On Wings Of Eagles

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Being Completely Devoted

Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.

Early in 2003 Fred Evans fell and broke his hip. Not unusual for a man of 88. However, it was the events over the next few weeks that showed the world what this man was made of.

The next day he had an operation which turned out to be a total hip replacement.

Within a few days he was sent to a Rehabilitation Hospital, with all the usual hopes for a complete recovery for a man of his age and situation: "absolutely none," said the medical experts and nursing staff!

Funny about that, absolutely no hope at all.

His son’s first conversation with his Dad was a few days after his admittance to the Rehab Hospital in Sydney.

"A bit of pain Son," he tells his son..."but I'll be okay." "See all of these other old blokes in here, most of them have been in here for between 3 and 6 months, with no hope of ever going home." "No way will I end up like them!" "I will go home to your Mum within the next few weeks!"

Because of the distance between Newcastle and his Rehab Hospital, his son didn't get to see him every day, but phoned regularly. He did get to see him each weekend.

On his next visit he stopped at reception desk on the way to his dad’s ward. The duty nurse gave him a "rave review" of his progress, saying that they didn't believe what they were seeing. "Your Father is a walking miracle," he was told.

As he approached his Dad's bed he saw him getting something from the other side of his bed as he was swinging himself into a position to get up and spend some time with his son.

Walking sticks.

"Thanks for coming in to see me Son, it's good to see you, come for a slow walk with me," he said.

He proudly assured him that he was okay to do it on his own, but it would be nice if he were right there next to him as they "walked." Sure enough, he had been so determined to get home to his wife of 62 years, he had been "training" hard every day!

So they went for a stroll around the corridors of his "prison," and was he proud of his ability to conquer the odds? You bet he was!

Only 3 weeks after being admitted to that "depressing place," he WALKED OUT without any assistance from anyone - a walking miracle.

He only had one motive, but a very powerful one. To get home to his beautiful wife of 62 years, Margaret...he missed her.

His determination, courage, and incredible love and devotion towards his wife was an inspiration to all.

Are you completely devoted to God? Imagine what we could accomplish if we as dedicated to God as Fred was to his wife we could win the world for Christ.

Dear Lord, we pray that are devotion would be so strong to You that we could accomplish everything You have planned for us to do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sticking to the Work of God

Philippians 2:13 (NIV)
For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Another great story I read about DL Moody

One day Mr. Moody drove up to my house at Northfield and said: "Torrey, I want you to take a ride with me." I got into the carriage and we drove out toward Lover's Lane, talking about some great and unexpected difficulties that had arisen in regard to the work in Northfield and Chicago, and in connection with other work that was very dear to him.

As we drove along, some black storm clouds lay ahead of us, and then suddenly, as we were talking, it began to rain. He drove the horse into a shed near the entrance to Lover's Lane to shelter the horse, and then laid the reins upon the dashboard and said: "Torrey, pray"; and then, as best I could, I prayed, while he in his heart joined me in prayer. And when my voice was silent he began to pray. Oh, I wish you could have heard that prayer! I shall never forget it, so simple, so trustful, so definite and so direct and so mighty. When the storm was over and we drove back to town, the obstacles had been surmounted, and the work of the schools, and other work that was threatened, went on as it had never gone on before, and it has gone on until this day. As we drove back, Mr. Moody said to me: "Torrey, we will let the other men do the talking and the criticizing, and we will stick to the work that God has given us to do, and let Him take care of the difficulties and answer the criticisms."

Dear Lord, help us stick to Your work. Help us not get off track by those that complain and criticize. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Power to Persevere

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

On December 16, 1944, the German army started their offensive push in the Ardennes Region of eastern Belgium and northern Luxembourg. Three powerful German armies quickly rolled through the area. The German goal for this “Battle of the Bulge” was to reach the sea, trap four allied armies, and force a negotiated peace on the Western front. The weather had been extremely cold and snowy that winter, forcing Allied aircraft to be grounded and giving the Germans the advantage. On December 22, General Anthony C. McAuliffe, was outnumbered 4 to 1 by the Germans. He had been ordered to hold the Belgian road hub of Bastogne against the bitter Nazi counteroffensive. He and his 10,000 men faced the German tanks with food running short, medicine and ammunition almost exhausted. When a German officer arrived with a surrender ultimatum, McAuliffe defiantly scrawled, "To the German Commander?Nuts!" The next day, the weather miraculously changed for the better and Allied aircraft were able to fly again. General Patton heard of McAullife’s reply and drove the U.S. Third Army through the snows and mountains to reach McAuliffe on December 26. For his perseverance under the most arduous situations, General McAuliffe was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

God in Christ gives His people the power to persevere and resist. Are you facing unbearable circumstances? God will give you the power to persevere. 

