Quote for Today
“I was honored today with having a few stones, dirt,
rotten eggs, and pieces of dead cat thrown at me”
“I was honored today with having a few stones, dirt,
rotten eggs, and pieces of dead cat thrown at me”
“Let us not fear the opposition of men; every great movement in the Church from Paul down to modern times has been criticized on the ground that it promoted scensoriousness and intolerance and disputing. Of course the gospel of Christ, in a world of sin and doubt will cause disputing; and if does not cause disputing and arrouse bitter opposition, that is a fairly sure sign that it is not being faithfully proclaimed”
– John Gresham Machen
The North Korean Church consists of between 200,000 and 400,000 members. Fiercely persecuted, all of them hide their beliefs from the authorities. The church is truly an underground church, divided into thousands of small networks and cell groups. Most Christians hardly know other Christians outside their families. In case of an arrest, not many other Christians are in danger. The most visible proof of their faith is the possession of a Bible, which is illegal and punishable by death. Probably nowhere else in the world are so many copies of God’s Word literally hidden underground.
But the church is definitely growing. Many Christians keep their faith secret and are surviving. Open Doors is able to support almost 60,000 Christians with Bibles, books, training, food, clothes and medicines. Yet it is the individual tragedies that make it difficult to see with spiritual eyes that Jesus Christ is supreme even in North Korea.
For example, a middle aged man was arrested after the police found a Bible in his home. He is being terribly beaten in prison, as we learn from released prisoners who witnessed it. “His face is deformed. He told us he is certain he will die.”
How can Christ be supreme if one of his disciples is tortured so severely? I’ve known this man for a long time,” says a Christian friend of the prisoner. “When he came to faith, he made the decision that one day he would die for Christ. Every Christian in North Korea has made that choice. Every Christian in my country has the spirit of martyrdom in him. If you lose that spirit for one second, you cannot carry the burden of being a follower of Jesus. My friend knew that one day he could get caught and on that day he had to be steadfast in the faith and loyal to Jesus. I am convinced he can take the suffering because he constantly reminds himself of “the joy that is set before him.”
The suffering North Korean Christians reveal Christ’s supremacy because they look at the reward: Jesus Christ Himself. He is our Treasure. He calls us to Himself, to suffer outside the gate and bear the reproach He endured (Hebrews 13:12-14).
“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin”
1 Peter 4:1
“The man whose little sermon is ‘repent’ sets himself against his age, and will for the time being be battered mercilessly by the age whose moral tone he challenges. There is but one end for such a man—‘off with his head!’ You had better not try to preach repentance until you have pledged your head to heaven”
– Joseph Parker
“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