I recently came across an account of an American man visiting the house churches in China. At one particular meeting, they asked him to speak about the state of Christianity in the world today. There were about 70 house church leaders, and all of them had served at least three years in prison for their faith in Jesus. It’s a requirement for them to hold any position of leadership. Many of the leaders were under the impression that China was the only place in the world that had ever heard the Gospel. The American man went on to explain to them the state of the Gospel internationally. As he described the severe persecution in other nations, the Chinese church leaders experienced a new sobriety of their faith. They weren’t the only ones who were being persecuted throughout the world, and it made their three years in prison seem like it was hardly suffering. He told them stories of the mass murders in Somalia, Iraq, and other majority Muslim nations. He spoke late into the night, and finally was so exhausted that he practically fell asleep in front of them. He retired to his bed.
Around 3 a.m. he heard screaming and shouting, and it startled him awake. As he made his way cautiously out of the room, he feared that the Chinese government had raided the compound. When he stepped out, he found the church leaders all down on their knees, crying out to God. When he asked the translator what was going on, he told him,
“They are praying for their brothers and sisters in other nations who are enduring and facing persecution. They have vowed to pray for at least one hour every day for these persecuted nations until the persecution ends.”
After several hours, one of the house church leaders began walking around the other leaders with a Bible in his hand. He would stop by one person, rip out some pages from his Bible and hand the pages to that person and then move on to the next, doing the same thing until the Bible was empty. The American began protesting, but the translator stopped him. He told him that only one leader possessed a Bible, and so the leader was ripping out a book and giving one book of the Bible to each church leader. The men and women receiving the pages would commit them to memory as soon as possible, and then they would pass those same pages on to the next house church leader.
As I heard this story, my heart was riveted. I began to evaluate my own life and commitment to Christ. I have multiple Bibles in multiple different translations. I have concordances and books written about different topics within the Bible. With all of these incredible resources, I find that my time spent in God’s Word is minimal, and my commitment to memorizing His Word is embarrassing. This story has been playing over and over again in my mind for the last few weeks ever since I heard it. I can only be reminded of Deuteronomy 6,
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-8 NIV)
I’m also reminded of the words of God to Joshua,
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:8-9 NIV)
If God commands his people to do this with the Law, then how much more should we do this with the Good News about Jesus, His Son! I pray that this provokes you to go deeper with Jesus, the Living Word. Get quiet with Him, and allow Him to reveal Himself to you through His Word. Take your Bible everywhere with you. Read it when you use the bathroom, read it when you wake, when you lay down. Listen to it when you drive, when you wash the dishes, and when you are folding your laundry. Meditate on the Word day and night. Sing praises to God. Be joyful and forever thankful for His goodness! I can guarantee that these seeds being sewn will not return void. God bless you all!