Death To Christians!

religious_persecution_707585970Jesus said to anyone who would follow Him, “Take up your cross and follow Me.”

(That should have been our first clue.)

Nearly all of Jesus’ disciples died a martyr’s death.

(That should have tipped us off.)

There is an incredible book entitled “Fox’s Book of Martyrs” that tells of countless people and their willingness to pay for their faith in Christ with their very lives.

(Martyrdom becoming so prevalent should have been a huge red flag.)

I was reading this morning about a Christian Pakistani woman who is currently in prison for blaspheming the prophet Mohammed.  She maintains that she did no such thing, but the angry Muslim mob in her village insists that she did.  The two options given to her by the crowd were to a) convert to Islam or b) die.  Beaten to unconsciousness at the hands of this mob, her life was spared only by the police who arrived to violently throw her in their vehicle, take her to the police station, and continue the attack, including spitting repeatedly on this woman.  With no evidence but the mob’s accusations, she was thrown into prison.  And I’d be willing to bet my bottom dollar that she’s either going to be put to death for her alleged crime or she’ll die in that prison cell.  Either way, she’s going out as a martyr for her faith in Christ.

Is this shocking?  Unfair?  Reeking of injustice?  Is it maddening to us, especially in Western culture? Could it be that dying for one’s faith in Jesus will eventually be normalized worldwide?  I suppose one might think so, if one believes the Bible.

It seems that everywhere I look (looking at you, New Mexico!) the walls are closing in on what I as a follower of Jesus can and cannot do or say.  It stands to reason that should I live long enough to see it, we as Christians in America very well may find ourselves on the receiving end of not merely threats, but acting out on those threats.  Why?  Because we’re “bigoted” enough to believe that there is a supremely loving God who has provided for anyone a Way to salvation, and His name is Jesus.  (Acts 4:12)

Have we as followers of Christ lost sight of our calling and therefore our passion?  Have we forgotten that to follow Jesus IS to follow Him into death (Matthew 16:24)?  That to receive His invitation is to embrace death (Galatians 2:20)?  Or have we instead translated His call into “be nice and play well with others”?  Is the Church in America doing a better job at developing mild-mannered, well-adjusted citizens than it is at multiplying disciples of Jesus who would–if faced with it–embrace martyrdom based on their love for their Savior?

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My crazy beliefs.

crazyWe’re a “seeing is believing” kind of people.  We’re a “oh yeah, prove it” kind of people.  We’re a “unless you’ve got solid evidence, then I’m not buying it” kind of people.  If its any consolation, people have been like us since the beginning of recorded history.  What’s worse, even after evidence has been shown and facts proven, we can still slip into being unconvinced and needing re-convincing.  Anybody remember the struggles God had with Moses and the Israelites?  Anybody remember OJ?

I’ve been thinking about what I believe.  And you know what?  It’s crazy.  It really is.  I believe some crazy stuff, I admit it.

  • I believe in a God I can’t see.
  • I believe that this God spoke every bit of the natural universe into existence.  Yep, I said spoke.
  • I believe God made humans with his own two hands (I’m guessing he has hands) like a potter with clay, and then breathed his own breath of life into them.
  • I believe God called a man well into his AARP years to build a gigantic boat which would house 2 of every animal and save him and his family from a worldwide flood.
  • I believe God gave the people he created rules to follow just to show them they can’t follow rules and thus can’t save themselves and thus needed him to save them.
  • I believe God sent His only Son Jesus to earth by way of a teenage virgin named Mary.  Yep, I believe God caused Mary to be pregnant.  How?  I don’t have the slightest clue.
  • I believe the Son of God was born quietly, lived perfectly, and died sacrificially on a Roman cross to pay for the sins of the world–yours and mine.  Why? Because God has always longed for a love relationship with the people he created.
  • I believe that man died on that tree, was buried in a tomb, and brought Himself back to life 3 days later…just like he said he would on multiple occasions prior to his crucifixion.
  • I believe Jesus did all that living, dying, and living again for no other reason then to offer me and you a way to come back to God despite my sins.
  • I believe that one day I will physically die and in that moment I will literally be with Jesus for eternity.

(This is where it gets even crazier.) 

  • I believe that one day (no one but God knows when) the sky will split open and the armies of heaven, led by Jesus Himself will return to earth.  Yep, I believe that this earth we are currently standing on will be ruled by Jesus in the peace that only Jesus can provide.  No more presidents, no more kings, no more dictators, no more ambassadors.  Just Lord Jesus.

 

Now, I think about those who know me, or knew me, or who I have yet to meet.  When they learn this stuff about me, they very well may think “that guy is crazy for believing that stuff”.  But I suppose that’s okay because I can’t bring myself to have the faith to believe otherwise….

  • That there is no God and that we’re all results of some random cosmic collision billions of years ago or in any other way that we’re not an incredibly thought-out creation from an incredibly creative creator.
  • That our species was once a single-celled something-or-other in some primordial ooze dripping from a crater somewhere on earth.
  • That that cell because two, then 4, then a fish, then had legs, then grew hair, then walked upright, then became moral, then civilized, then built cars, planes, and the internet.
  • That none of this life has meaning, or purpose, or impact.
  • That there is no hope, peace, or reason in life because all those things can only come from design and a designer.  Since there’s no designer, there’s no such thing as hope, peace, or reason.
  • That the highest goal in life on earth is to “do good” and “be nice”.
  • That when my life is over I do nothing more than fertilize the ground I’m buried in.

 

So what crazy stuff do YOU believe?