A man called Peter once denied Christ three times out of fear for his life. This week nine college students on an Oregon campus did what he was unable to do that fateful day. They stood for Christ and were systematically slaughtered for it. The first one may not have truly understood all that that profession of faith would cost but the others certainly did. And yet, with courage, they still spoke truth.
Their earthly reward was sudden death. Their heavenly reward is eternal life.
May we all be as brave
As a parent of a college freshman, this assault is especially terrifying. I'm devistated for all involved and it's incredibly difficult to put into words what is in my heart. I pray for peace and healing not only for their bodies but their hearts and minds as well.
This isn't the first time believers have been singled out nor will it be the last. Millions of other believers across the years, including Peter, have given their lives for believing in Christ. Today Christian persecution is on the rise again not just on the other side of the globe but right here at home. We need to be ready when it knocks on our door.
Innocence was shattered when evil walked onto the UCC campus in the guise of a man, but evil didn't win.
Across social media and across our land, Christians are stirring, declaring their faith using the hashtag #IAmAChristian. Let this tragedy draw us out of complacency and onto the battle field, not a human battle but a spiritual one where our weapons are prayer and the power of God's word. Raise us up, Lord. Raise us up.
To the world I say, I am a Christian, a sinner who has received God's mercy and grace. I am still a mess but one with a message of hope. You can mock me. You can hate me. You can hurt and even kill me. But you can never, ever change my belief in Christ.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21 NIV)