Tag Archives: Persecution

Love and the Soul

 

Talks about the way that we can take things for granted, and forget that this is the great gift of God, because when our souls are in peril, we are in grave danger.

 

Speaks about the way that people name their boats differently, it’s a big thing that you name your boat.  He knew one person at a Christian college who called his boat “Faculty Development” so that he could say “I’m spending my time on Faculty Development”; but another person called their boat “Deserving”.

 

There is a terrible thing that we think ourselves deserving, but actually we need to throw ourselves at the mercy of God.  The Biblical description of the one who is turned away from God is that of hell, that we are not lost because we are going to the wrong place, but we are going to the wrong place because we are lost.

 

We should call ourselves the “First Church of the Undeserving.”

 

So God values our soul – talks about the way that God has his eye upon the sparrow, and the way that Nephesh (soul) is first used of animals in the book of Genesis.  There is a question about whether animals go to heaven, but a good quote from Joni Ericksson Tada who says “If God brings our pets back to life, it wouldn’t surprise me at all.  It would be just like him, totally keeping with his generous character, extravagant in grace after grace” (this was after the death of her dog Scrappy)

 

Our soul was created not just in a physical environment, but within a spiritual community.  Our soul was not just created for physical existence, but our soul was created for love.

 

The language of love and the soul in the Bible is remarkable – take the story of David and Jonathan and the way that they were bonded to each other.

 

Tells story of Joel Jager who contracted polio, and cannot run, but his son can and when you see a picture of his son running (he is an Olympic standard steeple chaser) you can see a bit of Joel’s soul running with him.

 

Talks about Holy Kisses which appear in the KJV and the way that we are to become the first Church of the Holy Kiss.

 

Ortberg ends by inviting people to move out of the “Religious non-disciple” category and make a commitment to God , who cares for, and who can protect our souls.

 

Tortured For Christ – Part 1

 

The 14 year old son who would not let his father confess, would not die a traitor – page 33

 

Saying to the communists “have you no pity” – they quoted Lenin saying that you have to break eggs to make an omelette – this is pure materialism – page 34

 

A priest who was forced to consecrate human excrement and give them as urine; when asked why he participated, replied “don’t judge me please, I have suffered more than Christ” – page 35

 

The pastor who used to take beatings instead of other prisoners – page 36

 

The bride taken on her wedding day, saying “I thank him that I am worthy to suffer for him.”” – page 36

 

Making the deal, that if we preach, you beat us – page 39

 

“I have seen beautiful things” – (how lovely on the mountains, Isaiah 52) – page 40

 

The Communist Reck who would say “I am God”; later he realised his true calling – page 40

 

This has a truth, you have been created to be a god like being – page 41

 

Tithing bread in prison – page 41

 

How his son, Mihai, became a Christian after seeing the persecution of his mother – page 44

 

How Mihai witnessed at school for standing up for the Bible – page 45

 

The Christian daughters who became prostitutes in order to protect their family.  Please do not judge says Wurmbrand – page 46

 

The Church that was told it could never have 36 members, only 35 – page 47

 

The value of Bibles cannot be understood by “an American or an English Christian who ‘swims’ in Bibles.” – page 48

 

Bringing the joys of Christ to communists who are so empty spiritually – page 50

 

The way that the angel meets Joshua and says “Nay” – these are not human responses; I am seated in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2) – page 50 (Joshua 5)

 

In solitary confinement, the Lord’s prayer was too much for us, we used to pray “Jesus, I love thee” – Romans 8, groans that words cannot express (page 53)

 

The minister who was beaten, and as some cursed the communists, he would say “Please don’t curse them” – page 53

 

Only love can change the communists – love which differs from the compliance exercised by many Christian leaders (page 55)

 

Need for strategic view in Missionary work, and to aim for the leaders – page 57

 

Wars can only be won by offensive strategy and strategy in mission – page 58

 

Why so many Christians had nicknames, and why people use secret signals – page 58

 

“A man really believes not what he recites in his cree, but only the things which he is ready to die for” – page 59

 

What encourages us to preach the Gospel in communist countries is that there those who become Christians are full of love and zeal.  I have never met one single lukewarm Russian Christian.  – page 65

 

God is “the Truth”.  The Bibles the “truth about the Truth.”  Theology is the “truth about the truth about the Truth”.  Fundamentalism is the “truth about the truth about the truth about the Truth”.  – page 66

