If everyone knew what the dead know, the whole world would be worshipping Jesus. Author Unknown
“Trials rightly faced are harmless, but wrongly met become temptations to sin.” (A.T. Robertson)
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
The apostle Peter exhorts those in the dispersion along the same line:
“ In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 1:6-7)
James says that though we may be surrounded by trials, let our joy be whole or unmixed, not just “some joy” mixed with grief. I must realize that the very foundation of my religion, my faith in what God has done through His Son Jesus, will be tested by the devil using circumstances, accusations, condemnation, people of other faiths or no faith (communism) and people, some close to me and some unknown.
We are all are in need of “endurance” or “patience” that James says these trials will produce in our lives IF we allow it. Robertson says the original Greek word means “remaining under, staying power”, that under the pressure of trials you will have the ability to stay faithful to Lord Jesus.
Lord Jesus, in Revelation 2:10 tells the believers in Smyrna (modern day Turkey),
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
We in North America or Europe, read this and go ho hum, but this is a daily reality for many of our brothers and sisters in communist Red China, Vietnam, North Korea and other countries ruled by communism. It is also a daily reality in countries ruled by Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other false religions.
Religious persecution is coming to the United States, Europe, Canada and other currently free countries. Are you ready? Have you made up your mind? Are your children and grandchildren ready?
May no trial, person or set of circumstances cause us to deny our Savior today or ever. May our faith in Jesus and God the Father be the most precious thing in our life… so much so it is worth dying for. Tens of millions died for their faith during the Inquisition, under the Romans, and under communism in the 20th century and today.
May you walk in “hupomonen”….staying power. Holy Ghost empowered staying power!
During the years when I spoke in hundreds of meetings around the world, I found it increasingly difficult to effectively communicate testimonies from the church in Asia to believers in “free” countries. Often when I spoke in meetings, people looked at me as if I had just dropped in from another planet.
I became aware that the spiritual dynamics of the persecuted church in Asia were completely different from those in western Christianity. The differences were so stark that I sometimes felt I was interacting with two different faiths. Even the most basic understanding of God’s character appeared to be fundamentally different.
For example, on one occasion in China I shared a powerful testimony from the Mru tribe of Myanmar. The Mru number about 25,000 people, most of whom are Buddhist. The gospel had recently experienced a breakthrough among them, and several Mru villages had turned to Jesus Christ. The Buddhist monks were furious when they heard about it, so they hired two gangs of thugs and sent them to the Christian villages to beat the believers, rape the women, and burn down their houses.
Armed with chains and machetes, the first group of thugs made their way on foot to the Christian area. Before reaching their intended destination, however, a freak electrical storm descended on them as they traversed a mountain pass. All of the men were killed by lightning. The lightning also struck the 400-year-old Buddhist temple in the Mru township, burning it the ground.
The second mob of would-be persecutors traveled to the Christian villages aboard a large raft. As they made their way down the river, a thick fog suddenly enveloped them, making it impossible to see where they were going. A barge sliced through the fog, struck the raft, and hurled the thugs into the rapids, where they all drowned.
When news of these events reached the Mru communities, the fear of God fell on them. Realizing that the Living God had displayed his awesome wrath, hundreds of people turned to Christ and repented of their sins.
When I shared this testimony with the Christians in China, they literally jumped up and down with joy and shouted “Hallelujah!” at the top of their voices. They rejoiced in the judgments of God, as the Bible says, “Zion hears and rejoices and the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments, Lord” (Psalms 97:8).
Just a few weeks later I found myself standing in front of a congregation in Texas. As I shared the same testimony from Myanmar, I looked out at a sea of grim faces staring back at me. There was no rejoicing in that meeting and not a single “Hallelujah” was uttered.
After the service, an elderly lady came forward to confront me on behalf of the other church members. She strongly rebuked me with the words, “Our God is not like that brother. Our God is a loving God!” I noticed many people behind her nodding their heads in agreement
Like that congregation in Texas, many believers imagine God to be a cuddly, teddy bear-like figure whose main purpose is to encourage and bless them. They think God is so gentle and loving that he would never harm a fly, and Christians who dared to mention his wrath or coming judgments are often pushed into a corner and considered a threat to the peace of the church.
With such a skewed, chummy attitude toward God, it is no wonder that many Christians no longer fear Him. They love to hear about how John reclined at the dinner table by leaning against his best friend Jesus, but few remember that the two men met again many years later. This time the resurrected Lord was dressed in the robes of a Roman judge. John, who was absolutely terrified, wrote, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead” Revelation 1:17.
Source: Paul Hattaway, An Asian Harvest (Monarch Books, 2017), p.262-264 (Excellent book which I recommend and can be ordered at Asia Harvest.)
Last eve I paused beside the blacksmith's door And heard the anvil ring the vesper chimes; Then looking in, I saw upon the floor Old hammers worn out with beating years of time. "How many anvils have you had," said I, "To wear and batter all these hammers so?" "Just one," said he and then with twinkling eye, "The anvil wears the hammers out, you know?" And so I thought, the anvil of God's Word For ages skeptics' blows have beat upon. Yet, though the sound of falling blows was heard, The anvil is unharmed, the hammers are gone. John Clifford
“ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF, BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.” Peter – I Peter 1:24-25
There is a simple shortcut to truth: start with the Bible first and investigate it thoroughly. Why start there? Not just because the Bible claims to be the only inspired Word of the one true God who created us. It also claims that all of the world’s religions and their scriptures are false and actually in the service of Satan. The Bible calls Satan “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) and thus the author of its religions. So if the Bible is true, we have saved ourselves a lifetime of vain searching through false systems.
