Christians Sentenced to Death – What Difference Does It Make to Us?

**Warning: This post may make you feel bad. ***Warning: That feeling may be appropriate.

There are moments in life that feel like a swift slap in the face.

No one courts that. No one wants to feel that pain. But, if it’s a slap that rearranges your priorities to align with God’s heart, then you will thank God even for that bracing offense.

I received that slap in 2014 when I read a report that Kim Jong-un had ordered the execution of thirty-three Christians reported to have been planting over 500 underground churches in North Korea. I receive the same slap when I read of the struggles of Syrian, Nigerian, Pakistani, Chinese, and Indian believers. Many struggle to literally hold onto life because they’ve chosen to follow Jesus. Continue Reading →

We Were Designed for the Waking

alarm-clock-1274239_640Have you ever struggled to awaken from anesthesia?
Pursued lucid thoughts through the fog?
Fought to regain a knowledge, an awareness, and a self-control you once took for granted?
Yesterday I heard the sleeping church trying to wake up.
And what do we do upon waking?
We seek the face of the one who matters most, the one we love, the one who has been keeping watch and urging us to emerge from the stupor.
Express and request assurances of the love we once took for granted.
Thank those responsible for our waking.
Receive nourishment.
Seek direction from those responsible for our care.
And then – we rise.
And when we rise,
there is either work to tend that was neglected
while we slept
or perhaps we have been changed in the waking
and there is new work ahead.
But we’re eager for it.
We’ve been asleep. We’ve lain abed. But that was always to be a transient state.
We were designed for the waking.
As we emerged from anesthesia,
we sensed our powerlessness in sleep,
this is what we fought.
but upon waking,
life, energy, and strength flows through us
so we remember that we are not the captives we were
when we are under,
the freedom of waking is the freedom to move and to act.
What will you do with your freedom?
After every great war, the survivors gather around tables and fires
and they ask one another
“Where were you stationed during the war?”
“What was your work?”
“What did you contribute to the war effort?”
“Tell us your stories.”
Some were on the front lines,
while others entertained the troops,
and some cooked and fed the foot soldiers
while others comforted the wounded.
Some were stationed far from the action
but rallied resources, petitioned leaders, and reported the news.
and some fell in foreign outposts
paying the highest price of all.
The ones who remain silent around the fire
Are those who clung to their comfort
And contributed no effort to the fight.
Paralyzed with cowardice.
Siezed with fear.
Lulled by complacency.
They have no stories to tell but only forgiveness to ask
from those who set aside comfort, fear, personal agendas, and time with loved ones
to engage the enemy
to free captives
to minister to heroes
and to obey the call of the One who loves and leads them all
the One who purchased every place at the fire
with His own blood.
““Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:14b-17 (ESV)
What will you do now that you’re awake?
What are you doing with your freedom?
When we sit around the great table in heaven how will you answer when someone asks,
“What did you do during the war?”