Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The Tongue and the Word III - Morris Cerullo

Editor's comment
if you are from the clever Western nations
if you are put off by tele evangelists and Morris in particular
if you think because you have heard the sound of these sentences, both in your head from reading and by listening to these messages....

trust me.  There is something going on in these words if you have had your spiritual ears dug out that is very very deep and is a doorway to accessing the power of God in the same way that Jesus did. If you are power hungry.If you are still not bedded down on the Rock of Jesus alone and His agenda and His Kingdm and His heart.....I can almost guarantee you are missing what is going on here.  Take time over it....let it change you.  The tape messages which are related material come from a 4 cassette series that I heard 15-20 years ago....and you think you have heard them, but whenI recently bought a car that only plays cassette tapes, I fished them out and was grabbed in the Spirit by what is going on here. So listen to them now in the context of Galatians 2:20.  This about the faith of Jesus Christ that lives in you. HIS FAITH.   And you WILL have an experience of God in this context as you listen to the talks.
I expect fruit from all our lives...and I am really no different from you as we eat this stuff!!!!


STRATEGIES OF JESUS: HOW TO DEFEAT SATAN
Morris Cerullo

INTRODUCTION
the Bible states that God's people are destroyed because of a lack
of knowledge. (See Hosea 4:6.) One of the main areas in which believers are being defeated, due to a lack of knowledge, is in spirit warfare. `That is why I have prepared this special series of studies you. I want you to be prepared to wage effective spiritual battle the days ahead.
There is a great war that is being waged in the world today, it is not a conflict between nations, tribes, or government leaders, it is not a rebellion or coup. It is an important, invisible battle that is taking place in the spirit world. You are a part of this battle, and you will either become a victim or a victor.
The Early Church viewed their spiritual experience in terms warfare. Military terminology is used throughout the New Testament . Protection was seen in the armor of God. The Word of God is compared to a sword. Satan's attacks were called fiery darts. Faith was called the good fight. Believers were told to war a good warfare. The Early Church knew that they were engaged in an intense spiritual struggle.
The same spiritual battle continues today, but instead of fighting the enemy, believers are often building great church buildings producing musical dramas, holding fellowship meetings,and fighting one another, while this great, spiritual battle wages around them. Satan will even intensify his attacks against a church that has withdrawn from the frontlines of battle.
As the end of time approaches, it is even more important for
believers to understand spiritual warfare than in the early days of church history. The Apostle Paul warned: THIS know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come (II Timothy 3:1).

Luke 14:31 says: Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he is able with thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? No king ever entered into a battle without a careful examination of his resources and development of battle strategies.
This year(2000), through the Strategies of Jesus and Strategies of Satan series, we are making a careful evaluation of the strategies, weapons, and power that are available to us to win the war against our enemy, Satan.

 In the military world, a strategy is the science of forming and carrying out military operations. It is the method or plan which leads to the goal of victory.
This month, you will learn how Jesus confronted Satan and defeated Him through the power of His Word. You will also learn:
1. how to face Satan, knowing you are invincible through the power of the Word;
2. how to face Satan, knowing that the living Word is in you; and
3. how to confront Satan, speak the Word, and drive him out! Faithfully,
God's servant,
Morris Cerullo

Chapter 1
JESUS CONFRONTED
SATAN AND DEFEATED HIM
THROUGH THE MIGHT
OF GOD'S WORD!
Last month, we learned how to position ourselves in the power of Jesus' Name, how to defeat Satan in the power of Jesus' Name, and how to go forth in the power and authority of Jesus' Name to take dominion over sin, sickness, and condemnation.
We now will continue with the strategies that Jesus used to defeat Satan and learn how He confronted and defeated him through the power of His Word. Jesus spoke, and Satan fled, the winds and sea obeyed, demons trembled and obeyed, blind eyes saw, lame legs walked, deaf ears heard, mute tongues were loosed and framed words of speech, and dead souls came back to life.
The powerful strategy of speaking the Word enabled Jesus—the mighty Warrior—to enter Satan's territory and destroy his strongholds with the sheer force of the Words that came out of His mouth.
Knowing that He had been commissioned, anointed,and sent forth by God to destroy the works of the devil, everywhere encountered the works of the enemy, He confronted Satan and took authority over him by speaking the Word.
Never did Jesus pray for a sick person or for a demon person—not one time! When the sick and dying were brought to Jesus, He did not pray to the Father. He did not ask Father whether it was His will to heal them. He did not beg the Father to please heal them

There was no need for Jesus to plead with or beg God to heal or deliver people from the power of Satan. He knew that it was God's will to heal, deliver, and set free all who were oppressed, afflicted, tormented, and possessed by Satan.
Whenever Jesus saw those who were bound in some way by Satan's power, He took aggressive action. He confronted Satan. He did not stand by, with His hands folded, or wait for God to do the work. He knew that God had anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and had given Him authority over Satan. Jesus had been given dunamis, the miracle-working power of God to deliver the people from Satan's hands.

When Jesus confronted the power of Satan, He did not speak His own Words. He spoke the Words' that the Father instructed Him to speak. He cried out:
For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting.• whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
John 12:49-50

Jesus also said: ... the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Fathers which sent me (John 14:24) and ... My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me (John 7:16). When He spoke the Words that the Father hadgiven Him to speak, He did not doubt or wonder whether what Hespoke  would come to pass. He knew that He was speaking forththe  Words of Almighty God. He knew that God's Word was all ­powerful and would come to pass!
The Father said: ... Let there, be, light.- and there was light (Genesis 1:1-3 God spoke through Isaiah to the nation of Israel, saying:
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bringforth and bud that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater so shall my word be that goeth.forth out of my mouth.- it
shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10-11

God wanted Israel to know that the Words that He spoke were not dead, empty, useless words. His Words were filled with life. They were powerful and would produce the results that He desired. They would fulfill His purposes on the earth.
Jesus knew that the Words that God had given Him to speak were full of life. He knew that when those Words came out of His mouth, they would produce the results and fulfill the purposes that God had intended for them.

JESUS DESTROYED SATAN'S
STRONGHOLDS BY SPEAKING THE WORD.
Jesus told His disciples: ... the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life (John 6:63). The very Words that were coming forth from Jesus' mouth were given to Him from God. They were alive. Within them was the power necessary to make them come to pass. Within His Word was eternal life, healing, deliverance, love, peace, happiness, and all that God had originally purposed for mankind to enjoy upon this earth.
Jesus taught on hillsides and in synagogues. The people were ... astonished at his doctrine.-for his word was with power (Luke 4:32). Even the demons recognized the power and authority of JesusWord, and they obeyed it.
On one occasion, Jesus was teaching in a synagogue in Capernaum. There was a man there who was possessed with an unclean spirit (a devil). The demon spirit cried out of the man: ...Let us alone what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art the come to destroy us?I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God (Luke 4;34)
Jesus was not afraid or intimidated.he did not flinch,but confronted His enemy. He spoke the Word. And Jesus rebuked him, saying , Hold  thy peace and come out of him. And when the devil
had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not. And they were all amazed ... (Luke 4:35-36).
When Jesus spoke these Words, the spirit had to obey. I can almost see the mouths of the people drop open when they gasped in amazement:
And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out. And the fame of it went out into every place of tbe country round about.
Luke 4:36-38
On many other occasions, they brought the sick and demon-possessed people to Jesus:
When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
Matthew 8:16-17
The evil spirits were powerless before Jesus. With just one Word from His lips, He cast them out. Everywhere Jesus went, He confronted the power of the enemy, spoke the Word, and destroyed Satan's strongholds in the lives of the people.
n To the leper, Jesus spoke the Word: ... be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed (Matthew 8:3).
n To the man at the pool of Bethesda—who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years— Jesus spoke the Word: ... Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And inmediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked ... ( John 5:8-9).
n To the woman with a spirit of infirmity—who had been hunched over for eighteen years Jesus spoke the Word: ... Woman, thou art loosed from thy infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God (Luke 13: 12-13).
n To the man—who was deaf and had a speech impediment—Jesus spoke the Word: And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech ... And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue ... and saith unto him ... Be opened And straightway his ears were opened, and the string ofhis tongue was loosed, and he spake plain (Mark 8:32-35).
n To the blind beggar, Jesus spoke the Word: ... Receive thy sight... And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God ... (Luke 18:42-43).
n To the widow's son—who had died and was being carried away to be buried—Jesus spoke the Word: ... Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all... (Luke 7:14-16).
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it (Isaiah 55:11).

JESUS' WORDS WERE LETHAL WEAPONS.
Like a mighty warrior engaging the enemy in combat Jesus confronted Satan with the Words from His mouth. His Words were powerful, lethal weapons that hit their mark and drove Satan out.
One of the greatest confrontations between Jesus and Satan; happened at the beginning of Jesus' ministry. Read Luke 4:1-15In. this battle, Jesus clearly revealed how we can face Satan in every trial,every temptation, and every attack for a 100 percent victory.
Following His baptism in the Jordan river, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. There, He spent forty days in prayer and fasting. He communed with God, sought divine direction and prepared Himself for the work that He had been commissioned to do. During Jesus' time in the wilderness, Satan came to Him, and the battle was on.

