Persecution Post

Persecution Post

Amir, a young Algerian man, was temporarily staying in an apartment of a friend while recovering from depression. His friend had moved out leaving only a few items behind, but unbeknownst to him, he had left behind his most prized possession, God’s Word!

“While I was cleaning the apartment, I found a New Testament,” Amir says. “This New Testament changed my life. I found the Lord Jesus Christ by reading the book.” In the following months leading into years, he kept reading the Bible. Slowly, his depression lifted and the recovery and healing began to transform his life.

Amir continues, “One day I was watching Christian satellite TV and I saw the phone number of another Christian in Algeria. I immediately contacted that person and soon afterwards we met, which was great. This brother in Christ brought me into contact with a small group of believers, which I am attending regularly now. Praise to God for His healing and mercy. And thanks to the one who forgot his New Testament in the apartment.”

Meanwhile, Brother Gideon is in prison in Eritrea with a group of other believers because of their faith. He says, “The government representatives came up with a new idea to ask us to stop our faith and sign an agreement that we will not read the Bible. We will not pray and not have a meeting of more than two people. If we comply with that, we will sign and they will release us from the prison. But I told them I will not. Because of the Holy Spirit’s assurance in me I was ready to face anything…I said ‘No, Christ is my life. As Paul said in the book of Ephesians that for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’

“They beat every part of my body…until I almost died. I was thinking of Jesus. What an honor for me to share his affiliation. I remember I said to myself inside, ‘Lord, please forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing to me, but I give you my soul to rest in your hand.’

“They took us to the prison again. After three months we had a Bible smuggled in without their knowledge. We tore the pages out of different Bible books and we distributed those to different cells. “We chose four believers to take responsibility to do distribution of the parts of the Bible. I was one of those four chosen believers and it was my responsibility to coordinate all these things. Because there is no paper in the prison cells, I was using toilet paper to write verses of the Bible and send them to others. When the government agents searched our cell, they found all those verses I sent to the sisters. They asked ‘Who sent those papers, those verses?’ When they found it was me, they put me under severe torture for months. There was no part of my body without pain.

“One of the persecutors asked me a question. ‘Why you are paying so big a price? Why don’t you renounce your faith and live a peaceful life?’ I replied, ‘To me, the Word of God is life!”

Standing Strong

Persecution Post – Uganda 1973

Persecution Post

DEAD ALREADY – AND HIDDEN IN CHRIST

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:3

Kefa Sempangi was pastor of the large Redeemed Church of Uganda. Easter Sunday 1973 was his first serious brush with death at the hands of Idi Amin’s goons. After an all-day worship service he went exhausted to the vestry to change clothes—too exhausted to notice the five strangers (government secret police goons) following him into the room:They stood between me and the door, pointing their rifles at my face. For a long moment no one said anything. Then the tallest man, obviously the leader, spoke. “We are going to kill you,” he said. “If you have something to say, say it before you die.” He spoke quietly but his face was twisted with hatred.

I could only stare at him. For a sickening moment I felt the full weight of his rage. We had never met before but his deepest desire was to tear me to pieces. My mouth felt heavy and my limbs began to shake. Everything left my control. They will not need to kill me, I thought to myself. I am just going to fall over dead and I will never see my family again.

From far away I heard a voice, and I was astonished to realize that it was my own. “I do not need to plead my own cause,” I heard myself saying. “I am a dead man already. My life is dead and hidden in Christ. It is your lives that are in danger; you are dead in your sins. I will pray to God that after you have killed me, He will spare you from eternal destruction.”
The tall one took a step towards me and then stopped. In an instant, his face was changed. His hatred had turned to curiosity. He lowered his gun and motioned to the others to do the same. They stared at him in amazement but they took their guns from my face.

Then the tall one spoke again. “Will you pray for us now?” he asked. I thought my ears were playing a trick. I looked at him and then at the others. My mind was completely paralyzed. “Father in heaven,” I prayed, “You who have forgiven men in the past, forgive these men also. Do not let them perish in their sins but bring them into yourself.”

It was a simple prayer, prayed in deep fear. But God looked beyond my fears and when I lifted my head, the men standing in front of me were not the same men who had followed me into the vestry. Something had changed in their faces. It was the tall one who spoke first. His voice was bold but there was no contempt in his words, “You have helped us,” he said, “and we will help you. We will speak to the rest of our company and they will leave you alone. Do not fear for your life. It is in our hands and you will be protected.”

I was too astonished to reply. The tall one only motioned for the others to leave. He himself stepped to the doorway and then he turned to speak one last time. “I saw widows and orphans in your congregation,” he said. “I saw them singing and giving praise. Why are they happy when death is so near?” It was still difficult to speak but I answered him. “Because they are loved by God. He has given them life, and will give life to those they loved, because they died in Him.”

