Profile|
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What a hope for us all that Paul says "I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am." I wonder how many trials it took for Paul to arrive at this situation, how many times he had to travail and endure and overcome and push through despite what his feelings were?
As for Algerius, he was on fire for the Lord when he went into prison, which is why he was put in prison. He lost everything material the first day he walked into prison and it seems that he was tortured more than many in the three years he was in prison. So he learned a whole other level of spirituality in his three years " in a dark hole." I think what he really learned was the simple truth that God's grace is sufficient for us. Or that when the enemy comes in like a flood God raises up a standard. What I know is that his godliness was such that his captors hated him in ways that few others were hated. In fact, rather than " just" burn him at the stake, they scalded his whole body with boiling water before they burned him. Straight from the pits of hell. And who were they that were doing this to him? The church of the day, gives one pause for thought..............bro Frank
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