In fact, we can prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that every word in the Bible is true. The Bible has several unique features not found in the scriptures of the world’s religions, making it possible to substantiate its claims. Christianity is not a philosophy, mystical experience, or esoteric practice [but] is based upon undeniable and historical facts. The Bible stands on a four-fold foundation, every part of which can be examined and verified: 1) prophecy foretelling events and doctrines in advance, 2) fulfillment of those prophecies in detail, 3) secular history testifying to the fulfillment of prophecies and events, and 4) factual data corroborated by archaeology and science. None of this is the case with the teachings or scriptures of any of the world’s religions. —Dave Hunt[Excerpt taken from Seeking and Finding God (Bend, OR: TBC, 2007), pp 66-67) – Berean Call
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)
L.B.’s family is in the cattle business, and the following was written on Facebook to the women in L.B.’s Bible Study.
According to L.B., “When a cow eats, they inhale a lot of roughage (hay, grass)! In order for a cow to properly digest that tough food, they have to be able to regurgitate parts of the food, a little at a time. To do that means the rumen in their stomachs mixes all the (good) bacteria, juices and lots of other stuff and they burp it back up to chew on for a while…then swallow once again. It’s quite complex and amazing!”
“We always say that when a cow loses her ability to chew her cud, she’s sick…that’s a real problem. Now…put that thought in line with meditating on God’s word! We ‘eat’ a lot, sometimes quickly from God’s Word. Not sure about you, but I certainly can’t digest it all properly as it goes down the first time! If I didn’t have the ability (or desire) to (pardon me for saying it this way, Lord) “burp” God’s Word back up, chew on it, digest it again, and again and again…I’d be sick too! Spiritually sick! Eventually dead!
“This will stick with me! Hope it helps imprint on your mind, too, how important God’s Word is!” (by L.B.)
L.B.’s above description really shows how, in biblical meditation, the mind is always active (chewing the cud, so to speak). Not so with New Age and Eastern meditation, or with so-called contemplative prayer. The goal of these is to still the mind, to halt all thought, and to enter the silence, where much spiritual deception can take place. Unfortunately, contemplative prayer has already infected many in the Body of Christ.**
Concerning contemplative prayer, Ray Yungen, author of A Time of Departing, writes, “The question may arise–how can credible Christian organizations justify and condone meditative practices that clearly resemble Eastern meditation? As pointed out earlier in the book, Christian terminology surrounds these practices. It takes only a few popular Christian leaders with national profiles to embrace a teaching that sounds Christian to bring about big changes in the church. Moreover, we have many trusting Christians who do not use the Scriptures to test the claims of others.” (pg.182)
**Who has helped bring this practice into the church? Rick Warren, Timothy Keller, Mike Bickle, and many others. Ray Yungen warns, “Contemplative prayer is presenting a way to God identical with all the world’s mystical traditions. Christians are haplessly lulled into it by the emphasis on seeking the Kingdom of God and greater piety, yet the apostle Paul described the church’s end-times apostasy in the context of a mystical seduction. If this practice doesn’t fit that description, I don’t know what does.” (Yungen, A Time of Departing, pg. 140).
“Buddhism is more than 2,500 years old, but it came to widespread prominence in Europe and the U.S. only about 50 years ago. Since then, Buddhist thought has become deeply rooted in American popular culture through music, books and films. Many American’s encounter the teachings of Buddhism’s founder, Siddhartha Gautama, when seeking a way to empty themselves of desire and attachment while embracing peace of mind through meditation.
Gautama is called the Buddha (enlightened one) by his followers. The simple response God’s Word gives to the notion of human enlightenment is that our Lord Jesus Christ is the true light and life. Without Him, there is only darkness and death (see John 1: 1-13).
How enlightening is Buddhism? Having been a witness for Christ in Buddhist contexts both overseas and here in the U.S. for more than 20 years, I have come to view the Buddhism practices in the U.S. as a trick or illusion that contains just enough truth to provide false hope. Rather than offering its adherents truth with the power to save or set them free, it merely helps them marginally reduce the stress that overwhelms their peers who have succumbed to this world’s strivings and vanity. Jesus sets us free for eternity.
While Buddhism in the West is darkness masquerading as light, a very different kind of Buddhism is widely practiced in parts of Nepal and throughout Tibet. The spiritist Buddhism in the part of the world where Gautama was born is not disguised as false light –it openly reveals itself as the blackest darkness. There, Buddhists work to appease spirits whom they know to be evil.
When those of us who have served among Nepali and Tibetan Buddhists describe them as intentionally serving evil spirts and seeking to be filled with their power, it may sound to some as if we are overstating the religion’s dangers. Sadly, however, out description is no exaggeration, and millions of lost Buddhists remain enslaved to evil throughout Nepal and Tibet.
People in the U.S., including Christians, are also astonished when we describe the persecution of Christians in these countries by Buddhists. But it is important understand that children in these areas are forced to leave their families and enter Buddhist monasteries, that young adults who come to faith in Christ are disowned by their Buddhist parents, and that Christian families are driven from their home in Buddhist areas. All of this is done explicitly to appease and court favor with evil spirits we know to be demons — the fallen angels who, like their master, work only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).
The stories in this magazine help us to understand the dark side of this supposedly “enlightened” belief system. And we hope they will encourage you to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who are willing to pay the price to see Buddhists set free by the gospel’s power.
Source: Cole Richards, President —The Voice of the Martyrs