FOCUS ON HIM – JESUS
By Norman Watson
 

 

Today’s Bible Teaching and the song will help us to understand how we as followers of Jesus can be prepared and ready for the persecution, trials, and testings that is here now and will continue to increase.

 

 

How many times have we heard Pastors and Bible teachers say that “persecution is coming, we may even be arrested, tortured and put to death, so we better be ready”? Yet, they do not teach us how to be ready. Perhaps they can not tell us how to be prepared because they have never experienced true persecution. There are others who only teach the “feel good and fuzzy” message and avoid Bible teachings like 2 Timothy 3:12 (ESV) “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,”.

 

So what are we to do to be prepared and ready? Can we be ready physically? or emotionally? To be honest, I do not have the answers, and no one else does either. But I do know who does, and that is Jesus, not man. Listen and really hear what Jesus is speaking to us through His Word.

 

 

In Job 13:15 (ESV) we read, “Though he slay me, I WILL HOPE IN HIM; yet I will argue my ways to his face. and in Hebrews 12:2

“LOOKING TO JESUS, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” And  Psalm 121:1-2 (ESV) “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” When our time comes to be persecuted, it is He who will prepare us and make us ready to endure whatever we will face, and just as God spoke through Moses in Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV) He is also speaking to us now, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

 

 

Helen Berhane spent more than two years in Eritrea’s notorious prison system after being arrested for her Christian work. On one occasion, after receiving a severe beating from her prison guard, she was handcuffed and thrown into an empty metal shipping container. The door was locked, the container was cold and dark, her body was still shaking from the beating and she was scared she would freeze to death. So she started to sing (The Holy Spirit gave her this song). (Watch her share her experiance by clicking on this link https://youtu.be/2W-yO5tOxS0)

 

 

 
HELEN BERHANE’S PRISON SONG – I LOVE YOU
 
I love you, that’s why I draw myself closer to you
I know that it’s worth following you.
I am not only ready for prison, but I trust you until death.
Even in a closed space or in a pit I will not surrender to evil spirits,
Not even if I am bound or I am chained and I am suffering from cold,
I will sing and I am not going to tire of singing, nor give up.
My heart is burning with your love,
And my heart declares I will never stop respecting you or lifting you up.
I will sing again and again,
I will sing a melody for you,
My soul is pleased to sing for you.
 

 

 

 
Though You Slay Me
(Shane & Shane featuring John Piper)

I come, God, I come
Return to the Lord
The one who’s broken
The one who’s torn me apart
You struck down to bind me up
You say You do it all in love
That I might know You in Your suffering

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need

My heart and flesh may fail
The earth below give way
But with my eyes, with my eyes I’ll see the Lord
Lifted high on that day
Behold, the Lamb that was slain
And I’ll know every tear was worth it all

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need

Though tonight I’m crying out
Let this cup pass from me now
You’re still all that I need
You’re enough for me
You’re enough for me

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need

SUFFERING CAN PURIFY MY FAITH
By Open Door Ministries
 

 

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7

 

Believers in North Korea’s underground church recite five principles, along with the Lord’s Prayer, at their secret gatherings. The special place of purifying suffering in the spiritual life of this church is striking:

 

 

Our persecution and suffering are our joy and honor.

 

We want to accept ridicule, scorn and disadvantages with joy in Jesus’ name.

 

As Christians, we want to wipe others’ tears away and comfort the suffering.

 

We want to be ready to risk our life because of our love for our neighbor, so that they also become Christians.

 

We want to live our lives according to the standards set in God’s Word.

 

 

Christian singer, Helen Berhane was arrested for sharing her faith in her home country of Eritrea. She spent almost three years in prison, much of this time in a metal shipping container. Because she would not deny her faith or stop sharing her faith, she was beaten so severely she could not walk. During her time in the containers she wrote new Christian songs and spent her time encouraging other Christian prisoners, as well as witnessing to the prison guards.

 

 

After her release, she resettled in Europe and has written her prison memoirs in a small book titled, Song of the Nightingale. In the introduction when describing her feelings inside the shipping container prison, she writes:

 

 

Sometimes I cannot believe that this is my life—these four metal walls, all of us corralled like cattle, the pain, the hunger, the fear. All because of my belief in a God who is risen, who charges me to share my faith with those who do not yet know him. A God who I am forbidden to worship. I think back to a question I have been asked many times over my months in prison: “Is your faith worth this, Helen?” As the guards continue on their rounds, I whisper the answer: “Yes.” [1]

 

 

RESPONSE: Today I will accept suffering as something that can prove and purify my faith.

 

PRAYER: Lord, thank You for those trials and challenges that help me be more like You. You are worth it all and more!

 

 

 

 

Helen Berhane, Song of the Nightingale (Colorado Springs: Authentic Media, 2009), p. xiii.
Helen Berhane – I LOVE YOU taken from Release International https://releaseinternational.org/lockdown-resource/helen-berhane