Welcome back to Discerning the Times! I am so happy that you and many others asked to join this special mailing list. It has taken me a while to receive clear guidance from the Holy Spirit as to how He wanted to use these reports. Much of this Discerning the Times has led us into high-level intercessory prayer which has put us in the spiritual battlefield of engaging demonic strongholds.
We decided to limit the extent to which these Discerning the Times reports are distributed. There was a concern that these calls to prayer could fall into the wrong hands and be used against us or the Kingdom of God. We were also concerned that receiving these emails could possibly be hurtful to prayer warriors if they were to take on strongholds that Jesus was not leading them to engage. All of these concerns led to our notice a few months back and the opportunity for you to sign up if you wanted to remain on this mailing list. I need to know that when I send these out, you can be trusted with the content and will engage in prayer as the Spirit leads you.
What I will be doing in this context is fulfilling the call that Jesus Christ have given us to “mobilize,” “equip,” and “deploy” intercessors to engage with the Holy Spirit in overcoming the demonic strongholds that are blocking the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the world today. This is an inherently dangerous assignment but one we may safely take on if we are called by Jesus Christ to do so. If we are called we have the promise of His protection, as well as guidance and great authority to do the work of intercession and spiritual warfare.
So welcome back and join us in this as the Lord calls you to do so. We will be using the same format as before, with some written materials and some video. We are exploring ways of making this more interactive, such as a Web TV Channel, which would allow us to receive your feedback and discernment live and allow us to pray together on line.
For right now here is a report from Ben Torrey about praying for the growing crisis in North Korea.
These comments were written on March 31 as part of the Fourth River prayer calendar for April, about the situation in North Korea. He includes several resources that people can use for further information and updates.
The Situation in the North
By: Ben Torrey
Recently a number of you have been in touch with us to express concern for the situation here and assure us that you are praying for us. Thank you for your prayers. We are constantly aware of how much we need your prayers and are thankful for anything that reminds you to pray for us. However, the situation is not nearly as dire as it may sound to you in the U.S. or elsewhere. Before going on to explain, however, I do want to encourage all of you to lift up in prayer one whose situation is extremely difficult. That is Kenneth Jun-Ho Bae whom we have mentioned before. He is under arrest in North Korea and is sentenced to death for espionage. He is a tour operator based in California and a Christian who was taken as he was leaving North Korea with his tour. Here is a FaceBook page dedicated to him. It is unlikely that his sentence will be carried out and the North may try to use him as a pawn but there is no recent news so we do not know more about his situation. I am sure, though, that it is very difficult for him. Please keep him in your prayers.
The political situation is very troubling but I do not believe that Kim Jong Un is the least interested in attacking either the United States or South Korea and no one is about to attack him, at least not under the present circumstances. Even though he declares a “state of war”, this has been the technical situation all along. The fighting ended in 1953 with a truce, not a peace treaty. The North has been trying to get a treaty through the years but the young leader is making it more difficult rather than easier for himself. The most troubling thing to me and to others is that he does not have either his father’s or his grandfather’s experience in international or domestic politics. He is young and very inexperienced. I also wonder if he has the intelligence of either Kim Jong Il or Kim Il Sung, both of whom were very intelligent men with great skill at knowing how far to push and get what they want and when to back off. The young leader seems at times to be almost a victim of his own rhetoric. My greatest concern is that he has no one who will or can tell him the truth and that he will do something to trigger an accidental war that most likely be his complete undoing. The people of North Korea have been under great strain for a number of weeks now as he has ratcheted up the tension and put the whole country on top alert status. This is taking a great toll on the people as they are forced to participate in drills that take them away from earning their own living while not providing them with anything else. The countryside is also being devastated as military units wipe out young forests and steal for their own food. In the meantime, the soldiers themselves are having a rough time of it as they are forced to do things for which they received not training–like driving trucks. Because of the lack of fuel, drivers never have any experience in driving, sometimes for the whole duration of their time in the military, and the trucks have straw in the tires for lack of new ones. They often use trucks converted to burn wood gas. These pour out clouds of smoke and can only move at about 20 miles per hour or so. One person even quipped that they’d mobilize faster using ox carts. The people are complaining more and more as the situation deteriorates. The Leader is doing all of this, it seems, to secure his position internally–with the forlorn hope of getting the U.S. to negotiate with him directly. He well may go too far and stir up more trouble for himself.
What is even more absurd is that North Korea has people in China trying to drum up tourist business and who are assuring everyone that there is no danger of war.
For anyone who is interested in following things inside North Korea, I recommend www.dailynk.com. The website opens in Korean but there is a link to the English version as well as Chinese and Japanese pages. Most of the links above are to articles here. Korean versions of most of them can also be found on the site.
For anyone interested in exploring NK from above, there is a new digital atlas available at 38 North.
All in all the situation is, in many ways, more pathetic then dangerous but danger cannot be ruled out. On the other hand, all of this is taking a great toll on the ordinary people of North Korea. Keep them in your prayers and do pray that Kim Jong Un will back down and the situation stabilize.
In Christ,Brad Long