“Secrets for Sufferers” From A Sufferer

Dear Reader the following was written by Richard Wurmbrand (1909-2001) who was imprisoned in communist Romania for fourteen years because of his faith in Christ. In 1965, he and his family was ransomed out of Romania for $10,000 and eventually moved to the U.S where he started a global ministry that became known as The Voice of the Martyrs. He testified before the U. S. Congress to the cruel treatment of Christians under communism. Removing his shirt, he showed the Senators and Representatives the stripes and wounds he received from the communist. Pray for those who are suffering everyday for Christ. Pray that the comfort of the Holy Spirit would be with them and they would be faithful unto death if need be. Be encouraged, do your part for the church, and prepare yourself. Carl

“Jesus promised “not peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:34), and ever since He uttered those words, committed Christians have been targeted relentlessly by pagan and religionist alike: crucified, burned at the stake; tortured on the rack; hunted in mountain passes, forests and caves; starved; beaten; brainwashed; tormented.

Only a devil could brew the consummate evil that has been meted out to Christ’s humble disciples over the centuries, reaching a horrendous climax in our own bloody era.

Is suffering, whether intended or circumstantial, a waste, or can it be redemptive? How should Christians respond? Jesus said, “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44) — but can you love the devil incarnate in another human being, evil personified?

I would like to propose that today’s Christians in repressive countries can provide a model for those of us in the free world.

Christians in the West often quote the text, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13), giving it a positive spin. But Paul had just said he had learned to endure all things –humiliation, hunger and want, as well as the satisfaction of his needs. Persecuted believers take Paul’s words as a promise that Christ will strengthen them to endure suffering, because they know a Christian can’t escape tribulation.

I think of a young girl of our Romanian underground church whose activities were discovered by the secret police. She had been guilty of secretly distributing Gospels and teaching children about Christ. To make her arrest as painful as possible, they decided to wait a few weeks for her wedding day.

When she dressed for the event every woman looks forward to, the police suddenly broke in. Anticipating their intentions, she held out her hands, which they handcuffed roughly, looked lovingly at her groom, then kissed the chains, saying, “I thank my heavenly Bridegroom for this jewel He has presented to me on my marriage day. I thank Him that I am worthy to suffer for Him.”

She was dragged off to prison, leaving behind weeping Christians and a weeping bridegroom. Five years later she was released, haggard, broken, looking 30 years older. She had remained faithful. And her intended had waited for her.

A Soviet prisoner who was mocked unmercifully said, “Many fear suffering: in the past, I too feared. But the presence of the Lord in jail has given me so many happy experiences that I would not have changed them for years of easy living in freedom.”

How impressive is the prayer of a woman in a Siberian camp: “O God, accept all my sufferings, my tiredness, my humiliations, my tears, my nostalgia, my being hungry, my suffering with the cold, all bitterness accumulated in my soul….Dear Lord, have pity also on those who persecute and torture us day and night. Grant them, too, the divine grace of knowing the sweetness and happiness of Your love.”

How do the persecuted view their torturers, who often take fiendish delight in inflicting maximum pain? May are able to look at them with love, knowing that without Christ they are eternally lost. Believers exemplify what Jesus preached: “Love your enemies … pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” And they practiced what He taught: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Once when I was in prison, a pastor was thrown into our cell. He had been horribly beaten and was covered with blood. Some prisoners cursed the communists. Half dead, groaning in pain, he said, “Please don’t curse them. Be quiet! I want to pray for them.”

Once I was in the same cell with a man I had brought to Christ. He left behind a wife and six starving children. I asked him, “Have you any resentment toward me for bringing you to Christ and for the fact that your family is in such misery?”

His reply typifies the attitude of so many martyrs down through the centuries: “I have no words to express my thankfulness that you have brought me to the wonderful Savior. I would not have it any other way!”

In Ukraine, the Christian Terelya was put in a psychiatric asylum. The sadist psychiatrist told him, “The fact that you call yourself a Christian shows already you have a serious and irremediable sickness. Faith in God is a mass psychosis, a kind of schizophrenia.”

But instead of brooding about his suffering, Terelya brought officers of the secret police to Christ. They provided him with paper and pencil and smuggled out a whole notebook of his with joyous poems praising God.

Out of the mire of suffering grows the lily of joy in the Lord. ”

Richard Wurmbrand–faithful witness and pastor under Stalin’s communism, founder of The Voice of the Martyrs

When It’s Not Safe to Die

The following is an excerpt from One Heartbeat Away by author Mark Cahill. His book is designed to help us think about the inevitable: our death. It is a great witnessing tool to promote discussion with anyone not sure of their eternal destiny.

