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Stick with Jesus

Elevator

(Source: From the Lips of Children by Richard Wurmbrand. Paraphrased and edited for clarity.)

Students at a school in England were asked to name the person they would most like to be stuck with in a broken elevator. A girl answered, “An elevator expert.”

In one sense, we are all “stuck” — not in an elevator, but in a world with many problems. Sometimes all the problems can seem too much to bear.

But Jesus is an expert in human struggles. When he was on earth, he was poor, attacked, and crucified. He offers the only solution to the world’s problems: the power of his resurrection.

Let us choose our expert over anybody else!

(Elevator photo courtesy of Sam Howzit / Flickr.com.)


Valentine

By Elise Wixtrom

An emperor in ancient Rome liked conquering very much, and he was fond of meddling in foreign wars. But he didn’t have enough soldiers to fight all these wars. The shortage of soldiers irritated him. So the emperor of that time outlawed marriage for people of a certain age range. He hoped to encourage young men to enter the military to pass the time before they could marry their sweethearts.

The emperor’s law caused a huge problem for Christian men and women of the time. The Christian men did not want to enter the Roman military. They wanted to be able to get married and have children, families, and lives. But no one would officiate at their weddings, because they didn’t want to break the harsh laws that governed Rome at the time.

Then Valentine, a young pastor, came into the scene. In violation of the law, Valentine began to join young Christian couples in marriage. Valentine eventually was martyred for breaking the laws of Rome, but he displayed great courage with his defiance.

Sources include Valentine: God’s Courageous Evangelist, one of the books in the Courageous Series, available at vombooks.com.
Enter “Valentine” in the Search box to learn more about why we celebrate Valentine’s Day.


Middle East: Ervin’s Secret Weapon

Ervin is a Christian in a country where most people are Muslims. The government in his country does not want Christians to spread the gospel and lead others to Christ. Ervin spent more than seven years in prison because of his devotion to Jesus and His Word.

Conditions in the prison were harsh. One way they mistreated the prisoners was to keep them awake all day and all night. They even taped Ervin’s eyes open so he couldn’t fall asleep.

But Ervin had a “secret weapon.” He had memorized more than 100 Bible verses before he went to prison. He survived the difficult conditions by repeating the verses over and over. They strengthened him and helped him stay close to God.

Ervin still lives in the same Muslim country where he went to prison. Pray for his protection and for persecutors and government leaders to come to Christ.


Vietnam: A Very Long “Prayer”

Bao and his wife, Chau, teach people from 10 tribal groups about Jesus. Most of the people were Buddhists or spirit worshipers before they decided to follow Christ. Tribal Christians in Vietnam face persecution from their families, communities, and government. [Photo above: Tribal Christians in Vietnam]

One day, Bao was preaching to a group of Christians in a house. “The local authorities allow believers to pray,” Bao told a VOM worker. “When you pray, you close your eyes, and it’s OK. They don’t allow you to teach or preach, so while I was preaching, I closed my eyes. That means, ‘I’m praying.’”

But Bao could not read from the Bible or sermon notes with his eyes closed. What do you suppose he did? He was prepared. He had memorized Scriptures to recite in advance to the group. With his eyes still closed, he continued his Scripture “prayer” for almost 15 minutes. More than 20 police officers armed with guns, sticks, and knives surrounded the house, but even then he didn’t stop “praying.”

“By the end of my ‘prayer,’ I felt a gun in my back,” he said. The police took Bao, Chau, the owner of the house, and three deacons to the police station and questioned them. Later they were released. Persecution must take place,” said Bao. “But in my experience, the church grew even though it faced a lot of persecution. The more persecution, the more they grow strong in their faith.”

To Talk About
Why do you think some churches grow stronger when they are persecuted?

(Source: The February 2020 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine. Edited for length and clarity.)

Learn more about Christians in Vietnam in Bold Believers in Vietnam, available in the Downloads section.


Nigeria: Grace and Philip

(Source: icommittopray.com; photo: Philip and a VOM worker)

At about 7:00 one evening in 2018, Grace and her sister, Patience, were playing with their cousin at the family’s home in Nigeria. Their brother, Philip, was asleep on the couch. Ladi, their mother, was on her way home from the market, and Yakubu, their dad, was taking care of them.

Yakubu heard men’s voices coming closer to the house. Fulani Muslim attackers were in the neighborhood. Yakubu extinguished their kerosene lamp and told the children to hide in the corner behind the couch, and he began to pray. Grace shielded Patience with her body. But as the men entered the house and began striking the family with machetes, the girls screamed, “Jesus!” revealing their hiding place. Both were struck with the attackers’ weapons.

After the attackers left, Yakubu was able to run to the main road, and he found a relative who helped him take the children to the hospital. Their lives were saved. Grace and Philip had the most serious injuries.

Grace has recovered enough to return to school, but sometimes has nightmares. Philip lost an eye in the attack, and has some head injuries. He walks with a limp. He asks God to forgive the attackers.

Please pray for their continued recovery.