Scripture References:Revelation 2:13; Revelation 2:8-11; Proverbs 6:30-31; Mark 10:29,30; Isaiah 26:3; Zechariah 4:6
In my last post, I was led to warn readers about satan’s seat in Pergamum, Turkey, per Revelation 2:13. Today, a headline on (stevequayle.com) about a pastor who is imprisoned in Turkey caught my eye. According to the Daily Mail article (cover or ignore the site’s smutty sidebar), the pastor moved to the predominantly Sunni Muslim country in 1993. Keep in mind that during that time, Turkey was considered fairly open and safe to Christian missionaries. In fact, I met a guy as a freshman in college whose family had lived in Turkey as missionaries all of his childhood.
Pastor Andrew Brunson and His Church Near Ancient Pergamum
Fast forward to 2010. Pastor Andrew Brunson starts a church in Izmir according to the article. At first, I immediately thought about the ancient city of Pergamum. It is called Bergama now according to most historians, and this modern Turkish city is in Izmir Province. Now, don’t jump to conclusions like I did, thinking that this pastor stumbled into the devil’s den by inadvertently building his church at satan’s family home site. It turns out that he didn’t, but no matter the circumstances, he needs our prayers.
The City of Izmir is Modern-Day Smyrna
Pastor Brunson wasn’t crazy. He chose to build his church in the city of Izmir that is historically known as the ancient city of Smyrna. Out of the seven churches that were in Asia and that were the subjects of letters inspired by Christ, only two were found to be totally worthy of praise. Smyrna was one of them.
Letter To the Church at Smyrna
When (not if) Pastor Brunson is released from prison, he is going to have a tremendous testimony. Let’s look at the contents of the letter to the Church at Smyrna.
“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” – Revelation 2:8-11
Let’s Pray for His Speedy Release
Let’s face it. No one wants to go through these types of trials. This man is away from his family in a foreign prison facing 35 years of incarceration seemingly because of some political shenanigans. We know that when they pick on a Christian pastor and accuse him of colluding with an Islamic terrorist organization, somebody is lying. Let’s pray and fast against and bind the:
- Deceptive spirit of anti-messiah
- Spirit of fear
- Spirit of lawlessness
Yes, I put my stomach where my mouth was and fasted for Syria last Saturday. Let’s pick a day again this week to pray and fast for Pastor Andrew Brunson. Pray that the following be loosed:
- Peace to him and his family
- Grace during imprisonment
- Power of the Holy Ghost to saturate the prison
- Release from prison
- Restoration of all things (he hasn’t been able to provide for his family for about 16 months)
When a Thief is Found
The government of Turkey has stolen Pastor Brunson from his family, in essence, by falsely charging him as a terrorist. He isn’t able to work to take care of himself and his family, and the funds that he had saved up have probably gone to legal fees or other necessities by now. Here’s what we know about theft…
“People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold; he will give all the goods of his house.” – Proverbs 6:30-31
Suffering Loss for the Gospel
We know that Turkey’s government didn’t steal to satisfy hunger. We believe that Pastor Brunson was kidnapped and imprisoned for the gospel’s sake. So let’s see what our Master has to say about that.
“Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” – Mark 10:29,30
If Pastor Andrew Brunson keeps his eyes on the Father and trusts Him, his mind will be kept in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). We know that the devil doesn’t want to pay him back or allow him to get his reward from our Master. However, satan is not in charge of us. Our battles are won by the Holy Ghost. Pastor Brunson has positioned himself as a representative of one of the two righteous churches in Asia that didn’t have their lampstands removed. In Zechariah 4, which ironically references a lampstand and two faithful servants, tells,
“…This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” – Zechariah 4:6
Let’s continue to pray that the Holy Ghost will move on behalf of this hero of the faith!