Friday, December 16, 2011

my prodigal self.

have you ever warred with God?

did something He told you not to do, and then had to suffer the consequences?

I'm sure we all have at one time or another. 

sometimes I feel like I'm I'm the worst prodigal daughter out there simply because I don't listen. 

like this week, I was really struggling 'cause ... well, just 'cause. 


I stumbled upon this song and the lyrics reached the depth of my soul. 

I've tasted Your glory and I left it there.
You poured out Your Spirit and I didn't care.
Still you loved me

I've lived for myself with nobody to blame.
I took what You gave me and squandered Your grace. 
Still You loved me.
Nothing compares to what You've done for me
Nothing compares to what You've done for me.

I could live for the broken and carry their pain. 
I could die like a martyr or live like a saint just to love You.
I could sing like the angels and gather Your praise:
Be blessed beyond measure and give it away just to love You.
Still nothing compares to what You've done for me.
Nothing compares to what You've done for me.

My heart has been broken; I've laid out my shame.
Because of Your mercy,
All I can say is I love You.
And I will tell of Your story
I'll carry Your name
I'll live for Your glory Lord,
I'll share in Your pain just to love You.
For nothing compares to what You've done for me.
Nothing compares to what YouԶe done for me.

Nothing can separate us
Nothing can separate us
Not death or life
Or depth or height
Or unseen power
Now or ever!

I dunno why, I just wanted to share that. 

maybe someone else is feeling borderline hopeless. 

just remember, although we may be prodigals, God always wants us back. (:

the end. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

I am enough.


I'm gonna be completely honest in this blog. maybe I shouldn't put this stuff on the internet, but I have to share it somewhere.

so ever since I was a little girl I've known that I was "special" in some way. my mom has told me that ... and as I got older people came up to me and said that they "just wanted me to know" that I was "special" or that "billions are depending on you" or that I'm "going to change the world some way". At first, I used to brush them off as crazy and roll my eyes. But as the comments came more frequently and the confirmation from God Himself got clearer I came to see who I really am. 

the person that I've tried to hide all my life. 

but as the responsibility of what I'm "supposed" to do started resting more heavily on my shoulders, I began to squirm, to question, and to wonder ...

how could I be this "special" person?

as I look back over my life and see how messed up I am, I can't see why God would want to use someone like me. there are others, much more qualified and with alot less issues that would be much better suited for whatever it is ('cause I still don't exactly know) that I'm supposed to do. 

but then there's this quote. it says : God doesn't call the qualified; He qualifies the called.

I have to believe that 'cause I'm definitely not qualified for whatever it is. 

still, I struggled to accept this. because you see ... I've always felt like I've never been enough.

like I've never gotten there (where ever it is).


every time I do something of remote significance, I convince myself that it is not enough and that I will never be enough. some would say that I'm just trying to prevent myself from being arrogant or getting prideful 'cause I'm "special" or whatever, but its not like that at all.

every morning I wake up knowing that I'm supposed to do something crazily amazing.

and every morning I almost feel like crying 'cause I know that I'll never be enough. 

it takes amazing people to do amazing things and I certainly don't feel like one of those amazing people if you know at all what I mean.

I've really felt burdened with that in the last couple of weeks.

I constantly feel like I will never be enough and it clouds my thoughts, takes over my mind, and hurts my recovery.

I have to laugh sometimes though, 'cause some people think I'm a "know it all" and that I'm arrogant ... if they only knew how many nights I would have cried myself to sleep if I could because I feel like the scum of the earth and don't understand why I am who I am. sometimes I feel as if the only destiny I have in life is to mop floors in a prison. 

* gasp * the horror. (sarcasm people; mopping floors in a prison really isn't that bad)

I know.

still, that's how I feel ... like all the time.

but yeah, as I said, I've really felt like me never being enough has been screamed in my face the last couple of weeks. 

I was checking my lovely neglected blog tonight. 

