Bruised and Broken

Martyrs Throughout History

JIM ELLIOT, PETER FLEMING, ED MCCULLY, NATE SAINT & ROGER YOUDERIAN

Ecuador 1956

Missionaries who were killed while attempting to evangeluze to the Auca tribe. Several years later, family members returned to the same savage tribe and spread the Gospel of Love.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.

USA 1968

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated,is stronger than evil tiumphing.” Assassinated for his stand on civil rights.

DIETRICH BONHOEFFER

GERMANY 1945

“The Church has an unconditional obligation to the victims of any ordering of society. There are things for which an uncompromising stand is worthwhile.” Hanged for resisting the Nazis.

APOSTLE PETER

ROME AD 64

“But even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” Crucified upside down.

JOHN MARK

EGYPT AD 64

Writer of the Gospel of Mark, Heathen priests hated the hope and freedom that John Mark preached. So they stormed the church during one of his sermons, tied his body with a rope, snagged his body with hooks and dragged him throughout the town, leaving him for dead on the streets.

JAMES JEDA

SUDAN 1998

After watching his whole family murdered by Islamic soldiers, 9 years old Jeda was thrown into a fire by refusing to recant his belief in Jesus. He miraculously escaped from the fire.

RICHARD & SABINA WURMBRAND

ROMANIA 1940’S

A Jewish couple who reached out to Nazi fugitives after the fall of Berlin, even though they had lost most of their families to the concentration camps. Richard spent 14 years and Sabina 3 years being tortured in Communist prisons. Ransomed to the West and founded Voice of the Martyrs.

SUNDARS SINGH

TIBET AND INDIA 1929

Singh grew up in a Hindu family but encountered Jesus Himself at the age of 16. He lived his life in poverty traveling across rough terrain spreading the Gospel and received much persecution from Tibetan monks. SIngh disappeared heading back into Tibet.

WATCHMAN NEE

CHINA 1972

“Christ is the Son” of God Who died for the redemption of sinners and was resurrected after three days. This is the greatest truth in the universe. I die because of my belief in Christ.” Imprisoned for 15 years by Chinese Communists, died in confinement.

PAUL MIKI

JAPAN 1597

A native of Japan and son of an esteemed military soldier, Miki gave up a prestigious military career to spread the Gospel of Jesus. Became the most effective evangelist at that time in Japan. Was crucified with 25 other Christian in Nagasaki.

500 CHRISTIAN VILLAGERS OF KASIUI

INDONESIA 2000

Attacked and forced by radical Muslims to convert to Islam. Their homes were burned and men, women and children were made to suffer circumcision with a simple razor blade.


Accounts taken from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (2001 ED).

And Jesus Freaks Vol. 1 and 2 (1999 & 2002).

Excerpt from Signet Ring Magazine Suffering Issue.

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Brighter Than Sunshine

To the weary or broken hearted,

Throughout my life I have learned to trust the Lord and rely on His strength.  Reading God’s word daily and listening to Christian music, helps me draw closer to the Lord.  One of the most important things is that others Christians are praying and encouraging me.   I know that with God’s strength I can get through any trials that come into my life.  Keep your eyes on the Lord! 

Love,

Bekah

bekah-with-brothers-johnny-and-steven-at-uno-grillI had the privilege to meet and converse with Rebekah Fleming at Panera Cafe in Salisbury, MD.  John and Patricia Fleming, her mom and dad, were feeding Rebekah her dinner and if she needed a drink, they raised up the glass for her to take a sip.  Rebekah has spina bifida, a congenital defect of the spine.

In babies with spina bifida, a portion of the neural tube and one or more vertebrae fails to develop or close properly, leaving the spinal cord exposed.  Spina bifida occurs early in the womb and progresses toward one of three levels of severity, the most severe resulting in paralysis of lower extremities, hydrocephalus, and learning disabilities.  Every day, about eight babies born in the United States have spina bifida or a similar birth defect of the brain and spine.

Rebekah was a beam of sunshine, I could tell she liked to smile.  There was an unwavering confidence in her demeanor and during our conversation I received a glimpse of the reason for the hope and boldness behind her smile.   Her testimony exudes an unwavering faith in Jesus Christ.  Rebekah’s father grew up in a Christian home, and with her parent’s guidance she accepted Jesus into her heart at the tender age of 5.

bekah-at-niagara-fallsWhen meeting a Christian individual with a handicap, many people wonder, “How can you possibly be this joyful and confident in the promises of the Lord with your current circumstance?”  Rebekah’s answer: “It is for God’s glory. God is in control and He knows what He is doing.”  And this genuinely reflects her favorite verse, Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

Rebekah has a relationship with the Father that cannot be shaken.  Often in our own lives, when we face hardships and trials, we throw up our hands to God and automatically ask “Why?”  But Rebekah’s faith is solid, she is clothed in humility.  And her’s is a humility not ordinarily seen in a culture of independence and self-obsession where narcissism is lauded rather than a bold confidence in the Lord God.  I aspire to be as unmoved in my faith as she is.

The effects of spina bifida requires Rebekah to get surgery any time she grows in height.  Needless to say, at the age of 22, she has been through multiple surgeries.  But each time just before these invasive surgeries begin is when she feels the undeniable peace of the Comforter.  A peace, she says, that washes over her and assures her of an acceptance of either of two outcomes-   Jesus welcoming her at the doors of heaven, or returning home with her family. She truly knows and lives out the fact that neither death nor life shall separate us from the love of Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38).

bekah-with-family-at-disneyRebekah laughed often throughout our conversation.  Her smile is bright and she is easily amused, especially at the humor of her brothers and uncles! Always desiring to lift up those who are in sorrow, she is routinely grinning at strangers.  I can imagine Jesus doing the same as He drew people to Himself.  And this is what God is revealing to Rebekah: He is the reason for her smile and He is using her joy to show others His glory!

You will not find disappointment or bitterness in her voice, only joyful praise to her Savior. Her gratitude is contagious when she glorifies God for the blessing of her family and all of the people helping to raise money for “Blessings for Bekah,” a facebook group dedicated to fundraising events.

So what does the future hold for Rebekah?  In waiting for God’s direction, it is certain that her faith and influence will grow.  She will sing praise to her God as long as she lives, and there will be many that meet her for the first time and see someone in need of healing but will themselves then be healed as they encounter Rebekah’s beautiful and prayerful heart.

He gives strength to the weary                                                                                                               and increases the power of the weak.                                                                                               Even youths grow tired and weary,                                                                                                               and young men stumble and fall;                                                                                                                 but those who hope in the Lord                                                                                                                   will renew their strength.                                                                                                                     They will soar on wings like eagles;                                                                                                             they will run and not grow weary,                                                                                                                 they will walk and not be faint.

ISAIAH 40:29-31

By: Joyce Birch

Excerpt from Signet Ring Magazine Suffering Issue.