So What Now? Part 2

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Yesterday I wrote Part 1 of this post. At that time I was not planning on writing a Part 2. But as I have watched the aftermath of this election and the way that many supporters of the opposite party have responded, I shake my head in confusion. As I thought about their response, a few thoughts came to my mind that I just had to write down.

They call us narrow-minded and bigots and racist, etc. And, yet, when they don’t get what they want they turn around and protest. Who is being narrow-minded now? Do they honestly believe that only their view is correct? And, if that’s the case, then there must be absolute truth, after all. Right?

But this post isn’t about that. It’s about how to treat people like that. As we Christians have watched this whole thing explode on social media and perhaps even in our schools and workplaces, we can see a tremendous dichotomy in this nation. It is a division that runs deep–to the very heart of almost every individual who resides in this wonderful country.

How, as believers, do we respond?

First, I would like to talk a bit about how we don’t respond. We don’t engage in Facebook debates with people. We don’t unfriend them just because they disagree with us. We don’t let this destroy a relationship with someone who desperately needs to hear the Gospel. Satan can use this to his great advantage if we allow him to. Don’t let him destroy relationships over an election. Even an incredibly volatile and divided one such as this.

So how should we respond? Luke 6:35 tells us to love our enemies and do good to them. And so, even in our disagreements and our debates, may we be loving. May we be kind. May we never compromise our testimony because we disagree with someone.

Sure, you can’t control the actions and behavior of the person you are talking to. They may get nasty in their responses. They may be arrogant. They may call you names. It is hard to sit there and take it. But in these situations, I remember that Jesus Christ allowed humans to mock and spit on him with nary a word (Matthew 27:27-31). He had healed the multitudes of dreadful diseases and disabilities. He had multiplied food for a crowd. He had commanded demons. He had controlled the wind with just a few words. He could have called lightning down from heaven to kill them instantly. And, yet, the God of the Universe took that kind of abuse without responding. As we reflect on the response of Jesus to His enemies, let us strive to be like Him.

Events like this week give us opportunity to shine for Christ or to be just like the rest of the world. We can speak our thoughts and opinions with love, respect, and kindness, showing we are a Christian by our love. Or we can shout and yell and write mean words, showing we are just like the world.

America is a divided country. Unfortunately, this is not going to change anytime soon. Let this division be a means to shine so brightly that people can’t help but ask you–

Why you are so different from the rest of the world?

 

So What Now?

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You could almost hear a collective sigh of relief from Christians across America as we watched the election results on Tuesday night. What we thought was impossible actually became possible as we watched states start to turn red. I am still shaking my head that–

A. Donald Trump is the President Elect of the United States.

and

B. That I actually voted for and am glad that Donald Trump is President.

I feel like I have fallen into some alternate universe or something. What a crazy year. And what an upset. And here we are– with a guy who has few morals– and even less experience– about to run this country.

While I consider this a huge victory and answer to prayer, it certainly isn’t because of who became President but strictly because of who didn’t become President. Hopefully, we will now witness a halt or at least a slowing down of the aggressive liberal and socialistic agenda that has been the passion of our current President.

Before this election, many Christian pastors and bloggers reminded us that our hope is in the Lord. We felt hopeless, we felt powerless. We Christians needed to be reminded of where we should find our hope.

But with what happened this week, we may be tempted to start hoping again in the wrong things. Let us be careful we do not place our hope in a man. On Tuesday night we watched  as reporters almost stuttered in their shock and amazement over what was taking place on that map. Even staunch Republican insiders saw no hope for a win. But, while this is most certainly a wonderful surprise, we need to continue to pray! God is still our only hope. He is still the one who raises up and removes kings. Only He controls the nations. We must be careful not to place our trust in a man or in a government.

Trump is historically liberal in where he stands morally. While he may not be as aggressive in pushing immorality, it is unlikely that he will make sweeping changes to the morality of this nation. This was not a victory for Christian principles in this country.

