What We Owe Beheaded Children

holzfigur-980784_640What unspeakable horror of which we must now speak.

So many headlines have bombarded my vision, my senses, my soul through my fifty plus years but this one, this one grabs my heart and tears it open like a gorilla at a bag of chips.

ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) is reportedly slaughtering Christians and doing it with the intent to horrify others into converting to Islam before they find their own necks touched by a callous blade. They film their barbaric acts, televised terrorism, which includes ravaging women and beheading children.

I won’t go on. But it begs the question – what do we owe beheaded children, crucified men, and tortured women?

We can’t unknow what is being reported. We can’t jump in planes and gather the children, their parents, their broken bodies in our arms. We also cannot allow the darkness to cripple us with fear, sadness, or hatred. These are the weapons of darkness, not light, and if we yield to them, we kneel before the same idol as the terrorists. So, what do we owe those who fall?

First, we owe them to bear witness to the crimes against them. As horrible as it is to know that children are being beheaded, we dishonor them by hiding our faces in the sand. This is part of the pain of the end times, bearing witness to the horror. Still, the suffering of hearing these unpleasant truths pales in comparison to the suffering of those who must live it but this is our pain, the pain of being witnesses who refuse to turn away.

If we turn away and refuse to know, we aid the enemy in their efforts, we tell the victims they die alone, unnoticed, we say to the world we are cowed by evil. Only by the strength available in Christ can our eyes remain open but open they shall remain. We won’t blindfold ourselves.

Second, we owe them to live lives worthy of Jesus Christ. Every five-year-old who falls by the sword should be a reminder to us that God has shown us grace simply by choosing the land in which we were born. That might have been our child. It might have been us. It should magnify our gratitude. It should galvanize our desire to live life to the fullest. In the name of these babies slaughtered, we can refuse to take our own lives in Christ for granted. We can live out the freedom granted us by the eternal lives blazing within us like a thousand suns. We owe these ones who have been robbed of life to not waste a moment of ours.

Third, we can refuse to pick up the weapons of darkness – fear, hatred, bloodshed, rage, and violence – but instead, wield the weapons at our disposal in Jesus Christ. We will learn to battle on our knees, moving the forces of heaven with our prayers. We will force back the darkness by aiming our light in its direction. We will refuse to remain ignorant, blind, and silent. We will not stand idly by but neither will we engage them on the field of their choosing. We will force them to fight where they are destined to lose – in the realm of the kingdom of God. Do you know prayer warriors? Apprentice with them. Ask them to teach you to battle in prayer. Build up your endurance for the long siege to come.

Fourth and finally, we can prepare for the time to come. Those who have fallen in the name of Jesus will wake to see His face. If they could speak to us from beyond, they would say “Be ready. Strengthen your hearts, your minds, your souls in Christ Jesus for the day they paint the mark on your door, for the day they aim the sword at your throat, for the day they come to slay your children.”

Know the One in whose name you pray and for whose name they were cut down. For even as the soil of Iraq and Syria absorbs their shed blood, their spirits are entering the kingdom of Christ where pain and suffering are no more. Those who struck them down have no hope unless they repent and call on the name of Christ to be saved. Those who struck them down are already dead, but we are alive forever. Know God’s word. Rid your life of sin and fear. Listen to God and move forward in faith when He speaks.

I know that some of you, loved ones, are more sensitive and tenderhearted than others. I know this is hard. It’s painful to bear witness and awful to hear of these atrocities. Jesus Christ will make us strong. He will make us able to bear up – those who face the sword and those left to wrestle with the knowledge of their violent deaths. He is with us all.

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.  For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” Hebrews 10:35-39 (ESV)

What do we owe beheaded children? We owe them to live for the One in whose name they died.

This is a time to share our courage and strength. How else can we battle for those who have fallen? What scripture passages shall we pray? What news outlets are most reliable? Let’s share what we know here in the comments so we can act when we can, pray with wisdom, and support those who still live in the path of the blade.

We need to encourage one another, loved ones. Are you in for company along the narrow road? Click on the bar above that says “I’m in” and learn how to be a part of our little band of followers or Click Here to subscribe or contact me. Mercy and grace, Lori

**People are messaging me about sharing this post – yes, everyone has my permission to share this post, copy it and post it, send it through email, use the buttons at the bottom of the post to share through social media, etc. I’m sure you’ll all credit it back to this site but what is most important is spreading the message contained in the words. My prayer is that God uses them for His glory and for the building up of His church. Lori

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    The Conversation

  1. Jan says:

    We can keep speaking out, keep shining light on what’s happening horror, unbury our heads, cry out to God, we can keep loving others, keep pointing the way to Jesus…keep trusting God.

