Timothy and Maura

“Tell him, Timothy, please!” Maura pleaded with her husband. “Tell the governor where the scriptures are hidden and be free! I cannot bear to watch any more of this.” Timothy and Maura, residents of the Roman providence of Mauritania, had been married only a few short weeks before their arrest.

Timothy had refused the governor’s demand, and Maura had watched in horror as Roman soldiers burned out his eyes with hot irons. Now Timothy was hanging upside down, with a weight hanging around his neck. As Timothy waited for his gag to be removed, the fear that he had felt at his arrest was replaced with divine calm.

But then, instead of renouncing his faith and disclosing the location of his church’s copies of the scriptures as the soldiers expected, Timothy scolded his young wife. “Do not let your love for me come before your love for Christ,” he urged her. Seeing her husband’s courage, Maura’s own resolve was strengthened. Enraged by Timothy’s refusal and Maura’s newfound courage, Governor Arrianus sentenced them to the harshest tortures of the Roman world. Yet, they refused to break and deny Christ. Eventually, they were crucified, side by side.

Jon Lugajanu

A young believer in Eastern Europe, had been arrested and imprisoned for being a Christian. Returning to his cell after the court hearing to determine his sentence, other prisoners asked him what happen. Jon answered, “It was just like the day the angel visited Mary, the mother of Jesus. Here she was, a godly young women sitting alone in meditation, when a radiant angel of God told her the incredible news. She would carry the Son of God in her womb.” Wondering how Jon’s words would relate to his court appearance, the prisoners listened closely. Jon continued to tell the story of Jesus and to clearly present the gospel. He concluded by saying, “Mary knew once she was in heaven, she would be with Jesus again and experience eternal joy.” Puzzled the prisoners reminded him they asked him what had happened in court. Jon, his face shining, replied, “I was given the death penalty, isn’t that beautiful news?”

A Crippled Army Against the Canaanites

Consider the second generation of Israel, after the Exodus. God would take a people, unskilled in the art of war, into a land that was inhabited with powerful enemies, and drive them out. But weak as Israel was, God would weaken the nation still further: not while they were on the Eastern side of Jordan in relative safety, but after they had crossed over and had encamped right opposite Jericho, God commanded that all the young men in the nation were to be circumcised. And all at one time. Thus all the armies of Israel, weak as they were, were for a time completely incapacitated and left totally exposed to the enemies in the land. With what result? The terror of the Lord gripped the inhabitants of Jericho, and they locked and barred the gates in fear of the miracle-working God of Israel.

Again, consider their war tactics. Priests in white robes and carrying a little box covered with gold, and blowing trumpets… marching about Jericho every day… and on the seventh day going about seven times. Foolishness? But God used this kind of foolishness and weakness to terrify the enemy and to cause the walls of Jericho to fall flat.

-George Warnock

Way of the Cross

The way UP is DOWN…
The way OVER is UNDER…
The way to SUCCESS is through FAILURE…
The way to true PROSPERITY is through spiritual BANKRUPTCY…
The way to the true RICHES, is through POVERTY…
The way to VICTORY, is through DEFEAT…
The way to LIFE, is through DEATH.


And therefore, for the people of the UPWARD WAY God has set before us a very clear pattern and example:


“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God (Or, ‘He did not consider that equality with God was something He should grasp after’): but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:5-9).

-George Warnock (Beauty for Ashes Part 1)

Brother Billy

Somalia might be the most dangerous place in the world. Decades of conflict have gutted the country’s infrastructure. Somalia’s economy ranks dead last among all nations, and it isn’t a matter of if you will experience a terrorist attack but when.

Billy was born into a religious family in Mogadishu. His father was a tribal and religious leader who had memorized the entire Koran. Out of curiosity, Billy started studying an English Bible alongside his Koran. After three years of study, he converted to Christianity. He learned a lot from Christian radio broadcasts from the Seychelles and Kenya, and it was on the radio that he first heard the voice of another Somali who was a Christian.

Billy’s family threatened him when he confessed his new faith. That was when he first began to understand the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 3:12: “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

Six years after his conversion, Billy met his first Christian Somali. Together, as underground Christians, they gathered fourteen believers and started an underground church. A year later, Muslims discovered the growing Christian community and started persecution in earnest.

One of their church members, Liibaan, now a famed Somali martyr, was the first to be murdered. Then a doctor who attended the church was shot to death. An educator was kidnapped and executed. A Christian man and his Muslim wife were executed together in their bedroom. Another church member was taken off a bus and executed in broad daylight.

Twelve in all were murdered. None of the murderers were ever prosecuted.

Today, just two members have survived out of the original church of fourteen—Billy and one other. Billy escaped many attempts on his life before moving to another country. From that base, he travels in and out of Somalia, planting and nurturing underground house churches. No longer are there only fourteen Christians in Mogadishu. The church is quietly growing, partly because of the testimony of those twelve who died for Christ.

Dying to Self by Bill Britton

DYING TO SELF

When you are forgotten, or neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don’t sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ.

THAT IS DYING TO SELF

When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient, loving silence.

THAT IS DYING TO SELF

When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any impunctuality, or any annoyance; when you stand face-to- face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility and endure it as Jesus endured.

THAT IS DYING TO SELF

When you are content with any food, any offering, any climate, any society, any raiment, any interruption by the will of God.

THAT IS DYING TO SELF

When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works, or itch after commendations, when you can truly love to be unknown.

THAT IS DYING TO SELF

When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances.

THAT IS DYING TO SELF

When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart.

THAT IS DYING TO SELF

Are you dead yet? In these last days, the Spirit would bring us to the cross.

“That I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” Phil.3:10

Written by Bill Britton