In my opinion, this wasn’t really a win for Christians as much as it was a win for those who desire a return to sanity. Progressives are deeply mourning what they believe to be a move backwards for this nation. One has to wonder how well they know the histories of civilizations. When a country starts to break down in a way ours has been, complete destruction is never far behind. And so I believe we are simply backing away from the edge of the cliff for a few years. And, in so doing, may we continue to pray. Not only for the direction of this country but also that there would be opportunities to reach the lost. This respite will hopefully give us four years free of the persecution that we saw looming ahead of us. It may give us four more years of free speech. May we redeem this time and use it to proclaim the Gospel!

 

What Fills You With Passion?

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Thank goodness this election is just about over. I am just so tired of the TV ads, the automated phone calls, and a Facebook wall inundated with politics. Let’s just get this over with!

As Eric and I were talking about this last night, I was sharing with him how interesting it was that people who rarely post anything on Facebook have posted about this election. Some people are posting about it constantly.

I’m not criticizing them for that. Facebook is a great way to get a message out. I think what continues to puzzle me is how few Christians use it to share the Gospel or to point people to the Word of God.

This election really showed me not only how powerful social media is, but it also showed that people are willing to risk their reputation for something they are passionate about. The posts about political candidates –no matter which one –are a risk. People think certain things about someone when they post for or against a candidate. And, honestly, how refreshing to finally see people actually removed of their apathy and willing to stand up for something.

I just wish that some of that passion was poured into getting the Gospel out using this incredible media. I just wish that some of this passion would instead be used to point people to the Word of God for life and light. I just wish that Christians would stop worrying about what people are going to think of them.

After all, this election is soon over. One of these pathetic, unfit candidates is actually going to win the presidency tomorrow. (But I will vote and– in case you are interested– my vote will be a vote against the one who promises to bring everything to this country that God hates.) And then it will be over.

It will all be over and we will have to adjust to whatever is next.

But the beauty of it is, for us Christians, nothing really changes. The Kingdom of God marches on. It has absolutely nothing to do with earthly kingdoms and governments. God can build His Kingdom in a country shrouded in Communism or Socialism, just as much as He can build His Kingdom in a Capitalistic society. He is not limited by a type of government. In fact, perhaps the church is even purified under certain systems of government. God may think it is time shake up the wayward, shallow Church in America. We can’t know that but we should not despair, no matter what happens tomorrow.

So where does our passion lie? Is it in making “America great again”? There is nothing wrong with that but, as believers, our main passion should always be to share the Gospel and to give God glory.

May we not get distracted by side issues. May we not be afraid to shine a light in this dark, dark time. May we be willing to risk our reputations and good name in order that even one may come to saving faith through Jesus Christ alone. And may we be filled with a love and passion for our Savior that is so transforming and pervasive, it can’t help but spill out onto our social media outlets.

 

Behind Enemy Lines

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Last night at the presidential debates we heard Hilary describe her dream for America. She communicates well so I have no doubt that she swayed a few voters but did you catch what she said?

She wants a world where the government can’t interfere if a mother wants to abort her baby that is due in a day or two (but the government can interfere when a Christian chooses not to bake a cake for a gay couple). She wants a world where marriage is between any two people who choose to love each other. She wants a country that takes from those who work hard and gives it to those who will not work.

Almost every policy she has goes against scripture and, while she talks about how she wants to make sure every special group has their rights, she has made it very clear that the right to religious freedom for Christians isn’t something she is interested in.

If she wins, we are going to become the enemy more than ever. But that’s nothing new. We already are living behind enemy lines if we are a believer. For we are not of this world (John 17:14).

And we were never meant to be friends with the world. When you start trying to please the world, you are headed down a very slippery slope from which there is no return. In fact, James makes it as clear as it could possibly be and yet we Christians can’t seem to understand–

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)

For many years now, there has been an enormous crowd of Christian “fence-sitters”. One foot in the world and one foot in the church. Now that the tide is turning against us and what we stand for, that option is disappearing rapidly.

But should it have ever even been an option for Christians at all?

If we are born again and are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), then we have become an enemy of the world (John 15:19). The Bible could not be any clearer on this.