His question seemed strange to me, but he did not stay to explain. He only shook his head in perplexity and walked out the door. I stared at the open door of the vestry for several moments and then sat down on a nearby straw mat chair. My knees were no longer strong and I could feel my whole body tremble. I could not think clearly. Less than ten minutes before, I had considered myself a dead man. Even though I was surrounded by 7,000 people there was no human being to whom I could appeal. I could not ask the elders to pray, I could not appeal to the mercy of the Nubian killers. My mouth had frozen and I had no clever words to speak. In that moment, with death so near, it was not my sermon that gave me courage, or an idea from Scripture. It was Jesus Christ, the living Lord.

Standing Strong

Persecution Post – Indonesia

Persecution Post

NEVER SHAKEN

Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:2

In December 1999, a Muslim mob attacked the Doulos Bible School on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia. One of the main aims of this Bible School is to evangelize among the 30-million-strong Sundanese, the largest unreached people group in the world, who live in west Java. One student died and forty-four other students were wounded. About eighty percent of the buildings were destroyed. Domingus is a young student who was injured. He shares his personal story of the events that fatal evening:

That night I was asleep in bed so I didn’t know what was happening. Suddenly a friend woke me up and shouted that we were being attacked. The building was already burning and I did not know where to run to. I knew if I ran to the main gate I would be killed. I ran to the back of the campus where my friend lived. I prayed “Lord, if I die, I know I will go to heaven.”

Suddenly the crowds arrived and they shouted to kill me. They grabbed me and blindfolded me. The Lord spoke to me “Don’t be afraid, I will be with you.” They hit me with a big stick and I lost consciousness. I felt my spirit leave my body. Through a sequence of events I was brought to a place where people were singing and worshipping God. I saw a very bright light and I closed my eyes and bowed down. A voice said “Your time has not come yet; it is time to go back!”

I regained consciousness and realized where I was. I tried to look at my watch but I discovered my neck was very badly cut. I saw all the blood. I prayed that the Lord would send someone to take me to hospital. I thanked the Lord that I could be persecuted for the gospel and that through this I could meet Him.

When the police arrived they asked, “Where did you find this corpse?” They took me to hospital. I tried to open my eyes and I still saw the angels around me. The doctors said I would be paralyzed but as you can see I am not.

Upon the conclusion of his testimony, Domingus was asked the obvious question: “What now? They will come back to finish the job and kill you. What do you want to do with your life Domingus?” He replied with great conviction, “I just want to serve Jesus.”

Standing Strong

Persecution Post – China

Persecution Post

A Chinese Bible Woman shares the following situation that helped train her and her children in righteousness while her husband was in labor camp: One day I said to my children, “The Lord has told me that today I will go to prison for Him. Father is also in prison so please behave. Love each other and don’t forget to bring food for your mom!”

During that time there were so many prisoners that the government could not provide for all of them so family members provided their food. The children cried when they heard this. Daniel replied, “But mom, we have only five catties of rice left. How can we have rice and also send you some? When it’s all gone, we’ll die!” I told the children, “The Lord can turn nothing into something!” and I reminded them of the story of Elijah and the widow. They had a simple child-like faith and believed that God could provide for their need. So they concluded, “Even though our rice is not enough, we will cook for you too!”

After talking with the children, The Public Security Bureau police came to the door and arrested me. Daniel followed me to the prison to find out which cell I would be in. The younger two children knelt in prayer. As I was taken away, my heart was wrenched as I heard their little voices trailing off.

I was in prison on that occasion for thirty days. All the while Daniel faithfully sent rice for me. When I returned home I asked, “Is there any rice left?” Daniel’s response was, “Mom, our rice container is overflowing!” It really was. Those five catties had inexplicably grown to about forty catties and were literally overflowing the container. I said, “Praise the Lord! Now we can continue to cook for the other inmates and feed them as well.” The Lord’s grace is beyond measure.

Our God is able!

Persecution Post – Corrie Ten Boom

Persecution Post

“Several years ago I was in Africa in a nation where a new government had come into power. The first night I was there some of the Christians were commanded to come to the police station to register. When they arrived they were arrested and that same night they were executed. The next day the same thing happened with other Christians. The third day it was the same. All the Christians in the district were being systematically murdered.

The fourth day I was to speak in a little church. The people came, but they were filled with fear and tension. All during the service they were looking at each other, their eyes asking, “Will this one I am sitting beside be the next one killed? Will I be the next one?” The room was hot and stuffy with insects that came through the screenless windows and swirled around the naked bulbs over the bare wooden benches.

