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Shine!

Arise, shine, for your Light has come
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
Isaiah 60:1

If I spend time basking in the light of God’s love
He will send people to me that need an encouraging word.

Once I was shopping at the Good Will second hand store for a bunny rabbit to place on my son’s grave at Easter. Another lady was searching through the same shelf. She asked what I was looking for and she kept handing me fluffy bunnies. I told her, “Thanks, but I am looking for something sturdy that will hold up in the weather to go on my child’s grave.” Her eyes widened with surprise as she replied that she was also choosing something for her infant son’s grave. She had recently given birth to a baby who only lived a few hours.

She turned and looked me in the eyes and asked, “How can I know for sure that I will see him again in Heaven?” I began to quote Bible verses to her and she said that she had never read the Bible. God gave me an opportunity to assure her of His love, and to help her get started reading the world’s greatest Love Story in the gospel of John.

Smith Wigglesworth prophesied that a time would come when people are so hungry for God that, before we say a word, people will come up to us and ask us how to know Jesus.

Get ready to be a glow-in-the-dark Christian.

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If it were not so, I would have told you.

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
John 14:2-3

Revelation 19:5-9 (Amplified Bible)
Then from the throne there came a voice, saying, Praise our God, all you servants of His, you who reverence Him, both small and great!

After that I heard what sounded like the shout of a vast throng, like the boom of many pounding waves, and like the roar of terrific and mighty peals of thunder, exclaiming, Hallelujah (praise the Lord)! For now the Lord our God the Omnipotent (the All-Ruler) reigns!

Let us rejoice and shout for joy [exulting and triumphant]! Let us celebrate and ascribe to Him glory and honor, for the marriage of the Lamb [at last] has come, and His bride has prepared herself.

She has been permitted to dress in fine (radiant) linen, dazzling and white–for the fine linen is (signifies, represents) the righteousness (the upright, just, and godly living, deeds, and conduct, and right standing with God) of the saints (God’s holy people).

Then [the angel] said to me, Write this down: Blessed (happy, to be envied) are those who are summoned (invited, called) to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me [further], These are the true words (the genuine and exact declarations) of God.

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1974

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

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 marty 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

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Prayer

One of the testimonies that impacted my life was the story of Corrie ten Boom, a Christian in Holland, who was imprisoned at Ravensbruck for hiding Jews in her home during the Holocaust. Corrie lived to tell her story in nations all around the world in the later years of her life. Before she died in 1983, she posed this question.

If your neighbor’s house was on fire, would you rush in and begin straightening the pictures on the wall?

There are many things that are good, but they are not what God has asked us to be doing in this hour. We have a window of opportunity to see more people turn to God in the next few years, than have been saved in all of history until now.

It has been prophesied by many people, including Smith Wigglesworth, William Seymour, Arthur Burt from Wales, Bob Jones from South Carolina, and the Old Testament prophet, Joel, that we will see an astounding number of people come to salvation through Jesus Christ in a very short period of time, just before the return of the Lord.

We can pray the Word with confidence on behalf of our generation, even in the midst of trouble.

Hab. 3:1-4 NLT

1 This prayer was sung by the prophet Habakkuk.

2 I have heard all about you, Lord.
I am filled with awe by your amazing works.
In this time of our deep need,
help us again as you did in years gone by.
And in your anger,
remember your mercy.

3 I see God moving across the deserts from Edom,
the Holy One coming from Mount Paran.
His brilliant splendor fills the heavens,
and the earth is filled with his praise.

4 And His brightness was like the sunlight;
rays streamed from His hand,
and there [in the sunlike splendor]
was the hiding place of His power. (Amplified)

Isaiah 64:1,4 NLT

1 Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down!
How the mountains would quake in your presence!

4 For since the world began,
no ear has heard,
and no eye has seen a God like you,
who works for those who wait for him.

Joel 2
28 “Then, after doing all those things,
I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your old men will dream dreams,
and your young men will see visions.
29 In those days I will pour out my Spirit
even on servants—men and women alike.
30 And I will cause wonders in the heavens and on the earth—
blood and fire and columns of smoke.
31 The sun will become dark,
and the moon will turn blood red
before that great and terrible of the Lord arrives.
32 But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord
will be saved…

As Corrie came to realize the only perfect hiding place in times of trouble is in the center of God’s will.

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God of the Valley

In 1995, when I was dealing with a lot of heartache at once, my son’s terminal illness, divorce, and no job, the verse, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run into it and they are safe,” struck a chord with me. I was familiar with the covenant names: Jehovah Nissi, The Lord is our banner, and Jehovah Jireh, Our provider, Jehovah Shalom, our peace, and others, but I kept feeling that there were nine covenant names and I only had eight. God put it on someone’s heart to give me Kay Arthur’s book, Lord, I Want to Know You. There I read the ninth name: Jehovah Sabaoth, Captain of the Lord’s Hosts (mentioned in 1 Samuel 17). God is the one who fights for us in our battles! This gave me great assurance that God was with me and for me in this valley.

My favorite Bible story as a child was from 1 Samuel 17, David and Goliath. I made Daddy read it again and again. Now, years later, I am still seeing ways to apply the truths of that story in my life. The valley where Goliath stood to taunt God’s people belonged not to the Philistines, but to the tribe of Judah (which means PRAISE).

Goliath stood in a valley that belonged to the children of God, and day after day and he denied the power of God. Morning and evening the enemy filled the minds of the Israelites with his accusations, curses, and threats. “If you can send a man who defeats me, this valley will be yours and we will be your servants. But if I defeat you, this valley belongs to me and you must serve us.”

Only young David had the confidence in the living God to face the giant. David essentially became the winner when he made this proclamation recorded in 1 Samuel 17:45. David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with a dagger, spear, and sword, but I come against you in the name of the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel’s armies— you have defied Him. 47 and this whole assembly will know that it is not by sword or by spear that the LORD saves, for the battle is the LORD’s. He will hand you over to us.”

As Christians, we are not promised that we will never experience troubles, sickness and heartache. But we can shout the enemy down by praising our God even in the valley.

Because of Your adversaries,
You have established a stronghold [of praise]
from the mouths of children and nursing infants,
to silence the enemy and the avenger. Ps. 8:2

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Bridegroom

I heard a lady who had recently lost her husband, say that she was so lonely, especially at the breakfast table each morning. She read in the Bible that Jesus is the Bridegroom and she decided to pour Him a cup of coffee and invite Him to join her. She chatted away to Him during breakfast, as she would have to her husband. With a wink and a smile, she confided, “Jesus was so interested in what I was saying, He never touched His coffee!”

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Beloved

My beloved spoke, and said to me:

“ Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away.
For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell.
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away!
“ O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
In the secret places of the cliff,
Let me see your face,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your face is lovely.”

Song of Solomon 2:10-14 NKJ

Hear the Voice of My Beloved (sung by Cynthia Clawson)

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