And, yet, most Christians are trying desperately to fit in. We have adopted the ways, the music, the language, the entertainment, and the clothing of our enemy. We have decided that to reach the enemy we need to be like them–that our God is not strong enough to draw people to Himself without some help from us (even though He has been doing so since the beginning of time). And so most Christians look just like the world in which they are living. Their radio stations, their movies, their books are all written and promoted by the enemy. In fact, the “church” has become so impassioned with being like and pleasing the world that now even well-known speakers are caving on big issues like homosexuality and important doctrines such as hell.

I mean, in this day and age, how do you become popular or please the world if don’t change your position on certain issues? How do you become popular and viewed as “normal”  if you turn your back on the world’s entertainment? Plain and simple: You don’t.

I believe we have totally forgotten that it is God who draws men to Himself (John 6:44). It is God who changes a person’s heart. He uses us and we get to plant seeds and even sometimes help explain the Gospel, but it isn’t because we are like the world. It is in spite of the fact that we are like the world.

We are the enemy. We are living in enemy territory. We shouldn’t look like, talk like, dress like, or be like the world. Yet, most of us–including myself–have made ourselves pretty comfortable here in this world and feel pretty much at home. We are living a status quo reality that I believe is going to change.

So if you are a fence-sitter, you are going to very soon be faced with a dilemma. Which side of the fence will you land on? Are you more afraid of the world’s condemnation or God’s condemnation? Which will it be?

I leave you with these words from Jesus, clear words that cannot be misinterpreted. Words that have been ignored for a long time now in this American culture. I hope that we will consider them carefully as we become less and less liked in a society that is growing more immoral each day–

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,[a] and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:23-26)

 

Why Are We Praying What We Are Praying?

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There has been a rousing call to prayer for this country by Christians everywhere. This election, perhaps more than any other in history, has burdened our hearts for the future of this nation. But as I sat in prayer this morning, I was convicted by something.

What if I am praying that God would take America back to its Christian roots for my own benefit? For my own comfort and convenience and safety?

Because, if I am honest, that is what I am most afraid of losing.

But what if–what if–God’s purposes include bringing this nation to its knees? What if His glory can best be served by letting this nation continue to spiral downward? What if His kingdom here in America can expand best by the true church being persecuted? What then?

Do I lose faith because I am no longer comfortable? Do I stop trusting God because I am being persecuted? Do I cry out in despair because my prayers weren’t answered the way I want?

I am in no way suggesting that we stop praying for this nation, but instead that we make sure we are praying with an attitude of “Thy Will Be Done, Lord”. We don’t know His purposes, but only see a small pinpoint of activity on the timeline of history. Let’s pray for this nation! But let’s not grow discouraged if we don’t see the answer we want to see. God is using all that happens for His glory and purposes and we need not fret. Let’s be ready to yield our wills and desires to the King of Kings. Because we know that–

And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.

Daniel 2:21

I guess this really could apply to all that we pray, couldn’t it? How many of our prayers are prayed out of selfish motivation? It is quite sobering to consider. May we always pray that God’s Will be done, first and foremost, and be ready to yield our will to His, no matter what the request. This is short and sweet today but it was on my heart. Let’s keep praying for this nation but with a heart and mind submitted to God’s Will, no matter what lies in store.

Change is in the Wind

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My daughter walked out the front door, ready for her first day of soccer practice. It all seemed quite normal, except for one thing that kept running through my head: It’s her last first day.

After having three weddings within 13 months, I was quite ready to settle into normal again. Of course, it was a drastically changed normal, but it was a normal. And somehow over the past year, I have gotten used to having only one kid around. Things are quieter and so much more laid back. There is much less laundry and I spend a lot less money on food and clothing. The kids come to visit and it’s fun and loud and crazy and then they go home and we are left with just the three of us once again. It took me a while to get used to this new normal. But I realized the other day that I think I am okay.

And then I watched my last child head off in her car to soccer practice. It is her senior year of high school and I can smell change in the wind again. My heart sinks a little to think of it. What will life be like with just my husband and me? Will my baby be okay in her new life? What will I do all day? Questions assail me if I let my mind dwell there.