We do not know in what form Satan appeared to Jesus. However, as he looked upon Jesus, he recognized Who He was . There, standing before him, in the form of human flesh, was the all-powerful Son of God. Jesus had been with God from the beginning and had watched Satan get thrown out of heaven.
Satan knew that Jesus had been sent forth and commissioned by God to defeat him. He came to Jesus in an attempt to stop Him from fulfilling God's will. Jesus knew who Satan was and why he was there. He knew that Satan was a deceiver and a liar, who had come to tempt Him to sin against God.  This was not a chance meeting. Jesus was not taken by surprise. He was prepared.
Jesus knew that He was the Son of God, that He was called to defeat Satan, that He had been anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit, and that He was standing in the authority of the Name of Almighty God, with all of heaven backing Him up.
... with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out (Luke 4:36). 'Me Greek word for the English word authority is exousia, a, and it means "the right to exercise power." Power is translated from the Greek word dunamis, which is "the miracle-working power of God." Put it all together and we have "the right to exercise the miracle-working power of God."
Notice the strategy that Jesus used to win this battle. Satan attacked Jesus three times, tempting Him to sin against God. Jesus took authority over Satan three times, speaking the written Word of God against him.
1. Satan challenged Jesus to prove that He was the Son of God by turning a rock into bread. Jesus had been fasting for many days and was probably hungry. Satan appealed to his human heed for food. Jesus said: ... It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth  of God (Matthew 4:4).
2.Satan again challenged Jesus to prove that He was the Son  by throwing Himself off the roof of the temple. He even quoted Psalm 91 to Jesus to entice Him religiously, as if it was God speaking. Jesus said: ... It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God (Matthew 4:7).
3. Satan made a final attempt to tempt Him by promising to give Him all of the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would bow down and worship him. Jesus knew that Satan was a liar and a deceiver. Jesus said: ... Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve (Matthew 4:10).

When Jesus spoke the written Word of God, Satan had to retreat because God said: So shall my word that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it (Isaiah 55:11).

Jesus confronted Satan and defeated him by speaking the written Word. God has planned for you to do the same. He has planned for you to confront the enemy wherever you may find him. By speaking the Word, you will destroy his strongholds and conquer him, in the power and authority of the Holy Spirit!
God sent forth His Word into the earth, and it will not return unto Him void. He has planned for His Word to be in you. When you speak it forth, it will be a mighty weapon that will drive the enemy out of your life and circumstances. When you speak God's Word, it will be a devouring flame to consume the enemies of God, the same as the promise. God made to Jeremiah, the prophet: ... Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them ( Jeremiah 5:14).
When you speak God's Word, it will be a crushing hammer, breaking down the obstacles and hindrances that Satan has placed in your way: Is not my word like a fire? saith the LORI); and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? ( Jeremiah 23:29).
God is a God of plan, purpose, design,and objectivity . he has planned for you to be conformed and transformed by His Spirit into the express image of Christ. (See Romans 8:29.) He has planned for you to think, walk, talk, and act the way Jesus did while He was on this earth. He has planned for you to:

  • Speak the Word, and see blind eyes opened.
  • Speak the Word, and see the lame walk. 
  • Speak the Word, and see deaf ears opened. 
  • Speak the Word, and see tongues loosed. 
  • Speak the Word, and see demons obey.
  • Speak the Word, and see the dead raised to life.
You are a child of the living God, and this is your heritage. You may be thinking that Jesus was able to perform all of these miracles by speaking the Word because He was the Son of God. However, this is no more true of Jesus than it is of you or me. Through Christ, We have been made sons of God and made joint-heirs with Him. We have been entrusted with the same power and authority that Jesus was entrusted with.
Yes, Jesus was the Son of God, but He did not draw upon His divine abilities to heal the sick, cast out demons, or do any of the other miracles that He did. When He came to earth, He humbled and stripped Himself of His ability to be all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere present. He was still divine, but He was God in the flesh

Jesus taught ,healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, cast out devils,and raised the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit. (See Luke 3:16.) Jesus was sent forth to
to destroy the works of the devil.

While he was on earth, Jesus sent His disciples in the power in the power and authority of His name. He commanded them to: Heal the sick,
cleanse the lepers ,raise the dead,cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give They rejoiced  saying:
Lord even the devils are subject unto us through your name. And he said  to them, behold i saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold I give to you power to tread on serpents and 
scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
Luke 10:17-20
The disciples received a breakthrough of revelation knowledge of the power and authority that Jesus had given to them through His Name. Do you think that Jesus would have sent them forth and commanded them to do something that they would not be capable of doing?
Jesus gave the disciples His power and authority and sent them forth in His Name. They did not go in their natural strength. They did not speak the Word of healing and deliverance in their own power. They simply acted in faith upon the Word that Jesus had spoken to them, and it was done!
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I
please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it (Isaiah 55:11).

THE EARLY CHURCH CONFRONTED SATAN, SPOKE THE WORD, AND DEFEATED HIM.
Before He ascended into heaven, Jesus gathered His disciples together and sent them forth to preach, teach, make disciples of all nations, heal the sick, cast out devils, and raise the dead . HE DID NOT expect them to go forth in their natural or physical strength. He gave them the same power and authority that He had while He lived on earth. He told them to go into Jerusalem and wait there until ye be endued with power from on high (Luke 24:49).
On the day of Pentecost, 120 disciples received the baptism of  the Holy Spirit. They left the Upper Room witl the same dunamis miracle-working power of God, and the same exousia authority to exercise  that power that Jesus had.
Immediately, Peter began to speak the Word under the power and anointing of the Holy  Spirit: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls (Acts 2:41).
The disciples did not sit back, with their hands folded, and wait for God to do all of the work. They took aggressive action. Knowing that they had been anointed by the Holy Spirit, and had been given authority over Satan, they confronted Satan wherever they saw people bound by his power.
Peter, on his way to the temple to pray, saw a lame man, lying by the temple gate begging. He spoke the Word: ... Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name ofJesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk (Acts 3:6). He lifted the man to his feet, and instantly, the man was healed.
In Lydda, Peter found a man who had been bedridden with the palsy for eight years. He spoke the Word to him. And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately (Acts 9:34). Aeneas got up out of his bed, and as a result of the miracle that was done in his body, there was a great revival. And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord (Acts 9:35).
Later, in Joppa, Peter came to the home of Dorcas, who had died. he went to the room where they had lain her dead body. He knelt down beside the bed and prayed. Then, he turned to the dead body
and spoke the Word to her: ... Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and where she saw Peter, she sat up (Acts 9:40).
SATAN HAD TO RETREAT!
Satan working through the high priest, scribes, and elders, tried to stop the disciples from speaking the Word. They were put m prison, beaten and commanded not to speak at all or teach any
more in the name of Jesus. They had something within them that was alive The Living  Word was in them, and they could not keep quict.They had to speak the Word.They had to speak the name Jesus. They told the high priest and the elders For we cannot but speak the things which we have, seen and heard (A ct s 4:20).

The disciples could not stop speaking the Word. Regardless of what Satan was trying to do to stop them, they could not and did not stop speaking the Word. They continued to speak with boldness, and as a result: ... the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith (Acts 6:7).
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it (Isaiah 55:11).

GOD IS NOT DEPENDING ON OUR LIMITED STRENGTH
Are you hearing what the Spirit of God is saying to you today? Through the power and authority of the Holy Spirit, Jesus spoke the Word. Blind eyes and deaf ears were opened. Demons were cast out. The dead were raised. Water was turned into wine. Humans walked on water. Stormy winds and waves died to calm. All of these miracles happened through the power and authority of the Holy Spirit.
Believers in the Early Church spoke the Word and saw the same results. Through the same power and anointing of the Holy Spirit, God has planned for you and me to do the same. Say out loud: I am a part of God'end-timeplan. God has not
 planned any defeats for me. This is my year of new beginnings. God wants me to confront the enemy and speak the Word, destroy his strongholds, and conquer him, in the power and authority of the Holy Spirit!
What I am sharing with you in this lesson is more than just a theory. It is not a man-made theology. It is not just psychological verbiage. It is part of God's plan for your life. I realize that spme of you may think that this is only for super-human Christians
who have reached a certain spiritual plateau. You may not think that you are spiritually strong enough
You may not think your faith is strong enough to be able to speak the Word and see the lame walk or the blind see.
God's Word is not vulnerable. He is not depending upon a faith that you can somehow develop. He is not depending upon whether or not you can demonstrate enough super-faith to produce a miracle. God's Word remains true, regardless of whether or not some do not
believe it. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the
faith of God without effect? God forbid.- yea, let God be true, but every
man a liar ... (Romans 3:3-4).
the faith and power are in the Word. When you are faithful to speak it forth, it will be done! Jesus said:
Verily, verily', I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works
that I do shall he do also: and greater -works than these shall he do;
because I go unto my Father.And shall ask in my name, that will I do-- that the Father may be glorified in the Son. -If ye shall ask any thing in my Name, I will do it.
John 14:12-14
Jesus did not limit the working of miracles to those who had developed a great faith. He said: ... He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also ... (John 14:12). He also said: ... If have faith as a grain of mustard ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you (Matthew 17:20).
God has planned for you to speak to the mountains that are in your way. Speak to the mountains of sickness, financial need, and family problems, and see them removed. He said that even if you only have faith as small as a tiny grain of mustard seed, you will be able to do it.
I am not trying to minimize the importance of faith. Faith is one of the powerful weapons that God has given to you to defeat Satan with. What I want you to see is that too many Christians today are depending on the power of their own faith, instead of depending on the Word of God and the faith that it will impart.
Read John 14:12-14 again. Circle the word ask. The word ask in these verses is not referring to praying. Jesus was not talking about pleading or begging. The word ask in the original Greek means "to make demand on something due."


When Peter spoke to the lame man, he was not pleading, begging, or asking. He was commanding. He was instructing. He was ordering. When he spoke the words ... In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk (Acts 3:6), he was taking possession of and commanding the healing that legally belonged to the man to be loosed into his crippled body. Because Jesus won the victory over Satan, this man's limbs received strength, and he was instantly healed.
You have been given the same authority to speak the Word with power. As He is now in the world. so are we in this world. We are the children of the living God. k See I His 3:1.) God sent forth His
Word into the earth. He has given us His infallible, impregnable, and 
everlasting Word. It will not return to Him void. He has planned for it to increase and multiply, until the earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord. (See Habakkuk 2:14.)
The disciples had something within them that was compelling them to speak. They said: For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard (Acts 4:20). Like Jeremiah, the Word must become like a fire that is shut up within us. We will not be able to contain it but must speak it forth. (See Jeremiah 20:9.) Everywhere we go, we must go forth as Jesus did. We are commissioned, anointed, and sent by God to speak the words of life, healing, and deliverance. 

