What does it cost me…..

If you are a ‘born again’ believer and if you are serving Jesus as He desires then you can expect opposition. It comes with the territory. It is so easy for us to let our flesh and the world convince us that we deserve better or no opposition. That ‘why me’ thought process is dangerous to our spiritual health. And we do not typically remember that God’s ways and thoughts are not our ways and thoughts (Isa 55:8).

2 Tim 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

The following is how the 12 Apostles lost their lives.

1. Matthew: Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia; killed by a sword wound.
2. Mark: Died in Alexandria, Egypt, after being dragged by Horses through the streets until he was dead.
3. Luke: Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous Preaching to the lost.
4. John: Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge Basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution In Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered from death.
John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve As Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey. He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.
5. Peter: He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die In the same way that Jesus Christ had died.
6. James: The leader of the church in Jerusalem was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller’s club.
* This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation.
7. James the Great: Son of Zebedee, was a fisherman by trade when Jesus Called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and Knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.
8. Bartholomew: Also known as Nathaniel Was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.
9. Andrew: Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: ‘I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.’ He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.
10. Thomas: Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the Sub-continent.
11. Jude: Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.
12. Matthias: The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.

Did you notice that 11 of the 12 were martryed for their faith. We live in a country where we will probably not have to be confronted with physical death for our faith. Our biggest obstacle is the peer pressure from our world. Which may actually be a bad thing that physical persecution is not around us. I remember reading a prayer many years ago that believers in another country had for believers in America. They were dying for their faith and they prayed that we would come up against the same pressures so that we would experience the same level of comfort and strength that the Holy Spirit was giving them. WOW!

Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

God’s Amazing Love…..

John 3:16, 17 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

When I say love what thoughts go through your mind. Typically we think of either a deep friendship or sexual definition for love. And typically we think of how those levels of love will benefit us. We are a selfish people whether we are willing to admit it or not.

When you look at love in God’s word you get a whole new definition. There are actually four different levels of love defined in God’s word. The greatest of those is displayed by our God sending His only Son to die for the sins of mankind. Could I do that with my son for the sins of mankind. No!

The four types of love from the Greek are;
– Storge or a family type of love. i.e. a mother and her child.
– Phileo or brotherly love. i.e. the level of love soldiers develop for their fellow soldiers.
– Eros or sexual love.
– Agape or absolute unconditional love regardless of how I am treated, regardless of race, regardless of any affiliation outside of my little world.

So, how do you stack up with your love for those around you? It is very challenging to evaluate myself and ask a loving God to help me develop the level of love He desires of me. For you see our God does desire that I would be like His Son which is the Agape level of love.

Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I John 4:13-16 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

Made in His image…..

Eph 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Made in His image!

The following news was taken from the Berean Call of 19 June 2008.

Today’s Update
Science EU Court to Hear Case Granting Human Status to Apes [Excerpts]

The European Court of Human Rights has agreed to a preliminary hearing to determine whether chimpanzees are entitled to the legal status and protections granted to human beings.

The action is being sponsored by the Association Against Animal Factories, an activist group based in Vienna. Eberhart Theuer, the group’s legal advisor says, “This case is about the fundamental question: Who is the bearer of human rights? Who is a person according to the European Human Rights Charter?”

At the center of the case is Hiasl, a 26-year old chimpanzee now called Matthew by his keeper, Briton Paula Stibbe. Matthew currently shares a shelter with another chimpanzee named Rosi in the town of Voesendorf, outside of Austria. Their upkeep runs nearly $8,000 a month and the shelter recently filed for bankruptcy.

Donors have stepped in to offer assistance, but Stibbe says only official status as a human can permanently prevent Matthew from being transferred out of Austria. That status would force the state to appoint a guardian to look after his status, and presumably also entitle him to government assistance for upkeep.

A win for the group could have sweeping ramifications for the entire European Union, with legal precedent existing for apes — and possibly other animals — to receive the rights, protections, and even medical, financial, and social benefits of human beings.

Miss Stibbe says, “Since he has no close relatives, I am doing this as the person closest to him.” She says she also plans to legally adopt Matthew as well.

The Real truth……..

Gen 1:26,27 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

II Cor 4:3,4 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”