To Live & Die for Christ

I was taught the pledge of allegiance at the age of 5 as well as the pledge to the Christian flag that sounds similar but is really completely different. . .so which was I supposed to really be standing for?

In that same time frame I was healed by Jesus in a dream of my partial-deafness that caused my speech to replicate what I heard (which was extremely muffled and low-tonal and nothing like what “normal” people hear or sound like).  Therefore, some of the first things I learned to say and was taught to think were the following: To do as the “Romans” (Americans) do while living as Jesus wanted.   Jesus came into my life FIRST, and I should have gone to Him before doing what society had in store for me.

Let’s look back at the Romans of Jesus’ day for a minute.  They were highly regarded with their great Roman pride. Americans highly regard themselves today.  Romans thought they were the best and most blessed people.  Americans tend to have that same mindset.

newtribesmission

I was taught (by those calling themselves Christians) that immigrants were less than me and shouldn’t be in our country, even though my great-grandparents on my dad’s side were from Ireland and France and my great-great-great grandparents came from all over the place on my Mom’s side – all once immigrants.  It seemed as a child that it was okay for Americans to travel wherever they wanted, but God-forbid anyone outside of our nation comes here without knowing English.  They aren’t as worthy.  While The Bible tells me, “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” -Exodus 22:21

Jesus Himself did not belong to this world! He created it, but came down into it and served others even though He is King! In fact we are told in John 15 that we are not of this world as His children.  Therefore we must show kindness to all people no matter where they come from and accept being hated for being from outside of this world; of God’s kingdom!
 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.  But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.” -John 15:18-21

I grew up in two churches that seemed to be all about missionary work, but when missionaries came to speak about their work, they never seemed like the rest of the people I ever knew.  There was a huge difference between their stories of “the church”, where it seemed that they were living out the teachings of Jesus, and the way I was raised in “the church” (far too comfortable in comparison).  My soul has always eaten up missionary stories and I am so glad to know many who are missionaries today.  When my own uncle and his family were missionaries in Colombia to tell the gospel to unreached tribes, it was so different to me.  It made no sense that they lived outside of everything I was taught.

After my uncle was killed, family members started to complain that my uncle KNEW he was going to die. They felt he betrayed them. They were surprised.  As far as I remembered in reading the Bible, we are to understand that it is definitely possible that you’ll die in the mission field.   Isn’t that how soldiers in the military train too?  People accept the training and death of a worldly soldier but not a godly one?

The question of loyalties and where mine stood, always came at play in my head.  People made a huge deal about my dad being a war veteran (I admit, lately it has been irritating me how often people pump up his being a veteran).  Many consider him a hero.  As a young girl, I compared two different soldiers on a regular basis and their lives.  My dad lived like the world in my own presence. My uncle stood out as someone who was humble and kind and preached the gospel and was beautiful inside that is showed out of his eyes.  My dad had so much anger, never taught me about Jesus by word of mouth or by example, never spent time with me, and had darkness in his eyes.  He was a church go-er, but not a church live-er. When my uncle would come to visit family members, it seemed he would go out of his way to spend time with the children, rather than the adults.  Perhaps he had a hard time around adults who weren’t willing to discuss Christ, but were just set into society.  I am unsure.  He was the acting principal of missionary kids where they were in Bogota (because no one else seemed up for the job), so perhaps it was just his heart was for the youth.

UncleTim

My last memory spent with him was when he came alone without his family visiting my family right before he was kidnapped.  I was probably 9 or 10 and my mom (who was his sister) and dad were excited that they were going to spend time with him alone. Instead, he played basketball with my one older brother and me (my other brother was in college). He talked to me and showed so much love through asking me questions and getting to know me. My own father wouldn’t ever do that.  It blessed me so much.  My dad killed many people in Vietnam.  My uncle’s body showed visible signs of torture from the 17 months he had spent in captivity.  He didn’t kill his captors, but all I think about in the many times I’ve had dreams of my uncle, is him laughing with the men (he was a very funny man) and telling them he (and Jesus) loved them with every painful act done to him.  There have been ex-guerrillas who have come out to proclaim the gospel of Christ, giving up their lives, and many times I wonder if my uncle told them about Jesus. My dad didn’t even get to know his enemies other than where they were stationed so he could shoot them out, while my uncle wanted to get to know his enemies peacefully and love them as himself, so much so that he did not fight when they took him hostage (and he was probably double their height – as he was maybe 6’7″ – yes, really tall).  My dad was upset when I told him I wouldn’t want his medals after he died (he asked me if I’d take them) & I told him to give them to one of my brothers who would probably appreciate them.  My dad (unfortunately) has left no legacy with me yet (I love my dad, just saying how it is).  My uncle left one and I want to live life as he did, which was just doing what Jesus stated (since Jesus is the ULTIMATE hero of heroes with the greatest legacy of all time)!

Family_0004There are no greater heroes than missionaries and than someone who lays their life down for the sake of the gospel of Christ; not one who lays down his life for his country (though I understand that they believe they are doing the greatest duty, and I have known many many many people who have served in the military, or are still currently serving).  God is far greater than country.  God created all people.  We are told to go into all the world to preach to all people and to show love to them (baptizing and discipling them so they can do the same work).  Jesus laid down His life for us when He could have destroyed anyone who tried to touch Him with just a word. He created them and loved them still while they (and we) were brutally murdering Him.  Aren’t we to be willing to do the same as He did for us? His disciples endured it, and considering they KNEW Jesus in person while also having HIS Spirit inside of them, I’d trust that they did the best thing as well.

Why is it that there are far more people (Christians included) in our society to praise and admire and thank soldiers of country and it seems like no one seems to thank the missionaries?  There are loads of people each day signing up to “defend their country”, but how many are signing up to “live and die for Jesus” on the mission field?  I am rewiring my entire love to be for ALL nations and ALL people.  I mourn when I hear of the destruction done to ALL sides in wars.  I will not stand for the murders of people whom we are meant to show the love of Christ to in sharing the gospel to them as servants. Christ came to us, instead of wiping us out.  We are to share our love to our enemies.  We are to show compassion to a people who might seem to not want any part of Christ.  My life has changed because of Jesus.  My trust and life are His.

My husband was telling me the other day something that was so interesting.  If David Wilkerson decided to not go into meet a bunch of gang members from two different gangs and went with knives to defend himself, how much different would his story have been? He went in with nothing but Christ.  He had the powerful weapons of prayer to get him through it. He put his trust in Jesus.  Could they have killed him? Absolutely.  He didn’t go in with guns trying to wipe them out for the crimes they committed, but instead offered the Word of God to people who were lost and “unreachable”. That must have been so difficult to do!  The gospel of Christ is only going to affect the people that you try to get to know while working along side of them to help them.  Murdering people won’t end violence and war,  it just makes more people angrier and wanting to spread more bloodshed. Only Jesus has the power to change others when His words penetrates their souls!

“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’  To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” -Romans 12:17-21

[Note: My own personal experience with a former soldier in the military doesn’t reflect how all soldiers are. I have known some very wonderful soldiers who love their kids and spend much time with them]


[Photo #1 is from New Tribes Mission – which is what my uncle was involved in.  Photo #2 & #3 are of my uncle – the first of him is holding a Colombian child. The second of him is when he visited my family when I was about 7 and dressed as a tribal man from Colombia to explain the work they were doing there]

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