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Friday, April 8, 2016
"Being an 'N' Christian"
Message Summary: Today let us, like Peter, again hear and heed the words Christ spoke, "Follow me." We are all called to follow. Let's do it, regardless of the cost! Are you prepared to an 'N' Christian?
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"'I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.' Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then He said to him, 'Follow me'" (John 21:18,19).
This week I read an article about N Christians. Have you ever heard of that term? Here's a description from The Voice Of The Martyrs website, "In northern Iraq, radical Muslims (ISIS) spray-painted the Arabic letter ن, or “N” on the homes and businesses of Christians. (Such as seen on the photo). The property owners were publicly identified as Christ-followers and given a choice to convert to Islam, leave or die. The courageous believers refused to deny their faith, and more than 100,000 fled with little more than the clothes on their backs."
The ن stands for Nasara or Nazarenes, a pejorative Arabic word for Christians.
It is a regular practice in our home to remember the persecuted Christians. We often do so when we express thanks to God and count our blessings.
Our daily text is the final recorded personal exchange between Christ and Peter prior to Christ's ascension to heaven. Jesus told Peter how he was going to die.
I wonder how Jesus' blunt and detailed revelation of truth might have affected Peter. Here he is, gloriously restored after his ignominious denial. He's ready to take on the world. But our Lord's final words to him were in regard to the troubling manner in which he would one day die! Yet Peter went on to live and faithfully minister for Christ another 30 years before he was crucified upside down (as tradition asserts).
Consider how the knowledge of his future death might have crippled him. He could have become an emotional basket case! But there is no hint in his apostolic preaching recorded in Acts or in his two epistles of this being a factor at all. In fact he never mentions it.
I wonder about this when I read the account of his imprisonment in Acts 12. His long-time friend and fellow apostle, James, had just been beheaded and Peter surely knew that Herod was in a killing spree mood. Yet he is soundly sleeping when the angel awakened him for his deliverance. Perhaps he had laid down his head and reasoned, "I'm not old yet so the death Jesus foretold will not take place at this time."
The purpose of this revelation to Peter was that he might know the way in which he would glorify God in his death. Consider people who have glorified God in their death. I'm inspired each time I read of Stephen's bold proclamation of faith at the very time of his stoning. Some of the greatest stories ever passed down are of those who remained faithful in their final hour, whether it was suffering at the hands of other people or suffering from the pain of death.
When I read their stories I'm all the more determined to remain true no matter the difficulties I might endure before I transition to the other side. It seems to me the right outlook is seeing death as merely God's appointed means of transition from this life to the next. Surely this is a time when we can, as believers, indeed glorify God. Quite frankly as I see current conditions it seems that various types of persecution, and even death hitherto unknown in America, may be coming. Am I prepared to be an 'N' Christian?
Today let us, like Peter, again hear and heed the words Christ spoke, "Follow me." We are all called to follow. Let's do it, regardless of the cost! Are you prepared to an 'N' Christian?
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Jesus, help me to determine in my heart that Your words, "Follow Me" will far surpass the importance of any other mission I am called to in my life time. I pray that my goals, achievements, and ambitions do not conflict with the major calling but further establish for me a firm foundation where my faith will grow and where I bring glory to Your name, both in life and in death. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Follow Me" Video Kelly Willard
"I Am N" N Christians
"I Am N" Video
"For the Sake of the Call" Video Steven Curtis Chapman This video has stunning video in the background.
On a lighter note.
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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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