How to Prepare for Tribulation — Corrie ten Boom

How to Prepare for Tribulation — Corrie ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom’s letter below, written in 1974, contains solid advice to Christians about preparing for the Great Tribulation. Corrie knew great tribulation firsthand, as she and her family were imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp for sheltering Jews during the Holocaust. Learn more about her here.

Corrie ten Boom’s Letter

The world is deathly ill. It is dying. The Great Physician has already signed the death certificate. Yet there is still a great work for Christians to do. They are to be streams of living water, channels of mercy to those who are still in the world. It is possible for them to do this because they are overcomers.

Christians are ambassadors for Christ. They are representatives from Heaven to this dying world. And because of our presence here, things will change.

My sister, Betsy, and I were in the Nazi concentration camp at Ravensbruck because we committed the crime of loving Jews. Seven hundred of us from Holland, France, Russia, Poland and Belgium were herded into a room built for two hundred. As far as I knew, Betsy and I were the only two representatives of Heaven in that room.

We may have been the Lord’s only representatives in that place of hatred, yet because of our presence there, things changed. Jesus said, “In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” We too, are to be overcomers—bringing the light of Jesus into a world filled with darkness and hate.

Sometimes I get frightened as I read the Bible, and as I look in this world and see all of the tribulation and persecution promised by the Bible coming true. Now I can tell you, though, if you too are afraid, that I have just read the last pages. I can now come to shouting “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” for I have found where it is written that Jesus said, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things: and I will be His God, and he shall be My son.” This is the future and hope of this world. Not that the world will survive – but that we shall be overcomers in the midst of a dying world.

Betsy and I, in the concentration camp, prayed that God would heal Betsy who was so weak and sick. “Yes, the Lord will heal me,” Betsy said with confidence. She died the next day and I could not understand it. They laid her thin body on the concrete floor along with all the other corpses of the women who died that day.

It was hard for me to understand, to believe that God had a purpose for all that. Yet because of Betsy’s death, today I am traveling all over the world telling people about Jesus.

There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this. These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days. Most of them have little knowledge of what is already going on across the world. I have been in countries where the saints are already suffering terrible persecution. In China, the Christians were told, “Don’t worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured.” Then came a terrible persecution. Millions of Christians were tortured to death. Later I heard a Bishop from China say, sadly, “We have failed. We should have made the people strong for persecution rather than telling them Jesus would come first. Tell the people how to be strong in times of persecution, how to stand when the tribulation comes – to stand and not faint.”

I feel I have a divine mandate to go and tell the people of this world that it is possible to be strong in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are in training for the tribulation, but more than sixty percent of the Body of Christ across the world has already entered into the tribulation. There is no way to escape it. We are next.

Since I have already gone through prison for Jesus’ sake, and since I met the Bishop in China, now every time I read a good Bible text I think, “Hey, I can use that in the time of tribulation.” Then I write it down and learn it by heart.

When I was in the concentration camp, a camp where only twenty percent of the women came out alive, we tried to cheer each other up by saying, “Nothing could be any worse than today.” But we would find the next day was even worse. During this time a Bible verse that I had committed to memory gave me great hope and joy. “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you; on their part evil is spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.” (I Peter 3:14) I found myself saying, “Hallelujah! Because I am suffering, Jesus is glorified!”

In America, the churches sing, “Let the congregation escape tribulation,” but in China and Africa the tribulation has already arrived. This last year alone more than two hundred thousand Christians were martyred in Africa. Now things like that never get into the newspapers because they cause bad political relations. But I know. I have been there. We need to think about that when we sit down in our nice houses with our nice clothes to eat our steak dinners. Many, many members of the Body of Christ are being tortured to death at this very moment, yet we continue right on as though we are all going to escape the tribulation.

Several years ago I was in Africa in a nation where a new government had come into power. The first night I was there some of the Christians were commanded to come to the police station to register. When they arrived they were arrested and that same night they were executed. The next day the same thing happened with other Christians. The third day it was the same. All the Christians in the district were being systematically murdered.

The fourth day I was to speak in a little church. The people came, but they were filled with fear and tension. All during the service they were looking at each other, their eyes asking, “Will this one I am sitting beside be the next one killed? Will I be the next one?”

The room was hot and stuffy with insects that came through the screenless windows and swirled around the naked bulbs over the bare wooden benches. I told them a story out of my childhood.

