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ENGLAND: Extreme Choice

ENGLAND: Extreme Choice

“Will you choose to live or die? What do you say?”

The questioner was Henry VIII, the king of England, who had unrestrained power in the land. The “criminal” who stood before him, charged with heresy, was John Lambert, a Greek and Latin tutor.

Lambert audaciously challenged his pastor for delivering a sermon that didn’t agree with Scripture. Lambert was brought before the archbishop of Canterbury and later before King Henry. Quoting from the Scriptures and explaining the original Greek, Lambert presented his case to an assembly of bishops, lawyers, justices, and peers. The two sides argued strenuously back and forth until Henry, bored with it, presented Lambert with a final choice: “After all the reasons and instructions of these knowledgeable men, are you now satisfied? Will you choose to live or die? What do you say?”

Lambert took a deep breath and answered confidently, “I commend my soul to the hands of God, but my body I give to your clemency.” “You must die,” Henry answered scornfully, “for I will not be a patron to heretics.” Convicted of heresy, Lambert was burned at the stake. Lambert was unbowed in his slow, torturous death. He lifted up his hands
in worship, declaring, “None but Christ! None but Christ!”

In the modern age of possibilities, our right to choose has grown nearly insatiable. Two hundred television channels are a “basic” right, tantamount to freedom itself. We want options. Variety. Assortment. Even mundane decisions are delivered daily to our doorstep—what to wear, eat, drive, or do. However, our choices are no longer utilitarian—they are virtually limitless. In contrast, when life’s greater questions come to us, we have only one answer to give: “None but Christ.” Is there another way to heaven? None but Christ—he is the Way. Is there another priority in life that deserves one’s full devotion? None but Christ—he is supreme. Can someone else satisfy the longing of the human heart? None but Christ can satisfy. Truth has no alternative, you see. When life’s greater questions come, and they will, are you prepared to testify that of all the possibilities “none but Christ” will satisfy?

Story from our daily devotional book. For more info go to

ENGLAND: Extreme Love for God’s Word

ENGLAND: Extreme Love for God’s Word

In the sixteenth century, King Philip II took a hard line against those who would try to interpret Scripture for themselves. Anyone found studying the Bible during this time was hanged, burned at the stake, drowned, torn in pieces, or buried alive. The inquisitors from the king were sent to inspect the house of the mayor of Brugge to see if any Bible studies were taking place there. In their search, they discovered a Bible. All present denied knowing anything about it. Then a young maidservant came in. When asked about the Bible, she declared, “I am reading it!”

The mayor sought to defend her saying, “Oh, no, she doesn’t know how to read.” But the maidservant did not wish to be defended by a lie. “It is true, this book is mine. I am reading from it, and it is more precious to me than anything!” She was sentenced to die by suffocation, sealed in the city wall. Just before her execution, she was asked by an official, “So young and beautiful and yet to die?” She replied, “My Saviour died for me. I will also die for him.”

When finally one single brick remained to complete the wall, she was told again, “Repent! Just say a single word of repentance!”
Instead she voiced her single desire to be with Jesus and added, “O Lord, forgive my killers!”

To some it is simply a book—a best-seller for years running at that. To others it is merely a family tradition—given at weddings, births, and funerals. Still to others, it is God’s holy and inspired Word. These believers cling to the words as if they were letters from a lover, pouring over them again and again. What do they see in the truth of God’s Word? What makes them willing to risk death to read it? Ask God for the answer. If its truths remain a mystery to you, ask God to open your eyes to see his words more clearly. Without his help, the words will remain marks on a page. But God can bring them to life.

Taken from Voice of the Martyrs book Extreme Devotion: