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WELCOME TO PRAYER FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS~WINTER OF 2012/2013~
1 year ago
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WELCOME TO PRAYER FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS~

11/27/12
1 year ago

WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY TODAY TO THE PERSECUTED CHURCH?

Today we share a message composed by Steve Haas for Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

To the angel of the church of the despised, incarcerated, separated, raped, and martyred; the Persecuted Church. These are the words of him who knows your patient endurance, understands your distress, and like you has been faithful to the shedding of his own precious blood.

You say you are isolated, cut off, that no one acknowledges your state. I see the terrors you face: the raids of your house churches in Laos, Indonesia, and China; the assault and murder of your leadership in Iran, India, and Chechnya...

I register every tear that is cried, record each longing conceived, hear each desperate plea confessed. I identify intimately with your plight. I have not forgotten you. Nor have many others who, although unfamiliar with the gravity of your suffering, draw hope and strength from your noble sacrifices for me. I have revealed your plight to your brothers and sisters in Christ, and have called thousands of churches to pray for you and to serve you.

You say you are afraid. Recognize what you have that cannot be taken away. I have given you new life, an irrepressible joy, and an ever-present Spirit. Your transforming faith in me cannot be crushed but instead shines like a lighthouse, drawing those who sincerely search for the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

You say you are losing hope. Know that these afflictions are not the final word, that I am sovereign and just. In time, I will repay. Although these tribulations threaten to overwhelm you, I have prepared an eternal place of peace for you, a permanent sanctuary of refreshment and true freedom that begins the moment you recognize me as Lord and serve me as King. I am with you always.

Beware of those who come from outside your fellowship, who masquerade as teachers of the church but elevate personal comfort over godly obedience. Many travel from long distances and present themselves as spiritual masters of the faith, proclaiming that temporal health and security are your due. Do not listen to them. Theirs is a false teaching, only shackling you to the unrequited masters of greed and disquiet. In the midst of your suffering, I will prove to be your only true peace and anchor…

I delight in your resourcefulness with little, your dignity in suffering, your joyful endurance in the midst of adversity. It is these things that give witness to a power above all earthly kingdoms, a source of strength stronger than the might of any human power.

Remain faithful, and I will raise you up in victory. Patiently endure, for I will not tarry long.

RESPONSE
Today I reaffirm my commitment to be faithful
and patiently endure until Jesus comes.

PRAYER
Pray that the Persecuted Church will understand
the deep reality of patient endurance.

1 year ago

PERSECUTION AND CHURCH GROWTH

Pastor Samuel Lamb, from southern China, celebrated his 87th birthday in October, 2011. A quarter of his life was spent imprisoned for his faith. He still preaches several times on Sunday in his large house church, and most week nights in Bible studies. His brilliant smile shines from a slight body suffering chronic disability resulting from 15 years confinement in a coal mine. “God gives me the strength I need,” he says. He has never left China, fearing that if he traveled, the authorities would not let him return. 

Lamb credits God for the faith to accept what has happened in his life. It has deepened his ministry. Lamb believes that sometimes God is more glorified through sickness and poverty than through health and wealth. Christians travel thousands of miles to discuss house church ministry with Pastor Lamb, and visitors from around the world seek out his house church in Guangzhou, China, which gathers 3,000 members each week.

Pastor Lamb often refers to persecution and growth as intertwined. He is known for his quote, “Remember the lesson of the Chinese church: more persecution, more growth.” As the pastor explains, “Before I was put into prison in 1955, this church’s membership was 400. When I came out in 1978, it built up to 900 in a matter of weeks. Then after 1990, when everything was confiscated here and the church briefly closed, we reopened and in a matter of weeks we had 2,000 members. More persecution, more growth—that’s the history of the Chinese church, that’s the history of this church.”

Though the two are related, persecution in other parts of the world has not necessarily always brought church growth. North Africa is an example.

But the Bible, especially in the book of Acts, is clear that church growth will likely bring persecution. Each time the Gospel made advances in Acts, persecution would break out. And in Acts 8:4, the persecuted and scattered believers went everywhere preaching the Word.

RESPONSE
Today I will accept the principle that sometimes
God is more glorified through sickness and
poverty than through health and wealth.

PRAYER
Thank You Lord that You use all situations
to grow Your church. Help me to be an active
and eager participant.

1 year ago


Lisa H.

WELCOME LISA!

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