Dear Lord, we turn to You today and pray for Your strength and help.  We pray that we will let you sustain us through all we are going through. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.  

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Ephesians 5:20 (NIV)
Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

One Thanksgiving season a family was seated around their table, looking at the annual holiday bird. From the oldest to the youngest, they were to express their praise. When they came to the 5-year-old in the family, he began by looking at the turkey and expressing his thanks to the turkey, saying although he had not tasted it he knew it would be good. After that rather novel expression of thanksgiving, he began with a more predictable line of credits, thanking his mother for cooking the turkey and his father for buying the turkey. But then he went beyond that. He joined together a whole hidden multitude of benefactors, linking them with cause and effect.

He said, "I thank the checker at the grocery store who checked out the turkey. I thank the grocery store people who put it on the shelf. I thank the farmer who made it fat. I thank the man who made the feed. I thank those who brought the turkey to the store."

Using his Columbo-like little mind, he traced the turkey all the way from its origin to his plate. And then at the end he solemnly said "Did I leave anybody out?"

His 2-year-older brother, embarrassed by all those proceedings, said, "God."

Solemnly and without being flustered at all, the 5-year-old said, "I was about to get to Him."

How often is God the last one we thank? Will you get to Him this Thanksgiving?

Dear Lord, thank You for all that You have given to us. Help us to remember to give You thanks and not leave You out. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Give Thanks

 Psalm 100:4-5 (NIV)
4 Enter his gates with  thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Take a minute to give THANKS for what God has given to you.

·       for time together as a family
·       for our continuing love relationship with You through Jesus
·       for our love relationship with each other
·       for life, health, bright minds, and physical safety
·       for food, clothing, a comfortable house, a clean bed
·       for enjoying being together with laughter
·       for the uniqueness of each one
·       for the rock of strength that prayer is for us
·       for faithful friends who encourage us by praying for our family
·       for seeing God's hand of grace at work in our lives as we experience more of Him
·       for God's plan for our lives and His enabling to keep us in His will each day
·       for weaknesses through which God shows Himself strong in us
·       for wisdom and guidance in daily circumstances
·       for strength for daily demands of job and family
·       for hope, peace, victory, satisfaction, and fulfillment
·       for financial blessings
·       for spiritual strength in spiritual battles
·       for Your patience in the testing, struggles, and refining that we grow through
·       for Jesus' sufficiency for today's grace
·       for forgiveness received and forgiveness extended
·       for hearts of obedience
·       for more than we could ever deserve!

Dear Lord, thank You for these things and many more. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

You Can Learn a Lot From an Ant.

Proverbs 6:6-8 (NIV)
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
    consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
    no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
    and gathers its food at harvest.

I read a story about a gentleman named Ron Clarke. He writes  "I wasted nearly an hour watching a tiny ant carry a huge feather across my back terrace. Several times it was confronted by obstacles in its path and after a momentary pause it would make the necessary detour.

"At one point the ant had to negotiate a crack in the concrete about 10mm wide. After brief contemplation the ant laid the feather over the crack, walked across it and picked up the feather on the other side then continued on its way.

"I was fascinated by the ingenuity of this ant, one of God's smallest creatures. Here was a minute insect, lacking in size yet equipped with a brain to reason, explore, discover and overcome."

Can you imagine God telling us to learn from an ant? So what can we learn? Ants are determined, they are not afraid to work to achieve their goals, they work as a team, they think through and work to overcome the challenges thrown in their pathway, and they never give up. But most of all they teach us about the marvels of God's creation.

Dear Lord, thank You for your amazing creation. Help us to always take the time to learn lesson from them.  Help u sliek the ant to be determined to do the work that You have before us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Are You Willing to Bleed For Him?

Acts 20:28 (NIV)
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

A little girl in the Philippians stood outside the doorway of the church intrigued by the love and joy displayed by those inside. The American missionary had asked her to come in, but she had politely declined. It wasn't because she didn't want to accept the kind of offer. Quite the opposite; her heart was beckoning her to join in their singing and worship. They seemed so happy, and the fellowship was so spontaneous and natural. But this was a hostile area in the Philippines, and her father had strictly forbidden her to have anything to do with those Christians.