“When I was a little girl, “ I said, “I went to my father and said, “Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ.” “Tell me,” said Father, “When you take a train trip to Amsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?” “No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train.” “That is right,” my father said, “and so it is with God’s strength. Our Father in Heaven knows when you will need the strength to be a martyr for Jesus Christ. He will supply all you need—just in time…”

My African friends were nodding and smiling. Suddenly a spirit of joy descended upon that church and the people began singing, “ In the sweet, by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.” Later that week, half the congregation of that church was executed. I heard later that the other half was killed some months ago.

But I must tell you something. I was so happy that the Lord used me to encourage these people, for unlike many of their leaders, I had the word of God. I had been to the Bible and discovered that Jesus said He had not only overcome the world, but to all those who remained faithful to the end, He would give a crown of life.

How can we get ready for the persecution? First we need to feed on the word of God, digest it, make it a part of our being. This will mean disciplined Bible study each day as we not only memorize long passages of scripture, but put the principles to work in our lives.

Next we need to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Not just the Jesus of yesterday, the Jesus of History, but the life-changing Jesus of today who is still alive and sitting at the right hand of God.

We must be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is no optional command of the Bible, it is absolutely necessary. Those earthly disciples could never have stood up under the persecution of the Jews and Romans had they not waited for Pentecost. Each of us needs our own personal Pentecost, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We will never be able to stand in the tribulation without it.

In the coming persecution we must be ready to help each other and encourage each other. But we must not wait until the tribulation comes before starting. The fruit of the Spirit should be the dominant force of every Christian’s life.

Many are fearful of the coming tribulation, they want to run. I, too, am a little bit afraid when I think that after all my eighty years, including the horrible nazi concentration camp, that I might have to go through the tribulation also. But then I read the Bible and I am glad.

When I am weak, then I shall be strong, the Bible says. Betsy and I were prisoners for the Lord; we were so weak, but we got power because the Holy Spirit was on us. That mighty inner strengthening of the Holy Spirit helped us through. No, you will not be strong in yourself when the tribulation comes. Rather, you will be strong in the power of Him who will not forsake you. For seventy-six years I have known the Lord Jesus and not once has He ever left me, or let me down. Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him, for I know that to all who overcome, He shall give the crown of life. Hallelujah!

Bringing Dorothy to the Cross~Lawman Chronicles

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bringing Dorothy to the Cross

I spent time on a different corner, today. The corner of Lyons Avenue and Peachland Avenue is about 1/2-mile east of where I usually stand with the cross, on Avenida Entrana. Peachland and Lyons is a busier intersection than Entrana and Lyons.

This morning, just as I did last weekend, I used an easel to display the cross. This allowed me to sit next to it and read my Bible. I gave away a few tracts to people who came to the corner. I tried not to chuckle aloud as people repeatedly pushed the pedestrian button, sometimes fervently, hoping they could cause the light to turn green a little sooner.

My time in God's Word was wonderful. From time to time, I would stop reading to consider how I might use a verse or passage I just read when preaching the gospel in the open-air or when engaging someone in conversation.

I checked the time and decided I would spend just a few more minutes at the corner. Then I met Dorothy.

She approached the corner from my left, having walked out of the park located just behind me.

"Did you get your million dollars yet, today?" I asked as I handed her a Michael Jackson Million Dollar Bill gospel tract.

She took it from my hand, held it in front of her, and looked at the image of Michael Jackson with what appeared to be just a bit of confusion.

Dorothy was dressed in long, baggy, camouflage cargo shorts. The pockets bulged due to their unknown contents. She wore a powder blue polo shirt, which was untucked and hung loose over the top of her shorts. The stains on the shirt and its overall, worn appearance told me this was a shirt Dorothy wore often--maybe several days at a time.

Strapped to her back was a large, multi-colored backack. The bright colors and overall condition of the backpack suggested that it was newer than the clothing she wore. The backpack, like her cargo shorts pockets, was stuffed with items known only to Dorothy. The only personal item visible was a pack of Marlboro cigarettes inside one of the mesh pockets along the side of the backpack.

The backpack was heavy, as evidenced by Dorothy's posture. She leaned forward slightly at the waist, as if to counter-balance the weight of the backpack.

Dorothy's long, unkempt, auburn hair shined in the mid-morning sun and moved freely in the summer breeze. Dorothy's age was difficult to discern. The skin on her face seemed older than her years. She was missing more than one of her front teeth and the others were worn and yellowish-brown, which may have been evidence of poor dental care, poor diet, or prolonged drug use.

Without making any kind of character assessments about Dorothy, it appeared to me that she was homeless.

"Is this for the Michael Jackson Memorial Fund?" She asked.