THE POWER IS IN THE WORD.
SPEAK IT FORTH, IN JESUS' NAME.
Let's take the mask off'. In the Church today, Christians have been taught to confess the Word and speak the Word, but few are experiencing the same results that the Early Church experienced. Why is that?
Satan knows the power of the Word. One of his strategies is to stop God's people from speaking forth the pure, unadulterated Word of God. He does this by twisting or perverting the Word with man-made doctrines and theology. There are Christians today who are following these man-made doctrines. 'They are confessing and repeating scriptures, but they have not yet had a revelation within
their spirit of all that the Word is or of the unlimited power that is contained in the Word.
Too many Christians today are too lazy or too involved in the cares of this life to get the written Word of God in them. As a result, they are not living their lives based on the pure, unadulterated Word of God, and although they may be repeating and confessing certain scriptures, they are not seeing the results that they should be seeing.
Speaking the Word is more than memorizing and repeating. It is not based upon following a specific formula certain scriptures. is following man-made doctrine. The purpose of speaking or confessing the Word is not so that Christians can satisfy their personal desires by claiming sports cars, mansions. or other materialistic blessings (though it is 100 percent God's for you to be blessed). 

We must have a confession of faith, but it is more than just being able to use our lips to confess the Word. We must use our lips to confess the words that are anointed with the power that comes from experience. We must have a revelation of the Word.

Speaking the Word involves speaking the written Word of God and also speaking the words that God directs you to speak. It involves speaking the words of healing and deliverance, in Jesus' Name, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the way the Early Church believers did.
This month, study and apply this lesson to your life. You will receive a revelation of all that the Word is and all it represents. You will see the unlimited power that is in the Word. By the time you
finish this lesson, you will be able to confront the enemy by speaking
the Word and destroying Ha strongholds in the circumstances in your life.
When you study this lesson, focus on your needs and the circumstances you may be facing right now. If you have a need to be healed physically—whether it be sugar diabetes, high blood pressure, stomach trouble, ulcers, bladder conditions, deaf ears—focus on it. If you have family problems or financial needs, focus on them.
God's Word is not void of power. The power is in the Word to heal your body and mind, mend your family's rifts, and overcome

any financial difficulties you may be experiencing. The power of the Word will meet you at the point of your need. Receive the written Word of God through this lesson. Reach out by faith, and take that Word. Grab it, and take whatever you need. It is written: He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them ... (Psalms 107:20).
Remember—God has not planned any defeats for you! He has given you His Word. When you speak it forth, you will be victorious!
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth.- it shall not
return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it
shall prosper in the thing whereunto  I sent it (Isaiah 55:11).
www. mcwe.org






Monday, 15 December 2014

The TONGUE and the WORD II - THE BREAKTHROUGH SPIRIT

This article funnily enough doesn't mention the tongue and the Word...but it is about the spirit that you will need to continue further in this series.
related post:Tunnel breakthrough From Both Ends
GOD OF THE BREAKTHROUGH

The Breakthrough Spirit
At the moment we seem quite meandery with Galatians 2;20, nevertheless many by now have experienced men and women being a literal avatar for God on earth. Some of the key messages we ever heard will be like that. But not only IN MEETINGS...suddenly outside someone will turn, say or do something that is just pure God. If we at that moment say "Blessed are you who come in the Name of the Lord" our whole life will be different. It is a brief PORTAL in time through a KINGDOM DOOR. Quite often they are meetings and possibly ones where everything tried to conspire against us getting there. But quite often, as I say quite unexpected daily God encounter types....and quite often the people are not even Christians...but are simply being natural GODDERS in that moment.
The Israelites MISSED Joshua and Caleb's realistic but faith filled report and listened to the other 10. They MISSED God. Every single one died before the next generation entered the Land.
Perez Uzzah  is a negative breakthrough moment 2 Samuel 6:6-8 It was when Uzzah put his hand on the Ark of God because they were using a jumped up wheel barrow instead of the heavenly blueprint for priests.
We DO want breakthrough though. The Kingdom is established on earth by breakthroughs of God on fleshlife, on demons, on sicknesses, on crazyloop situations that bind us....usually LAWS that have suddenly GONE CIRCULAR on us and we are imprisoned by them. Satan means resister (of God) and he's an expert. Every meeting should be a gathering in the Name of Jesus under an Open heaven. Quite often when an apostolic person with a " door opening type of gift" to the Body of Christ passes through a whole load of hitherto stupid situations immediately unlock.
Chains of house sales. Planning permissions.Sicknesses and diseases.Family squabbles or worse cease. We once had a couple remarry after 20 years divorce and they both got baptised in Emsworth seawater here.
Jesus once said..".from the time of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of God suffers violence  and the violent take it by force" 


Jesus once said..".from the time of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of God suffers violence  and the violent take it by force"  Spirit determination.. An attitude which takes the bull by the horns and determines...THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN.
Here's are some natural and Bible examples of breakthrough moments.
When you were conceived your father's male sperm was the only one out of thousands to break through the surface of the mother's egg. You are a natural victor. A breakthrough merchant!!!!
When you were born that breakthrough event was quite bloody and messy.
If a woman is a virgin the first act of lovemaking may involve a trace of breakthrough!!!
Problems have their breakthrough moments.  Or their AHA moments....sudden breakthrough ideas.
Getting married is a bit of a dance. It's a lifetime commitment as opposed to suck it and see....so both individuals are eyeing the other one closely, and quite often the lady is being stand offish. How much do you want me dear?  The engagement can be quite a breakthrough moment!!!!
There's several characters in the Bible that LEGALLY....as in God's promises....SHOULD NEVER BE WHERE THEY WERE!!!! And they are there because they had this BREAKTHROUGH FEISTY SPIRIT.

they, like the disciples of old block half the world from ever knowing Jesus.

Rahab.....a prostitute...but courageously risked her own life with the Jericho spies.She was literally saved by her faith.
Abigail totally ignored her husband who was a pretty useless good for nothing, and pressed on regardless to help David and his men. No wonder she caught his eye and when her husband died David took her in marriage.
Ruth was a Moabitess and as such in theory BANNED from Israel for at least 10 generations. But she had a fixed heart towards Naomi....."Where you go I will go".   Charismatic churches would have called her rebellious because she was breaking the laws.
That's one of the reasons thirdlevellers don't pay the slightest bit of attention to secondlevellers....they, like the disciples of old block half the world from ever knowing Jesus. God looks to the hearts!!!!
The Canaanite woman's HEART was TOO BUSTING WITH FAITH for God to ignore her. Blow being a Canaanite if I just touch the hem of His garment!!!! Surely the dogs under the table can get little scraps!!!!  WOW...that just BLEW Jesus out of the water!!!!   That's what I came to earth for!!!!! thought Jesus with His eyes welling up.
If we want Jesus we will be like Elaine Waterfield and ignore all British protocols. We will gather because we cannot keep apart.
This very morning Havant Church have allowed people to hold gatherings on certain days so people may feel free to go to each other's houses. Now humanly that's quite a good idea because it resists the tendency of English people to stay in their own English castles.  But a few months ago I sent an email to all the Hayling Island People inviting us all to gather together informally just to be together....more or less the same thing.
BUT Nothing would happen because of all the secondlevel obstacles...
it wasn't official,
it was coming from my heart,
it wasn't sanctioned by leadership,
and I had frightened people off with some of my attitudes and teachings (which are ofcourse just Spirit things to do with BREAKTHROUGH...to do with Christ living our life according to Galatians 2:20...NOTHING DIFFERENT from what you poor Facebook people have been putting up with for years.)

Now as a result of this morning's meeting that I wasn't at, people will be holding gatherings in people's houses....but it won't be like Elaine who bursts through regardless...it won't be people like me who at 16 dive across the continent because I have this hunch that Basilea Schlink has something for me that Gerald Coates or Bryn Jones didn't quite have yet....

When you were conceived your father's male sperm was the only one out of thousands to break through the surface of the mother's egg. You are a natural victor. A breakthrough merchant!!!!

There are PORTALS...TIMED EVENTS...we look for them....we go through them...we ignore what others think....This is God and ME.....God is like that with everyone...He is JEALOUS over all of us.....First thing is the relationship God has with me and I with Him....Network covering smothering apostles can wait outside on the toilet....this is me meeting with God....and others BREAKING THROUGH because they are really desperate for God. Havant Church wouldn't know desperate unless the two leaders John and Wendy Wilbraham wrote a guiding manual....
1. First place your nose upon the floor and cry out loud at precisely 68.5 decibells
for a total of 22 and a half minutes, then increase by 30 seconds daily.

The Word of God truly upon Havant Church is to be a "Turn round Church". Possibly the first truly thirdlevel church in the world. But as you can see from my description we are talking miracle of God here.....at the moment they all have to be told it's OK to enter each other's houses. All this passivity could be related to fluoride in the water killing their pineal glands, so if any continentals would like to send over some of their non fluoridated water, we could yet have revival!!!!
Network covering smothering apostles can wait outside on the toilet....this is me meeting with God

Saints we are in an era of turnaround . The biggest one in history as people start to get revelation on Genesis 3 and the whole RIPOFF....
Already a huge miracle has taken place around 1993 that is just about a first, certainly while I have known the Lord.
A whole cult.....the Plain Truth Cult under Armstrong has turned to the Lord and accepted evangelical truth. Wow. Wow. Usually it's just ones and twos or localised revivals. What an extraordinary thing to happen in our days? This proves that MASS TURNAROUND even scattered across nations is possible!!!!