 

Some tell me to “Preach the pure Gospel!”  This reminds me that the communist secret police also told me to preach Christ, but not to mention communism.  Is it really so, that those who are for what is called “a pure Gospel” are inspired by the same spirit as those of the communist secret police? (page 71-72)

 

My suffering consists first of all in the longing after the unspeakable beauties of the Underground Church, the church which fulfils the old Latin saying Nudis nudum Christi sequi (naked, follow the naked Christ). (page 73)

 

The suffering Church are like those who receive only cabbage with unmentionable filth when they ask for bread, yet continue to praise God (page 73)

 

“I suffer in the West more than I suffered in a communist jail, because now I see with my own eyes the western civilisation dying.” – page 73

 

On the defence of the individual and those who complain that Christ is not an intellectual – page 79-80

 

Ordained next to the tomb of a martyred bishop because the communist bishop would not ordain – page 81

 

In Russia no-one remembers the arguments for or against infant baptism or millennial controversies – page 83 (and more on arguments with the communists)

 

The professor being asked to drink the water he said he had turned into wine.  “This is the whole difference between you and Jesus.  He, with His wine, has given us joy for two thousand years, whereas you poison us with your wine.” – page 89

 

Elsewhere there is talk of Communist tracts which attacked the scriptures in doing so gave the Christians access to the Christians (do not know page)

 

Constantly the argument is that man is more than matter, that people are spiritual beings (page 90)

 

It is only when a train goes over a bridge that it proves its great strength (page 90)

 

There is something positive in the enormous amount of drunkenness in communist countries, it is about people seeking something beyond the material – page 91

 

Meeting a Russian captain who was getting drunk, sharing Christ and it turning out to be a former Orthodox priest who now regretted all that he had done for the communists – page 91

 

The soldier who turned up at a Church and held the gun to a ministers’ head.  When the minister refused to change the Russian said “It is true” and turned to Christ (page 93)

 

The Russian soldiers who said that those who did not abandon the faith would be shot at once, and when they were left with those who stayed, were delighted to share fellowship with true believers.  “We too are Christians, but we wished to have fellowship only with those who consider the truth worth dying for.” (page 93-94)

 

The parts of the communist Church – the underground pastors and leaders, the laypeople, the official clergy who have a parallel life running the underground Church – page 96-98

 

The remarkable street demonstrations of Churches in communist countries (page 101)

Tyrants and Martyrs

The first form of rulers in the world were the tyrants, the last will be the martyrs.  Between a tyrant and martyr there is of course an enormous difference, although they both have one thing in common: the power to compel.  The tyrant, himself ambitious to dominate, compels the people through his power; the martyr, himself unconditionally obedient to God, compels others through his suffering.  The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins.

– From Soren Kierkegaard (June 4th)

The Price Exacted

American preacher Howard Thurman wrote, “Too often the price exacted by society for security and respectability is that the Christian movement in its formal expression must be on the side of the strong against the weak.  This is a matter of tremendous significance, for it reveals to what extent a religion that was born of a people acquainted with persecution and suffering has become the cornerstone of civilisation and of nations whose very position in modern life too often has been secured by a ruthless use of power applied to defenceless peoples.” (June 16)

 

Christianity is not a matter of persuasive words.  It is a matter of true greatness as long as it is hated by the world. – Ignatius of Lyon (August 17th)

Letter to Diognetus

They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives.  They love all men, and are persecuted by all.  They are unknown and condemned they are put to death, and restored to life.  They are poor, yet they make many rich; they are lacking all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very dishonour are glorified.  They are spoken of as evil, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted and repay the insult with honour; they do good, yet are punished as evildoers.

I know what is the meaning of cross

 

 

When I am leading this campaign against the Sharia Laws, for the abolishment of blasphemy law, and speaking for the oppressed, and marginalised, persecuted Christian and other minority, these Taleban threaten me.

 

But I want to share that I believe in Jesus Christ who has given his own life for us.  I know what is the meaning of cross.  And I am following of the cross.  And I am ready to die for a cause, I’m living for my community and suffering people and I will die to defend their rights.  So these threats and these warnings cannot change my opinion and principles.  I will prefer to die for my principle and for the justice of my community rather to compromise on these threats.

