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Abiding in Jesus

Todd Nettleton of VOM Radio recently talked with Dick Brogden, the leader of a Christian organization called Live Dead. Dr. Brogden talked about how missionaries start their work by abiding in Jesus.

Dick Brogden: Jesus said very simply, “If you will abide in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.” [See John 15:1-8.] We rest on His promise that if we do that, He will bring in disciples. He will bring in that “fruit.”

Todd Nettleton: How would you advise an American Christian who says, “I want to do more about abiding”?

Dick Brogden:
[Spiritual Muscles]
Spiritual muscles are very similar to physical muscles. You don’t start bench pressing 400 pounds the first day. I think you set modest goals. You can do that for a while, and then you start to increase.

[Prayer and Bible Reading]
The heart of it needs to be reading the Bible and prayer time. Some people journal, some use coloring books, and some people like listening to music [during their devotion time]. But the heart of it would be read your Bible, pray, and expand that time.

[Starting Out]
So I would say, if you are starting out, read a chapter a day, and pray for five minutes a day. Then increase to two chapters a day and 10 minutes, then three chapters a day and 15 minutes, but avoid legalism. [“Legalism” means placing more importance on your own rules than trusting in God’s gift of salvation through faith in His Son Jesus.]

Most American Christians would not have a problem with the concept of tithing their money. Well our time is a much more important resource than our money, and it is not renewable. Every moment belongs to Jesus, so as a goal, let’s tithe our time.

[Saying Yes and No]
If that’s going to work, something has to go. You can’t watch a lot of TV, or spend a lot of time with social media, or be lazy if you want to tithe your time to Jesus. Some of it is as much about what you say “no” to  as it is what you say “yes” to — what time you go to bed, what time you get up, and what you cut out of your life so you can give that to the Lord.

(Source: VOM Radio. Edited for length and clarity.)

To Think About
What are some steps you can take to abide in Christ?

How to Use Torchlighters in Your Church

Have you watched the animated Torchlighters DVDs about real-life Christian heroes who withstood persecution? Enter “Torchlighters” in the search box of this site to find reviews, trailers, and stories from the DVDs.

Torchlighters also has a blog that you can read here. A recent post told ten ways you can use Torchlighters in your church.

Read the list below, and visit the to find out details of the ways you can use the DVDs.

1. Missions Sunday
2. Sunday School series
3. Bible Memory reward
4. Sing the Torchlighters theme song
5. Hold a Torchlighters relay
6. Share with neighbors in a different language
7. Vacation Bible School
8. Olympic Fair outreach
9. Stock the library
10. Grow Torchlighters

How Do North Koreans Pray?

A secret meeting in North Korea

In North Korea, it is against the law to choose to follow Jesus or to own a Bible. A listener on asked the following questions.

  • In a country like North Korea, how do Christians pray?
  • How do they gather together?
  • What is a worship service like in North Korea?

Todd Nettleton, host of VOM Radio, asked Rev. Eric Foley to answer the listener’s questions. Rev. Foley is the leader of VOM Korea.

Rev. Foley: A lot of ideas we have about North Koreans hiding under a blanket to read the Bible or sneaking out of their homes at night aren’t exactly accurate. And the reason why is that everyone in North Korea is required to spy on homes that are near their own.

Things like hiding under a blanket or sneaking out of your home would make the neighbors suspicious. So when things like that happen it is usually on the border of North Korea.

North Koreans who are in the interior of North Korea who have been Christians for generations actually worship very differently. They have developed ways of worship that they can do even when people who are not Christians are watching.

One of the ways is that underground [secret] believers pray with their eyes open. They look at the person they are with as if they are having a conversation with that person. And instead of referencing God, for example, they use a phrase like “Dear Leader.” [“Dear Leader” is a title used for the former leader of their country, who is now dead. In this case, Christians are using the title to talk secretly about God.]

