Tuesday, April 10, 2012

He's Been SO Good to Me

No natural circumstance will, in any way, taint that which I hear the Spirit speak, nor will it altogether hinder me from hearing what He says.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Martyrs

"...for they loved not their life even unto death." (Revelation 12:11b)

Here are two excerpts from the book Jesus Freaks Vol II.

"I Forgive You"  Abbot Iscu
Romania, 1951

"Abbot Iscu lay quietly awaiting death in the Tirgul-Ocna prison as a result of the tortures he had endured at the hands of his Communist captors.  He spoke very little and looked serene as he felt heaven draw closer.  If he did speak, his words carried the weight of eternity, and all attention in the cellblock suddenly focused to listen to him.  Yet each breath he took revealed the pain that wracked his body.
Across from him, horrified at the sight of the abbot, lay another prisoner near death.  He was once a Communist officer, and it was at his hands that the abbot had been tortured to the point of death.  He had been a faithful Communist, and for this he now shared the cell of those he had been told to make "recant the Christian superstition" for the sake of the party.  As a result of something none of the other prisoners ever learned, he had been imprisoned as well and tortured by his own comrades.

Though he, too, was at the point of death, he could find no peace in death.  He awoke in the middle of the night in a heavy sweat and grabbed the arm of the person nearest him.  He knew most in that cellblock were Christians, so he begged prayer.  "I have committed horrible crimes.  I can find no rest.  Help me, please"

Because of the damp cold and never really knowing when it was day or night, many in the cell were still awake.  At the Communist torturer's words, Abbott Iscu motioned for two other believers to come and help him.  With their help, he was lifted from his bed and brought over to the officer, where he was set down on his bedside.  The abbot the abbot reached out and laid a comforting hand on his torturer's head.  "You were young and did not know what you were doing.  I forgive you and love you, as do all the other Christians you mistreated.  And if we sinners who have been saved by Jesus can love like this, how much more is He himself ready to erase all the evil you have done, to cleanse you fully.  Only repent."

So in that common cell, others heard the confession of a murderer to one of the men he had murdered.  they also heard the murdered absolving his murderer.  They embraced at the end of their prayers and gave each other a holy kiss, as was the custom of Christians in Jesus' time as well as behind the Iron Curtain.  

They both died that night and must have entered heaven together.  It was Christmas Eve."

"My Heart Seemed Too Narrow to Contain His Joy"  A Japanese Prisoner and Others
Japan, 1622

A Christian in Omura wrote the following in a letter from prison:

"Oh, if you taste the delights with which God fills the souls of those who serve Him, and suffer for Him, how would you condemn all that the world would promise!  I now begin to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, since for His love I am in prison, where I suffer much.
But I assure you, that when I am fainting with hunger, God has fortified me by His sweet consolations, so that I have looked upon myself as well recompensed for His service.  And though I were yet to pass many years in prison, the time would appear short, through the extreme desire which I fell of suffering for Him, who even here so repays our labors.
Besides other sickness, I have been afflicted with a continual fever a hundred days without any remedies or proper nourishment.  Yet, all this time my heart was so full of joy that it seemed to me too narrow to contain it.  I have never felt any equal to it."

Later, when he heard that he would be burned alive, he overflowed with joy.  He constantly expressed his gratitude to God, for he felt himself unworthy of dying as a martyr for Jesus.

On September 2, he was taken with twenty-four others to Nagasaqui, where, only shortly before, fifty Christians had been executed for their faith.  When they arrived near the city, they were taken to twenty-five stakes that were all in a row and tied to them.  The wood had been set all around them with the farthest extremity about eight meters away.  When the wood was lit at this point, it took about two hours for it to burn to those tied to the poles.  The Christians stood all this time with their eyes toward heaven until the flames finally took them.

"We share in the terrible sufferings of Christ, but also in the wonderful comfort he gives.  We suffer in the hope that you will be comforted and saved.  And because we are comforted, you will also be comforted, as you patiently endure suffering like ours.  You never disappoint us.  You suffered as much as we did, and we know that you will be comforted as we were."  (2 Corinthians 1:5-7)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I desire to be fully separated from the world and its systems and wholly abandoned to God and His wisdom.