One Church: Modern Persecution – Lesson One

For my homeschool co-op, I put together a class about persecution called “One Church: Modern Persecution.”  I chose the name One Church, because we are one body in Christ.

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.  For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.  Even so the body is not made up of one part but many.” – 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

I pulled most of the class from this blog.  My mom is helping me with it, I put it together and my mom teaches the class. I’m not teaching it because I am more comfortable writing than speaking.  I have been wanting to do a class on persecution but I am very shy, that is part of the reason why I started a blog.   Last semester, I took a speech class because I want to become more comfortable speaking to a group.

I had been thinking about creating a class for a while but I wasn’t sure where to start.  After I attended Mission ConneXtion, last year, the class began to come together.  I met a lot of great people and organizations, and got many resources I’m using in the class.  I met the Voice of the Martyr’s Area Coordinator for my area.   She shared with me many resources that I’m using in the class.  After talking with her I was really encouraged, and I appreciated the time she spent with me.

The goal of the class is to raise awareness about modern persecution and show other teens ways to get involved and help now.

We began our first class with an activity we found at Open Doors Youth, they are a great resource: http://www.opendoorsyouth.org/do-something/youth-leader-resources/youth-leader-resources/ We set out bowls of bright colored pompom cotton balls (instead of marshmallows), plates, and chop sticks.  The goal was to move as many cotton balls onto their plates with the chop sticks, before the time ran out.  Then we switched to moving dried rice which was more difficult.  Finally, we attempted to build card towers.   It was a great icebreaker and an effective way to demonstrate perseverance.

We read from Hebrews 13:3, 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10, and Hebrews 11.  We discussed endurance, willpower, persecution, faith, and the difference between the mountain top and the valley. Most importantly, we talked about how God uses ordinary people, who make mistakes and aren’t perfect, to do His will.

From the Open Doors Lesson outline, we watched a movie clip from Lord of the Rings https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zjm1DRMEyUQ ,Samwise’s speech is strong example of not giving up and it was a unexpected surprise during a serious class.

Next, we shared about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a man of great faith who didn’t give up.  We watched this video about his life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrNTVrtXPAU

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Pastor who spoke out against Hitler and the persecution of the Jews. His most well known book is “The Cost of Discipleship.”  He tried to organize the Protestant church to take a firm stand against the Nazis.  When that didn’t happen he helped Martin Niemoller form The Confessing Church, their goal was to oppose the German Christian church movement, supported by Nazis. He wanted the church to live out what it said it believed.  I’m reading an excellent biography about him, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas.

In 1937, The Confessing Church Seminary was closed by Himmler, a leading member of the Nazi party.  After the seminary was closed, Bonhoeffer traveled throughout Eastern Germany over the next two years, leading private seminaries.  In June 1939 he became concerned he would be asked to take an oath to Hitler, so he left Germany and went to the United States.  He felt guilty for seeking sanctuary there and not having the bravery to live what he preached.  Within a year he returned home to Germany.

Bonhoeffer then served as a messenger to the small German resistance.  He was involved in efforts to help Jews escape to Switzerland, this led to his arrest in April 1943.  Bonhoeffer spent 18 months in Telgel Military prison.  He continued to write while he was imprisoned, a guard smuggle out his writings.  Bonhoeffer was moved to the Gestapo’s high security prison, after the failed bomb plot in July 20, 1944.  Then he was transferred to Buchenwald concentration camp, and finally Flossenburg concentration camp.  He was then sentenced to death on April 8, 1945, three weeks before the war ended.  It is believed to have been under the direct order of Hitler.  He was hung along with Admiral Wilhelm Canaris and Hans Oster who were also conspirators.  Before his execution, Bonhoeffer asked an inmate to give a message to Bishop George Bell of Chichester, “This is the end – for me the beginning of life.”


