Weekly Devotion 1 John 1:9

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

If we confess our sins to God, He is faithful to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness to forgive the sins of those that confess. Thank You for Your great grace and mercy toward sinners that humbly admit their guilt. Thank You also for Your Son, Jesus Christ, who died to cleanse us of our unrighteousness and let us become the righteousness of God in Him.

There Xi Goes Again: Xi, Persecution in China, and the Art of Keepin’ On Keepin’ On

In an article that you can read here, we learn that China’s president, Xi Jinping – or “Xi”, has been cracking down on religion in China and “has particular animosity against Christianity in particular”.

This has been seen in the various news stories recently coming out of China concerning persecution of Christians. First, there was the dynamiting of a church around the turn of the year (see here).

More recently, there is this story about the government no longer allowing Bibles to be sold online in China. This happened just days after the government announced that in the upcoming years it wanted to retranslate the Bible – presumably in its own image by making it more socialism-friendly.

As we travel to churches here in the states, many have asked us about these developments and what they might mean for how we are able to do ministry when we arrive back in China.

While we don’t know exactly what the coming years in China hold for believers there, we can be sure of the Christ’s words in Matthew 16:18, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Our Lord will build His church, and nothing – not dynamite, not Xi, not communism, not even the very gates of hell – shall prevail against it.

This is great news! As we go to China to plant churches, we are investing in a building project that cannot be thwarted!

And Christ is building His church! Just over the last couple of months, our teammates in China have had seen multiple professions of faith in their church plant with many baptisms as well! Please read their April 2018 Prayer Letter for the details.

Despite the persecution that seems to be at hand, believers in China are still seeing God at work to change lives. They aren’t living in fear of persecution but instead are faithfully pressing on to get the gospel out. Read here about the latest plan to print John and Romans in-country. They are keepin’ on keepin’ on!

I am reminded of Daniel, who when learning that a law was passed in Persia that made it illegal for him to pray, went into his house, opened his windows, and prayed “as he did aforetime” (see Daniel 6:10). He just kept on keepin’ on doing what he had always done. He just kept on worshipping and obeying the Lord. He didn’t let fear of being thrown into a lion’s den get to him.

So, you may ask, are we having second thoughts about starting churches in China? No! Taking our cue from Daniel and the believers currently over there, we have every intention of keepin’ on keepin’ on with our deputation and plans to start churches, trusting that even if we get thrown in a tiger’s den, we serve a God who is known to send angels to stop mouths, and He has promised to be with us until the end of the world (Matt. 28:20).

Weekly Devotion Ezekiel 36:26-27

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

The Lord tells Israel that He will put His spirit in them, replacing their heart and causing them to walk in His statutes to keep and do His judgments. This is the second time this is mentioned in Ezekiel. This first time was in chapter 11.

Lord, thank You for doing a similar work in my life. Thank You for changing my heart and giving me Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that I am a new creature in Christ. Help me to live in obedience to You and Your Word.