Unknown to the little Filipino girl, the missionary was praying fervently for her soul, longing to see the day when she would accompany her inside the village church and learn of Jesus and how He shed His blood on a cross so that her sins could be washed away. The girl knew something was happening because each week she found it harder and harder to say no to the missionary.

Finally one Sunday morning, she accepted. She accepted the invitation to attend the Sunday school class, but also opened her heart to Jesus and became a child of God. The missionary, overjoyed with the new believer, soon presented her with a beautiful white dress, representing the fact that Jesus had washed all her sins away.

Eager to see her new disciple the missionary rushed to the next service. But the girl was nowhere to be found. No one had seen or heard of her whereabouts. Concerned for the girl, the missionary traveled to her home village.

Upon arriving at her home, she found the young, new believer lying in the dirt. Her white dress was torn, filthy, and soaked in blood. The girl's father hadn't shared the missionary's joy in his daughter's new found faith. In a drunken rage he had beaten her, repeatedly kicked her, and left her to die.

The missionary gently lifted the fragile girl and carried her back to the church where a doctor rushed in to help her. But there was nothing he could do. He removed the ragged dress and cleaned her up, but her injuries were too severe. The young Filipino girl would soon die.

The missionary and other friends stayed with her, trying to comfort her during her final hour. Upon regaining consciousness she made an unusual request. Despite the pain and trauma of her father's beating, she was insistent on holding the white dress the missionary had given her.

They explained that it was torn and soaked with blood and dirt, but she insisted on having it in her hands. With the simple faith of a ten-year old she whispered, "I just want Jesus to know I was willing to bleed for Him."

Are you willing to bleed for Him?

Dear Lord, thank You for shedding Your blood for us so we can have eternal life. Help us be like the little girl and be willing to bleed for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Praying For Your Enemies.

Matthew 5:44 (NIV)
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

They came as she was speaking.

Public Security Bureau officials swooped in as Sarah Yang, a female house-church leader, finished expounding her text to her congregation. She was whisked out into the bitter cold. It was December 1998 in northeast China. She shivered in the freezing cell, waiting for her interrogator to come in.

Soon he swaggered in. Wu Pei Fu was the head of the Public Security Bureau in the area. For some reason he took an instant dislike to Sarah Yang, and instead of using more subtle psychological techniques, he began to beat and kick her. "Tell me who the other leaders are? Who supplies your Bibles?" He screamed questions, and when she refused to answer, he would rain blows upon her, slapping her flesh. The police station echoed the sound of his hands stinging her body.

But Christians were praying. Wu was in for a shock. He interrogated Sarah Yang for only twenty-four hours, but the hours were full of nasty surprises. First, he heard his mother was in the hospital from a bad car accident. Next, news came that his son was very sick with a stomach ailment. Finally, when he went home he had a fierce argument with his wife, who threatened to leave him.

In the morning he took his frustration out on Sarah Yang, beating her repeatedly and then sending word to her congregation: "If you don't pay 20,000 RMB for her release. I will send her to a labor camp for three years." The sum was exorbitant (nearly $2,500). The congregation could not afford to pay, since in the area the average yearly salary was less than half that amount. But they prayed, and a contact in another city agreed to raise the money. Sarah Yang was released.

Hearing that her interrogator's mother was ill, Sarah Yang went straight to the hospital to see her. She located the mother, who was lying on the bed with her other son in attendance, and began witnessing to her. She preached the Gospel to her and sent word to the other Christians. They all came and prayed at the bedside. In a matter of hours, the mother and her other son both trusted Christ. The Christians also prayed for Wu's wife and son. The son was healed.

Wu was amazed at the boldness and the effectiveness of the Christians, and when his mother started attending the house church of Sarah Yang, whom he abused so badly, he made no objection. He sent word saying, "I will not disturb your church. You are good people."

Are you praying for the person that hates you?

Dear Lord, help us be faithful to You even when persecuted. Give us hearts that will go to our enemies and share Your love with them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lesson from Max

Proverbs 12:10 (NIV)
The righteous care for the needs of their animals,
    but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.

