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?

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.”

More information on Training

This is an update to this very short very brief article I wrote several days ago.

DSC04961The past three weeks feels like a whirlwind. We took three weeks of vacation to travel around and visit friends and family before we move overseas, and it was hard. Don’t get me wrong, we had great times with friends and family, but we felt homeless for that time. We didn’t have any place to call our own. It finally feels good to be somewhere (even a little somewhere because we are sharing a place with several other people) to call our own.

On Monday, we moved into our training facility and started training sessions Wednesday. This training is to help prepare us to live overseas and covers things like disease, immunizations, how to handle culture shock, ideas on how we can meet people overseas, and the like. Like I said earlier, there are other families with us here, and we have gotten to know several. I think in our time here, we’ll come to make some great friends.

Lydia had a first birthday on Monday, but I’ll wait and let Cyndi talk about that. By that time, we should have some pictures up to share with everyone too.

Martinsville and Unanswered Questions

My mom, dad, and I went to Martinsville for the NASCAR race yesterday (Sunday). I’ll post some pictures and videos shortly; however, I have two unanswered questions:

1) What caused the fire on the Army car?
2) What was wrong with the #8 (Dale E. Jr.) at the end of the race?

I think the #8 was either low on gas or his battery/electricial system wasn’t up to par for the last 4 or 5 caution laps.

Martyrs No One Cares About

Reading this article hit me in a way that not many articles have. It convicted me that I haven’t prayed like I ought for my Korean brothers and sisters.

From The Martyrs No One Cares About:

The blood of innocent Christian missionaries spills on Afghan sands. The world watches and yawns. The United Nations offers nothing more than a formal expression of “concern.” Where is the global uproar over the human rights abuses unfolding before our eyes?

For two weeks, a group of South Korean Christians has been held hostage by Taliban thugs in Afghanistan. This is the largest group of foreign hostages taken in Afghanistan since Operation Enduring Freedom began in 2001. What was their offense? Were they smuggling arms into the country? No. Inciting violence? No. They were peaceful believers in Christ on short-term medical and humanitarian missions. Seventeen of the 23 hostages are females.

Across Asia, media coverage is 24/7 Strangers have held nightly prayer vigils. But the human rights crowd in America has been largely AWOL. And so has most of our mainstream media. Among some of the secular elite, no doubt, is a blame-the-victim apathy: The missionaries deserved what they got. What were they thinking bringing their message of faith to a war zone? Didn’t they know they were sitting ducks for Muslim head-choppers whose idea of evangelism is “convert or die”?

Curiously, those who argue that we need to “understand” Islamic terrorists demonstrate little effort to “understand” the Christian evangelical missionaries who risk their lives to spread the gospel — not by sword, but through acts of compassion, healing and education. An estimated 16,000 Korean mission workers risk their lives across the globe — from Africa to the Middle East, China and North Korea.

Are Christians in America Persecuted

That was the subject of a recent post by Stacy over at the Persecution Blog.  I hadn’t posted anything in a few weeks, so I thought I could comment on this (I have an opinion on everything).

Before I answered the question, I thought I would define some terms:

  • Christian — one who is “like” Christ.  A follower of Jesus.  I am not using the term Christian to define people who simply “go to church” or who “grew up in church.”
  • Persecution — Excruciating punishment (from

So, do Christians in America undergo Excruciating punishment for their beliefs?  I think if we are honest, we must say the answer is no.

 Look at our brothers and sisters overseas.  Look at the reports on Voice of the Martyrs.  Then come back and tell me we undergo anything like them.  Just to give you a taste of what I’m talking about, here is a video I found on YouTube of VOM founder Richard Wurmbrand talking (and showing if the compression weren’t so bad on YouTube) about his 1st hadn experience of torture:




Costly Words or Do We Consider Our Ways?

