Saturday, September 11, 2010

DEATH of self -- COUNT the COST

All things i can do through CHRIST Who strengthens me.


The persecution of Christians is religious persecution that CHRISTians sometimes undergo as a consequence of professing their faith, both historically and in the current era. In the two thousand years of the CHRISTian faith, about 70 million believers have been killed for their faith, of whom 45.5 million or 65% were in the twentieth century according to "The New Persecuted" ("I Nuovi Perseguitati"). 200 million CHRISTians are persecuted in the world, especially in Arabia and parts of Asia. (You will be hated by all nations for My name's sake...many will be offended. Matthew 24:9-10a)

Christian Solidarity International. Global reports indicate that over 150,000 CHRISTians were martyred last year, chiefly outside of the United States.

More CHRISTians are in prison or under detention in China than in any other country. House churches (unregistered churches), which make up approximately 90 percent of China’s CHRISTians, endure unimaginable persecution. But they stand by their commitment to preach the gospel, no matter the cost. In Tibet, most of the persecution against CHRISTians comes from militant Tibetan Buddhists.

North Korea is the worst perpetrator of persecution against CHRISTians in the world. CHRISTians must practice their faith in deep secrecy and are in constant danger, but many continue to stand strong under relentless persecution. The government considers CHRISTians to be a stability threat, and they are hunted all over the country. Being a CHRISTian carries a more severe punishment than espionage.

The largest number of CHRISTian worshipers in North Korea exists in concentration camps. In addition, one out of four CHRISTian prisoners are sent to political prison camps where prisoners almost never leave. Experts estimate that of the 200,000 people incarcerated in political prison camps, at least 40,000 are CHRISTians.

Many North Korean CHRISTians have fled to China, where there are an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 North Koreans. The Chinese government offers a bounty for North Korean refugees equal to one year’s salary. When refugees are caught, they are returned to North Korea, where they face torture, imprisonment and often death. This year the UN’s Human Rights Council passed a resolution expressing concern at “ongoing grave, widespread and systematic human rights violations” in North Korea.

Despite this horrific oppression, some CHRISTians have returned to North Korea to share the Gospel. As many as 100,000 are thought to worship secretly. In 2009, the authorities are said to have stepped up their surveillance of CHRISTians, and house searches are said to be more rigorous than in the past. Across North Korea, CHRISTians continue to pray privately for evangelism and unity.

Saudi Arabia is the second most repressive nation in the world for CHRISTians. Converts from Islam to CHRISTianity are rare in this nation. Barriers to spreading the Gospel are intense. Leaving Islam is punishable by death. Anyone who does mission work or converts a Muslim faces jail, expulsion, lashing, torture or execution. Public non-Muslim worship, even for foreign CHRISTians, is prohibited. CHRISTians are regularly imprisoned or deported, and CHRISTian churches are banned.

In Sudan, thirty years of persecution has not stopped the growth of the Sudanese church. Most expatriate missionaries have left, but national leaders remain committed to evangelism. Life continues to be difficult as the country struggles for stability, but pastors are begging for Bibles and CHRISTian training items rather than material aid. Today the great needs in southern Sudan are to build up the faith of new CHRISTians, to help young and old recover from traumatic experiences and to provide a strong CHRISTian foundation for believers.

When teenager Cassie Bernall left home for another day of classes at Columbine High School, she had no idea that she wouldn’t be coming home. Later that day, when an armed schoolmate asked if she believed in GOD, this recently redeemed girl said, “Yes”. That one word, a testament and defense of her faith in the face of grave danger, was the last word that Cassie spoke before being shot to death.

The young brown-eyed girl looked up at her mother. What would she decide? Earlier that morning, the young girl's mother, their pastor, and twenty-six others in her North Korean village of GokSan were bound and taken before a screaming crowd of Communists. One of the guards ordered Pastor Kim and the other CHRISTians, "Deny CHRIST, or you will die." The words chilled her. How could they ask her to deny JESUS? She knew in her heart He was real. They all quietly refused.

Then the Communist guard shouted directly at the adult CHRISTians, "Deny CHRIST, or we will hang your children." The young girl looked up at her mother. She gripped her and knowing how much her mom loved her. Her mother then leaned down. With confidence and peace she whispered, "Today, my love, I will see you in heaven."

All of the children were hanged.

The remaining believers were then brought out onto the pavement and forced to lie down in front of a huge steamroller. The Communists gave them one last chance. "Deny this JESUS or you will be crushed." The CHRISTians had already given up their children; there was no turning back. As the driver started the heavy piece of equipment, the singing from the villagers started softly...

"More love, O CHRIST to Thee, more love to Thee."

The man who was born blind whom JESUS healed was cast out -- unsynagogued -- by the Pharisees (the rulers of traditional Jewish laws). Because the man who was given sight by JESUS believed and worshipped Him as LORD, he was reviled by the Pharisees and no longer permitted to worship in the synagogue or have any part in that society's traditional lifestyle. (John 9, John MacArthur sermon)

Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented... (Hebrews 11:35-37)

Foxe's Book of Martyrs documents the persecution of CHRISTians from the time of the Apostles up to 1819. Many were crucified...many were burned at the stake.

Richard Wurmbrand, the youngest of four boys in a Jewish family, was imprisoned and tortured for 14 years for preaching the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST. Today, The Voice of Martyrs, which he founded in 1967, continues to make people (especially those of the Western countries) aware of the continued persecution of CHRISTians worldwide.

The point of this post is found in Luke 14:28 -- "...don't begin until you count the cost."

GOD the Son fully knew the cost He would pay to be propitiation for our sins. He, through Whom all things were made, Who was in the beginning with GOD the Father, Who is Light and Truth manifest, became lowly flesh, yet remained sinless and perfect. (John 1:1-3)

CHRIST JESUS paid for ALL our sin-debts. He was scourged that we may be healed. He wore the crown of thorns that we may also be glorified with Him in Heaven. He shed His blood so that we may be covered in His righteousness. He experienced the Father's indescribable wrath against sin poured out onto Him so that we may have peace with our Creator. JESUS died a horrific crucifixion that we may live eternally with Him.

CHRIST gave ALL that we may be made new creatures, born again, adopted into the family of the One True Living GOD.

Isn't it reasonable then that we also give our ALL as CHRIST JESUS gave His ALL? All over the world, then and now, followers of CHRIST have been persecuted for their faith in JESUS as the CHRIST, as Savior of the world and the only path to peace with GOD.

Yet, better to count the cost than to start and not finish. (Luke 14:28-32)

JESUS said, "If you want to be My follower you must love Me more than your own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, more than your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be My disciple. And you cannot be My disciple if you do not carry your own cross and follow Me... no one can become My disciple without giving up everything for Me." (Luke 14:26, 27, 33)

Count the cost -- before you commit to JESUS as the Pearl of great price, selling everything you have so you may have the Most Precious One (Matthew 13:46); before you acknowledge that He is your Good Shepherd and that you are mere nearsighted sheep (John 10); before you accept Him as your Passover Lamb so that the Angel of Death -- the Destroyer -- may pass over your sinful soul (Exodus 12:13, 23).

Count the cost -- deny your self...even to the death -- for CHRIST alone is worthy of your all.


  1. One of the best posts I have ever read. Thanks for sharing.
    An eye opener.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to read this post, COVENANT KEEPER. Please share it with those who may not know the extent of the persecution of CHRISTians. Or else direct them to the Voice of Martyrs website. GOD bless you with mightier works!