 Even some of the core ruling dynasties on earth, members of the thousands of year old Satanic dynasty bloodlines are finding the Lord.  Eric Clapton's "Layla" was about one of them.
God is on the move and He is more powerful even than sleepy old bedridden Havant!!!!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

The TONGUE and the WORD 1 Rand Swift and Rich Novek

WORD POWER
I fully believe in the power of words, that they all hold amazing and magical spiritual power, meaning that every word spoken puts into motion things invisible to the eye that will become visible at some point in the touchable, experiential realm.
In other words, they (the words you speak) will become substance at some point.
In the teachings of the Son of God it is explained, "the words that I speak are spirit", and then to further clarify regarding his own specific words he says, "and they are life."
We watch with awe as Jesus, this all too human man, in every way no different in physical make up, feeling and human experience than any other man, does mind numbing, paradigm shifting things as through him the life of God Himself is manifest as he goes about adjusting the flawed elements of creation wherever he encounters them.
Lepers are cleansed instantaneously, blind eyes are opened, shriveled limbs are restored to wholeness, bread and fish are multiplied to feed 5,000 hungry people, the dead are raised to life again, and a human spiritual revolution is ignited that still is burning up to this present hour and will ultimately (once we all get tired of the other BS) fill our entire planet just as the true prophets in every age have prophesied.
I believe words spoken by the Spirit of God and repeated by you and I have far reaching creational effects not only in the vast realm of our earth, but far beyond earth as they continue out in a magnificent rippling effect, reaching into the vast expansive corners of our infinite universe.
I also believe, when it comes right down to it, if you've got nothing life infusing to say, then you should practice saying......
- Rand Swift (Spiritual Revolutionary, Apprentice to Jesus) Facebook Group -   Kingdom Conversations
Zenith Kaleo
LikeLike ·
Seen by 18
Cathy Rheeder and John David Doss like this.

John David Doss The right word spoken, (as in right standing or agreement with God and his creation) harmonizes with the Laws put into place by God.
The vibration of the sound resounds through the whole universe and creation has to produce what has been spoken ftom one that has true faith or confidence through their faithful relationship with God.
---------------------------------------------


The REAL Word...Alive!
IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the WORD WAS GOD. He (not it) was with God IN the beginning. Through Him (not it) ALL THINGS were made; without Him (not it) NOTHING was made that has been made. IN Him was Life, and that Life was the Light of ALL mankind. John 1:1-4
Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It (He) is not up IN heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it (Him) and proclaim it (Him) to us so we may obey it (Him)?” Nor is it (He) beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it (Him) and proclaim it (Him) to us so we may obey it (Him)?No, the (Living) Word is very near you; it (He) is IN your mouth and IN your heart so you may obey it (Him). Deuteronomy 30:11-14
"Jesus put the Kingdom this way...if you say the kingdom is "Lo here!" or "Lo there" you kill it stone dead. A Move of God is dead as soon as it is outwardly measured. You can tell the wind is there by observing what it blows, in the same way the Spirit blows where He wills. What you can say is the Kingdom is "nigh me even in my mouth". The dynamic is in the believing IN your heart!" Chris Welch
The REAL Word of God is not ink and paper bound IN a leather cover. No, that definition of the Word is the product of men with divided hearts and minds who couldn't have the following as their one and only Truth;
That is, the MYSTERY which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has NOW been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the Glory of this MYSTERY among the Gentiles, which is Christ IN you, the hope of Glory. Colossians 1:26-27
The modern day church strives to know Jesus while idolizing the Book they call the Word of God. And because their gaze is singly fixed on the Book they will never see the One and only REAL and living Word who NOW lives IN us. It's He (not it) who NOW lives, moves, and has His (not it) being IN us and as us to will and to do of His good pleasure through us. It's He (not it) who is the One we have the personal "open and laid bare" REAL relationship with. And it's He (not it) who is the One who loves us NOW without any performance based strings attached and will never leave us or forsake us no matter who comes along to try and pervert the One and only REAL Good News!
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the One who called you to live IN the (REAL) Grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really NO GOSPEL at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are TRYING TO PERVERT THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the One we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! Galatians 1:6-8
Rich Novek Facebook Group -  the Now God

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Norman Grubb and Intervarsity Fellowship

Norman Grubb writes
I had two weeks left of what would be my final term at Trinity College (Cambridge). It was as if the Spirit "came on me,'' as in the Acts of the Apostles. I had a strong inner com­pulsion to spend those last weeks in calling on all the men with whom I was acquainted there or in other colleges. Likely it would be the last time we should meet on earth, and I wanted to have a final word with them. So I did just that.
One by one, I called on them in their rooms. These were not the normal students of col­lege age, but returnees from the war—sophis­ticated and mainly ex-officers of various ranks. But I spoke boldly. If I knew the one I was visiting had no saving faith or a very weak one, I spoke to him as either lost and going to hell or obviously with some inhibiting sin blocking Christian growth.
The results were phenomenal for those days, though very different from the present thrilling responses in the student world. About 16 took various steps in accepting and committing
their lives to Christ. This was "news" among our CICCU friends, and they asked me to meet with them and tell more about it. I did, and as I did, once again that inner voice spoke clearly to me. "Should not every univer­sity and college in Britain, and then in the world, have some kind of union of Christian students like the CICCU?"
Might it not be possible, even before I sailed for the Congo, to arrange some get-together where some of us in the CICCU could meet with some from other universities? I turned to two of my special friends—Clarence Foster, later Secretary of the Keswick Convention, and Leslie Sutton, who later joined us in the Congo—and asked if they would meet me in Leslie's room in Queens. Even in these last weeks before Christmas, could they get the loan of a hall in London and ask others from Oxford and London and Durham Universities to join us in a first InterVarsity Conference? They agreed, and about 60 of us gathered.

All "signs and wonders" which
have followed have been by
the direct guidances and
leadership of the Spirit. But
always there has been the
"obedience of faith" in the
present calling, accompanied
by the death and resurrection
intercessory process.

What I only dimly realized then was that this was the birth of a world-wide movement in the colleges of the world. What actually hap­pened was that it was agreed upon to have an annual InterVarsity Conference (IVC). This then became the beginnings of the InterVar­sity Fellowship (IVF).
Dr. Douglas Johnson gave up his medical pro­fession to become the first Secretary, and re­ally developer, of what is now so strongly established all over Britain. Dr. Howard Gui­ness did the same in Canada and Australia, as did Stacey Woods in the USA under the title of IVCF (InterVarsity Christian Fellowship).
Now throughout the colleges of every na­tion, students gather under the title of Inter-Varsity Fellowship of Evangelical Unions
(IVFEU). Many thousands of students have been brought to Christ and built up in the Word and Spirit these 65 years, since we had that first InterVarsity Conference in London in 1919!
Behind it, as ever, there was the intercessor death by which, as Jesus said in John 12:24, a corn of wheat falls into the ground and dies, if it is to bring forth fruit. I did have that death in leaving my degree behind in order to hasten to the Congo. There was also the "obedience of faith" in which we refused to be linked to
any Christian movement which did not have Christ crucified at its center, no matter how popular or widespread it was.
Amazingly today, in Cambridge, Oxford and many other universities, the evangelical unions are actually the biggest unions. They are larger than the debating, drama or sport unions; and students by the hundreds attend the weekly Bible sessions and Sunday evening evangelistic services. The formerly flourishing Student Christian Movement, without it! firm Bible foundation, almost nonexistent.
Nothing was scheme( or planned or even foreseen, but there was simple absorption in gospel witness among students by all ' means then available. All "signs and wonders" which have followed have been by the direct guidances and leadership of the Spirit  But always there has been the "obedience of faith" in the present calling, accompanied by the death and resurrection intercessory
process.
-Intercession in Action

The complete book Intercession in Action by Norman Grubb is available for purchase on TheBookshelf.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Eve of Persecution II - Mother Basilea Schlink

