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Because Suffering Together is Better

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 mywarminghouse.com, suffering, church

Years ago my husband took me to Muir Woods, a redwood forest in California. Standing silent and wonderstruck at the base of those trees, I sensed something sacred. 

Although redwoods reach to monumental heights, their root system is shallow. If they were made to stand alone, they would fall crashing to the ground with a thunderous roar. Their strength is in their branches as they reach out their “arms” to intermingle with the branches of surrounding trees. Through their branches, they literally hold each another up.

Through those trees, God paints a picture of community.

We The Church

We are baptized through our faith into a family. God knows how desperately we need each other in the aching darkness of this world . . . and in the darkness to bring light to one another.

Indifference has no place in the hearts of Christ’s followers. We are meant to feel something when it comes to the family. At times agonizing together . . . and sometimes reveling in the good. 

“This makes for happiness among the parts, so that the parts have the same care for each other that they do for themselves. If one part suffers, all parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.”

1 Corinthians 12:25-26

Fusing Faith With Life

Jesus prayed for unity in the family. Paul exhorted us to be united in our faith, purpose, allegiance, and love by the power of his spirit in us.

In my last post, Navigating Moral Persecution in America, I made you aware of the way many of our family “members” are being persecuted as they live faithful to God.

For them, faith is not closed up in a pretty little box for Sunday mornings. It’s fused with all areas of life.

Every place they labor is viewed as a sacred space. Baking wedding cakes, making flower arrangements, going to the office, performing household tasks, or volunteering in the community are not mundane tasks. Whatever they do, they work heartfelt as though they’re working for the Lord, not for humans.

It’s Not About You

Jesus spoke these words to his followers . . .

“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.”

Matthew 10:32 

These persecuted people have an “acknowledging” faith. To acknowledge means to profess allegiance. To align with. That’s what the world sees and does not understand.

They have chosen to walk away from self-centeredness. In recognition of the majesty of God, they’ve realized “it’s not about me.” They’ve “died” to personal desires, comforts, reputations, and careers to live Godward daily.

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:10

Comfort Those Who Suffer

In that last post, I also explained why I believe there’s such hostility (in part) and how we can respond as Christians. One of the things I shared is the importance of privately and publicly supporting/encouraging those in the family when they’re persecuted. 

Apathy is not appropriate for the church. Compassion is meant to invade the hearts of the church and overflow.

We are not alone and should never feel as though we are. Imagine how different life would be if we all maneuvered this world enveloped in love and compassion from the people of the church. 

Today, I’m sharing specific ways you can reach your “branches” out to support, love, and comfort some of those from my last post who have been targeted for their steadfast faith.

PLEASE involve your children in this process. Tell them what you’re doing and why. Share the stories so they have models of everyday heroes who are living out their faith in the real world. Allow them to help. The next generation needs to be trained to love.

How You Can Be the Church

1) The Benham brothers lost their TV show because of their God-honoring faith, beliefs, and values. You can help by purchasing the Benham brothers’ book: Whatever the Cost: Facing Your Fears, Dying to Your Dreams, and Living Powerfully

2) Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was fired by the Atlanta Mayor because of a book he wrote to help Christian men fulfill their purpose as husbands, fathers, and leaders. In the book, Cochran discusses Galatians 5:19-21 which lists the works of the flesh. An openly gay member of the city council was offended by the biblical definition of uncleanness outlined in the book. 

Click here to sign a petition in the Extinguish Intolerance campaign on behalf of Kelvin Cochran.

Click here to sign the Family Research Council petition in support of Kelvin Cochran

Click here to purchase the book that prompted Kelvin’s persecution.

3) Sign a petition in support of Captain Joseph Lawhorn, US Army Chaplain, disciplined for sharing how his faith helped him during a time of personal depression in a suicide awareness and prevention briefing. 

4) Here’s a story I just discovered this week about a 70-year-old grandma who’s at risk of losing her business, home, and savings because of her faith. You and your family can encourage her with letters to this address:  1177 Lee Boulevard; Richland, Washington; 99352

5) Finally, pray for the brothers and sisters of our faith around the world – particularly the families and friends who knew and loved the 21 martyrs slaughtered for their relationship with Christ.

Suffering together is better. God created us by design to suffer together as a church.

God wants us to comfort each other, and teaches us how to comfort by first comforting us. 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The primary way the world will know there’s a God is by the way God’s people comfort those who suffer.  

It’s time for the church to:

Stand up and stand together.

 Lisa~


 

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3 Comments

  1. Kathleen says:

    Excellent post! I esp. appreciated your ending: “The primary way the world will know there’s a God is by the way God’s people comfort those who suffer. “

  2. Kathy says:

    Great post … great writing Lisa. Love the word picture of the mighty Redwoods. They truly are a remarkable example of how we should love and comfort our brothers and sisters in Christ. Thanks for sharing!

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