God’s Care, Concern, and Control over My Life (I John 4:18-19)
I John 4:18-19, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19We love him, because he first loved us.”
Total dedication involves total faith in God's control and care of your life. Your life is in God's hands to do as He pleases with it. The dedicated person has absolute trust in God's will for his or her life. The control of God over our lives is amply illustrated in the life of Pastor Im of Korea. During the Korean War, missionaries were being evicted from Korea. Harold Voelkel was able to stay because he re-enlisted as an army chaplain. This is what he did during WW2. Because he was fluent in the Korean language, they assigned him to the Island of Kojedo, which was a prisoner of war island. Each morning at 5:30, he kept up the custom of early morning prayer meetings in the prison. Before sun up, hundreds of prisoners would stand outside in rank by the barbed wire in the bitter winter cold. Their favorite hymn was "Jesus Loves Me." Harold was asked how this worship time got started in the prison. It was started by a humble Christian man, Pastor Im, who was imprisoned because of a misunderstanding. It was his second imprisonment.
He had been pastoring one of the 3000 small churches throughout North Korea, when the Communists came into the country. In order to intimidate the population, they took him away from his child and wife and imprisoned him because he preached the Gospel. For 18 months, he did not have a clue what had happened to his family. When General MacArthur crossed the 38th parallel into North Korea and took the capital city of Pyongyang, they released the prisoners. Pastor Im had one thought: to go home and find his family. He was ragged and unwashed as he headed northward to his home. On his way home, the American forces mistook him for a Communist and captured him. He did not know any English and the Americans did not know any Korean. The pastor was not given any opportunity to explain his situation to an interpreter. So they imprisoned this pastor, with thousands of other North Korean prisoners, in the prison on the Island of Kojedo.
Pastor Im's heart was broken. Satan whispered to him, "Where is your God? If there is a God who answers a Christian's prayer, why are you here? Why does He allow you to be mistreated?" Pastor Im had no room for bitterness in his heart. After spending time in prayer and being strengthened by the Lord, he told Jesus, "Lord, if you have let all this heartache come to me and my family, it must be because you have something for me to do. What can I do for you here on this prison island?" He looked at the other miserable men around him, most of them did not know Christ at all. He began to have compassion for their souls. One evening, as the sun was going down, he did a bold thing. He went to six other men in the prison who were also Christians and told them, "Look, maybe the Lord brought us to this place for such an hour as this. Let's get together and sing about the love of Jesus Christ. Let's sing some Christmas carols." Even though it was forbidden to gather together, Pastor Im went out into the compound and began to sing Christmas songs like Silent Night Holy Night in the Korean language. Other men began to sing as the American guards listened with amazement. Eventually, 500 men gathered around the pastor. Pastor Im then read the Christmas story from his tattered Bible and then the guards had the men disperse. The guards left with tears in their eyes. They knew something was different in this prison camp.
Chaplain Voelkel was called by the guards to find out what was going on. He spoke with Pastor Im and heard his remarkable story. Pastor Im was then given an armband that gave him permission to wander about the prison camp and preach and hold prayer meetings every morning. Chaplain Voelkel joined him in ministry and after a year, something powerful happened on this island. Groups with as many as 1200 men were meeting in each of the prison compounds. The prisoners got up early to pray and sing gospel songs. Bible classes were held in the camp and over 6000 men finished the six-month course of daily Bible study and graduated. When the camps closed and the men were freed, 600 men finished Bible school and Seminary outside Korea and returned to preach the Gospel to their people. All of this happened because of one, dedicated, fearless Christian who would not quit and become discouraged in spite of tragedy and terrible circumstances during a bitter war. Instead of complaining, he resolved to get back up on his spiritual feet and do what the Lord wanted him to do. He never did find out what happened to his wife and child in North Korea. He remained faithful in serving Christ. What an example he is to all of us of being totally dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ just like the widow at the Temple.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I confess that sometimes my fears reveal I’m not trusting You as I know I should, but trusting in something or someone else instead. Thank you for reminding me just how fragile everything else is compared with You. Thank You for never leaving or forsaking me. Thank You for never letting me down and always proving Yourself trustworthy. Help me learn to trust You increasingly and remove fears from my life. In Jesus name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.