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    PERSECUTION

    Archaeologists digging in the remains of a school for imperial pages in Rome found a picture dating from the third century. It shows a boy standing, his hand raised, worshiping a figure on a cross, a figure that looks like a man with the head of an ass. Scrawled in the writing of a young person are the words, "Alexamenos worships his God." Nearby in a second inscription: "Alexamenos is faithful." Apparently, a young man who was a Christian was being mocked by his schoolmates for his faithful witness. But he was not ashamed; he was faithful.

    Lieghton Ford, Good News is for Sharing, 1977, David C. Cook Publishing Co., p. 78.


    NO SCAR?

    Hast thou no scar?

    No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?

    I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,

    I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star,

    Hast thou no scar?

    Hast thou no wound?

    Yet I was wounded by the archers, spend,

    Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent

    By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned:

    Hast thou no wound?

    No wound, no scar?

    Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,

    And, pierced are the feet that follow Me;

    But thine are whole: can he have followed far

    Who has no wounds nor scar?

    Amy Carmichael.


    When the emperor Valens threatened Eusebuis with confiscation of all his goods, torture, banishment, or even death, the courageous Christian replied, "He needs not fear confiscation, who has nothing to lose; nor banishment, to whom heaven is his country; nor torments, when his body can be destroyed at one blow; nor death, which is the only way to set him at liberty from sin and sorrow."

    Source Unknown.


    During China's Boxer Rebellion of 1900, insurgents captured a mission station, blocked all the gates but one, and in front of that one gate placed a cross flat on the ground. Then the word was passed to those inside that any who trampled the cross underfoot would be permitted their freedom and life, but that any refusing would be shot. Terribly frightened, the first seven students trampled the cross under their feet and were allowed to go free. But the eighth student, a young girl, refused to commit the sacrilegious act. Kneeling beside the cross in prayer for strength, she arose and moved carefully around the cross, and went out to face the firing squad. Strengthened by her example, every one of the remaining ninety-two students followed her to the firing squad. 

    Today in the Word, February, 1989, p. 17.


    In ancient Rome, crowds by the tens of thousands would gather in the Colosseum to watch as Christians were torn apart by wild animals. Paul Rader, commenting on his visit to this famous landmark, said, "I stood uncovered to the heavens above, where He sits for whom they gladly died, and asked myself, 'Would I, could I, die for Him tonight to get this gospel to the ends of the earth?'" Rader continued, "I prayed most fervently in that Roman arena for the spirit of a martyr, and for the working of the Holy Spirit in my heart, as He worked in Paul's heart when He brought him on his handcuffed way to Rome." Those early Christians "lived on the threshold of heaven, within a heartbeat of home, no possessions to hold them back." 

    Our Daily Bread.