Thursday, October 30, 2008

Can Persecution Be Far Behind?

We’ve heard it for years now. Persecution of Christians is coming to the United States! And while the evidences of hostility toward Christians have certainly grown in our recent history, it always evaded my mind how hostility from a “minority of people” could turn into full blown persecution. Plus, aren’t we guaranteed freedom of religion in a nation founded on religious principles? No matter the hatred toward Christians, we could not be outright persecuted, could we?

It did seem ludicrous to me in years past, but I am now coming to understand how it is possible and how it could actually play out in our nation. This is not prophecy in the sense of telling of future events, but the reality of persecution is now more real to me than ever.

So how can we go from a majority Christian nation to outright persecution? Perhaps the story about Christians backing Barack Obama on One News Now will help illustrate. The story states that in a recent Barna survey, Obama and McCain are tied when it comes to how born-again believers intend to vote. Barna defines born-again as those “who say they have made a personal commitment to Jesus and believe they will go to heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their savior.” How can that be? How can half of “born-again” Christians support a candidate who openly supports abortion (and even voted against a bill that would require babies born alive in botched abortions to receive medical treatment) and openly supports homosexual rights? Hard lines are being drawn, and in those lines are the future of persecuted believers.

I believe the chink in our previously impervious amour is the seeming divisions in the Christian world such as what we see above. There seems to be two or more Christian worlds within American Christianity. And the poles continue to drift further apart. Those who adhere to Biblical values, such as those of us who know abortion and homosexuality are wrong, are vilified as the most radical element of our faith. We have people like Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, and Rob Bell in the Christian community who never raise anyone’s ire, yet there are those like James Dobson, John MacArthur, and Al Mohler who never seem to stop catching the flack of open, verbal persecution. So what is the difference? Aren’t we all Christians? This is why I used the term “seeming divisions” when referring to the Christian world. There are no divisions in true Christianity. The real division is between those who are converted and those who are not. The lines are being drawn between those who are His and those who claim to be His but are not.

And those who are truly saved are deemed as radical and dangerous. Now we can see how a nation can persecute Christians while still allowing ‘Christianity.’ Those who are truly born-again must draw the dividing line between themselves and those who are false converts. It is essential not for the sake of causing division, but for the sake of the Gospel. Yet the world will love those who claim to be the Church but in reality are not. The world will hold them up as true models of Christians and persecute those who really are. The false church is already in bed with the world and pleases it immensely. Therefore the true Church will be persecuted by a people who feel that this radical group is a danger to the state and to the state’s wellbeing. After all, the mantra for abortionists and homosexuals is one of civil rights, correct? Can you already see it coming? Bible publishers are being sued for printing scripture that decries homosexuality. Hate crime laws ban speech that agrees with scripture and Biblical teaching. The false church will flourish, and Christianity will still be accepted. . . as long as it agrees with the world and the state. This is the case currently in China.

And we will be the enemy. We will be those who oppose societal advancement. We will be persecuted. But the bright spot is that we have Christ. And He is worth it. Our treasure is not in comfort or ease. . . our treasure is in Him. And there is no difference to gain Him through ease or adversity. And persecution holds to scripture, so we should not be surprised. In fact, we can be comforted that He has told us these things before hand, and therefore His word is true.

–John 16:33 “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” - John 15:8 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” -John 16:2 “the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.” 2 Timothy 3:1-9 “1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.”

Read about our brothers and sisters who are already facing violent persecution at


Sunday, October 19, 2008

When God Wants to Drill a Man

When God wants to drill a man,
And thrill a man,
And skill a man
When God wants to mold a man
To play the noblest part;

When He yearns with all His heart
To create so great and bold a man
That all the world shall be amazed,
Watch His methods, watch His ways!

How He ruthlessly perfects
Whom He royally elects!
How He hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows converts him

Into trial shapes of clay which
Only God understands;
While his tortured heart is crying
And he lifts beseeching hands!

How He bends but never breaks
When his good He undertakes;
How He uses whom He chooses,
And which every purpose fuses him;
By every act induces him
To try His splendor out-
God knows what He's about

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why am I a Christian?

God help me. I have seen a glimpse of God. I have seen a slice of who God is, and His holiness overshadows me. If I turn from the view of the righteousness of God and back to myself, I look ugly. I did not look so bad, at one time. I seemed pretty good. Yet God's light so shined upon my soul and my fallen humanity that my flesh recoiled and shrunk in its presence. My skin clung to the dust of the earth. Every wrinkle, every spot, every blemish burst forth in all its hideousness. Even if the light of God be removed, the view of my flesh and sinfulness remain. The light of God exposed and changed my sight forever. I can never view myself the same again. The memory of the penetrating holiness of God and the repugnancy of myself remain etched upon my being forever.

To be a Christian is to be in the only form that God finds acceptable. It is for me to put on Christ. Only through Christ are the blemishes destroyed. Only through Christ are the stains removed. Only through Christ am I made clean. To live my life now after such a revelation is in, all reality, a waste. There is no need to press forward in my flesh. It is too disturbing to even imagine. It is too ugly to comprehend. But to move forward in Christ. . . my flesh crucified so that it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives through me. . . is to let my life be lived by the Spirit of God. It is is a life worth living so that others can see His glory. I know what it means for Him to be made perfect in my imperfection. The world can see Him and His glory and His power in a life yielded to Him. He can take the death, the failure, the enmity against Him, and transform it until He gains the glory for His own good pleasure.

God help me.



Well, here we are. . . post conference syndrome. Actually, this is the first time any of us has been involved in such a ministry, so we did not know what to expect before or after. I believe God has grown us all, but I have a feeling that we are in a position now of possible testing.

We've already heard some stories of how God worked through the conference. The conference caused more than one to examine themselves, and, as a result, God may be moving upon their hearts toward conversion. For others who were serving in ministry, they were strengthened and encouraged beyond anything we could have imagined. Many have a desire for this ministry to move forward.

But, in all honesty, I feel as lost about what to do as the day we began. I believe we are being tested. Will we trust God and wait upon Him? Were we doing that to begin with? Were we filling our lives with ministry instead of Him? I personally have felt a spirit of dryness, for a lack of better terms, for the past couple of weeks. I trust my Father no matter my emotions, but it does tend to wear on one's soul to not feel him. I continue to pursue His truth and am asking Him to let it lead my heart. I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded, that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day.

I believe all of us feel so inadequate to do any of this. Yet it becomes like a fire in the bones that we cannot keep shut in. God will supply. In my case, He MUST supply. Otherwise, what I do will be pretty pathetic.

Please pray for Real Truth Matters.