The camp doctor who witnessed his execution wrote:

“I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer…kneeling on the floor praying fervently to God.  I was most deeply moved by the way this loveable man prayed, so devoted and so certain that God heard his prayer.  At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the few steps to the gallows, brave and composed.  His death ensued after a few seconds.  In the almost fifty years that I have worked as a doctor, I have hardly seen a man die so entirely submissive to God.”


We discussed these quotes:

“Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.  Not to speak is to speak.  Not to act is to act.” – Bonhoeffer

“Cheap grace is preaching for forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is Grace without discipleship, Grace without the cross, Grace without Jesus Christ.”  – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

What is cheap grace?  What is the cost of discipleship?  We asked them to think about how political Christians should be and to research what the Bible says about it.

Never Again Is Now

There is a story from WWII of a train carrying Jews to a concentration camp, the train passed a church and the cries of the Jews were disrupting the Christians singing, so those Christians sang louder.

Bonhoeffer spoke up for the Jews who were being persecuted.  He took a stand against the evil that was happening and he refused to sing louder, which led to his death.  The train is rolling now.  Will you sing louder or speak up for those who can’t?

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. – Proverbs 31: 8-9 (NIV)

At the end of class we passed out bright red folders we made including these handouts:

World Watch List Map: https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/ 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Bio: http://www.biographyonline.net/spiritual/dietrich-bonhoeffer.html

A list of some of Bonhoeffer’s quotes http://blog.biographyonline.net/2010/12/quotes-dietrich-bonhoeffer.html,

Brother Andrew bio:http://www.inspirationalchristians.org/brother-andrew/ and http://www.opendoorsusa.org/about-us/history/brother-andrews-story/

and Project Peal http://www.billionbibles.org/china/project-pearl.html. 

The next class will be about Brother Andrew and his organization Open Doors, China, and Project Pearl. Through this class I’m hoping to inspire other teens to speak up and act for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.

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God bless,

Shae

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Refugees of Sudan and Syria

This was originally posted on June 13, 2015.  The post was accidently deleted while using the mobile app. Since I wrote this the crisis in Syria has exploded. It is estimated that there are now around 50 million refugees in the world today, the most since WWII.

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless.  Not to speak is not to act, not to act is to act.” – Deitrich Bonhoeffer

30,000 people a day are forced to flee their home because of violence or fear of persecution.  Refugees spend an average of five years in a refugee camp waiting for a chance to resettle in a new country, less than 1% get that chance.

There is an estimated 11 million Syrians who have been displaced, since the civil war started in 2011.  United Nations High Commissioner (UNHCR) estimates around 3 million have fled to neighboring countries such as: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq.  6.5 million refugees remain in Syria.  More than four years after the war began, it is estimated to have killed 222,000 people, half were citizens.
On July, 26, 2012 the first official refugee camp for Syrian refugees, called Za’atari, opened in Jordan.  In March 2015 there were an estimated 83,000 refugees.  Za’atari is slowly becoming a permanent city.

Along the main street, the camp is like a market.  There refugees can buy food, clothing, and find basic housing.  There have been altercations between the refugees at the camp, a main reason is the lack of food.  A second camp was established after the camp reach maximum capacity housing 60,000 refugees.  This second refugee camp was built 20 kilometers east from Za’atari in Jordan.  On April 5, 2014 there was a riot and a number of people, both refugees and Jordanian police, were injured. One refugee was killed by a gun shot.

When Syrian refugees make it to the camp they still are in danger.  Their new enemies are starvation, disease, and the violence that develops between refugees because of the scarcity of food.  Some refugee camps serve as headquarters for rebel organizations.  They use the camps for recruitment, support, and training to exploit refugees basic needs .

Refugees have to wait an average of five years in a camp before they can get permission to enter a country for asylum.

Where were you five years ago?  That is a long time to wait for help. Every year 50,000-70,000 refugees come to the U.S. seeking safety.  Refuges who are entering the United States are interviewed by the UNHCR and U.S Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, only those escaping persecution are eligible for entry.  When refugees come to the U.S on a travel loan they must repay the cost of their travel expenses.  Each refugee is assigned to an agency to provide basic needs during their first 90 days in the U.S.  Refugees need to establish self-sufficiency through housing, transit, learning English and job skills.  Three months is not very long, they are facing much new pressure and in such an unfamiliar environment.

