Unexpected results and problems are part of life. In difficult times, negative thoughts will tell you, “it’s never going to change, you’re never going to get out of this problem.” But down deep you’ve gotta know, things are going to be alright,
Human can live about 20 days without food. About 3 days without water, 5 minutes without air, but not a second without hope.
Yes, always be hopeful, set your hope wholly and unchangeably on the grace of the divine. God is working on it. Keep reminding yourself that God is watching and he always protects his children. Hope till the end, keep believing for God’s favour.
Wake up in the morning expecting it to turn around. You cannot be defeated. You may be in a tough time, but that setback is simply a setup for a greater comeback. The winds that are trying to stop you, all God has to do is shift the direction of that blowing wind, and instead of holding you back, they will push you forward. You are about to be thrust into the fullness of your destiny. If you will have this attitude of faith, knowing that you cannot be defeated, God will do for you what you couldn’t do on your own. You gonna rise above every obstacle and become everything God has created you to be.
Just be patient and have faith!
Learn to embrace pain and burn it as a fuel for your journey. Remember that setbacks, failures and tragedy are a part of life. Whether we manage to find joy and success in the daily struggle of life is largely dependent on our ability to persevere through even the toughest adversity.
These seemingly long phases of disappointment and pain are just brief insignificant moments of time that will always pass!
The immediate issues of the day can often obscure other long-standing and important problems in the modern world. That is especially true when many of the immediate issues are also critically important, as is the case today.
For buried beneath the news of dangerous threats from Iran, the overwhelming numbers of illegal aliens creating an emergency at America’s southern border, the advance of Jihadist Islam, the squawking of the increasingly insane Left against anything associated with President Trump is an ancient struggle for the ultimate well-being of every person on earth.
It is a war carried on through more than two millennia between Christianity and the rest of the world. The lone exception to this is traditional Judaism in modern times because the world also aligns generally against Israel today, but that is another article.
Christianity Is Besieged by Persecution
The very existence of the Christian population is under a greater peril from persecution today than at any time in history. This begins with the hundreds of millions of Christians in nations where the faith is illegal and the suffering is palpable.
For example, according to Voice of the Martyrs, in most of the Muslim-majority nations in Asia and Africa,
Bibles are considered propaganda and are not allowed to be imported or printed. VOM supports covert Bible operations in this region so Christians have access to God’s Word.
This means that VOM workers and associates must get Bibles, or portions of Bibles, to Christian by smuggling the Scriptures into those countries. The same situation exists in Communist regimes such as North Korea.
If caught with a Bible, Ri Gun would be sent to a labor camp … or worse. So she tucked her small Bible into the fronds of a special mop intended for cleaning the portraits she was required to display of former North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. VOM workers smuggle both print and digital Bibles into the country.
There are those in the Christian community who object to illegally smuggling Bibles and even object to the “house” church movement in China. The Christian church in China is under the control of the Communist government.
Christianity is not technically illegal in China, however, the churches must be approved by the Party and incorporated under the “Three-Self Patriotic Movement.” “House” churches are those which do not register with the TSPM and are thus illegal.
Yes, Christianity in China is legal, and yes, churches can meet publicly under the TSPM banner. But this comes with consequences. The TSPM reserves the right to censor and control their churches to the extent they deem necessary and appropriate.
Under the TSP, churches must register and are not allowed to form anything other than local congregations under the authority of the community-level Party loyalists. These churches are also monitored overtly and covertly.
The Communist Party is fixated on the absolute control of Christianity. So much so that there are reports they are working on their own translation of a Chinese-Communist-friendly Bible.
The underground “house church” movement, therefore, operates in a very risky and dangerous territory should they be caught defying the government. The main reason such Christians take these risks is simple.
This is the house-church stance. Extend all the apparent olive branches you want, but Jesus Christ is still the head of the church, not the TSPM and not the CCC.
The stance that Jesus Christ is the LORD and only head of the church is common to all Christians under active persecution from atheistic Communist regimes as well as Islamic theocracies around the globe. The numbers of those who take this stance and suffer for it are mind-boggling.