I noticed that several of my post had some comments that I hadn't read.

thinking nothing of it really, I clicked and began reading. 

the comments ... random people I don't even know ... they said that they were blessed by my blog. the stuff I randomly write. my thoughts that I think no one reads. one of them even said "what a wonderful girl you are". 

I legit almost started crying. 

'cause it was like as I was reading a dam released all the pent up pressure and I heard God's whisper ...

"you are enough"

if you had any idea how much I needed to know that you would understand why I feel like crying my eyes out right now. 

even if I never do anything in front of a million and one people.

even if I do end up mopping floors in a prison.

even if all I do for the rest of my life is sit here writing random blogs.

I am enough.

just because I'm "special" doesn't mean that I have to be superwoman.

I may be messed up, I may be in recovery, I may still have a long way to go ....

but ....

I am enough.

if that's the last thing I ever hear from God (I pray its not), I'll be fine for the rest of my life ... 

'cause when I'm with Him ...

I am enough

okay. that's it. 

just thought I'd let someone else know about my epiphany. (:

ohhhh by the way, you're enough too ! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

would you look at that !

aha, don't shoot me ! I know its been forever since I've authored a blog, but I have a whole list of awesome excuses but I'm not even gonna bother with those now. 

guess what though?

I'm in college!

I LOVE my classes and everything. I'm dopey excited about this school year and all the things I'm gonna learn. really, I love school and I'm just so excited. 

and you know something? I almost didn't even get to come here because of finances. and God worked it allllll out ! so yeah, He's really been helping me learn to trust him, y'know? 

blehhh, I'm all wrote out already. gimme a couple days to think of something to blog about (:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

for those who wait.

so I'm sitting here trying to think of something to blog about ... and like most times, my mind never really stays in the same place. Its just going all over the place. I began to think about my college plans, my extreme need for a job to pay for college, how I wish I could help alot of people, wondering if I'll get the money, wondering if I should really got into medicine, wondering if I should get my RN first, or if I should just be lawyer. ahhhhh, its fun isn't it? and then like four little words came to me; the title of a song I heard the other day. for those who wait. and I was like, huh? what does that have to do with anything? 

but I started rolling those words around in my head. for those who wait. and then I was just like wow. do you get it? probably not, so let me explain what I mean.

'for those who wait' is not a complete sentence. I mean, when you say something like that it would be like, "those who wait for what?" people would never understand what you mean. you'd get alot of O_o looks if you went around saying 'for those who wait' to everything. but thats the point! its not a complete sentence because the ending is unknown. you get it? like for me that sentence means so much because I don't know what I'm doing. I'm confused, stressed, worried, scared, etc but that sentence, for those who wait, means so much to be because here I am waiting. for what though? I don't even know. I just know that its something incredible. for those who wait amazing things happen. for those who wait everything works out. for those who wait, the sunrise is just that much beautiful (see The Next Sunrise). aha, so you got me? 

so whenever you're sitting there just not knowing what to do or how to do it, just remember four simple words. 

for those who wait. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

one starry night. (:

so if you read my blog about 2010 you would know that lately I've been having some trouble trusting the voice of God. everyday He works with me on it and I'm happy to say that it's getting alot better. (:

but every now and then, God has to remind me exactly why I should trust him. I'm headstrong and I have a lot of wax in my 'listening to God' ears unfortunately, but He's ever so patient with me. He teaches me lessons that I can understand and helps me to walk with Him. 

so the other day, I guess you could say I was challenging God. I mean, soo many times last year it just felt like He simply wasn't there. And this year He is constantly reminding me that He in fact really is there.

