The Christian Flyers from 100 years ago

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I came across a post about Christianity in China in the 1900s. The post is a summary of all the flyers that the believers drew during the time of turmoil and tribulation when the land of China suffered terribly from wars and plagues. It caught my attention because I remembered at our LOVE conference, we and our students also drew according to the Bible passages. Here are some with the translated text:

One person is searching in the trash, without knowing a crown is above his head.

Colossians 3:2: Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Now stored in the Library of Yale Divinity School
The person takes his dirty clothes off before the cross.

Ephesians 4:22,24: You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires…and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Now stored in the archive of the University of Boston, School of Theology
The water is boiling in the kettle

Luke 24:32: They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
Hands and feet are connected with the character “Xing.” (The character means do, perform, or carry out.)

1 Peter 2:21: To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

Psalm 119:59: I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes.
One farmer is plowing the field, and another farmer is sowing

Job 4:8: As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.

Galatians 6:7-8: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Now stored in the Library of Yale Divinity School
A girl is holding her bowl eating

John 6:35: Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Now stored in Wheaton College, Billy Graham Center Archives

These flyers really surprised me because it was one of the most terrible times for the Chinese Christians: the collapse of the Qing dynasty, the invasion of the Japanese, and the rise of Communism. The infamous Boxer Rebellion killed many missionaries and local believers. But from the flyers, I could see the faith of the believers and their hearts for serving God’s salvation work. All these could not stop them from obeying God’s commands and loving Jesus.

The pandemic is probably just the beginning of the tribulations and trials of our times. As many people lose their jobs, and superpower nations are on the brink of wars, while the coronavirus begins to mutate (a study from the recent outbreak in Beijing), the Lord is my only hope. Jesus says, “Whoever tries to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and the gospel will gain it.” The believers in China 100 years ago demonstrated this verse very well, and it’s time for me to follow in their footsteps.

May God bless our evangelical work just as he blessed the work in the land of China 100 years ago!

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June 22, 2020 11:06 am

This was very encouraging to read. I enjoyed your conclusion very much. Indeed, times are tricky. With all the social uprising and revolution that people are talking about I wonder if America will go in the same way. Times are bleak. But when I think about all the great servants of the past and how they did God’s work in China, I am encouraged. Such wonderful insight into what is going on. I feel like that guy digging in the trash sometimes lol. I need to set my mind on the things above. Thank you for such an encouraging post.

Reply to  maburdi
June 22, 2020 11:44 am

Haha I didn’t read your comment until after I posted mine. We are both trash diggers…But there’s hope if we set our minds on things above!

June 22, 2020 11:42 am

Wow!! I love these posters with such beautiful and spiritual messages. I think my favorite one is the first one. Too often, I am like that man digging in the trash. I need to set my mind on things above! I think I might print it and put it somewhere in my room haha.

This post also reminds me of the Chinese believers in the book/movie The Insanity of God. The movie doesn’t do justice to the amazing faith the Chinese believers had. They totally blew me away. It seems like their faith was strengthened during those terrible times. I pray that the same thing would happen in America.

Reply to  meliburd
June 24, 2020 10:02 pm

Yeah I agree – when I was reading the audio book and got to the part about the Chinese believers, I was like “What! This was not in the movie. It needs to be in the movie. Why was this not in the movie?!!!!” The whole book was like a powerful punch, in a good way!

June 22, 2020 11:58 am

The tea kettle one really touched me personally.

I love seeing how history relates to now. It’s like at some of the conferences a while back when Missionary John talked about how no matter what time period, since we are all believers, there will be no cultural boundaries. We can all share the same way.

These flyers from over 100 years ago are like morning devotionals for me. Who would’ve thought? Such love and care put in them for the situation and the circumstance they were in at the time. Praise God that we can have the same heart when things get worse for us and for the world as a whole.

June 22, 2020 12:48 pm

Wow! May God bless our online ministrys’ Bible studies and messages so students hearts would be like water boiling in the kettle.

