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October 24, 2020 6:00 am
Andrew Brunson, the missionary who was imprisoned in Turkey for two years, came to speak at a prayer meeting at Peace with his wife Norine, and theirs is an incredible story. Listen as James and Robby share some of that story and talk prayer during the dark hour of the soul.
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There is an incredible story robbery. How mature is falsely accused of participating in an attempted coup against the Turkish government and charged with cultural subversion for preaching the Christian faith and I both really suffered deeply for what a poignant reminder to pray for missionaries and for the persecuted church all over the world.
A big part of Andrew's message any of us can be persecuted for our faith and we need to be prepared for that. Talk about staying faithful in prayer. When you're in the crucible that may be in your persecuted for your faith may be through other circumstances of life. But our Christian faith was meant for tough times and our God is faithful even when we have to go through the and that makes me think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego write the guys thrown in the fire for not bowing down and worship that huge Goldmine remember what they told the king right before they went in yet do they told Nebuchadnezzar that God is able to deliver them. But even if he does not and will not bow down to anyone else in the worship only only him and that is so important to talk about that moment in our faith that even if he does not moment where you're in the middle of a crisis and you don't know how it's going to work out what God's going to allow you know when I was talking to Andrew before the prayer meeting about the things he asked me if there was anything I wanted him to address and I said yes.
How about the faithfulness of God, and he said that's a good topic but what about our faithfulness to him as he said it. I knew he was right. Scripture talks a lot about that second Thessalonians 111 that I'm preaching on this Sunday, for example, Paul tells the church, we constantly pray for you that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that's an interesting thing because that whole concept of wordiness.
We know we could never earn God's forgiveness is not about that.
It's about responding to the gift of his love and mercy in such a way that we live full and faithful, or more, the lives living for him more and more I think is a parable Jesus told were God says, well done good and faithful servant. Yeah, that's what were talking about, especially when you're in the crucible and it would be easier to just I am one of the things I loved about Andrew was that he was so honest about his questions and so humble about that. He didn't feel God's presence with them often when he was imprisoned. All he could feel was darkness that surprised him because he had read all of these biographies of others who had been imprisoned for their faith in you don't see so much of an interior struggling. Those books usually he told me he didn't know if they just didn't write about it work if they didn't have it, but he certainly did. And keep in mind that this is a guy who loves Jesus very much but again he just went through season where he didn't feel God's presence. While sometimes it can feel as if God takes a step back so that we will take a step forward.
I mean, is not kinda how I think allows that sometimes, and some in history of call that basically the dark night of the soul, but the question is what are we going to do when were in what will he just kept going.
He couldn't feel God, but he took all of his doubts and questions in and lock them up in a box in the back of his mind he heard about someone else who had done that. So he did that so they could just deal with them later and he just gave himself to God and Trusting him no matter what and I thought that was really sound advice.
He told God. You can open this box if you want to, but I'm leaving it sealed. I don't need to know the answers in order to continue my relationship with you. That's amazing and really powerful. And that's the right response, right because otherwise it's like were giving God an ultimatum only loves you and worship you if I can understand what you're doing, that I can since you here with me right now exactly. So this even if he doesn't part you know that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego went through and still it was so hard. No hearing was falsely imprisoned, falsely accused in overcrowded cell where he was the only Christian restaurant Muslims and at one point he wrote I was the only man in the cell wrestling with my God. The others could not understand my anguish my doubts my Christ God, but I look to him as a father in the silence in the distance I was experiencing from him were deeply confusing. I can see how many of us can exactly but again he persevered, not because he was so strong he will tell you that he considers himself a weaker vessel we all but he just kept doing what he could do to worship God and to believe and that was hard because there were so many times where it seemed like he was getting out and he didn't and even the Lord seem to be telling me be getting out and then it didn't happen. So where did it come out with of course God eventually intervened through the president of the Secretary of State and others in a powerful way.
But all of that was an answer to prayer.
There was a worldwide movement prayer for Andrew and in knowing that was huge for him. It helps so much when others are praying for us and we know it but he tells about one day.
This is the day he got shipped back to prison where he really suffered me really didn't want to go back there.
He said the thoughts kept going through my mind. Where are you God like you. Let me return to this awful place, why do not intervene for me. Why are you so far away so silent.
Then he said I open my mouth weeping aloud and the words I heard murmured stunned me.
I love you Jesus again. I love you Jesus, I love you Jesus. That's what you're coming out of his mouth and he said immediately, I realized here's my victory in my lowest point, the cry of my heart was one of love to Jesus and he realized that he'd been tested and he had grown through it and that makes me think about the words of Paul in second to the 213 if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot discern himself. So even in all of his struggles, knowing he couldn't feel God in the end God was still at work at all of that is part was to keep putting 1 foot in front of the other doing his best to walk with him and then it became clear the Lord was with him and he had enabled him to remain faithful tally to obviously talk about this for a long time but I'm out of time today. James close us with a prayer that will do this very thing to go the distance to remain faithful. Jesus, thank you for this amazing powerful testimony that we too would grow in our faith that our lowest moment we would be able to cry out and know that the truth there with his help us to be faithful in the good times as well. And even as these coming weeks. We now are going to be difficult in our country.
Lord help us to remain faithful close to you eyes on Jesus parts on Jesus, I ask this in Jesus hear more from Pastor James by visiting the website James Banks.org or by visiting these church in Durham, North Carolina.
May God bless you and encourage you. You pray this is the Truth Network