Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A story from my archives...

I was going through some old stories I had written and found this one. As it is one of my favorite ones, I thought I would share it on my blog.

My Cross

Based upon a dream I had on March 24, 2007.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

I tossed restlessly to and fro as I drifted in and out of sleep. Tonight, it was not merely the pain of a back injury that prevented me from sleeping well, but the terrifying nature of my dream as well. Dear reader, in this story, I will try to portray the nature of this nightmare in a way that, I hope and pray, you will not soon forget. Dear reader, take heed and beware, for this is the vision my mind’s eye beheld.

Terror—Evil—Darkness: Islam.

The followers of Islam ruled the world. Their corrupt doctrine and hatred penetrated the core of every government. America, too, had fallen prey to its voracious and consuming nature.

You may ask, “How did this happen? Where are the Christians?” Well, my dear friend, let me tell you. The majority of the Christians of America had allowed the world to seep into their lives. They had become so much like the world that they no longer shown as lights in the darkness—they had lost the savor of their salt. This led to their failure to rise up and take a stand against evil and elect godly leaders for their nation. They tolerated abortion and the “gay rights” movement. They failed to lead others to Christ. In essence, they had become Christians who warmed a pew on Sunday and then lived like the world the rest of the week. Those who sincerely followed the Lord with their whole heart were much persecuted and few in number.

Thus, God began His judgment of the nation with the house of God (1 Peter 4:17). Sickness, marital problems, and financial pressures plagued the majority of God’s people. Yet still they did not turn from their wicked ways and seek His face. Therefore, America was given corrupt leaders who scorned God’s people and abhorred His ways. America ceased their support of Israel, and thus the economy suffered a collapse. (Ps. 122:6). The holy name of the Lord was removed from society. Soon, Christians who openly declared their faith were imprisoned and often martyred. Those who remained loyal to the name of Christ went into hiding. America—now destitute of righteousness—then fell prey to the ravenous, yet subtle beast of Islam.

It snuck in quietly and without much observation. It began with a few Muslims penetrating the Congress, and then inhabiting the White House. These Muslim leaders outlawed Christianity and proclaimed their faith the national religion—declaring death to all who opposed them. Hearing that many Christians had gone undercover, they developed an organization in which they trained men and women in the basic tenets of Christianity and sent them out into the streets to find the believers and penetrate and destroy the heart of Christendom. Unfortunately, the varying levels of spiritual maturity (i.e., mediocre and lukewarm, passive, vibrant and passionate) made it difficult for the believers to discern the difference between friend and foe. Thus, many Christians fell captive to the wolves in sheep’s clothing.

All this, I perceived to be the state of the nation in my dream.

I then beheld that I was one of those who had not denied Christ’s name nor bowed knee to Allah. I had lived in hiding for many years with my family, and often made escapades with other believers into the cities in our area at night, where we would leave Scripture pamphlets and Bibles in public areas—praying that God would bless our efforts and bring souls to Him. These activities enraged the authorities and doubled their efforts to find and destroy the “Christ-followers.”

One night, as I sat closeted in my room reading my Bible by candlelight, I heard banging and screaming. Startled, I hurriedly closed my Bible, stuffed it into a secret pouch in my skirt, and blew out the candle. No sooner had I done this, than a foot rammed through my door, reducing it to splinters. There, standing before me, were the Muslim Secret Police. The Captain, while glaring at me, hissed from the side of his mouth, “Is this her?”

A woman—standing in the shadows—said, “Yes, Captain. It is her.” As she said this, she came slowly forward, and kissed me on the cheek. As I caught sight of her face, I reeled and nearly fell to the floor. “No…it cannot be…” My mind struggled to comprehend this betrayal.

“Sorry, my dear,” she sneered. “But Allah pays better than the God of the Christians.”

I was stunned! This woman! I had known her and considered her a fellow believer and friend! Yet she had just betrayed me to the enemy? And for what? Money? A wave of sickness passed over me, and tears slowly began coursing their way down my face. “May God forgive you,” I gasped.

A rag was pressed over my mouth and nose, and I soon lost all consciousness to the sickly sweet smell of chloroform.


Dim light, a musty smell, a sour voice—these things dawned upon my returning senses. “Where am I?” I opened my eyes and waited for my vision to clear. I glanced down to find myself sitting on a wooden pew. Then I noticed that pews filled the entire length and breadth of the room—some overturned. A raised platform stood at one end of the room with the splintered remains of a pulpit lying scattered across it. Shards of stained glass windows lay strewn across the room. Torn, beaten, and battered hymnals and Bibles filled the aisles. Blood stains covered the carpeting and woodwork.

