Matthew 10:33 (New International Version)
But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
"Now I have given up on everything else
I have found it to be the only way
To really know Christ and to experience
The mighty power that brought
Him back to life again,
and to find out what it means
to suffer and to Die with Him.
So, whatever it takes
I will be one who lives in the fresh
Newness of life of those who are
Alive from the dead."
This poem, written by Cassie Bernall, 16, showed a dramatic change in this teenager. Two years earlie she was involved in the occult, a Nietzsche "nihilistic" group involving witchcraft, death and suicide. Her parents were concerned about her welfare and the friends she was choosing.
But Cassie had returned home from a retreat with radiance. She told her parents, "I'm different now and I'm going to prove it to you." She did! Her whole life changed. Happily, she attended youth group meetings, prayer and Bible studies.
Two teenagers with guns and bombs burst into the library of Columbine High School, in Littleton, Colorado and focused in on Cassie. She sat reading her Bible. It seems they already knew she was a Christian. Holding a gun to her head, one of them asked her, "Do you believe in God?" When she answered, "Yes, I believe," she was murdered. She was only two years old as a Christian the day she died on April 27, 1999. Ironically, just a few weeks before, she had said to her mother, "Mom, it would be all right if I died. You know where I would be. I would be in heaven and you wouldn't have to be sad." Her words were fulfilled too quickly.
This terrible tragedy turned out some good as millions watched the memorial service on Sunday afternoon on national television. CNN carried the service live as singers Amy Grant, Phil Driscoll and Michael W. Smith sang and Franklin Graham did the eulogy asking for replacement recruits.
As a martyr, her last words she answered calmly were, "Yes, I believe in God." Cassie found that joining the cause of Christ is more than just attending a church picnic or a pleasant evening hayride. It takes guts to say, "I believe in Jesus. He is my Lord." It is necessary to find replacement recruits for martyrs like Cassie and her friends. Are you willing to take up your cross and follow Jesus? It does take courage and commitment; ridicule may follow but God does give a sense of peace, purpose and propensity when we join Him.
Dear Lord we pray that when given the choice we will not deny You. We pray that our faith in You would be strong enough to stand firm even when facing death. In Jesus’ name, Amen.