Sunday, December 18, 2011

Walking Through The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death

Seventeen years ago, I was in Cambodia for a nationwide crusade at the invitation of two denominational leaders following the “killing fields” massacre where the bloody Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot had murdered more than 2 million people. They had nearly wiped out Christianity; when I went to Cambodia there were less than 2,000 professing believers still alive. One dear pastor only had six members of his church survive.

Through the miracle power of God’s Spirit, the leaders agreed to allow me to come and preach, thinking that nothing would happen. They were wrong.  Twenty-three hundred pastors from across Southeast Asia came for a pastors’ school. The fire of God fell on that place, and the Olympic Convention Center was packed. A new Church was birthed in that miracle moment…but the murderous regime was furious.

Night after night, demon-possessed men lunged at me, trying to stab me with AIDS-infected needles. I was warned that I would be shot. Then one night, the army surrounded our hotel and refused to allow us to go to the service. They went to the stadium and told the crowd there were bombs ready to go off and forced everyone to leave.

I didn’t sleep a wink.  All night long, I paced the floor of my hotel room, quoting Psalm 23 and praying for God’s will to be done. I was willing to die for the church to be reborn in Cambodia, but I wanted to return home to Carolyn and my family. I missed celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary while I was in Cambodia. 

About 5:30 in the morning, there was a loud knock at my door. Looking through the peep hole, I saw soldiers standing there. I was convinced it was the Khmer Rouge come to kill me…but when I opened the door, I found an American special forces team. They took me and our entire evangelistic staff to the airport. We hunkered down in the floorboards of the cars so no one would see us, and we flew out of the country.

As we celebrate Christmas in just a few days, I thank my Lord that seventeen years ago, as I quoted Psalm 23:1, He spared my life. More importantly, lives of tens of thousands were born into the Kingdom of God. Whatever your need today, I want to encourage you to fear no evil, for the Lord is your Shepherd. And I want to encourage you to continue standing in the gap for Israel. 

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