Persecution and Living or Dying for Christ

I had almost forgotten I had written this post about Lay down or life or die until the other day. I had been thinking about the persecuted Church and what makes their faith so strong. I had several different things running through my mind (family, martyrs from previous generations, stories from the Bible about Paul and Peter, etc…). That brought to mind an old blog post I thought I had made.

I did some searching and found it here. it is from 2005 and has been burried in the archives. Follow this link to read more about Laying Down our Life or Dying?

Fear God?

Have you ever been reading the Bible and come across the phrase Fear God? If not and you want an example, why not look at Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.

In English, we sometimes have a hard time understanding exactly what is meant by the phrase. If we “fear” something, we are afraid of them, right? Well, that is one definition (and the most common use today); however, with about 500,000 words in English, we can’t remember every definition of every word, so we get used to the most common (look at the words in this post…none of them are the “big” or “fancy” words like plethora). If you look up fear in the dictionary you’ll find several definitions. One of them is “extreme reverence or awe.” That is what the Bible talks about when we read Fear God. But how can you remember that?

Every day, I receive a daily devotional from In today’s devotional, he gave a good acrostic to remember what Fear God means. Here it is:

First, F stands for faith in His existence. You cannot come to God unless you know He is there. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” There is where fear begins: faith that God exists. The whole of the created universe is shouting that at us. All the inner responses of our heart are confirming it. The Word of God declares it. History confirms it. There is a world of evidence that God is there.

Then E: experience of His grace. You never can properly fear God until you have learned what kind of a God He is. He is a God of mercy, of grace, of forgiveness. Until you have stood before Him and felt your guilt, acknowledged it, known you were wrong and corrupt, and heard Him say in your inner heart, “Neither do I condemn you . . . Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11), you will never be able to properly fear God. One element of fear is the experience of the wonder of forgiveness, that God forgives and sends you out with a whole new purpose and a new resource available.

That leads to the third element. A: awe at the majesty, the wisdom, and the wonder of God. What a Being He is! What a marvelous mind that can comprehend all the billions of pieces of information in this universe and hold them continually before Him, that can hear every voice and relate to every person who has ever lived! What a marvelous God! Awe at the sense of His majesty, His comprehensiveness, His unfailing wisdom and power, is part of fearing God.

The last letter, R, stands for resolve. Resolve to do what He says, to “keep His commandments,” as the Searcher puts it here. There are only two commandments; Jesus Himself said that. All the law and the writings can be reduced to two simple things: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). That is in response to His love already shown to you; love Him because He first loved you. And second, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That’s it. As Micah put it, “What does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

A New Way To Look at the Christmas Account

Go read Matthew chapter 2 then come back. You’re done? Great! What did you see? Did you see the Wise Men coming? How about them finding Jesus? How about the methods they used to find Jesus? What about the religious rulers of the day? And what about their vision? I would submit that we can look at this account of the first Christmas and see examples of the persecuted church.

First, in verses 1 and 2 the wise men come asking about Jesus. But notice how they ask…they ask far and wide for the King of the Jews. They ask so far and wide that Herod finds out in verse 3. But, like any good dictator, he doesn’t want people thinking about his replacement so he is troubled.

In verses 4-6 he calls the religious leaders of the day and asks them questions. They, wanting to impress Herod tell him everything about this coming king. Instead of looking him in the eye and doing the Nathan thing (Nathan told David he had sinned before God in 2 Sam. 12:1-15). Herod then calls the wise men in and feeds them a line about wanting to worship this new king (didn’t they think that rather odd…why would the current king want to go worship his replacement??)

The wise men bothched their research so bad that God had to “fix things” by sending them and Joseph a dream telling them what to do (don’t take this out of context. God knew what was going to happen beforehand…he didn’t have to “come up with something on the fly” to “fix this problem” that He didn’t know of. God knew from before time what would happen).

We see what happens when Herod finds out that he can’t “worship” this new king. He has been mocked, gets mad, and takes his revenge out on the innocents (the children < 2) of that area.

If we continue this, fast forward to the crucifixion. How many of the people in the crowd had their children killed because of this (Jesus coming, the wise men asking, Herod finding out, and then killing all of the kids of that apx. age)? Does this give you a different perspective on their anger towards Jesus?

How about looking at the wise men, religious rulers, and Herod’s reaction? Does it give you pause to think about things? How should we act when given a chance to confront a ruthless dictator like the religious leaders were? Should we do the “easy” christian thing (perhaps pray with him, perhaps give him a Bible, perhaps even witness to him) or should we be like Nathan and tell him straight up (he has sinned before God and unless he accepts Jesus as his personal savior and repents of his sins, he will spend eternity in a lake of everlasting fire)? How about the wise men? Do we need to be tactful when we ask questions?