Jesus Driven Ministry

 

Persecuted for Christ

Key Words Persecution
Source Jesus Driven Ministry
Author Fernando, Ajith
Page 40
Quote The great Indian preacher Sadhu Sundar Singh was disowned and poisoned by his Sikh family when he became a Christian. Some time later he was preaching close to his family home, and he decided to visit his father. Sundar Singh reports what happened: “At first my father refused to see me, or to let me in, because by becoming a Christian, I had dishonored the family. But after a little while he came out and said, ‘Very well, you can stay here tonight; but you must get out early in the morning. Don’t show me your face again.'” Singh says, “I remained silent, and that night he made me sit at a distance that I might not pollute them or their vessels, and then he brought me food, and gave me water to drink by pouring it into my hands from a vessel held high above, as one does who gives drink to an outcaste.”He related, “My father, who used to love me so much, now hated me as if I was an untouchable.” It was very hard to bear. “When I saw this treatment, I could not restrain the tears flowing from my eyes.” At that time he experienced what I believe was the fullness of the Spirit. He says, “In spite of all this, my heart was filled with inexpressible peace. I thanked him for this treatment also… and respectfully I said, ‘goodbye,’ and went away. In the fields I thanked God and then slept under a tree, and in the morning continued on my way.” Many years later Sundar Singh’s father also became a Christian.
References Blessed are the persecuted (Matthew 5)

 

Biggest problems

Key Words Humility
Source Jesus Driven Ministry
Author Fernando, Ajith
Page 14
Quote D.L. Moody is reported to have had more trouble with D.L.Moody than with any other person he had ever met.

 

Secrets of a long life

Key Words Conscience Forgiveness Sin
Source Jesus Driven Ministry
Author Fernando, Ajith
Page 35
Quote After retiring from running his orphanages, George Mueller (1805-1898) launched into an itinerant evangelistic ministry at the age of seventy and continued until he was eighty-seven years old. During those seventeen years he traveled 200,000 miles, ministered in forty-two countries, and preached to about three million people.These figures are amazing, considering that this was before the time of airplanes and sound systems.

Someone asked Mueller the secret of his long life. He gave three reasons. 1 The second was the joy he felt in God and his work. The third was the refreshment he received from the Scriptures and the constant recuperative power they exercised upon his being. The first reason is pertinent to this discussion “the exercising of himself to have always a conscience void of offence both toward God and toward men.”7 He was alluding to Paul’s statement to Felix (Acts 24:16). The word (asked) translated “exercise” (KJV) or “take pains” (ESV) means “to apply oneself with commitment to some activity.”8 This practice is something we do with great dedication. It is a huge bur¬den to go through life with unsettled spiritual business. The burden of guilt drains us of our energies and leaves us debilitated and devoid of the fullness of the Spirit.

 

Prayer when under attack

Key Words Conflict Anointing Strength Prayer
Source Jesus Driven Ministry
Author Fernando, Ajith
Page 39
Quote When we are under attack, we really need the wisdom and boldness that comes from the Spirit. This is why in such situations it is vitally important to wait upon the Lord for his direction and strength. Usually our first reaction when we face a problem is to get busy trying to solve it. Often we go to prayer only after all the other things we tried did not work.
The biggest crisis I have faced in ministry came a few years ago when some of the staff were upset with certain decisions. They felt that I, as their leader, had betrayed them. I experienced some deep hurts as I listened to their anger. During this time God taught me a principle that I found extremely!, helpful: In a time of crisis, before we meet hostile people, we must first meet God. Our ministry is primarily not a reaction to the anger and rejection of people. It springs from God’s acceptance of us as his valued servants and from the filling by the Spirit to meet the challenges that we face.
Sometimes during this crisis, I would just stay in my room alone for hours: thinking, praying, and reading his Word, conscious that I was in the presence of God. I would then go to meet the people in the strength of that time with God. I believe it helped me respond to their anger in the Spirit rather than in the flesh. In this way I trust that, without contributing to the prob¬lem, I became an agent of healing. Jacob’s all-night encounter with God, when he heard that his brother Esau was coming to meet him with a large army, is a good example of this principle (Gen. 32:22-32). We note that he went to that mountain as a fearful man, but he left the following morning with a rich blessing from God to face the challenge before him.
References Wrestling with God (Genesis 32)

 

Dying to George Mueller

Key Words Death Sacrifice
Source Jesus Driven Ministry
Author Fernando, Ajith
Page 82
Quote George Mueller, when asked for the secret of his service for God, said, There was a day when I died, utterly died: died to George Mueller, his opinions, preferences, tastes and will died to the world, its approval or censure, died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends and since then I have studied only to show myself approved unto God.”

