I just finished reading a book titled Vanya.
Ivan (Vanya) Vasilyevich Moiseyev became a Christian in 1968. Vanya was required to join the Soviet Army when he turned 18, so in 1970, he was inducted into the Soviet Red Army. He tried to do his best at all that was asked of him. One day he was late to a drill. When asked to give an excuse for his tardiness, he said he was praying. They couldn't let one of their soldiers believe in God, as they felt that their eyes had been enlightened, and they could see the "real" world. It wouldn't do to have a soldier who was still in the dark ages and believed in God. They had been freed from such ignorance!
Remember, when the world says, "We see," they are blind. The gospel is foolishness to the wise of the world. The devil's wisdom blinds them to God's spiritual truth.
Through the next 2 years, Vanya endured interrogation, punishment, imprisonment, and torture. God was with him. It was so neat to see how he prized time to pray and fellowship with Jesus. He didn't own a Bible, but he knew many portions by heart. He was a witness to his fellow soldiers, and God worked many miracles on his behalf. As his time in the army was drawing to a close, the officials increased their efforts to break him. They finally said they couldn't and turned him over to the KGB who were at liberty to use whatever methods deemed necessary, even outside of the law. They were given this power so they could deal with threats to the USSR. He would not deny his faith and was tortured and killed.
Vanya was only 19 or 20 when he died. He felt he wouldn't be coming home, and in his last letters, he encouraged his Christian friends and family and urged unsaved relatives to believe. The day before his death he wrote:
"I desire that all of you, dear friends, young and old, remember this one verse, Rev. 2:10, 'Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.' Receive this, the last letter on this earth, from the least of the brethren.
Vanya."In this day and in this country, we are at liberty to pray, fellowship with God, and be a witness for him. Let's each grow our relationships with Jesus. Be thankful for the freedom to pray. Be glad you can read God's holy word. Take advantage of these blessings! Seek the Lord with your whole heart! He promised that if you seek Him with your whole heart, you will find him. Labor to enter into His rest. Grow in his grace and knowledge. Put Jesus first! Seek to be weaned from the "milk" and receive the "meat." Let your house be built upon the Rock, Jesus Christ.
In the Soviet Union, the Devil used the method of making Christianity seem like it was for the ignorant. He used persecution and laws against Christians. It seems as if in this country the Devil is not right out persecuting Christians, but is mainly focusing on distracting Christians from Jesus while acting as if he doesn't mind that we are Christians. Beware of his sneaky tricks! Don't let him lull you into his world. Keep your relationship with Jesus strong!
Another of the Devil's tricks is also one he used in the Soviet Union. In the USSR, some churches were allowed—churches for quiet Christians who did what the government said. In the United States, the Devil tricks people into believing that all they need to do to be Christians is to be good and go to church. Remember in the Bible how it tells of some who would have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof? That way, all those who want to be Christians can be, without actually being changed by God's power and given His new life. Don't let the Devil trick you into thinking his way! "For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power." --1 Cor. 4:20
Look to Jesus! Seek Him in earnest. Seek Him while He may be found! Remember the martyrs who gave their lives for Jesus. To them, their relationship with Jesus was worth suffering and dying for. What is it worth to you?