A fascinating story of the Church in Russia has been passed on from one generation to the next. It occurred one Sunday as believers met in a house church. The small fellowship gathered together and began to sing their favorite hymns quietly but fervently. Suddenly, two soldiers walked into their midst with loaded weapons and began shouting. “If you wish to renounce your commitment to Christ and live, leave now!”

Two left. Then another. Finally, two more.

Closing the door, the officer snapped with the voice of a commanding officer, “Keep your hands up - but this time in praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We, too, are Christians.”

The other officer then added, “We’ve learned by our experiences that unless people are willing to die for their faith, they cannot be fully trusted.”

Nearing the end of his life, Paul often spoke of his loyalty and commitment to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Through shipwrecks and imprisonments, disappointed by “best-friends and once fellow-servants,” abandoned by his colleagues and followers when facing death, he remained committed. He had achieved high status in the Roman world, but one day realized that it offered nothing in comparison to what he discovered in Christ. He was willing to suffer and die for his Lord because he knew what mattered most: “For to me, living means Christ!”

Prayer:  Our Father, we may never be called upon to suffer for You, and we may never need to sacrifice anything we value, but help us to be willing to do so if asked. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. 2 Timothy 4:5-8

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