Dear Reading Friends, thanks for joining me for a peek behind the scene into my new novel, which is set in North Korea. There are some different ideas inside Distant Harm, COIL Legacy Book Three about to be released. I don’t mean for them to be shocking, but there are such unfamiliar realities in other countries in comparison to American Christianity that we may find ourselves surprised. One potentially shocking reality is that the servants of God in distant lands train to die well for Christ. They train to die? Yes!
Are we ready to sing?
After just a brief look at church history, we discover that martyrs for Christ were burned at the stake, boiled alive, or died in prisons, many with songs of precious hymns on their lips as they were cut down. Witnesses have spoken of the splendor displayed by the saints in their moments of departure for glory. Some shouted Scripture. Others gazed at the sky, like Stephen, who saw Jesus (Acts 7:55-56).
Many countries today persecute Christians. Some of it is physical persecution, and some of it is daily emotional torment by the opposition—those who despise the God of the Bible or the grace of Jesus Christ. Such persecution, or even the thought of it, has the potential to shut the mouths of young or old believers at the moment they should be the most vocal. This is why training must be held within Christian communities where Christians are persecuted, or for those going to places where they expect persecution.
Exercising our Courage.
Courage cannot be taught. It can be inspired, yes, and courage must be developed and exercised. God’s people must not break in their final moments to testify of God’s great love and joy and peace offered to all! Thus, training believers to die well in a growing number of circles revolves around a DAILY outspoken life for Christ.
The believer who has become a natural testimony from day to day will not think it odd that he or she testifies boldly on his or her final day.
Dying well isn’t just for foreign countries.
But wait! Is dying well for Christ something we in America should think about as well? Absolutely! We don’t know how we will die. It is becoming increasingly more familiar to us that many die violently, even here in the States. Why wouldn’t we reflect with steadfast faith and set our hearts to die well for Christ, whether we die of old age or at gunpoint?
In Distant Harm—I think I can say this without spoiling anything—Christians suffer. Christians die. But they die well, because they were living well for Christ already. Because they looked forward to being with Christ, dying well for Him was not a strain to their nature. They die with compassion, and without bitterness; they die as they lived.
May we, however it may come, die well for our Lord. But that begins with living well for God now. Trust Him to use you in life, and you won’t have to worry about how He’ll use you in death. After all, you’ll live again! So, let’s get training!
See you on the field!
Prayer Prompt: American Pastor Andrew Brunson‘s trial didn’t go well on April 16. His next hearing is scheduled for May 7. Please pray for him and his family. Here’s a CBN interview with Aykan Erdemir, a former member of Turkey’s parliament, and a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He has interesting but sad insight into the “justice system” in Turkey.
COMING UP: Join us next time for, “Next in D.I. Telbat Novels–April 2018 Update” with news on Distant Harm and other books!