Saturday, June 13, 2015

Angel Wings



Oh that some angel would lift me on mighty wings
To rise above the troubles of these streets
To fly with beating heart in clouds and breeze
Up in the holy silence above God's world.
And perhaps indeed some angel will carry me
When my days down here are done
Will bear me up on eagle's wings,
And set me down beyond the sun.



© someburningthoughts.com, 2015
 


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Rainstorm

The holy hush of a rainy day
Suddenly the house becomes a cave
And from the front porch shelter those who may
Watch lightning and the thunder play
Hear branches creak and tree tops sway
Feel rain drops fly in a misty spray
And raise a hand to God in praise.


© someburningthoughts.com, 2015

Wednesday, June 3, 2015




One thing that struck me talking with Christians in China is that most of them didn't think they were persecuted.

Now at least once a month in America I hear some pastor or Christian say, "We should be so thankful we are free to worship God here in America, and aren't persecuted for our faith as are people in some countries."

The underlying sentiment of gratitude is a good one as we consider what Christians in Syria or Iraq are facing at the moment.  (For a breathtaking 3 minute interview of some Christian refugee kids in Iraq, chase this link: https://youtu.be/Wsxw_x4HIC4)

But let's take a moment to look closer at Jesus' famous pronouncement on persecution. 

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
                                 Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 5:11-12)

How does Jesus define persecution?
1) When people insult you
2) When people persecute you (treat you badly)
3) When people falsely say all kinds of evil about you because of your faith in Him
How much of his definition of persecution is the spoken word? Two-thirds!  Why?  Because Jesus knew very well that the rhyme "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" is patently false. 

He had personal experience with that form of persecution. The opinion makers of his people said he had a demon. Others implied he was a bastard child. (Mary Jones says "We can detect the sting of the offense later in Jesus' life when the mocking crowd says "Isn't this Mary's son...? In Jesus' day children were identified as being their father's sons - unless there was no father.")  They called him a glutton and a wino, and a "friend of tax-collectors and prostitutes," from Nazareth, that backwoods hicktown.

Isaiah 53 describes the Messiah as one who was "despised and rejected by mankind...familiar with pain...like one from whom men hide their faces...despised...held in low esteem."
It hurts to be insulted, labeled as "uncool," pushed out of the in-crowd.

According to Alternet's article "Social Death Penalty: Why Being Ostracized Hurts Even More Than Bullying,"
"Ostracism is among the most devastating experiences we can endure, deeply connected to our most fundamental human need to be recognized and accepted."  
According to the American Psychological Association,
"As researchers have dug deeper into the roots of rejection, they’ve found surprising evidence that the pain of being excluded is not so different from the pain of physical injury. Rejection also has serious implications for an individual’s psychological state and for society in general. Social rejection can influence emotion, cognition and even physical health." (http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/04/rejection.aspx)
Are you ever afraid to speak out about your faith? Why? What happens if we speak out on our beliefs about God creating the world, or his guidelines for sexual behavior?  Are false things ever said about us on TV shows or in the media or in our work place?  Are Christians in America already being persecuted according to Jesus' definition? 

We don't need a victim mentality. We don't need to claim to suffer as much as some Christians are called to in other times and places--but we can call a spade a spade. Let's not be blind to the pressure we already face--so that we won't miss our calling (pray for those who persecute you) and our blessing.