Quote for Today
“Whenever we are off our watch, we lose ground”
“Whenever we are off our watch, we lose ground”
I received an email this morning…
“On the night of February 19th, 14 year-old Leah Sharibu was kidnapped, together with one hundred and eleven girls and one boy from her school in Yobe State, Nigeria. They were taken by an Islamic terrorist group known as Boko Haram.
247 days have passed. That’s over 35 weeks. And Leah, who turned 15 while in captivity, is still a prisoner of the Boko Haram terrorists.
I thank the Lord that the majority of those kidnapped girls have been freed (104 according to some scources, 105 according to others).
Leah has not.
Her parents, Nathan and Rebecca, are convinced that this is because Leah is a Christian and refuses to renounce her faith, which would have brought her guaranteed freedom a long time ago.
Rebecca, the amazingly courageous 45-year-old mother, spoke the following about her daughter:
The people from Boko Haram asked which of them is a pagan. That’s what they call us Christians. Leah raised her hand and said she is a Christian. They told her that if she wants to be set free and go with her friends she would have to do “Kalman Shahada”, meaning renounce her Christian faith. But she said that she cannot renounce her faith and so they kept her until she changes her mind.
Some of her friends told her to publicly renounce her religion, so she could go home with them. But she said no.
“I’m in a lot of pain. But I am also happy, because if Leah dies at their hands I know I will see her in heaven.”
This is terrible – a girl of 14-15 years of age being held a prisoner for 8 months and 5 days. God only knows what she has been subjected to during all this time – simply because she will not renounce her faith!
And now her parents are telling us more worrying news – which is why I am writing this urgent email to you – ‘Our daughter is facing execution!’
In a video received by local media outlets, Boko Haram terrorists have threatened to kill Leah if their demands are not met.”
A courage founded in faith glorifies the risen Christ. May we hold this one up unto the very Throne of God. Her life is a bright and shining light to the world in which we live.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…”
Prior to her Christian husband being released from prison in Iran, Mahir (not real name), feared that she might be arrested too. So she seriously prayed, “Dear Lord, I am not ready to go to a solitary confinement because of my Christian faith. It is such a closed and dirty environment. As you know I was born and brought up in a wealthy family and had a comfortable life. Please don’t test me beyond my ability.” She told God she would not be able to handle being arrested and mentioned her fear that she might give the names of all believers in the house churches to the police or even deny Jesus.
Three days later, the secret police knocked at her door. She said to God, “I have already asked you not to put me in this temptation. So whatever happens, it is not my fault. Because I had already told you that I am not a strong person and can’t stand against these security people and can’t tolerate persecution.”
She said, “The police blindfolded me and took me to the solitary confinement. I was scared to death and felt sick as the place was very smelly.” They put her in a cell and a few hours later brought her in for interrogation. She added, “I sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit very strongly. And I felt that God’s peace came down on me and my fear went away.”
When Mahir stood before the high official, she courageously testified of her Christian faith. “It is an honour for me to talk to people about Jesus. I will be very happy to talk to you about Jesus and salvation too. Like all other people and Muslims, you also need Jesus in your life. Without Jesus a person does not have any peace and life is hopeless and without any purpose. Jesus laid his life down for you too so that you can have salvation and will not perish.” The official responded in anger, “Do you know what the consequence of all this will be for you? You can’t evangelize me. It will cost you a heavy price.”
On the third night the official came to her cell. Mahir was frightened fearing that he came to abuse her sexually or to beat her up. But the official told her, “Don’t be afraid of me. I need your prayers. When you shared about Jesus with me, it had such a powerful impact on my life. I need to be saved. I need Jesus in my life. I believe God has sent you to come to this prison so that you can share about salvation with me. I am now completely aware of the fact that without Jesus I will be a miserable and hopeless person and I will perish. Please pray for me that I can be set free from this hell I live in.”
Mahir had the chance to share about Jesus for three hours with him and at the end he repented of his sins and committed his life to Jesus. The official testified that for the first time he experienced the real peace and love of God in his life.