Have you ever met someone who was "in charge"? We all know someone who is in charge of something, or in charge of someone else. To be "in charge" means to be responsible to take care of something.
Today my son and I went on a road trip.  The road trip was a direct result of a challenge that was given to him a few months back that he was in charge of. He accomplished the challenge and the reward was that he could get the dog of his dreams.  From as far back he has wanted his very own Golden Retriever.  As he got closer and closer to completing the challenge the search started, which brought us to today’s trip. 200 miles later Charlie had the Golden Retriever puppy he has dreamed about for over 15 years. 

As I rode in the car today I got to thinking about “being in charge”. 

First Charlie had to take charge of the project set before him in order to get to the point of bringing home Max.

Secondly adopting Max puts him in charge of giving Max puppy food, giving him water, giving him baths, teaching him to obey commands, and taking him outside for walks. If Max has a clean, shiny coat, and if he is friendly and well-behaved, then people will say you are doing a great job training him and taking care of him. On the other hand, if the puppy damages something very valuable, makes a mess, or bites someone's hand – you might find yourself in a little trouble! Anything bad that the puppy does could be blamed on you! Your hard work and special care is reflected by your puppy's behavior and appearance. But if you neglect (forget or ignore) your responsibilities with your puppy, his behavior and appearance will show that, too!

God is in charge of us – If you are God's child, He has adopted you and brought you into His household. You bear His name now. Your appearance and your behavior ought to reflect Him – they ought to show to other people the good character your Heavenly Father has and the great works that He has done. If you act like an unbeliever, someone who doesn't know or love God, then your life cannot reflect God's character and works very well to other people.

Just as Charlie is in charge of Max, God is in charge of you. He will lead you and He will guide you.

Dear Lord, we thank You that You are in charge of our life. Help us be an example of Your love and character today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Weather is in God's Control.

Jeremiah 10:13 (NIV)
When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar;
    he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
He sends lightning with the rain
    and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

Aberra Wata worked with Christian youth in the southern part of Ethiopia during the time of Communist rule from 1974 to1991. Imprisoned for his faith, Aberra remembers one particular guard: "He would put filthy words to the tunes we sang. One night he patted his revolver and promised, 'Tomorrow morning at this time you won't be in the land of the living.'

Just after midnight that evening a tremendous storm burst on the town and the prison. Huge hailstones fell, wrecking several roofs, including the one where the insulting guard was sleeping. He became terrified, pulled out his revolver, and shot at random into the darkness, using up all the bullets he had promised would finish us off the next day. One by one the roofs were taken off the commandant's house, and the offices of the chief judge, the administrator, and his deputy. The prisoners in cells three, four, and five got a soaking from the rain too. We were in cell one and were kept dry. There were a lot of wet and unhappy people in Yavello that night.

At nine o'clock the next morning, while expecting the cruel guard to fulfill his promise to shoot us, we observed a remarkable sight. That same guard was pushed into our cell, without his uniform, by the commandant, who was whipping him with his belt. Other people in the background were yelling, 'We told this man to leave the believers alone, but he refused, and so God has sent this terrible punishment on the town and prison. He deserves to be given some of his own medicine.'"

The Lord is lord of all and even controls the weather for His good purpose.

Dear Lord, we thanks You that You are in control of the weather. We thank You that You can use it for Your good even when it seems to be so bad. Help us trust in You. Help us glorify You even in the storm. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

You Are of Considerable Value in God's Eyes

Titus 3:7
So that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

William the Conqueror was born in 1027, in a town called Falaise, Normandy, which is now a part of France. He was the son of Herleva, the daughter of a local trader, and Robert, the Duke of Normandy. Everything seemed good. Except for the tiny fact that Herleva was not actually Robert's wife. William was an illegitimate child, and this fact didn't go unnoticed by the public.

From very early on, William was teased by seemingly everyone in town, and the nickname, "the Bastard" soon stuck. Though he was rejected and ridiculed, however, he was not without hope. Despite his illegitimate lineage, his father insisted William would be his heir. It's true that William was Robert's only son, but that didn't faze William in the least.

To make matters worse, attempts were made on William's life on two different occasions. At one time, Robert, probably feeling guilty, decided to go on a pilgrimage. While he was away, local Norman lords attacked William's kinsmen. It was bad, so bad that William had to run away to save his life. And he was only eight years old!