so a few nights ago I took my dog out for a little walk and I was stunned at the brilliancy of the stars in the night sky. Like the somewhat different person I am, I just laid down on the ground and stared up at them. It took the wet nose of the dog to bring me back to the present. I took the dog in, but came right back out. I laid down on my damp deck and just stared into the moonless sky and let my thoughts run. While surrounded by His nature, its almost impossible to not start talking to God, so we struck up a conversation (by the way, it is very possible to have a conversation with God :). I love to locate the big dipper an little dipper whenever I look up at the stars. The little dipper I located easily enough, but it took me some time before I saw the big dipper. Somehow I got distracted, and I couldn't locate the big dipper anymore. "Where is it?" I mumbled to myself as I searched the stars in front of me. I heard God's whisper as my eyes darted this way an that way. "You know, just because you don't see something doesn't mean it's not there. You know that the big dipper is there because you've see it before even though you can't locate it now". I stopped looking and thought about that. How many times had I cried out "Where are You?!" to God and then thought that He wasn't there because I couldn't see Him right away? more than I would like to admit. God continued: "Trust consist not in believing only when you can see it, but believing even when you can't". 

I stayed there just letting that sink in. Trust consist not in believing only when you can see it, but believing even when you can't. Not that I didn't know it, I just had never heard it in such a beautiful way. I closed my eyes and prayed that God would give me that type of trust in Him; the trust that stayed strong even when I couldn't see him. 

I opened my eyes to see the big dipper staring right back at me. 

I smiled. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

don't touch me.

Have you ever heard of the '5 love languages'? you know, words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, acts of service, and receiving gifts? well, mine happens to be words of affirmation. I like it when people vocalize their love or whatever ... consequently, when someone whose love language is, say, physical touch, neither of us feel very loved. I was thinking about that the last few days and it kinda made me wonder ... I'm not a touchey person. I don't like to be poked, tapped, or even sometimes hugged. Only at certain times do I like to have arms put around my shoulders or have my hand squeezed. A lot of the people in my family are touchey so the words "Don't touch me" leave my mouth more often then I would like. For someone's whose love language is touch I guess its almost like rejecting their love. Its not intentional, its just that I don't like to be touched very often. I am one of those people who value greatly personal space (you know, I have my bubble, you have your bubble. lets keep it that way). I don't like it when people sit close to me, stand close to me, and above all, don't touch me. Thats just me.

The other day I was thinking about my 'untouchableness' and a song came to mind. Its basically a song that talks about the woman that touched the hem of Jesus garment. One of the things I love about the song is that it brings out the fact that not only did the woman touch Jesus, Jesus touched her too. With His healing power and His forgiveness and His love, this womans life was transformed in a matter of seconds. Think about it ... she had struggled with her problems for many years. Whether she wanted to be touched or not, she was in essence 'untouchable'. No doctor could cure her, he money had not helped her, and she was shunned by society. Maybe she hadn't touched someone or been touched for years. I wonder what she thought when she first heard about the healing power of Jesus ... I wonder what when through her mind when she saw the crowd pressing around Jesus, how hopeless she felt ... I wonder when she made up her mind; was it out of desperation and hope? maybe I won't know all those things until I get to heaven, but I do know that she touched the hem of Jesus' garment. I do know that instantly she was made whole. And I also know that Jesus stopped and asked "Who touched me?" I can see her there trembling and scared. I can feel her hope and joy when Jesus bids her to go in peace because her faith had made her well. 

I wondered if there was more to this touchey business then just physical touch. 

what if ... what if on the inside I'm like that too? what if I resist not just the emotional touch of other people, but the touch of Jesus with my firm reply: Don't touch me. 

now I admit that most of my life I've done my best to keep things that I didn't want to reach me from reaching me, like emotionally. After more then one painful lesson, I've sought to keep people at an arms length except for a select few that have won my trust. Its not just people sitting close to me that I don't like, I don't like for people to get near to me; the me on the inside. I'm afraid that if I do, some way or another they'll hurt me. I've built walls; tall walls, mind you. I wonder how many beautiful people I've kept from my life just from sheer fear that they would hurt me; I wonder ... if I've kept some of Jesus out because of my crazy walls. I thought about that woman ... how she was willing to touch and be touched and I realized that she had something I don't have. She wasn't afraid. She had the courage to touch Jesus even though she might have faced scorn from others ... even if she faced the prospect of being hurt or whatever. Though week and sick, she pressed her way through that crowd to Jesus. Its an open rebuke to people like me; people who really actually like to be touched, but are afraid to be touched. I didn't like that much when I realized most of my problems centered around fear.

so what about you?