Reminds us just a bit of this upcoming election, doesn’t it? Change is in the air. We can feel it. No matter who wins, this is a historical, unprecedented election. Neither candidate comes with a stellar reputation. Neither seems to have the qualifications or integrity necessary to lead a nation. And questions assail us. What is going to happen? How is this nation going to survive? And what does it mean for us personally?? Will our normal continue or will it be forever changed?

Clips of the unrest and starvation going on right now in Venezuela haunt those of us who understand what socialism really does. We hear about pastors being arrested in Canada for speaking out against homosexuality and can feel that change making its way south. Isis threatens the innocent and unsuspecting across the globe. Natural disasters like floods, wildfires, and tornadoes have uprooted thousands of lives here and throughout the world.

And we are going to have WHO leading this country??

But here we are. And it is what it is.

Now may be a good time to remember that we are just aliens passing through. If we are saved, our citizenship isn’t here.

Now may be a good time to remember that we have had it SO GOOD. So much better than any Christians in any other place or any other time on this earth. We must be thankful for what we’ve had and prepare as best we can for the changes that are coming.

Now may be a good time to thank God for the freedom we have right now on this day. Let’s be sharing the Gospel with that friend or neighbor–while we still have the freedom to do so.

Now may be a good time to stop complaining. As of right now, we can still go to the store and buy almost anything we want to. We can still stop for ice cream. And we can still gather together for worship on Sunday mornings. Life is still mostly good for those of us in western countries and we dare not forget that amidst the fear and doubts that threaten to overtake us.

And now may be a great time to turn our eyes to the One who never changes. He never rests. He is our strength in times of trouble and our refuge amidst the storm. He not only knows what is going to happen, but He controls what will happen. We are safe in His arms.

Life may change but our God never changes. Of this we can be 100% certain–no matter what chaos and craziness swirls about us.

 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

For I am the Lord, I do not change;
Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
Malachi 3:6

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father
of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17

God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill?
Numbers 23:19

Is Donald Trump Really Saved?

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There is a report going around the internet that Donald Trump has recently been genuinely saved. I know many Christians who are super excited about this. I know more who are cautiously hopeful. And then there are those who are downright skeptical.

I probably tend towards the skeptical, although I admit that I am also a bit hopeful. It would be  wonderful for a worldly, ungodly man who is so well-known to be transformed by Christ. With such a large platform, he would have incredible opportunities to share the Gospel and attest to the power of God in the life of a sinner that turns to Him for salvation. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

But before we get too excited, let’s talk about who Donald Trump has been. Here are a few quick facts from Trump’s life “before Christ”—

→He has been married three times. He cheated on his first wife with his second wife. His current (third) wife is a Slovenian model who poses nude (read more here and here).

→Trump has been responsible for building and establishing several casinos, several of which he named after himself. He no longer owns any of them due to financial difficulties, the most recent being sold to Icahn Enterprises in February of this year. He experienced several bankruptcies connected to these casinos (read more here).

→He has regularly made crude and unseemly jokes about his private parts (read more here or just watch one of the debates).

→According to this article, Donald Trump is a chronic liar and told an average of one lie every five minutes during the debates.

→One of the things this man is know for best is his very direct and often cruel comments directed towards others. Here is an article that features 19 of his meanest tweets, but, honestly, just hearing some of his comments during the debates also gives us evidence of this.

This is what I was able to find within a matter of minutes by doing a quick search. There is no dearth of information about this charismatic and outspoken man and he has given the gossip magazines lots to write about over the past twenty or more years.

(Quick note here: Since a few people have been upset with me for focusing on Trump’s past, let me assure you I do this only to demonstrate how his changed life will show such a marked and vast contrast to his former life, if he truly has repented and turned from his sin. It is not to berate or criticize him but, instead, to draw our attention to the wonder-working power of the blood of Jesus, should Trump’s faith be genuine. Let’s face it– we are all sinners. Most of us just don’t have the whole world watching and talking about it!)

