Take Up Your Cross

“What but a supernatural power could have preserved them [the Jewish people] in such a manner as none other nation upon earth hath been preserved.”
—Thomas Newton

Since the beginning of humanity, God’s people have been attacked, killed, and led astray. If one were to find themselves in doubt over the legitimacy of the Bible, he/she need only look at how this world still hates the Jewish nation and Christianity.

No other religion is hated/targeted worldwide. And in fact, the most violent of beliefs (Islam), which exists to purge the world of Jewish/Christian followers (infidels), manages to do so widely unchallenged. It would seem that no amount of violence could solicit the same hate that “we” get by merely breathing.

I say this not with an “us against them” mentality, but to shed light on the fact that the devil is still the ruler of this world. He is our enemy whose deception fails to mask his hatred and “mission” to destroy men and women of God.

This proves that the Word of God is true. Especially, when you take into account the resiliency of our Faith. Withstanding the hate of the world for centuries—and still growing!

The Jewish nation of Israel, for example—is still standing and growing in number/advancement, even when attack wages against it from every side and its allies fail to assist them.

The devil may run the world, but God is ultimately in control.

Our faith is not for the faint of heart. In the picture above, we see the final act of hatred. Genocide. Beginning with the Egyptians, Philistines, Assyrians, and in this picture, the Romans…who destroyed the great temple (a second time) and crucified many Jews.

No one knows the exact number of crucifixions. At one point, entire forests were leveled in the making of crosses, and 500 Jews a day were killed…

After Roman rule, the land of Jerusalem continues to be captured, conquered, ruled, and dismantled, and even today is under constant attack from Palestine and Islamic terrorists.

Jerusalem isn’t the only place of long suffering. As we know from WWII, the Holocaust (over 6 million Jews were tortured and killed). Christian genocide is also happening throughout the world, but not gaining the same public recognition/outrage. It would seem that the Holocaust was the last time the world cared about the lives of Jews and Gentile alike.

Based on the yearly findings of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC), an estimated 100,000 Christians are martyred each year.

Other sites agree that this equates to a Christian being killed roughly every 5 minutes.

Burma, China, Eritrea, India, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Vietnam are listed as “countries of particular concern” for Christian persecution by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom’s 2020 report.

That of course doesn’t take into account the latest developments in Afghanistan this year and how that has effected the region’s Christians and underground churches.

Here in America, there is also a hatred, and that hatred is being fanned into an ever growing inferno against the Christian morals and churches in this country.

Suddenly, we’re being labeled as evil, close-minded, uncaring, judgmental, racist, and hateful…and sadly, there are some religious spirit filled churches and people who haven’t exactly loved like Jesus.

It is up to us to break the stigma, to love like Christ, and stand firm on the Word of God and it’s moral truths.

Why? Because sin =destruction (death)

And as for our faith?

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”’ —Matthew 16:24-25

It’s all or nothing…when you become a Christian you are openly siding against this world and it’s leader. You are in many ways painting a target on your back, taking the road less traveled, and welcoming persecution in every form.

You are choosing self sacrifice. Selfless love, and surrender. You are declaring that truth, what is right, should be upheld regardless of how the world flees from it. Your offering up your life, your talents, your time, and your treasure onto God saying, “do as you will.”

In the years to come, you will be forced to decide between what is right and what is easy. You will either make a stand or bow, fight or flee, stand on God’s Word or conform to this world’s “truth.”

The age of American Christianity is (more than likely) nearing its end. And it will give way to real Christianity…the kind that doesn’t bend, can’t be contained, and isn’t easily extinguished. The kind that martyrs are made from.

Are you ready to pick up your cross? To follow Jesus to the very ends of the earth?

I’m not declaring that we will all perish as martyrs. My goal with this post is merely to awaken us to action, and to reflect upon our faith.

Regardless of what happens in America, it cannot be denied that times are changing and the church must react before that right is taken away. We need to ditch our fear of man, fear of dislike, and understand that if we wanted to be liked we wouldn’t be here, doing the ministry of Christ.

When does it become real? What side will you stand on when persecution knocks on your door?

Is Jesus really enough?

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