Yellowstone and the Quiet Rumbling

foundations-are-shaken-wo-movs-acts-16-1-638

As we near the end of June, Yellowstone is quietly rumbling past a historical earthquake record. USGS has now recorded 1,041 earthquakes at the super volcano for this month, higher than any previous recorded month, including during the swarms of 2010 and 1985. What does this mean? Nobody really knows. But I do have a sense that there is a low level rumbling across the earth in many realms, a rumbling that will eventually lead to a higher level of shaking. I believe this rumbling and shaking in the physical realm is often tied to the shaking in the heavenly realms.

“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” ~Haggai 2:6-9 (NIV)

The Lord showed me in a series of dreams a few years ago, a connection between earthquakes and revival. For example, the Azusa Street revival and the historic San Francisco earthquake both happened in April of 1906. Tens of thousands of souls were saved and the impact went across the face of the earth and had great eternal repercussions. There was a connection there between prayer, fasting, shaking and the harvest of souls. Often the shaking is in answer to prayers, but leads to chains being broken and a great harvest.

“Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.” ~Revelation 8:3-5 (NASB)

“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.” ~Psalm 107:13-16 (NIV)

At the same time that this increase in rumbling is happening, there is also a quiet rumbling of a new wave of prayer and salvations happening across the earth, especially in the last few years. Since the turn of the century, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of houses of prayer across the world. Some estimates are in the 10,000-20,000 range. I would also guess (based on a some recent large ministry reports) that we are seeing close to 100 Million people being saved every year, mostly in the global south and now in the middle east. Yes, we know that there is evil at work in the world. But, to me, that is just a reminder that our work is not yet complete. We know that Satan throws a fit because he knows that his time is short. But he will not succeed! We know that we will face difficulties in the meantime, but in the end Jesus’ Kingdom and His Saints take over. Consider the following scriptures by Jesus, John, Paul, Daniel (and the mysterious writer of Hebrews):

“From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.” ~Matthew 11:12 (NASB)

“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” ~John 12:31 (NASB)

“Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” ~I John 5:5 (NASB)

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” ~Romans 16:20 (NASB)

“No weapon that is formed against you will succeed; and every tongue that rises against you in judgment you will condemn. This [peace, righteousness, security, and triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from Me,” says the Lord. ~Isaiah 54:17 (AMP)

“The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time [3 ½ years].

“‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’” ~Daniel 7:24-27 (NIV)

“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” ~Revelation 12:11 (NASB)

When will all of this happen? According to Jesus, it will happen when the Gospel of the Kingdom is finally preached to every tribe, tongue and nation. Then, the end will come.

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” ~Matthew 24:14 (NIV) (Also see Revelation 7)

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For,

“In just a little while, he who is coming will come  and will not delay.”

And,

“But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”

But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”

~Hebrews 10:36-39 (NIV)

 

Advertisements

The Bread of Affliction – A Dream of Famine

1026-ALEPPO-BREADLINE

Several days ago I had a dream. I can’t say that I know the full meaning of this dream, but I felt like I should share it. I will continue to pray into this for further revelation.

The Dream

I was in a line to get some food. The man behind the counter asked each person what kind of food they desired. However, it seemed that he only had two kinds of food to offer. Furthermore, both kinds of food seemed like some sort of gooey unleavened pita bread or tortilla. However, if anyone every called it pita bread, tortilla, or any other name than this man’s preferred name, he always corrected them saying, “No, it is Ram-ida!” That was the essence of the dream.

Now, “Ramidan” is a season of fasting in the summer in the religion of Islam. Ramidan comes from the word, “ramida” which means dryness or heat. So, my initial sense is that this was some sort of bread line where there were not many varieties of food left to pick from, and that the food was being rationed due to shortage. Perhaps this was partly due to “dryness” or drought, which caused a famine. Therefore, this seems to be a warning dream of things to come. We don’t know how fast vast changes can happen. These types of breadlines are already happening in Syria  (see picture above), all over the Middle East and Europe – any place where Syrian refugees (and other refugees) are now fleeing. For them it was a “suddenly.” These types of shifts and changes can happen in a single day. It could happen in the USA as quickly as it could happen anywhere else. I had another recent dream where there were convertible cars that were completely covered and filled with snow. To me, this indicated a warning to be prepared for sudden unexpected changes. These changes can happen in the weather, society, economy, spiritual atmosphere, etc.

