On this day in 1810, Thomas Bertholf was born in Orange County, New York.

At the age of 22, Bertholf was assigned to work at mission stations and schools among the Cherokee Nation.  It is written of Bertholf:

“…that night I met Bro. Bertholf. He was filling an appointment at Bro. Wolf’s that night and I came on them a little while before he closed his sermon. He was preaching about the well of living water springing up into everlasting life. He was talking in a fine mellow strain, and as usual he was crying and the rest were enjoying it to the full. It was a regular old-fashioned meeting. Except Bro. Bertholf, I have not met any of that company since, but when God makes up his jewels they will be of them; for they are worthy.”

“Our departed brother was a man of good sense, abundant in labors, traveled extensively in the Indian country, and was received everywhere as a zealous faithful minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was in bad health… [and] soon after he was attacked of pneumonia, from which he never recovered. Although his afflictions were great, he was patient and resigned to the will of his Heavenly Father. His last hours were peaceful and triumphant…His remains were buried near the Asbury Mission, there to sleep till the trump of God shall call him from the grave.”

Will our zeal and passion for the Lord be remembered of us when we are dead and gone? Will people be able to say of us that we were patient and resigned to do the will of our Heavenly Father, even through pain and affliction? Let us be like Bertholf: having good sense, being abundant in labors, spreading the gospel, and being zealous and faithful ministers of the Lord.

On this day in 2004, Chinese authorities raided a leadership retreat in XinJiang.  All in attendance, over 100 church leaders, were arrested and detained. It is written of the event:

“More than thirty are being held in the PSB headquarters near the retreat centre, while the rest were sent back to their home areas where they are being detained in PSB offices. Several have reportedly been sent to the so-called ‘Transformation and Study Center,’ where they face interrogation and attempts to force them to renounce their faith. If they refuse, they will be formally charged.

According to ChinaAid, those from ouside of Xinjiang are facing added problems, since it is illegal to cross a provincial border for religious meetings without government approval. Among those arrested are Wang Yu Lian, a leader in the Ying Shang Church for more than 20 years. Also arrested was Jin Da, the General Secretary of the government-sanctioned TSPM of Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province. Jin is reported to be supportive of unregistered house churches.”

Are we willing to go through persecution? If meeting together to worship our Savior and God held the danger of being detained, losing a job, or our lives, would we still do it? Jesus says that if we follow Him, we will face persecution. In places like China, that is a lot more real than it is to the majority of us who live in America. Is Jesus worth suffering for? Do we see the joy that the Bible teaches comes through suffering and persecution? Let’s be willing to suffer for Christ’s sake and be joyful in it, too.

*Entry submitted by Edward De Los Reyes

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