Of course, most of us don’t change instantly when we come to Christ. It would very nice if we did, but we don’t. However there are some things we can look for in the life of Donald Trump over the course of the next few months and years to confirm if this report is true or not. In fact, we should look for these signs in any new believer, not just a famous one—

Transformation (2 Corinthians 5:17) –There will be a change in the desires of the heart and outward actions and behavior. It may be instant or it may be slow and steady–but it will occur.

Sensitivity to Sin (Romans 6:1-2)–While the new believer does still sin (as all believers do), they recognize that it is wrong and will be convicted by the Holy Spirit.

Desire to Follow the Commands of Jesus (I John 3:24; John 15:9-10)–A baby believer, once focused only on selfish goals and lusts, now has a passion and desire to obey Christ and His commands.

They Will Not Be Popular With Everyone (John 15:18-19)–Jesus makes it pretty clear that true believers will not be favorites of the world and its godless agenda. Decisions to stop partying, to be honest in business, to keep ourselves pure, etc. can really irritate old friends and unsaved family, who desires the new believer to continue joining them in their debauchery and ungodly living. Speaking the truth of God’s Word in response makes them even more angry.

Pride Will Be Replaced by Humility (Colossians 3:12-13)–Unforgiveness will be replaced by forgiveness; a mean, critical spirit will be replaced by kindness. Oh, it won’t happen instantly but there will be a gradual change.

Trials and Temptations Will Not Pull Them Away (Luke 8:13)–Many claim to follow Christ but when testing and trials come, when peer pressure becomes too much to bear, they turn their backs on Christ and fall away.

You may be thinking that you know some professing Christians who don’t exhibit these signs of true faith. While all of us may have a blind spot or two, true believers will exhibit most of the above. They are the evidence of true salvation and are given to us by God in His Word.

So is Donald Trump really a new believer?

I don’t think there is any way we can possibly answer that yet. Only God knows.

But here is what we do know–

This election coming up is a big deal. A very big deal.

I have my opinions about it, as do you, I am sure. It is incredibly important that we give great prayer and thought to how we are going to vote.

Honestly, I still find myself perplexed and not a little dismayed that we have two pathological liars as our candidates. It is so indicative of where we are as a nation that we would support such people.

Did Donald Trump recently accept Jesus as His Lord and Savior? I hope so. I truly do hope so.

 

 

How Shall We Then Vote?

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In 1976, Francis Scheaffer wrote How Shall We Then Live? It was a book that took a hard look at the decline of the western culture and how, as Christians, we should then live in the society. Back then already, he was keenly aware of the breakdown of moral absolutes and what that would mean in the coming years for western culture. It has been forty years since this book was written. How fitting that the election this year symbolizes all that Scheaffer warned would come to pass.

I think there have been few elections in history that have presented such a challenge to voters than the current one. Some of us have made our choice for the primary and are pretty sure about November, weighing all the possible options. Some of us are still waiting and waffling, unsure of what is best. Others of us have just outright declared that we aren’t going to vote at all.

One thing I have noticed in this election, perhaps more than any other, is how many Americans are driven to vote for a candidate because of what that candidate will do for them. Character and integrity seem to matter very little in our desire to get more for ourselves– more economic security, more tax breaks, more free stuff. This seems to be what drives most voters as they make their choice.

In complete opposition to this, however, is what God’s Word says. Last Sunday our pastor gave us some great guidelines on how to choose the candidate who deserves our vote. In Deuteronomy 17, starting in verse 14, God gives Israel guidelines to use as they choose a king. From this passage, our pastor was able to pull out eight biblical (and practical) principles that should influence our voting. With his permission, I’d like to share them with you–

1. Seek God’s choice above your own. (v. 15)  We need to stop worrying about what we think is best for us alone, and think about what is best for the nation as a whole, according to God’s law and purposes.

2. Seek a candidate who is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. (v. 15) Many politicians claim to know Jesus in order to get the evangelical vote. In order to know if its genuine we need to examine their lives.

3. Avoid self-promoting, power-hungry leaders. (v. 16) While these kind of men make lots of empty promises, their ultimate goal is the promotion of self and an increase in power over the people.

4. Seek one who has proven faithful in marriage. (v. 17) Aside from being one of God’s laws, faithfulness in marriage is also a good indication that the candidate is loyal and devoted to someone outside of himself.

