This past week, the world witnessed yet another horror at the hands of the terrorist group known as the Islamic State or ISIS. Twenty-one Christians from Egypt were kidnapped in Libya, taken to a beach, and then cruelly beheaded. Based on the message ISIS sent along with the beheadings, those 21 men were killed for nothing else except for the fact that they were Christians.
In the video, it has been noted that the last words of some of those killed were "Lord Jesus Christ." The brother of one of these brave martyrs thanked ISIS for not editing out the men's declaration of belief in Christ because he said this had strengthened his own faith. He added that the families of the martyrs are "congratulating one another" and not in despair: He said, "We are proud to have this number of people from our village who have become martyrs... Since the Roman era, Christians have been martyred and have learned to handle everything that comes our way. This only makes us stronger in our faith..."
It is normal for people to grow fearful and anxious over the thought or threat of death. So, how is it that 21 men, hundreds of miles from their homes and families, can go calmly to their deaths? What did they have inside of them that stabilized them during an hour of great darkness. They had a promise from God -- a promise shared by all believers in Jesus Christ -- that is found in Romans 8. It reads like this: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us...."
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