the LIGHTS of CHRISTmas


Hebrews 13:3 Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

 

A New Meaning

For many of us, lighted Christmas trees awaken our tender holiday hopes and memories: quiet moments of family togetherness, child-like anticipation of special gifts, and shared celebrations across generations. The lights also remind believers of the starlit heavens over the birthplace of our savior, Jesus Christ.

However, there is another story in each strand of Christmas lights, told in the little paper tag on the cord: Made in China. This story also has a powerful link to Jesus; Chinese pastors and believers, imprisoned for sharing their faith, perform much of the tedious manual labor. Many believers in China are persecuted and suffer greatly for professing Jesus as Lord and sharing His message of hope with others. For these Chinese pastors and believers, the same Christmas lights that remind Westerners of joy, togetherness, and peace are a harsh reminder of prison, pain and beatings.

The Facts

Most of the world is unaware of the torture that Chinese believers suffer.

While China presents a picture of increasing religious tolerance, Christians face constant harassment and the most intense persecution in the world.What is so Torturous About Making Christmas Lights?Imagine sitting on cold or muddy ground with only a huge box of lights and wire in front of you. Without tools of any kind, you must assemble 3000–5000 lights per day. There is no time for rest or breaks. Quickly, your fingers become numb and bloody. Your teeth serve as your only crimping tools. Even as you work to complete your tasks, you know that you will be beaten severely if you don’t get it all done.

 
Should We Boycott the Sale and Use of Christmas Lights?
These Pastors say no; let the lights be reminders to pray. If believers aren’t making lights, they will be mining coal, making syringes or bricks, or performing other forms of hard labor. These believers turn their focus onto the eternally significant message of Christ, and we are asking you to do the same.
 
These Pastors say no; let the lights be reminders to pray. If believers aren’t making lights, they will be mining coal, making syringes or bricks, or performing other forms of hard labor. These believers turn their focus onto the eternally significant message of Christ, and we are asking you to do the same.

 
In the Midst of this Hardship, How Do They Persevere?
While we pray diligently for their release, many persecuted believers testify, “I want the world to know I am willing to suffer for the Lord Jesus Christ.” Even in prison, these pastors share the Gospel with others. Many even leave prison tearfully, because they leave behind new believers that they led to Christ while in prison together. Clearly, the Lord is using the persecution to draw others to Himself. Even with the rise of suffering, the Chinese underground church has experienced its most dramatic surge ever, with upwards of 80 million believers following Christ today. The brave servants declare, “We are not about self, but rather we are about the kingdom of God and bringing Him glory!”
 
While we pray diligently for their release, many persecuted believers testify, “I want the world to know I am willing to suffer for the Lord Jesus Christ.” Even in prison, these pastors share the Gospel with others. Many even leave prison tearfully, because they leave behind new believers that they led to Christ while in prison together. Clearly, the Lord is using the persecution to draw others to Himself. Even with the rise of suffering, the Chinese underground church has experienced its most dramatic surge ever, with upwards of 80 million believers following Christ today. The brave servants declare, “We are not about self, but rather we are about the kingdom of God and bringing Him glory!”

 
Prayer Requests
For imprisoned pastors, pray that they would:

 

  • be allowed to visit their families.
  • receive good news about their families.
  • be given an extra measure of food.
  • experience God’s comfort, peace, and protection.
  • have the energy to endure hard labor.
  • resist temptations to deny the Lord in exchange for food and comforts.
  • effectively witness to other prisoners and guards.
  • be released.

For the guards, pray:

  • their hearts will be filled with compassion.
  • they will turn to Jesus Christ.

For the house churches in China, pray: 

  • ministries continue to flourish while their pastors are gone. 
  • Bibles will be protected and new Scriptures provided.
  • meetings will be uninterrupted and safe for newcomers.
  • training schools will not be discovered by authorities.

For the families of persecuted pastors, pray:

  • authorities will inform them where their loved ones are being held and allow visitation. 
  • clothing, food, and shelter will be provided. 
  • they remain healthy and strong.
  • a sense of safety will calm their spirits. 
  • neighbors can and will support them.
  • that families will be able to stay together. 
  • the children can go to school.
  • the children will recognize their parents’ obedience.

This article was taken from: http://www.thelightsofchristmas.org/christmas/index.html

 

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