Killing Christians

I recently started reading Killing Christians by Tom Doyle.  I wasn’t sure what I would find in this book, but after reading it I’m shocked, dismayed, worried, etc.  Even though I knew that persecution of Christians existed, I didn’t know the horrifying extent of it.

Living in the U.S. has an insulating effect.  I’m ashamed to say that I often just don’t think about the struggles that Christians in other countries deal with.  Like many Christians here, my biggest concern is usually isolated to concerns over the slow erosion of the Christian foundation on which our country was built.

It never occurs to me that Christians worldwide are in hiding.  That they are meeting late at night and in secret places to learn and praise God.  Just this week I walked into a nice Christian bookstore with no thoughts of being killed because I was there.  We pray before we eat out at a restaurant without worry of being seen and targeted for death.

I didn’t know that Christians are still being crucified.  I’m sorry that I didn’t pay more attention.  I’m sorry that I haven’t been actively involved in the spiritual battle to support those who are facing atrocities because they refuse to renounce Jesus.

I’m out of words.

English: Persecution of the Christians

English: Persecution of the Christians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Aside

iDisciple.

I saw the ad for this is the Family Christian catalog I received in the mail this week.  I haven’t done much with it yet but it looks awesome.

I downloaded the app for my phone and tablet and they have a really good look.  I’m always looking for new things that will enhance my walk with God.  Probably more than that, I’m always looking for new ways to remind myself to walk a better walk with God.

Have you tried it?  Tell me your thoughts.

 

 

iDisciple looks awesome, what do you think?

He’s still in the miracle business

If any of you have read any of my other blog posts, you know that I deal with complex PTSD.  I won’t go into all of the struggles that come with it, you can read some of those on other posts.  I will say that I’ve been out of work because of it for quite a while.  I’ve spent many days asking God why?  I’ve also spent a lot of time wondering if I’ll be able to work again and how.  Who would hire someone who has this medical issue to work around.  After all, it’s a condition that sometimes makes it next to impossible for me to convince myself to even leave my house.  Depending on the day’s severity, I may have trouble remembering what I did 5 minutes ago.

 

I must say though that over time I have learned many new tricks to compensate for the changes PTSD has caused.  You can equate it to someone loosing their legs and then learning new ways to move around.  I keep learning these new ways of compensation and will probably continue to do so.

 

So, now to the true point of this post.  I had started to resign myself to an unemployed existence.  Although, my wife and I have continued to pray for a miracle of some sort.  We’ve prayed continuously that He would take care of us, however that may be.

 

And now the miracle.  A couple of weeks ago, Jodi(my wife) and I decided to drive up to north Georgia.  We had no particular destination in mind.  It was just another Saturday and we were board.  As we were going I saw a sporting goods store in Jasper and we decided to stop in just to kill some time.  While there we ran into the Compton’s.  We knew of them, but didn’t know them well.  Jodi and Beth started talking and find out that they needed a project manager in their company and I have done the job before.

 

In short order I met with Ken and Beth, took a personality test to see if I was a good fit for the job and found out that I was a great fit for what they needed.  So, an unplanned trip to an out of the way place lead to a job.  Neither of us could have guessed that God would answer our prayer in this way.  In fact, it’s a set of circumstances that we couldn’t have orchestrated if we tried.  There were/are too many parts and pieces that needed to come together in a perfect way for it all to work out.  That is something that only God could do.

 

To be completely transparent, I’m not sure exactly how it all happened.  God was working too many pieces for me to even attempt to grasp it all.  In the end it’s not my job to understand it all.  My job is to trust Him and move through the doors He opens and stop trying to open doors that He has closed.

 

No matter what someone tries to tell you or how you feel, God has not left you.  He will also never leave you.  This is not prosperity gospel by any stretch of the imagination.  We had to go through some very dark times to get to today and there will be more of those ahead.  But, if you and I keep our hope and faith in the God of the universe then we can see the dark times as nothing more than a training ground.  We can also rest peacefully in the fact that God also has bright and awesome blessings waiting for each and every one of His children.

 

It’s hard for me to end this post because I don’t feel that I’ve adequately conveyed the miracle that He did.  I think I would have to chronicle most of the last 2 or 3 years for you to get that picture.  But, you don’t have the time to read all of that and I’ve got work to do.