The Lost Boys of Sudan

The Lost Boys of Sudan are a group of 20,000 boys who were displaced during the second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005).  The name “The Lost Boys of Sudan” was given to them by Aid workers at a refugee camp in Africa. Around 2.5 million people were killed during the war.  Most of the boys were orphans, most were separated from their families when government soldiers and rebels attacked their villages.  Many of them escaped being killed or taken to be soldiers because they were tending their cattle when their villages were attacked.  They kept their cattle near water and were able to hide in the thick brush.  The surviving children traveled for years looking for a safe place.  They found shelter in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. A few went to villages in South Sudan.  On the journey, half of the boys died from starvation, diseases, and attacks from wild animals, soldiers, and rebels.

Most of the woman and young girls, in the villages that were attacked, were raped and sold into slavery. At the refugee camp in Ethiopia, the boys and girls were put into separate areas of the camp.  In Sudanese culture girls cannot be alone, so they were placed with surviving family members, or adopted by other families.  When the resettlement program to the U.S started, only orphans were, so the girls who were placed with family members, or other families for 9-14 years, were no longer considered orphans, and were not able to be in the resettlement program.

From 1992-1996, 1200 of the Lost Boys were reunited with their families, because of UNHCR however, 17,000 remained in refugee camps in 1996.

The current Civil War in Sudan started in December 2013, nothing has really changed.  For more information on what the current situation is like in Sudan since the current civil war started in 2013.  This is an excellent article with illuminating pictures.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/09/un-base-south-sudan-photos_n_7544794.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Here is more information about refugees:

http://www.west-info.eu/how-many-refugees-worldwide/

Adopt a Refugee:

http://www.refugeechildren.net/

http://www.adoptarefugeefamily.org/

United Nations High Commissioner (UNHCR) http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home

God Bless You,

Shae

A Birthday Prayer

 Hebrews 13:3 New International Version (NIV)

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.


The American Pastor Saeed Abedini has been in prison, in Iran, since September 26, 2012.  He was sentenced to eight years in prison.  September 26, 2015 will mark his third year in prison with many reports of abuse and torture.

His wife, Naghmeh Abedini, is asking churches around the country to come together on September 26 in prayer for Saeed.  Prayer vigils are being held at state capital buildings, churches, and homes.  For more information on how you can attend or host one visit http://beheardproject.com/prayer-vigil/saeed/.
Saeed’s daughter, Rebekka, will be celebrating her ninth birthday September 12th.  This is another birthday spent without her dad.  Naghmeh posted their church’s address on Facebook.
If you want to send an encouraging birthday card, you can mail it to:
Naghmeh Abedini
123 Auto Dr.
Boise, ID 83709
Naghmeh also requests prayer for her kids, they are starting to lose hope that their dad will ever come home.
Here is the letter Saeed wrote to his daughter last year, for her birthday:

My Dearest Rebekka Grace,

HAPPY 8th BIRTHDAY!

You are growing so fast and becoming more beautiful every day. I praise God for His faithfulness to me every day as I watch from a distance through the prison walls and see pictures and hear stories of how you are growing both spiritually and physically.

Oh how I long to see you.

I know that you question why you have prayed so many times for my return and yet I am not home yet. Now there is a big WHY In your mind you are asking: WHY Jesus isn’t answering your prayers and the prayers of all of the people around the world praying for my release and for me to be home with you and our family.

The answer to the WHY is WHO. WHO is control? LORD JESUS CHRIST is in control.

I desire for you to learn important lessons during these trying times. Lessons that you carry now and for the rest of your life. The answer to the WHY is WHO. The confusion of “WHY has all of this happened?” and “WHY your prayers are not answered yet” is resolved with understanding WHO is in control…LORD JESUS CHRIST, our GOD!