The second attempt happened when he was twenty. "The rebelling barons" conspired against him, and if a faithful servant hadn't warned him, he would have been six feet under.

As it turned out, everyone except his own father rejected him, but he never gave up. He kept holding on, for he knew his dad was on his side.

To make a long story short, William eventually became the King of England, a position far higher than what his own father had held. There is hope for the rejected ones!

Most of us can relate to William. We too have been mocked and ridiculed and rejected for various reasons.
Our brothers and sisters in faith in countries where Christianity is taboo have it a thousand times worse, for mockery turns into persecution, and persecution turns into martyrdom.

Take a minute to pray for them today.

It's not an easy world we live in, but one thing we can count on: Jesus is on our side! He boldly declares: "He is mine!" Although we may feel unworthy and undeserving of such a love, He stands by us. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

Jesus did the unthinkable. He died for our sins, our rebellion against God. He died so that we wouldn't have to die. He died so that we could have hope for a brighter future, a future with the resurrected one. He died so that we could spend eternity with Him as our big brother. Jesus has made the unworthy worthy!

If a king or president would sacrifice himself for someone considered unworthy, it would mean the unworthy one was worthy after all, otherwise why would the king or the president have sacrificed himself?

So, my friend, you are of considerable value in God's eyes.

Dear Lord, thank You for showing us that we are worthy by dying for us. Help us share that good news with someone today.  We also pray for those that are persecuted for their faith in You, protect them from harm and give them the courage they need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Undermining Freedom of Speech and Religion

2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (NIV)
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

When Paul wrote those words, he was speaking to a church which had and would continue to encounter prejudice and persecution from the people of the world – much like the world we live in.

Understand, America's persecution is not like that of Ugandan Pastor Umar Mulinde who had acid thrown in his face. We have not experienced the pain of Eva Abdullah, a 17-year-old girl from Tanzania who has been disowned by her parents and jailed for two years for having insulted the Koran. We are not in mourning like the family of Egyptian Refaat Eskander who was murdered hours after propaganda promised a bounty to anyone who kills Christian Copts.

Even so, in a 140-page report released by the Family Research Council and Liberty Institute maintains America's Christians are being persecuted. The report cites examples like that

* of a federal judge, who threatened to jail a high-school valedictorian, if "Jesus" wasn't removed from her graduation speech,

* or city officials, who stopped seniors from praying over meals, listening to religious messages, or singing Gospel songs at their activities center,

* or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which wanted to forbid a pastor from praying or referring to Jesus during a Memorial Day ceremony and

* a federal judge, who said prayers before a State House of Representatives could be made to Allah but not to Jesus.

Quite frankly, I can't tell you which form of persecution is worse. I know which one is more violent, but I don't know whether violence or slowly undermining freedom of speech and religion is more effective.

I may not live long enough to get a complete answer to that question.

But my children will and so will my grandchildren. Again and again we hear politicians and economists talk about the financial debts and burdens we are leaving those who come after us. If the figures they quote are correct, our descendants will indeed be carrying a heavy burden.

But that burden is minor and of little consequence when compared to the spiritual threat that will come to those who live in a society which has proudly declared its delusional independence from God.

That is why I find myself crying out to God that our country would once again turn its heart, soul and mind back to God.

Dear Lord, We pray that our nations' leaders and citizens repent of their unbelief and be brought to the knowledge that only through You there is salvation and hope. Protect our loved ones from persecution. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Afraid? of What?

John 12:24 (NIV)
Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

John and Betty Stam attended Moody Bible Institute a few years before me.  After they graduated from Moody Bible Institute they sailed for China as missionaries during a difficult time for missionaries. (They were actually married in China, Betty preceding John to the mission field by one year.) They knew the risks involved. The China Inland Mission was specifically recruiting laborers to work in dangerous Communist infested areas. But both of them had been inspired by a poem written after Southern Presbyterian missionary Jack Vinson was martyred in 1931. Vinson had showed no fear of death to his Chinese captors, telling them, "Kill me, if you wish. I will go straight to God." The calmness he showed inspired his colleague E. H. Hamilton to write this poem:

Afraid? Of What?
To feel the spirit's glad release?
To pass from pain to perfect peace,
The strife and strain of life to cease?

Afraid-of that?
Afraid? Of What?
Afraid to see the Saviour's face,
To hear His welcome, and to trace
The glory gleam from wounds of grace?

