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Friday, July 27, 2007

Have you ever?

“But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 3:6-8 (NIV emphasis mine)

“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 that day you must be ready…” (quoted from “Safely Home”)

Have you ever read a fictional book that impacted your life and outlook in your walk with Christ ? I have. Let me share just a little…

Several years ago, I lead a Bible study on the book of Acts. I think it was one of my favorite ones I lead. At the last lesson we met at a friend’s house to have dinner together. What a beautiful fellowship we had. We were talking about the early Christian church—how it must have been in those days when they met for fellowship and breaking bread. AND the persecution they went through.

Our hostess mentioned a book that she read about the Christian church in China. I was intrigued to read the book myself. Although the book “Safely Home” is categorized under fiction, the author took real events that happened in China to tell a story. A story that was real for many Chinese people who became Christians. A story of persecution, imprisonment and death.

After reading the book I had so many questions. I questioned myself: “Would you stand for Christ like the characters in the book?” I honestly don’t know, but I hope I would. I think that we are truly blessed living in a country where we can openly admit that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. We don’t have to worry to attend worship services on Sundays (or Wednesdays) just to be arrested afterward.

Although many things have changed in China, I believe that many still suffer because of their faith in Christ. I think that is why I admire woman like Cyndi, who followed the Lord’s calling to pack up her family and possessions to go on a mission trip to China.

I am not saying that we all should pack up our stuff, but I would like to encourage you to at least pray for the Christians in China; for Christians around the world. Not all are free to worship Him…many suffer. I am thrilled that the Lord has crossed my path with a sweet, young woman in China who I pray for daily—that she will stand firm, trust in Him and will share His love with the people around her.

Lord of Heaven and Earth. I am asking You to open our hearts to pray for our brothers and sisters that are suffering because they believe in You and Your freedom. Lord, help us appreciate the freedom we have in this country and the countries how do not forbid to worship You freely. In the precious name of Jesus ~ Amen.



You can also find me at my personal blog Sting My Heart

8 Comments:

Blogger Denise said...

Bless you Iris, this really touched my heart.

July 27, 2007 at 4:16 AM  
Blogger Cyndi said...

What a beautiful, timely post. The book "Safely Home" impacted me greatly, too. Yes, we should be praying for our dear brothers and sisters in China and around the world. We need to also be praying for the missionaries there. There has recently been the largest expulsion of foreign missionaries since 1954. What a privilege to pray for a country and a people who are so precious to God.

July 27, 2007 at 7:34 AM  
Blogger Laurel Wreath said...

I pray for those who can not worship freely. It burdens my heart, but in a good way to help me remember. Oh Father may we always remember the one in the fire in our prayers daily.

Great post.

July 27, 2007 at 8:11 AM  
Blogger Angie said...

A very timely post indeed. In the days we live, things are uncertain. We have the luxury of having as many Bibles in our home as we want. I just finished a book by Phillip Yancey "Finding God in Unexpected Places" and he told a story of a missionary that had to "bury his Bible" in his backyard. Everything had to be kept secret. Another story he related was of a Pakastanian man that accepted Jesus into his heart/life and was totally shut out of his family. Forever.
Are we strong enough to live in these situations? More than ever we need to pray for our missionaries and fellow Christians in foreign lands. We take our freedom for granted (I know I do).
Great Post Iris!

July 27, 2007 at 9:41 AM  
Blogger Debbie said...

I was just thanking the Lord the other day for the freedom to worship Him. I have taken so many things for granted and I am ashamed.

A dear old saint that has gone on to meet the Lord once told me that he had taken a bible, wrapped in protectively and hid it under the base of his floor. He said he felt certain there would come a day that bibles would no longer be a legal item in America.

I know a lot of people would scoff at such, but there are things going on now in the world that I thought I would never see.....


Blessings to you, Iris!

July 27, 2007 at 7:42 PM  
Blogger Terri @ In His Hands said...

You know my heart is praying for those in China! I'm going to have to get that book.

Praise God for all the missionaries like Cyndi that go over there to reach the lost.

July 28, 2007 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger mandy said...

Heavenly Man (by brother yun) is an autobiography written by one of the most famous (infamous, in some circles) house-church leader in China a few decades ago... the miraculous stories are amazing. its a page-turner that will turn your life around!
and fictional: redeeming love by francine rivers. amazing.

July 28, 2007 at 8:41 PM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

Iris,

I started reading Safely Home and was so overwhelmed by the truth of these characters and what so many have given to the cause of Christ that I could not finish it.

I have had a heart for the Chinese people ever since... and I didn't even read the entire book.

To pray for our sisters there is a profound privilege and I pray every day for the sweet reader we know.

Loved this post. Well Done.

July 29, 2007 at 11:06 AM  

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