Monday, June 20, 2016

Persecution, Polycarp, a friend of John the Apostle


Polycarp serves food to the soldiers who have come to arrest him.
       Poly-carp serves food  to his arresting soldiers



Poly-carp was an old man (at least 86 years old) and probably the last surviving person to have known the Apostle John. His friendship with John was one reason why Poly-carp was greatly revered as a teacher and church leader. As you read the letter below, look for parallels between this story and the Easter story in the gospels.The paragraph below is from the Foxe's Book of Martyrs.  It is not God - breathed like Scripture but it is considered reliable history.
Poly-carp, the venerable bishop of Smyrna, hearing that persons were seeking for him,  escaped, but was discovered by a child.  After feeding the guards who apprehended him, he desired an hour in prayer, which being allowed, he prayed with such fervency, that his guards repented that they had been instrumental in taking him. He was, however, carried before the proconsul, condemned,and burnt in the market place. The proconsul had urged him, saying, "Swear, and I will release  thee;--reproach Christ." Poly-carp  answered, "Eighty and six years have I served him, and he never once wronged me; how then shall I blaspheme my King, Who hath saved me?"

 At the stake to which he was only tied, but not nailed as usual, as he assured them he should stand immovable, the flames, on their kindling the  fagots, encircled his body, like an arch, without touching him; and the executioner, on seeing this, was as ordered to pierce him with as sword, when so great a quantity of blood flowed out as extinguished the fire. But his body, at the instigation of the enemies of the Gospel, especially Jews, was ordered to be consumed in the pile, and the request of his friends, who wished to give it Christian burial, rejected. They nevertheless collected his bones and as much of his remains as possible, and caused them to be decently interred.

  From Voice of Martyrs -
“Esther,” a widow with four young children, lives a difficult life in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. She has physical disabilities resulting from polio and lives in a region that is frequently bombed by the Sudanese government in an attempt to rid the area of Christians. When VOM partners learned about her situation, they gave her a wheelchair to help her care for her family. Pray for Esther and her family as they and other Christians face continued bombing in the Nuba Mountains.

Nine church pastors in Colombia were given until June 14 to pay 2 million pesos ($700) in “protection money” to a violent guerrilla group that controls the area. On June 12, members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) visited each of the churches, warning them that they had two days to come up with the money. The pastors refused to pay the ransom, knowing that non-payment could cost them their lives. Please pray for these pastors and their church congregations.

Jun. 17, 2016 | Korea, North Pray for North Korean Orphans in China
Christian workers traveled to China in February to minister to North Korean children as part of an ongoing outreach to orphans and other North Korean families. Workers met with 12 elementary and middle school students to encourage them and share God’s love. They also met with many of the children’s mothers, encouraging them to stay with their families despite difficulties. Children with North Korean mothers and Chinese fathers often live in unstable homes. The North Korean women often flee to South Korea while the Chinese men abandon the family, leaving the children as orphans. Since the children have no citizenship, the Chinese government refuses to help them. Pray for these children and for continued ministry to reach these families for Christ.
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