August 18, 2012

Escape From Camp 14

Crawling over the stiff body of his friend Park, Shin Dong-hyuk struggled against the pain racing through his legs from contact with the electric bobbed-wire fence, as he made his escape from Camp 14.

Born in a North Korea political prison camp, Shin was brainwashed from a young age to trust no one. He had no concept of love. His mother was a competitor for food, beating him frequently. The prison guards told him that he was worthless trash, tainted by the 'sins' of his parents. The only hope of redemption, Shin was told, was to work hard and snitch on his classmates and family when he found them breaking the rules.

Beatings, hunger, apathy, lying, stealing, and hate were all that Shin knew. It is almost impossible to comprehend what he went through. As I read this book my eyes were opened for the first time to the strength that fear can have over a whole people. I had no idea before just how paralyzing a weapon fear is in the hands of Satan. As the story unfolds Shin Dong-hyuk tells about a terrible burden of guilt that he carries because of the things he did while still in Camp 14. My heart goes out to this man. As I read this book all I could do was pray to God to set him, and people like him, free from the weight of their sin.

Like Shin, we to have sinned. You and I have both done wrong things that fill us with guilt, God word says " the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23) You and I, and Shin, do not have to be bound by our guilt! (1 John 1:9) God sent Jesus to pay the price of our sin so that we can be free. Romans 10:9 says "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart the God has raised Him from the dead you will be saved." I pray that one day Shin will see that it was God and not 'luck' that enabled him to escape from Camp 14 and become the first to do so. I see Shin Dong-hyuk's story as testimony of God's power and love.

I highly recommend Escape from Camp 14, but would not advise giving it young people under the age of 14 or 15. I say this not because there is anything wrong with the book but mostly as a caution. It is not a fairy-tale book that has a happily ever after. Shin experienced horrific things that have scared him for life. Reading about Shin's experiences will impact you!

Disclaimer:I received this book for free from the Publisher for this review, every opinion expressed here in is 100% my own.

August 12, 2012

The Major and Minor Leagues

"And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’" Luke 19:17

Have you ever thought of life on this earth as the "minor leagues" - with Christians working hard to gain a berth high up in the major leagues of heaven? I'm not talking about earning salvation. That's already been paid for with the blood of our Savior, and we can add nothing to it. But we do have the opportunity to earn eternal rewards in this life. Scripture tells us that "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for things done while in the body" (2 Corinthians 5:10). 

The way I live life on earth will affect my responsibilities, opportunities, and even my joy- in ways beyond my ability to imagine.

This is what makes our present life so exciting. It's a training gymnasium! Your nine-to-five job isn't merely an occupation, it's a proving ground for your faith. Every earthly problem, affliction, task, household chore - and all the relationships that go with them - everything is a minor league exercise to prepare you for the major leagues.

Stand firm, my friend. The dawn is coming. Life everlasting. Oceans of light. Joy unspeakable. Be trustworthy and remain faithful. Because there will be no sweeter music in time or eternity than the words "Well done" from the smiling face of our Savior and King.

Remind me, Lord, how quickly my life passes. Help me to see the events of my day- even the disappointments - as the very things which will make heaven all the 
sweeter as I trust in you.


August 05, 2012

Information vs. Transformation

I think this says something that we all need to be reminded of every once in a while.