Trust God for Today and Tomorrow
Let us be realistic about the future. When persecution of Christians breaks out in our lands, will any one us be able to remain faithful to the end? Judging by our own strength and resources; we are forced to conclude that we are incapable of bearing such suffering. However, by approaching the matter f'rom another angle, we are filled with triumphant assurance for the future. There is another factor to remember that will tip the scales in our favour: the omnipotence of our heavenly Father. We must include Him in of our calculations, for He possesses all the strength we need and will demonstrate His power when we undergo persecution.
This calls for a complete change in our way thinking. We must discard all idea of relying on ourselves, since from the very outset it is obvious our own  power of endurance will not suffice in suffering. But there is Someone who will stand by our side, denionstrate His might and lend us aid in future trials-  God our Father, and everything hinges on whether or not we reckon with Him. His power is so immense that our ability to suffer grows insignificant by comparison. It makes no difference whether we have great or little power of endurance or none at all for to God it is the same, whether He has to impart much or little of His strength to us. Indeed,He was referring to the weak when He promised, 'My power
39
is made perfect in weakness' (2 Cor. 12:9).
Today we must practise claiming His aid for our­selves. When we can no longer see a way out of our predicament, we must reckon alone with God and. His assistance, for He has given us a definite pledge of help. His name is Yea and Amen, and He will be faithful to His promises so that in the midst of perse­cution and suffering we shall experience the truth of His words, 'I will never fail you nor forsake you' (Heb. 13:5). 'Fear not, for I am with you ... I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand' (Isa. 41:10). We only have to do our part by claiming the promise. And this we do by translating faith into action and coming to God our Father in every sorrow and saying to Him,
`Abba, dearest Father, I trust You.
You will uphold me and carry me through.
You are with me; You bring me the help I need. I take refuge in Your heart.
When I am united with You, nothing can harm me. You are my Shield, and Your angels watch over me.'
Whenever fear grips our hearts as we think of the coming persecution, let us repeat this prayer:
`My Father,
From the foundations of the world You have ordained what will happen to me every day, every hour during persecution. You know me; You know my character, my capabilities. You know whether I am weak or strong, and before sending
40
anything into my life, You measure it first accord­ing to my strength.
Your loving heart sees to it that I am not tried beyond my strength in the trials and testings during persecution – of that I can rest assured. My Father, if anyone has evil intentions for me, You only have to speak a word and his attempts are foiled. My tormentors can never do more to me than You permit. And Jesus will give me the strength to endure.
Lord Jesus, take my life. I want to suffer and even die for You out of love and gratitude, for You have loved me and brought me salvation through Your agonizing death on the cross.'
If we draw near to God in deep trust, we shall experience His help. But there is a condition to fulfil. We must come to the Father as true children with humble and contrite hearts. In other words we must lie at His feet, humbled beneath our sin. Ever anew we must confess our sin to Him and before men, making a complete break with it. Grace is promised to such penitent sinners. God inclines Himself to the humble and helps them, but He opposes the proud and self-righteous. It is vastly important that we bring our sins into the light and receive forgiveness through Jesus' blood, before the time of suffering and persecution comes upon us! Then God will stand by us and let us experience His fatherly help.
In times of persecution the Father Himself will take charge of the situation – and not we – for He has pledged Himself to intervene on our behalf. Indeed miracles will happen and the Biblical events of long
41
ago will become present-day occurrences for us. When God intervenes, torture will have no effect. Night after night in an unheated cell a girl was made to sleep on the cold cement floor, according to a recent account from White Russia. It was winter time and she had no outer garment to keep her warm. Yet as she testified, 'Every night when I lay down in that icy grave, I committed myself into the hands of God and — it was a miracle! — a warm current of air surrounded me all night long and I could rest well .141 This was obviously God's doing!
When God intervenes, riotous gangs and terrorists advancing on us will not be able to cause us any harm. But when the time comes for some of us to lay down our lives for Jesus, after having experienced many instances of protection and deliverance, we shall encounter another miracle of God — as in the case of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. God let him see into the open heavens. The stoning could not drive Stephen to despair. On the contrary, he was filled with divine joy and 'his face was like the face of an angel' (Acts 6:15).
Some years ago there was a moving testimony from the persecuted Church in China. An elder of a small church was taken to court because of his faith in Christ. He was beaten brutally and thrown into prison, but after a few days he was released for no apparent reason. At the next worship service, he gave his testimony to the assembled church, which had been praying for him without ceasing during his imprisonment. 'When I received the 240 lashes, I thought of Stephen and how he was stoned. Then I had an experience similar to his. Above me I could
42
see the Lord Jesus for whom I was suffering, and I was comforted beyond words. It was as though a hand was laid upon my mangled back so that I no longer felt the pain. In addition the Lord told me that I would be set free in a few days, and that really did happen, as you can all see.' His eyes still shone will the Lord's comfort and on him rested the invisible aureole of honour and glory — won by those who him suffered disgrace for Jesus' sake.
Once long ago God uttered a command and out of nothing He formed heaven and earth, a marvelous creation. The same God who lives today needs say, but a word and that which would normally cause us agony or injury is rendered ineffective. Five hours long, night after night, a young soldier, thinly clad was made to stand outside in the freezing cold (— 20 F.). Humanly speaking, he should have contracted  serious illness or have died; yet nothing of the sort happened to this soldier, suffering for Jesus sake. Another time he was deprived of nourishment for five days, but the Lord sustained and strengthened him. God proved Himself to be a God of miracles.
This was the testimony of the Russian soldier Vanya Mojsejev, of our times .
43
God speaks a word and there is action. He intervenes and grants ushelp _-when we cry_ to Him in our need, as this young Baptist martyr did. God the Father, who does not forget the young ravens that cry, does not forget any of His children when they call upon Him. His attention is especially drawn to those who are suffering out of love for Himand are in fear and dire distress. He cannot forget them or 
leave them without comfort, without help,
43
that would contradict His very nature which is love — and God cannot deny Himself. Our heavenly Father is Love and at the same time He is the Almighty; He acts according to His nature, treating us with love and exercising His omnipotence on our behalf just as He has promised.
Thus one of the watchwords for this preparatory time when we are faced with problems and suffering is, 'Pray! Hasten to the Father!' God is waiting for His child to come so that He can help him. So let us implore the Father to help, and rush to His arms, for they are strong and will carry us through. Then we shall be practised by the time persecution comes, When we are in extreme anguish and misery, we may not be able to formulate long prayers, but then we only have to say, 'My Father, I trust You!' Let us say this prayer over and over again; it contains power and brings us help, for we receive according to our trust.. Either God will avert the plight or we shall experience His loving presence so wonderfully that we are oblivious to the horror about us.
We can really place our trust in the Father, for He is worthy of our implicit trust. God our Father in Jesus Christ has not only shown His love in words; He has proved it in action. Although we have bur­dened and wearied Him with our sins, grieved Him and caused Him suffering and so often rebelled against Him, He sacrificed His Son for our sakes — an act which caused Him immeasurable anguish. The Father's love and faithfulness have been tried and proven; they are absolutely reliable. And His love does not change; His heart is the same today.
Long ago He made the supreme sacrifice of His
44
only Son — as proof of His love — in order to save us and re-open heaven for us. And now He wishes to lavish His love upon those who are no longer His enemies but His adopted children who have come to love Him as their Father. His love will come down in cascades upon His children, particularly when they are undergoing suffering and persecution for Jesus' sake. He will pour out His heart of love upon them in their grief and pain, turning hell into heaven. Many of His own, suffering for His name's sake, have had this experience during the years spent in the diabolical conditions of concentration camps. Father Ken­tenich, who was imprisoned in the concentration camp of Dachau for four years during World War II, gave the following testimony there at a memorial service. 'Dachau was not hell for us, but rather hea­ven. How often we said that to each other then! For what is heaven but the deep fellowship of love with the Triune God and with those who love Him !114
45/46

Knit to His Will, We Are Strong
When the mob came to take Jesus prisoner, He met them with the words, 'I am he!', thus giving Himself into their hands. Jesus was prepared to suffer, to be imprisoned, to be tried and scourged, since His will was knit to the Father's. Being at one with the will of God makes us strong in the hour of deepest affliction even if commandos should come to arrest us too. Being at one with God means having a covcnant with the almighty, immortal God, who contends for us. Being united with Jesus Christ means having the victorious, risen Lord at our side, the Lord over things and all men, before whom all powers and dominions must yield. When we are united with the Almighty, we shall be able to master every situation. This union with God is essential for the time of persecution, but it has to be practised now, for unity with God, which means unity with His will, does not come to us naturally.
So often our will clashes with God's. His ways and leadings oppose our natural inclinations. We find it hard to accept His will. We find it hard to submit tp those who insult us or act against our personal wishes and opinions. We protest and rebel defying the will of God. And because our unity with God is broken, our strength to overcome in suffering it is also broken. When our will revolts against God's will, a barrier is erected between God and us, and we

