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THE CUTTING EDGE
NEWS BRIEF: "Manila Says US Forces Planned Botched Rescue Mission", Straits Times, June 10, 2002.
"MANILA - There appears to be a dispute over the United States' role in the botched rescue operation of hostages, with Manila insisting that the US had prior knowledge. However, Washington has maintained that it first learned of the operation after it was informed of the death of an American missionary. Philippines Defence Secretary Angelo Reyes said that US forces helped plan the operation in the southern Philippines that ended in the death of the missionary and a Filipina captive ...
"Christian missionary Martin Burnham, 42, and Filipino nurse Ediborah Yap were slain, while Burnham's wife, Gracia, 43, was wounded in the leg but rescued. A Filipino farm hand the rebels used as a guide and porter was also rescued. The operation ended a 376-day hostage drama that drew 1,000 US military advisers and engineers to the separatist-plagued south for a six-month campaign to help local troops stamp out the Abu Sayyaf guerilla group, described as a local ally of the Al-Qaeda terror network. 'The fighting was done by Filipino soldiers, but in the conduct of the rescue and recovery mission the Americans actively participated,' Mr Reyes told reporters."
Our church supports New Tribes Missions, and we have been praying mightily this past year that the Lord would have His way with Martin and Gracia Burnham during this entire ordeal. While we wanted both of them to be delivered safely, we knew that, just maybe, the Lord might have a different plan, one that might glorify Him more.
We now know that Jesus allowed Martin to be killed, and Gracia spared. He must have wanted Martin's martyrdom death to reverberate throughout the world, preparing the hearts and minds of people around the globe to receive the word from Gracia; from what Gracia has shared, and a comparison of Before/After photos, we can tell that this year's imprisonment was not easy; however, we are about to learn that the Burnham's captivity did bring great glory and honor to Jesus Christ.
As we all realize, the time may be quickly approaching where each of us might be called upon to endure a Burnham-type imprisonment and even martyrdom; therefore, let us bow and heads in prayer, asking the Lord to impart to our hearts and minds the kind of steadfastness Martin exemplified as an example to us.
Email Update on Gracie Burnham, from other Philippine Missionaries, also with New Tribes, June 10, 2002.
"So that you may surely learn to sense what is vital, and approve and prize what is excellent and of real value, recognizing the highest and the best, distinguishing the moral differences, that you may be pure and unerring and blameless so that with hearts sincere and certain, and unsullied, you may approach the day of Christ not stumbling nor causing others to stumble.
"May you abound in and be filled with the fruits of righteousness, of right standing with God and right doing which come through Jesus Christ, to the honor and praise of God, that His glory may be both manifested and recognized.
"Now I want you to know and continue to rest assured, brethren, that what has happened to me, this imprisonment, has actually only served to advance and give a renewed impetus to the spreading of the good news, the Gospel. So much is this a fact that throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest here, my imprisonment has become generally known to be in Christ, that I am a prisoner in His service and for Him.
"And also most of the brethren have derived a fresh confidence in the Lord because of my chains and are much more bold to speak and publish fearlessly the Word of God, acting with more freedom and indifference to the consequences." [Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary].
Did the imprisonment of Martin and Gracia Burnham by radical Muslim terrorists have this kind of effect on the rest of the Christians in the Philippines and around the world? Many of us have been praying that it would have this kind of effect, so let us now examine this email to see exactly what kind of prisoner Martin was, and whether he was faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ in his imprisonment and his death. We know that the Apostle Paul shared the Gospel with the Roman guards to whom he was chained, and that testimony convicted many, so that many Roman soldiers received Jesus Christ as Savior.
Now, here is the testimony of this email:
"On Friday God answered our prayers of one year. That Martin and Gracia Burnham would accomplish His purpose for their lives in captivity and that they would be released from the evil hands of the ASG, but on different travel schedules to their true home in heaven. Martin is now free, both in body and spirit, and has gone into the presence of the Lover and Savior of his soul. And Gracia is now free, to return to her children, family, friends, and coworkers.