Afraid-of that?
Afraid? Of What?
A flash, a crash, a pierced heart;
Darkness, light, O Heaven's art!
A wound of His a counterpart! Afraid-of that?

Afraid? Of What?
To do by death what life could not­
Baptize with blood a stony plot,
Till souls shall blossom from the spot?
Afraid-of that?

With courage and faith, John had challenged the graduating class at Moody in 1932:

"Shall we beat a retreat, and turn back from our high calling in Christ Jesus; or dare we advance at God's command in face of the impossible? Let us remind ourselves that the Great Commission was never qualified by clauses calling for advance only if funds were plentiful and no hardship or self-denial involved. On the contrary, we are told to expect tribulation and even persecution, but with it victory in Christ."

The day of reckoning came for John and Betty Stain. They were captured by Communists (their little baby, Priscilla, was miraculously spared), then painfully bound, stripped down to their underwear, and kept under guard for the night. The next morning, they were paraded down the street while being mocked and ridiculed, after which they were beheaded-baptizing with blood a stony plot, till souls have blossomed from that spot. They were not afraid of that!

As word got out about their martyrdom, the impact was dramatic, both in terms of new missionary volunteers, new student prayer meetings, and large monetary donations to the work in China. A missionary with the China Inland Mission wrote to Betty's parents: "A life which had the longest span of years might not have been able to accomplish one-hundredth of the work for Christ which they have done in a day." That is the power of martyrdom! Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds" (John 12:24). One short act of obedience to death gave many others eternal life!

Will you be obedient to the Lord today?

Dear Lord, we thank You for those who went before us to share the gospel to a world that needs it. Help us each be willing to give our all to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, November 17, 2014

God Will Protect

Revelation 21:4 (NIV)
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Following is a true story that I read. More details aren't given because of security reasons.

Rehna Sultana (name is not real) was a Moslem student. One day, she read a Christian tract in her dormitory, and accepted Jesus as her personal savior and became a Christian. Her father was an Islamic ruler, so she expected to lose her inheritance because of her conversion.

She was completely unprepared for what really happened: when she told her family that she had become a Christian and changed her name to Faith (not real name), her father exploded in rage. Her father and brothers stripped her naked and bound her to a chair fixed to a metal plate with which they wanted to electrocute her. Faith asked them to at least lay a Bible in her lap. Her father responded "If you want to die together with your false religion, so be it."

One of her brothers added "That will show that your religion is powerless." Although they had bound her, she was able to touch a corner of the Bible. She felt a strange peace, as though someone were standing beside her. Her father and brothers pushed the plug into the socket - and nothing happened. They tried four times with various cables, but it was as though the electricity refused to flow.

Finally, her father, angry and frustrated, hit her and screamed "You are no longer my daughter." Then he threw his daughter out into the street, naked. She ran through the streets, humiliated and in pain. Shaking and tearful, she ran to a friend. People looked at her, curious rather than shocked.

Her friend let her in, clothed her and gave her shelter. The next day, her friend asked neighbors what they had thought when they had seen Faith running naked through the streets.

"What are you talking about?" They asked. "The girl had a wonderful white dress on. We asked ourselves why someone so beautifully clothed had to run through the streets."

God had hidden her nakedness from their eyes, clothing her in a beautiful white dress; our God is an amazing God. Today, Faith is a full-time evangelist sharing the good news of the Gospel to those around her.

How strong is your faith and love for God?

Dear Lord, help our faith be strong today. Help us to stand strong when the things of this world come against us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Will You Be Faithful to the End?

Mark 15:15 (NIV)
Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

Thomas Kozaki was born in 1582 in Ise, Japan. His father Michael was a carpenter and a Christian. Michael met some Franciscan missionaries and he helped build the Franciscan convents and churches of Kyoto and Osaka.

In 1596, fourteen year old Thomas was an altar boy. The Japanese ruler Toyotomi Hideyoshi wanted to rid Japan of Christians and he ordered their arrest. In Kyoto and Osaka, twenty-six Christians, including Michael and Thomas, were arrested. They each had a piece of their left ear cut off, and then paraded from city to city, traveling more than 400 miles.

For weeks a man shouted their crimes and encouraged their abuse. The arrested priests and brothers were accused of preaching the outlawed faith of Christianity, the laity of supporting and aiding them. They were each repeatedly offered freedom if they would renounce Christianity. They each declined. The twenty-six were crucified on February 5, 1597 at Tateyama (Hill of Wheat), in Nagasaki, Japan.

