Because I work night shift and my soul is in a night shift and I’m a watchman

When you wake up at 1 pm after working two night shifts you don’t much know what to say or do. But when you sit down to read the news, and you see riots, and genocide, and terror, and then for a split second, you let the reality of the dark things that tempt you to trade everything for temporary pleasures that lead to permanent chains slither into your mind and you shake your head and dash from the horror as fast as you can, one thing becomes very clear: Oh how we need a Savior!!

I’m married to a police officer, so reading about the situation going on in Ferguson is close to home.  Seven (I started with two, but more kept coming as I was typing) things come to mind:

1) Police officers have to make split-second, life-or-death decisions and they don’t always make the right one.  That doesn’t automatically mean they’re cold, hard, racist, murderers.

2) Police officers have tremendous authority and therefore their decisions (even if made wrongly out of a moment of bad judgement) must be held to the highest scrutiny and standard. 

3) Rarely do you hear of a person going about their business, doing good, when a police officer comes up to them out of nowhere and shoots them.  That doesn’t happen.  (Maybe it’s happened in history.  I don’t know.  But it’s not a frequent news story that’s for sure).   But in most news stories where an officer either wrongly uses his authority, or makes a bad judgement call that injures or kills someone, the person(s) involved are engaged in some bad/wrong/illegal thing.

4) Missouri needs a peacemaker- A person who will step forward and be willing to suffer to bridge the gap between two opposing parties.

5) Race does not equal wrong doing.   A person’s actions should not be judged because of their race, but because of their actions.  If you’re white, black, brown, purple, green, red, yellow or blue and you steal, vandalize, riot, cause fights, etc. your actions are wrong. Period.

6)  I hate what has been done to the black person in the name of God or superiority or rights in our history!  I hate that the country where I experience so much freedom is the country that built it’s economy on the backs of African slaves.  I hate that there are still people in this country (and in the world I’m sure) who still look at their fellow man and make a judgement about their worth and intelligence, person hood and trustworthiness based on the color of their skin.  I hate it!  Those wrongs are not fixed by committing more wrongs.

7)  I am white.  I will never know what it feels like to be given a suspicious stare because of the color of my skin.  When my white, blond boys walk down the street, I don’t have to worry that some person in authority may take away their rights, or their life simply because they seem suspicious due to their skin color.  I am not a racist.  But I am white in a predominantly white culture and I have no idea what it feels like to be suspect simply because of the color of my skin.

———– The above was written Monday.  Below today. —————

The situation with ISIS, and the horror of what happened to James Foley, and the horror of what is happening to tens of thousands of people who have been forced out or fled Iraq now eking out an existence in refuge camps or abandoned buildings, slaps me in the face and shakes me right out of the depressive thoughts I deal with every day.  I cannot sit in a mire of despondency when I see the video of the marching of thousands of families into the desert and a photo of a terrified man on his knees minutes before his brutal murder on the news.  I’m snapped out of my slump in despair onto my knees in desperate prayer.  Not only for these people, but for me, and my household and Christ’s church in America.

We, I, have no idea what it is like to suffer for our faith or under the macabre rule of violent men who believe they’re on a mission from God.  We grumble and complain and protest over our rights and against “injustices” that threaten our comfort and ease and beliefs.  What will we do if our rights are physically taken away?  What will we do if our lives are threatened and our bodies and the bodies of our loved ones are tortured or abused or killed by those in authority over us?  Grumbling, complaining and protesting will do no good.

If we can’t take up the commands of God through Paul to the church to pray for and show respect to those in authority while we have it so good, how will we if we’re in the situation that the church Paul wrote to was in?  If Paul told the Christians of his day to pray for their “kings and all in high positions” and treat him with respect, what would he say to us in relation to our current president?  What would he say if we were under violent Islamic extremists like ISIS?

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for ALL people, for kings and ALL who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for ALL… ” – 1 Timothy 2:1-6 (emphasis added by me)

I choke on the anger in my throat when I read this.  I need this to be my heart if I hope to ever stand amidst true persecution and suffering.  Because if my heart is full of revenge and a clinging to my life and rights I won’t stand.

