Christian Leaders: Prepare for Coming Persecution and Revival in the Church
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JERUSALEM, Israel – Several Christian leaders see an interesting parallel that as Christian persecution worldwide increases, parts of the Church are experiencing great revival. These leaders believe it is an important time for the Church to prepare for what's ahead.
Heidi Baker lives and ministers in one of the most difficult and dangerous places on earth – Cabo del Gado in Mozambique. The documentary Nifento, filmed by missionaries James and Jessica Brewer, chronicles the horrific persecution of Christians at the hands of the Islamist group al-Shabbab.
“There's a major conflict going on where al-Shabbab (is) there and they're wanting Sharia a lot. I think it has a lot to do with gas and oil. It's a spiritual conflict as well, but we've never, ever, ever seen anything like it.," Baker said. "As far as people coming to know Yeshua, coming to know Jesus, they're just running to Him. So, it's the hardest time we've ever been through. And one of the most glorious times at the same time.”
When asked what the message to the Church is, given the terrible persecution and and the example set by the saints in Mozambique, Baker was direct.
“Get ready for shaking. I know people would like to pray against shaking and there's obviously -- no one wants persecution. No one wants war. Nobody wants terror. Nobody wants famines and floods and hurricanes and cyclones. But we read the end of the Book, like things are happening now and they're going to increase,” she said.
Yet in the midst of the shaking, Cindy Jacobs of Generals International, who travels the world ministering, sees revival increasing, as Baker does.
“God is awakening and He’s bringing revival. We are in revival in many places. We may not recognize it but I mean literally millions are getting saved," Jacobs explained. "Millions in Iran. There’s a huge move of God in Iran right now. I mean we’re talking to people, boots on the ground. It’s a very exciting time to live. So keep your eye on the prize, not the problem.”
Some believe that's exactly what Andrew Brunson did while suffering for two eyars in a Turkish prison on false charges from 2016 to 2018.
Brunson's book, God's Hostage; a True Story of Persecution, Imprisonment and Perseverance, chronicles that ordeal. Now, Brunson has a message for the Church.
“This is an assignment, I feel, from God right now – is to help people to prepare, to stand, in what I think is coming," he said. "And it is not only in the United States, it is gonna come to the United States, which is unusual, unexpected. We haven't had it there before. That means that many of us are not prepared for it. It's not part of our worldview, but we're just going into a period of greater darkness and trouble in the world in general, and we need to prepare a heart so that when the shaking is happening that we stand.”
Brunson believes the best way to prepare is to draw close to God.
"Of drawing close to him and knowing Him is what best prepared me for the difficulties that I faced in prison," he explained. "And so, how do we best prepare for hardship if we know our God? Well, the Bible says in Daniel 11:32, 'The people who know their God shall stand and accomplish exploits.' So sometimes we're really focused on the exploits, accomplishing things, but the priority right now should be know your God, so that as that wave of persecution, wave of pressure comes, we remain standing.”
Watching the war between Ukraine and Russia, a potential conflict between China and Taiwan, economic hardships, and pandemics, many people feel this is an unusually jarring time. Jacobs was encouraged from message in God's word.
“The scripture the Lord gave me, it says yet once again, I will shake the nations. And, so, we're at that point where God is shaking the nations. He's shaking it so that people get saved. So, we'll let go of a lot of things we need to let go of, and so that we will move into a place of destiny.”
If the Lord is shaking the nations at this time, we asked Jacobs how believers should be responding to that.
She counseled, "Number one, don't be afraid. You know, all of us have measures of fear inside of us we're really, maybe, not aware of. And so, you know, do we trust God for provision? Do we trust God if there was a war? Whatever happens, the Holy Spirit is trying to get us ready and then in the natural, get out of debt. You know, don't pile up debt.”
Jacobs also feels God will prepare places of refuge for His people as he did for the Israelites.
“Goshen was a place in the Old Testament Joseph prepared for his family in Egypt," she recalled. "Well, God is preparing Goshens for us, places where we'll feel safe, where we'll have provision, where we'll have what we need. You know, and we can trust, God's a good Father.”
Baker believes the word of God is key, both now and in the days to come.
“We read this book, but we have to understand, we have to read the end of it, like we have to have faith in the midst of it," she said. "And I want to call people to hold on to the word, like study the word. This is our map here. This is our GPS and Holy Spirit's going to guide and direct us, but this is like it is written. It is written.”
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