47
have to undergo the painful experience of having God against us, for 'God opposes the proud', who set their wills against His.
We shall have to pay the consequences during the great persecution for each time we have defied God's will and leadings by asserting our own wishes and will instead. In the hour of testing we shall be weak. And the reverse is equally true. We shall be rewarded for every time we have consented to the will of God and said, 'Yes, Father!', when faced with the trials and vexations of  everyday life, or our personal sorrows and troubles. The dedication of the will binds us more and more tightly to God, cementing a union that will hold in persecution and torment. When we are united with God, nothing can harm us.
This prayer, 'Yes, Father!', must become like second nature to us by the time persecution breaks out. We must start training ourselves now, so that every time our heart produces a No to God's leadings, it will be turned into a Yes. It is vital that we declare war on the spirit of defiance that arises in our heart when our will is thwarted. We must learn to submit to others, since it is ultimately God who ordains the course of life. This must all take place now – on the eve of persecution. So let us pray, 'By the time perse­cution comes, let my will be completely knit to Your will through repeated commitments to suffering.'
But who can surrender his will unconditionally to the will of God? Who is able to say, 'Yes, Father!' ever anew, even when it demands his life, his all? Only he who bears the true image of God in his heart and declares who God is. God is Love; His will is goodness; His thoughts, purposes and decisions
48
come from a fatherly heart which is brimming over with love. He has only the best intentions for us, His children, even though we may not understand His actions. In beholding the Father's heart,we are moved to repeat the prayer, 'Yes, Father!', no matter how hard we find His leadings; and in time this prayer will knit us to the will of God completely, evoking in us the response of love so that we welcome suffering.
It is absolutely essential that our wills be at one with the will of God, for otherwise we shall not be steadfast in the coming time of persecution. If we are only sometimes committed to God's will in situations and relationships when our will is frustrated, we shall have only a loose connection with God – and that will not suffice. A wall made of loose bricks will collapse when a storm breaks out. In order to with­stand the storm, the bricks must be cemented to­gether and the same principle applies to our lives. By taking advantage of the countless opportunities to­day for making great or small commitments of our will, our union with God will become sturdy and
unshakeable. Then during affliction we shall be united
with our loving Father in His omnipotence and with our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the mightiest of all. As Lord and God, Jesus has only to speak a word and a prison door will swing open, a trial will take a direction  in our favour, and medications and drugs in­tended to weaken our resistance and make us
pliable cannot harm us. And at cross-examinations the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of wisdom, will help us, inspiring us with the right words. Indeed, when we are knit to the will of God, we are invincible, for His will is stronger than any other will; all must submit to Him.
49
In the midst of persecution we shall rest in the Father's arms like a child. The wickedness of others, the torture and suffering they plan to inflict upon us cannot harm us. When we are knit to God, we are strong and shall be able to endure persecution just as the martyrs did in past centuries. Current reports from Communist countries testify that Christians suffering torture receive supernatural strength. 'I feel better than ever! The joy of the Lord is our strength,' wrote Aida Skripnikova, a young woman, after her second term in a Russian prison camp. She derives her strength from committing herself to the will of God.
`Abide in me, and I in you' (John 15:4). If we are united with Christ, it does not matter what trouble or danger befalls us. For, 'who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword None of these, for we can answer trium­phantly, 'I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord' (Rom. 8:35, 38f.).
50
Immersed in Jesus, We Are Invincible
What does the future hold? Before us we can see people tormented in body, soul and spirit. We can see the revolutionary mobs breaking into houses, dragging away the Christians and torturing them. The mere thought of the Satanic darkness that is about to engulf us is petrifying. This is precisely what Satan hopes to achieve, for he is the instigator of this persecution of Christians. A person crippled with fear is incapable of engaging in spiritual warfare and so will never win the victory. Moreover when he undergoes suffering and torture for Jesus' sake, he will be unable to overcome.
We must be strong for the time of persecution and, indeed, we shall  be invincible, if we have the right perspective. We are always influenced by what we look at. Thus it is important that we tear our eyes away from scenes of horror, hatred and evil that are inspired by the powers of darkness. If we dwell only upon the coming horrors, picturing them in detail, we are lost. The horror will overcome us and drag us down into the quicksands of despair. We must turn our eyes away altogether and set our gaze on Jesus Christ, the Prince of Victory, who has destroyed the works of the devil and hell, and continues to do so. Victorious might emanates from Jesus, imparting strength to us and making us steadfast. Our only means of deliverance now, and later when our lives
51
are jeopardized, is to gaze at Him.
The most amazing things take place when we turn our eyes upon Jesus; comfort is poured into our fearful hearts now and later during persecution. One glance at our Saviour and Helper transforms us and our situation. In particular the sight of our Lord suffering and in disgrace, crowned with thorns, implants in our souls the desire to suffer. His infinite love is revealed to us as we gaze at Him in His suffering. But if our hearts and minds are not filled with Jesus' sufferings, we cannot suffer for Him. Today more than ever we must meditate on His sufferings; then we shall come very close to Him and our own suffering will seem small.
Jesus implores us, 'Look at Me when the horror is about to swallow you. Then the darkness which has entered your soul and is gathering round you will be turned into light.' His countenance is like the radiant sun, sending forth rays of light that fall upon our hearts, transforming darkness into light.
We have to confront the future. Indeed, Jesus warns us by saying, 'Watch! Be alert!' In other words He tells us to realize the significance of the present age, and to recognize the signs of the time. The sole purpose of recognizing that darkness has fallen is to take advantage of the time left before persecution breaks out. Now on the eve of persecution we must practise seeking Jesus ever anew with the inner eye of faith.
His is the loveliest countenance of all, illuming the whole universe. When our eyes rest upon His coun­tenance, we are charged with power. When we are in deepest distress and suffering, Jesus turns His
52
I
radiant gaze upon us and our hearts are comforted. If we look to Jesus, allowing Him to enthral us, our hearts will be immersed in divine peace and joy.
The right perspective will save us during persecu­tion and suffering. But we have only a short time to practise. The way we approach our everyday trials and problems casts the die for later. Today it is vital that we see beyond these problems, not worrying about them, not getting too involved in them, or letting them cripple us and weigh us down. We must turn our eyes away from these problems and look to Jesus, the Ruler of heaven and earth. Then He will grant us help. He gazes at us lovingly, promising us, `I will help you.' When the hour of darkness has struck, He reveals His countenance even more, letting His infinite love, glory and power shine upon us in our night – this we can count on.
As we fasten our eyes on His countenance, we drink in the love emanating from His features and experi­ence His help. Rapt in His gaze, we are no longer haunted by the faces of our tormentors; we are obli­vious to the horror, the terrible conditions. Jesus alone, our Lord and King, fills our hearts, and we experience the power that comes from beholding Him, our suffering and victorious Lord.
In His love Jesus looks at us, waiting for us to return His gaze and to fix our eyes upon Him in the midst of anguish and distress. His name is a great source of power and He waits for us to pronounce it as we behold Him: 'Jesus, my Helper. Jesus, my Saviour. Jesus, my Bridegroom.' In the minor sorrows and troubles of our present-day life we must learn to look to Him and call upon His name. We must
53
escape from the vicious circle where we revolve round ourselves and our problems, and meditate on His sufferings instead. Then our suffering will grow insig­nificant. We must trust His promises of love, help and power, and as we look to Him, calling upon His victorious name, we shall be delivered from the quicksands of despair. Our souls are restored as we behold Him and we have the comforting assurance of His presence.
Someone stands beside me, I am not alone; Someone shares my suffering and sorrow unknown–Jesus, my Helper and Victor.
54
Trained in Spiritual Warfare
During this short time on earth everything depends on our overcoming in the persecution of Christians, the hour of great trial, which is about to come upon us. We must stand the test of suffering, and our faith must prove itself in the furnace of affliction, since the outcome will decide our eternal destiny. During persecution Satan will make his assault on us with the torment that fiendish men inflict upon us. He intends to defeat us and rob us of our heavenly crown. In order to carry out this plan he will attack us at our weak points and work on our sinful inclin­ations, such as fear of suffering, cowardice, rebellion, disloyalty to our convictions out of fear of causing offence or incurring disapproval, dependence upon the praise and love of others or false emotional attachments to people. When persecution breaks out, it will become obvious how much we fought against our sins – how seriously we took them and to what extent we overcame them. We shall not be spared the consequences if we were so taken up with the trivial mundane affairs, the sorrows and joys of 'today', that we forgot the 'morrow'. The 'morrow' will bring persecution, and no one can stand this test unless he has prepared himself in advance, by fighting an earnest battle against sin, in faith in Jesus' redemption.
God has commanded us to lay aside every sin that
55

clings to us and weighs us down (Heb. 12:1). Why? Sin weakens us. Normally if we are bound to others, dependent on their praise and love, over-anxious to please, or afraid of causing offence or incurring dis­approval, we shall not be able to remain steadfast during cross-examinations. Bondage to people and to things of this world actually binds us to Satan, bringing us into his clutches. And as a result we weaken and succumb. Then we are even capable of denying Jesus, thus forfeiting our eternal heritage in glory.
The Book of Revelation refers to the persecuted Christians in the last times, saying, 'They have con­quered him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb . . .' (Rev. 12:11). But when do we use the word 'conquer'? Only when a battle is involved, for there is no victory without a battle. And when are we willing to fight the battle of faith so as to be freed from our slavery to sin? Only when we refuse to tolerate our sins, such as quarrelsomeness, thirst for power, the gratifica­tion of our desires, envy, self-will, untruthfulness –and really hate them. Only when we realize that such sinning is a grievous offence against God and man, do we seek release at any price. Then we are willing to fight against our sins to the point of shedding blood; then we are willing to fight this battle now in preparation for the future.
The crucial question for the time of suffering and persecution is 'Will sin still be able to weaken me then to the extent it does now? Or shall I be able to overcome in persecution, having fought against my sins beforehand?' We shall be prepared to suffer, if we have fought this battle now in the time of preparation.
56
Only if we have let the blood of Jesus release us now from our bondage to food and sleep, and ease and will comfort, we be strong enough to bear hunger, thirst and physical suffering. We shall be able to bear our tormentors and betrayers in patience and love, and to forgive them, if we have overcome all bitter­ness, irreconciliation and rebellion now in our every­day lives. Then we shall be experienced soldiers and Satan will not be able to defeat us in the hour of testing.
Now is the time for practice. Jesus' admonition to build our house upon rock and not upon sand, so that it will stand in the impending storm, is highly relevant for us (Matt. 7:21-27). When the flood comes, only that which has a firm foundation will not he swept away. Thus it is not our knowledge about Christianity that counts, but the way we live. We must live according to Jesus' words, doing the will of God and not just saying, 'Lord! Lord!' His will is our sanctification (1 Thess. 4:3); and sanctification does not imply holiness – that is, flawlessness in the perfectionist sense of the word. Sanctification is a process that includes fighting the battle of faith against sin with our last ounce of strength so that, we may be remoulded into Jesus' image.
In this battle of faith we must take the right measures. 'If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away' (Matt. 5:29). In other wor(ls we have to take action, confessing our sins to ( wd, and also to our fellow men whom we repeatedly wrong. We need to humble ourselves before them, to admit our guilt and say those vital words ever anew, 'Please forgive me; I am very sorry.'
57
Do we yield to our sinful inclinations? Have we formed false attachments to others ? Are we bound to our hobbies or money? Are we addicted to tran­quillizers, sedatives or other drugs? Are we on bad terms with anyone? Are we envious? Or are we so egoistic that we cannot bear to be disturbed ? If so, we must take the appropriate measures. There must be an 'about face' in our lives and we must give God a token of our willingness, an indication that our desire to become free is in earnest, though, of course, only, Jesus can bring us release from our sinful bondages. And we shall discover, 'If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed' (John 8:36).
Every time we look to Jesus in faith, every time we pray to Him in faith, our fetters are loosened some more; but we must also humble ourselves beneath His hand, submitting patiently to His chastening, and persevering in faith in Hid victory until we experience release. This persevering faith turns us into overcomers, so that we shall be able to stand firm even during persecution.
We must fight against our sins to the point of shed­ding blood, taking practical steps to overcome them. In particular we must gain the victory over the sins of cowardice and the fear of men – conformity, the desire to please others, and disloyalty to our convic­tions out of fear of incurring disapproval or causing offence. During persecution it is vital that we are able to bear witness to Jesus. And only if we practise making an uncompromising stand for Jesus now, will we be able to do so in perilous times. Today, when God Himself is being attacked and blasphemy has reached unheard-of proportions, the challenge to
58 
make a stand for the Lord is all the more urgent. Jesus is being subjected to the most outrageous indignities, mockery and degradation, while all sorts of obscenities are attributed to Him as an excuse for man's wickedness. He is presented as a clown, a simpleton, and portrayed as seen through the eyes of Judas. The prospect of a 'blasphemous, sadistic and pornographic' film about Jesus shows to what lengths man dares to go in blaspheming, the Holy One of God.
Are we making a stand for Jesus ? Do we voice our opposition when Jesus is treated this way? Today this is the question we are being asked. Witnessing means having the courage to be called 'old fashioned' or 'Pharisaical' and thus humiliated. A true witness never remains silent or conforms to the crowd for the sake of being thought tolerant, sophisticated, under­standing, broad-minded or modern.
This battle against our false sense of brotherly love, false emotional ties and dependence upon the opinions and approval of others becomes increasingly essential the closer persecution draws towards us. Then we shall need to take a stand against a universal church that does not recognize Jesus' act of redemp­tion but embraces all religions and ideologies. The same applies, should we be confronted with a one and only permitted Bible, which gives a distorted version of the crucifixion, omitting all reference to the sacri­ficial atonement for sin, and presenting social reform as the only true gospel. Then we will be faced with this question: 'Do we love our Lord more than our own lives ? Are we willing to lay them down for Him
We cannot be alert enough to withstand the Satanic attempts to lull us to sleep and to lure us into a haze
59
of confusion. Vigilance is essential. Now is the time to resist these attacks and to fight against sin, espe­cially cowardice, conformity and the false concept of brotherly love. Then God will do everything to help us be victorious during persecution. And later we shall join the overcomers in heaven who 'have conquered him [Satan] . . . by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death' (Rev. 12:11).
60 
The Privilege of Suffering for Christ

