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Devotional green pasture peaceful

Green Pastures
Weekly Devotional

At what Cost?

The church was full when a masked man barged into the church sanctuary, pulled a weapon, and
began shooting at random. He aimed at one young man and asked him to renounce his faith in
Christ. The young man would not.

“Even if it costs you your life?” But the young man stood tall. He would not renounce his

What about your mother’s life? If you do not renounce your God, I will kill your mother. Just
say it! Tell me you do not believe!”
“I do believe!”
The gunman grabbed the mother by the arm and pulled her close to himself.
“No!” the young man screamed. “Take me. Leave her alone – take me!”
“No, you lost your chance. This is not negotiable!”

Still the young man did not back down. He simply said, “I love you, Mom, but I love Jesus
more.” He fully expected her to be shot. Instead, the gunman turned and walked out the door.
Although the young man did not know it, it was a staged event. (I wonder if that young man
ever forgave his pastor) The pastor had arranged it to get the people in his church to realize that
following Christ could be very costly. But how do we count the cost in advance when we do not
know what price will be exacted from us in the end? The answer is that we assume the cost
could be everything we have, love, and hold on to – even our lives.

What if, as in the example above, it meant your life if you did not renounce your faith in
Jesus? The apostle Paul wrote “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even
better.” (Philippians 1:21)

Perhaps you do not put such a high value on your own life, but what about the life of your child,
your parent? What price to follow Jesus? There is no cost you can pay for following Jesus that
won't be made up a thousand fold in the resurrection. Again, in the words of Apostle Paul, who
was a very “religious” man before he became a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ: “I was

so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law
without fault. and become one with him. “I once thought these things were valuable, but now
I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless
when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have
discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.”
(Philippians 3:6-8)

That is not an easy stand to take. Eventually Paul did pay with his life, as did the other disciples
of Jesus.

Although the situation I related at the beginning was fabricated, it does happen many times over
in many parts of the world. I am reminded of five missionaries who were martyred in Ecuador
by the Auca Indians, the very people they wanted to reach with the gospel. Although those men
were killed, there is a wonderful continuation of that story, and it would be worth your while to
do some research on it.

It is illegal in many countries to be a Christian, to read a bible, or preach the gospel. Yet
Christians continue to study the word of God and preach the love of Christ. To proclaim their
faith means they will pay the price – imprisonment and often death.
But being martyred for one’s faith does not happen just in other countries. It happens here in
North America as well.

Cassie Bernall was a young high school student attending Columbine High School in Colorado
when a gunman entered the school and began shooting. Cassie was a devout follower of Jesus
and when the young man with the gun asked her if she was a Christian, without hesitation and
with great conviction she replied, “Yes, I am!” She was immediately shot and killed.
To be honest, there are some who prefer to be “silent Christians”. They hesitate to let it be
known that they are followers of Christ. Fear of ridicule, loss of a relationship or a job, or much
worse could be the price they might pay.
After the sermon the morning of the gunman’s fake attack, (the pastor had a very attentive
congregation that day), the pastor asked, “Would you give your life to follow Him, as He gave
His life to save you? I imagine there was some genuine soul searching that morning.
I have examined my own heart in this matter, and I would like to think I would take the high
road and stay true to Christ. Yet if faced with the death of a loved one, what would I do? How
about you? Can we say, with great assurance the words of Paul, “For to me, living means
living for Christ, and dying is even better.” (Philippians 1:21)?
B. Klassen

Recommended: google the life of a Russian Christian named Dimitri. Very inspiring!!

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