A Christian couple was thrown into a fiery furnace in Pakistan for unknowingly damaging a sacred book. In the 2nd century, Perpetua and Felicitas, two young North African women, were thrown to animals, then killed with a sword because they would not renounce their faith in Jesus. These are just four martyrs among thousands who have died for Christ. Some researchers say more people are put to death today for their faith than at any time in history. The exact number is unknown, but horrendous news stories point to painful deaths in our day. In his letter to the church of Smyrna, found in the Book of Revelation CH. 2, Christ tells this small church to expect persecution. He says, “This is the message from the one who is the First and the Last, who was dead but is now alive: ‘I know about your suffering and your poverty – but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you… But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life. We hope and pray that persecution will end, but we accept Jesus’ words that those who stay faithful to Him will meet opposition and sometimes suffer for their faith.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More

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