I pray that God would take for himself some of the leaders of ISIS.  That he would conquer their murderous, evil hearts just as he conquered the murderous, evil heart of Saul… Paul, who wrote:

“… though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent.  But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” -1 Timothy 1:13-15

I believe in a sovereign God.  I believe in good, sovereign God.  I believe he desires all men, even the men of ISIS to be saved from the wrath that is coming against them.  And I believe he is working all things, even the evils happening around the world to his people, for the good of those who love Him and for the glory of his name!  May he give me the grace to stand.

On a personal note, as I eluded to, I have been struggling through a season of depression for awhile now.  And as I said, contrary to what you’d think, these horrible things going on the world are not adding to my depression, they are actually working to pull me out of it.  When I think of my brothers and sisters in dark places, suffering for the sake of Christ’s name, it puts my “suffering” in proper light and I recall Hebrews 13:3 and pray that God would not let me forget them:

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. -Hebrews 13:3

But when the shock of what is going on in the world fades, and I find myself slipping back into the quicksand of lies this depression is surrounding me with, my sole comfort and hope is Christ.  The only real escape my thoughts and heart have from the heaviness and despair I’m living with right now is the word of God.  His word to me right now is literally like a breath of fresh air caught through a crack in a cave of poisonous gas.  I press against the rock and breath deep.  But I’m quickly overcome by lies because I can’t seem to call the truth to mind when I need to.  This is why I need the body of Christ.

We need each other.  We need to tell each other the truth.

I met with a neighbor today.  We confessed our sins to each other and shared our battles and prayed for each other.  We’re the same.  We need Christ.  We need the truth.

I came across this awhile back.  I felt like someone understood.


Out of <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-16142B" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”>the depths I cry to you, O Lord!      

O Lord, hear my voice!

Let your ears be attentive    to <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-16143D" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”>the voice of my pleas for mercy!  

If you, O Lord, should <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-16144E" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”>mark iniquities,    O Lord, who could <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-16144F" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”>stand?  

But with you there is <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-16145G" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”>forgiveness,    <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-16145H" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”>that you may be feared. I <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-16146I" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”>wait for the Lord, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-16146J" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”>my soul waits,    and <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-16146K" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”>in his word I hope;
my soul <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-16147L" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”>waits for the Lord    more than <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-16147M" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”>watchmen for <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-16147N" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”>the morning,    more than watchmen for the morning. – Psalm 130:1-6


Hebrews Thirteen Three: Write a letter to the Chinese representative at the U.N.

**** Just an update on this post. Since I sent the email, it was returned to me. Something about they couldn’t get through to the receiving address. I’m detirmined that this means nothing in light of my great God! He knows my petition. He’s read my email. And He’s got the Chinese representative at the U.N.’s heart in His hands.***

I just did something I’ve never done before. It felt really good!!! I wrote an email to the Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the U.N. in regards to an old woman in China who’s been thrown in prison for sharing her faith in Christ.

You can read about Shuang’s story here and write her a letter yourself. But, if you want to go a step further you can also email the ambassador to China and/or the Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the U.N. here.

As I was writing I was really driven to prayer even more. I mean I’ve written to my brothers and sisters in prison before, and felt helpless to do anything for them as it is, which has brought me to my knees, seeking the care of the Father. But while writing this short email, I thought, “They’ll never read this! And if they do, this isn’t going to make any difference!” And then I remembered not to put my hope in princes, but to write it, putting my hope in God who has the kings’ heart in His hands.

I sorta felt like Esther on a very microscopic level. It’s only the Father who can persuade the heart of the communist leaders of China and the captors of Shuang and others, and yet He has allowed them to rule. So in dependence on the Father I wrote this to the representative of China to the U.N.:

Dear Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the United

On January 26, 2007, 76-year-old Shuang Shuying was arrested. Shuying has
numerous medical problems. The story of this case has been circulated
around the world and thousands of Christians know about it. We ask that she be
released from all charges. We are praying for you as a leading spokesman for
your country.

In Sincerity,
Sheila Dougal

Would you like to join me?

Pray about it.

Redeeming the time

Lessons from Wurmbrand and the Ephesian church

At church this past Sunday, as the Pastor was teaching through a section of Acts 19, something he said really caught me. He said something to the effect of, “The Ephesian believers didn’t protest the propagation of idols in Ephesus, they simply lived out the message and preached the Word.”

