From the Apostle John to Ignatius

Ignatius knew persecution, as did the flock of believers he shepherded in Antioch. His steadfast faith against the howls of the adversary stirred the people in his church to strengthen their own inner being against the day of agony.

Ignatius is one of the few early Christian leaders considered to be an Apostolic father of the church in that he had a direct connection with the Apostles of Jesus, differentiating him from fathers of the church that were one or more generations removed from the Apostles.

He is a unique link in the Christian heritage because he lived and had his greatest influence during that formative moment in church history when the Apostles had all died and the church was in the hands of the next generation of believers, tying it to future centuries of Christians.

Facing death, he is reported to have said: “I am God’s grain, to be ground between the teeth of wild beasts, so that I may become a holy loaf for the Lord.”

The church blazes to life

In its earliest decades, the fledgling Church of Jesus Christ was being ravaged by the twin blazes of persecution and heresy, fanned from Jerusalem to Rome and all points between. By any measure, the Christian faith should have been in ashes and Christianity left in the dust, barely an odd footnote in human history.

But it was not. Instead, reason and logic were turned on their heads and rather than being burned to cinders the faith grew on the hot winds of a wildfire.

The age of successive persecutions spawned the age of spiritual heroism, of faith walked out at the end of the executioner’s axe, or atop the burning pyre, or under a pile of stones thrown by an angry mob.

It was an age where the words of the faithful only meant something because the acts of the faithful shouted from the rooftops.

Read more here:


The tapestry of God’s Kingdom

The Kingdom of God is a tapestry through time here on earth. Thick, beautiful, intricate, this spiritual embroidery is made up of all of the saints of God from Calvary to the present. It is woven with love, devotion, obedience, sacrifice and martyrdom, drawing on faith from within and gifts from above. It runs unbroken through time.

Just one thread in this glorious tapestry links many of the well-known men and women of the faith through the ages, believers who have left their documented mark on Christianity. This is only one thin thread in the full fabric, but it can be revealed because their lives and testaments have been recorded and maintained for all posterity.

These followers of Christ influenced not only the world of their day, but subsequent generations of Christians and, maybe more importantly, subsequent men and women of God who would continue to change the world by their faith. Each chronicled in some way the impact on their lives of those who had gone before them, thus giving the entirety of Christianity a magnificent testimony of God’s work over generations.

It is on the shoulders of these faithful believers that we stand, as they each stood on the shoulders of those before them, and as those who follow us will stand on our shoulders.

The Book of Revelation tells us that the believers overcome the accuser of the brethren by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. This is the overcoming testimony of one thread in the tapestry of God’s people.

This is not the tale of a denomination, but of all Christian denominations; not of a doctrine, but of all doctrines wrapped up in Christ Jesus over many centuries on many continents in many languages.

This is the ongoing story of the body of Jesus Christ here on earth.

Read more here:

Looking back is looking forward

We did not spontaneously pop into existence at a random moment. We stand on the shoulders of those who went before us.

On purpose. By God.

Ephesians 1:4 explains that God chose us before the foundation of the world. He put us in a place and in time. We are now because God wanted us now.

And that means He knew we would be following in the long thread of faithful men and women who are part of the fabric leading to this moment. For this reason, it is healthy and wise for us to have an understanding of how the world, and the world of Christianity, arrived at this moment — the moment in which God has placed us.

The stories woven in this book can help us see what we might expect as we follow Christ in love and obedience and extend our portion of the thread toward the eventual return of the Messiah.

Read more here: