I invite you to join discussions, it enhances the reading experience for everyone. Please share your thoughts, opinions and knowledge in a respectful manner. May we all learn something in our endeavor to educate our hearts and minds. I look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Coming for Christians

A Google search of “Christian Beheadings” or “Christian Persecution” will pop up numerous RECENT articles from a plethora of sources (CNN, New York Times, Reuters, etc.) outside the usual outlets such as Open Doors, Fox News, The Blaze ,and Christian Post. 

If you haven’t viewed the recent video’s (yes this has happened more than once in recent months) of ISIS beheading Christians on a beach I encourage you to take a deep breath and watch at least a minute of the brutality our Christian Brothers and Sisters are facing (I’ve only watched a few minutes of each gruesome video and the images are burned into my brain- I have not included links so you’ll have to do your own search).

Why am I asking you to do this?

Because God commands us to:

“ Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Heb 13:3 NIV

Seeing these images will help you REMEMBER those suffering extreme persecution. And once you REMEMBER, you can take action to help your Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

I was speaking with my husband about this and he asked, “How can we help them? We’re powerless to stop this.”

I went to bed thinking about what he’d said. Is this why so many American and European Christians are silent about the slaughter of our fellow members in the Body of Christ…they feel powerless?

I began asking God what I could do that would make a difference and God reminded me that there is POWER IN PRAYER.

“…The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16b NIV

In Jeremiah 33:3, God says, “Call to me (PRAY) and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

Later in Chapter 33 God reminds Jeremiah that His covenants are everlasting; we cannot break them any more than we can change the day into night. Therefore, we can have confidence in His promises… and He promises that HE WILL ANSWER WHEN WE PRAY. 

In Jer 32:24 God asks a rhetorical question, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?

We may feel overwhelmed and powerless to help those facing martyrdom, but God doesn’t.

This isn’t too big or too powerful for God. 

So if He instructs us to REMEMBER others and challenges us to CALL to Him, shouldn’t we do it?

I realize FEAR also plays a role in our refusal to acknowledge the evil being perpetrated against our fellow believers in Christ. A recent podcast on Engaging Missions, A Wind in the House of Islam with David Garrison, will lesson your fears. 

Muslims are coming to Christ by the thousands. 

God is using Christians just like you and me to bring the Gospel to those who invoke fear in us. 

In Jer 38:14-28 King Zedekiah told Jeremiah that he feared man more than he feared God. Jeremiah encouraged him to obey God, but he refused and Jerusalem was taken just as Jeremiah warned. 

We mustn’t fear. We must obey whatever it is God asks. I don’t know what God is asking of you… and chances are you don’t know either, unless you’ve spent time seeking His will.

While you might not be called to witness to someone who intimidates you, you can certainly pray for them. You don’t have to know them personally in order to pray for them.

Likewise, you don’t have to KNOW the Christians across the world suffering for their faith in order to lift them up to God in prayer.

Just begin praying. 

Pray for those being persecuted. 

Pray for those doing the persecution.

And let God do the rest. 

He may or may not lead you to do more, but you’ll never know if you don’t begin somewhere. 

Why not start with prayer?

 If you’re interested in learning about witnessing to those of the Muslim faith here are two books on my reading list that I got from listening to the podcast linked above:

If you’re wondering, YES I’m still on maternity leave and will not officially be back for some time. Writing this post took a great deal of time but I felt I must share it with you. 

Time is critical. 

Christians are daily dying for their faith. 

The time to act and pray is now

Here’s a link I HIGHLY encourage you to read.  It puts this all into greater perspective. 

Lastly I’ll leave you with this quote from Martin Niemoller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

They are coming for Christians..and it can happen here too. 
Will you speak? Will you pray?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Maternity Leave

A mentor of mine, Wendell Rovenstein- President of Bibles for China, gave an interview on one of my favorite pod casts, Engaging Mission

On more than one occasion I’ve had the privilege of sitting down with Wendell and listening as he shares his passion for bringing Christ to the Chinese people.  I have to admit, I thought I’d know most of his answers to Bryan’s interview questions. Yet I was stunned when he focused so much on family.

He said we need to show up where God is.

God is in the family. Yet how many Christians get so caught up in doing “good” things, even ministry, that our families suffer (sadly without many of us realizing it)?

I’m guilty of this.

I’m guilty of putting my family time on hold so I can respond to one more commenter on my blog, finish a blog post, pray for someone after reading a comment, or something similar.

You see, I don’t view my blog as hobby…or even as a job.

I believe my blog is a ministry. It’s a small ministry, but it’s one God has given me.

I’m honored that you read my posts and share your lives with me.

When I say I’m praying for you, I really mean it.

I spend time with God preparing for my posts and comments. 

I cherish my time with you.

But God is showing me that my focus right now must be centered on my family.

As some of you know, I’ll be having another baby soon. 

Having babies and young children puts me in a different season of life than some of you.

It forces me to prioritize my time more carefully.