When he said that I was reminded of an article I read in my free monthly newsletter from VOM for January 2009. It’s the first article in the publication, which is always a letter from the director of VOM, Dr. Tom White.
Dr. White wrote about finding the window in the wall of our lives when we seem to be restrained by human laws or opposition to living out our faith in Christ. The article made me realize something I, as an American Christian, am very weak in. My faith hasn’t been opposed much and when it is I have this knee-jerk reaction of protesting and using the governmental system to fight for my “religious rights.”

Dr. White wrote this of Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of VOM:

Richard Wurmbrand used to annoy some Christians about their campaign to restore prayer in schools. Mystified, he would say, “Why do you need a campaign? Just have your children bow their heads and pray.” We become so worried about legal walls and petty penalties that we forget there is always a window, even when there are trivial earthly consequences.

MMM-mmm! I’m convicted. In my own marriage I tend to get all bent outta shape and start demanding my rights as a wife when I get sideways looks, or probing questions, concerning what I do by faith following Christ. But rather than getting upset that I’m not free to worship as I please, I should praise God that I AM free to worship as I please and embrace the opposition as an opportunity to let God’s Spirit of grace and truth be seen in me.

Like my brothers and sisters of old in Ephesus, the land I live in is filled with idols. But rather than staging a protest or pointing a finger, let me follow their example and press on praying, worshipping the Lord, reaching out a hand of mercy and humbly, yet boldly, speaking God’s truth.

Oh Father, it really comes down to why we’re worshipping (why I’m worshipping). Are we living as Christians so we can have a good conservative life in America? Am I living as a Christian so I can have a good conservative marriage? Or are we living as Christians so that we might be light in this dark world and possibly draw others to come to You? (Am I living as a Christian wife so I can be a light in this house and possibly draw my family to Jesus?) Help me Jesus. Help me to rejoice at opposition not protest it. Help me to fix my face towards heaven yet reach out merciful hands on this earth.

Redeeming the time

Can ya’ll help


I got an email the other day from Stacy at the Persecution Blog. She was updating us bloggers who blog for the persecuted Church on the goal of VOM to give away 1000 FREE pray for China Olympic arm bands. Last email I got from her only 107 had been given away. I know I don’t have 893 readers here but I wonder if any of you who have a blog who read this one would consider ordering a free bracelet and praying for China and also posting a blog post on your own blogs asking others to order a free bracelet (or buy one from China Aid) and pray for our brothers and sisters in bonds over in China.

Here’s the link to order a free bracelet from the Voice of the Martyrs.

Here’s the link to buy a bracelet from China Aid.

I choose the cross road

I just wrote a lengthy email to a dear sister in the Lord (you know who you are S), and after reading it I thought, “There, finally! I got it out!” And I prayed over it and knew the Lord heard my heart and that He is and will answer my cries. I truly think I even pray better writing than I do with my mouth.

But after I sent it I felt a nudge to share some of it. I didn’t want to. I still feel very exposed doing so. I know there are family and friends who know me who read this blog once in awhile and I truthfully didn’t want to take a chance on them not understanding. But then the Lord brought this to mind, “For not even his brothers believed in him.” (John 7:5)

There came a time when obeying the will of the Father for Jesus meant loosing the affection and understanding of even His own family. And I’m not saying my family will reject me because of this post, probably not, they probably won’t even know what I’m saying this for. But this is the struggle I have in my own mind, not sharing things because I’m afraid of someone not understanding. As with my Lord, there is a time for everything. There was a time for Him to do certain things and say certain things, and there was a time for Him not to do or say certain things, but always there were outside forces seeking to distract Him from simply obeying the will of His Father.

I know the Lord has a reason for what I’m about to share, and so I prayerfully do.

My email was in response to an encouraging word from this sister in the Lord who wrote me about not conforming my choices in homeschooling to the pattern of this world. She’s right! And that goes not just for homeschooling but in everything we do as Christians, we are not to try to match the world just cause it’s what we’re used to or comfortable with, rather, we’re to conform to God’s word and His ways as revealed in Jesus. We do this by being in His word and being obedient trusting His power that works in us to do the changing of us.

