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Discover the Book - June 25, 2010

  • 2010 Jun 25

Hearing Christ's Voice


The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most wonderful message ever conceived, and the most powerful formula ever devised. What do I mean? Well when someone hears and believes God's Word their life is revolutionized.


What Can the Gospel Do?


As you turn back towards Romans 1:16-17, listen to this testimonial of the power unleashed by the Gospel proclaimed by the Book you hold in your hands! During Ravi Zacharias's ministry in Vietnam in 1971, one of his interpreters who traveled with him was Hien Pham.  Within four years Vietnam fell, and Hien's fate was unknown, until seventeen years later, in 1988.


Shortly after Vietnam fell to the Communists, Hien was arrested.  Accused of aiding and abetting the Americans he was in and out of prison for several years.  During one long jail term, the sole purpose of his jailers was to indoctrinate him against the West-and especially against democratic ideals and the Christian faith.  He was cut off from reading anything in English and restricted to communist propaganda in French or Vietnamese.  This daily overdose of the writings of Marx and Engels began to take its toll on him.  One of the books he was given to read pictured the communist man as a bird in the ironclad cage of capitalism, throwing itself against the bars of "capitalist oppression" and bloodying itself in the process.  Yet still it continued to struggle in its quest for freedom.


Hien began to buckle under the onslaught.  Maybe, he thought, I have been lied to.  Maybe God does not exist.  Maybe my whole life bas been governed by lies.  Maybe the West has deceived me.  The more he thought, the more he moved toward a decision.  Finally, he made up his mind.  He determined that when he awakened the next day, he would not pray anymore or ever think of his Christian faith again.


The next morning, he was assigned to clean the latrines of the prison.  It was the most dreaded chore, shunned by everyone, and so with much distress he began the awful task.  As he cleaned out a tin can filled to overflowing with toilet paper, his eye caught what he thought was English printed on one piece of paper.  He hurriedly washed it off and slipped it into his hip pocket, planning to read it at night.  Not having seen anything in English for such a long time, he anxiously waited for a free moment.  Under his mosquito net that night after his roommates had fallen asleep, he pulled out a small flashlight and shining it on the damp piece of paper he read at the top corner, "Romans, Chapter 8." Literally trembling with shock, he began to read:


"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose....

What, then, shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us -how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? ...

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ...

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. 8:28, 3I, 32, 35, 37-39)


Hien wept.  He knew his Bible, and he had not seen one for so long.  Not only that, he knew there was not a more relevant passage of conviction and strength for one on the verge of surrendering to the threat of evil.  He cried out to God, asking for forgiveness, for this was to have been the first day in years that he had determined not to pray.  Evidently the Lord had other plans.


The next day, Hien asked the camp commander if he could clean the latrine again.  He continued with this chore on a regular basis, because he had discovered that some official in the camp was using a Bible as toilet paper.  Each day Hien picked up a portion of Scripture, cleaned it off, and added it to his nightly devotional reading.  In this way he retrieved a significant portion of the Bible.


The day came when, through an equally providential set of circumstances, Hien was released, and years later Hien arrived on American soil where today he is a businessman-forever grateful for America and praying that she would open her heart as a nation to Christ.


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