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
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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,
Psalm 100:4-5 (NIV)
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts
give thanks to
him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
faithfulness continues through all generations.
Take a minute to give THANKS for what God has given to
time together as a family
our continuing love relationship with You through Jesus
our love relationship with each other
life, health, bright minds, and physical safety
food, clothing, a comfortable house, a clean bed
enjoying being together with laughter
the uniqueness of each one
the rock of strength that prayer is for us
faithful friends who encourage us by praying for our family
seeing God's hand of grace at work in our lives as we experience more of Him
God's plan for our lives and His enabling to keep us in His will each day
weaknesses through which God shows Himself strong in us
· for wisdom
and guidance in daily circumstances
strength for daily demands of job and family
hope, peace, victory, satisfaction, and fulfillment
spiritual strength in spiritual battles
Your patience in the testing, struggles, and refining that we grow through
Jesus' sufficiency for today's grace
forgiveness received and forgiveness extended
hearts of obedience
more than we could ever deserve!
Dear Lord, thank You for these things and many more. In
Jesus’ Name, Amen.
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
ways and be wise!
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.
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
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.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who
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.
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
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
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,
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
* or city officials, who stopped seniors from praying
over meals, listening to religious messages, or singing Gospel songs at their
* 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
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'
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
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:
To feel the spirit's glad release?
To pass from pain to perfect peace,
The strife and strain of life to cease?
Afraid to see the Saviour's face,
To hear His welcome, and to trace
The glory gleam from wounds of grace?
A flash, a crash, a pierced heart;
Darkness, light, O Heaven's art!
A wound of His a counterpart! Afraid-of that?
To do by death what life could not
Baptize with blood a stony plot,
Till souls shall blossom from the spot?
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
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.
‘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
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,
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.
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
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.
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
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.