Christian persecution looms before us. It will probably exceed all previous ones in proportion and brutality –a fact which is enough to terrify us. Brainwashing, torture, concentration camps come to mind – the most terrible suffering, torment and even martyrdom. Yet there is a wonderful secret about this suffering, for it is quite different from the other afflictions that may come upon us. It is suffering 'for Christ'.
We are not suffering for some cause, nor for a mor­tal man with his shortcomings and delusive ideals, which he sets before us. We are not suffering for the sake of a ruler who deludes his subjects, perhaps even torturing them, as is frequently the case. History repeats itself, and to this very day thousands commit themselves to such leaders, not stopping at any sacri­fice and even prepared to die for them, only to discover later that they had been deceived. As Christians, however, we have the wonderful privilege of suffering and giving our lives for the one Lord Jesus Christ during persecution. He is the Lord Most High, majestic and triumphant. As the Son of God robed in splendour, emanating love, righteousness and truth, He is unique. The greatest man on earth cannot com­pare with Him. He is altogether different, without sin. He is the Almighty, the Ruler of heaven and earth. In His amazing love for us He took the lowest place of all, letting Himself be despised by all mankind.
61
For our sakes He became the Man of Sorrows, voluntarily undergoing the most agonizing death. And once more today as the humble, meek Lamb of God he patiently endures the blasphemy, allowing Himself to be abused, mocked and utterly degraded in countless sacrilegious musicals, plays and other pro­ductions. Today Jesus calls us to His side more than ever before to suffer disgrace, contempt and persecu­tion with Him. Let us give Him the response of our love, for He is worthy of it.
It is truly remarkable that sinful men are privileged to suffer for the Lord Jesus. After His sacrifice on the cross where He vanquished Satan, Jesus majestically led away the principalities and powers of the under­world as captives in a triumphal march. And soon He will openly display and manifest His victory over Satan before all the world! What a privilege it is to be able to suffer for this Lord of lords ! With the breath of His mouth He will destroy the Antichrist and then establish His everlasting kingdom, where every knee will bow to Him and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. In this kingdom the martyrs and over-comers will have the honour of reigning with Him for ever and ever. It is inconceivable that as sinful, mortal beings we are permitted to be 'God's fellow-workers' in serving Him and in paving the way for the eternal Kingdom of God, which is about to come. Yet it is utterly amazing that by our suffering we are also to be 'fellow-workers with God' and thus partners with Christ our Lord, who built His kingdom upon suffering. To suffer for Jesus and to help establish the Kingdom of God as 'a chosen instrument' – this was Paul's election. This calling was confirmed by the
62 
Lord when He said, 'I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name' (Acts 9 :16). Early Christian martyrs, as well as twentieth-cen­tury martyrs, were conscious of the tremendous hon­our of not only believing in Jesus but of suffering for Him. Paul considered it an act of grace, a privilege (Phil. 1:29 The Living Bible). In times of persecution those who suffered martyrdom were usually filled with a joy that was not of this world. Because their hearts were set on fire for Jesus, they were overwhelmed at the honour of bearing shame and disgrace and many hardships for His name's sake. To them the name of Jesus represented all glory and might, wisdom and beauty, and immeasurable love. His name always sounded in their hearts as the sweetest name.
Only because Jesus was their first and foremost Love, could the martyrs of recent years, like those of the past, endure persecution and suffering for Jesus joyfully and wholly surrendered to God. Even before persecution had broken out, love constrained them to share their Lord's pathway ; they could not do other­wise. And Jesus' earthly life, even before His Passion began, was characterized by lowliness, humiliation, disappointments, poverty, loneliness, insults, rejec­tion, many acts of self-denial, and sacrificial deeds. Those who had previously chosen Jesus' pathway for their own out of love for Him walked in His foot­steps as true disciples so that by the time persecution came, they were practised in suffering and aflame with love for Him. The more they practised bearing their cross with Jesus, the closer they were knit to Him and. the more fiercely blazed the fire of their love.
Jesus loves us tenderly and desires our love in
63
return. He entreats us, 'Give Me your love! Choose My way! Come, join Me! Take up your cross and follow Me
Today there is still time to practise true discipleship of the cross in order to be trained in suffering for the time of persecution. Jesus appeals to us with greater urgency than ever before, since our future depends on whether or not we follow Him now on the way of the cross. Today He is challenging us to set foot on His pathway and to deny ourselves and endure lowliness, humiliation, rejection, insults, injustice, disappoint­ments, and bodily suffering out of love and dedication to Him. If we are willing to continue this path out of love for Him in spite of the cuts and bruises we receive on the way, if we say, 'For You, with You, Lord Jesus', our love will grow strong and we shall gain practice in suffering.
This is a gradual process. When we commit our­selves to the future suffering, the first stage of self-surrender is to say, 'Lord Jesus, as Your disciple I must suffer for You!' By the second stage we are able to say, 'I want to suffer for You!' But by the third stage we can say, 'It is a privilege to suffer for You; it is an honour to be counted worthy of this.' Let us constantly make new acts of dedication in order to reach this third stage, which is our goal of faith. During persecution we shall reap the fruits of this time of practice, and the bitterness of suffering will be turned into triumphant joy. 'The Lord Jesus has suffered so much on my behalf. Now I can show Him my love by suffering for Him.'
This triumphant joy and thanksgiving for the privilege of suffering for Jesus can be found in the
64 
letter from the Evangelical Christian Baptists of Russia, which they sent to all the churches in the world. At the second congress of their church council in 1970, these Baptists, the relatives of persecuted Christians, came together. Did they want to make an accusation? To complain of their suffering? To join in sorrowing for their fellow Christians who had been taken prison­er ? Or to ask for release? On the contrary, the letter reads, 'We have come together – fathers, mothers, sons and daughters of prisoners – to thank the Lord for our suffering for Christ.'4,1
Suffering for Christ? Frequently – perhaps at night – we picture the horror, the bloodshed of the impend­ing revolution, the persecution of Christians and the torture and anguish it will bring. But when this fright­ening darkness seeks to oppress us, our hearts can suddenly be filled with light. Two little words can effect total transformation, 'For Christ!' Fear of the future and of the torment in persecution is turned into comfort, peace and even triumphant joy when we look at Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, the Bridegroom of our souls. It is our privilege and desire to suffer for Jesus, who is eternal Joy, the Glory of heaven and earth, the sole Love of those who belong to Him.
In view of the coming suffering let us embrace the Lord Jesus with all our hearts and then we shall be­come joyful in our present fears and later in torment, for our hearts will be ringing with those blessed words, `For You, Jesus, for You!' There is an account of the Baltic Professor of Theology, Traugott Hahn, when he was in captivity. Before his execution in 1919 the guards forced him to carry a pail of human excrement down the corridor. Seeing him so degraded,
65
Bishop Platon of the Orthodox Church, who was a fellow-prisoner, whispered to him, 'Radi Christa' (Tor the sake of Christ') .46 These words contain a wonder­ful hidden power. When the Presbyter Peter Wiens in Russia was about to be deported to a prison camp, he said good-bye to his wife with the words, 'Rad! Christa', not knowing whether he would ever see her again. These words set his wife at peace and strength­ened his son – as the latter testified – when later he too was deported.