I know I'm not the only one out there ... maybe you're kinda afraid of being touched; maybe you have walls; maybe you're afraid of being hurt again. 

here's what I'm gonna do ::
I'm going to try to pull down my stupid walls and crazy 'don't touch me' notions and be [for once] touchable. Don't take my blog the wrong way and think that I literally mean that you just let people touch you anywhere (have some sense please), but I mean letting people into your life and maybe even putting yourself at risk for another hurt. Its hard. Just these past few days I've almost died (it feels like) by trying to pull down my walls. I feel secure and they make me feel invincible to hurt. False, of course, but thats what it feels like. Its like jumping into water you've never been in before. You don't know how deep it is or how warm it is. Sometimes it brings a shock, but you'll never know until you jump, right? 

okay, so lets hold hands and jump ... 

together lets pull down our walls and be touchable ... by both people and Jesus, the most important touch we could ever have. 

a while back I wrote a poem about this woman (partly because ... well, nevermind) 
anyway, check it out (:

For 12 long years I have waited for this healing to come. Before, all I could do was hope and pray. But now my dream has been made a reality. Finally. All the pain and suffering that I used to call mine has vanished from me. I can live again. I can laugh again. I can love again. When before I was marked as "unclean" I can now walk with my fellow human beings and not be shamed by the stamp of my helpless condition riding on my forehead. I can go about without having hate-filled glares darken the air around me. Without those that I have never known whispering as I quickly walk behind them. Without having to shout "Unclean!" to those that dared to come a little closer. I am free. The chains that society put around me have fallen off, never to return to my weary soul. Most could never understand how hopeless you could feel. After all the money was gone, after every doctor had been visited, after every faithful friend had been consulted…still no cure. All I could do was cry out to the One that created me and beg for an answer. " Why?" , is the question that sometimes plagues your thoughts. "Was it some sin that my parents had done, or was it my sin?" But when no reason comes to mind you cannot help but feel that all is lost and that you will be in this miserable condition for the rest of your life. But one frail hope would not die. One tiny seed of faith began to sprout. But then around the plant of faith grows a crop of doubt. How can you be sure that this is not some hoax to get more money out of your empty pocket? How do you know that this is for real and not just some false hope that will come crashing down when reality sets in? But even with the doubts this last hope, this last faith, becomes a strong determination. You must see for yourself. As I pressed through that crowd that I could not fight in my weakness something seemed to be pushing me on. I could not say that for all my effort something would come out of it  but I could try. Imagine the disappointment when you find that you will never reach Him. But one last cry, one last hope, …one last try. Others tried to pull me back and keep me away, still more shrieked with fear at having been so close to someone that was unclean, but as my finger grazed the edge of His hem electric shocks ran through my body. The pain was gone, the ache was gone. Everything that had been associated with this terrible illness had packed up and moved away. As I stood there, my mouth moving but no sound coming out I heard a lovely voice ask a simple question. "Who touched me?" At first fear filled me as I heard His talkative disciple give an explanation that could not be farther from the truth. As He still insisted that someone touched Him I knew what I had to do. Though I was fearful and trembling I came and told Him everything. Then He told me, "Daughter, be of good comfort: Your faith has made you whole; go in peace". Unexplainable  joy that I have never known filled my soul for the first time. As the reality of His words sank in tears that that had always fallen in sadness now fell freely in joy.  There would never be enough "Thank You" to say throughout eternity. For the first time in 12 long years I had peace that passes all understanding. Yes, it was me that had  touched Him. But when you really take a look at this wonderful miracle it was Him that touched me. Yes…He touched me!


Saturday, February 5, 2011

there was no thief ...

have you ever felt that something has been stolen from you? I don't mean physical stuff (pieces of gum don't even count lol) , but like spiritually and emotionally?

more then once I have found myself accusing others when I slipped in my relationship with God. It's so much easier to blame others then to take the responsibility yourself! its quite popular within my age group .... especially when it comes to spiritual stuff. 

