Book Review - Lives Given, Not Taken

21st Century Southern Baptist Martyrs

by Kevin Binkley

Lives Given, Not Taken

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop. (John 12:24) This is the theme dripping from the pages of "Lives Given, Not Taken." Eight Southern Baptist missionaries gave their lives up long before they were taken.

Bill was a big guy with a big vision. He grew up in a small farming town in Iowa. His favorite verse in the Bible was Matthew 28:16, which says, "Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go." Bills wife Lyn said that Bill would tell people everywhere he went that if they went where Jesus told them to go, they would be able to carry out the Great Commission in those places where He wants them to be."

Bill told one of his sons, "I will either retire here or die here." Bill took the brunt full force when a bomb exploded in front of him and saved the lives of many around him. In the car before he died he said, "The Lord is telling me that regardless of what happens, more people are going to come to know Christ as a result of this." With a hundred other wounded and bleeding persons around him, those were that last words Bill ever spoke. Bill's son Steve vowed at the funeral to avenge the death of his father. How you might ask? "Not by killing or violence," he said, "No, I'll go into this world and shine the light of Jesus into dark places, like my father." Bill's story is like the other eight stories about the lives of Christians totally sold out to the Kingdom of God.

"Dangerous Dave" McDonnall was less afraid of dying than he was of not living his life. Dave died when a vehicle pulled along side his and fired automatic weapons into it. His wife Carrie, the only survivor of the attack, was airlifted to a hospital. When she regained consciousness a week after the incident and was told that her husband David and the others had died, she said, "We have got to quit treating this life as home."

Fellow missionary Karen Watson was in the truck with David when they were attacked. Her journal entry on February 25th, 2004 recorded, "Lord, I want to work my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own. God, what way is my path to go? Show me and l will follow." Karen laid aside her fear and sacrificed everything that others might be free, but in the end, her joyful sacrifice wasn't for them. It was for Him. She was killed instantly in the attack. One friend said, "I don't know if I have ever been with anyone who was more ready to meet [Jesus] face to face."

Larry and Jean were missionaries in Iraq for only 23 days when they were shot by anonymous gunmen. They spent their whole lives saying yes to God.

What was it that made the world unworthy of these men and women? Their lives were not focused on this life, but on something of eternal significance. They followed God by faith. They rejected temporal pleasures and riches to identify with the people to whom God was leading them. They did not shun suffering and death for the cause of Christ.

Do you need a refresher course on what it means to be the servant of God? Does your faith need a shot in the arm so you would be willing to be shot for the Kingdom of God? Read this book. Learn from those who gladly put everything on the line.

"May we give of ourselves with the same devotion to the unfinished task as those who testified by their blood that they loved not their own lives, even unto death (pg 244)."

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