Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘martyrdom’

The Mind of a Martyr

What is a martyr?

According to Islam, a martyr (Fedayeen) is one who kills infidels [that is, non-Muslims] and commits suicide as a means to that goal. He is “encouraged with liberal promises of earthy rewards in heaven, including food and sex.”   (TheReligionofPeace.com)

In Christianity, a martyr is “a person who suffers death rather than renounce his faith” (Collins English Dictionary).  His motivation is faithful commitment to his Savior and the hope of eternal life with Him.  However, Christians see life as a precious gift from God and they don’t seek martyrdom.  Neither are they seeking to kill anyone but rather they pray for God’s mercy on those who persecute them, as Stephen, the first Christian martyr did in Acts 7:54-60.

Meriam Ibrahim is a hero of mine.  A Sudanese doctor, devoted wife & mother, and faithful follower of Jesus Christ, she has been shackled in prison together with her toddler and baby girl born there in prison. And she has made it clear that she will not renounce her Lord even if it means suffering her sentence of 100 lashes and hanging!

She reminds me of the apostle Paul, also chained in prison, who wrote the verses I’ve been memorizing:

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed,
but will have sufficient courage
so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body,
whether by life or by death.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  (Philippians 1:20-21)

When my time comes, I pray that I will have the courage and conviction of Paul, Meriam, and others like them.

Meriam, I pray for your release, but more than that, I pray that you will continue to have courage to honor Christ whether through freedom, suffering, or even death.

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Two Tragedies

We’ve all been hearing about the terrible typhoon that hit the Philippines a few days ago and praying for the victims who have lost everything as well as those who are trying to help them.

But another lesser-publicized tragedy occurred on November 3 in North Korea that tears my heart just as much.  Eighty citizens were publicly executed, many of them for the “crime” of possessing Bibles or Christian videos—or even watching the videos.  And their “accomplices” were shipped off to prison camps.  You can read the heart-wrenching story at this link: http://misguidedchildren.com/foreign-affairs/2013/11/80-people-executed-in-north-korea/6530

North Korea had 80 people executed on Nov 3

When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony. They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?” Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters—their fellow servants of Jesus who were to be martyred—had joined them.  (Revelation 6:9-11 NLT)

Entering LIFE

Early last Wednesday morning, two men entered God’s presence about the same time.  One was Howard Hendricks, a talented and well-loved seminary professor who had served the Lord for decades.  The other was Don, my brother’s step-father-in-law who had joined God’s family less than two years ago.  Also about that same time, a pastor with his entire family was ambushed and killed here on the island where I live, and two Egyptian Coptic Christians were brutally murdered in the United States. All of these are now enjoying together all the delights of God’s presence and the LIFE that He’s prepared for them. 

Here’s an excellent article I read recently that puts heaven in a much different perspective than we have often thought.  Our present existence is the “pre-life,“ the prelude to the real thing which these people have now begun to enjoy.  http://www.russellmoore.com/2013/02/21/why-the-afterlife-bores-us/  I hope you read and enjoy it. 

As I try to grasp the thought that my beloved granddaughter may soon be there too, my heart both aches and rejoices for her.  Or maybe the ache is what I feel for myself, missing her already.  Maybe I’m a bit envious of the  beauty, joy, love, wholeness and perfection that she will be experiencing there. But I will be joining her sooner or later, and that is the confidence that I live for. Will you be there too?  I hope so.

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