13 August 2014

The Seed of the Church



How can we continue in our every day, superficial living, when we have continual 
24/7 news coverage and 
Facebook and Twitter and Whatnot Updates showing us the excessive evil 
 that is being set loose upon the 
weakest of the the World's population?

What can we do?


Who will stop it?

Is anybody paying attention?

I wonder if this is how the people who lived near the Death Camps felt in Europe. 
 I'm sure things were whispered about in the privacy of their houses...
you know, about what they had heard or seen going on "over the way".  

Keep to your own business and
 nobody will bother you.....
isn't that safer?

I visited one of those camps in Germany. 

To say it was a disturbing experience, 
is a bit of an understatement. 
 It was eerily quiet
 as I looked out over the empty hillside and imagined the thousands of people who never walked away from that place. 

 I walked through the building that housed the remnants of the things they left behind. 
 Bits of clothing and piles of shoes. 
Letters and other writings. 
 And photographs.  
And stories.

So many people. 
 So many just slaughtered as if they didn't matter.  I walked away from that camp
 and could nearly hear the echo of the cry of the Psalmist who dared to say,

 "For what futility you have created all men!  What man can live and not see death or save himself from the power of the grave?"   But then the Psalmist ends with, "Praise be to the LORD forever!  Amen and Amen." 
(Psalm 89: 47-48, 52niv)


We heard about how, after the 
Liberation of the Camp, 
the American Forces marched the villagers through the camp to
 force them to see and acknowledge
 what they did nothing to stop.

I understand that. 
Seeing the photographs and reading accounts of it, my mind boggles.

I also wonder, what could they have done, really?   

Could they have stopped it?

Shouldn't they have tried?

 There was a secret barracks where prisoners hid the children.

But....this was long before I was born.







Evil came in the form of Adolph Hitler
 and the Nazi Party in those days.

 It has shown itself to millions of people in the form of Communism, and Fascism ....

and even in the form of the
American Supreme Court
 when the greatest protectors of freedom in the world declared that 
"unborn children are not persons"
and could be slaughtered.....
millions.....of.....them.....
for any reason.

Today,  Jihad is in HD 
on the flat screens
 in our very safe and very nice, 
clean living rooms....

the place where we shelter our children 
no longer feels safe, because, 
we see so many children being butchered. 

They cannot hide.  
They cannot get away. 
Christian families are murdered.  
Jews....anyone who will not submit. 
It is the Holocaust all over again.  

This time, it is not hidden in secret Death Camps.  It is not tidied up under benign sounding jargon such as  "a woman's right to choose".

No.....
This time it is. 
 Unedited.  Raw.  Defiant.  Arrogant.  
On Camera. 

 Rushing around the world in seconds.....
as if God could not see it otherwise.....

...As if He does not know it is happening.

Why should the nations say, 
"Where is their God?"  
Before our eyes, make known among the nations that you avenge the blood of your servants. 
 psalm 79: 10 niv

He knows, Dear One.       
He knows.     
He knows each one 
of these beautiful lives that is snuffed out.




He knows them intimately.

He holds them safely in His hands.

The persecution of His people will increase. 
 Evil will increase.  
We are told that in Scripture.

And yet, we are also told not to faint. 
 Not to run away.

Because God is in Control.

He has ordained the lives of His children.  

He is Sovereign.

There is no more pain for those who are 
present with the Lord.

He bids the little children to come to Him and warns against those who would hinder them.                          

He warns about the ones who would 
do such evil things to children.

He has given us His promise that 
Vengeance belongs to Him.  
He will judge them.  

Oh.  
Yes.

Our hearts grow faint.....
we are nearly paralyzed in our fear.....
But we must realize that.
 when the persecution comes to us,
 we need to have already made our choice.

If He calls us to suffer for His name, 
are we ready?      
Are we willing?

Do you believe, dear Christian, that God is faithful enough to give you grace to stand?





Do you believe He will give you the grace to die?


 Do you trust that He is in control of this horrible atrocity for His Own Glory?

Even if it continues?

Remember, we are in the Last Days. 
 If the disciples were living in them, 
we certainly are.

The world will not know peace until Jesus reigns again on the earth.

 We cannot change His plans. 
 (Who would want to?)   
Yet, we have a part in them.

