Monday, November 12, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Bravery


Will I Stand for God?
A devotional by Tammy Karasek

“Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were filled with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted and mistreated…” 
~Hebrews 11:36-37 (ESV)

The sufferings at the hands of others spoken of in the above verse are rough words to read. Though the forms of death mentioned above may not be methods of persecution we hear about much today, they are still used. Many Christians through the ages were “killed with the sword” for expressing their faith in God or for refusing to denounce Christ.

One example in scripture is Zechariah who was stoned to death for his faith. In 2 Chronicles 24:20-22, Zechariah was chosen by God to replace his father as priest under King Joash. He stood firm in his faith and held his position as priest seriously. The people of his town didn’t want to hear about his God and conspired to stone him to death. But Zechariah wasn’t worried or ashamed of his faith and stayed true to the God who was always there for him. Zechariah stood for God, risking being stoned, and spoke truth for his love for God.

There are Christians in the Middle East currently that have been “killed with the sword” for their faith in Jesus and their refusal to say they don’t follow Him. Unfortunately, some of these events are recorded and shown on the television throughout the world of these Christians being killed. Far too many nights, the evening news speaks of these persecutions.

While we think these may not affect us here on American soil, let us not forget the senseless killings that are happening to people standing up for their faith. The one that comes to mind is the story of the 17-year-old girl from Columbine High School in Colorado—Rachel Scott. The events of April 20, 1999 are still hard to read almost twenty years later. Rachel was the first student to be shot and killed that day. The boy sitting next to her on the lawn lived, though paralyzed from the gunshots he received, and was able to share what the gunmen said to her. These fellow students and gunmen mocked her for her belief in God. The shooters said, “You still believe in God now?” and more. They ended their rant with, “Go be with him!” and shot her in the temple.

Oddly, one of the bullets actually went through a journal she had. In the journal was a prayer for one of the boys who killed her. Rachel had a mission to reach out to the unreached at Columbine. She had another journal in her backpack with a powerful drawing she’d drawn, which seemed to be prophetic. The picture was drawn less than an hour before she was killed. The drawing is a rose and 13 teardrops—there were 13 victims that day. She drew it in class then showed it to her teacher. The last thing that she said to the teacher was “People are going to know who I am someday.”

For more information on Rachel’s legacy and ministry see racheljoyscott.com.

The people above are what we describe as martyrs. Dictionary.com defines a martyr as: “A person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce his or her religion. A person who is put to death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle or cause.”

While I may not encounter this in my life, I do believe I need to assess my heart. If I were face to face with someone demanding me to denounce Christ to save my life, what would my answer be? I want to say I know I would stand firm for my faith. But would I? It sounds easy sitting here in my warm home typing on my keyboard, yet in a moment, something could change and I could be looking down the barrel of a gun with my opportunity to stand boldly for God.

Though I can’t guarantee what I’d say, I’m so encouraged by the following scriptures:


“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” ~Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” 
~James 1:2-3 (NIV)

Have you thought about this or even been in this situation? 


What are your thoughts about standing up for your faith?

What will it be—when faced with the decision of possible persecution, will we stand up for Christ and trust in Him?

I pray that I say YES! And you?

~*~
Author Bio:
You’ll find Tammy seeing humor and causing laughter in every aspect of life. Her past, filled with bullying and criticism from family, is the driving force of her passion to always encourage others and give them The Reason to smile.

She’s been married to her college sweetheart, Larry, for 37 years, a mom to their grown daughter, Kristen and wrapped around the paw of a little dog named Hattie. Born and raised in Ohio, her family now resides in South Carolina.

She is the President of Word Weavers Upstate SC, member of ACFW and member of My Book Therapy/Novel Academy.

She’s the Blog Coordinator/Editor for Florida Christian Writers Conference, a contributor in the 2018 Divine Moments Compilation Book—Cool-inary Moments, a monthly contributor for HeartWingsblog.com and God is Love (capturingtheidea.blogspot.com).

~*~
Connect with Tammy:
Blog: http://www.tammykarasek.com
Email: tickledpinktammy@gmail.com

6 comments:

  1. Wonderful post Tammy. Much to think about.

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  2. Thank you Tammy. Just this morning my devotions with my grands were about bravery and three men in the fiery furnace. Lots to think about.

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    1. Thanks, Marilyn. How fun that you were talking with the grands about the same thing!

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  3. Rachel's story inspired me then and serves as a great reminder now! Thank you for your thought-provoking words!

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    1. She has definitely left a Godly legacy and has been an inspiration to many. Thanks for your kind words, Julie!

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