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This week on “Reaching Your World with Luis Palau” Luis shares inspiring stories of Christians who have gone before us. You will hear stories of faith lived out during difficult times, about martyrs, and about the power of our faith. We hope the stories shared this week will offer you encouragement as you continue living out your faith. That’s all this week on “Reaching Your World with Luis Palau.”
Solomon tells us that there is nothing new under the sun and he is right. When you read the book of Proverbs you see just how relevant those words of wisdom are today. Adultery? Debt? Unhappy marriages? Difficult children? Noisy neighbors? Economic problems? The Proverbs address all of these relevant subjects and so many more. Isn’t it amazing how it seems that everything changes and yet everything remains the same? It is for this reason, especially, that I think we have to learn from the past if we are going to reach our world. We must learn from the past so we don’t repeat the same mistakes of those who have gone before us. And we have to learn from the past so we can possibly repeat some of the successes of those who have gone before us.
For me, I like to read biographies, beside the Bible. I like the stories of Charles Finney, and Dwight Moody, and John Wesley, and George Whitfield, and George Mueller, and Charles Spurgeon. Pick up a book about one of these men who served Christ and made history, and you’ll be so motivated.
In Deuteronomy we read, “Remember the days of old, consider the years of all generations…” Let’s learn from the past so we can effectively reach our world now and into the future. This is Luis Palau.
One of the most popular attractions to visit in Rome is of course the Colosseum. Some may just admire the beauty of the ancient architecture, but history tells a darker story. The brutality that served as entertainment in that place is difficult to stomach. Thousands were killed for sport. Many of them Christians. And when I have stood in the Colosseum I am reminded of those great Christians who died for their faith. And how much we owe them! They passed the faith forward for generations. And I wonder- what will future generations think when they look back on us? Will we have done our part to pass on the faith? To stand firm even unto death?
In Hebrews we read, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” In my case, we have tried to train evangelists in the USA – hundreds of them – in Latin America, and in Europe. Training them and leaving behind well-trained, Gospel-preaching evangelists that could, for generations to come, spread the Good News of Jesus. You do your part, and I’ll do mine. This is Luis Palau
Tertullian wrote that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. And you know, when we remember the saints who have gone before us, and the faith that sustained them through unimaginable persecution, we can be encouraged in our own faith. Justin Martyr was one example of a persecuted Christian we can look to. He was an early Christian apologist who was told that if he did not sacrifice to idols, he would be tortured and killed. Instead of changing his tune to appeal to the people who were threatening him, Justin replied, “That is our desire, to be tortured for Our Lord, Jesus Christ…” The martyrs all said, “Do as you wish; for we are Christians, and we do not sacrifice to idols…”
Ultimately, Justin and many others have been killed for their faith in Christ. In the year 165, he was beheaded for Jesus Christ and His Gospel. And you know when I remember these situations, I am reminded of the greatness of the Gospel that we possess. The Good News is worth everything. Even death!
Jesus says if we lose our life we will find it. Have you found true life in Christ? Share it with a friend today. It is the most glorious truth the world has ever heard. This is Luis Palau.
Andrew was the first disciple to be called by Jesus Christ. And as the Scriptures tells us, he immediately left his nets and followed Jesus. What some listening may be unfamiliar with, is Andrew’s death. Valerius Herberger writes of Andrew and the early disciples, “To them, Jesus is now the most precious one on earth- according to His mind they learn, according to His words they teach, according to His will they live, according to His decree they suffer and die.
When St. Andrew was threatened with the cross, he said joyfully, ‘If I feared the punishment of the cross, I would never have preached the mystery of the cross.’ Then when he saw the cross, he spoke, ‘Hail, precious cross, you who were dedicated by the body of Christ; may He receive me through you, who redeemed me through you.’ And when he was living after three days on the cross, his hearers wanted to take him down by force, but he said, ‘Ah, let God take care of it! Do not make the peace of the Gospel suspect by your unnecessary revolt against the government.’ That was apostolic constancy and long-suffering!
This is what it means to ‘leave everything and follow Christ,’ all the way to the last catch of fish!” Wow. What a testimony. I pray it encourages you to reach your world powerfully today. This is Luis Palau
Ambrose of Milan is an interesting figure in church history. He was born into a Roman Christian family and following his education he entered the world of politics. He would eventually serve as governor, and finally as Bishop of Milan. During his time as bishop there was great tension caused by the Arian sect- those who denied the trinity. He stood fast against the Arians’ great political and military power. When a large number of leaders banded together and demanded that Ambrose surrender several of Milan’s congregations to the Arian philosophy, he said, “If you demand my person, I am ready to submit: carry me to prison or to death, I will not resist; but I will never betray the church of Christ… I will die at the foot of the altar rather than desert it.”
The faith and boldness of Ambrose in the face of persecution is an inspiration for those of us who claim the name of Christ today. Am I willing to stand for truth? In the book of Acts we read that St. Paul, “proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!” Let us all speak with boldness and without hindrance today. This is Luis Palau