Friday, November 27, 2015

Safely Home: Is this the day I die?

Safely Home by Randy Alcorn

 Is this the day I die?

Li Quan’s father had taught him from childhood to ask this question every day. He told young Quan, “one day the answer will be yes, and on that day you must be ready.”
Quan stiffened at the shout behind him. The voice rang with the authority of the Gong An Ju, the Public Security Bureau. “You meet in the night like the criminals you are. How dare you defy the law? In three minutes,” Scarbrow said matter-of-factly, “we will shoot every man and woman – and child – who does not declare himself loyal to the people rather than the gweilos, foreign devils.”
Quan, Ming and Shen clasped each other’s hands. Quan breathed deeply and braced himself.
“Surely this is the day.”
American business executive Ben Fielding has no idea what his brilliant old college roommate is facing in China. After 20 years he expects to pick up where they left off. But when they’re reunited in China, the men are shocked at what they discover about each other. The paths they’ve walked have shaped their lives and loyalties in radically different ways.
Thrown together in an hour of encroaching darkness, watched by unseen eyes, both must make choices that will determine not only the destinies of two men, but two families, two nations…and two worlds.
This book of historical fiction will entice the reader to pray and study more, to look into the persecuted church.
The story relates that Hudson Taylor introduced Li Quan’s great-great grandfather to Jesu. His family also knew Ni Tuosheng-Watchman Nee. Following are a few quotes from the thought-provoking book. This is one fiction book worth reading.
   “The enemy seeks to accuse us that we are not what we are. But just as surely, he seeks to assure us we are what we are not.”
   “Yesu said, ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ Shengjing says, ‘If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’ That is real freedom One man stands inside prison and is free. Another man stands outside prison and remains in bondage. Is this not true,..?”
   “…Many years ago NI Tuoshen-Watchman Nee-was asked to speak at a gathering. He knew in the crowd there were many authorities wanting to arrest him as soon as he spoke about Yesu or church. When he stood, there was a glass of water by him. Suddenly he threw it down, then crushed it with his heel. But the more violently he crushed it, the more the glass spread. Everywhere he put his foot down, glass spread farther. Then he sat down. The unbelievers thought he had gone mad. But the believers understood. It was a sermon without words. They did not arrest him-how can you arrest a man for preaching when he has said nothing?”
   “But what did it mean?”
   “In attempting to destroy the church, the government has spread it. Instead of holding the church safely in its hand, the state has lost control of it, or the church multiplies under Communism even as Israel multiplied under Pharaoh’s tyranny. China’s government is desperate to regain control over the church. But the more they stalk and stomp, the more they spread the church with their own heels. They lock men in prisons, and they take the gospel there. They send women to correction farms in the country, and they take the gospel there. The glass will not be controlled. It spreads everywhere. The same state that persecutes the church is an instrument in God’s hands to make the church grow.”
   Quite an illustration.
Writing about the persecution, trials and discouragements and how come it is taking so long before Jesus Christ returns, this is a dialog between Michael and the King…  “But when, if I may ask, Lord, will the time be right?” “The moment I bring justice and relieve all suffering is the moment earth’s inhabitants’ eternal destiny is sealed. Not one more shall be joined to me then. To ‘end it all,’ as you say, will also mean to end the offer of grace-a grace I delight to offer, a violet grace that cost me dearly.” …   “Your servants wonder why you do not end it all now…”   “They don’t understand that I am not only at work here, preparing a place for them, but I am at work there, preparing them for that place.”

Friday, November 13, 2015

Two Sides of the Cross of Jesus Christ

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5

Philippians 4:8-13
As Christians, we need never suffer with thoughts of low self-esteem or defeat. There may be times when we feel down or battle worn, but never defeated. Jesus Christ has conquered the power of sin and death. He is our sufficiency for every need we face. No matter what the circumstance, He is with us and for us.
The most powerful message we can feed our minds is the message of the Cross. God loves us eternally and unconditionally. Paul learned to be content in every situation of life because he knew the Son of God was watching over him. How could he possibly fail?
Whether in need or in abundance, Paul’s sufficiency was rooted in Jesus Christ. His mind was tuned in to the powerful possibilities of God, not the doubt and discouragement of the world. Through times of suffering, even to the point of death, Paul remained firm in his faith.
Ask God to help you exchange any negative thought you may have for God’s perspective. You will find that God never uses words of confusion, doubt, fear, or hopelessness. Instead, He always gives us words of hope, victory, peace, blessing, triumph, and love. Cultivate God’s blessing by learning to walk in light of His victory.

Lord, let me turn out confusion, doubt, fear, and hopelessness. Help me receive Your words of hope, victory, peace, blessing, triumph, and love.
“Seeking His Face” by Dr. Charles Stanley April 9