 

 

Training without experience

Physical Fitness Test

Physical Fitness Test (Photo credit: The U.S. Army)

 

I’m sure all of us have been through training of some kind.  Standard education, physical training, self defense training, firearms training, job training, etc.  We’ve all been through some type of it.  We study, we take a test and hopefully pass it and then believe that we’re now ready for whatever.

 

But there’s a missing component to all training.  Experience.  Experience is arguably one of life’s greatest teachers.  This is because it is nearly impossible to recreate a real life experience in a training environment.  We can come close, but can never truly match it.  Life does not fit into a training curriculum.  It’s unwieldy, and uncooperative.  When you know for sure that it will go left, it goes right.

 

Please understand that I’m a staunch supporter of training.  It’s the only thing any of us can do to try and prepare.  These same points hold true in our relationship with God.  No where in the Bible does God say “follow me and life will be a piece of cake”.  Quite the opposite is said over and over.  “Follow me and the world is going to do all it can to take you down”.  It’s good versus evil, it’s a war.

 

The idea for this post came from my reading in the Psalms this morning.  I was struck again at how David, described as a man after God’s own heart, was always going to God with petition and praise.  He didn’t get with God and then the road suddenly became straight and easy.  No, he partnered with God and all hell broke loose.  He seemed to be constantly fighting with one enemy or another.  Sometimes external and sometimes internal, but he was always in the fray.

 

Some would read the Psalms and think at first glance that God kept leaving David in a mess.  But what we need to understand is that we are at war.  A war of good versus evil.  There’s no way around it or out of it.  A person can choose to not fight, but that’s the extent of our individual choice.  We will be attacked whether we like it or not.

 

Many today proclaim that they strive to live in peace with everyone and everything.  It’s a great platitude, but unrealistic.  Let’s imagine something for a moment.  Imagine you’re standing in the middle of a battle field.  Bullets are flying, bombs are exploding, yells, screams, smoke, and soldiers running and fighting.  Now imagine that you decide that your not going to get involved, after all you live for peace.  So you sit or stand idly in the middle of the malay.  How long do you think you’ll last?  Do you believe that because you have chosen to create your own one person peaceful protest that you’ll be unaffected by the war?

 

I hope not.  Because if a person did this they would last a few seconds at best.  Those that are actively involved in the battle at hand don’t have the time to try to fight around you because you’re peaceful.  They’re going to have to go through you, and they will.

 

Here’s the bottom line for all Christians: YOU DO NOT have a choice.  You’re going to be on the battle field whether you like it or not.  You can’t escape it because it’s where you live.  No amount of peace symbols are lovely platitudes are going to protect you from it.  It may not sound fair, but God did not promise that if you followed Him that all of life would be fair.  But, the good news is you still have a choice.  God always gives you a choice.  You can live a pointless, at peace with everyone existence or you can get off the pew and fight for the lost.

 

Living in the desert

English: Leaving traces on soft sand dunes in ...

English: Leaving traces on soft sand dunes in Tadrart Acacus a desert area in western Libya, part of the Sahara. Français : Un marcheur laisse des empreintes sur le sable mou des dunes de Tadrart Acacus, une zone désertique de l’ouest libyen appartenant au Sahara. Italiano: Tracce lasciate sulle soffici dune di sabbia nel Tadrart Acacus, un’area deserta nel sud-ovest libico, deserto del Sahara. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Sometimes God has us live in a desert.  Not a literal desert, although that happens too I guess.  What a mean is a desert of no direction.  There are times when everything seems to stop and you find yourself stuck where you are.  Most of us will typically try to remove ourselves from this place, usually with no success.  We live in one of those mazes where you open a door, go through and then suddenly realize that you’re in the same place you started.  A lot of energy has been expended with no forward progress.

 

It’s hard to know what to do in these places.  Human beings by nature do not like to be trapped.  We want to be able to move freely and follow our instincts.  The problem is that our instincts can often be misleading.  No matter what we think we know, we can’t see the whole picture.  We are quite literally blind to anything the future holds.

 

Then there’s the fact that we usually have a hard time believing that God has not abandoned us for whatever reason when we can’t find a way out of a tough place.  We pray and pray, quite often for a specific answer.  Assuming all along that we know exactly what the right answer is even though we don’t know what will happen even 1 minute into the future.  It’s a very arrogant mind that we all have at times.