5. Avoid one who is greedy for personal wealth. (v. 17) Think about someone you know who only cares about money. They live for it, they breathe for it, they don’t care who they hurt or trample on to get it. Is this the kind of person we want to run a country?

6. Seek one who learns and loves God’s Word.  (v. 18) Again, hard to know if the declarations of this are true. Their lives are our only test. If they live according to it, it is much more likely that they know it.

7. Seek a leader with a servant’s heart. (v. 20) How key is this! Think about all of the bosses you have had in the past for a moment. Which one was the best? I would guess it was the boss who wasn’t afraid to do the hard work alongside of you. It was the guy or gal that wasn’t condescending. It was the person who cared about you and considered you and your co-workers when making company decisions.  This kind of person makes a great leader.

8. Seek one who respects and obeys the Lord. (v. 20) Even if they are not a genuine Christian, a candidate who honors God’s laws is the one for whom we should be casting our vote.

Obviously, few candidates are going to be a perfect match to these eight guidelines but isn’t this a helpful list? It’s a tool we can use to do the best we can in picking a candidate worthy of our vote. A big thank you to my pastor for his wisdom in pointing these out.

God bless you, my fellow Americans, as you do your part in these upcoming primaries and then again in November. For those of you outside America, I hope that these guidelines will prove helpful to you, as well, if and when you have the opportunity to vote in your own country.

No matter what happens in November, how thankful I am to know Who is really in control.

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.”

Daniel 2:20b-21

Our Reason to Hope

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Have any of you been keeping an eye on what’s going on in this presidential race? I guess that’s a rather foolish question, given the coverage this election is getting on almost any outlet possible. I have to admit that I just shake my head at the hopelessness of what I see. While there is an outside chance of having someone decent to vote for, the upcoming election looks to be quite bleak for so many different reasons. My husband is still hoping some white knight will come riding in to save the country. We laugh, but it’s how we both feel. We think of the great country we knew and loved and cannot believe how far it’s come.

But here we are.

So now what?

I think, first, it’s good to remember some very important facts. As believers, we should view the election and state of our country a little differently than most. After all, we are not in the same desperate situation as our unbelieving friends for two reasons–

1. Our hope is in the Lord. Our hope should not be placed in presidents and kings (I Peter 3:15; I Timothy 1:1) but in God Almighty. We are not those who hope in vain, but instead can rest in the knowledge that God not only knows everything that is going on, but that it all falls under His sovereign plan. Elections, wars, uprisings, revolutions–these do not come as a surprise to God.

2. We know the ending. If you believe the traditional view of the book of Revelation, as I do–that it is literal and will take place here on earth–then you, like me, will be astonished by how this prophecy is coming to life right in front of our eyes. The Bible has to be true. There is no other explanation. While what we read there is rather terrifying, we cannot help but recognize that the pieces of the end days puzzle are fitting together so quickly we can hardly catch our breath.

When I was a child, I wondered how the world would ever get to a point where we could only buy using a mark on our hand or forehead (Revelation 13:17). I don’t wonder that anymore. RFID chipping (which is taking place in humans already for many different reasons) will make this not only possible but inevitable. There is already talk about it.

Way back when, I couldn’t understand how the whole world would see the two witnesses (Revelation 11:9-11). But with the birth of satellites, real-time news became second nature to us all. In fact, we have come to expect to know what’s going on while it’s going on.

And, of course, we could never have comprehended how there would be a one-world religion, a one-world economy, a one-world government. And, yet, while it may not be on the horizon tomorrow or next year, it is most certainly on its way. Globalism is being forced upon us and patriotism is viewed as evil. We are being forced to meld Christianity together with all sorts of other religions. And those of us who are not cooperating are not viewed very kindly. To say the least.

I could add so much more here. If you follow the news, there is so much taking place so fast, it is hard to keep up. The world is changing. And it’s changing quickly. We are back to an era similar to the Tower of Babel– an era where man believes he can accomplish anything and is purposing to do so. Just google transhumanism if you don’t believe me.

