Weekly Devotion 2 Thessalonians 3:1

“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you.”

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy ask the church in Thessalonica to pray for them, that the Word of God may have free course and be glorified, even as it is with them. They desire for the Word to flow freely through them.

Lord, use me as a conduit of Your Word. Use me as a channel to get Your Word out to this world. I want to be used of You for Your glory. I love You, Lord.

Chinese Bibles: To Smuggle or Not to Smuggle? Part 2

A quick Google search for the phrase “Bible Smuggling” will bring up numerous links to articles written on the topic of Bible smuggling in China. Of the links found on the first page, about half seem to be for smuggling Bibles into China, while about half seem to be against it.

Click here to read an interesting article written back in 2009 by a Chinese news source that makes a startling claim. It claims that the largest Bible publisher in the world is found in China!

This is not merely a claim made by a Chinese news outlet. Click here to read a similar story posted by an American news source in 2012. Also notice the update/disclaimer at the top of this article dated May 23, 2013, which indicates that because about two-thirds of the bibles published in China are exported, there are still many house churches that don’t have access to them.

While the fact that two-thirds of the bibles are exported may be true, I would contest the claim that many house churches don’t have access to them.

A quick search online on any computer or mobile device in China for 圣经 (Bibles) will pull up multiple websites that provide free access to read the Chinese Bible online. There are even Bible apps available for download on most smart phones in China. While the Chinese government is notorious for blocking certain content on the internet that it dislikes such as Facebook, Google, and CNN; it actually allows the Chinese people access to these Bible websites and apps.

What’s more, a quick search for 购买圣经 (purchase Bibles) on any search engine in China will also pull up multiple websites where Chinese Bibles can be purchased and delivered directly to the buyer’s front door!

The Bibles that my wife and I used in China were bought at our church in China, which had stacks upon stacks for sale to anyone that wanted to buy. They even gave them away to people who made professions of faith at evangelistic crusades. Each of these Bibles indicated inside the front cover that they were printed in Nanjing, China.

It is easy to see that Bibles, on the whole, are readily available in China. While it may be possible that there are Chinese in certain parts of the country that cannot afford a Bible, most could simply download a free app that allows them to read directly on their smartphone.

So, should we invest in smuggling/distributing Bibles into China? No, not unless we are specifically targeting groups that are otherwise unable to access the Bible. With over half of China’s population categorized as “internet users” (Click here for link), most would have access to the Bible of some sort, even if electronically. While smuggling/distributing may have been a worthier investment in previous decades, I think the need of the hour for Christianity in China today is church-planting.

But that is for my next post…

Weekly Devotion Isaiah 54:8-10

“In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; But with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, Saith the LORD thy Redeemer. For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: For as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; So have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, And the hills be removed; But my kindness shall not depart from thee, Neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, Saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.”

The Lord has mercy on us with an everlasting kindness! Just as He swore to Noah to never again destroy the earth with water, so He has sworn to never again be angry with us. His kindness will not depart from us, and His covenant of peace will never be removed from us. Just as Christ is everlasting, so is His covenant with us everlasting.

Father, thank You for redeeming me in Christ and swearing to never again be angry with me. Thank You for loving me. Thank You for your kindness and mercy toward me. I don’t deserve it. I deserve hell. But, You love me, Lord. Praise the Lord!