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Lancaster County farmhouse north of New Holland Pennsylvania
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"The Faithful Remnant"
"He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant" (2 Chronicles 36:20a). "So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace" (Romans 11:5).
Watchman Nee became a Christian in mainland China in 1920 at the age of seventeen. In 1952 he was imprisoned for his faith and remained in prison until his death in 1972. Before his departure, he left a piece of paper under his pillow which had several lines of big words he had written with a shaking hand. He wanted to testify to the truth and did so in his freedom as well as his captivity until his final breath. He wrote — "Christ is the Son of God who died for the redemption of sinners and resurrected after three days. This is the greatest truth in the universe. I die because of my belief in Christ. Watchman Nee."
As Brooksyne and I grew up in middle America in peace and freedom we were unaware that Watchman Nee and scores of others were suffering for their faith. They are among the people of God that live all over the world under many adverse conditions. All we who share Watchman Nee's beliefs as expressed in the simple phrase are among "The Faithful Remnant."
You've probably heard the phrase "God has always had a people." Our faith is strengthened and our courage emboldened as we study the lives of God's people throughout history who are among the faithful remnant. Even during the darkest Biblical times we find faithful followers such as Gideon and Jephthah who lived in the period of the Judges. They are listed in the "Faith Hall of Fame" of Hebrews 11.
During times of deep apostasy in later Biblical history we read of Elijah and Jehoiada. Daniel would have been in the remnant exiled to Babylon as mentioned in our first daily text. He was not alone for the record speaks of his three Hebrew friends as well (and most likely there were others unmentioned.) During the intertestamental period, there were those who remained faithful to God (for example, the unknown scribes during that period who faithfully copied God's Word).
All through history even in the darkest times the light of Truth was never extinguished and a remnant remained faithful to God. There were brave souls like John Wycliffe, who stood up for God; his beliefs ridiculed as he also endured great persecution prior to the Reformation. Wycliffe translated the Bible into English and organized a group of poor parishioners, known as Lollards, to go throughout England preaching Christian truths and reading the Scriptures in their mother tongue to all who would hear God's word. As a result the Word of God, through Wycliffe's translation, became available to many Englishmen. Wycliffe International, a Bible translation ministry, is named after him.
Many of our brethren continue to be oppressed and persecuted. Donnie Lama, a fellow daily encouragement reader, has shared his testimony and we have posted it online.*
Today we speak to those who, like the ancient Israelites and those all through the ages, are seeking to hold their faith in God as the faithful remnant. Romans 11:5 remains true some 2000 years after the Apostle Paul wrote it: "So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace."
I like this commentary concerning the faithful remnant: "It's the same today. There's a fiercely loyal minority still—not many, perhaps, but probably more than you think. They're holding on, not because of what they think they're going to get out of it, but because they're convinced of God's grace and purpose in choosing them. If they were only thinking of their own immediate self-interest, they would have left long ago."
Today what a joy to be among that faithful remnant! Today Brooksyne and I confess our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and reaffirm our commitment to serve Him wholeheartedly. We join Watchman Nee in that simple creedal statement: "Christ is the Son of God who died for the redemption of sinners and resurrected after three days. This is the greatest truth in the universe."
I hope you will join us in affirming and proclaiming this essential truth today!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, we confess with our lips and believe in our hearts that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died for our sins, rose again on the third day and is now seated at Your right hand in heaven. To acknowledge this truth comes so naturally with great enthusiasm, boldness, and conviction when other believers are standing nearby lifting their praises in agreement right alongside us in a church service or a gathering where there is freedom of worship. But the real test of our faith is when we publicly acknowledge these Biblical truths when others don't agree and ridicule or persecution follows. No matter the setting and no matter the testing, by Your grace, may we be numbered in the faithful remnant of Your devoted followers. Amen.
* Testimony of Donnie Lama
Several weeks ago I shared that the very first recipients of a daily encouragement message in October 1996 were Nigel and Laifong Lee, who now live in the Boston area. Watchman Nee was married to Nigel's great aunt (his grandmother's sister), although Nigel never met him personally.
Today's suggested music:
"Grace By Which I Stand" (Video) As a young Christian some 25 years ago I really found this Keith Green song encouraging, instructive and at places convicting! It still is. (The photos on this video are distracting and really unrelated to the song. This is the only audio file I could find.)
"My Jesus I Love Thee" (Audio)
"My Jesus I Love Thee" (Video)
"You Were There" (Video)
"Great Is Thy Faithfulness" (Video)
"Wonderful, Merciful Savior" (Video)
"Amazing Grace" (Audio) Beautiful instrumental by Dave Villano
Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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