The true image of Jesus never shines so brightly as in times of persecution when He manifests the great­ness and power of His fervent love as He visits those suffering imprisonment for His sake. Cold cells, impregnated with horror, are transformed by Jesus' presence into a heavenly palace as the Dutch priest, Dr Titus Brandsma, testified in a poem which he wrote in a Gestapo prison where he was held captive in World War II:
To suffer takes no special fortitude
But only love. All suffering seems good; For through it I become, 0 Lord, like You And suffering brings me to Your kingdom too.
Indeed, all suffering is joy and gain,
For out of love I sense no more the pain. It truly seems a high and glorious call, For it unites me with the Lord of all.
Yes, let me be imprisoned and forlorn In icy-cold and dismal cell, alone,
With no one else to help or comfort me; I'll never tire of this serenity.
66
If only You will stay with me, 0 Lord; You've never been so close to me before. 0 stay, my Jesus! Stay, Beloved, here, For all is well, if only You are near.
Even children who suffer persecution come into a deeper relationship with Jesus, who stays at their side. They discover the reality of Jesus and the hidden glory, the privilege, the honour of being considered worthy to suffer for His name's sake. 'What is your suffering for Jesus?' a ten-year-old boy asked a Christian visiting a church in the Soviet Union while on vacation. This boy had stayed in a camp with his brothers and sisters during the years that his parents were imprisoned because of their faith. However, children and parents both left the camps with their faith deepened as a result of the suffering. And now the all-important question for this boy was whether a believer had suffered for Jesus already. In his youthfuI heart he no doubt sensed that suffering for Jesus was an honour – a privilege .49
But not until we reach heaven and see the shining crowns on the heads of those who patiently bore their suffering, shall we fully realize what a privilege it is to suffer for Jesus.
Who can measure the great treasure Suffering and grief have brought? Who has sight and understanding For the good that pain has wrought?
Who may live there close to Jesus
In unending glory bright?
Those who shared the cross beside Him. With the Lamb endured dark night.10
67
'Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven' (Luke 6:22f.). A wonderful reward lies in store – and soon, very soon, suffering will be turned into eternal glory and immeasurable joy.
What greater privilege could there be than to suffer for Jesus, who wants to recompense our sufferings with a divine reward and eternal glory! Let us lift up our eyes to heaven – for one thought of heaven drives all earthly suffering away.
68
The Marvellous Purposes of God
`I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,' the Apostle Paul declares in one of his letters (Col. 1:24). He realizes the privilege of making up in his own person whatever is still lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of His Body, which is the Church. Paul rejoices, since he knows that his suffering will have far-reaching effects for the Church. Through his suffering Paul is privileged to help carry out God's plan of salvation – an amazing thought! He is drawn into God's marvellous purposes for the Body of Christ.
What a tremendous commission has been entrusted to sinful man! Our suffering for Jesus' sake will yield wonderful fruit. This knowledge, this thought will help us to remain steadfast in the sufferings of per­secution. We are not merely enduring the suffering that has been laid upon us, submitting to it with a 'Yes, Father!' Far more is involved. We are suffering for a definite purpose, for Christ and His Body, the Church. Jesus, the Lamb of God, gave His life as a sacrifice so that God's wonderful plan of salvation for the Church, and later for the whole of creation and for all nations, could be fulfilled. By contributing our suffering we help to complete these eternal purposes of God. This is our amazing privilege, for with our suffering we help to prepare the Church, the bride of the Lamb, and so hasten the day of Jesus' return.
69
We are living in the last times and this great day will come soon when God's plan for the Church, the bride of the Lamb, will be fulfilled. Thus the persecution of Christians in the end times is highly significant, for the last measure of suffering must be added before the bride of the Lamb can be completed in number and reach perfection. The overcomers in heaven will be longing for this day of fulfilment and thus waiting for us to take our part in suffering. Probably the marriage feast of the Lamb is already in preparation and all heaven is waiting for the bride. On that day of immeasurable joy and glory one of the goals in God's plan of salvation will be attained, and we may help to bring about this momentous event by contri­buting our share in suffering. This prospect makes suffering worthwhile for the present-day martyrs and gives them the strength to be steadfast. And when
the marriage feast of the Lamb will fall begins, all the king-
doms of this world wi finally into the Lord's
possession.
What a privilege and a high calling to suffer with Jesus! What an act of grace, what a special honour! Jesus, who on Calvary completed His sacrifice, who redeemed the whole world, waits in humility for the members of His Body to suffer with Him and for Him. They have the privilege of contributing their share of suffering so that His plan of salvation for mankind and the whole universe can be carried out. Suffering contains tremendous power, yielding abun­dant fruit, and it ends in victory, glory and resurrec­tion.
This knowledge gives us the courage to lay down our lives for Jesus in the time of persecution. Suffering
70
brings great blessing to others, for as the Apostle Paul said, 'I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which in Christ Jesus goes with eternal glory' (2 Tim. 2:10). When persecution does break out, we have the privi­lege of suffering for our church or fellowship or for certain people, so that they may be saved, learn to overcome and reach full maturity in Christ. Suffering during persecution has far-reaching effects on the souls of others.
`We believe that the Lord gathers our tears and will pour them out upon the thirsty, seeking hearts of the Russian people,' said the Evangelical Christian Baptists of Russia in the above-cited letter of the second congress of their church council. Suffering and tears have power. During persecution many tears will be shed, not only because of the torment we must undergo ourselves. If we profess Jesus in such times, others are usually involved or – what is often harder to bear than our own suffering – we see our nearest and dearest made to suffer as well. All this means deep grief and heartache. But on the other hand, we may find our suffering in persecution increased by those who are closest to us, because they are members of a Communist or an atheist organization – and that indeed causes us bitter anguish.
But how encouraging it is to know that 'the Lord gathers our tears and will pour them out'. Our tears will bring blessing to thirsty, seeking hearts. The grain of wheat falls into the ground during persecu­tion, giving rise to new life at other places. Individuals and even whole groups of people receive new spiritual life, as is the case in Russia where revival has broken
71
out in various districts. The martyrs are, and always will be, the seeds of the Church.
It is truly amazing that we are to be taken into the `fellowship of his sufferings' (Phil. 3:10 AV), which means suffering with Jesus for the sake of His Church, for His elect, for those who seek God and for those who have fallen away from Him or live in direct rebellion against Him. The tears we shed during perse­cution, the agonizing suffering we undergo will help bring many to Jesus so that they can reach eternal glory. Suffering for Jesus, the King of kings, has far-reaching results.
The deeper and greater the suffering is, the more wonderful the fruit and glory will be. Accordingly, the agony endured during persecution in the cross-examinations and torture, which can often be so gruesome, will bear immeasurable fruit. If Jesus rewards us for giving a cup of cold water, then how much more will He reward those who undergo torture for His sake? Because He loves us so much, He shares our suffering, looking upon us in deep gratitude for all that we endure for His sake. Uplifted by this hope, the apostles, who encountered great hardships and had to go through the depths of suffer­ing, were always joyful, but especially when they spoke of suffering. 'Rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed' (1 Pet. 4:13). It is eternity that counts. No words can express what awaits us in heaven, if we have suffered for Jesus in this life. There we shall behold His countenance and over­whelming joy will fill our hearts. Supreme delight awaits us for all eternity – jubilation, exultation and
72
joyful laughter as compensation for all the tears we have shed here.
Heaven is a reality and it awaits our homecoming. The suffering of this lifetime will come to an end, but there is no end to the glory that is prepared for us above. If we live with our heart and soul in heaven where Christ is, we shall be able to bear the suffering during persecution. Hope and expectation of the future joy give us the strength to endure, and the crown of glory that is laid up for us makes all suffering worthwhile.
In Revelation 20, verse 4, the martyrs are promised that they will reign with Jesus, enthroned beside Him. What an amazing prospect! For all eternity to abide with Jesus, our first and foremost Love, our Bride­groom and King! In the face of such glory, suffering must fade away. 'I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us' (Rom. 8:18). These words of Scripture hold true for all suffering, but especially for the suffering in persecution.
The glory of heaven will bring us incomprehensible joy and bliss for all eternity, whereas the suffering of this life only lasts a limited amount of time. It passes by. It has an end. And later it will be banished from us for ever. If we are patient and steadfast in faith, suffering will bring us endless rejoicing, as Jesus promised, 'Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh' (Luke 6:21). In heaven we shall rejoice at His side for ever and ever.
Heaven brings light in darkness. Heaven is stronger than hell, overcoming torture and transforming the diabolical conditions of prison camps. Let us live now
73
Prayer
Lord Jesus,
You are with me, helping me, strengthening me.
In the midst of my suffering I immerse myself in Your suffering, submerging my will in Yours, which is pure goodness. And in all fear and agony I take refuge in Your wounds.
As I turn my eyes upon You, Lord Jesus, I am com­forted.
0 Man of Sorrows, my heart clings to You.
All horror is banished, for You are with me, bringing healing to my soul and making me strong.
You are my Shield, and Your angels watch over me. And I know the Father will carry me through all suffering.
I will remain steadfast, for Your blood is my strength; it makes the weak strong.
Heaven is beckoning and the crown shines brightly. Soon my suffering will be over, and transformed into glory. So let me suffer with You and for You in the fellowship of love.
Amen
in the reality of the world above and all that awaits us there, and even when we are in the depths of suffering, persecution and torment, we shall not lose this source of everlasting j oy.
Watchwords
Preparation starts today!
1. Every time difficulties and impossible situations arise now, I will believe in the omnipotence of God and His fatherly aid. I will not give place to worry, but completely trust in the Father's tender, loving care, for He never gives me more than I can bear and always has ways and means to help. Then by the time persecution breaks out, I shall be 'practised in faith' so that I can experience His aid.
2. Now I will bear my small bodily ailments – pain, weakness and fatigue – in faith in the power of Jesus' blood that sustains me and renews my strength. Then I shall have practice for the future when the physical suffering will be far greater.
3. Every time I am faced with hardship and meaning. - lessness, I will surrender my will, and when I am chas­tened, I will humble myself even more beneath the mighty hand of God. I will say, 'Yes, Father, Your judgments are just – and so are the ones to come.'
4. I will look to Jesus ever anew, turning to Him with all my heart. And as I behold the Man of Sorrows, who is full of grief and affliction, the desire to suffer is implanted in my soul. I will look to Him, the mighty Victor, who has vanquished Satan and sin.
5. In faith I will claim Jesus' redemption in my daily battle against my spirit of criticism, pride, stinginess,
77
envy, self-will, egoism, anger, the desires of the flesh, and bondage to people and things. Then sin will not be able to weaken me in the future, and if I should be taken to a concentration camp, I can be a witness for Jesus when living together with others, by radiating His love and peace.
6. I will bear every hardship, great or small, out of love for Jesus, so that when I have to undergo pain and torment in persecution, my natural reaction will be, 'I will bear it for Your sake, Jesus.'
7. I will live in close fellowship with Jesus now, conversing with Him at all times and doing everything for Him in love, so that love, which is the strongest power of all, will give me the strength to bear the suffering in the time of persecution.
8. I will lead a life of prayer now, so that I shall be able to pray later. Prayer will be my deliverance in times of loneliness, temptation, suffering and torment, and when I am forsaken. Prayer will bring me Jesus and heaven on earth.
9. Now I will fight resolutely against my fear of others and my desire to win their favour, love, respect and approval, so that I can overcome coward­ice. I commit myself to making an uncompromising stand for the Lord. I want to seek only God's approval in all matters now so that later during persecution,
I shall be willing to pay the price.
10. I will do good now to those who hurt me and treat me unjustly by blessing them and showing them love in thought, word and deed. Then later I shall be able to meet my persecutors the right way, not judging them, but humbled because of my own sin and meek like a lamb, full of mercy towards them.
11. Every time I am at a loss as to what to say in some situation or conversation, I will trust the Holy Spirits implicitly to guide me and give me His words, now and also at future trials and cross-examinations.
12. Today I will count on the reality of heaven, which Jesus brings into our lives, and abide in this hope, so that during persecution I can rejoice, saying, 'Suffering will come to an end, and everlasting glory will follow.'