Certainly we need to pray and do what God leads. We should also be willing to confront evil regardless of the consequence. We should also realize that we need to think a bit about people’s motives. Above all, we need to remember that we are ambassadors for Christ and He has instructed us to be “… wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

Shot day

Today was the first of three shot days for us. There are TONS of stuff to get shots for! At first glance, it doesn’t make sense for us to get all of these shots; however, when you start looking deeper, some of them (like the rabies shots we have to get) can prevent some very expensive treatment later on.

Oh, yes, Lydia had to get them too. Below are some pictures we took of the event:

DSC05037 DSC05040
That Hurt! Even Lydia Got Shots

Our housing, child care, and “stuff” in general

Sorry for not having the time to blog over the past few weeks. With our sickness, it has felt like we haven’t had any extra time at all. But, we are back and wanted to share a bit with you.

DSC04986 As I mentioned before, we moved in about 2 weeks ago. Here is the sign (we wanted to take our picture in front of the sign for our first newsletter, but that didn’t happen). Lydia and I walked out and took this picutre sans Cyndi a few days ago:

DSC04980First, people always ask about child care. We are blessed to have very nice people watch Lydia while we attend class every day. We didn’t quite know how this would work out, initially; however, I’m pleased to tell everyone that Cyndi is doing fine 🙂 Lydia is also enjoying class too. To the left is a picture of her first day…as youc an see, she looks happy. She can’t tell us, but her teacher says she does great!

DSC05019Next, we are always asked about our housing. We stay in these buildings called quads. They have a common area (like a living room) then four seperate apartments in each unit. We have ourselves, 2 other families, and three singles in our quad. To the right, you can see a picture of our common area. 

Below is Cyndi making the bed in our room:


And here is Lydia’s room (we took the beds apart and stored them to give Lydia a maximum amount of floor space):


As for some views around the compund camp training center, so far, I have a panorama of a lake on the property.


[Update 2012-04-06 14:47:40] Updated post to fix se broken pictures

I think this is a bad idea

I cringed when I read this. What a stupid dumb idea way to subvert the Constitution. If they want to change the electorial college then fine, but go through the proper channels and amend the Constitution to do it. Don’t backdoor the thing.

Much Better

This is an update to all of the articles about being sick. Thank you so much for your prayers. Tomorrow, I’ll get to go back to attending sessions (yay!). Lydia has felt better since Monday (although, we didn’t send her to class until Tuesday). Cyndi was well enough to attend sessions today.

Praise God for making us well!

Just a little information for everyone out there that I didn’t know until yesterday. When they gave Lydia a perscription for Tamiflu we could have also gotten a prescription and taken it as a preventative. If we had only known. Oh well, the last time we actually had the flu was about 5 or 8 years ago when there was no such drug you could get for the flu.

Healthy Food…or Is it?

I saw this on Men’s Health today and thought it was interesting. Most of these things contain over 1,000 calories. That is just nuts. Not that I eat all healthy…if I want to indulge on cheese fries on a free day, that shouldn’t hurt things too much….just don’t make a steady diet of it.

In reverse order, the 20 worst foods in America are:

20. Worst Fast-Food Chicken Meal (Chicken Selects Premium Breast Strips from McDonald’s (5 pieces) with creamy ranch sauce)

19. Worst Drink (Jamba Juice Chocolate Moo’d Power Smoothie (30 fl oz))

18. Worst Supermarket Meal (Pepperidge Farm Roasted Chicken Pot Pie (whole pie))

17. Worst “Healthy” Burger (Ruby Tuesday Bella Turkey Burger)

16. Worst Mexican Entree (Chipotle Mexican Grilled Chicken Burrito)

15. Worst Kids’ Meal (Macaroni Grill Double Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese)

14. Worst Sandwich (Quizno’s Chicken Carbonara (large))

13. Worst Salad (On the Border Grande Taco Salad with Taco Beef)

12. Worst Burger (Carl’s Jr. Double Six Dollar Burger)

11. Worst Steak (Lonestar 20 oz T-bone)

10. Worst Breakfast (Bob Evans Caramel Banana Pecan Cream Stacked and Stuffed Hotcakes)

9. Worst Dessert (Chili’s Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream)

8. Worst Chinese Entree (P.F. Chang’s Pork Lo Mein)

7. Worst Chicken Entree (Chili’s Honey Chipotle Crispers with Chipotle Sauce)

6. Worst Fish Entree (On the Border Dos XX Fish Tacos with Rice and Beans)

5. Worst Pizza (Uno Chicago Grill Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza)

4. Worst Pasta (Macaroni Grill Spaghetti and Meatballs with Meat Sauce)

3. Worst Nachos (On the Border Stacked Border Nachos)

2. Worst Starter (Chili’s Awesome Blossom)

1. The Worst Food in America ( Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing)