Will You Accept The Martyrs Cloak?
Greetings from the Gennusa Fam! Bryan is currently undergoing the long anticipated and highly technical flight training program this summer. Specifically, he is learning advanced mountain and back-country bush flying. This type of training will allow us to reach isolated people groups throughout the world.
Bush flying refers to aircraft operations carried out in the bush. Bush flying involves operations in rough terrain where there are often no prepared landing strips or runways.
Think about that for a moment. The words often no prepared landing strips or runways brings to mind the call on a missionaries life to willingly consider and ultimately accept not only the uncertainty and danger on the journey ahead but more importantly to count the cost of their very lives.
How does a person mentally, emotionally and spiritually prepare for such a costly call?
A martyr in the greek translation means "witness" someone who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce a religious belief or cause as demanded by an external party.
In simple form it is refusing to comply up until the point of death and in many cases the willingness to undergo physical torture for prolonged periods of time even years.
How Far will you allow your Faith to Lead You?
There have been thousands upon thousands who have been tortured and martyred for their undenied faith in Jesus Christ. Today those numbers are not decreasing but rather are increasing. This reminds me of something so profound that the martyr John the Baptist said and that is, "He must increase and I must decrease." John 3:30
In that context John was describing how unworthy he was being a mere man to bend down and even loose the strap of Jesus' sandals. However, in a prophetic sense John was already predicting his death and how he would die for Christ.
Revelation 12:11, "And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives even until death."
I personally remember a time shortly after Bryan and I were married and he and I watched the well known drama based documentary, End Of The Spear. If you haven't heard, it's a powerful account of a true story where a group of missionaries in Ecuador set out to reach the Wadani tribe (a violent Ecuadorian tribe defined by revenge killing). This was an eye opening and sobering account of one man's life and his family along with others families that courageously humbled themselves and were willing to give all for one man and that was Jesus. I began to realize that martyrdom for Christ is not something that happened but is happening all around our world today. It truly haunted me as I saw Bryan weeping at the account these missionaries gave of their experiences with the Wadani tribe and the lives that were lost and the lives that were won for Christ. I remember Bryan telling me that the grit of a tried and true believer is their willingness to die for Christ no matter what. Plainly speaking it is what separates the believer from the unbeliever.
I had a tough time swallowing this meal that was set before me. But now years later I see and have grown in my faith to truly understand exactly what it means to be a Christ follower.
I look at Bryan and see the man God created Him to be. I see what He has created us all to be as His flock and that is to love others so much that we would die for our brother and sister and even pray for those who sin against us for they know not what they do.
Think about what Jesus said as He was dying on the cross after all the brutal beating, spitting, ripping his beard out from His very face, and the mocking. He said, "Father, Forgive them for they know not what they do." I used to not fully understand the depth of what He actually was saying in that passage of scripture. My natural mind would tend to argue and point the finger thinking yes they knew exactly what they were doing; but in the grand scheme of it all they truly did not!
The accusers of Jesus were in total deception and in total ignorance of who He truly was and is and what was to come. The devil was even in ignorance of what exactly the willful obedience to Father God of Jesus to accept the crucifixion for the remission of the sins of mankind would do in the eyes of eternity. That day when Jesus took His last breath and the earth shook the soldiers became afraid and there were great disturbances as the sky grew dark.
When Jesus actually rose that third day the miracle was proven that He was the Messiah and the enemy had been defeated. This is why in the book of Revelations it says the enemy rages because he knows his time is short! (Revelations 12:12)
What a great and dreadful day it will be when Jesus returns!
As the bible becomes more and more clear throughout the life of a Christ follower, it is evident that our world is quickly moving further and further away from God. The deception of many will increase (even in the church) and the persecution of the of the end time church will also increase.
The only way to digest this truth is to feed on Him.
We are called to live a life completely separated and consecrated for His name sake. This is what led me to digest that question of receiving the martyrs cloak.
I never will forget the Sunday Bryan nudged me while sitting in church shortly after worship had ended. He just kept saying something very heavy just dropped into my spirit and I need to share it with you. I sensed the weight of what He was about to share with me. Keep in mind we had just gave our yes one hundred percent to the call on our lives to be full time missionaries, Bryan was resigning from corporate America, we have four children ranging from the ages of ten to fourteen and a foster child we are in the process of adopting at the tender age of two.
Bryan began to speak and explain to me that he literally felt as if a cloak was placed upon his shoulders. Jesus proceeded to ask him one question and that was, "Will you accept the martyrs cloak?" Once again as I sat in my chair I had to digest such things like these. As unprepared as I felt in that moment, I knew my trust was greater. All I thought of was Jesus, His perfect plan for our lives, and the man Bryan truly is.
That day Bryan said YES which I knew he would have, however there was more work for Jesus to do and that was concerning me. He knows what that felt like for me that day. He knows the concern and the weight I began to carry; but just like the skillful and perfect God He is who trains us so well He didn't speak to me about it until I was ready. He allowed me time to start digesting as He was continuing to prepare me for more of Him. Not long after He reminded me of a scripture that says, I shall live and shall not die. He told me to hold on to it and I did. I believe it is meant to resonate within me while on the field. A few weeks later after going to Him numerous times about Bryan and our future on and off the field He spoke again. This time it was far more reassuring and beautiful. He showed me a group of men kneeling on the ground. They were all lined up in a single horizontal line. Jesus walked behind each one of them peering so intently at each of them one by one. He looked so serious as He was examining their hearts and the motives within. He then spoke again to me and said this is what I have to ask each one that is willing to go in my name. Because if they are not willing to partake of the martyrs cloak, which means to give all, then they are not going to be equipped to faithfully work the ground I will give them and persevere in what I have set before them. Simply put they are not ready. That day I knew the blessed assurance of my faith in God, trusting the process, and the importance of being prepared for such a time as this.
Giving all doesn't necessarily mean the fate will be the same for everyone, but what it does mean is being willing to give all.
I want to personally invite you to partner with us in prayer and support as we continue giving Him our yes and follow as He faithfully leads our steps into more of what He has dreamt for our family.