Mahir and her husband were both released from prison and are in touch with this official and his wife secretly. The wife of the official has committed her life to the Lord too.
“The Lord judges not as man judges.
Better to be cast out of the church than to deny Christ”
“I have declared the former things from the beginning;
and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them;
I did them suddenly, and they came to pass.”
God’s Word is True. The things He has declared will come to pass. In the parable of the ten virgins the cry went forth and they all responded; some with little oil and some with much. The quantity of oil they possessed was a revelation of their knowledge of the bridegroom. The five foolish did not consider the great testing and sifting of hearts in this time. As the night wore on their lamps grew dim and they were found wanting. The declaration of “Behold the Bridegroom comes” was followed by a long night of waiting and seeming delay. Suddenly He appeared to the joy of the five wise and the sorrow of the five foolish. His Word was True but the hearts of some were not.
It is in the tarrying of His promise
that the hearts of all are tested.
The things we have heard and the Word which has gone forth will shortly come to pass. While many a lamp has grown dim with the waiting, while many have settled for the religion of the day, while many have settled for a compromised life, there are those who stand expectantly with their “lamps trimmed” and their hearts fixed on Him.
The thing He has declared will happen, it will happen suddenly and the lives of all will be exposed. It is His coming which will expose the wise and the foolish; the suddenness of it will reveal the verity of every life. It is in the flood that the foundation of every man’s house is revealed (Matthew 7:23-27).
“…the Lord, whom ye seek,
shall suddenly come to his temple”
His return is very near though the days pass and little seems to change, God is trying His own. His tarrying is the test of the steadfastness of every heart. His eyes are ever upon His own and there is no wasted time in His purposes. Walking true in the dreary hours of life is crucial to the inward work of His Spirit. It is in this time that the Book of Remembrance is written and in the chronicles of heaven each life is recorded unto the Day of Judgment.
“Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a Book of Remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought (esteemed) upon his name.”
What were God’s people saying in the day when God spoke of the Book of Remembrance?
“Ye have said, it is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?”
Yet in the midst of this lethargy and apostasy there were those who stood in the dark day and exhorted and encouraged one another to hold fast unto their God. They spoke often and sought out fellowship in the sheer determination to stay the course. The fires of their hearts mingled in the burning desire to stay true to Him.
Who were these who stood true? “They that feared the Lord!” God’s response to such hearts?
“And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him”
Those who live and hold the “fear of the Lord” within their hearts are passionate in their speaking one to another and they seek out the fire of fellowship with others of like burning hearts. They understand the subtlety of the hour and the deceptive nature of their own hearts. This is the hour of testing, sifting and the determination of whether a life is serving God or self.
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised); And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins…”
We live in a time when no one wants exhortation; no one wants to be provoked unto Love AND good works. It is a Day of lethargy and faithless inactivity and none lay it to heart. The Day is upon us and the fellowship and the exhortation God has called us to will not be found sitting on a pew or in some isolated group. It will not be found by those who are complacent in what they know rather than having the true fear of the Lord within their hearts.
The Storm is Coming
Even now it is ready
to Break Forth
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God,
that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day,
and HAVING DONE ALL,
Let us exhort, reprove and encourage one another in the fear of the Lord!
“Of one thing we are very sure. There will be a full restoration of the apostolic gifts and the full power of Pentecost before the coming of the Lord. To the faithful few who are true to God, to the overcomers, to them that place their all upon the altar of a full consecration, God will pour out in the fullest measure the power that was given to the disciples on the day the Church was born. We believe that there will be miracles of healing, supernatural manifestations of God’s mighty power, that will break even the most calloused hearts. There will be another outpouring, this time a cloudburst of the latter rain. We not only feel it in our Spirit, but the Word of God corroborates what we feel. Be true, my friends; keep tight hold of His hand. God has some wonderful things in store for you.”
