"The Highest Words"

Men of faith rise up and sing
Of the great and glorious King
You are strong when you feel weak
In your brokeness complete

Shout to the North and the South
Sing to the East and the West
Jesus is saviour to all
Lord of heaven and earth

Rise up women of the truth
Stand and sing to broken hearts
Who can know the healing power
Of our awesome King of love

We’ve been through fire we’ve been
through rain
We’ve been refined by the power of his name
We’ve fallen deeper in love with you
You’ve burned the truth on our lips

Rise up church with broken wings
Fill this place with songs again
Of our God who reigns on high
By His grace again we’ll fly

This story was taken from Jesus Freaks by D.C. Talk and Voice of the Martyrs. It took place in the U.S.S.R. in the 1970s.

‘”What kind of men are these?” wondered Nikolai Khamara. “They show joy while suffering They sing in very dark hours. When they have a piece of bread, they share it with someone who has none. Morning and evening, they fold their hands and speak to someone whom no one can see. As they do, their faces shine.”
For months, Khamara had watched the Christians who shared his cell in the Communist prison. Unlike the believers who were in prison for refusing to deny their faith in Jesus, Khamara was there for crimes he had committed. Arrested for robbery, he had been sentenced to prison for ten years. He described himself as “a man with no conscience.”
One day, two of the Christians sat down with Khamara. He told them the sad story of his life and finished by saying, “I am a lost man.”
One of the Christians asked, “Suppose somebody looses a gold ring. What is the value of that gold ring when it is lost?”
“What a foolish question!” Khamara replied. “A gold ring is a gold ring. You have lost it, but somebody else will have it.”
“Then what is the value of a lost man?” the Christian asked. Answering his own question, he continued, “A lost man, even one who is a thief or an adulterer or a murderer, has the whole value of a man. He is of such value that the Son of God forsook heaven for him and died on the cross to save him.”
Khamara uderstood.
The Christian said to the robber, “God loves you. You are valuable to Him. When Jesus met drunkards, robbers, prostitutes, or others who had committed great sins, He never asked them what sins they had committed. Instead, He told them ‘Be of good cheer. Your sins are forgiven.’ I also tell you, Khamara, that your sins are forgiven because Jesus died for you. You only have to believe.”
Khamara became a Christian.
When he finished his prison term and was set free, he joined the underground church even though it was in constant threat from the KGB. He became a faithful member of his local congregation. Some time later, the pastor of Khamara’s church was arrested. The authorities beat and tortured him hoping he would tell the names of the church members and give them information that would help them stop the printing of Gospel booklets that had been circulating throught their province. He was tortured, but he told them nothing., If he had, thousands of his fellow believers would have been arrested.
After he had beated the pastor repeatedly without success, the captain of the investigation said, “We will not torture you anymore. We have another method.”
They arrested Nikolai Khamara. They brought him before the pastor and told him, “If you do not tell all the secrets of your church, we will torture Khamara in front of you.”
The pastor could not endure someone suffering for him. He asked Khamara, “What should I do?”
Khamara said to him, “Be faithful to Jesus and do not betray Him. I am happy to suffer for the name of Christ.”
The captain said, “We will gouge out Khamara’s eyes.” The torturers picked up a knife and started toward Khamara. The pastor could not bear it. He cried to Khamara, “How can I look at this! You will be blind!”
Khamara repliedd, “When my eyes are taken away from me, I will see more beauty than I see with these eyes. I will see the Savior. You remain faithful to Christ to the end.”
When he had finished, seeing that the astor had not yet given them the information they wanted, the captain turned to the pastor again and said, “If you do not betray your church, we will cut out Khamara’s tongue.”
I despair, the pastor cried out, “What should I do?”
Khamara’s last words were, “Praise the Lord Jesus Christ. I have said the highest words that can be said. Now, if you wish, you can cut out my tongue.”
Khamara died a martyr’s death.’

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