"By God's amazing grace, Gracia is recovering well from her gun shot wound in her right thigh. She is also doing incredibly well spiritually and emotionally. She shared a little about how God worked miraculously in and through their lives in this last year. She said that: 'Martin was highly respected by every one of the ASG. In the beginning, they laughed in disbelief at how he responded to being a captive and of their terror, but as time went on, they were awed at his confident faith in the Lord Jesus.
Martin always graciously offered to carry things for the ASG and for the other hostages.
Martin was chained to a tree at night by an ASG guard. Every night for the whole year, Martin would thank the guard who chained him and wished him a good night.
Martin showed the love and compassion of Christ throughout this year of terror, to both his captors and the other hostages.
Martin had lengthy discussions about the claims of Christ will all the ASG guards and hostages. On one occasion he was having a very serious talk with Abu Sabaya about God's judgment on sin and that one day God would judge his sin. Gracia said she was in the background motioning to Martin to 'cook it' but Martin very gently continued sharing the truth of Christ with Sabaya."
God graciously sustained them throughout this difficult trial. One day, they were very, very tired from hiking all day. The strung up their hammock, sat in it, and began to talk together. Martin said, 'It's been a very hard year, but it has also been a very good year'. They began to thank the Lord for everything they could think of. Gracia said, 'We thanked the Lord for our hammock, our boots (Deborah walked barefooted for the last two months), etc'. They thanked God for every believer that they had ever met, that they could remember. God encouraged their hearts with the thought that person, couple, family, or church was probably praying for them.
The Lord brought Psalm 100:2 to Martin's mind, which reads, "Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing". The other hostages said that Martin and Gracia sang often.
Martin said, 'We might not leave this jungle alive, but at least we can leave this world serving the Lord with GLADNESS. We can serve Him right here where we are, and with GLADNESS."
The last thing that they did before Martin's death was to pray together, thank God for His faithfulness and then laid down for a nap. They were awakened by a fire fight between the ASG and the Philippine Scout Rangers, and Martin was ushered into the presence of His loving Lord."
[End of Gracia's testimony]
"Martin and Gracia's obedience and perseverance to the Lord's great commission through this fiery testing of their faith has captured the attention of the world. We thank God for their testimony and anticipate much fruit through their story. The horrendous ordeal is over, but there are many new challenges that face Gracia, Jeff, Mindy, Zach and the rest of their extended family. We want to express our thanks for your faithful prayers for Martin and Gracia and their family. Please continue to pray for God's purpose to be fulfilled in and through Gracia's life. And, pray that thousands will hear of the wonderful love of Christ, and experience His saving grace through Gracia's testimony of God's faithfulness."
This email is so well-written, we feel we can add nothing to it. Please continue to pray for all missionaries on foreign lands, particularly for those serving in Muslim hot-spots like the Philippines, everywhere in the Middle East, India, Pakistan, the Philippines and those areas in Southeast Asia in which significant numbers of Muslims are living. These truly are trying times, which require extraordinary sacrifices and prayers.
However, the signs in this country are pointing to persecution of Fundamental, Born Again Christians in this country. Since Oklahoma City and 9/11, all laws necessary to clamp an absolute dictatorship are now on the books, awaiting only the right moment of crisis to slam the doors shut to our freedoms and our way of life.
All Christian leaders and missionaries need your daily prayers. Truly, spiritual warfare at this End of the Age is growing, getting stronger all the time.
Are you spiritually ready? Is your family? Are you adequately protecting your loved ones? This is the reason for this ministry, to enable you to first understand the peril facing you, and then help you develop strategies to warn and protect your loved ones. Once you have been thoroughly trained, you can also use your knowledge as a means to open the door of discussion with an unsaved person. I have been able to use it many times, and have seen people come to Jesus Christ as a result. These perilous times are also a time when we can reach many souls for Jesus Christ, making an eternal difference.
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, but have come to realize His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to accept His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can also do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you accept Him as Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually.
If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order -- Kingdom of Antichrist -- in their daily news.
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God bless you.