I'm sure you've heard it too. Its like someone will bring this or that to our attention but we don't wanna do it. So what do we do? we blame it on the fault of other Christians. 

"Well, such and such watched that movie and they're an Elder in the church".

"Well, such and such listens to that song and thats the pastor's son".

"Well, such and such too the entire youth group to that place and thats the pastor".

so we excuse our selves. And almost more then anything, we actually allow ourselves to believe stuff like that. 

Its crazy.

Its like we neglect our devotions for weeks and suddenly wake up to the fact that we're pretty much living life without Jesus, but we blame it on the fact that the youth pastor isn't relevant enough, or that church is dry, or that we can't understand old English. 

excuses, excuses ....

I called this "there was no thief ... " because sometimes it seems like we think that someone stole Jesus or our spiritual lives from us, you know? we never stop to look at ourselves and examine what we have been doing. Its quite sad actually ... I'm guilty of doing this many times. I wonder where along the way I lost Jesus or who did what to 'steal' Him from me, but its not them its me!

For a time I thought there was a thief among us
I thought I'd track him down, but prior to my pursuit
the smoke had cleared and to my disbelief
there was no thief 'cause it was me that lost You .... 

I think its high time we quit blaming others for our faults and falls. 

If you want to have someone to blame, then I strongly suggest you take a long look in the mirror. Chances are ...

you'll be staring right at the thief. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

:: there is a fountain ::

my dear friend Kimchi has commanded me to blog, so here I am ... blogging away! (:

recently, I've gotten a new favorite hymn. I'm sure you can tell what it is by the title.

well, I admit, I was just going to write a blog about the lyrics and what they mean to me, but out of curiosity, I decided to Google the history to the song. I was totally amazed when I saw what was behind it. I mean ... God just always knows what we need! okay, so I'll tell you why ...

the hymn There Is A Fountain was written by William Cowper (pronounced Cooper in English).
he was born in England in 1731. His father was a prominent clergyman and his mother was from a royal family. He was privileged to be born into such a family and was educated in some of England's best schools. He was educated to become a lawyer, and after earning a degree in law, he passed his bar examination and was licensed to practice as a solicitor (whatever that is lol) in the lower courts of the English justice system.

Even though he was very intelligent and had remarkable success, William was physically and emotionally frail throughout his childhood. Something that contributed to that, was the fact that his mother died when he was just six years old. He was never able to deal with his grief, and it stayed with him throughout his life. In essence, he never stopped grieving for his mother. Even though he had already passed the bar, the final examination he was required to take overwhelmed him. He suffered a mental breakdown from which he never recovered, or so they say. Because of that, he never practiced law, but studied and wrote literature. Add to this a love affair that was an epic fail, and William was pretty much sick of living. He tried unsuccessfully to end his life and ended up being placed in an asylum for eighteen months. While there and suffering from deep depression, he spent much of his time reading the Bible. As he remembered the way he was raised as a child, he struggled with the question of his eternal destiny, salvation, and peace with God. One day, a verse in Romans settled it for him.

"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ: Whom God set forth to be a propitiation (satisfaction) through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God." Romans 3:23 - 25

William finally realized his need of a personal Savior and was convicted of his sin. He accepted Christ at the age of 33 in 1764.

After a partial recovery from depression, William moved into the home of a retired minister named Morley Unwin. While there, he received the necessary spiritual encouragement he needed to continue on in his new life from Unwin and his wife, Mary. After five years, Unwin died and Mary decided, at the request of Minister John Newton (yes, thee John Newton that wrote Amazing Grace), to move the family to Olney, England. William was invited to come with them. Not surprisingly, William decided to accompany the family. While living in Olney, William and Newton became very close friends. Both were highly talented in the area of poetry and wrote religious poetry for the church. Newton became a spiritual father for William and helped him overcome his religious doubts, chronic depression, and emotional morbidity. Even after being converted, William still experienced serious doubts about the love of God and His hand in his life.

