1:13 AM

So I've been reading... Nothing unusual about that. But my choices in books have been, ummm, a little heavier than normal. Lately, I've been gripped by the stories of persecuted Christians. Many in the last few days. Tortured for His Faith, Corrie Ten Boom's Prison Letters, Faith Despite the KGB and Prisoners of Hope. These were people just like me, making daily choices with huge consequences. The thought keeps coming back--this could be me! This could be me.. today or tomorrow or ten years from now. Is my heart prepared to suffer for the Lord?

It's so easy to forget the suffering of fellow Christians, both those who have gone before and those who are suffering even now. We live easy lives of comfort, peace and safety. But persecution is reality! It's not some far-off concept. And honestly, I can't help thinking that if we lived more radically, we would be more persecuted. This comfortable existence is poison to our souls, lulling us into the sleep of death.

"Awake, you sleeper! And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you." (Eph. 5:14)

But really, I'm speaking to myself more than anyone else. Things could get really bad here. Or I could go somewhere else and literally lay down my life for the Gospel. Am I ready? Am I willing to suffer neglect, torture, pain, abuse, loneliness and even death, for the sake of my Master?

Somehow, all my little "challenges" don't seem so bad anymore. Today I'm taking up my cross--with all the suffering that entails--and following Christ.

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