We must always be vigilant and continue to watch and pray, as Jesus instructed us to do. We must pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ that are now in distress. We must pray for the lost Muslim refugees that they would find refuge in Christ Jesus. We must prepare our hearts and ask that the Holy Spirit would highlight anything that would keep us from Jesus. We must be prepared for His return!

I found the appearance of unleavened bread in the dream interesting. The Bible says about the use of unleavened bread during the Feast of Passover, “Do not eat it with bread made with yeast, but for seven days eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, because you left Egypt in haste–so that all the days of your life you may remember the time of your departure from Egypt.” ~Deuteronomy 16:3 (NIV) This may take further interpretation through prayer, but I do find it compelling that the unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, was made because the Israelites left Egypt in haste. We must be ready to listen and quickly obey the Holy Spirit’s direction at all times. When it is time to move…we must move! If He says stay, then we must stay! It is for our protection…and with our obedience comes great reward!

I pray that the Father would richly bless you and keep you in Christ Jesus at all times. Amen!

Preparing for the Coming Tribulation

Corrie Ten Boom

I was in a prayer meeting several days ago, and I asked the Holy Spirit if He had anything specific to tell me. I felt Him giving me the reference Hebrews 11:37. So, I looked it up. It is not seemingly the most encouraging verse. It says, “They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated…” (Hebrews 11:37, NIV). I then felt directed and moved to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ being persecuted around the world. For we are commanded to, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

An estimated forty million martyrs have already given their lives since Jesus walked the earth. And persecution and martyrdom is dramatically increasing. But what about those of us living in relative comfort and ease? Are we prepared for the coming tribulation?

In 1974, Corrie Ten Boom made this statement, “I feel I have a divine mandate to go and tell the people of this world that it is possible to be strong in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are in training for the tribulation, but more than sixty percent of the Body of Christ across the world has already entered into the tribulation. There is no way to escape it. We are next.”

Today, forty year later, I read a recent statement made by Brother Andrew (God’s Smuggler) of Open Doors. He said, “seventy–five percent of the world’s population live in areas of severe persecution and restriction.” The Voice of the Martyrs stated that martyrdom doubled from 2012 to 2013. They also said that it increased tremendously from 2013 to 2014…and in 2015 it is off the charts!

Will persecution eventually reach one hundred percent of the followers of Jesus Christ around the world? The Bible virtually guarantees that it will. Jesus said, “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:20, NIV). He also said, “You will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me” (Matthew 24:9). The Apostle Paul made this statement, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted“ (2 Timothy 3:12).

But someone may ask, “Isn’t this time of great trouble just happening in Israel, or only in Jerusalem?” Jesus provides the answer. He said, “For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth” (see Luke 21:35). We also see further clarification in the book of Revelation. It appears that whole Bride of Christ—followers of Christ from every tribe, tongue and nation—will experience the great tribulation.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands…

…Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes’”
(Revelation 7:9,13-17).

The Word of God couldn’t be more plain about this subject. Yet, why are so many of us asleep, ignoring what is happening? The Day of the Lord is at hand. Yet, we are lulled into thinking that things will go on as they always have. Yet, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who will be found watching…” (Luke 12:37).

I pray that you prepare your hearts. I pray that the Lord Jesus would grant you great peace, grace and endurance. I pray that He would prepare you with the oil of joy necessary for what is coming, for what is about to happen in the years ahead.

“How do we prepare?” you may ask. I could not think of a better way to start than to read from a letter from someone who went through great persecution herself, a survivor of the Great Holocaust—Corrie Ten Boom.

I pray that you are encouraged and enlightened and filled with joy of the Lord as you read the following excerpt from one of her letters. And let us always remember,

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
(Psalm 23:4-6, NASB)

And,

“…lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20, NASB)


“PREPARED FOR THE COMING TRIBULATION”

(Excerpt from a letter written by Corrie Ten Boom in 1974)

“The world is deathly ill. It is dying. The Great Physician has already signed the death certificate. Yet there is still a great work for Christians to do. They are to be streams of living water, channels of mercy to those who are still in the world. It is possible for them to do this because they are overcomers.

