Monday, 22 November 2010

Healed in Jail Cell

In 1993 Philip, a house church leader in China, was thrown in prison after he and a number of believers were arrested. His ‘welcome’ to prison was a savage beating from the guards. They kicked him viciously with their steel-capped boots, beat him with batons, and tortured him with electric cattle-prods, designed to shock his body with high voltage.

Philip was left unconscious with a broken collarbone, arm, and ribs. The prison authorities then threw his bloody and bruised body into a small cell that already contained 28 prisoners. The cell had just one bed and a bucket, used by all the prisoners as a toilet. The cell leader was a rough man who had already formed a gang inside the prison. No one was allowed to sit on or touch his bed. When Brother Philip’s lifeless body was thrown inside the cell, however, even this hardened criminal had compassion on Philip and lay him down on his bed.

At around 2 a.m., according to the testimony of the other prisoners, a supernatural light or glow appeared over Philip’s body. It shone on him for several hours. The other prisoners were absolutely terrified and backed up against the corner of the cell. They cried for the guards to come and let them out. The guards also saw the supernatural light and were terrified, but they refused to let the prisoners out.

By sunrise, Brother Philip was much better and had regained consciousness. At no time did he actually see the light, but all the other prisoners did. Surprisingly for the serious injuries he had received the previous night, he was feeling much better and his broken collarbone and ribs seemed to be healed. Not surprisingly, the first question the prisoners asked him was “Who are you?” He replied, “It doesn’t matter who I am, but let me tell you about Jesus Christ.” He led all 28 of the prisoners to faith in Christ!

Today Brother Philip continues his ministry and is responsible for hundreds of house churches across China. He is a godly, humble and committed Christian who is willing to die for the Gospel. He receives no income and often goes hungry. Believers sometimes give him love gifts, but most rural Christians in China are so poor that their sacrificial gifts are barely enough for Philip to buy a train or bus ticket to the next town. There are thousands of Gospel-warriors like Philip in China and in the surrounding nations of Asia.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

The Titanic's Last Hero

John Harper was born to a pair of solid Christian parents on May 29th, 1872. It was on the last Sunday of March 1886, when he was 13 years old, that he received Jesus as the Lord of his life. He began to preach about four years later at the ripe old age of 17 years old by going down to the streets of his village and pouring out his soul for men to be reconciled to God.

As John Harper's life unfolded, one thing was apparentÑhe was consumed by the word of God. When asked by various ministers what his doctrine consisted of, he was known to reply, "The Word of God!" Soon, John Harper started his own church in September of 1896. (Now known as the Harper Memorial Church.) This church started with just 25 members, but had grown to over 500 members when he left 13 years later.

Ironically, John Harper almost drowned several times during his life. When he was two and a half years of age, he almost drowned when he fell into a well but was resuscitated by his mother. At the age of 26, he was swept out to sea by a reverse current and barely survived, and at thirty-two he faced death on a leaking ship in the Mediterranean. Perhaps God used these experiences to prepare this servant for what he faced next....

It was the night of April 14, 1912. The RMS Titanic sailed swiftly on the bitterly cold ocean waters heading unknowingly into the pages of history. On board this luxurious ocean liner were many rich and famous people. At the time of the ship's launch, it was the world's largest man-made moveable object. At 11:40 p.m. on that fateful night, an iceberg scraped the ship's starboard side, showering the decks with ice and ripping open six watertight compartments. The sea poured in. On board the ship was John Harper and his much-beloved six-year-old daughter, Nana. According to documented reports, as soon as it was apparent that the ship was going to sink, Harper immediately took his daughter to a lifeboat. It is reasonable to assume that this widowed preacher could have easily gotten on board this boat to safety; however, it never seems to have crossed his mind. He bent down and kissed his precious little girl; looking into her eyes he told her that she would see him again someday.

The flares going off in the dark sky above reflected the tears on his face as he turned and headed toward the crowd of desperate humanity on the sinking ocean liner. As the rear of the huge ship began to lurch upwards, it was reported that Harper was seen making his way up the deck yelling, "Women, children and unsaved into the lifeboats!"

It was only minutes later that the Titanic began to rumble deep within. Most people thought it was an explosion; actually the ship was literally breaking in half. At this point, many people jumped off the decks and into the icy, dark waters below. John Harper was one of these people.
That night 1528 people went into the frigid waters. John Harper was seen swimming frantically to people in the water leading them to Jesus before the hypothermia became fatal.
Mr. Harper swam up to one young man who had climbed up on a piece of debris. Harper asked him between breaths, "Are you saved?" The young man replied that he was not. Harper then tried to lead him to Christ only to have the young man who was near shock, reply no. John Harper then took off his life jacket and threw it to the man and said "Here then, you need this more than I do..." and swam away to other people.
A few minutes later Harper swam back to the young man and succeeded in leading him to salvation. Of the 1528 people that went into the water that night, six were rescued by the lifeboats. One of them was this young man on the debris.

Four years later, at a survivors meeting, this young man stood up and in tears recounted how that after John Harper had led him to Christ, Harper had tried to swim back to help other people, yet because of the intense cold, had grown too weak to swim. His last words before going under in the frigid waters were, "Believe on the Name of the Lord Jesus and you will be saved."

This servant of God did what he had to do. While other people were trying to buy their way onto the lifeboats and selfishly trying to save their own lives, John Harper gave up his life so that others could be saved.