“An abandoned church?” I spoke my thought aloud. It was then that I realized I was not alone.

“Yesss, an abandoned church,” hissed the sour voice. I looked behind me to find the cruel captain’s face leering at me. “Precisely. You are an intelligent woman. As are the rest of your ‘brethren,’ as I believe you call each other.” With this, he gestured behind him, where I saw that truly, I was not alone. Men and women—of varying ages—sat or lay on many of the pews, about thirty in number. All looked dazed, as if they, too, had just awakened from a chloroform induced state.

“This church once had a large outreach, and numerous decisions to serve and follow your God were made here,” enumerated the captain. “Today, we will again use this building to make decisions about God. Today, all of you here must decide whom you will serve—Allah or the One you call Jesus Christ. Your predecessors in this building have made fortunate decisions, and some not so fortunate decisions.” As he said this last statement, he glanced pointedly at the blood stains on the carpet.

Someone spoke from the back of the room, “And if we choose Christ?”

“Then you will die,” stated the captain with an evil glint in his eyes.

A tremor went down my spine, and terror filled my soul. But lo, I heard a Voice whisper to my heart, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. I, the Lord your God am your helper. Do not fear what man shall do unto you.” Peace and calm flooded my soul, removing the terror.

“Lord, I am yours. I do not fear what man can do unto me,” my heart whispered in reply. The Holy Spirit then descended on me in all His power and instructed me what to say. “Captain, may I say something to you and my brothers and sisters here in reply to your demand?”

The captain grudgingly assented.

“Captain, and dear ones in Christ, we have been given a choice here today—a choice between life and death. Therefore, I plead with you, choose life!” The captain smiled in agreement, and a few of the believers frowned at me. Looking at the captain, I asked, “May I continue?” He nodded his head.

“My dear brethren, I am already a dead person. For, when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I died. I can say with Paul, ‘I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.’ These men can only kill my mortal body—a body that I died to years ago. However, my spirit—which is eternal—shall live with Christ for all eternity. I do not fear death, for what can death do to me? It shall only hasten me in my journey to that Celestial City.”

“The death I fear is not a physical death, but a spiritual death. Should I renounce Christ and serve Allah, then I would die spiritually. For he who will save his own life will lose it, but he who loses his life for Christ’s sake shall save it. The Lord has set before us this day life and death. I therefore choose physical death and life with Christ—for to depart and live with Christ is far better than to renounce Christ and live another second in a world governed by Satan. Brethren, choose life…”

A stunning blow to my mouth from the captain’s fist ended my speech. I smiled wryly, as blood poured from my mouth, and said, “Thank you, Lord.” A startled look appeared in the captain’s eyes for a brief moment and then disappeared as quickly as it had come. More blood gushed from my mouth as I haltingly said again, “Thank you, Lord.” Then turning to the captain, I said, “You may wonder why I am thanking my Lord for this cruel and unjust blow, but I am rejoicing that I am counted worthy to suffer for His name’s sake.”

Anger flooded his face, and he rammed his fist into my rib cage. I felt my ribs give way, and a sharp pain in my chest informed me that they had probably punctured a lung and that I had internal bleeding. I found that I was no longer able to stand, and fell to the pew, silenced and gasping for breath. Tears poured from my eyes as the pain grew agonizing.

A triumphant gleam appeared in the captain’s eyes. Grabbing me by my arm and forcing me to stand, he ordered the others in the room to stand also. “Follow me, and you will see where your mistaken faith in Christ leads you!” he barked.

Dragging me from the room, he led everyone outside, where an electric fence encircled the church and a neighboring field. A breeze of wind brought a terrible stench with it. Looking around me, I perceived an area behind the church stacked with the corpses of martyrs. However, my attention was jerked back to the field before us as the captain and his underlings herded us in that direction. What was this? Crosses? Was my instrument of death to be the same as my Lord’s?

The captain glared at me, and then pointed to the crosses. “Is your faith strong enough for this? Will you die as your God died?”

“No…my faith…is not…strong enough,” I gasped, “But…His is. I live…by the…faith...of the Son…of God….He died…on a cross…for me. I will…die on a…cross…for Him.”

His look grew fierce and angry, and he shoved me roughly to the ground. He then turned to the others, and yelled, “She refuses to renounce her God and therefore will die as her God died—on a cross! Will the rest of you join her in death, or will you renounce your Jesus and bow your knees to Allah and live? If you choose to die, then step forward.”

