Each month VOM produces "The Jesus Freaks Minute," a daily radio-PSA that shares the stories of the persecuted church with Christian radio listeners all over the United States and around the world. Here's the script for one of the spots that will air next month, a spot entitled Wurmbrand on Forgiveness:
[LYRICS:] What will people think when they hear that I’m a Jesus Freak? What will people do when they find that it’s true?
[TODD:] Richard Wurmbrand, founder of The Voice of the Martyrs, saw the martyrdom of many Christians in Kenya in the late 60s. He quotes one wife standing near the grave of her husband. She said, “My husband asked me to tell all his murderers that he goes to heaven loving everybody whole-heartedly. He has forgiven all, because Jesus loves them.”
Inspired by that widow, Wurmbrand suggested we all make a “written list of all who have ever wronged you. Write over it in large letters, ‘Jesus loves them.’ Then burn the list and forgive them once and forever.”
[YOUR TURN:] How do you forgive when it seems impossible to do so? How hard is it to see those who've wronged you through the lens of Jesus' love for them?
"Every time you kneel down and pray for Vietnam, you are working with us in Vietnam."
— Vietnamese pastor with more than 30 years of ministry experience
Prayer continues to be one of the main requests we receive from our persecuted brothers and sisters. Agreeing with them in prayer for their faithful witness for Christ in spite of the hardships and persecution they face brings us into fellowship with them.
“After going through what I went through, seeing other Christians go through suffering, having other Christians encourage me and pray for me, it all brought me closer to Christ.”
— Awuna Sunday, injured in a bomb attack at a Nigerian church
The Voice of the Martyrs’ 2014 Prayer Calendar is an excellent tool to help us remember our persecuted family in prayer each day throughout the year. Each day features a prayer request from one of the hostile or restricted nations where Christians face harassment and persecution for their faith.
The calendars also make an outstanding gift to help your Christian friends join with you in prayer for the persecuted church, and quantity discounts mean you can order multiple copies for less than $1.50 each. Give one to your pastor, to members of your Sunday School class and to other Christian friends.
Last week at our VOM chapel, Brother Merv shared with us. Merv is one of the longest-tenured members of the worldwide VOM family. (You can watch a video interview with him here.) One of the stories he shared was from his time working side-by-side with Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand as Merv helped launch and lead our VOM sister office in Australia.
Merv said that on one particular day he was with Pastor Wurmbrand, and Merv was sharing about his own personal Bible reading.
And he was frustrated.
“Keep reading!” Pastor Wurmbrand encouraged Merv. “You are putting into your mind something that God will bring out at the right time. When I was questioned [by police in communist Romania], God would bring to my mind verses that I didn’t even know I knew!”
Paul, in writing to Timothy, warned him that Christians would face persecution (2 Tim. 3:12) and then pointed him down the pathway to prepare for that persecution: God’s Word:
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (3:16-17).
One of the consistent lessons of our persecuted brothers and sisters is the value of the Scriptures. These brothers and sisters LOVE God’s Word. Sometimes they work and pray for years to have a copy of the Bible. They take great risks to own, study and spread its precious truths. They work to memorize its passages, knowing that a physical Bible can be confiscated or burned, but the words hidden in our hearts cannot be removed.
I appreciate Merv’s story. Sometimes I, too, struggle as I attempt to consistently read my Bible. My mind wanders, my attention is short, and it seems at times the words go in through my eyes and then quickly out of my mind and memory. But as I continue in this discipline, there are days the words seem to jump off the page, as if they were written just for me on that particular day. And I’m reminded again of the power of God’s Word and the importance of feeding it to our hearts and minds.
Your Turn: Do you ever struggle to be consistent in your personal Bible reading and study? What keeps you motivated to keep reading? Continue the discussion in the comments to this post.
Todd Nettleton has served the persecuted church and VOM 15 years. He has been interviewed more than 1900 times by various media outlets. He's the author of Restricted Nations: North Korea, and served on the writing team for FOXE, Extreme Devotion, Hearts of Fire and other VOM books.
Image credit: thedisciplers.com.