 He has given to us the honor of giving hope to those who are dead in their sins.  

He has given us His Spirit to enable us.        
He has allowed us to be a part of His Plan.

What can we do?    
We can pray for God to give 
wisdom and strength and power and peace.

We can do whatever is available to us 
who live in free nations 
as God leads us to do them. 

We can re-evaluate our relationship with the Lord and we can make sure that our children understand that this world is full of trouble 
(what an understatement this appears to be in today's English language) 
but to take heart because 

Jesus has overcome the world.

Don't panic.   
Pray.

Prove, by your actions,
 that you trust God.



Because.

Others.  Are.  Watching.  

You.

Now is the time, to make sure,
 they understand the
 Good News of Christ.

This world is temporary. 
 The children of God live forever.

This is the night and the weeping
continues....

great weeping and sorrow......

Shall we show ourselves 
faithful to trust a God 
who asks us to give away our very lives?

........to trust that He is Good even if He requires our children to be taken......
to be......

My mother's heart cannot type the words, and yet.....

if He asks it....

will I remember there is...

More?



The First Century Church
was persecuted for their faith.  

This is what the Holy Spirit, 
through the Apostle Peter, 
told them:

Praise be to the God and Father of our
 Lord Jesus Christ!  

In his great mercy he has given us new 
birth into a living hope
 through the 
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 
 and into an 
inheritance that can never perish, 
spoil or fade --
 kept in heaven for you, 

who through faith are shielded 
by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed 
in the last time. 

 In this you greatly rejoice, 
though now for a little while 
you may have had to suffer grief
 in all kinds of trials.   




These have come so that your faith --
 of greater worth than gold, 
which perishes 
even though refined by fire-- 
 may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor 
when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Though you have not seen him, 
you love him; 
and even though you 
do not see him now, 

you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 
for you are receiving the goal of your faith, 
the salvation of your souls.  
 1peter 1:3-9niv  (emphasis mine)

and this........


For you have been born again, 
not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the 
living and enduring word of God.   

For, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; 
the grass withers and the flowers fall, 
but the word of the Lord stands forever."  

And this is the word that was preached to you.    1peter 1:23-25niv (emphasis mine)



and this...........



But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed
 "Do not fear what they fear; 
do not be frightened."  

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord

Always be prepared to give an answer 
to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  

But do this with gentleness 
and respect, keeping a clear conscience, 
so that those who speak maliciously 
against your good 
behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.  

It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing 
good than for doing evil.
  For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to 
bring you to God.   
1peter 3:14-18niv   (emphasis mine)





he told them...........



The end of all things is near.  
Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled 
so that you can pray.
1peter 4:7niv



and to these Christians who were being murdered by the enemies of God, 
He said:

Dear friends,
 do not be surprised at the painful trial
 you are suffering
as though something strange 
were happening to you.  

But rejoice, that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, 
so that you may 
be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 

 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ,
you are blessed, 
for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  

If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer 
or thief or any other kind of criminal, 
or even as a meddler. 

However, if you suffer as a Christian, 
do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.  

For it is time for judgment to begin 
with the family of God; 

and if it begins with us, 
what will the outcome be 
for those who do not obey 
the gospel of God?     

1peter 4:12-17niv (emphasis mine)





finally he says.............



Humble yourselves, therefore, 
under God's mighty hand,
 that he may lift you up in due time.  

Cast all your anxiety on him
 because he cares for you.  

Be self-controlled and alert

 Your enemy the 
devil prowls around like a roaring lion 
looking for someone to devour. 

 Resist him, 
standing firm in 
the faith,
 because you know that your brothers 
throughout the world
 are undergoing the
 same kind of sufferings. 

And the God of all grace, 
who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, 
after you have 
suffered a little while, 
will himself restore you
 and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 

 To him be the power for ever and ever.   
Amen.      
1peter 5:6-11niv   (emphasis mine)




                                  
Tertullian gave us the phrase, 

"The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church." 

 It is not in the Bible.  


However, 

the blood being spilled out
 will not be in vain. 

It can be, in fact, a seed that grows our faith
 and conviction as we watch and pray 
and do whatever the Lord leads us to do to help. 

The Bible does say this:  
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." 
(psalm 116:15niv) 

It should be precious to us as well.  




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