Media reports early this week stated that Australian Christian John Short has been expelled from North Korea after being detained there last month, allegedly for distributing Christian literature while visiting the secretive nation as a tourist.
North Korea’s official media reported that Short was released “thanks to the tolerance of the law of the DPRK and in full consideration of his age.” Short is 75.
THANK YOU for praying for John Short and his family during the time of his detention. His wife Karen has publicly said how much the prayers of God’s people around the world meant to her. Please continue to pray for Christians in North Korea, especially those suffering in the country’s notorious labor camps.
Prior to leaving Pyongyang on a flight for Beijing, China, Short was required to read out loud and sign a statement of apology, including a statement that, “I wanted more Korean people to be Christians therefore I secretly spread Bible tracts written by me.”
In his first public comments after being released Short said he was interrogated for two hours each morning and two more hours each afternoon during his detention. He also said he was kept under guard in a room and not allowed to go out at all.
We will post updates about Mr. Short’s condition on www.Persecution.com as more information becomes available.
The following is excerpted from a letter written by German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and circulated to a hundred or so of his former students during World War II:
...To be sure, God shall call you, and us, only at the hour that God has chosen. Until that hour, which lies in God’s hand alone, we shall all be protected even in greatest danger, and from our gratitude for such protection ever new readiness surely arises for the final call.Bonhoeffer is honored on The Martyrs Wall at VOM headquarters in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
Who can comprehend how those whom God takes so early are chosen? Does not the early death of young Christians always appear to us as if God were plundering his own best instruments in a time in which they are most needed? Yet the Lord makes no mistakes. Might God need our brothers for some hidden service on our behalf in the heavenly world? We should put an end to our human thoughts, which always wish to know more than they can, and cling to that which is certain. Whomever God calls home is someone God has loved. “For their souls were pleasing to the Lord, therefore he took them quickly from the midst of wickedness” (Wisdom of Solomon 4.)
...Death reveals that the world is not as it should be but that it stands in need of redemption. Christ alone is the conquering of death.
...Only in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ has death been drawn into God’s power, and it must now serve God’s own aims. It is not some fatalistic surrender but rather a living faith in Jesus Christ, who died and rose for us, that is able to cope profoundly with death.
In life with Jesus Christ, death as a general fate approaching us from without is confronted by death from within, one’s own death, the free death of daily dying with Jesus Christ. Those who live with Christ die daily to their own will. Christ in us gives us over to death so that he can live within us. Thus our inner ding grows to meet that death from without. Christians receive their own death in this way and in this way our physical death very truly becomes not the end but rather the fulfillment of our life with Jesus Christ. Here we enter into community with the One who at his own death was able to say, “It is finished.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life on earth ended when he was hanged in Flossenburg Concentration Camp on April 9, 1945. To learn more about his life, ministry and death, read BONHOEFFER: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas.
The LORD is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? Psalm 27:1
The unwritten code of the police was clear: If you catch the Khmu or other tribesmen converting to Christianity, arrest them. If you catch anyone evangelizing the tribesmen, kill him.
After “Lu” had been shackled at the hands and feet and shamefully marched through the village, the Communist police threw him in a pit. “We will let you go,” they said, “when one hundred Christians in your village renounce their conversion to Christianity.” But they were unable to find believers willing to turn their backs on Christ.
Then tragedy struck the police. One officer’s son broke both legs in an accident. His other son became critically ill. The officer who had beaten and harassed new Christians suddenly died of a heart attack.
Other officials fearfully pulled “Lu” from the pit and allowed him to return home. Government authorities were too frightened to take action against the Christians in the village after seeing what happened to their leader.
Seeing God’s show of power, more Khmu became believers. Where there had been one hundred Christians, now there were seven hundred. They even sent Christians out to tell other villages about Jesus. While the Laotian authorities were controlled by their fear, the Christians in Southeast Asia overcame theirs.
Fear is one of the most basic human motivations. It drives stock markets and fuels wars. Its unruly energies can be used for great harm or channeled for great good. Professional boxers are often told fear is their friend. Fear can make them better fighters. It keeps them alert. It sensitizes their determination. In the same way, God can use our fears and make us better fighters for his cause. Whenever we are afraid, we have the potential to do the impossible. Why? That which is impossible in our own strength is made possible with God’s help. Fear makes us more likely to forsake our own resources and rely on God instead. In this way, extreme fear can lead to extreme faith.