Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Persecuted Church

A while back I use to get newsletters in the mail from The Voice Of The Martyrs. I remembered they really affected me, so I went and looked them back up so I could start getting the newsletters again.

While at the site, I noticed they were offering a free book, so I got it. It really touched me deeply. It's titled, Tortured For Christ.

The book is about a man named Richard Wurmbrand who was imprisoned for 14 years. He is the author and writes about what he went through and what other prisoners went through during their time in Communist prisons in Russia. He tells of truths that people sometimes want to close their ears to and pretend is not happening around them.

He doesn't really get too graphic in the book, because he says he can not even retell some of the encounters because it's still too hard for him to talk about. He does tell of the struggles of the underground church living in Russia in this time period. It was illegal for Christians to worship openly and with freedom, they were jailed and tortured if caught. This did not snuff out the voice of the Christians, in which they had hoped it would, it did the very opposite.

When water gets pushed down into the ground, it is purified by all the rocks, sand, debris... and the farther down the water is pushed, the more purified the water becomes.

This is what happened to the church during this persecution. The church was forced underground. The ones who weren't deeply connected to their faith easily fell away and turned their back on the gospel to keep from being jailed, killed, tortured or to keep family members from being hurt or taken from them. The ones who refused to deny Jesus even during long periods of humiliating torture, found a peace and life giving force in Jesus that was stronger than anything words can even convey. Their very faith itself even brought their own torturers to their knees wanting to know this Jesus they were dying for.

We can say we are blessed to be living in a free country and to be able to worship when, where and how we please. Jesus said, "blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." There is something about being put under hot coals which brings out a strength in our relationship with God that can not be obtained by sitting around idly in our comfortable pews. The book isn't to scare anyone into the fear of having our freedoms taken, but to actually give comfort in knowing, if you are ever put in that situation, the Spirit is here for us in our times of need and will give us whatever we need to get us through anything man can come at us with.

"For we wrestle not against flesh, but against the principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Eph 6:12

I encourage you to order this free book and a few for family and friends.  You never know what direction the message from the persecuted church could send you in.  :)   Let's remember them in our prayers daily.

Go here for your free book.