June 1, 2017

1 John 5:12 (NLT) — 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.

What do you think of when you think of having life in God’s son? Do you think of good, safe, and prosperous times? Do you think of a life where all your prayers are answered? Here is the take some Russian Christians have on ‘life in Christ’. This is an excerpt from the book, “The Insanity of God” by Nik Ripken. Nik is interviewing a group of Russian pastors, evangelists, church planters and elders.

“I listened in wonder as these believers almost casually recounted being sent to prison for three to seven years and being beaten , forced to sleep naked in a cold, damp cell, or having nothing but moldy bread and boiled cabbage to ear for months. these same men shard joyful memories of the time ‘ my wife and son visited me in prison, ‘ when I was placed in a cell with another believer who could encourage me as I encouraged him’, and ‘how the church cared for the needs of my family while I was in prison.’

When Nik had finished his interviews he asked the group why they hadn’t written their stories down so other believers around the world could be encouraged by what God was doing among those who were being persecuted. Here is what he found out.

“They seemed confused by what I was saying. Clearly, we were not understanding each other. Then one of the older pastors stood and motioned for me to follow him. He led me over to a large window in the front room of the home. As we stood together in front of the window, the old gentleman speaking passable, but heavily accented English said to me: “I understand that you have some sons, Nik. Is that true?”

I told him that it was true. He nodded and then asked me, “Tell me, Nik. How many times have you awakened your sons before dawn  and brought them to a window like this one, one that faces east, and said to them, ‘Boys, watch carefully. This morning you’re going to see the sun coming up in the east! It’s going to happen in just a few more minutes. Get ready now, boys.’ How many times have done that with your sons?”

“Well,” I chuckled, “I’ve never done that. If I ever did that, my boys would think I was crazy. The sun always comes up in the east. It happens every morning!”

The old man nodded and smiled. I didn’t understand his point, that is, until he continued. “Nik, that’s why we haven’t made books and movies out of these stories that you have been hearing. For us, persecution is like the sun coming up in the east. It happens all the time. It’s the way things are. There is nothing unusual or unexpected about it. Persecution for our faith has always been, and probably always will be a normal part of life.”

Hilltop is it possible that persecution is the normal expected life for a Christian? It seems like persecution is the soil that faith grows in. In fact persecution seems to be the soil that the life of Christ really blossoms in.

These Russian Christians really believe that ‘he who has the Son has life!’

Be Inspired Hilltop!