Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

Posts tagged ‘martyr’

The World Was Not Worthy of Them

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Photo courtesy of historic.brussels on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Over the past few months, I have been reading accounts of Christians in the Middle East, Asia, India and Africa who are being killed for their faith in Jesus. As I read through II Chronicles 24 the other day, I read about what appears to be the first martyr, a man named Zechariah, son of Jehoiada the Jewish high priest, who lived during the end of the reign of Joash. All stories of martyrdom are sad, but this seems to mark a turn for the worst in the life on Joash, who was crowned king of Judah at the age of seven and spent the better part of his life serving God and rebuilding the Temple.

Apparently, after Jehoiada died, Joash lost his way and allowed idol worship in Judah. The Bible says that “wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem because of their trespasses,” (II Chronicles 24:18b) and that God sent prophets to them to try and bring them back to Him, but they would not listen. after that, Zechariah boldly stood before the people and told them that the source of their troubles was because they had forsaken God. This led to Joash ordering his death, in the Temple! Jesus even mentioned this tragic murder in Matthew 23:35. What stands out about this first Biblical account of martyrdom is that it was ordained by a good king gone bad and carried out by Zechariah’s own countrymen.

While it is impossible to know how many faithful men and women have been martyred since Zechariah’s time, the fact is that it still happens today. Hebrews 11:35-38 discusses the fate of some of the martyrs and then beautifully summarizes those who made the ultimate sacrifice: “The world was not worthy of them.” (Hebrews 11:38a, NIV) We need to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who are suffering right now for their faith in Christ and remember the example of those who have gone before us, faithfully serving God to the very end.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

Yes, He Did!

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-By Lisa Nordell-Detres

For nearly two thousand years, Christians have been celebrating Good Friday and Easter. One event, the execution of an innocent man, happens all too often while the other event only happened once. Two thousand years later, Jesus Christ is still the topic of much discussion and misunderstanding. Regardless of your personal opinion about Jesus, this man has some serious staying power!

“Who do men say that I am?” Jesus asked His followers. People still entertain that question today. For those who think that Jesus was a great teacher, you are right. Jesus taught the law of love, He taught the golden rule. Jesus also taught that He was one with God the Father and that He (Jesus) was the only way to get to God. Yes, He taught that. Some people think that Jesus was a prophet. They are also right; He prophesied that He would be crucified and then rise from the dead three days later. All of His prophesies came true with the exception of those that referred to the end of the world. Yes, Jesus accurately prophesied his own death, burial and resurrection.

Many people can’t believe that Jesus came back from the dead, but there is more than enough evidence to support this fact. There were hostile witnesses, the Roman Guards who were bribed to make up a story about what happened to Jesus’ body (Matthew 28:11-15). There were hundreds of eye witnesses to the risen Jesus (I Corinthians 15:3-8); even one of His own followers, Thomas, could not believe until he had seen Jesus alive (John 20:24-29).

Jesus changed peoples’ lives. Billions of lives, starting with His own followers, who cowered in an upper room after His death but then a few weeks later for the rest of their lives, boldly preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ. All but one were martyred for their faith in Christ. Despite the forces that have stood to exterminate Christians from early Rome until the worldwide persecution that millions of Christians face today, the Church continues to grow because Jesus is still changing lives. Yes, He does! If you let Him in, He will gently and lovingly change your life. Yes, He will!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

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