 

Every Christian is very lucky, blessed beyond measure, that we have a Father who will often refuse to let us out of the desert until the time is right.  I’ve been in a desert of sorts for 2 or 3 years now.  I’ve tried unsuccessfully to escape on several occasions.  I failed each time.  God allowed me to try, but then He lead me right back to the desert, gave me what I needed to survive and then went on His merry way.  Leaving me to pout and sulk like a spoiled brat for a while.  Then in time I would gather myself and attempt my next grand escape only to be sat back in the desert again.  Eventually I stopped fighting so hard to escape and relinquished myself to His will.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not some sort of super Christian.  I stilled whined and complained at times, but that was less often, much less often.  At some point I resigned myself to His will and not my own.

 

Only then did He open some doors and show me the way and time that was right.  So, as of this writing I’m slowly and tentatively taking baby steps out of the desert.  Praying with each step.  Practicing what I’ve learned about patience and dependence on Him.  I spent most of my desert time with no job.  No way to earn any money no matter what I tried.  Then suddenly, in the span of a week opportunities suddenly come.

 

I’m approaching each of these possible opportunities with the knowledge that these are gifts from God and He is in control of my path.  I am hopeful that now I can finally leave the desert behind, at least for a while.  I’m amazed again at God’s goodness, love, concern and care for me.

 

The best devotional books of all time!

1631 Book of Psalms

1631 Book of Psalms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

There are a lot of great Christian devotional books out there.  Some old and some new.  I’ve read a few and still re-read one or two of them.

 

But, there are two books that comprise the best devotional set of all time.  They are the book of Psalms and Proverbs.

 

Have you ever noticed that if you pick up a copy of the new testament that Psalms and Proverbs are always, at least almost always, included?  The reason is because they contain life guiding information that every other devotional in the world is based on.

 

Psalms leads us through the ups and downs of life and how we should react, namely by turning to God no matter what the circumstance or how we feel.  Whats more, Psalms shows each of us that being absolutely open and honest with God is not just good, it’s expected.  There are times in Psalms where King David says things that honestly shock me at first.  My first thought is “why is David talking to God that way?!?  Does He want to get lit up by lightening?”.  The answer to those questions is no.  He doesn’t.  What David had figured out is that God loves him not because of what he’s done, but rather in spite of it.  God invited him to be open, honest, brave, repentant and dependent.  And David took Him up on the offer.

 

It’s not easy for me to pray to God in this manner.  Being raised in a violent home, it is not in my nature to cry out in David’s manner to God.  At certain times it seems that David is nearly accusing God of not holding up His end of the bargain.  When I read these things I’m almost shocked by His audacity.  Does he want to get struck down by lightening or something?!?

 

But with a little more study you’ll learn that this manner of relationship is what God wants.  He wants honesty.  He wants us to know that He’s more than big enough to take it.  After all, no relationship can succeed without honesty.  Even if it hurts sometimes.  He want’s to hear our cries and our anger.  He also wants to hear our love and praise.  All are necessary to a healthy relationship, with God or anyone else.

 

So, I’m inviting you to give it a shot.  You don’t have to ditch your current devotional reading habits.  Just incorporate daily time in these two books.  And then practice what you learn in your communication with God.  Personally, I’m not interested in a Father who will strike me down if I mess up and say he wrong words or say them in the wrong way.  Lucky for you and me that God is not that kind of Dad.  He is one that loves each of us individually in a way that we will not truly be able to fathom until we see Him face to face.

 

Always remember that Jesus, who had the power to obliterate every enemy who crossed Him, instead chose to submit to ridicule, torture, and murder so that you and I could find the path to forgiveness and salvation.

 

Brodie

 

God never quits

God never fails you or quits on you. It may feel like He’s bailed at times. But He has not. These are the times when you and I must trust Him. These are the opportunities to test your reliance on Him.
I fall short on this trust more than I’d like to admit.

Christian and afraid of the end?

I’m often confused when they say something like this: “I’m not ready for Jesus to return. I’m too young, etc.”. My only response is “huh!?!?!?”

If you’ve accepted Jesus, but don’t want Him to take you home yet then something’s wrong. I can see hoping for a delay if you have loved ones that are not saved yet. But other than that, nothing on this earth can match eternity with God.

This is a short post, but else can I say? What about you? Do you dread Christs return?