Christians are ambassadors for Christ. They are representatives from Heaven to this dying world. And because of our presence here, things will change.

My sister, Betsy, and I were in the Nazi concentration camp at Ravensbruck because we committed the crime of loving Jews. Seven hundred of us from Holland, France, Russia, Poland and Belgium were herded into a room built for two hundred. As far as I knew, Betsy and I were the only two representatives of Heaven in that room.

We may have been the Lord’s only representatives in that place of hatred, yet because of our presence there, things changed. Jesus said, “In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” We too, are to be overcomers – bringing the light of Jesus into a world filled with darkness and hate.

Sometimes I get frightened as I read the Bible, and as I look in this world and see all of the tribulation and persecution promised by the Bible coming true. Now I can tell you, though, if you too are afraid, that I have just read the last pages. I can now come to shouting “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” for I have found where it is written that Jesus said,

“He that overcometh shall inherit all things: and I will be His God, and he shall be My son.”

This is the future and hope of this world. Not that the world will survive – but that we shall be overcomers in the midst of a dying world.

Betsy and I, in the concentration camp, prayed that God would heal Betsy who was so weak and sick.

“Yes, the Lord will heal me,” Betsy said with confidence.

She died the next day and I could not understand it. They laid her thin body on the concrete floor along with all the other corpses of the women who died that day.

It was hard for me to understand, to believe that God had a purpose for all that. Yet because of Betsy’s death, today I am traveling all over the world telling people about Jesus.

There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this. These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days. Most of them have little knowledge of what is already going on across the world. I have been in countries where the saints are already suffering terrible persecution.

In China, the Christians were told, “Don’t worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured.” Then came a terrible persecution. Millions of Christians were tortured to death. Later I heard a Bishop from China say, sadly,

“We have failed. We should have made the people strong for persecution, rather than telling them Jesus would come first. Tell the people how to be strong in times of persecution, how to stand when the tribulation comes, – to stand and not faint.”

I feel I have a divine mandate to go and tell the people of this world that it is possible to be strong in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are in training for the tribulation, but more than sixty percent of the Body of Christ across the world has already entered into the tribulation. There is no way to escape it. We are next.

Since I have already gone through prison for Jesus’ sake, and since I met the Bishop in China, now every time I read a good Bible text I think, “Hey, I can use that in the time of tribulation.” Then I write it down and learn it by heart.

When I was in the concentration camp, a camp where only twenty percent of the women came out alive, we tried to cheer each other up by saying, “Nothing could be any worse than today.” But we would find the next day was even worse. During this time a Bible verse that I had committed to memory gave me great hope and joy.

“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you; on their part evil is spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.” (I Peter 3:14)

I found myself saying, “Hallelujah! Because I am suffering, Jesus is glorified!”

In America, the churches sing, “Let the congregation escape tribulation”, but in China and Africa the tribulation has already arrived. This last year alone more than two hundred thousand Christians were martyred in Africa. Now things like that never get into the newspapers because they cause bad political relations. But I know. I have been there. We need to think about that when we sit down in our nice houses with our nice clothes to eat our steak dinners. Many, many members of the Body of Christ are being tortured to death at this very moment, yet we continue right on as though we are all going to escape the tribulation.

Several years ago I was in Africa in a nation where a new government had come into power. The first night I was there some of the Christians were commanded to come to the police station to register. When they arrived they were arrested and that same night they were executed. The next day the same thing happened with other Christians. The third day it was the same. All the Christians in the district were being systematically murdered. The fourth day I was to speak in a little church. The people came, but they were filled with fear and tension. All during the service they were looking at each other, their eyes asking,

“Will this one I am sitting beside be the next one killed? Will I be the next one?”

The room was hot and stuffy with insects that came through the screenless windows and swirled around the naked bulbs over the bare wooden benches. I told them a story out of my childhood.

