Friday, April 28, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - April 28, 2017

Today's Reading:

Acts 12

Joshua 15-16

Job 28

Listen to the Bible







Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

Today I would like to focus on our reading from Acts 12. The story of Peter's miraculous deliverance from prison is one of my all-time favorite Bible stories! Having martyred the apostle James, Herod planned to kill Peter also. But God had other plans. An angel of Yahweh was sent to deliver Peter from prison, right under the guards' noses! This story is a wonderful demonstration of the power of God. It also shows the reality that the people of God are untouchable, unless Yahweh allows it for some good purpose (Romans 8:28). 

Brother Yun from the book The Heavenly Man
We all know the story of Peter. But I'd like to encourage you today with a more recent story - one which bears some striking similarities to Peter's, as you will see... (this portion of the blog is quoted from:

Brother Yun was born in February 1958 in the province of Henan. His original name was Liu Zhenying (刘振营).

Brother Yun became a believer at the age of 16. Soon after he became a Christian, God called him to be His witness in the west and south. As he was obedient to the calling, he eventually became a witness of Christ not just in the western and southern parts of China, but throughout China and in the nations beyond China as well.

Brother Yun was born into a poor family. His family’s financial situation took a turn for the worst when his father became ill with an asthmatic condition that led to lung cancer eventually. His life got worse when he became a Christian as he suffered severe trials and persecutions. In the midst of suffering for the Lord, however, he experienced miracle after miracle, which helped to strengthen his faith.

In 1974, Brother Yun’s father became ill with lung cancer. His mother, who had been a Christian for many years but had become spiritually cold after the expulsion of Western missionaries during the Cultural Revolution, felt a deep sense of desperation because if her husband had died then, it would leave the family in dire straits. She thought of committing suicide. One evening, as she was lying in bed, she heard a voice saying to her that Jesus loved her. In tears and in repentance, she rededicated her life to God and gathered her family to pray for her husband. The next morning, her husband got better and as a result, everyone in the family, including Brother Yun, put their faith in God.

Brother Yun was 16 when he became a Christian. Soon after, he started hungering for the Word of God. However, his family did not have a Bible. He began asking his mother who Jesus was. In response, his mother would tell him that Jesus was the Son of God and that He had recorded all His teachings in the Bible.

Brother Yun wanted a Bible and his mother recalled that there was a man in another village who had one. So she brought him to see the man. The man was too afraid to show Brother Yun his Bible. So he suggested to the latter that he could pray and ask God for one.

Brother Yun decided to fast and pray for a Bible. For the next 100 days, he ate only one bowl of steamed rice everyday. One day at 4am, after fasting for 100 days, he saw a vision. In the vision, he was walking up a steep hill and trying to push a heavy cart at the same time. He was heading towards a village where he intended to beg for food for his family. He struggled greatly as he continued his climb uphill. The cart was about to roll back and fall on him when he saw three men walking down the hill in the opposite direction. One of them was a kind old man and he was pulling a large cart of fresh bread. When the old man saw Brother Yun, he asked him if he was hungry. He said ‘yes’ and started crying. The old man then took a red bag of bread from his cart and asked his two servants to give it to Brother Yun. As he put the bread into his mouth, it immediately turned into a Bible.

Upon waking up, Brother Yun began to search for the Bible. His search, however, was in vain. All of a sudden, he heard a faint knock on the door and someone was calling out his name. Immediately, he recognized the voice – it was the same voice he had heard in the vision. He quickly opened the door and standing before him were the two servants he had seen in the vision. One of them held a red bag in his hand. In this red bag was a Bible.

It was later that Brother Yun found out the names of the two men. One was Brother Wang while the other was Brother Sung. They were sent by an evangelist to give Brother Yun the Bible. The evangelist, who had suffered terribly during the Cultural Revolution and had nearly died while being tortured, had received a vision from God. In the vision, God showed him Brother Yun’s house and the location of his village. He was asked to give his Bible to Brother Yun. However, he did not obey God until three months later.

Brother Yun began to devour the Word of God. Even though he could hardly read, this did not deter him at all. When he had finished reading the entire Bible, he started to memorise one chapter per day. In 28 days, he had memorised the Gospel of Matthew. Then he went on to memorise the Book of Acts and so forth.

One morning at 4am, Brother Yun had a dream. In the dream, God asked him to be His witness in the west and south. In the same dream, he saw a young man from the south coming to his house. And so at daybreak, he told his mother to expect the young man’s visit and to ask him to wait for him. Then he sat off to a village he had never heard of in the west. The people in this village had been praying for him to visit as they had heard about how he had prayed for a Bible and got it.

When the meeting at the village concluded and Brother Yun got ready to leave, the villagers refused to let him go. So he stayed on and recited to them the first twelve chapters from the Book of Acts. After that, the villagers finally let him go. From the village to his house, it could take up to 2 hours to walk. Because he did not want to make the young man from the south wait too long, he decided to run home. All of a sudden, he found himself entering his village without any apparent time lapse. What should have taken him a few hours took him just a few moments. It was as if God had supernaturally transported him back to his village.

Brother Yun was arrested by security police numerous times and was thrown into prison three times for sharing the gospel in communist China.

When Brother Yun was arrested the first time, he was only 17 years old. At that time, he was ministering at a meeting far away from home. After he was caught, he was thrown into a freezing cold prison cell. There was no heat in the cell and his winter coat had been thrown into the snow by the security police who had caught him. He began to sing Psalm 150 aloud. The more he sang, the more he was filled with joy. Gradually, his frozen hands and feet regained feeling and he no longer felt cold.

During his first imprisonment in Nanyang, Brother Yun felt that God wanted him to fast without food and water until he could see his family again. This fast lasted 74 days, which was humanly impossible but yet was made possible because he chose to obey God.

During those times when Brother Yun was in the hands of government officials, he was repeatedly beaten and tortured with electric batons. He was also kicked and trampled upon. Furthermore, he had needles being jabbed underneath his fingernails.

Read the story of Brother Yun for Yourself
Once, Brother Yun was paraded through the streets with a red cross tied behind him for half a day. When night fell, he was locked and left alone inside a large interrogation room. The wooden cross was taken off his back but his hands were still tied up. All of a sudden, the rope that was used to tie his hands snapped by itself. He immediately walked out of the interrogation room and walked through the courtyard in the midst of onlookers. Nobody stopped him or said anything to him. It was as if God had blinded their eyes and they did not even recognize who he was.

Because the front gate was locked, the only way Brother Yun could get out was to climb over an eight-foot high cement wall. He climbed up as much as he could manage. Then he looked over the wall and saw that there was a ten-foot wide open tank directly below. Suddenly, he felt as if someone had lifted him up and thrown him over. He was thrown so far that he did not land in the tank.

The Henan Province of China, where brother Yun was from
Brother Yun’s 3rd imprisonment was a very dark period in his life as the prison guards in the maximum security prison were determined to prevent his escape. So they beat his legs to cripple him permanently. They had him beaten up everyday, even in his crippled state. One day, God instructed him to escape from the prison. This was confirmed by a brother-in-Christ. Thus, on May 5, 1997, he miraculously stood upon his formerly broken legs and walked past dozens of prison guards. He walked out of the maximum security prison in broad daylight. It was as if he had become invisible to the guards. He did not notice that his legs had been miraculously healed until later.

Throughout all the horrendous and painful experiences that Brother Yun went through, the word of the Lord kept coming to him, encouraging him and strengthening his faith.

What a wonderful God we serve. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Peter's miraculous God is still the same God Who watches over His people even today.