“I talked to a young man one day who mentioned that he had been injured and ended up on an emergency room operating table. He said his heart had stopped beating and as his soul rose out of his body, immediately the sense of an evil presence began to come over him and he could hear an evil, hissing laughter. He told me he was so glad to get back into his body and be alive. He now knows how real evil is.

A respiratory nurse who works in an emergency room told me about a patient who had gone “code red,” —he flatlined. She and some other medical personnel rushed over with the defibrillator to try to bring him back to life. They applied the paddles and revived him. She said that he started screaming and shouting, “The heat! the heat!” Then his heart stopped again.

They brought him back to the second time. He shouted, “The flames, the flames!” They lost him again.

Four times the man flatlined and was brought back, each time shouting about the heat or the flames. After the last time, he died, and they couldn’t bring him back. She said all the doctors and nurses just stood there for a few minutes and stared at the body. They all knew that man went to hell. He was screaming it to them before he even got out of here.

I have met several people (all in a non-drug and non-alcohol-induced state) who experienced a burning hell rather than being with Jesus, or the typical tunnel- and white-lights scenario. So, don’t believe that sweetness-and-light neardeath stories are the only kind people report.

Dr. Maurice Rawlings, a cardiologist, has witnessed numerous patients during and after their near-death experiences and reported his findings in Omni magazine. After interviewing 300 patients immediately after resuscitation, Dr. Rawlings says that nearly half of them reported seeing a lake of fire, devil-like figures, and other sights reflecting the reality of hell. “There is a life after death,” Rawlings said, and if I don’t know where I’m going, it’s not safe to die. ” (Source: Chick Publication)

Dear Reader: God created the lake of fire, what we call hell, for the devil and his angels, not for man. He is not willing that any should perish but that all would repent of their sins and trust in Jesus as the sacrifice for their sins. He sent Jesus to the Cross to pay the penalty of your and my sins so that we would not have to pay for them, for the wages of sin is death.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

John 3:16-17

Therefore, if you are without Christ in this evil world, call out to Him now and ask Him to save you from the guilt and penalty of your sins.

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” — that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”

Romans 10: 8-11

Jesus will save you from the wrath of God. You will be born again and become a new creation in Christ Jesus. Don’t let the devil fool you. This is the decision he wants you to put off so you will be with him in hell for eternity.

Drop me a comment if I can help you get started in your Christian walk.

God bless!

Carl

God Made It Simple – Part 2

After posting, God Made It Simple, I felt the urge to write a follow up. While researching in Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament, I found the following. I share it for our edification and encouragement:

“God shows His wonderful love in calling us children of God; as expressing community of nature, rather than sons, which expresses the position of privilege.

The world, therefore, does not know us, even as it did not know Him.

We are children of God; and in this fact lies enfolded our future, the essence of which will be likeness to God, coming through unveiled and transfiguring vision.

The result of such a relation and hope is persistent effort after moral purity. “Every one that hath this hope in Him, purifieth himself even as He is pure.”

This attempt to purify corresponds with the fulfillment of our true destiny which Christ has made possible. Sin is irreconcilable with a right relation to God, for Christianity emphasizes the law of God, and “sin is lawlessness.” The object of Christ manifestation was to “take away sin”; therefore, “everyone that abideth in Him sinneth not.” “He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.” “He that committeth sin is of the devil”; but the Son of God was manifested in order to destroy the works of the devil. The divine seed –the divine principle of growth– the germ of the new life is in the true believer; and the idea of divine Son ship and sin are mutually exclusive.

The being a child of God will manifest itself not only in doing righteousness, but in love— the love of God, taking shape in love and ministry to the brethren. This is the highest expression of righteousness. The whole aim of the Gospel is the creation and strengthening of love; and the type of life in God through Christ is therefore the direct opposite of Cain, who being of the evil one, slew his brother.

Over against this love is the world’s hatred. This is bound up, as love is, with the question of origin. God’s children share God’s nature, which is love. The children of the world are the children of the evil one, whose nature is lawlessness and hatred. Love is the outgrowth of life; hatred, of death. He that loveth not, abideth in death. For ourselves, children of God, we know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren.

Christ is the perfect type and revelation of love, since He gave His life for us. We, likewise, ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. The practical test of our brotherly love is ministry. The love of God does not dwell in us if we refuse to relieve our brother’s need.

The fruit of love is confidence. “In this,” —-the consciousness of active and sincere love to the brethren resting upon and moulded by the love of Christ—-in this, we perceive that we are of the truth; and, perceiving this, we shall assure our hearts in the presence of God, in whom we live and move and have our being. It is of the very essence of Christian life that it is lived and tested before God. No assurance or confidence is possible except from being in right relation to God.