I have Persecution Blog‘s rss feed on my google homepage so I can see new items when they are posted (well, based on how fast google updates the widget that is).  Yesterday, I saw this post entitles A Time of Costly Words and wondered what it was about.  So, I opened the article in a new Firefox tab and started reading:

In Albania, the first self-declared atheist state in the world, a young Christian by the name of Valerii Nasaruk was arrested for boldly tattooing a cross on his hand. He wanted everyone to know from the first handshake that he stuck to his faith in God. Valerii was frustrated, however, by not being allowed to verbally tell others about God’s love.

Wow!  That is convicting.  The government has a law restricting this brother’s free speech so he thinks up a way to get around it.  As we can see, the government didn’t like that so they arrested him.  At the trial he was found gulty, but the judge appealed to his mom:

At the trial, the judge told Valerii’s mother, “Tell your son to change his ways so he can go free.”     

WOW!  What would happen here if that happened?  How many parents would tell their child to renounce their faith?  But God was with his mother who stood firm: 

She thought for a while before responding through tearful eyes, “Valerii, my advice to you is to stand firm and not deny Christ, even if it means your death.”

Stacy then goes on to ask:

God loves us, and he has great plans for our lives. The problem is, everyone else has plans for us, too. Do this. Do that. Try this. Try that. Words of advice are cheap and plentiful. The time comes, however, when words are costly. Any time another believer encourages us to carry on with God’s call on our lives despite the consequences, we know we have heard from a godly person. Anything to the contrary, even well intentioned, is bad advice. To whom do you listen for spiritual guidance? Recall and record the last bit of spiritual advice you received from a trusted friend. How well have you followed through?

How true.  Everyone is trying to pull us one way or the other.  We need must be ever vigilant to stand on the truth.  Even advice from “christians” can be wrong.  So, to answer Stacy’s question I listen to those believers who are more mature in their faith.  If I have a question, I choose one of them and ask.  I expect their answer to be firmly rooted in the Bible.  I then take what they say and “bounce” test it against what the Bible has to say.  Then I pray about it.  I ask those same people to pray with me.  Only then do I make up my mind.

As an asside, I would like to ask all of you to join me in one request:  I pray that if I am ever put in this situation with Lydia, I would do the right thing:  encourage her to keep on keeping on and striving for the faith. 



Persecution…In Mexico?

I was surfing today before work when I saw a post on about persecution in Mexico.  I thought this was rather interesting (Mexico wasn’t on my list of countries I thought of as participating in persecution).  Stacy linked to the Compas Direct article which I went and read.  Here is what I found out:

Juan Mendez Mendez became a Christian in a village outside of this city in Chiapas state on April 7, and two days later local authorities put him in jail – for leaving their religious blend of Roman Catholicism and native custom.


A catechist or doctrinal instructor in the “traditionalist Catholic” church in the village of Pasté (pahs-TEH), the 25-year-old Mendez was released on Tuesday (April 10) after spending the night in jail. The previous Easter Sunday, political bosses in the Tzotzil Maya village noticed him missing from a church festival involving what Mendez considered to be idolatrous rites; they summoned him that evening.


“They said, ‘What do you mean that you’ve accepted Christ – you mean you don’t believe in our gods [Catholic saints]?’” Mendez told Compass. “And I said, ‘Well, those were just apostles, and now I belong to Christ.’”

Later on, Juan is threated:

The officials threatened to strip him and throw cold water on him in jail, Mendez said. “You know what else we’re going to do?” one of them told the father of three pre-school children. “We’re going to beat you. We’re going to hit you.”


Mendez said he replied, “‘You know, if you’re going to beat me, then here I am. Here I am, if you’re going to beat me.’ But another said, ‘No, we’re not going to beat him.’”

 This should serve as a wake-up call to American Christians.  While we aren’t being jailed today for our faith, the day may come (in the not so distant future…it could be tomorrow depending on what laws our government passes) where we too will be faced with persectution.  The time to decide how you will act and what your faith means to you is not then…it is today!