What she wrote really touched on something I constantly wrestle with that I haven’t really found a way to get out in prayer or in words before now. Here’s some of what I wrote (I’ll leave out names.)

I really struggle with how to love my h yet not let him take the place of God in my life.
I so appreciate the *** ministries, but one thing I don’t agree with is their stance on a woman not teaching their kids God’s word if the woman’s husband doesn’t just because the kids will think religion is all a woman thing, not a man thing. I know what they write about concerning a woman just being kind and loving and respectful towards her husband, whether they believe or not, is true and is God’s word, but I also know God’s word is very clear that a woman or man must not put pleasing the one in authority over obeying God.
I must teach my boys the truth! The love of Christ compels me, how can I not…and if my h rejects me, there’s the enemy, even other Christians like those at *** who might think that I’ve driven him off by being a snobby super “spiritual” Jezebel! I’m not though! The Lord knows! He knows! I love my h dearly, I love him not with a selfish love but a love that wants to win him. I want him to know the love of Christ and I seek to show him bundles of unearned favor daily, just as Christ has shown me (and I’m not perfect at it, only by His grace), but that desire to win him with a submissive, willing, honoring, loving, life, is at a crossroads with the desire to obey God in teaching my kids His ways.

At a crossroads! That’s it!

I’ve been struggling and trying to express this struggle I have as a wife who desires to obey God in loving her husband AND obey Him in teaching her kids God’s word, and it all comes down to the cross.

This, for me, is taking up my cross daily and following Jesus.

There comes a time where daily I must follow my Lord into obediently spreading the truth of His word to those the Father has entrusted to me (in my case my two sons, in the Lord’s case, his 12 disciples), bearing the cross of being misunderstood and possibly even rejected by other believers, by my own family, by my own husband and kids even. There comes a time when I must set my face like Jesus did to obediently speaking the truth of the kingdom to those He’s entrusted to me even as it leads me closer to loosing the ability to win the ones I love with a submissive, willing, honoring, loving life.

I must do all those things all the way to Calvary, to the place of total rejection. I can’t just do one and not the other. If I continue to be submissive, willing, honoring and loving with my life yet leave out the speaking of God’s gospel to the souls God has put under my care then I’m just pleasing man and leaving no place for God to be the God.

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;…But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear…” ( KJV 1 Peter 3:1,15)

But if I refuse to be submissive, willing, honoring and loving with my life yet speak God’s word I’m a…well, as 1Corinthians 13: says, ” I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

I have to do both, though doing the later while doing the former takes me down the cross road daily…the path of taking up my cross and following Jesus.

I’m sure this is why I have such a heart for the persecuted church.

They speak the gospel and teach God’s word to those entrusted to them though they face suffering at the hands of those in authority around them…and even those who persecute them, they reach out to in love with God’s truth, knowing it could mean punishment and even a painful death. They do all this and yet they find rejection from many other Christians who think they are just being rebellious or stirring up trouble rather than being submissive. I’m sure this is why Paul always wrote to remember His chains and to not be ashamed of his chains. He wanted other Christians to not reject him too. But that’s the road of the cross. That’s the road our Lord walked, and if we want to be His disciples, that’s the road we’ll walk too.

The enemy wants to destroy us. And I think he thinks he’s got a pretty good case for why we shouldn’t follow Jesus…he lets us see the cross- how we’ll be rejected and how we’ll have given so much submission and kindness and love to others only to be spurned by them and then not even our own will accept us, but rather treat us like we’re troublemakers. But he leaves out the resurrection!

My God calls me to walk a path that is sure to bring pain and empty me into others though they may ultimately reject me for speaking and trusting in God’s word. But that’s not all He calls me to! Down that cross road is life more alive than any taste of it I may have here by not choosing the cross road.

I choose the cross road!

Visit the Persecution Blog!

There are great posts from the National Voice of the Martyrs Conference over at the Persecution blog. Reading them makes me think, “Now there are the Christians with ‘a little strength’ spoken of in Revelation 3:8.

“I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”
I’m going to have to post responses to some of the posts from the Persecution blog over at my Hebrews Thirteen Three blog! My heart is stirred in worship, sobered and moved to intercede!