“When I was a little girl,” I said, “I went to my father and said, “Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ.”

“Tell me,” said Father,”When you take a train trip to Amsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?”

“No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train.”

“That is right,” my father said, “and so it is with God’s strength. Our Father in Heaven knows when you will need the strength to be a martyr for Jesus Christ. He will supply all you need – just in time…”

My African friends were nodding and smiling. Suddenly a spirit of joy descended upon that church and the people began singing,

“In the sweet, by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.”

Later that week, half the congregation of that church was executed.

I heard later that the other half was killed some months ago.

But I must tell you something. I was so happy that the Lord used me to encourage these people, for unlike many of their leaders, I had the word of God. I had been to the Bible and discovered that Jesus said He had not only overcome the world, but to all those who remained faithful to the end, He would give a crown of life.

How can we get ready for the persecution?

First we need to feed on the Word of God, digest it, make it a part of our being. This will mean disciplined Bible study each day as we not only memorize long passages of scripture, but put the principles to work in our lives.

Next we need to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Not just the Jesus of yesterday, the Jesus of History, but the life-changing Jesus of today who is still alive and sitting at the right hand of God.

We must be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is no optional command of the Bible, it is absolutely necessary. Those earthly disciples could never have stood up under the persecution of the Jews and Romans had they not waited for Pentecost. Each of us needs our own personal Pentecost, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We will never be able to stand in the tribulation without it.

In the coming persecution we must be ready to help each other and encourage each other.

But we must not wait until the tribulation comes before starting.

The fruit of the Spirit should be the dominant force of every Christian’s life.

Many are fearful of the coming tribulation, they want to run. I, too, am a little bit afraid when I think that after all my eighty years, including the horrible Nazi concentration camp, that I might have to go through the tribulation also.

But then I read the Bible and I am glad.

When I am weak, then I shall be strong, the Bible says. Betsy and I were prisoners for the Lord, we were so weak, but we got power because the Holy Spirit was on us. That mighty inner strengthening of the Holy Spirit helped us through. No, you will not be strong in yourself when the tribulation comes. Rather, you will be strong in the power of Him who will not forsake you. For seventy-six years I have known the Lord Jesus and not once has He ever left me, or let me down.

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him”, (Job 13:15) for I know that to all who overcome, He shall give the crown of life.

Hallelujah!”

– Corrie Ten Boom – 1974

Facing the Real Possibility of Persecution and Martyrdom

persecution

Today, let us seriously consider the reality of persecution and even the real possibility of dying for our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus laid down His life for His Bride. What does He expect of us in return? Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24, NIV). Jesus also said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12, NIV)


“Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” ~John 15:20 (NIV)

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” ~2 Timothy 3:12 (NIV)

Historical accounts tell us that eleven out of the twelve disciples were martyred. It is also reported that they attempted to kill John the Apostle, but he wouldn’t die. Although these things are hard to keep track of, it is estimated that from when Jesus walked the earth until now, there have been as many as 70 million Christian martyrs. Some believe that 40 million of those have come just in the 20th century alone. The number of martyrs for Christ that we see now every year could very well be the highest number in history.

What about us? Persecution is one thing. But will we again risk the same fate as the disciples did in their day? How many of us will actually face martyrdom? Let us consider the scriptures concerning this subject.

“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’ Jesus answered: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.’” ~Matthew 24:3-13 (NIV)


“The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time. ‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’” ~Daniel 7:24-27 (NIV)

“His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.” ~Daniel 11:31-35 (NIV)

“The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, ‘It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.’” ~Daniel 12:7 (NIV)

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. Immediately after the distress of those days

‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’

Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” ~Matthew 24:15-31 (NIV)

“The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.” ~Revelation 12:14-17 (NIV)


“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.” ~Revelation 2:10 (NIV)

“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’ Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.” ~Revelation 9:6-11 (NIV)

“The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. Whoever has ears, let them hear. ‘If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.’ This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.” ~Revelation 13:5-10 (NIV)

“A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: ‘If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.’ This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ’Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.’” ~Revelation 14:9-13 (NIV)


“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands… Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?’ I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.’’” ~Revelation 7:9,13-16 (NIV)

“They triumphed over him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” ~Revelation 12:11 (NIV)


“I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” ~Revelation 20:4-6 (NIV)

As persecution of the followers of Jesus Christ increases across the earth right through the end of the age, what should our response be? Let us look to the word of God.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” ~Romans 12:12-21 (NIV)

“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For,

‘In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.’