"No. It's a gospel tract. Do you know what the million-dollar question is?"

"Have you accepted Jesus?"

"What does that mean to you--to accept Jesus?"

Dorothy walked behind me, moving from my left to my right. I found myself momentarily shifting into deputy mode, as the curious stranger with the large backpack passed behind me and out of my field of view.

"It means to be born again."

"And what does that mean--to be born again?"

Dorothy once again walked behind me, resuming her position to my left. And once again I found myself turning in my seat to follow her movements.

"It means you've confessed your sins and asked Jesus into your heart."

It was obvious that Dorothy, at the very least, had a Christian church background. But was she saved? Was she truly born again?"

Dorothy asked me if I knew a certain professor. The question seemed odd at the time. The professor's name sounded familiar to me, making Dorothy's question all-the-more queer.

"He's a professor at Master's College." Dorothy said. "I've spent time at studies in his house. I don't give his address to people unless I know them well."

If it was true that Dorothy had spent time in a Bible study with a Master's College professor, that would explain why she seemed comfortable answering my questions. But was she saved? Was she born again?

I have talked to too many people who, like Dorothy, could provide the same kind of answers to the same kind of questions. Yet more often than not, with just a little gentle conversational probing, most people who can speak Christianese are exposed as false converts and not soundly saved. It is part of the sad reality that the road is narrow that leads to authentic eternal life with the Savior--a road, which according to Jesus, few will find.

"Dorothy, if I wasn't a Christian and I had only three minutes to live, what would you say to me?"

"I would tell you to confess your sins and ask Jesus into your heart."

"What is sin?"

"If you're not truthful and honest with yourself. If you mess up."

"But I think I'm a pretty good guy. I think in the end my good will outweigh my bad."

"Are you sure about that?"

"Yep. I'm pretty sure."

Dorothy paused for a moment. She begain to fidget, shifting her weight from one foot to another, and back again. She looked at the light as if she were hoping it would turn green soon. I found myself quietly thanking God for a long light at Peachland and Lyons.

Three men now walked to the corner. Two were Hispanic. The other man was white and carrying a long device that resembled the tool used to grab small items off of high shelves. It was another odd observation during an interesting moment in time.

"Dorothy, if you only had three minutes to live, this is what I would say to you."

Dorothy's eyes were fixed on mine.

"Dorothy, in just a few minutes you are going to stand before Almighty God; and He is going to judge you according to the perfect moral standard of His Law. If you've ever lied, He will see you as a liar. If you've ever stolen anything, He will see you as a thief. If you've ever taken His name in vain, He will see you as a blasphemer. If you've ever hated anyone, He will see you as a murderer. If you've ever looked with lust, He will see you as an adulterer.

"God is holy, righteous, just, and good. He must punish sin. And the punishment God has ascribed for sin is eternity in hell. And that's what you face in about two minutes, unless God does something."

I found myself momentarily turning my attention from Dorothy to glance at the traffic light. "It should have turned by now." I thought. "I can't have much time."

Speaking a little faster than usual and with some added urgency, I continued.

"This is what God did. Two thousand years ago, God the Father sent His Son to earth in the person of Jesus Christ--fuly-God and fully-Man, and without sin. Unlike you and me, He never once violated the Law of God in thought, word, or deed. He was perfect in every respect."

Dorothy seemed nervous, now. Her glances at the traffic light became more frequent. If she was saved, if she was truly a Christian, why would the Gospel make her uncomfortable?

"And thirty to thirty-three years into that earthly existence, He voluntarily went to the cross. He suffered and died, shedding His innocent blood--taking upon Himself the punishment you rightly deserve for your sins against God. Then, three days later, He rose from the dead. He is alive today and He will return at a time of the Father's choosing.

"What God requires of you, Dorothy--and you only have about a minute left, is that you repent. God commands that you turn from your sin and by faith, and by faith alone, receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. He is your only hope.

"Does that make sense, Dorothy?"

"Um, yeah. It does."

At that moment, the light turned green to cross the street for Dorothy and the three other men who heard the gospel.

As Dorothy stepped into the street, she turned and looked at me. "God bless you." She said.

"God bless you, Dorothy."

Was Dorothy a born-again follower of Jesus Christ before I met her? I don't know. When in doubt, I always try to err on the side of sharing the gospel. If she was already saved, then hearing the gospel should have been pleasant and sweet to her ears--an encouraging word about the God who saved her. If she was a false convert, then the gospel was and is the only thing God would use to bring her to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ the Lord.