    • Sharmel O'Neill says:

      We need to put our selfish motives and desires away and replace them with thoughts of those in peril. To keep those thoughts and prayers at the forefront of our daily lives. Our “adversities” (many being self-inflicted) are nothing compared to what our brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering.

      We are flabby, apathetic, foolish and self-centered. How will we stand up when its our turn? Matthew 6:34 “Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” We have all we can handle right now but we need to prepare for what is coming.

      Pray for the dear saints to have strength to stay true to Jesus Christ through the unspeakable horrors they are to face (what could be worse then to see your own child abused and murdered?) Pray for them to be the light that they are called to be to their tormentors. Evil is oozing from every orifice of this world and when the Holy Spirit takes His away the darkness will cover completely… for a while!

      Let us take the Gospel to every place and person we know..take as many souls to glory as we can and labor until the night falls. But please, always remember who wins in the end!!!

      • Pray, too, for the terrorists who are casting out the light and condemning themselves to darkness. Pray that many of them will see the light of Jesus even in the midst of their own violence.

        • Sarah says:

          My 5 year old son, knowing nothing of the specific horrors going on, said to me out of the blue “Sometimes God does not destroy the bad people because God wants His people to show them His great love.” We have been praying protection for the Christians but even more so, salvation for those that are so lost that they could do these unspeakable acts. Thank you for your article!

  2. Kim says:

    Breaks my heart. I avoid the news on TV, but can’t avoid it online. I hate feeling like there is nothing I can do. We must remember that times like this have been going on since Christ’s feet walked the earth. Christians have suffered the same persecution under Rome that many now suffer under Islam. There was a time that Roman Christians by the thousands were slaughtered in their beds or rounded up and fed to the lions or forced to fight to the death as entertainment for the blood thirsty. And that was just one of many episodes of persecution of Christians. Jesus said we would be hated because of him. And its been true for 2000 years. It’s been wonderful to live in a nation pretty much founded by Christians for Christians…but its quickly changing. I dread the day that these horrible things come to our nation, and I hope it holds off for hundreds of years…but eventually it will happen. And just as you said, we must be strong and prepared. When they come to us with blood already on themselves and we must make the choice to die or to succumb to them…I pray we are all strong enough to happily choose death.

    • There is plenty we can do, Kim. Understand the spiritual warfare aspect of prayer and utilize it, forgive others, love deeply – from the heart, focus on the matters of eternity – not on the business of this world, let their deaths mean something in that they galvanized us to shine brighter in a dark world.

      • Alisha Hunt says:

        Amen to what we need to do and prayers going up for those families and yes of the ISIS for they don’t know our God for He is so Big so Strong and So mighty to save there’s nothing my God would not do.

  3. Tammy Noel Smith says:

    I asked you to pray for me a few days ago about this very matter.I know you were praying for me and I know the LORD answered because of the powerful words,each and every one of them,written here.I am making a copy and posting it to my dash board.Every time I go into a store,I am grabbing a stack of tracts that I keep in my car,read this post AGAIN,pray for wisdom,courage and compassion for the souls of the people I’m going to hand these to,and go into battle…..thank you! I will KEEP praying for my brothers and sisters in the LORD Jesus Christ,I will KEEP looking and listening to the atrocities to be witness,I will KEEP sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ….no matter what.I liken this post to William Wallace in Braveheart,right before they fought the enemy.

  4. Morgan Stairs says:

    When with the civilized world join together and deal with these types of atrocities, genocides?????

    • Things will get worse, Morgan, and the powers of this world will not deal with these atrocities. It will be the powers of the kingdom of Jesus Christ that put an end to them one day.

  5. Debra says:

    Thank you, dear Lori, for these words of righteousness. Thank you for shining his light in such darkness. These are perilous times to be sure. I pray daily for those being exiled from their homeland, persecuted, crucified, beheaded, tortured, beaten, and martyred in unthinkable ways. Did you ever imagine you’d live to see biblical prophecy unfolding before your very eyes? I pray that God would give these souls being persecuted for his name sake the greatest rewards of all. I, who live in the comfort of my home, with all my children intact, am grateful that we still get to live in peace. For now. Thank you again, dear one, for the reminder to intercede without ceasing for those suffering around the world. Sometimes I am tempted to bury my head in the sand, I admit, and not look at the atrocities, but your words here give me courage to hold them always in my heart and prayers. Always.