So instead of bowing their heads and closing their eyes, they might look at the person sitting next to them and say, “I am so concerned about Sister Kim, who is sick. But I am thankful that our Dear Leader will show special care for her as she needs love and attention.” That would be how underground Christians pray.

The way that they have worship services is on a family level. People in the same family worship together. But people from different families typically do not gather together for worship in North Korea.

(Source: Edited and paraphrased for length and clarity.)

Enter “North Korea” in the Search box on this site to find more stories about North Korean Christians.

Gladys Aylward, Missionary to China

By Elise Wixtrom, Kids of Courage Student Reviewer

Gladys Aylward was a missionary in China when the Japanese invaded the country during World War II. Like Eric Liddell, she lived in a village that was attacked by air. She and many orphans had to flee in the middle of the night. They made their way to the next city by foot.

Ever since she was very small, Gladys had wanted to be a missionary to China. She knew that she was supposed to bring the gospel to the unreached people there. Although she was sure of her calling, the missionary school she applied to did not think she was qualified to take on work like that.

Even though Gladys was rejected from that school, she began to save money for a train trip from her home in England to China. With no material support, Gladys headed on the long train ride through Europe and Asia. She was armed with nothing but a faith in God and a clear purpose to fulfill.

Though she experienced many setbacks on the way to China, Gladys made it to her destination safely. She and another woman operated an inn, where they ministered to the people of the local town. They had great success, until Gladys’ business partner fell sick and suddenly died, leaving Gladys to take care of the inn by herself. She quickly began to run out of money. Desperate, she prayed for God to grant her a miraculous opportunity. As she was praying, a knock came at the door. It was the mandarin (royal official) of that region, who offered her a job inspecting young women’s feet and making sure that they were healthy. With this newfound job, Gladys soon made enough money to reopen the inn and even take in orphans who she met in her travels.

She was known throughout the region as a powerful woman of faith, one who took in the sick and orphaned, calmed fights and riots, and gave hope in times of trouble. Gladys was widely respected, and her work in rural China touched many lives. However, when the war came, all that she had built was about to crumble. Gladys and the orphans had to run away in the middle of the night. They traveled on foot for many miles, overcome by tiredness and hunger. Afraid of the Japanese planes overhead, they hunkered beneath trees and rocks, and were shot at many times. They eventually made it to safety, and Gladys took in even more refugees who were displaced by the brutal war.

Gladys Aylward never gave up, even when she encountered setbacks and obstacles to her mission. She always trusted that God knew her destiny and that all she had to do was follow His plan for her. With her powerful faith, Gladys persevered through countless difficulties. Though she was weakened by many of the events of her life, she continued to serve God with an undying faith until the day she died.

More Information
The Gladys Aylward Story on DVD is available here.  Click here to see an Arabic version of the DVD’s trailer.

Learn about the old Chinese custom of foot binding and view photos of the tiny shoes women wore until Gladys unbound their feet.

Read more stories from the Kids of Courage archives about Gladys Aylward here, here, and here.

Christian Boy Beaten Up by Bad Sport

In Pakistan, Christians are often treated as if they are not as good as other citizens. They may not have a chance to get a good education. And they are often given jobs no one else wants — like making bricks and cleaning sewers.

Several months ago, Vishal, a teenage boy in Pakistan, was reportedly involved in an arm wrestling match with a Muslim boy. Vishal won. The Muslim boy could not accept that a Christian was better than he was at something. “How could a [person] of a dirty community defeat me?” he asked.

They wrestled a few more times, but Vishal won every time. “I will teach him a lesson,” the Muslim boy said.

After the wrestling match, a gang of Muslims caught Vishal and beat him up. After a time, gangs beat him up twice more. But his family was advised to not report the beatings to the police, or they could be in more danger from Muslims who want revenge.

Christians have asked for prayer for Vishal, his family, and churches in Pakistan.

(Sources: VOM Australia and International Christian Concern