God is in control of the whole world and everything that is happening in it is for His good purpose, for His glory, and will be worked out for our good (Romans 8:28). Jesus allows me to be kept here for His glory. He is doing something inside each of us and also outside in the world. People die and suffer for their Christian faith all over the world and some may wonder why? But you should know the answer of WHY is WHO. It is for Jesus. He is worth the price. And He has a plan to be glorified through our lives.

I want you to read the book of Habakkuk. He had the same question as you. But see that the Lord answered him in Habakkuk 2:3, “the vision comes and doesn’t delay on time, wait for it.” Mommy and I always had big desires to serve Jesus and had great vision to be used for His Kingdom and for His Glory. So today we pay a cost because God, who created us, called us to that.

And so I want you to know that the answer to all of your prayers is that God is in control, and He knows better than us what He is doing in our lives and all around the world.

Therefore declare as Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-­‐Nego did in Daniel 3: 17-­‐18!

17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

And learn and declare as Habakkuk did that even if we do not get the result that we are looking for, God is still good and we WILL praise His Holy Name.

Habakkuk 3:17-­19

17 Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls— 18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.

Then my dear beloved daughter Rebekka Grace, I pray God will bring me back home soon. But if not, we will still sing together as Habakkuk did HALLELUJAH, either separated by prison walls or together at home.

So, let Daddy hear you sing a loud Hallelujah that I can hear all the way here in the prison!

I am so proud of you my sweet courageous daughter. Glory to God forever, Amen.

Kisses and Blessings,

Daddy


The president of Iran is going to be in New York, speaking before the United Nations, on September 28.  Naghmeh is going to New York, praying for an opportunity to speak with him.  In Saeed’s letter you can see the peace God gives him.  He knows that Jesus Christ is control.  He is not angry with God for not answering their prayers by releasing him from prison.  Instead, he’s confident in God’s promise. Let’s continue to pray for God’s will for Saeed and his family as he continues to stand for his faith in Christ.

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 God bless you,
Shae

The Train is Rolling

Romans 8:35-39 New International Version (NIV)

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[a]

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Miriam is 11, she was forced to leave her home close to Mosul, Iraq when ISIS captured the city in mid 2014.  From Irbil, during Christmas 2014 she did an interview with SAT-7 reporter Essam Nagy.

SAT-7 is a ministry working to broadcast God’s love to churches in the Middle East and North Africa through television.

Miriam tells the reporter that God has provided for them, when he asked her what she meant by that she responded with, “God loved us and wouldn’t let ISIS kill us.”  Then he asked her if she knew how much God loved her and she replied, “Yes, God loves us all, not just me. God loves everybody.”  Miriam’s understanding of God is so beautiful.  Torn from her home and missing the life she knew, she remains focused on God’s faithfulness and love for everybody, even ISIS.  She says she forgives ISIS and prays God will too.

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  He called a little child to Him, and placed the child among them.  And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will ever enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”- Matthew 18:1-4 (NIV)

You can see the interview of Miriam’s Story and Song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ige6CcXuMg

Miriam’s faith left a strong impression on me.  She continually goes back to God’s will.  We can be so easily distracted from God’s will for our lives.  We struggle with wanting our way and trying to find the correct path.  Here she is, in a refugee camp, living her faith with trust and finding peace from God. She knows that God will never leave or forsake those who are His children.

Persecution for simply being a Christian is growing. I recently attended a  Voice of the Martyr’s conference. Everyday I read stories and testimonies of Christians who have been imprisoned, tortured, beaten, etc. for being a Christian. Meeting them, hearing them share their testimonies, and being able to talk with them was incredible.

At the conference, a speaker shared a story from World War II of a train carrying Jews to a concentration camp. The Jews were crying in despair for help.  When the train passed a church, the cries of the Jews interrupted the Christians singing, so those Christians sang louder.

Today the train is rolling.  I refuse to sing louder.

 Never Again Is Now.

