Thursday, April 10, 2014

The "Secret" to Their Hope by VOM

In the most recent VOM magazine, which focused on how they're doing everything they can to get a Bible to every believer, one story in particular stuck out: The "Secret" to Their Hope. Every story was  amazing, especially VOM's creativity in spreading God's Word (like putting it on MP4 players). These audio books are small and easy to transport. Ah, the beauty of technology! BUT my favorite was definitely the story of a group of believers in Burma (Myanmar) region. There they face persecution and very poor conditions (most making a meager $1.50 per day). 

This area is sacred to the local Buddhists who do not want any churches located near them. As a result they are frequently harassed by local authorities and Buddhist monks. The violence spreads to homes of believers where authorities presume Christians meet. VOM calls this area "a difficult place to follow Jesus." 

I'd say so.

However, their response to this persecution blew me away. I'm just going to quote it directly from the article itself: 
"As we sat with these faithful believers, we asked them why they stayed in this area where they are hated. Or, with so much harassment, why did they not simply give up and turn away from Christ? Their answers were what we have come to expect from persecuted believers around the world, but they still challenge us each time we hear them: "After knowing the true and living God, how could we ever stop loving Him? they said. "Our persecutors do not know the love of God, so we love them and share with them. We have peace in our hearts so that whether we are poor or persecuted, we have this peace. It is the hope of heaven that keeps us going in the midst of persecution, so whether we are persecuted, beaten or not, it is the hope that we will be in heaven that keeps us moving forward." How could these simple rural people have such confidence in Christ and such a solid hope in heaven? We learned more about their lives and the activities of their church as our conversation continued over fresh papaya and tea. It became evident that the "secret" to their faith and hope was an overwhelming love for and confidence in God's Word. We learned that it is common for every believer to spend time in God's Word each morning before going out to work for the day. In addition, scripture memory is a vital part of their discipleship, with the average believer knowing from 150 to 200 verses by memory.(The Voice of the Martyrs, April 2014, p.14, bolded mine)
So what is the "secret" to their confidence? Their hope? God's Word! How amazing is that? 
American Christian's have access galore to God's Word (most of us have more than one Bible, in fact) and yet we tend to make up all kinds of excuses as to why we don't read it, or meditate on it, or memorize it. What would happen if we were suddenly persecuted (losing everything we own, family members dying for their faith, etc.) because of our faith in Christ? Would we hold strong? 

Let these Christians be our example! 

They ended the article with this one amazing statement that had me in tears, "Together, we rejoiced in the hope of of one day standing around the throne of God as the body of Christ, worshiping our King. This is the hope that keeps us all moving forward, toward that glorious day!"

I highly encourage you to order a free subscription to this magazine, or if you feel lead to help the persecuted church in any other way, contact:
orders and contributions: 800-747-0085
ministry information: 877-377-0302

You can also send persecuted Christians an Action Pack, I wrote about the specific details here.

One of the things VOM always asks from us is prayer, there is nothing else more powerful.

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