And,

‘But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.’

But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”
~Hebrews 10:32-39 (NIV)

Something Worth Fighting (and Dying) For

book_home

I recently received a small book in the mail a few days ago and began to read it. The book is called “Tortured for Christ” by Rev. Richard Wurmbrand. This book was first published on the year I was born (1967) and it actually sat in my home as I grew up. I remember my father telling me about it when I was young, but I can’t remember for sure if I read it back then or not. Rev. Wurmbrand grew up as an atheist in Romania. By the grace and power of God, he became a Christian and then even a Pastor. When the Nazis took over in World War II, he suffered much persecution by their hands. Then, when the Russians kicked the Nazis out, Communism was implemented in Romania and the persecution became far worse (in the West, many of us forget that our country signed off on this travesty…that our agreement as a nation with Russia after World War II resulted in the persecution and martyrdom of countless Christians). Rev. Wurmbrand suffered a total of 14 years of torture in prison for his faith in Jesus Christ under the Communists. However, during that time, he loved his Communist persecutors with the love of Christ, winning many souls for the Lamb! Eventually, his plight became well known in the West, and his release was negotiated. He moved to the United States to raise awareness, prayer and support for the persecuted church. Although he passed away in 2001, his ministry, “Voice of the Martyrs” continues today (the ministry is actually located in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, which is about 45 minutes north of Tulsa).

I highly recommend this book, it is so powerful! I believe it will change your life. Yes, I believe that something deep will happen when you read it, although I’m not even sure I can describe it. It is a deep work of the Holy Spirit that happens in the heart. At the end of this article I will put a link that will allow you to receive a free copy of the book, and to order a few more for your friends (as well as learn more about this ministry).

I believe that the timing of when I picked up this book and began to read it is a God thing. We have seen persecution of the followers of Jesus Christ for over 2,000 years. John the Baptist was beheaded. Jesus Christ hung on a cross. Stephen was stoned to death. Yes, eleven out of the twelve disciples followed Jesus in pouring out their lives and dying as martyrs! History even tells us that they also attempted to kill John, but could not kill him. Since the time of Christ, an estimated 40-70 million Christians have been martyred for their faith. Does this still happen today? Yes! As I read the news just today, one headline tells of Islamic military groups demanding of Christians in Syria, “Either convert to Islam, or you will be beheaded.” This is not an isolated incident. Open Doors (another great ministry that supports the persecuted church) states that about 100,000,000 Christians in 60 countries currently face persecution! It is estimated now that there are approximately 200,000 Christian martyrs each year…and the rate of martyrdom continues to increase!

You may ask, “Will this ever happen in my country?” The answer, no matter what country you live in, is YES. Persecution will continue to increase until it reaches ever tribe, people and nation. It will continue to increase until the God’s appointed number of martyrs is reached (Revelation 6:9-11). All of this has already been prophesied in the Bible. It is written there as a warning to prepare us, but also points to great and powerful promises and opportunities for the believer! Let’s take a look at what the Bible says:

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God. ~Revelation 7:9-11 (NKJV)

Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat” ~Revelation 7:13-16 (NKJV)

In these verses, we see the end result. We see the good news, and actually more good news. First, we see that “a great multitude” of Jesus worshippers were gathered from “all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues.” How is that possible? Right now about 40% of the world, almost 3 billion souls, have yet to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ! Yet, these verses show that what Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24:14 will come true, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” How far away can this be? Well, we don’t know. However, many major missions organization predict that every tribe and tongue can be reached with the gospel by 2020-2025 (and for the first time I can remember, these estimates are staying put, or growing shorter, instead of growing longer!)