 

God’s work in God’s way

Key Words Supply Sustenance Providence
Source Jesus Driven Ministry
Author Fernando, Ajith
Page 86
Quote From Hudson TaylorGod’s work done in God’s way wil never lack God’s supplies.

 

Adjusting To The Gulag

How can you say that after you have been in bed for the last 18 years, and everyone else got to go somewhere else.

Here’s some words from Solzhenitsyn’s novel One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich, which follows a day through the eyes of a prisoner one of Soveit Union’s gulags.  This is the prisoner Shukhov, who has somehow learned to live with this terrible life, going to bed at the end of the day and counting his blessings:

They hadn’t put him in the cells; they hadn’t sent his sqaud to the settlement, he’d swiped a bowl of kasha at dinner; the squad leader had fixed the rates well; he’d built a wall and enjoyed doing it; he’d smuggled that bit of hascksaw blade through; he’d earned a favour from Tsezar that evening; he’d bought tobacco.  And he hadn’t fallen ill.  He got over it.

(From page 152, God On Mute)

An Extra Bible

From page 197

A friend and I were going to spend two weeks preaching in Ethiopia, when it was still under Marxist rule.  The underground churches that invited me over asked if we would bring fifty study bibles with us.  I had reservations about smuggling Bibles.  But we decide to give it a shot.  The churches we served donated the Bibles needed;  in fact just before we left, one woman came up and pressed an extra one into my hands, so we actually had fifty one.

Sure enough, the customs agent opened one of the suitcases and confiscated the Bibles.  A few days later we received a call that the head customs official wanted an interview with the leaders of the churches. We feared the worst – church leaders in Ethiopia spent so much time in prison they referred to it as the “university” (This is where God would send his leaders to it when he really wanted them to grow.  Like the biblical Joseph, some of them would actually be put in charge by the guards when the guards wanted to go on a break.  They would take the bullets out of their rifles and hand them back to the Christian prisoners to stand watch till they got back!)  At best we were hoping that we might be able to get the Bibles out of their hands through a bribe.

Imagine our surprise when the official said “These Bibles are illegal.  You may take them out on one condition – you must tell no one.  I want to keep one for myself.”

My God got a little larger that day.

C.T.Studd – The Biography – Part 2

Spiritual Champagne

  Key Words Prayer Quiet Time Devotion
  Source C.T. Studd
  Source Author Grubb, Norman
  Location 59
  Quote The Lord is so good and always gives me a large dose of Spiritual Champagne every morning which braces one up for the day and the night.

Of late I have had such glorious times. I generally wake about 3.30am and fell quite wide awak, so have a good read, etc. and then have an hour’s sleep or so before finally getting up. I find what I read then is stamped indelibly on my mind all through the day: and it is the very quietest of times, not a foot astir, nor a sound to be heard, saving that of God.

If I miss this time I fell like Samson shorn of his hair, and so of all his strength. I see more and more how much I have to learn of the Lord. I want to be a workman approved, not just with a “pass” degree as it were. Oh! How I wish I had devoted my early life, my whole life to God and His Word. How much have I lost by these years of self pleasing and running after the world’s honours and pleasures.

     
  References Praying always (Ephesians 6)

Break on the judgment day

  Key Words Money Treasure Sacrifice
  Source C.T. Studd
  Source Author Grubb, Norman
  Location 67
  Quote Studd and his wife wrote a letter to General Booth of the salvation army, transferring over the last of their money:

You see we are rather afraid – notwithstanding the great early safety of Messrs Coutts and Co. and the Bank of England – we are, I say, rather afraid that they may both break on the Judgement Day. And this step has been taken not without most definite reference to God’s word and the command of the Lord Jesus who said “Sell that ye have and give alms. Make for yourselves purses that wax not old.” He also said “If you love me, keep my commandments” And again “He that saith I know him and keepeth not his commandments is a liar.”

     
  References Treasure in heaven (Matthew 6)
Sharing possesions (Acts 2:42-46)
Sharing possessions (Acts 4:32-37)
Sell what you have (Matthew 19:21)
Sell what you have (Mark 10:21)
Sell what you have (Luke 18:22)
Sell your possessions (Luke 12:3