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By now you have likely seen the news footage of the 21 Coptic Christians who were beheaded by ISIS over the weekend.

These images and these acts make our heads spin and our hearts ache. We are horrified by the extent of evil routinely perpetrated by this group. Our hearts are stirred by the bravery of these believers. We grieve with the families of those slain. We worry about how this might one day effect us.

May we be again reminded of the struggles of fellow believers around the world. Without question, we are frustrated about the cultural shifts that are occurring around us and rightly recognize it is now more difficult to live out our faith in our own country. But the United States remains one the easier places to be a believer in the world. Our brothers and sisters around the globe face real danger and real persecution daily. We must be more faithful in praying for them and grateful for their faithfulness in the face of such opposition.

Our church supports several missionaries ministering on the frontlines in this persecution. Pray for them.

I also think, most of us wonder “what would I do?”. In the face of martyrdom, how would I respond? Am I willing to lay my life down for the name of Christ if so called? What if I were called to wear an orange jumpsuit in the desert?

The truth is that it is unlikely any of us will be called to make that sacrifice today. Which brings me to a tougher question.  If I say in my mind, I would die for Christ if so called for today…why do I struggle to give up much smaller segments of my life to Him as I roll through this Monday. Jesus saw this and told us to pick up our cross daily.

Join me in committing a readiness to die for my Savior. And join me in the far more complicated struggle to live for for my Savior today — five minutes at a time, each conversation at a time, each thought pattern at a time, each decision at at time.

I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord,I die every day!        1 Corinthians 15:31 (ESV)