Before I left the corner of Lyons and Peachland, I thanked God for bringing Dorothy to my cross. And I thanked Him for allowing me to bring her to the cross, through the proclamation of the gospel.

Christian Charity:Good News in Hard Times~Ken Connor

Christian Charity:Good News in Hard Times

"If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhande

d and freely lend him whatever he needs.... Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land." (Deuteronomy 15:7-15 NIV)

Despite some encouraging signs of recovery, many people are still struggling in the wake of the current economic crisis. Unemployment numbers continue to rise, home foreclosures are at record highs, and investment portfolios remain ravaged by a volatile stock market. Relief is needed, and action is required. While economic relief and recovery continues to be the primary focus of our leaders in Washington, there is considerable disagreement over the best way for the government to address our economic woes.

It is apparent that the economic problems of the country-along with the resulting social problems-are being used as weapons of political warfare and packaged as evidence for or against various agendas, policies, and ideologies. Thus, while everyday Americans struggle to keep food on their tables and roofs over their heads, politicians and pundits debate the merits of the free market and engage in the blame game. Was the economic collapse the result of too much or too little regulation? Is it Bush's fault, or Barney Franks's? To nationalize or not to nationalize? These are certainly questions worthy of answers, and as we move forward as a nation we would do well to analyze how different responses to the economic crisis today might affect America tomorrow.

However, while the poohbahs on the Potomac dither about the nature and extent of government's role in helping those in need, there is one institution that has a clear and non-delegable duty to reach out and help those who are suffering. No new laws or regulations are required for this organization to do its good work and no new bureaucratic apparatus is required to administer it. In order to meet the challenges posed by these current woes, this non-governmental body need only embrace the principles of love, grace, and charity that have guided it for the last 2000 years. This great institution is the Church.

For Americans hurting now, abstract policy debates and partisan political warfare do little to change the reality on the ground. Government assistance programs-designed at the macro-level and administered by bureaucrats-often provide only cold comfort. Because of their size and the scope of their responsibilities, government agencies are often unable to relate to the recipients of their aid in a personal way. Furthermore, they are only equipped to address the material symptoms of a problem. The Church, on the other hand, is bound by a moral responsibility to provide material, emotional, and spiritual care to those in need.

The Bible is full of exhortations about the need for compassion and charity towards those struggling with economic adversity. Jesus repeatedly identifies himself with the poor and needy, reminding his followers that when they fail to care for the least among their fellow men, they are failing to care for Christ himself (Matthew 25:45). In the Old Testament, God warned his people of the consequences of hard-heartedness towards the needy: "He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished." (Proverbs 17:5 NIV) God's clear affinity for the most vulnerable among his creation reflects his love and mercy. As he was willing to sacrifice his perfect Son to atone for our sin and weakness, so Christians are obligated to pour out this same spirit of love and grace upon our fellow human beings. Christians who turn their backs on the poor and needy are guilty of turning their backs on the Lord himself. In the apt words of Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, "it is... a denial of the incarnation to go preach the gospel and ignore the fact that people are hungry and thirsty and naked and homeless."

Providing material resources to those in need is one way of demonstrating brotherly love. Equally important, however, is the need for emotional and spiritual support and encouragement. When the future seems bleak and the walls are closing in, it is easy to succumb to hopelessness and despair. These difficult times provide the perfect opportunity for Christians to demonstrate love for their fellow man by opening their hands to their brothers and by sharing the Good News of the Gospel. This gift of love and hope helps people remain joyful in the face of adversity in ways that a check from Uncle Sam just can't match.

The moral obligations of the Christian faith challenge believers to give selflessly of their time, talent, and treasure-to step out of their comfort zones to share God's love and succor with those in need. There are no forms to fill out, no congressional guidelines to meet in order to establish eligibility; there are just people who are struggling and in need of help from those motivated by Christ's example of sacrifice, and his commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Long before America's nanny state developed into the behemoth apparatus it has become, the Church was there, its members acting as the hands and feet of the Body of Christ to minister to the impoverished, the outcast, and the needy. Committed Christians undertake these works of love every day, all over the world. The outpouring of Christian charity in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina is recent evidence of the unique capacity of the Church to address social crises in a way the government-bogged down by red tape and burdened by bureaucracy-simply can't equal. Shattered lives were healed and broken communities restored because faithful men and women recognized their Christian duty to take action.

As our current economic and social woes deepen and Washington's efforts to meet this challenge flounder, America's hardest hit would undoubtedly benefit from some good old-fashioned Christian charity.


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