The “more” good news may not seem so good at first. But as with Jesus, the disciples, or any follower of Christ (John 15:20), one of the results of all these people of all these tribes and tongues receiving the gospel, will be a backlash of great persecution. It will be the largest harvest of believers in human history, and also the greatest resulting backlash of persecution in human history. You may ask, “What is good about that?” I would respond: Purification, refining and rewards:

And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. ~Revelation 20:4 (NKJV)

This verse refers to the “image” which is the “Abomination that Causes Desolation” that will be set up in the Temple (yet to be rebuilt), that will cause the great tribulation, the most difficult time in the world’s history. Yes, those beheaded for holding on to Christ, and not worshipping the image of the beast, are promised thrones. This time, described in both the Old and New Testament, will last 3 ½ years. Jesus says that the time is kept short for the sake of the believers. There will be much wrath poured out during this time on the Antichrist and his followers, fueled by the prayers of the believers. As the Antichrist and his followers are experiencing God’s wrath, believers will be experiencing God’s protection, but at times will also experience persecution and some will experience martyrdom. We have seen many pictures and types of this throughout history. Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Nero, Hitler, Stalin, the current North Korean regime…just to name a few. In North Korea today, it you do not bow down to worship the images of three of Kim Jong-un’s ancestors, which must hang on the “best” wall of each person’s home, you can be thrown into prison indefinitely. Neglecting proper care of these portraits is a capital crime. Beloved, these are all examples of the antichrist spirit. The difference is, when we see the final version of this unfold, it will be the biggest and most powerful occurrance in human history. Jesus warns of the severity of these times:

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” ~Matthew 14:14-21 (NKJV)

But all of this sounds scary! Shouldn’t this mean that we should all run and hide? Jesus does give some allowance for taking cover (at least for those living in Judea at the time). However, our work will not yet be complete! In the scriptures it is revealed that this time will also be the church’s greatest hour! In Daniel we see, as we do in Joel, that the believers will still be working in great power during the most difficult of circumstances. I believe that the “greater things” Jesus said would happen, will take place in the time of the greatest need in human history! Matthew 10:7-8 will have no greater meaning than in the end times, for the kingdom will surely be near…and there will be many struck with fear for us to love, many sick with plagues (that baffle science) for us to heal, many demonized for us to deliver and scores of (emotionally, spiritually and physically) dead people to raise!

And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time. ~Daniel 11:31-35 (NKJV)

“And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.” ~Joel 2:28-32 (NKJV)

In summary, I have written this today both as a warning and also as encouragement. In the Garden of Eden, humanity was given the choice of life or death in the tree of knowledge or the tree of life. God presented the choice and then provided encouragement to Adam and Eve to make the right choice. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve choose death and Satan. However, God in His mercy has made a way for us through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross…and by His great grace we get to choose life once again! During the times we are entering, like the times of many of those who have suffered before us, we must hold fast to Jesus. Ultimately the choice will be between keeping the seal of God on our foreheads versus rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ and choosing the mark of the beast.

In the beginning, man chose incorrectly and let Satan have dominion in the earth. However, Jesus is encouraging us to hold fast to the seal of God, endure, overcome, finish strong and labor alongside Him to reverse the curse! This time, we may lose our lives in the process, but we will prevail in kicking Satan off of the earth, and gain everlasting life! Read these words of Jesus on this topic and also the prophets. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His Truth to your heart! Follow Jesus! Don’t ever quit, don’t give up, don’t stop, and don’t ever look back!

“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” ~Mark 8:35 (NKJV)

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ~Revelation 2:7 (NKJV)

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” ~Revelation 2:11 (NKJV)

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” ~Revelation 2:17 (NKJV)

“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations. ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’— as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.” ~Revelation 2:26-28 (NKJV)

“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” ~Revelation 3:5 (NKJV)

“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.” ~Revelation 3:12 (NKJV)

“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” ~Revelation 3:21 (NKJV)

“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.” ~Revelation 21:7 (NKJV)

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” ~Revelation 12:11 (NKJV)

With Love in Christ,

Stu

Receive a free copy of “Tortured for Christ” by Rev. Richard Wurmbrand here: https://etools.ncol.com/a/tfc/bg_vomtfc_persecutioncom-tfc-flash_346.html