Ten—only ten—out of the thirty stepped forward, saying, “We will never worship Allah and count it a privilege to die as our Lord died.”

“Fools!” exclaimed the captain. “Officers, take them to their deaths!”

As the armed officers of the law came forward to seize their victims, the Spirit again impressed me to speak—a thing that I did with much difficulty, for breathing had become difficult, as my punctured lung slowly filled with blood. “Brethren…our Lord…went to…His cross willing…willingly. Let us…do…also.” And so saying, I painfully rose to my feet, and with faltering steps, made my way to a cross and lay down upon it. To the amazement and consternation of all present, my ten fellow believers followed suit.

“Nail them to their cross!” ordered the captain.

I felt hands grabbing my arm, pulling my hand towards the end of the cross. Something cold, metallic, and sharp pressed into my palm. BANG! BANG! The hammer strokes fell, and a long spike was driven into my hand. Shafts of pain shot up my arm. Now the other arm was pulled. “Oh Lord, help me to bear it! Give me grace!” Again, something metallic pressed into my hand. Again, a clanging sound flooded my ears. More pain shot up my arm, joining the pain of the other arm.

Hands are on my legs—causing them to bend at the knee, removing my shoes, and placing one foot atop another. Something cold and metallic—thicker than the others—pressed into my foot. More clanging. Pain shot up both legs. Oh the pain! The sheer agony!

“Lord, you did this for me? Oh what love divine! They did not even whip me as they whipped you…”

A pulling, scraping sound—the cross rises into the air. I am now suspended in midair, hanging from a wooden beam—held fast by the nails piercing my hands and my feet. My arms are pulled taunt. I cannot breathe unless I push upward with my legs. The pain caused by pushing upward with my pierced feet is an indescribable torture. I slowly rotate my head. Ten other crosses stood next to mine—each with a faithful witness nailed to it.

I pushed upward and gathered a painful breath. “Brethren! Remem…Remember Christ!”

Ten more believers stepped forward, declared their faith in Christ, and walked to their cross.

I heard a voice. “Sing, Melody, sing!” it urged.

Words came to my mind. Temporary breath came to my lungs. I sang slowly, with many gasps for breath. But I sang with all my heart and remaining strength.

“I have decided to follow Jesus.
I have decided to follow Jesus.
I have decided to follow Jesus.
No turning back, no turning back.”

Voices from neighboring crosses joined mine.
A hush fell over the field as we continued our song—twenty-one voices strong.

“Though none go with me, still I will follow.
Though none go with me, still I will follow.
Though none go with me, still I will follow.
No turning back, no turning back.”

The remaining ten stepped forward and began singing.

“The world behind me, the cross before me.
The world behind me, the cross before me.
The world behind me, the cross before me.
No turning back, no turning back.”

Thirty-one crosses now stood, raised to the sky.

A horrific pain sliced through my lungs and heart. I heard the voice again. “Not much longer, my child. Not much longer. You will soon be with me.”

I pushed upward for another breath. Then I cried, “Amazing love…that Christ…should die…on the cross…for…a…worm…like me.” One more breath—my last one, and one more cry: “Jesus…I’m…coming home!” My chest collapsed. My breath departed. Darkness fell upon me.

A voice. “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.”

Light shone through the darkness.

The voice again—and a loving face, saying, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

Arms enfolding me, glory overwhelming me. His voice continues: “Well done, my dear one! You took up your cross and followed me. You fought the good fight, you ran the race and finished the course, and you kept the faith. Well done, thou good and faithful servant! Enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”

More light. Rejoicing. Singing. Worship. Praise. Heaven and home. Jesus.

And so I awoke.

The questions on my mind when I awakened are those that I ask of you. Will you die for Jesus? Will you take a stand for your faith? In the past century alone, more Christians have died for their faith than in all the previous years combined—and Islam is a great perpetuator of these deeds. Friends! Persecution is coming, just as Christ promised it would. Yea, all who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. How will you respond to that persecution? Will you rejoice as commanded and stand firm in your faith? Or will you cower in fear and disgrace?

My friends and readers, live for Jesus! Die for Jesus! All earthly pain and sorrow that we face here on earth will be worth it all when we see Jesus. He gave His life for us! What have we given to Him? Right now, purpose to die to self. Place yourself and all your ambitions, hopes, dreams, and passions upon that cross, crucify them and leave them there. Purpose to know and live for Jesus only, and Him crucified. For then, we can say with Martin Luther, “The body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still. His kingdom is forever.”


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