Monday, March 9, 2009

The Cause of Christ

Yesterday after church, hubs and I were spending a quiet day enjoying lunch when news came over the television that Pastor Fred Winters was shot and killed in Maryville, Illinois.
I haven't seen much being reported on this and can only assume that authorities are still gathering details to determine exactly what happened, but it has really left me contemplating what I am willing to do for the sake of Christ.
There have been martyrs, too many to count ... good and godly men and women who have suffered and died for the cause of Christ.
We have dear friends who have spent their entire life spreading the gospel to the unsaved in countries of North Africa where it is illegal to be a Christian. If the govenment finds you preaching the gospel in these countries, they can throw you in jail or much worse.
Our dear friends have changed their names twice to deter persecution and arrest from those who try to track them down and yet, they continue to serve. They serve faithfully and fearfully because the God we serve is so much bigger than a crazy man with a gun and a bullet, He is so much bigger than a guard at the borders between countries, and so much bigger than the persecution that could one day be waiting for any of us in our own country when it becomes illegal to firmly stand proclaiming Christ as our Savior.
Our dear friend recently sent a newsletter telling how he was taken to an underground church and preached the Word to a body of 45 believers. They were in a building with no doors or windows, yet the room shone brightly with the presence of the Lord and His Word reaching those whose lives have been changed from a radio message reaching them in the far reaches of North Africa.
There are so many modern day Paul's among us - and just like this dear Pastor who lost his life yesterday, lives are transformed and changed by their actions. An entire tribe of Auca Indian headhunters in the jungles of Ecuador were reached with the gospel of Christ back in 1955 - all because of 5 men willing to suffer for the cause of Christ.
I've learned this morning Pastor Winters is a cousin of 2 brothers that attend my church and he had many ties to Kansas City. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of this Pastor - and my heart grieves for them because of the actions of one man but I only pray that God's Will be done.

For who is going to harm you if you are devoted to what is good? But in fact, if you happen to suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. But do not be terrified of them or be shaken. But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. Yet do it with courtesy and respect, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if God wills it, than for doing evil. Because Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, to bring you to God, by being put to death in the flesh but by being made alive in the spirit. For who is going to harm you if you are devoted to what is good? But in fact, if you happen to suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. But do not be terrified of them or be shaken. But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. Yet do it with courtesy and respect, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if God wills it, than for doing evil. Because Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, to bring you to God, by being put to death in the flesh but by being made alive in the spirit. 1 Peter 3:13-18

6 comments:

Snugglebug Blessings said...

I had not heard about this until I read your blog. How sad. I'm so afraid that this will continue because evil is pushing as hard as it can against good and God. We so need to stand fast and lift each other daily in prayer for strength and endurance to the end. Thanks for letting us know Cookie.

Blessings,

Cathy

UPON A HILL said...

Your very same thoughts are in many our hearts. We have to stand strong in the coming days ahead.
Arise , shine, for your light has come, & the glory of the LORD rises above you. See, darkness covers the earth & thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you & HIS glory appears over you.

plain*worker*primitives said...

Yes, I heard this news.. I am keeping Dr. Winter's family and church family in my prayers. Also, your friends.

hugs,
melissa

Countryfolk Keepsakes said...

Such heart breaking news! I continue to pray for the pastor's family and his congregation.
I agree, we have to stand strong in the coming days ahead...

~Peanut

Janelle said...

Great post Cookie -
Our God IS bigger than all these things - we can't always understand why things happen, but we can rest in the knowledge that He is and always will be on the throne...
I believe as the times are continually getting more and more evil at an ever increasing rate of speed, we will probably see more of this kind of thing happen, but Jesus told us that when we see these things, to LOOK UP - for our redemption draws near! :)

Janelle

~Star Spangled Pretties~ said...

I just found your blog.Oh my gosh- the poor family of that pastor! How sad! I really liked what you had to say about the Lord....very, very true...thank you! :0)

-Jody