I told them a story out of my childhood.
“When I was a little girl, ” I said, “I went to my father and said,
“Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ.”
“Tell me,” said Father,
“When you take a train trip to Amsterdam,
when do I give you the money for the ticket?
Three weeks before?”
“No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train.”
“That is right,” my father said, “and so it is with God’s strength.
Our Father in Heaven knows when you will need the strength to be a martyr for Jesus Christ.
He will supply all you need – just in time…”

My African friends were nodding and smiling.
Suddenly a spirit of joy descended upon that church and the people began singing,
” In the sweet, by and by,
we shall meet on that beautiful shore.”

Later that week, half the congregation of that church was executed.I heard later that the other half was killed some months ago. But I must tell you something. I was so happy that the Lord used me to encourage these people, for unlike many of their leaders, I had the word of God. I had been to the Bible and discovered that Jesus said He had not only overcome the world, but to all those who remained faithful to the end, He would give a crown of life.

Corrie Ten Boom

Persecution Post – Pakistan

Persecution Post

Just received an email from a good brother in the Lord about what is now happening in Pakistan…

“But in addition, sadly he told me about the situation in Pakistan. The Muslims have taken to kidnapping Christian girls and forcing them with threat of violence to marry Muslim men and of course convert.
I have preached a couple of times in a little village called ______ , and a small Christian church. One of the elders there had 2 of his daughters kidnapped. This is happening from Karachi up to Lahore and beyond. The Christian girls are very afraid.
Please pray for them, and for the Pakistani police that they would not passively allow this stain on their nation.”
– A.C.

Persecution Post – Peru

Persecution Post

“Wuillie Marcelino Ruiz, an attorney and an evangelical Christian, was wrongly accused of and sentenced to twenty years at the maximum-security Castro prison in Lima, Peru for the crime of “terrorist collaboration” by a special faceless court. Growing up in a close-knit family, his mother’s death during the first year of his imprisonment was a cruel blow for him.

During a visit by an Open Doors team, Wuillie said, “Not everything inside the prison is sadness. Many of our fellow inmates are receiving Jesus Christ as the deliverer of their souls… God is touching the hearts of the authorities in Peru; here in the prison we are not treated so harshly anymore. As the scriptures tell us, we are not confined because the truth makes us free.”

Jesus is the Truth. Truth is on your side. Truth will win over the enemy’s lies. Fill your heart with truth and stand by it. Put on the belt of truth!”

Standing Strong in the Storm

Persecution Post

Persecution Post

“Sister Pasqualita spoke at the “Mexico, I Love You” Congress. She had suffered severe ostracism in her small town in the very southern part of Mexico because she had become an evangelical. Other Christians had already been forcibly driven from the town.

One night a group of her persecutors surrounded her grass-roofed home setting it on fire. As she opened the door, someone fired a gun at her. A co-worker shares her story in his own words:

“When she was sharing her testimony she was crying. She said, ‘I thank the Lord that only twenty-one ammunition bits touched me.’ She had been shot all over her body and even in the neck. She was still able to run and fell into a hole where her persecutors couldn’t see her in the dark. She was losing blood quickly but some other townsfolk who appreciated her testimony somehow took her out through the mob to another nearby town’s clinic. She survived but three other family members in the house were murdered.

“She complained to the Lord saying, ‘Lord, why now that I’ve given you my life and my family am I suffering this way?’ The Lord reminded her of a song that she used to sing very often, ‘I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back.’

“She continued, ‘Then I understood that when I decided to follow Jesus, it was in the midst of any situation, any persecution. My life now belonged to Him. I gained strength in that song. I am preaching again and I am encouraging the rest of the believers that when we decide to follow Jesus there is no turning back.’”

Today Pasqualita continues to be a strong Christian leader and teacher in her community and she still loves to sing, “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back.”

Standing Strong in the Storm

Thought for Today – Call to Remembrance

Thought for Today

Call to Remembrance

“I call to remembrance my song in the night”
Psalm 77:6

The real purpose and value of our history in God is to give us hope in our present circumstances. Many times in the Psalms those who knew God would call to remembrance His former graces to lighten their current situation. The God who answered them in the night seasons of life would surely answer again. He who gave songs of hope in the past will surely arise now. The songs of former times are to be unto us present encouragement. How good God is!

“I call to remembrance my song in the night”

Note here it was not just a song that the Lord gave unto David in a specific night season; it was HIS song given to him for future strength and provision. Faith always takes the truths of God and makes them personal truths. The Song of the Lord becomes MY song by the living faith of Christ within.

Whatever our present circumstances are in this day there are resources to call to remembrance whereby we may arise renewed and strengthened in Him.

“Who delivered us from so great a death,
and doth deliver: in whom we trust
that he will yet deliver us”
2 Corinthians 1:10

Σ

Delivered – past tense
Does deliver – present tense
Will yet deliver – future things to come

Brian Troxel