  6. Bethany says:

    Thank you for addressing the Christian holocaust ongoing in the Middle East. And unless we pray hard it will not be contained there. It’s happening openly, unlike Hitler they have no desire or agenda to hide it. And still, people are turning away, with blind eyes and deaf ears, not acknowledging it’s happening. One thing that can be done isrm support Rescue Christians who are doing as much as they can to actually physically rescue some of these people in Pakistan, Iraq, Syria etc. Spiritually prayer is urgently needed. But as you know, “Faith without works is dead”. Saying “I prayed for you” just doesn’t cut it when souls are tortured and tormented to death. Each of us need to raise awareness, as you just did with this message, in our churches and communities.

    • Prayer is an active thing, Bethany. Prayer is warfare. Prayer reaches the heart of God and moves powers in the heavenly realm so prayer is doing something powerful. Raising our voices, also powerful when fueled by prayer. Taking physical action, also powerful when inspired by prayer and not just emotion. Thank you for your information and for sharing your zeal.

  7. Lori says:

    Yes…..this is what I have been saying on FB for 2 days. We can’t ignore it and it may soon be on our doorstep. Thank you for posting this….

  8. Carla Allaire says:

    Jesus said to Pilate ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, then My servants would fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is My kingdom not from here.(John 19:36)’ We HATE what’s being done in the name of religion. The pictures make us cry. Then we walk away, like the man looking at himself in the mirror and forgets he looks like Quasimoto and goes off to get a date. We can research and find the organizations that are actually helping these people. Bibles: I saw a picture of Chinese people getting their very own Bibles, and they were crying and hugging it tightly. We can get in contact with our church’s missionaries and find out what they need. Would it surprise you to know what they most appreciate is a kind word, a thank you for giving up their life for the Gospel? Powdered sugar. One of our missionaries couldn’t get powdered sugar to make cookies to give the children for Christmas. Now it cost as much to send it over there as it did to buy it, but it made the Christmas of those little kids. Open your wallet! The reason we have been prospered is so that we could give more. We have become spoiled and pampered and forgotten there are others in the world besides ourselves, and no, it isn’t the end of the world if you don’t get the latest Android or iPhone before all your friends. Someone wrote, and I think it was Petra ‘If you believe He’s coming back tomorrow, then live like He is coming back today’. Very sound words.

    Lori wrote a sobering reminder to us today. Let’s get it down into our spirits, then ask the Spirit where our money needs to go. It will come back to you in ways you never dreamed. God bless.

    • Good counsel, Carla. Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors USA are places to start. Other suggestions?

      • Jamie Mack says:

        Open Doors is an amazing organization on the ground, reaching others for Christ. Mennonite Central Committee (mcc.org) is another reputable organization that does ongoing relief work all over the world in the name of Christ. They are currently providing bedding in Gaza for those displaced by the conflict, and collect supplies to fill Relief Kits on an ongoing basis. They have been sending relief kits into Syria for almost a year now. You can give financially to MCC online or organize a relief kit drive at your church and then deliver them to a drop-off site that will ship them off.

      • Lisa says:

        Barnabas Aid is another good place to start. Bringing aid to persecuted Christians around the world. barnabasfund.org

  9. Marsha Frederick says:

    Lori, Thank you for reminding us of what is daily happening around the world. Every time we hear of these barbaric atrocities, we are given a choice in responding with a resounding yes to enter the battlefield through spiritual warfare, giving of our resources that God so generosity gave us and share with the world around us, whether they want to hear or not…. Or we can choose to ignore these precious saints and their children like many in Germany did during the Holocaust. They were living their lives as though they did not know the concentration camps were down the road, yet the stench of rotting flesh was in the air. Christians like the ten Boom family became the heroes in God’s hall of faith. They are my heroes and yet to follow their example of courage and love, we must be still and KNOW GOD by daily sitting at the feet of Jesus. Years ago God began putting books like Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, Tortured for Christ, The Hiding Place, in my pathway. They’ve helped to keep my priorities straight. We cannot let the persecuted and martyred saints lives and deaths be forgotten. Pray! Give! Share! Thank you Lori, for your heart in sharing.