As I’ve thought about Wendell’s interview, I’ve realized that I’m guilty of trying to get God to be where MY focus is instead of me showing up where He is.

I was told by 3 doctors I’d never have my first son. 

Now God is blessing me with another one.

Family is where God is working right now!

And that’s where my focus needs to be.

As I’ve prayed about this God has lead me to Hannah (1 Samuel 1-2:11)

Hannah longed for a child.

Years went by without her prayers being answered. 

God used this time to cultivate her heart. It was during this long wait that she came to a place where she could give her child back to God…if only He would give her a son.

And so, when Hannah’s heart was ready, God gave her Samuel.

Hannah had approximately 3 short years with Samuel before she gave him to Eli the priest (In Bible times that’s the approximate length of time women nursed their children). 

She had 3 years to speak into his life. 

3 years so show him her love.

3 years to tell him about God.

3 years to make memories that would last her (and him) a life time. 

3 years and then she fulfilled her promise to God. 

Those 3 years were pivotal. It gave Samuel his foundation for growing into adulthood.

This has caused me to ponder: If I knew I only had 3 years with my kids, would my parenting be different? (click to tweet)

The answer is yes.

Yes, my parenting would be different because my focus would more sharply be placed on my children. I wouldn’t allow so many distractions to take me away from them. I wouldn’t sweat the small stuff (like neatly folded laundry, toys being picked up, my kid throwing a fit at the store and embarrassing me).

This is why I’m taking “Maternity” leave from blogging.

It’s hard for me to step away from blogging. As I said, it’s a ministry. I love spending time with you. You all bless me so much. But at the moment I need to focus more on my family.

I’m not sure when I’ll be off “Maternity” leave.

I could be back in a few months or possibly not until fall. 

I’m just going to take it a day at a time and let God direct my focus.

I do plan on returning. And you might occasionally see me reading your posts and commenting.
I will still be checking my email, so please feel free to email me. 

I’m not dropping off the face of the earth—I’m just taking a step back from writing. 

Until I return: Please enjoy some of my older posts and be blessed. 

Draw close to God and He will draw close to you…(James 4:8)

Finally, where is your focus?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

BEWARE: Increasing Persecution of Jews & Christians

I had no intention of posting something other than Barb Raveling’s Book Review this week (If you didn’t read it, I HIGHLY encourage you to. I can’t recommend her book, The Renewing of the Mind Project, highly enough) but world events this year are bothering me.

While you’ve probably heard about the terrorist acts in Paris and are even are aware that things are NOT going well in the Ukraine (despite the recent “peace” agreement Putin promised) you might not be aware of all the ANTI-SEMITISM and PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS that is occurring around the globe!

To be honest, there’s too much to even try to share with you. 

But here are a few headlines that have captured my attention and are breaking my heart:

1.       Man walked around Paris for 10 hours as a “Jew” and was shocked by the ANTI-SEMITISM thrown his way by strangers.  This shouldn’t be a surprise since Jew’s have been leaving France and moving to Israel in HIGH numbers due to the persecution they’re facing. This is occurring in other European Countries as well. Many Jews in England don’t feel safe.

3.       For the past few years, Jews in the U.S. have faced an increasing number of ANTI-SEMITIC vandalism on their homes, cars, and places of worship. Here’s just a recent example.  

4.       You’re probably aware that 21 Christians were recently beheaded.  While the Pope is able to make strong remarks regarding it and Egypt has retaliated, the White House has refused to acknowledge that the act of terrorism was carried out against CHRISTIANS.  This, along with other actions by the White House, has left many countries wondering who the U.S. supports and who they are truly against. Our alleys question our loyalty and our enemies feel bolstered by our actions and comments.

5.       Kayla Mueller, an American Aid Worker, was recently executed by the Islamic State after being held captive since 2013. Her family released an emotional letter about her faith in God shortly after her death. The U.S. government has yet to respond, except to assure everyone that we WON’T send in ground troops regardless of what happens. Prior to this event, a Jordanian Pilot was burned to death. This was met by Jordan hanging two prisoners.

6.       Atheists in the U.S. are making advances in keeping religion out of schools, businesses, and basically everywhere. Here’s one example.

Persecution of JEWS and CHRISTIANS is increasing.  In any nation you can find more than a few examples.

Seems like we are fast approaching The Precipice I fictionally wrote about—a time when life as we know it is over.

Brothers and Sisters, I pray you will get serious in your faith (purchasing Barb’s book is a great step in the right direction).

If you can’t stand now, when it’s relatively “easy”, how will you stand when it’s not?

It’s time to shake off the sins that so easily ensnare you. The greed, pride, lust, materialism, entitlement, criticism, and so on that holds you back.

It’s time to get your foundation secure—the winds are howling.

Are you ready?

Do you know how to get ready…know God. Learn His love. Rest in His grace. Let go of the things in this world. Hold fast to your faith. Don’t let possessions possess you.

Times are changing.