God bless you,

Shae

“Forward On To Jesus”

I recently wrote a blog post about a video letter from the People of the Cross to ISIS.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSv4vBcFyvo

I love the way this letter shifts the conversation from how much we all hate ISIS to the LOVE and GRACE God offers sinners-even ISIS.

“Love is coming after you.”

Much of the conversation I have been hearing about ISIS is focused on how evil they are.

This video is so powerful because it clearly shows Jesus’ message of love and forgiveness to ISIS.

I have heard some talk, but not much, of how we need to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.  The letter to ISIS was a great and powerful reminder that the people of ISIS are lost sinners, that Jesus died on the cross for them, just like He died for us.  He was thinking of them on the cross, just as He was thinking of us.  He came to forgive them too.  Another point in the letter that stood out to me was:

“Apart from Christ, we are no better from the worst jihadist.”

We all have sinned and have fallen short from the glory of God.  Jesus’ blood can cover every sin, He died for everyone.

ISIS is killing Christians, it is very real and tragic, but it is not the end.

 John 3:16 New International Version (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

This is probably the most widely known Bible verse, because it sums up the reason Jesus came, so that whoever believes in Him will never die.   I read somewhere that, “You can’t kill a Christian, you can only change their address. 

This world is not our home, we do not belong here.

Selah wrote a beautiful song “People of the Cross” in response to Christians persecuted around the world and for the 21 Egyptian Christians who were beheaded, for their faith, by ISIS. This song is about them standing firm in their faith and not losing hope in Jesus.

Here is the link to their video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DksMpQTHMV0  

After I watched this video, this scripture came to my mind.

Philippians 3:20-21 New International Version (NIV)

20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body


 “We won’t be shaken, hope won’t be taken.”

Shae

The People of the Cross

The world is being shaken by ISIS.

ISIS is beheading and crucifying men, women, and even toddlers.  They are locking people in cages and burning them alive, they are raping women and children and selling them.  They want to conquer the world.  On June 24, the UN and Iraq’s Ministry of Migration and Displacement released statistics on how many people have been displaced because of ISIS- more than 1.2 million since January, the numbers are not clear.

How do we react to this as Christians? What should we do?

For a year and a half in Iraq, ISIS has been painting the Arabic letter N “nūn” ن for Nazarene on Christians homes to mark them for execution. ISIS uses ن as a mark of shame.  We are retaking it and wearing it as a mark of pride to stand with our persecuted family.  Christians are wearing this symbol ن on shirts, necklaces, bracelets, stickers, etc..  I took a black shirt I had and painted ن on it in red.

ISIS parades prisoners in orange jumpsuits, creating slick Hollywood style videos of mass executions. Christians are also showing unity with prisoners of ISIS by wearing orange shirts and tying orange ribbons to cars and around trees.  Many are hoping to spark a conversation.

We need to raise our voices!

Why are churches not standing up?  Why are we not using the freedom we have to protest? Why are we staying silent while our brothers and sisters are being slaughtered?

There are social protests often in Portland.  We should be making noise about what ISIS is doing to Christians. I’ve read about calls for a big protest march in Washington D.C.  That would be wonderful. In the mean time, let’s raise our voices wherever we live.  Image if churches all over joined together in protest rallies to let our leaders know that we are not okay with their lack of decisive action.

Hebrews 13:3 says, “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.”  Why is the Church not doing this together?  Shouldn’t churches be coming together to stand with our persecuted brothers and sisters?


Jesus said to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

But how can we really love them?  They are killing God’s people.  We have to remember we are all sinners, and God’s forgiveness is for everyone.

Romans 5:8-10 New International Version (NIV)

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!


Romans 8 is always one of the first passages of scripture that comes to my mind, when I hear what new horrors ISIS has committed.

Romans 8:34-39 New International Version (NIV)

34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[a]

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


The Apostle Paul is one of my heroes.

