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  • March 25, 2022 - led by Lynn Brown
    This is a group for RHM sponsored events like corporate fasts. Everyone is welcome to join and participate in things currently going on in the ministry. We love you and thank you for being a part of Refreshing Hope!
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One 'Other' Book ...

  • Many years ago I read a book which literally brought me to my knees. It was a book which President Abraham Lincoln had read, at very least, several times.

    Next to Scripture ... no other 'book' has had such an effect on my mind and within my person. I also must admit that it was the MOST DIFFICULT book I have ever read ... I had to literally fight with my mind to continue the reading of it.

    I may have been 32 or 33 years of age when I first read this book. And now ... after again that many years ... I have decided to pick it up once more and to purposefully allow my mind and heart to be deeply stirred by its' content.

    John Foxe first published his 'Book of Martyrs' in the 7th decade of the 16th Century. It is an 'honest, open, and non-partial' account of the history of persecution beginning with the Apostles and finishing well into the 19th Century, though a number of Additional Chapters were also included after the death of John Foxe.

    If you are of the Roman Church ... I must warn you that this book will not appeal to you ... it is simply too difficult to read. No one admires a history that unveils dark moments that reveal a hedonistic account that is every bit 'cruel' in nature and is found to be without justification.

    These multiple accounts portray the pleasure of the 'church' that had become every bit totalitarian in its' discipline ... often against its' own people and congregations.

    The Roman Church is not the only division within 'Christianity' with a History that has, at times, adopted a morbid approach to rule and discipline. It can be found also in the History of Protestantism as well, though not as vicious, lengthy, and replete.

    After reading this book the First Time ... I did not gain any hatred for any division within what we refer to as 'the Church' ... I have always known that God's People are planted everywhere and that 'He knows them that are His' ...But this 'Book of Martyrs' opened my eyes to see just how vicious and horrific the Heart of Man can become when a rigid strictness becomes our Gospel .. instead of a godly Invitation of peace ... to all Men everywhere.

    As I have stated before I read 'Foxe's Book of Martyrs' 3 decades ago and found it to be a very difficult book to finish. 'Difficult' because of content, and not only because it was written in the middle of the 16th Century and utilizes phrases dipped in the somewhat stoic antiquity of the English language of that day. It is also 'difficult' ... because of a severely changed cultural perspective and from a doctrinal viewpoint which may be slightly askew in places.


    I am also thinking that his recording or recollection of ancient historical events may also in part be suggested at times, by means of the number of weak interpretations of others - whose accounts may not be completely accurate. Even while considering this, the history of which he puts to paper still has many benefits, encouragements, and advantages to offer the present day reader.

    This Book is for the disciplined and sober follower and must be meditated on slowly, especially in the more grisly sections.

    BIAS ...

    Every one of us thinks, speak, write, and act, according to personal bias. Bias is not in itself a negative or useless thing. It is the collection of thought, reason, experience, and manner of response, that we have drawn to ourselves from our earliest moments in life. In fact ... Bias may be considered as an indispensable necessity through which we make constant use - to properly evaluate difficult judgments and even our daily routine decisions.

    In light of this ... John Foxe may possibly be delivering his synopsis of 'history', in part, by way of the bias that he adopted, or believed upon, through his religious conviction and affiliation. Or that came to him by way of the recommendations of the best authors and resources of his day. This can help to lead his summary to an accurate conclusion or can just as easily lead to nothing more than an off-point assumption.

    In either case ... the closer you are to Ancient History ... the more relevant and reliable your reflection of it ... 'should be'. The seriousness of such blatant persecution, established later in his book, at very least is a rude awakening no matter the culture or societal difference of 'our day'.

    Understanding Roman History & the Christian Era ...After the explosion of Messianic Judaism in the First Century and as the eventual spread of this New Faith moved into and among the Gentile Nations ... there grew a powerful conflict between the 'Christians' and the Roman Emperors.

    In fact, there were at least Nine Major Persecutions, by Rome, against the New Sect of 'Christians' which lasted several hundred years and resulted in COUNTLESS deaths among the followers of Jesus.


    Strangely, the numbers of Christians abounded during these perilous days, which thing infuriated the Emperors of Rome. Their own Temples to the gods and goddesses (which were numerous) were nearly vacated during this incredible growth of the 'Churches'.

    By the end of the 3rd Century A.D., so many within the Roman Military had converted to Christianity that an entirely New Policy had to be implemented. Until that time ... Roman Military, regardless of rank or favor, were systematically crucified, beheaded, burned with fire, or had their brains poured out through bludgeoning if they confessed the Christ or would not refuse to deny Him.

    The Christian of Today cannot even be compared with what Christianity WAS during the Early Days, concerning Integrity and Commitment.

    Men and women in 'those days' proved exemplary valor - as much as any present day famous or fabricated hero or heroine. They were committed and had received a True Baptism. They did not 'play church' or live secret lives that were appalling before God.

    The more I read of these precious Saints ... the further down to my knees I fall. And if ever there was a time in which the 'Church' needed to Repent ... It is in Our Time.

    Fervent Faith is equal to the Task ... even when confronted by Malicious Intent.

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