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CMF eZine


The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.


Martyrs for Christ

Martyrs for Christ

There was a time when Christians in the United States thought little of martyrdom.  There were not many believers in America killed for their faith.  If some were, most often the news media failed to report it.

However, our world has now changed greatly.  ISIS, fellows citizens and other anti-Christian groups are attempting to destroy Christianity and take over the world including the United States.

You know through television, social media and the internet that thousands of Christians around the world are being killed each year because of their faith in Jesus Christ and their refusal to deny their allegiance to Him for the sake of saving their own life or the lives of their loved ones.

This anti-God movement began in the Garden of Eden when the serpent [Satan] said to Adam and Eve that they did not need God any more, but could be like Him knowing the difference of good and evil.

“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)

To be like god or to be your own god and in control of your life and the lives of others continues to be attractive to most people even today.

When non-Christian leaders are in positions of power they often perceive that Christians are a threat to the advancement of their ideology, goals and godless agendas because they follow Jesus Christ the perfect leader of all creation.  Consequently Christians must be silenced or eliminated.

Jesus warned His disciples regarding powerful godless leaders:

“But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, as a testimony to them...Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and the children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.  You will be hated by all because of My name...” (Mark 13:9, 12-13a)

In the midst of Jesus’ warning He promises the presence and aid of His Holy Spirit to those persecuted.

“When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit.”  (Mark 13:11)

Stephen, the first Christian Martyr

This writer believes that Stephen was a prototype of all Christian martyrs.

“Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.  But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen.  But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking [according to Jesus’ promise, the Holy Spirit spoke through him].

“Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.” And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council. They put forward false witnesses who said, “This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law; for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.” And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel.”  (Acts 6:8–15)

“But they [The council] cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse. When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:57–60)

Christian Martyrs Today face the same anger and violence against them as did Stephen.  The persecution maybe different, but the reality of hatred is the same.

Anti-Christian rhetoric is now commonly heard in the political arena.  Many have all made terroristic statements against Christians.

Alex Newman in The New American Magazine, April 8, 2013 writes ...the “Department of Defense was caught training U.S. troops that Catholics, orthodox Jews, and evangelical Christians are to be considered “religious extremists,” even equating the major religions (representing more than half of Americans) with truly violent groups such as al-Qaeda, the Ku Klux Klan, and Hamas.” (https://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/faith-and-morals/item/15028-christians-are-extremists-like-al-qaeda-u-s-army-taught-troops)

Had the President declared martial law to combat terrorism you could be, as a Christian declared an enemy of the state and subject to arrest, jail time or even death.

Until Supreme Court Justices who support the Constitution are appointed, this negative sentiment against you and your Christian beliefs will continue and grow.  Where and to whom may you turn for help?

Jesus Christ speaking to His disciples says that persecution of His followers is normative.

““But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. “But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say.” (Matthew 10:17–19)

The often tested King David confidently declares:

“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

Remember, “He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13)

The Apostle Paul adds:

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” (1 Timothy 2:1–2)

Jesus is Your Comfort and Peace in times of testing and trials.  You need not fear regarding future persecution and martyrdom because the Lord Jesus Christ,

“…Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”” (Hebrews 13:5b)

Praise the Lord!

About the author:

Pastor Bingham is the founder of CupBearers, and was for 17 years a missionary with Cadence International and has been the Pastor of Rocky Mountain Evangelical Free Church for 32 years.  He also served on the CMF Board of Directors for several years. 

Shepherding Grace Ministries
PO Box 1930
Englewood, CO 80150-1930
http://www.ShepherdingGrace.org

Famine Ahead!

Famine Ahead!

“Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord God, ‘When I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall turn to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it.’”  Amos 8:11-12

Can you imagine if here in these United States originally founded using the Bible as the guide to even write laws, that there will come a time when the best selling book of all time, the Bible, could not be found anywhere, I mean anywhere?  Many scoff at this notion saying, "Becky that is not possible" but I say to turn off the secular news and tune in to things happening with Christians worldwide you never hear about on the three major networks.  Christian persecution is happening.  Even on some university campuses Christian Bible studies are not welcome.

There in fact may come a time according to this verse for today, when you will be starving for the word of God.  Now for people who don't even read it except on Sunday that will not be a loss, but to you who do love studying God's word you need to be hiding it in your heart so you will have it to rely on in troubled times ahead.  Imagine really starving for food which most reading this never have done.  Hunger yes, starvation no.  Literally starving I mean.  Imagine no Bibles anywhere.

Store up God's word in your heart.  Treasure it as if it were gold.  Many nations do not allow the Bible now.  Several years ago my husband travelled to the Middle East and hid his Bible in his suitcase.  Don't take God's word for granted.  Read it daily.

PRAYER:  I am so grateful to have a Bible, and many people have several.  Help me to treasure it above all else and use it daily.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Becky Juett Miller
God's Lemonade Stand

https://www.facebook.com/GodsLemonadeStand/
https://www.godslemonadestand.blogspot.com

News From The Front

News From The Front

News from the Front—by Dan Cartwright, Chairman, Board of Directors

Sebaste, Cappadocia (now Sivas in Turkey) - March, 320 A.D.

Roman Emperor Valerius Licinius had already ordered that all Christians in Cappadocia abandon their faith and worship pagan gods, including every member of the famous “Thundering” 12th Legion, whose record in combat was unparalleled in the annals of the Imperial Army! Forty soldiers of the Legion however, refused to recant their faith, declaring before a military tribunal (court-martial) that they would devote their love to God and only God!

Agricolas, Captain of the Legion and the local pagan governor, would not humor this obstinacy. When imprisonment of the whole stubborn company could not break them, he decided on a novel sort of pressure.  It was a bitterly cold March and the pond outside the city was frozen over. The governor, therefore, ordered that the 40 be herded out to the center of the lake stark naked and allowed to rethink their decision. Meanwhile, he set up on the shore statues of the gods to be worshipped, a nice fire, and a pleasant warm bath. He hoped that the offer of warmth might change the minds of the freezing men and induce them to apostatize. But the prisoners retained their solidarity. Together they prayed, “Lord, we are 40 who are engaged in this conflict; grant that we may not fall short of that sacred number.”

During the three days of their lethal exposure, only one of the group gave up, stumbled towards the shore and sought the comfort of one of the hot baths provided for any who would recant their faith. The same hot bath that rewarded his apostasy also brought about his death. Ironically, the sudden heat was too much after the long chill, and he died of shock.

Although the soldier-victims were saddened by this defection, their prayer was heard. Aglaios, a jailer watching the horrifying spectacle of the freezing soldiers had heard their shouts of “40 soldiers for Christ!” when they first headed out across the frozen lake, and now heard a fainter shout, ‘Thirty-nine soldiers for Christ!”

What happened in the heart of the jailer Aglaios at that moment, only he and God will ever know. He wrenched off his own armor and girdle, and dashed to the edge of the lake. There, after lifting his right hand and crying, “Forty good soldiers for Christ!” he disappeared over the ice and into the darkness.

Colorado Springs, CO - 1 March 2007

A small group of soldiers from the 10th Special Forces Group gathered at Red Rock Canyon in Colorado Springs for a ‘spiritual fitness’ run and induction of Christian warriors into ‘The Order of the Cappadocian Martyrs,’ led by 10th Group Chaplains Darren Chester and Terry McBride.

It was a cold, windy, and icy morning after a late snowfall from the previous afternoon and evening left a few inches of new snow on the ground and a lot of dangerous ice on streets and roadways. While such conditions sometimes cause outdoor physical fitness training to be cancelled, there would be no change of plans on this morning! The announcement of, and invitation to the event had stated, in part: “Note: Weather will not affect this run. If you can get there, we will run. Yes, it will be cold. That is the point. The martyrs for whom this order is named froze to death naked on a pond in the course of 3 days. If they can do that for Jesus, surely we can stand an hour or so in the cold.”

The event was scheduled to begin at 0630 sharp. The rendezvous point was a snow-covered public parking lot just off of highway 24, heading west out of the city proper. As soldiers arrived, they remained in their vehicles rather than stand in the biting wind any earlier than necessary. At the appointed time, they gathered around the map of the canyon at the edge of the parking lot for the route briefing given by Chaplain Chester. After the briefing, they headed into the small canyon, along a trail that gradually climbed in altitude for nearly a mile. After winding their way through the canyon for 2-1/2 miles, they gathered at the end of the run at another spot in the canyon, a flat open area near a small frozen pond.

Chaplain Chester spoke to the group, relating the story of the 40 martyrs from Sebaste who died on a frozen lake so long ago, not only refusing to recant their faith, but proclaiming their faith to the cold bitter end! The men were encouraged to stand firm no matter what they faced in this life, especially the persecution that all believers face at times when they live righteously before God and in an unbelieving world.

Each member of the group was given a patch symbolizing the martyrs of the “Thundering” XII Legion, Special Forces warriors of today, and emblazoned with a golden Cross of Christ against the canopy of a deployed parachute, a Green Beret, and the crossed arrows. Each man also received a small card on which was printed the following oath of allegiance:


SGM Dan Cartwright, USA (Ret),
Local Representative, Chairman,
CMF Board of Directors

“I am a Soldier for the Lord Jesus Christ. I am prepared to speak any word, do any deed, and go anywhere As He leads Me. His will is my mission. When the enemy attacks I will Stand firm. When tempted I will persevere. When persecuted I will not forsake my Lord. I will do good to those who hate me, I will bless those who curse me, I will pray for those who mistreat me. Though pressured I am not crushed. Though perplexed I am not in despair. Though persecuted I am not abandoned. Though struck down I am not destroyed. I will always carry the death of Jesus in my body, that the life of Jesus may be revealed in my body."

One can only imagine what the response of the mighty host of heaven was when the sound of earthly warriors' voices joined as one in allegiance to the Lord of Hosts and filled the air of a small canyon on a cold windy morning!

The short ceremony concluded with the men in a circle, arms around each other's shoulders and heads bowed as Chaplain McBride closed in prayer. Certainly this was an event to be followed by more similar occasions, as more warriors of the 10th Special Forces Group step forward in faith and join this 'Band of Brothers!’


Christian Military Fellowship

An Indigenous Ministry • Discipleship • Prayer • Community • Support
Encouraging Men and Women in the United States Armed Forces, and their families, to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

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