William and Newton authored the famous (although I've never heard of it) Olney hymn book. This book of 349 hymns became one of the most important hymnal contributions to evangelical Christianity.

William wrote about 67 of those hymns, the best known one being There Is A Fountain. The hymn testifies of Williams final peace with his Savior. While sitting at his desk one day after reading Zechariah 13:1 (On that day a fountain will be opened in the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity), William wrote these words ::

There is a fountain filled with blood,
drawn from Immanuel's veins,
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
loose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
that fountain in his day;
and there may I, though vile as he,
wash all my sins away.

For since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
redeeming love has been my theme
and shall be till I die.

not long after he wrote this hymn, William Cowper died in 1800. It was at the writing of these words that he became aware of Christ's complete atonement for his sins. Several years later, Lowell Mason, an American living in Boston set William's words to music.

In spite of severe depression, emotional instability, and spiritual doubts, God used the experience of one man, William Cowper, to encourage and inspire countless people, including me.

I had no idea that the person that wrote my favorite hymn suffered from the very same things I battle with. I am literally fighting tears right now at the goodness of God. This very hymn that has inspired, encouraged, and helped me in amazing ways, was written by someone like me.

I find that quite amazing, no? (:

I don't think I'll ever listen to this hymn the same way again ....

"... redeeming love has been my theme and shall be till I die ... "

Saturday, January 8, 2011

:: lets do it ::

One of my amazing friends sent me this letter last night ... I am soo thankful, because it was just what I needed to read.

enjoy (:

This letter was written in 1974 by Ms. Corrie Ten Boom, a Nazi Concentration Camp survivor, and lifelong missionary.

The world is deathly ill. It is dying. The Great Physician has already signed the death certificate. Yet there is still a great work for Christians to do. They are to be streams of living water, channels of mercy to those who are still in the world. It is possible for them to do this because they are overcomers.

Christians are ambassadors for Christ. They are representatives from Heaven to this dying world. And because of our presence here, things will change.

My sister, Betsy, and I were in the Nazi concentration camp at Ravensbruck because we committed the crime of loving Jews. Seven hundred of us from Holland, France, Russia, Poland and Belgium were herded into a room built for two hundred. As far as I knew, Betsy and I were the only two representatives of Heaven in that room.

We may have been the Lord's only representatives in that place of hatred, yet because of our presence there, things changed. Jesus said, "In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." We too, are to be overcomers – bringing the light of Jesus into a world filled with darkness and hate.

Sometimes I get frightened as I read the Bible, and as I look in this world and see all of the tribulation and persecution promised by the Bible coming true. Now I can tell you, though, if you too are afraid, that I have just read the last pages. I can now come to shouting "Hallelujah! Hallelujah!" for I have found where it is written that Jesus said, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things: and I will be His God, and he shall be My son." This is the future and hope of this world. Not that the world will survive – but that we shall be overcomers in the midst of a dying world.

Betsy and I, in the concentration camp, prayed that God would heal Betsy who was so weak and sick. "Yes, the Lord will heal me,", Betsy said with confidence. She died the next day and I could not understand it. They laid her thin body on the concrete floor along with all the other corpses of the women who died that day.

It was hard for me to understand, to believe that God had a purpose for all that. Yet because of Betsy's death, today I am traveling all over the world telling people about Jesus.

There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this. These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days. Most of them have little knowledge of what is already going on across the world. I have been in countries where the saints are already suffering terrible persecution. In China, the Christians were told, "Don't worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured." Then came a terrible persecution. Millions of Christians were tortured to death. Later I heard a Bishop from China say, sadly, "We have failed. We should have made the people strong for persecution rather than telling them Jesus would come first. Tell the people how to be strong in times of persecution, how to stand when the tribulation comes – to stand and not faint."

I feel I have a divine mandate to go and tell the people of this world that it is possible to be strong in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are in training for the tribulation, but more than sixty percent of the Body of Christ across the world has already entered into the tribulation. There is no way to escape it. We are next.

