Disobedience is the worst thing

“I was in the central highlands in Vietnam when someone remarked about how the Christians suffer there. One Vietnamese Christian remarked, ‘Suffering is not the worst thing that can happen to us. Disobedience to God is the worst thing.'”

Tom White, Director of the Voice of the Martyrs.

Zahid, a great Muslim persecutor of Christians in Pakistan in the 1980’s read the Bible “looking for contradictions I could use against the Christian faith. All of a sudden, a great light appeared in my room and I heard a voice call my name. The light was so bright, it lit the entire room.” The voice goes on to ask, “Zahid, why do you persecute Me?” This happened four nights in a row. On the fourth night, Zahid knelt and accepted Jesus as his Savior.
(excerpted from Jesus Freaks)

His family turned him over to the very persecutors he assisted previously. Though subjected to agonizing torture he would not recant. “I could not deny Jesus. Mohammed had never visited me; Jesus had. I knew He was the truth.”

There are many stories in the book Jesus Freaks that amaze me. Many appearances of our Christ in the most difficult circumstances! Pastor Wurmbrand, in prison for his stance against Communist Russia saw Jesus and the cell walls “shining like diamonds.”

There are many modern Christian converts from the Muslim religion taking on the last name of “Masih” to show their love of Christ. Masih” means “Messiah” and marks them as a Christian convert and most often a fatwah or order for their assassination issued by the Muslim temples.

What a great book! It impresses upon me how important it is to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ and to stand up in my daily life.

But also, it is easy for us to say —

“How can I believe when Jesus hasn’t appeared to me!”
It’s not fair – I pray daily and agonize in prayer to my Lord and he doesn’t appear to me.”

For those of us who feel that way, I came across the greatest story from Corrie Ten Boom in her book, In My Father’s House!

In this excerpt, Corrie had gone to listen to a man named Sadhu Sundar Singh who had been taught to hate Jesus as a boy. He prayed and asked God if He really existed and asked Him to reveal Himself. He was going to try to kill himself so he could find out the truth about God. He was forever transformed into a fervent evangelist by a vision of Jesus who asked “How long will you deny Me? I died for you; I have given My life for you.” He saw Jesus and his hands and feet. She went to see him in Holland and was able to talk to him.

Here is their conversation as she recollected it:

“Please Mr. Sadhu, tell me what is wrong with me? I’m a child of God, I have received Jesus as my Savior, and I know that my sins are forgiven. I know He is with me for He has said, ‘I am with you always ’til the end of the world.’ But what’s wrong with me? I’ve never seen a vision or experienced a miracle.” The Sadhu smiled at me. “Sometimes people come to see a miracle. When they come now I’ll send them to Corrie ten Boom. That I know Jesus is alive and with me is no miracle…these eyes have seen Him. But you, who have never seen Him, know His presence. Isn’t that a miracle of the Holy Spirit? Look in your Bible at what Jesus said to Thomas in John 20:29, ‘Blessed are they who did not see and yet believed.’ “Don’t pray for visions; He gives you the assurance of His presence without visions.” It was such a relief to me…it seemed as if the Lord had thrown a curtain aside and I could see the light. Yes, it’s a tremendous thing that we can know the Lord is with us!” (In My Father’s House 121)

How encouraging! CS Lewis said “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.”

Now, many say — we don’t have that type of persecution — we can’t understand these things.
Some people are called to die for Christ. Others of us are called to live for Him.

My wise father has often said that “more people in America fail from inability to handle prosperity rather than difficulty.” I have always remembered that!

I think that we in America are the type of people that pull together and remember God when times are rough. But when prosperous times come, we buy a beach house and leave town on the weekends!

As we look at the new year, there is much work to be done. We must pray for Christians. We must get out and tell others about Christ. We must be faithful! We must not grow weary! The time is short! There is so much to do!

1 Peter 1:8-9

8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Lord, when I get stuck in the routine of my day, remind me of the imminence of your return and the urgency of this message. There are over 160,000 people that died this year because they would not deny Jesus Christ. Let me not deny you as I live for you, my Jesus. Surely I am small compared to the many great Christians of history but I ask that I be obedient to you in all that you ask me to do. Let me follow you with all of the passion of a martyr who has given up her life in pursuit of You. Amen.

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