STORE GOD’S WORD IN YOUR HEART
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4
Russian pastor Ivan Antonov spent a total of 24 years in prison for preaching the Gospel. In November 1988, at the age of 69 he was released from Siberian exile. In reflection, he shares what he found to be “most important of all”:
While in prison camp, I felt that my primary ministry was prayer. Like Daniel, I prayed three times a day, opening the windows of my heart toward my friends in freedom. I also prayed for our persecutors. I would sing hymns. I was really glad I knew so many. I had memorized about one hundred seventy hymns, and in order not to forget them, I reviewed several every day. So over a time, I sang through all of them.
I want to emphasize to my young friends that you should worship God with songs and poems and memorize them. They will come in handy. But most important of all, you should study and memorize the Word of God. When I was in prison and camp, I had no Bible, but I was able to review what I had stored in my heart. I went over two chapters from the Old Testament and two chapters from the New Testament every day. This experience reminded me of Joseph in Egypt. During the time of abundance, he was laying aside stores of grain. When the famine came, he distributed grain from these stores, and the people were saved from starvation…
These Scriptures were food for my soul. I sang hymns every morning and at night before going to bed. God always woke me up in the morning, an hour and a half or two hours before the morning bell. This gave me time to pray and to meditate in peace, because once everyone else was up, there was too much noise and shouting. It was impossible to concentrate. So in those quiet hours, I would go outside in the fresh air and sing hymns of praise to God and pray…
After his release Ivan Antonov returned to the prisons and camps where he had earlier “done time”—but now to share Christ with the current prisoners. He was excited to report that fifty of these criminals were seriously studying God’s Word and expressed a desire to start a new life in Christ.
RESPONSE: Today I will store God’s Word in my heart so I have a basis for meditation should I be deprived of my Bible.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for inspiring testimonies of great men like Ivan who show us how to stand strong.
STANDING STRONG THROUGH THE STORM (SSTS) -A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks
© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission
“When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.” Proverbs 10:25
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