Verse of the day

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nikolai Khamara - U.S.S.R. - 1970's

"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, there 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 asked Khamara, "Suppose somebody loses 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 theif or an adulterer or a murder 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 understood.

The Christian said to the robber, "God loves you. You are valuable to Him.

"When Jesus met drunkards, robbers, prostitutes, or other who had committed great sin, He never asked them what 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 becasue 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 thoughout 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 beaten the pastor repeatedly without success, the captain of then investigation said, "We will not toture 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 tortures 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 replied, "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 pastor 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."

In despair, the pastor cried, "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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