I love to read. My favorite books are of people who know and love Christ; preferably from a prison cell or in a country where they are under persecution. Those people live a life of true freedom. They have the life I long for. To meet together in those countries can bring beatings, jail, rape, or death. Yet, they meet. They sing. They love. They aren’t fighting for rights, they are looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10).
“When my children were small and I homeschooled, I was obsessed with politics.”
When my children were small and I homeschooled, I was obsessed with politics (over twenty years ago). My ten-year-old watched the news as ballots with hanging chads were being counted in Florida. He knew how many electoral votes were up and down the east coast. He cared about what his mom cared about. The atmosphere I was creating was toxic. When I would see my “enemies” on the television screen, I was filled with rage. God had to help me do what He always does; get to the root of my anxiety. The fruit of the Spirit is many things, but love, joy, and peace are the top three. I had hate, anger, and anxiety. Something was wrong and I was obviously not walking in the power of the Holy Spirit.
“As I studied the Word, God started to help me understand that He is sovereign over kingdoms.”
As I studied the Word, God started to help me understand that He is sovereign over kingdoms. He raises them up and He tears them down for His own reasons. He has placed me and my family in the world at this time in history and we are to trust Him and let our lights shine to bring others to Him.
“I found the root of my anxiety was straight up fear, not faith.”
I found the root of my anxiety was straight up fear, not faith. I was terrified about two things, my freedom to live my life as I wanted and to protect my children from tyranny. God started to teach me to raise children that would take a bullet for Jesus Christ instead of praying for a country that would protect them from having to make that choice.
I heard something that made me say yes and amen while listening to Sheep Among Wolves (Volume 2). The man speaking (whose voice had to be disguised) said this.
“What persecution did was destroy the church that weren’t disciples and destroy the church that was about converts. The seismic shift that’s happened in the church of Iran is when all these church planters found out that converts run away from persecution, but disciples would die for the Lord in persecution.”
“…converts run away from persecution, but disciples would die for the Lord in persecution.”
The persecuted church in China is flourishing under a wicked government. I have read The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun more than once. Here is a quote.
“We never pray against our government or call down curses on them. Instead, we have learned that God is in control both of our own lives and the government we live under. God has used China’s government for His own purposes, molding and shaping His children as He sees fit. Instead of focusing our prayers against any political system, we pray that regardless of what happens to us, we will be pleasing to God.”
“Our lives and our country are a mere vapor in the scheme of things.”
Our lives and our country are a mere vapor in the scheme of things. We should have one goal; to please God. People can argue all day long about politics but no law can be passed against what true Christians produce and give the world.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
We are called to be a light in a dark world. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
“Christians, we should be shining like never before and full of peace and joy as never before.”
Christians, we should be shining like never before and full of peace and joy as never before. Jesus warned us about the last days and this is what He said.
And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other.
Betrayal and hatred happen to a child of God for one reason, we turn away from Him and focus on something else. We are all the same without the Spirit of God no matter what cause we are fighting for. We turn vicious inside. I’ve been there as a Christian and it was a wake up call to my soul. Nothing on this planet is worth giving my soul over to hatred.
“Nothing on this planet is worth giving my soul over to hatred.”
Everything we can see with our eyes at this moment will not make it into eternity except the Word of God. Look into the mirror. The image you see is not even you. It is the tent you live in while you are in this world. If we Christians actually lived by that truth, the world would be astounded by us. We need to go back to some of the most incredible words ever penned.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The greatest truth in the universe is that Jesus came to save sinners and put His Light inside of dark and hopeless humans. God allows darkness all around us so we can show the world the Light of who He is. Darkness could not overcome Jesus and it should never overcome us.
“Circumstances perfectly reveal what would stay hidden.”
Circumstances perfectly reveal what would stay hidden. If fiery trials bring hatred out of us, then we were already full of hatred. Fire brings what is impossible to see to the top. Just as impurities are mixed with gold until the refiner’s fire starts to burn, we are the same. Our hearts are full of things impossible for us to see. When persecution comes, all of it comes rolling out.
Comfort keeps it hidden. We make the mistake of thinking Christ wants a spoiled and happy Bride (like a Hallmark movie). Christ wants a Bride without a spot or blemish.
He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.
I can say with confidence that God cares about His Body (the Big C church) much more than He cares about a small thing called freedom. He keeps His finger on the pulse of our lives and anything that corrupts us, He will destroy at any cost. He is willing to look bad short term…for our long term good. That’s the quality of a good parent.
In the days of the prophet Jeremiah, Israel was steeped in idolatry. God warned the people and leaders for many years He would bring judgement if they didn’t repent. They would not listen (Jeremiah is called the weeping prophet for a reason). Jeremiah 29:11 is a coffee cup scripture. People quote it all the time about God and His plans for them. They have no idea the context. It was spoken to His people that He had been taken into Babylonian captivity. God used an enemy to purify His people because they were captives of sin. He would prefer to take our physical freedom in order to free the only part of us that really matters; our souls.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
“God had to do what was best by taking everything from His people but Himself.”
God had to do what was best by taking everything from His people but Himself. Notice scripture says God Himself banished them and carried them into exile. He used a foreign and wicked nation to discipline His children that He loved completely.
They had to stay there for seventy years because idolatry was so deeply embedded in them. Worshipping anything other than God will ultimately destroy us and He knows it. He will call us to repentance, but if we don’t, He will do whatever it takes to deliver us.
Christ’s Bride is only beautiful when our hearts are completely given to Him. When a bride steps into a room, she takes people’s breath away because of her beauty. She has eyes for no one but the groom waiting for her.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith….
That should be us. We should be a beautiful presence in this world right now with eyes for no one but our Groom.
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”