Through the consciousness of love, then, which is of God and which marks the children of God , we perceive that we are children of God—of the truth; and in this knowledge we find assurance and confidence before the very highest tribunal. “We shall assure our heart before Him.” Vincent

Wasn’t that concise and rich! I want this “love” to be manifested in my life toward my God, my brethren and those in need of the gospel. He shall bring it to pass if we cooperate with His Spirit.

God bless you!

Carl

“Travel, Travel, Travel

In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark and a Corps of men to follow the Missouri River westward hoping to find an overland route to the Pacific Ocean. Their successful two year trip opened the West to trappers and the westward migration of America.

Several years after their trip, seven native Americans (aka Indians) showed up in St. Louis, MO seeking Bibles. They had learned about the Bible from the Christians in the Lewis and Clark expedition. The native Americans attributed the white man’s “power” (technological advances), to this mysterious book.  Clark was able to provide the Indians with Bibles, but unfortunately they all died prior to returning to their tribes.

When word reached the churches in the East about these Indians wanting Bibles, there arose a missionary zeal to evangelize the western Indians. In July, 1836, missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman and Henry and Eliza Spalding attended a trapper’s rendevous on the Green River, where they were paired with western tribes.

Whitman settled in what is now southeastern Washington state among the Cayuse and Nez Perce tribes, six miles from Walla Walla. Years later, Whitman found it necessary to return by horse to the east coast to address mission matters. This was at the same time the wagon trains were beginning to make their way westward to Oregon, California and Washington. While in the east, Whitman was sought out by the wagon train leaders for his experience traversing the wilderness. Of course, the leader’s greatest concern was how to deal with the Indians they would encounter, but Whitman had more important instructions for them.

“Travel, travel, travel; nothing else will take you to the end of your journey; nothing is wise that does not help you along; nothing is good for you that causes a moment delay.” “A day spent enjoying prairie flowers may cost you your life in the snow covered mountains.” Marcus Whitman

There is wisdom here for we Christians.  It is this:

No matter what happens in your life,  keep traveling on toward your new heavenly home. Do not let any trial stop you.

When someone died on the wagon trains, some would bury the dead at night in the wagon path, so the grave would not be noticeable to the ever watching Indians. They did not spend days in mourning or have a proper funeral.

The pioneers had to keep the big picture in mind.  They had a very long way to go by foot, horse, mule and wagon. It was up to them to keep moving and not focus on the loss or they could experienced a far greater loss of life.

In our Christian walk, we may experience the “death” of many things:

  • Maybe the premature death of a career;
  • Maybe the future we envisioned will have to die;
  • Maybe our self-image will die due to revelations from God’s Word;
  • Future plans for our children may have to die, due to unforeseen problems;
  • Maybe we lose a loved one to some seemingly unfair disease or tragedy;
  • We may experience a loss of our health or our spouses health;
  • Our finances may tank and we find ourselves in financial straits;
  • Some may experience the death of friendships they highly value;
  • It may be physical torture, imprisonment or death for our Christian faith.

Whatever the “death” or hardship may be, we need to keep the big picture in mind. We are just a pilgrims passing through the devil’s kingdom, on the way to the heavenly Jerusalem. Keep trusting in Jesus and His Word.  Keep pressing on in Him, until you arrive in His physical Presence.  He said He would never leave or forsake us. The Comforter is always with us.

In closing, I am reminded of an elderly sister in the Lord, who lived in communist Lithuania. She had a chronic disease that paralyzed her total body except for one finger.   The secret police never searched her home due to her condition.  She used this safe setting to translate Christian books from U.S. and western Europe into her mother tongue, for her fellow countrymen.  She typed them out one letter at a time with that one finger that was not paralyzed.  She had experienced the “death” of her health but she kept pressing on in her Lord and as a result, was a tremendous blessing to her brother and sisters-in-Christ under the yoke of atheistic communism.

Let us keep pressing on in spite of whatever comes our way. We do not know what the future holds, but we do know Who holds the future and has us in His hands.

In addition, let us be sensitive to the needs of our brothers and sisters who are going through trials and the valley of death.  Paul said we should consider others more important than ourselves. Let the words of Hebrews 3:13 direct us:

“…encourage one another day after day as long as it is still called “Today”…”

To “encourage” someone means to “to give courage; the attitude or response of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult or painful, instead of withdrawing from it”  (Webster). Lovingly give courage to them that are going through trials and the valley of death.

Peace to all,

Carl