  10. Sue says:

    Thank you for your perspective and words of comfort. After unexpectedly seeing certain pictures that are heart-heaving, I went to prayer and could only know that groaning of Romans 8. Then The Lord reminded me of something recently read in Alfred Edersheim’s beautiful commentary on Elisha’s life and ministry. It has to do with the Syrian raiders and the captivity of the little Jewish girl. “What terrible desolation must have swept over that family, when, after the Syrian raid…they crept from their hiding places, and vainly searched for the maiden. They would call her by name, and look for her where she had been wont to play; they would seek her with neighbors…was she dead; or, worse than death, had she been carried away to heathenism, shame, and slavery? And why had God allowed this child to be taken? Alas, how often do similar questions rise in the heart and to the lips. Ask them not. Only believe. Perhaps ‘The Lord has need’ of this child. He had need of that Jewish child; perhaps He has of yours, though you know not of what service. Yet how difficult it is under such circumstances to believe – to shut our eyes against all present appearances, and to look up straight to our God in Christ Jesus.”

    • It has always been true but we will experience this truth more than ever in the present age that we need a day-by-day, moment-by-moment relationship of reliance on Jesus Christ. He is able to make us into Overcomers.

  11. Terry says:

    I have agonized cried, and prayed this week over the evil the prince of darkness has unleashed through the terror of the depraved souls of Islam. listen to and obey our Lord who told us:
    Love your Father God.
    Love others.
    Love yourself.
    Preach the Gospel.
    Make Disciples.
    We must bear the sorrows of this world, and our hearts and let the Rhythms of Grace continue to bring us peace, love, joy and hope in Christ Jesus. It is indeed a narrow gate, and a difficult road.

  12. Nicole says:

    Something we can do in honor of these precious martyrs is be bold in our witness. How dare we feel afraid or ashamed to share Christ with those around us (in real life, on social media, everywhere) when they are suffering so much for their faith? We are spoiled and selfish. We need to learn to die to self and care only about loving and obeying God. These are dark times. Overwhelmingly dark. To think darker times are coming can lead us to despair if we let it. We must remember that “the darker the world becomes, the brighter the life of a child of God shines”, and also, “In this world, you will have tribulation. But take heart! I have overcome the world!”

  13. Sylvia says:

    My faith is stirred up. Thank you for reminding us that we don’t just have to be broken hearted but instead to be bold in our faith. Thank you for showing us how to use prayer in these scary times that are unfolding in front of our eyes by way of the media. This makes me want to just read his word more and be bold in the truth and just talk to those who are not saved that we are living in the end times. I want to pray more effectively, get more sisters and brothers in Christ to pray for the Christian families in the Middle East, for our families here. Thank you for the encouragement and may The Lord continue to use you for his purpose~Amen.

  14. Sheri says:

    My prayer for these precious little ones is that when this hideous perril has them in grip they see the face of Jesus and their gaze is fixed upon Him; Lord cause them to feel Your hands holding them, receiving them.
    Soon, very soon, may the Glory of the Lord cover the earth as the waters cover the seas for all the earth to see and bow before Him.

  15. Lori, thank you for this.

    Prayer in the hands of love is the most powerful force on earth.

  16. Been so shook up (such an inadequate phrase!) over these atrocities, and have been at a loss to know how to respond. Thank you for giving words to my emotions and helping me to think Biblically, with more courage and energy. (And so thrilled to have discovered your blog…)

  17. Shane says:

    Let us not forget the lessons of Nehemiah, work steadily with your left hand and keep your right hand laden with a sword. Pray for their souls as they are sent off. Pray for greater men then us to rise and defend their innocent. Rage and hatred are not the answer, but righteous discernment and a steady hand are. Fight the good fight until we are called home.

  18. Jamie Mack says:

    May we stand with our brother and sisters in Christ around the globe. This morning I pray with them and for them from Lamentations 3:19-26 “The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The unfailing love of the Lord never ends. By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will put my trust in Him’. The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for him and seek him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.”

  19. […] Jesus Christ, with the most important battle of all against the enemy will be waged on our knees. This blog by Lori Roeleveld says it […]

  20. Betty Agosto says:

    Thank you for this awakening. God bless you.

  21. […] What We Owe Beheaded Children by Lori Stanley Roeleveld is the best and most challenging article I have read on this subject. […]

  22. Leslie says:

    Focused and righteous post, Lori! Consider joining the Facebook page Mobilizing for Nineveh for updates and information on additional ways to support the persecuted Christians and other religious minorities of northern Iraq.

  23. Cyn Rogalski says:

    I begin to pray, then become paralyzed by the horror & unspeakable things I hear….then I sit & cannot pray in words–being taken over by the prayer I cannot speak but the Holy Spirit knows. Others think I do not care because I am silent–yet God knows the prayers I utter.
    I am a prayer warrior, lifting these to His Throne.
    You, Lori, articulate what I am thinking & experiencing…. lifting the doers & their victims to His Throne where God hears….and weeps.
    I am so blessed by your writing. Carry on! By God’s Grace, carry on.
    Weeping with you.

    • Carry on, sister. I’ve put together a downloadable doc I’ll be sending to subscribers tomorrow titled “Free to Face the Headlines.” Let me know if it’s of use. mercy and grace, Lori

  24. Josie says:

    Thank you, Lori. This is paralyzingly . All I can pray is … “Our Father who art in heaven , hallowed be Thy name , Your kingdom come Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one . For Thine is the Kingdom and Power, and the Glory for ever and ever. Amen

  25. Carla says:

    Let me run and not grow weary the race. Let me carry your burden. Let me be a light in this dark, dark world . Let me pick up where these lives were cut short. Let me stand in the gap, Lord. Let these that have stood before me not have lived in vain but that I too can stand for what is true and righteous. With you oh Lord, no weapon formed against me shall prosper I call on your name, Jesus, to protect your chosen ones, the anointed ones. You gave your all for my eternal soul it is the least I can do to give service even if it means my flesh dies. I have no fear in death because You conquered death, he’ll and the grave. I have no better to give than my life to your service! God speed to my brothers and sisters, Christ be with us! In everything give thanks! Thanks that I can give my life because of Him!

  26. Nadine says:

    These videos and media displays are so hard to watch, but we MUST so we know what is happening to our fellow believers in other parts of the world. Truly these are the last days. I have been very vocal to family and friends about my beliefs and sometimes see their eyes rolling. I don’t care!! (How petty!!) I will continue to speak out, for our time is short….we must work to bring others to Christ while there’s still time. NOW folks who haven’t believed me are beginning to listen….reality is hitting them, that truly these days can’t continue. They see that surely Jesus will soon be in the air to take us back with Him. But before that happens? We just don’t know if we’re going to suffer the same fate as these precious Christians in Iraq and other places first. We hope and pray that we will “get off easy,” but of course there were many in these dark places that probably hoped and prayed the same thing. May we all continue to witness, to lead others to Christ, while we have time…..and then we pray, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!!”

  27. Ken Arts says:

    Thank you Lori for taking the lead in a battle that I am reminded by God is not mine, but His son’s. A battle begun long ago for the souls of the righteous. An outcome decided long ago by the Father of mercy and grace, who’s son seeing what was set before him, bravely stepped forward and seized the will of the Father, and said, not my will, but thine be done. Who laid down his life, knowing with certainty, the one who saves is also able to raise up to life again, the one that offers themselves for another with great abandon. The darkness will be here for yet a while longer, until the Son of God breaks forth in light through as though ripping the clouds and proclaiming his glory has come to the sons and daughters of God. Darkness will try to flee and hide but be completely exposed and routed from every nook and cranny. From every heart and mind as the hearts of the saved break forth as noonday with a torrent of life giving water, cleansing the wickedness and strife between brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, sinners and saints. A day we have all rejoiced and waited for, The Day of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

    • Alisha Hunt says:

      This is the year where I’ve heard this as a prayer In Revelation that John prayed for Lord Jesus to come. My dad request that I pray that for him I asked a prayer partner if that was even an appropriate prayer and she said yes and showed me in Revelation where John prayed that same thing. My older friend prays that and now I hear u pray that. It must be a prayer then. These are the times that Jesus was taking about in Matthew 25. My heart weighs heavy but I know we all need Jesus and that we’re called to pray. Thanks for your view on this and spreading the msg to your family and friends!
      Aloha and God Bless

  28. […] of God, and what is ours to do about it. So what, if we don’t always get it right? I posted an amazing piece on Monday about the plight of Christian families in Northern Iraq. Then yesterday another piece […]

  29. Maggie Smith says:

    Thank you, thank you for your post. also remember the Middle east is not the only area being targeted. Columbia, Argentina parts of Mexico in our own backyard. North Korea, China, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia. In all 53 countries are restricted or actively persecuting Christians and other religious minorities. India has Buddists, Hindu and Muslims who are viciously attacking Christians and chasing them out of their homes and killing them in their churches!!