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I Am Not Ashamed
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Something happened after my baptism that I certainly did not expect. I was in the fourth grade and couldn’t wait to get to school that Monday to tell my friends what I’d done over the weekend. My three best friends met me in the hallway. “Were you baptized last weekend?” one of them asked while the other two glared.

“Yes” I answered, “I was.”

“Well then we’re not your friends anymore!” And with that, they walked away.

I spent morning recess in the bathroom crying. It was my first experience at standing up for what I believed. And that day I made the first of many choices to follow Paul’s example when he said in Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes….”

Looking back, it was a big deal for this 10-year-old to lose her friends over her faith. But a few years later, I read in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs that many of the early apostles lost far more than friends. Most of them died for their beliefs! This is how some of them died—because they were not ashamed: [1]

Stephen was stoned to death.

Matthew was slain with a halberd (a combined spear and battle-ax).

Mark died after being dragged mercilessly through the streets.

Thomas was run through with a spear.

Matthias was stoned first, and then beheaded.

Peter was crucified--hanging upside down, at his own request. He felt unworthy to be crucified in the same manner that Jesus was.

Live for You

Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “ ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.’ ”

We may not be called to die for Jesus, but we’re all called to live daily for Him. Not just to declare, “Lord, I would die for you!” but also, “Lord, I will LIVE for you!” I have friends who have done just this--lived daily for Jesus—because they were not ashamed:

Tom lost a promotion because his new duties would have interfered with his beliefs.

Allan was shunned socially by his circle of friends after he became a Christian.

Ken’s wife left him after he gave his life to God and was baptized.

Jim lost a day’s salary each week because he closed his business to attend church.

“Is it worth it?” you may ask. Yes, I’m convinced it is. It’s been over 40 years since my friends confronted me in the hallway at school. And to this day, I am not ashamed. Why? Because Jesus loved me enough to die for me, and because He’s not ashamed to call me, “Daughter.”

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

[1] John Foxe, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (Western Heritage, 2010), Kindle edition.

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