Maybe for another post you can reveal the spiritual meaning of Chinese characters like you did at some conferences? Very interesting and profound!

Sarah L
June 22, 2020 5:43 pm

Wow, what a great way to get the gospel out. The doodles that I illustrate for messages on Sunday are nothing like those flyers..
You should post more of those flyers! It would be fun to try to guess what passages each of them were illustrating.

Reply to  Sarah L
July 13, 2020 10:15 pm

oooh That’s a good idea! I was trying to guess these ones before reading the caption and I was totally off!

Reply to  Sarah L
June 24, 2020 9:58 pm

This is an awesome idea!!

June 22, 2020 9:09 pm

These are really beautiful and spiritually deep.
– What a great depiction of the man digging through the trash. We might be wondering if one material possession is better than the other and which we should choose, which I found myself doing lately. But that’s like trying to see whether I want the rotting pear or the moldy lasagna, instead of focusing on the crown of righteousness that awaits us.
– The picture about a man reaps what he sows is also really profound and I should remember this especially during quarantine so that I and we don’t reap some unpleasant weeds when we come out.
Also, the girl eating the food is a really enticing picture. What she is eating makes her look really satisfied. Maybe I am just hungry right now, but I am reminded that enjoying Jesus is really the greatest meal and I shouldn’t get deceived by the moldy lasagna that will just make me sick.
Thank you for sharing this brother Remi.

Reply to  ikovalen
June 24, 2020 10:09 pm

I bet she’s eating a bowl of ramen!!!

You paint a vivid image with the rotting pear or the moldy lasagna – yikes. It’s not just trash, it can actually cause harm to us if we eat that. Better to go for the crown of life!

June 22, 2020 9:32 pm

Thank you for your post, the conclusion was also very inspiring
I was personally convicted the one about sowing and reaping. Specially during this time that I am at home all the time is very sobering to think about what I have been reaping. I am encouraged to sow to please the spirit.

June 22, 2020 9:34 pm

Put off your former self. That spoke to me deeply. I find the more I see what Jesus wants me to become the more I want it. That new person in Jesus seems so beautiful and clean. When I’m old and looking back on my life I want to see a whole legacy of posters like these. Thanks for the encouragement.

Reply to  Robert
June 24, 2020 10:35 pm

“That new person in Jesus seems so beautiful and clean.” Sometimes I lose sight of that and just settle for who I am now, which is not great at all. But this reminds me what great vision God has for me – He says, “Be holy as I am holy.” Thank you for that reminder!

June 23, 2020 10:02 pm

Wow. Thank you for sharing these. I enjoyed the picture of the man digging in the trash while there is a crown above his head waiting to be put on. What an insightful and good message! I read and heard a little about the Boxer Rebellion. I am surprised that these flyers were posted 100 years ago and were used to catch Chinese people’s attention. What you conclude is true: the Lord is our only hope. Our country is looking bleak, but let’s stay encouraged and uplifted during these unforeseen times; may we continue to preach God’s words even in this “rainy” season for others to respond to God’s message. 👍✌️

July 5, 2020 4:52 pm

Amen, sorry for the late message. Thank you for sharing such a inspirational and encouraging blog. And it does look like the paintings of the love conference and how all the students poured our their heart behind each painting. I see the same thing here, each artist really poured out a beautiful message of hope, from the trash digger to the innocence of little girl eating from her bowl and the beautiful grain field in the back ground. Thank you my brother for sharing.

July 13, 2020 10:20 pm

These are amazing! It was like their form of testimony writing!

The girl eating a bowl of food stood out to me the most. She looks so satisfied and I’m encouraged to pursue Jesus, the bread of life, and drink the living waters that he gives. Then, even in a world pandemic or financial crisis, I will smile like her. Thank you for sharing! I hope to see more!

July 16, 2020 10:21 pm

Wow, so inspirational. I like the authenticity of the posters and God’s messages through them. Nice find! 😀