His life is a favorites to read and study in the Bible.  The story of his conversion on the road to Damascus, from being a persecutor of Christians to becoming a great witness for Christ, amazed me.  Paul went from being Saul of Tarsus, persecutor of Christians, to the Apostle Paul who eventually was beheaded for his faith in Jesus.  He faced many trials and persecution in his life, but he never lost his faith, he remained faithful to death.  God used him to make a difference in the world, even though for a long time he did terrible things to God’s children.

Revelation 2:10 New International Version (NIV)

10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.

A letter from The People of the Cross to ISIS.

 I saw this video earlier and it made me cry.  I have now watched it so many times, I still cry every time I see it or read it. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is worth your time.

Here is the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSv4vBcFyvo


A Letter from the People of the Cross to ISIS

The world is talking about you
Your apocalyptic dreams and spectacular sins
Are now awakening the middle east
In your holy war, come to holy ground
Come children of Abraham come
The people of the cross gathers at your gates with a message

Love is coming after you.
Like a rush of wind grazing over the pacific
From hills of the mount of olives to the desert winds of Jordan
From the cedars of Lebanon to the silk roads of the East
An army comes. With no tanks or soldiers
But an army of martyrs faithful unto death
Carrying a message of life
The people of the cross
Comes to die at your gates.
If you wont hear our message with words
Then we will show you with our lives
Laid down.

For every throat you slit and every woman you rape
For every man you burn and every child you turn to dust
There is blood on your hands brother

But Come Brothers Come

Come with your bloodstained hands,
Come with your eyes full of murder for the people of the Cross,
Come lay your guns and your knives at the foot of the cross
A love that is overdue and overwhelming
Breathes through your cities

Though your sins are like scarlet
They can be washed white as snow
Though you call yourselves servants
He will make you into Sons
Where can you run from His love?
Even the darkness cannot hide you

Come Brothers Come
There is the sound of a rushing rain
To remove your sins and bind your wounds
You die for your god but our God died for us
The King of Kings comes to be the sacrificial lamb
Slain on the altar where we should have been
Jesus Christ, Isa Al Masih
Walks through the Middle East

There is forgiveness tonight oh brother
There is healing for your sins oh brother
We are no different.
Apart from Christ, we are no better than the worst jihadist
Christ has been crucified once. and for All.
To make sinners like you and me into brothers
Even you.
Even now.


All of us have sinned.

We all deserve death because of our sins.

In our sins we are no different from anyone else.

Jesus died on the cross an innocent man taking our sins.

   He took our place.

In Him we have forgiveness, redemption, love, freedom and grace.


Genesis 50:20 New International Version (NIV)

20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

God bless us all,

Shae

The Cost

Matthew 13:44-47 New International Version (NIV)

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

This is one of my favorite Scriptures.

  Knowing Jesus and having a personal relationship with Him is the greatest treasure, nothing else can compare.  When we have a personal relationship with Jesus we have found the treasure in the field, we have found the pearl of great value.

Rend Collective is one of my favorite bands.

They are a Northern Irish Christian experimental, folk rock band.  I came across one of their songs “The Cost” from their album Homemade Worship by Homemade People.  Open Doors used this song in a beautiful video they made about Christians facing persecution around the world.  Christians are laying down their lives and continuing to choose Jesus.


“The Cost”

I’m saying yes to You
And no to my desires
I’ll leave myself behind
And follow You

I’ll walk the narrow road
’cause it leads me to You
I’ll fall but grace
Will pick me up again

I’ve counted up the cost
Oh I’ve counted up the cost
Yes I’ve counted up the cost
And You are worth it

I do not need safety
As much as I need You
You’re dangerous
But Lord You’re beautiful

I’ll chase You through the pain
I’ll carry my cross
’cause real love
Is not afraid to bleed

Jesus
Take my all
Take my everything

I’ve counted up the cost
And You’re worth everything


Here’s the link for the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaX4Rv02CGk

Philippians 1:20-26 New International Version (NIV)

20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

God Bless,

Shae