**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 today
when I read the Washington Times news item that Kim Jong-un
has ordered the execution of 33 Christians
reported to have been part of planting over 500 underground churches in North Korea.
I imagined thirty-three of my Christian friends executed for leading people to Christ, facilitating worship, praying, or offering praise to God.
I would be horrified, sad, and angry
but I would also know that God has the last word on their lives not Kim Jong-un or the evil power behind him.
Still, I would want their deaths to motivate the church of Christ.
I would want their deaths to galvanize other believers to put feet to their own faith,
To fuel their passion for Christ,
To remember to pray for those who suffer,
To spread God’s word with more zeal, persistence, and creativity than ever before.
While we in the West argue over worship styles,
sleep in when there’s a visiting preacher,
bemoan having to endure a boring prayer request or off-key soloist,
serve up the pastor’s sermon over lunch,
or sit home and judge the church unworthy of our attendance altogether
there are other brothers and sisters
gasping their way to every precious moment
when they can gather, in hiding, with other precious believers
and hear a whispered message from God,
bathe in the reading of His word,
and pray with passion and tears for strength to endure
and the courage to continue speaking the truth under threat of death.
God placed us all where we are.
He assigned us to our stations.
There is no guilt in being born in the land of the free as opposed to a country under harsh rule.
But there is guilt if we use our freedom to indulge our petty preferences,
to pad our comfort,
to drift through this dark world basking in our own light
rather than using it
to serve those who waste away in prison cells wondering if they’ve been forgotten
or their families left to struggle alone with hunger, fear, and lonliness,
or those serving the Lord in dark, dark places who need our prayers for their protection, deliverance, courage, and strength.
This blog is just a bunch of words. It costs me absolutely nothing to write. I am free here to say whatever I want without fear that it will cost me or my loved ones their lives.
But the words I speak on my knees have the power to move forces in the heavenly realm
and make a difference for those who know the names and faces of those 33 facing execution,
to comfort those who know their touch, their dreams, the plans they had for this life that will end any minute now
and to strengthen those who pick up the bloody batons these 33 will be forced to release
and continue to build the kingdom of Christ in lands where the enemy of God rules.
Worship will be different for me this week, with the report of 33 gunshots bouncing around the inner chamber of my soul
reminding me that we aren’t home yet.
***This article is reblogged from “Deeper with Jesus in Rhode Island” Thank you!
North Korea’s young leader Kim Jong Un seems to be acting like a regular playboy these days, according to recent press coverage. The very young dictator, who is 31-years-old, was seen cavorting around with a group of blushing female pilots during a series of drills at a North Korean air strip – practically reenacting a scene from the popular TV series The Girls Next Door, which featured “Hef” and his Playboy Bunny girlfriends. Although Jong Un almost channels an odd version of Hugh Hefner during the event, outside of that fun-loving image stands a man who plans on executing a group of 33 Christians, suspected of “no good”.
On Friday, North Korea’s Workers party released a few choice pictures to Korean Central News Agency. These very cheerful photos show Jong Un smiling, laughing, and happily posing alongside a gang of seemingly smitten female pilots at an air force based. The imagery harkens back to a time of Hugh Hefner, sitting in his mansion, surrounded by admiring women, looking on in awe of his success and manhood. The 1940’s style uniforms worn by the North Korean ladies certainly helped to round out the strangeness of the scene. More HERE
I wonder how many American churches will even pray …
Will you pray?
Jesus said, “I told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world.”
John 16:33 (NCV)