Dr. Charles S. Price – 1939
“We must never settle for harmony at the expense of holiness, nor for peace at the expense of principle”
– John Bradford – Martyr and Preacher of Righteousness
– He was burned at the stake on 1 July 1555
“Mr. Bradford, martyr, speaking of Queen Mary, at whose cruel mercy he then lay, said, “If the queen be pleased to release me, I will thank her; if she will imprison me, I will thank her; if she will burn me, I will thank her, etc. So saith a believing soul: Let God do with me what he will, I will be thankful“
The rich heritage we have as an example left to us. May we seek to be free from the bitterness of soul and to live in the fullness of a heart of gratitude to Him who directs our steps and holds us by the undeserved grace of God in Christ Jesus. John Bradford’s voice still speaks and the life of Christ within him continues to minister unto us in this day.
He is accredited with the phrase “There but for the grace of God go I”.
There is a 19th-century tradition tracing to Bradford the idiomatic “There but for the grace of God go I” as an expression of humility and reliance on God’s grace rather than his own morality. The editor of The Writings of John Bradford, Aubrey Townsend, notes this in his preface
An Indian pastor says he was attacked by Hindu extremists who dragged him out onto the streets, beat him, and threatened to kill him unless he renounced Jesus Christ for a Hindu monkey deity.
“In those moments when they were kicking and beating me, I felt that even if I die now, the Lord will make the ministry I leave behind fruitful,” Pastor Karma Oraon told Morning Star News in an article published Monday.
“We are just a few gathering in the name of Jesus. He is our strength.”
The attack occurred while in Harmu village of Ranchi District, Jharkhand state, on Christmas Eve, when 16 or so Hindu radicals attacked a prayer meeting the 34-year-old pastor was leading with others.
The attackers started shouting “Praise Bajrang Bali,” referring to the monkey god Hanuman.
“They forcefully dragged me outside when we were in the middle of meditating on the Word of God,” the pastor explained. “They spewed many words in extreme foul language and beat me on my chest repeatedly.”
The pastor was physically and verbally abused, with the radicals tearing up his national identification card.
“They slapped me and said, ‘You are Oraon? Tell us what you must do, being an Oraon? You should follow the Adivasi [indigenous] religion or this foreign religion?'” he said.
“They told me, ‘Immediately you should give up Christianity and embrace Sarnaism/Sarna [indigenous religions) — if you don’t, you will be brutally murdered.”
The pastor’s small flock was also told that they and their families will be killed if they practice Christianity and refuse to embrace the indigenous religion.
One of the witnesses, 21-year-old Chotu Munda, was also beaten when he tried to rescue Oraon.
When he later went to report the incident to the police, the officers refused to even register the case.
The pastor has been driven out of the village, but has not lost his faith in Jesus.
“I never had an experience of opposition when I preached Gospel or visited families to pray for the sick. But I seek inspiration from my Lord; people have crossed every limit to humiliate Him and crucify Him, but He patiently bore their torture for my sake, for my sins,” Oraon said.
“I strongly feel the presence of my Lord Jesus in all this. Had He not granted the strength to endure, I could have never overcome from what happened.”
Still, he said that many in the minority Christian community in India are “losing confidence in the government,” with attacks continuing to rise against them.
Copied from www.christianpost.com and sent to me by Anjula Mander
“…for by strength shall no man prevail”
1 Samuel 2:9
Within the context of God’s purposes in the earth we are struck with the wonder of His wisdom and omnipotence. In the seven days of creation the specific work accomplished in each one of them was what defined and concluded each day. In other words the day was not defined by the passage of time; it was defined by the work completed. So too are His purposes in our day. The sun and moon were not even seen until the fourth day at which time they were set in the heavens for “them (to) be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years”. Time exists in heavenly places as well as earthly realms but the measurement is entirely different. The measurement of time in the earth was set in motion by the creation of the sun and moon. In eternal realms time is still a reality but it is measured by the accomplishment of His purposes.
“Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?” Daniel 8:13
Then the angel of the Lord answered and said, O Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? Zachariah 1:12
And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? Revelation 6:10
These are small glimpses in the scriptures as to how time is viewed in heavenly places. Time in the Spirit is measured by the accomplishment of God’s purposes not by man’s diminutive concepts here on earth. Men and women who walk in the Spirit are cognizant of God’s Day. In every generation those who walked with God understood God’s will for their Day. To them it was the Day of the Lord and their lives were to be spent in the accomplishing of His purposes. Yet so many religious people live without the comprehension of God having a purpose and an agenda for their day. The generation that God led out of Egypt failed to enter into the land of promise. God’s purpose was not just to lead them out of Egypt but to bring them into the land of promise. So in our Day, the last Day (the Day of wrath and judgement and the consolation of the righteous), we have set before us the final evening and morning in this chapter of God’s work. There will still be eons and ages for the purposes of God to continue in His Kingdom; but for us it is here and now that we must be about our Father’s will. It is today that we must hear His voice and not harden our hearts.
“Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David,
Today, after so long a time; as it is said,
Today if ye will hear his voice,
harden not your hearts”
Here God speaks, after a seemingly long period of silence, of His “now” work. Herein lays the danger of His people failing to respond; with the passing of earthly time men become complacent and apathetic. Slumber of heart becomes the dominating effect in their lives and they become desensitized to His will. Those who are alive unto His purposes remain alert for they are aware of the Day of the Lord in their generation. It is the understanding of what His Day means that keeps them attentive to His Will. They are not distracted by the routine and tedium of the natural world.
If one generation fails another one must arise; the Day of the Lord will not pass until the purpose of His Day is accomplished. God reveals to the next generation His ongoing purposes which require a new faith, and a new “way” for His people to walk. The truths of the former will not work in the new. The ability to be faithful in the wilderness under the leadership of Moses gave way to new truths and provisions in Joshua’s Day. The provision of the manna ceased and a new provision (which required new responsibilities) was revealed. Men and women who had gathered manna in the past must now find His new provision by taking the land from the enemies of God. It was a day for them to “beat their plows into swords” (Joel 3:10).
“And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna anymore; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year” Joshua 5:12
There is a Day to “beat the swords into plowshares” (Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3) and there is a Day to “beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears” (Joel 3:10). These words of God are for their specific Day and it is the responsibility of God’s people to be “people of the Day”. This precludes the teachings of men and the ways of former days. Though good and true for those who were faithful in previous generations they will not accomplish His work in our day.
This is the Day of “beating our plowshares into swords”! It is a Day of war, a Day of “contending for the Faith” of God; not a war of carnal weapons or a time of seeking political influence. It is a Day to arm ourselves with the weapons of God: love, faith, longsuffering and kindness with sincerity of heart to see God’s end; a people fully clothed in the character and the life of the risen SON. Love of such intensity that we are able to stand in the midst of a coming hate that is beyond description or reason. People unified in Him who have cast aside the horror of sectarian division and carnal ways. People who can no longer abide in the partial will of God but live only see His will done on earth to the same fullness as it is in Heaven!
Earthly time will come to an end in the accomplished work of God. The seventh Day will unfold with new things in God, new horizons of wonder and unspeakable glory. Those who spend their lives to see His purposes fulfilled in This Day will partake of the rewards of That Day.
“And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: But in the day(s)* (see note below) of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets” Revelation 10:5-7
Those who linger and sleep in this hour will not be able to withstand the storm which is about to break. This is the Day for the perseverance of the Saints. This Day, as all days in God, begins in darkness and ends in light (see Genesis 1:5,8,13,19, 23, 31). This Day is even now unfolding in great darkness and in the midnight hour men will wonder in great perplexity where God is in the midst of the horror that must be revealed. Those of the Day will stand for they know His morning is coming. In the seventh Day (in Genesis 4:1-3) there is no evening; and so shall it be in this Day, it is an eternal Day of His presence and glory to those who stood true to their DAY.
“Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible” Isaiah 13:6-11
The arrogance of the proud (worldly and religious) will cease and the Lord alone will be exalted in this Day. It is time to humble ourselves and find Him as our hiding place that we may face the storm hid with Christ in God.
“Blessed are they that do his commandments,
that they may have right to the tree of life,
and may enter in through the gates into the city”
* Note: This word in the Greek refers to a singular day and in almost all instances is translated such except when a number is associated with it i.e. six days or the context indicates a plural value…