So, you want to be a tool for God?

christian-persecution-begins

I have heard people say to me that they want to be a tool in the service of God.  I have to wonder if some of these really consider exactly what they are saying.  Many say it but let them wake up on Sunday morning with a headache and see where it leads.  There are many that dry swallow a couple of aspirins and go on, but there is some that if the wind is blowing the wrong direction it is time to stay at home.  I was looking in the scriptures to see how the Lord talked about being a tool, servant, or how ever else you would like to say it and I ran across Matthew 24 which is a very challenging section of scripture because no one “wants” to face those times but scripture doesn’t say it like it will be a choice unless you denounce Christ.

Specifically in Matthew 24:9-14 it says:

   9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Then in the book of ACTS 9:10-16 it shows two that are chosen “tools” of God:
10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”  
(yes it is ok to question God)
15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

Now let’s consider what happens when you use a tool.  Every time you use a hammer when you hit the nail, the nail also hits the hammer.  Every time you use a saw to cut wood there is much friction generated against the saw.  Every time you use a crowbar there is major torque (tension) created in making the crowbar do its job.  Go to any good carpenter’s tool box and pick up the hammer and look at the face of the hammer.  If it has been used there are pits, scars, and indentions on the face from where the nail has hit the hammer.  Then look at the saw, if it has been used the blade and teeth of the saw are shiny where the friction had been generated.  Next look at a screwdriver at the end sometimes you’ll see the end is twisted from the strength and torque placed against it.  I am saying all this not to discourage you but to prepare you for things that will come.

The drug campaign that was such a big success some years back used the slogan, “Just Say No!”  The secular world KNOWS if you can get people to make up their minds ahead of time then the battle is 90% won already.  If Christians realize, not that this MAY happen but scripture says it WILL happen and we make up our minds beforehand that NO MATTER THE COST we will NOT denounce Christ, our Redeemer, our Savior, our Brother, our KING then our battle is won if we follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

I was interested in just how well the disciples believed and lived out what they taught.  This is what I found out about the disciples:

Apart from Judas Iscariot, the Bible does not tell us how any of the disciples died.

Here are some of the theories:

Peter – widely believed to have been either beheaded or crucified (upside down) in Rome.

Matthew – arrested in Ethiopia and there nailed to the ground with short spears and beheaded.

John – John faced martyrdom when he was boiled in a huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. The Apostle John was later freed and returned to what is now modern-day Turkey. He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.

James, the brother of Jesus (not officially an apostle) – thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat him to death with a club. This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the temptation.

Bartholomew, also known as Nathanael – a missionary to Asia, he witnessed in present-day Turkey and was martyred for his preaching in Armenia, when he was flayed to death by a whip.

Andrew – was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Greece.

Thomas – stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church there.

Matthias (the apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot) – stoned and then beheaded.

Paul – tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67.

There are traditions regarding the other apostles as well, but none with any reliable historical or traditional support.

St. James (son of Zebedee) was beheaded by King Herod in Palestine.

St. Philip was crucified.

St. Simon was crucified.

St. Jude was “cruelly put to death” by the Magi of Persia, or crucified.

There is NO MAN that will die to perpetuate a LIE.  ALL of the disciples knew the truth and the truth made them free.  Made them free of trying to hold onto this life that isn’t really the true life anyway.

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