Prior to his death, Thomas wrote a touching letter to his mother. In it he says: "Remember also the innumerable blessings bestowed by the Lord Jesus Christ. As everything of this world can be lost soon, even if you might become poor and have to beg for food from people, please take care not to lose the glory of paradise. No matter what people may say to you, please forbear with patience and love to the end."

Jesus loved the world that He laid down His life for it will you be faithful to the end?

Dear Lord, thank You for Your love. We pray today that no matter how hard it seems to be that we will stay faithful to You just as You are faithful to us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

God Will Use You Where You Are.

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

In his home in central Vietnam, Nam Loc shared the Gospel one-on-one to every villager. His witness won thousands of people to Christ. It also earned the wrath of his detractors, who conspired with police authorities in filing trumped-up charges against him. First he was accused of stealing idols from converts' homes. He was arrested, chained, and dragged away from his home to a tiny prison cell that he shared with two other prisoners.

There he immediately witnessed to his prison mates. His first day in prison was not one of despair, because as he shared, one weary soul, battered by life's difficulties, found rest and peace with God.

One day the authorities came with a tempting proposition-freedom. But he rejected it. Why? His freedom could only be gained on one condition-he must become a spy for the government and identify who his fellow believers were. But Nam would have rather remained a captive in prison than betray his fellow brothers and sisters in the faith.

His stubborn defiance was rewarded with a heavier charge-a political one that effectively prolonged his prison term to seven to nine years. He was accused, again spuriously, of burning a portrait of Ho Chi Minh-the founder of the Communist movement in Vietnam. Solitary confinement came next. For five months he neither saw nor talked to anyone. Completely detached from everything, he passed the days singing praises to God. One after another, he sang hymns he knew from memory. Prison officials got so enraged that they violently beat him every time he sang.

He was beaten. Yes. But only physically. For even as his body suffered, his determination remained strong. He kept sharing Jesus with other prisoners.

But how did he do this? Through his chamber ran a water pipe that was connected to other prison cells. An idea came to his mind. He bore a hole in it from which he spoke to his fellow prisoners about Jesus Christ. Many heard his message, and they believed in Jesus!

Nam did not serve his entire prison sentence. After nine months he was released from prison through the petition of a Communist general!

And he is doing it again, telling people about the wonderful love of Jesus, his Savior. Another prison term? Maybe. When that happens, Nam can resume his interrupted water-pipe evangelism.

Are you serving God where you are today?

Dear Lord, wherever You take us help us to use the opportunity to reach others for You. Help us be faithful. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Friday, November 14, 2014

God Can Use You.

James 4:6 (NIV)
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”

Xiao Min is a Chinese peasant farmer’s daughter who has written 900 hymns for the Underground churches in China. She is a modern equivalent of Joan of Arc and the Christians in China have experienced a new hope through her worship songs that they call “The Hymns of Canaan.”

Her hymns and influence is so widespread that the anti-religious authorities in China are reacting violently to house churches in local towns and villages. The mighty dragon is being tamed and brought down by a tiny mosquito. Twenty million people have been converted to Christ through the singing of Xiao Min’s songs. She is stirring a new hope for freedom and faith throughout China. She is a supreme example of what happens when God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

In our cozy Western churches, we have forgotten about the energy, dynamism, and strength that persecution can bring to the faithful. We forget too easily that Christianity is radical by nature and should confront evil in every generation, culture or civilization. For too long, we have been standing still, hoping to keep the peace and remain undisturbed. We have been asleep at the wheel as far as the direction that our society has been traveling. We have become ineffective and irrelevant in our own eyes because we have listened to what the world has to say about our faith, instead of showing what our faith can really do to change the world.

We should all learn to sing the songs of Canaan that are part of our own hymns. We should remember, recall and revisit the promises of God which lead us to a land of milk and honey, to a land of freedom and faith. If a peasant farmer’s daughter in an obscure part of China can reach 20 million souls through the grace of God, then who or what can stand against us when we open our hearts, minds, and souls to do the same here?

Dear Lord, We have forgotten the joy of our salvation, the gladness of grace, and the blessings of the Gospel. We pray that our faith and our spirits would be revived so that we can begin once more to move our country back to You. In Jesus’  Name, Amen.