Trusting Him

A year ago, when I first started writing this blog, there was not much conversation about persecution.  After I started this blog the world began to talk about ISIS in a new way.  Much of the conversation is about fear and anger, not much about loving your enemies and forgiving them as Jesus has done for us.  It’s easy to forget, in our fear, that Muslims are lost souls in need of saving.

Matthew 5:43-48 New Living Translation (NLT)

Teaching about Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’[a] and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies![b] Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends,[c] how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Now, there is much debate over whether refugees should come into America.  Many are afraid all the young men are ISIS members coming to kill us.  As Christians we are not called to live our lives in fear.  God tells us in his word, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul.  Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” – Matthew 10:28

After my first post “Where His Path Led Me,” I went to Mission ConneXion.  I learned about many different ministries and organizations, met inspiring people, and gathered great resources.  A few months later, people that I met at Mission ConneXion became keynote speakers at the Worldview Symposium I helped organize for youth and their families.  I wrote about that in my post “Wakeful and Uprooted”.

I wanted to connect with others around my age so I put together a class for the weekly homeschool co-op I’m in. The lessons were mostly pulled for my blog and books I’ve read.  Some of the kids came because they went to the Worldview Symposium.  I added a page to this blog called “Persecution Class” and I posted the lessons there.  We are continuing the class next semester and adding a book club/prayer group.  It will be a place for us to get to know each other better as we read books like Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand and God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew.

God is using this blog to teach me.  I’m learning to trust Him more, to give my concerns about whatever I’m planning or holding onto to Him because he already has it planned and knows how it will turn out.  I am learning to push myself and the value of being uncomfortable. I realize the stress I feel to write a new post is usually because I am looking to myself for something to say.  When I turn to God and I am being led by Him, it feels completely different.  A year ago, after reading people’s stories about persecution in several books and watching their testimonies on YouTube, my heart was broken.  I could not stop thinking about them.  I prayed to God and asked Him to use me and to let me help somehow.  God brought to me the idea of a blog.  He made it clear to me that’s what he wanted me to do.  I was terrified when I wrote my first post, I thought no one would like it and I would be trolled.  But, I didn’t want to say no to God so I sat down and struggled through my first post.  It has been amazing to feel His hand on me through this journey.  I can see Him so clearly through all of the brokenness that surrounds us.

The idea of a class was so scary to me, I went back and forth on whether I should do it or not.  Then I thought of my brothers and sisters who are risking everything- their families, homes, security, and even their lives to share the love of God in this broken world.  I thought of how scared I was to do the class and have people not like it or not like me, I felt ashamed for not trusting God, so I did the class.  I am reminded again that His plans for me are good.  I’m glad I trusted God with the class.  They are a special group.  God brought us together for a purpose and I’m excited to see what He has planned for us. This blog has been viewed in over 70 countries so far.  It never even occurred to me that anyone outside of the U.S. or my family and friends would read it much.  It continues to amaze me and I am praying for everyone who has read this blog.

The world feels more unstable every day, but remember that God is there, He loves and cares for each and every one of us.  That is why He sent His son Jesus to take our sins from us.  Jesus experienced complete separation from God, when He died on the cross, so we don’t have to.  He died so we could spend eternity with Him in heaven.  The Bible tells us, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Romans 10:9

If you want to know more about Jesus, the book of John or the book of Romans in the Bible are a good place to start.  Bible Gateway has many translations and languages available https://www.biblegateway.com/

This is the Scripture that we built the Symposium on.

Jeremiah 1:4-12 New Life Version (NLV)

Now the Word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I started to put you together in your mother, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart as holy. I chose you to speak to the nations for Me.” Then I said, “O, Lord God! I do not know how to speak. I am only a boy.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy.’ You must go everywhere I send you. And you must say whatever I tell you. Do not be afraid of them. For I am with you to take you out of trouble,” says the Lord. Then the Lord put out His hand and touched my mouth, and said to me, “See, I have put My words in your mouth. 10 I have chosen you this day to be over the nations and the kings, to dig up and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.”

11 And the Word of the Lord came to me saying, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I said, “I see a branch of an almond tree.” 12 Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching to see that My Word is completed.”

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God bless you,

Shae

 

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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

Fear is a Lie


Persecution has always existed.

One of the reasons I started this blog is because I thought there wasn’t enough conversation about persecution.  In such a short period of time, the whole world has begun talking about it in a new way.  The tangible evil is showing it’s face and wont be ignored.  They are familiar now, words that evoke images of terror and death that are designed to make us feel fear deep in our hearts: ISIS, ISIL, IS, AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula), Ansar Al Sharia in Libya, Boko Haram, Hamas, Hezbollah, Marxism, Communism.  Whatever name they are using, they all share the same roots and the same goals: power, death, destruction and ultimately to stop the TRUTH of Jesus Christ.

I often hear people talk about positivity and negativity, the light versus the dark, how if we could all just be kinder and show more love then we can influence the universe and make it a better place. I don’t believe this. I don’t believe that the universe has a personality and cares about us. I don’t believe that we came from nothing for nothing.

I believe we are created in the image of God for a purpose.  We are to love God and love each other.

Fear is a lie.

It is a distraction designed to hold you back from the truth.  We are not alone.  This isn’t just a battle against the evil we see, but against the evil we cannot see.


Ephesians 6:10-20 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

The Fight against Evil

10 Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. 11 Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. 12 We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. 13 So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day[a] comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.

14 Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God’s justice protect you like armor. 15 Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. 16 Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Let God’s saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God’s message that comes from the Spirit.

18 Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people. 19 Pray that I will be given the message to speak and that I may fearlessly explain the mystery about the good news. 20 I was sent to do this work, and that’s the reason I am in jail. So pray that I will be brave and will speak as I should.


United in Prayer

When I began this blog I wasn’t sure who I would be writing to, I just felt pressure from God to share what I was learning about persecuted Christians. I thought I would be writing to teens in the USA, instead God is leading me to a different audience.  Along with American readers, it is incredible to see all the countries that have viewed my blog, I am honored.

My brothers and sisters in Brazil, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Dominican Republic, Australia, Canada, India, Romania, Nepal, Bolivia, United Kingdom, Algeria, Czech Republic, Austria, Philippines, Moldova, and Thailand   I am praying for all of you.

God Bless You,

Shae


We are united in prayer against the rising evil.

Philippians 1:28 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

28 Be brave when you face your enemies. Your courage will show them that they are going to be destroyed, and it will show you that you will be saved. God will make all of this happen,