According to the “Open Doors” organization which, along with VOM, are the largest and longest-operating bodies that aid persecuted Christians worldwide, in 2018 an estimated 215 million Christians lived “under high levels of persecution.” This number has increased in 2019 to 245 million people.
Christians living “under high levels of persecution” face threats against their lives, against the destruction of their church buildings and homes, and threats of arrest and imprisonment for practicing their faith. A personal story of brave believers from North Korea and Iran will shed some light upon the dangers awaiting those who risk all to follow Christ.
Faithful Sufferers for Christ
In February of 2006, a reluctant but faithful recipient of 10 Korean Bibles secretly smuggled into North Korea took a prayerful chance by leaving eight of them hidden in a package of pants at the front door of another man whom he heard humming a Christian tune. A few months later, due to a secret informant, the man, “Min-jae,” was arrested and sent to prison.
In prison, he met a former friend who had been arrested because of his Christian faith. And as they talked, Min-jae came to realize that the man he gave the Bibles to was his friend’s uncle. That man had also been arrested and was being held in a different cell in the same prison.
Moreover, that had given the Bibles to his relatives and the whole family of 27 people began to secretly meet to pray and study the Bible as a group. They were also arrested and thrown into prison after a suspicious neighbor turned them into the police.
After seven months in prison, Min-jae was released. However, his friend, his friend’s uncle and the 27 family members were all sent to a concentration camp (a REAL one for AOC’s information where they do hideous things to prisoners including torturing and killing them) and Min-jae has never seen them again.
As for Min-jae, in 2014 he managed to escape and defected to South Korea. He still feels pangs of guilt about his friend and the family because he supplied the Bibles which resulted in their being imprisoned.
Yet he also knows that God ultimately gave those Scriptures and God is with those who are suffering even now. Moreover, he has faith that the LORD will deliver them as well.
I believe that these 27 people are children of God and that God will somehow release them miraculously.
Min-jae now lives in South Korea and operates a small coffee shop there. He still carries the Bible that was given to him when he was visiting China and accepted the LORD Jesus as his Savior.
His sincere wish is that others in North Korea hear the gospel. He is getting some support from organizations like VOM, and he has a request for fellow believers.
[Min-jae] asks Christians in the United States to pray that more North Koreans will learn of God’s love for them.
Stories of such incredible faith and action for Christ can be found in every place where the gospel is being restricted by direct government force. A second example comes from a pastor of an underground ‘church’ who was imprisoned, along with his family, for over three years in horrific conditions.
In order to be released, this pastor had to sign a letter,
acknowledging that if they were caught joining an underground church or participating in any Christian activity, they would be imprisoned for life. [Pastor] Houmayoun signed the letter.
However, Houmayoun had no intention of not continuing his Christian efforts and did so in secret for a while. Eventually, after he and his family realized they were being watched and after several threats, they and several other Christians moved to a nearby country with fewer restrictions on the faith.
Houmayoun and his family hope to return to Iran one day. He often thinks about all the inmates the Christians shared the gospel with, especially those who accepted Jesus. “Some of them are out of jail, and we are still in touch with them,” he said. “Some have life sentences, and some are getting ready to be executed.”
However, one of the inmates the pastor shared the gospel with is now with them and attends their house church in their new country. While he was in prison, Houmayoun was sent for a time to be disciplined in a part of the prison named “Hell,” for its terrible conditions.
Now the pastor rejoices that even the gates of a place called Hell couldn’t stop the spread and power of the gospel. In part two of this series, we will examine some other ways in which Christianity is under siege in today’s world.
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:15-18 [ESV]
Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001
Everyone comes into
life to serve a great purpose. That is our destiny. We extend a hand in life to
help the broken, but it’s Christ who chooses the believers He wants to
represent Him. Faith is a large part of the commitment, but it’s the renewed
spirit which Christ blesses each time. I, too, am not worthy to wipe the dust
from our Father’s holy feet, but for an unknown reason, God duly elected me. I
am a representative of Christ, an emissary, an evangelist of His word. But, I was
the man most people least suspected to be His ambassador. This is how God works
among humanity. He selects the defeated, renews their heart and mind, and sends
them into the world as a witness of His great love.