Since I have already gone through prison for Jesus' sake, and since I met the Bishop in China, now every time I read a good Bible text I think, "Hey, I can use that in the time of tribulation." Then I write it down and learn it by heart.

When I was in the concentration camp, a camp where only twenty percent of the women came out alive, we tried to cheer each other up by saying, "Nothing could be any worse than today." But we would find the next day was even worse. During this time a Bible verse that I had committed to memory gave me great hope and joy. "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you; on their part evil is spoken of, but on your part He is glorified." (I Peter 3:14) I found myself saying, "Hallelujah! Because I am suffering, Jesus is glorified!"

In America, the churches sing, "Let the congregation escape tribulation", but in China and Africa the tribulation has already arrived. This last year alone more than two hundred thousand Christians were martyred in Africa. Now things like that never get into the newspapers because they cause bad political relations. But I know. I have been there. We need to think about that when we sit down in our nice houses with our nice clothes to eat our steak dinners. Many, many members of the Body of Christ are being tortured to death at this very moment, yet we continue right on as though we are all going to escape the tribulation.

Several years ago I was in Africa in a nation where a new government had come into power. The first night I was there some of the Christians were commanded to come to the police station to register. When they arrived they were arrested and that same night they were executed. The next day the same thing happened with other Christians. The third day it was the same. All the Christians in the district were being systematically murdered.

The fourth day I was to speak in a little church. The people came, but they were filled with fear and tension. All during the service they were looking at each other, their eyes asking, "Will this one I am sitting beside be the next one killed? Will I be the next one?"

The room was hot and stuffy with insects that came through the screenless windows and swirled around the naked bulbs over the bare wooden benches. I told them a story out of my childhood.

"When I was a little girl, " I said, "I went to my father and said, "Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ." "Tell me," said Father, "When you take a train trip to Amsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?" "No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train." "That is right," my father said, "and so it is with God's strength. Our Father in Heaven knows when you will need the strength to be a martyr for Jesus Christ. He will supply all you need – just in time…"

My African friends were nodding and smiling. Suddenly a spirit of joy descended upon that church and the people began singing, " In the sweet, by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore." Later that week, half the congregation of that church was executed. I heard later that the other half was killed some months ago.

But I must tell you something. I was so happy that the Lord used me to encourage these people, for unlike many of their leaders, I had the word of God. I had been to the Bible and discovered that Jesus said He had not only overcome the world, but to all those who remained faithful to the end, He would give a crown of life.

How can we get ready for the persecution? First we need to feed on the word of God, digest it, make it a part of our being. This will mean disciplined Bible study each day as we not only memorize long passages of scripture, but put the principles to work in our lives.

Next we need to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Not just the Jesus of yesterday, the Jesus of History, but the life-changing Jesus of today who is still alive and sitting at the right hand of God.

We must be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is no optional command of the Bible, it is absolutely necessary. Those earthly disciples could never have stood up under the persecution of the Jews and Romans had they not waited for Pentecost. Each of us needs our own personal Pentecost, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We will never be able to stand in the tribulation without it.

In the coming persecution we must be ready to help each other and encourage each other. But we must not wait until the tribulation comes before starting. The fruit of the Spirit should be the dominant force of every Christian's life.

Many are fearful of the coming tribulation, they want to run. I, too, and a little bit afraid when I think that after all my eighty years, including the horrible nazi concentration camp, that I might have to go through the tribulation also. But then I read the Bible and I am glad.

When I am weak, then I shall be strong, the Bible says. Betsy and I were prisoners for the Lord, we were so weak, but we got power because the Holy Spirit was on us. That mighty inner strengthening of the Holy Spirit helped us through. No, you will not be strong in yourself when the tribulation comes. Rather, you will be strong in the power of Him who will not forsake you. For seventy-six years I have known the Lord Jesus and not once has He ever left me, or let me down. Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him, for I know that to all who overcome, He shall give the crown of life. Hallelujah!

-Corrie Ten Boom-1974

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13