Friday, February 1, 2013

SAFELY HOME --by Randy Alcorn.

Tom's Journal.

I have not only read the book, "SAFELY HOME" --but also purchased a few extra copies, and might buy some more -- because I feel that strongly about what is going on in "under ground China" where there are MORE real, bible loving Christians than in both Europe and Amerika put together !!  People are so surprised at that statement!  But Heidi Swander, has a way with words in putting this book and subject matter right between our eyes.  The book MUST BE LABELED FICTION, because other wise the real people in China would be hauled into prison right away if the police  knew exactly where they were.   You will also discover some horrible practices in the book, very true, that happen in China all the time.    So, maybe we could call the publication a 'true fiction' book.  I know a Christian pastor who first gave a copy to me -- who read it about 3 or 4 times!!  I highly recommend this fine book, and you won't be able to put it down.

And who are we kidding when we say that America protects all freedom of religion...Ha!  Hey!  I voted for the real, home grown American, and have always been Conservative.  I sure don't know when Jesus Christ will come calling His bride of Saints to heaven, but smart  Christians tell me that it could come at any time now.  I am just hoping that I have a little productive time left in my old bones...  God help me.

Warm Regards,
Tom Schuckman

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A Painful Privilege: Suffering for Christ
by Heidi Swander
February 1, 2013

Headline: U.S. Pastor to Spend 8 Years in Iran Prison. Here's the back story: Saeed Abedini, who became a U.S. citizen in 2010 and resides in Boise, Idaho, returns regularly to his native country, Iran. On his last trip in September 2012, Pastor Saeed was arrested while visiting family, and he has since been charged with attempting to undermine state security by creating a network of Christian churches in private homes.

According to the cited article, "The Iranians have lied about all aspects of the case, abused their own laws, and trampled the fundamentals of human rights." None of these charges against the Iranians surprise me, but I am sorry for Pastor Saeed and his family who are suffering terribly through this ordeal. I suspect Pastor Saeed knew the risk he was taking every time he entered his home country. I guarantee he's done it with eternal goals in mind.
In a preamble to the most recent edition of his book, Safely Home, author Randy Alcorn speaks to the persecution that is still prevalent in China.
"Many readers ask me whether Christians in China continue to suffer persecution. Often they've been told it's a thing of the past." Not so, Randy says. And he confirms his statement by relating a number of harrowing stories. Here's one:
"Even as the government attempted to create a better public image for China in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, they continued to persecute believers. Asia News reported that in December 2007, officials arrested 270 Christian pastors in a quick and brutal raid, accusing them of holding an illegal Bible meeting and fining 120 of them with an 'interrogation tax.'
According to the China Aid Association, earlier that year a Beijing house-church leader, Hua Huiqi, served six months in prison. Hua and his seventy-six-year-old mother were arrested after being attacked by seven police officers. While walking on a public street they were kicked to the ground and taken to the Olympic police station for questioning. Hua's mother, Shuang Shuying, had turned her residence into a boarding house for believers. When authorities began planning the Olympic games, they dismantled the home and her family was detained, supervised twenty-four hours a day, and frequently beaten. Imprisoned for two years, Shuang was tortured, lost her vision, and dwindled to a mere seventy-three pounds."
Persecution: A Price to Pay for Being a Christian? (John MacArthur)
Persecution: A Price to Pay for Being a Christian? An interview with a Chinese Christian who experienced persecution first-hand.
Safely Home is a novel about persecution of Christians in China. As a novel, it is not necessarily "fun" reading. But it is inspirational and it is life-changing.
But practically speaking, why read it? Perhaps, you say, you aren't into fictional stories. You want the low-down on end-time prophecy or on prophecy in light of current events. Why should you take your time to read such a book?
Because it will prepare you, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, for what could surely be coming down the pike on American soil if God tarries in sending our Bridegroom to get us. In fact, it isn't "coming down the pike." Persecution of American Christians has already begun.
One report of many cited in an October 2012 article entitled, "From Jailing Evangelists to Church Bomb Plot, Christian Persecution on the Rise in America," states that Michael Salmen, of Phoenix, Arizona, was sentenced to 60-days incarceration for holding worship meetings on his private property. Salmen was first prohibited from holding meetings of friends and family in his home. Authorities claimed that the house was, "not up to code" for such meetings. So, he built a structure to house the meetings in his back yard. Neither did this appease officials and, eventually, Salmen was incarcerated for defying city ordinance.

"Some note that Salman was charged for violating code from the International Code Council, which was adopted by the city of Phoenix, and is in place in many municipalities across the nation. It is believed that these codes will be used to shut down many house churches across the nation," the article states.
Also in October -- and a little closer to home for this ministry -- a senior citizen in a HUD-subsidized building in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was accosted by a social worker who happened by a common area where Ruth Sweats was reading to a friend the introductory paragraph from her Bible on the Book of Revelation. Sweats said, "The building social worker, 'dramatically approached her with a raised voice' and said, 'You can't talk like that here!'" Sweats also told WND that, "The social worker claimed that free speech doesn't exist when it's in a HUD-funded building, and that in order to talk about the Bible it had to be in an apartment, not the common area."
The most recent edition of the 140-page Survey of Religious Hostility in America, presents over 600 incidents of religious attacks and hostility in the United States including, but by no means limited to these events:
  • A federal judge threatened "incarceration" to a high school valedictorian unless she removed references to Jesus from her graduation speech.
  • A public school official physically lifted an elementary school student from his seat and reprimanded him in front of his classmates for praying over his lunch.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice argued before the Supreme Court that the federal government can tell churches and synagogues which pastors and rabbis it can hire and fire.
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs banned the mention of God from veterans' funerals, overriding the wishes of the deceased's families.
Would it be callous to say that we expect Christian persecution in countries such as Iran, Syria, Sudan and China? But when we think about America, we find it almost impossible to wrap our minds around what we are seeing in the articles and documents for which links have been provided.
A teaser to Safely Home:
"'Quan stiffened at the shout behind him. The voice rang with authority. 'You meet in the night like the criminals you are. How dare you defy the law? In three minutes we will shoot every man, woman, and child who does not declare himself loyal to the people rather than the gwelios, foreign devils.'"
Question: How long before those words or words like them are spoken to you or to me right here in our own country? When government representatives view Christ-followers as bitter, clinging to guns and religion;" attempt to legally enforce Christian-founded companies to provide medical services against their biblical beliefs; and endeavor to establish a civilian national security force -- just for example -- then we would do well to take heed to the message of exhortation embedded within the pages of Randy Alcorn's artistically-framed treatise.
Dr. Tim LaHaye writes of Alcorn's, Safely Home, "This brilliant story mixes the warmth of a good novel with the harsh reality of the persecuted church." I submit to you that the definition of, "the persecuted church," is expanding. I encourage you to read this novel. We each need to search our souls to determine whether we are prepared, indeed, to "suffer for His sake."

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