My heart filled
with emotions, and it danced with a joy I didn’t think was possible. All I
could do was reverently thank God for the opportunities He opened up before my
eyes. It’s a select few picked to serve our Lord on a greater platform,
representing Him in the interim of His great return. Yes, this includes
ministers, pastors, priests, missionaries, and then just the ordinary… like me.
Do you know how
Christ chooses who will live in His shadow as disciples? Millions live in a
holy relationship with the Lord, but a genuine disciple usually is considered a
social outcast. They have a more profound knowledge of God and wisdom; perhaps
a miraculous incident occurred with Him. Often, they are rejected by family and
friends and considered “weird” or a false prophet. Demon possessed people react
strongly to them, and immature Christians spew insulting comments their
direction. Disciples, or anointed chosen followers, stand alone in a mocking
world. I’ve experienced all of these things, but with God by my side, I endure
all the accusations and criticisms, knowing He is my strength and power.
In the Bible,
Jesus’ biological half brothers rejected Him and His ministry. King David was
ridiculed for obeying and following the Lord. Isaac, the son of Abraham and
Sarah, was born supernaturally for his parents were aged one hundred and ninety
when he was conceived by God’s miracle. Moses was appointed at birth to
represent God and was the target of terrible criticism from the Israelites and
even his own brother and sister. Christ filled John the Baptist with the Holy
Spirit before he was born. He was ultimately beheaded because no one believed Christ
chose him. Not one person in scriptures chosen and anointed as a representative
of Christ had an easy life. They had to set themselves apart, and I’m sure they
felt very isolated.
So, today I ask,
are you chosen by God to be His ambassador? Are you afraid to take a leap of
faith for fear of rejection? Please read Psalm 91 as it is God’s promises to
His chosen and anointed people:
God will reward the fruits of our accomplishments at the end. Pick up your staff and walk my friends. Be strong in your commitment, now more than ever as the world’s flocks of sheep are like a pack of wolves. They hungrily circle God’s chosen to wait for the perfect chance to ensnare and devour your devotion. Be not afraid to stand in the barley and dance in the shade. Christians, we were born to represent Christ Jesus.
Finally, a moment
of peace! After another torrential storm, I adjusted the patio furniture to
find comfort again. My mind was disheveled from life’s stresses, but
nonetheless, the sun returned as promised. Land lovers watched the sailors set
sail from a forbidden shore. The harbor bustled once again with joy, as finally,
a quiet time for wayward voyagers to relax was on their horizon.
In the green, lush
woods, God protected His wildlife which took refuge in the limbs of the trees
and fallen trunks. Their domestic search was long and hard to find a place they
I wonder, is your place of peace?
Thinking back, my
mother found her peace in gardening, and my dad was quick to hit the deck and
launch his thoughts sailing the waters of Maryland. My beloved brother dropped
the convertible top of his Austin Healey, filled the tank, and left for hours traveling
to find his peace. I have close friends who wade out to their waist in streams and
cast their spinners to find their catch of the day. Others find peace in
hobbies or maybe an overstuffed recliner with their nose buried between pages. My
wife and many others discover harmony with sand between their toes. Jesus found
peace in His long walks through the desert sands.
find a place of peace in our Father’s house. It might be in a pew or listening
to the steeple bells as the choir sings a beautiful hymn. Tranquility and
contentment exude God’s presence in a church. Bible verses also bring us peace
such as in Philippians 4:6-7:
“Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your
requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will
guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The place of peace
in my personal life is with Christ. Just as another brother, He’s never far from
reach be it on my porch, in my home, or even my heart. When I stroll along the
shores holding my wife’s hand, I know He is taking her other. If we focus on
God, peace is never far behind in our life.
The Lord created a wonderful world, both on land and at sea, but I believe heaven is in your heart and soul. The true route to peace is through Jesus Christ. So, unclutter your world and unclutter your mind by surrounding yourself in His love, mercy, and forgiveness. I promise you – there will be no greater reward! Find a quiet place today and pray for your place of peace.
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Thank you for reading. Let us make a beautiful world together. God bless!