So where does all of this leave the United States of America as a country? I know this may not be what you want to hear, but I can’t find any indication anywhere in the book of Revelation that she plays any part in the last days. And, if that’s the case, it would seem that eventually she will be weakened beyond recognition with little part to play on the world’s stage. And we also have to admit that a democratic, capitalistic society cannot exist in a world dedicated to globalism. It’s an impossible combination. As to when and how this all will happen, I have no idea. But the fact that it will happen cannot be denied if we hold to the book of Revelation. Of course, we can hope and pray for revival and for the Lord’s hand to hold off for a little while longer, but to hope that America will return to her former greatness and glory, I believe is to hope in vain.

On a personal level, as we watch all of this play out, we find that it is getting harder and harder to share our faith. Not so much because we are outright persecuted, but because we are viewed as almost sickened in the mind–loony cast-offs that are un-enlightened. This is very powerful stuff–this ostracizing of a whole group of people. And it can’t be denied. For just one example (of a zillion), you can wear t-shirts to public schools that promote Islam, witchcraft, and any other religion–but will be in danger of prosecution if you wear a t-shirt with the name of Jesus on it. Meanwhile, in the church, the name of Jesus has come to mean something completely outside of who the Bible says He is. We have been deceived in numbers I never thought possible. It is astounding and so disheartening.

And so what is our task in these dark days? How do we respond? As my husband and I have pondered this on many occasions, we have come to this conclusion–

We are to focus on our family, first and foremost. We have a duty and responsibility to do all we can to encourage them in their walk with God. Personal knowledge of the Word of God, along with boldness and courage, are going to be critical as we strive to live in a post-Christian society. We believe it is our duty to do all we can to encourage and strengthen our family members, so that we can all stand firm together in the oncoming storm that threatens to knock down even the strongest of believers.

Second, we believe we are called to be a light in the darkened world we are in. No easy task, as the horizon grows darker and darker. It can be scary to speak the truth of God’s Word in this current culture and sometimes we chicken out. I just have to be honest here. But we know that this is what we are called to do. And so we keep trying to shine brighter and brighter in a world that grows darker and darker.

When you really think about it, we have so much reason to hope! The last days are here and that means that we could be rescued at any time. While I know there are many views on the rapture (pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib) and I wouldn’t go the wall for any particular stance, I do believe that the Bible teaches a pre-trib rapture. Wouldn’t it be incredible to be the generation that is rescued from darkness by a meeting in the sky with Jesus? How awesome would that be? This is the hope we have, if we cling to God’s Word.

But, no matter what is in our future, we know that God is faithful. If we are in His Word and we hold fast to its truths, testing all things that come our way, then we will be able to stand firm in the upcoming days. Hold fast, my friend, hold fast.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,  for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)

 

 

 

The Setting Sun (and a message of hope!)

09-07-13 (3)

We are finally at the prophets in our Bible Reading Challenge. These are the books that gave me the greatest challenge when I was reading through the Bible last year. So far we have read Jonah, Amos, Hosea, and now we are in Isaiah. Prophets are what God used to speak to His people before Christ came to the earth. I do love seeing where each prophet fits chronologically. Isn’t it helpful to see what was going on in Israel when they prophesied? The hearts of Israel and Judah were turned far, far from God. They had sacrificed their relationship with the living God to prostitute themselves with the gods of the pagans. The books of the Old Testament prophets make so much more sense now.

But the prophets can be very hard to read. There are so many predictions of death and destruction and exile. God had had enough and judgment was coming.

And it did come. The sun was setting–at least temporarily–on God’s special people. They had chosen to worship idols and there were grave consequences for this.

The prophets weren’t a bunch of wild, long-haired guys waving their hands all akimbo as they preached to no one in the wilderness. They were real men with real messages from God. They took a lot of heat (and some even paid with their lives) to present God’s messages to the people.

I find myself wondering what it was really like in Israel when the prophets were giving their messages? Were there a faithful few? A remnant who still worshiped the true God? Or was it like in the days of Noah, when only Noah and his family were found faithful?

Unfortunately, if there was a remnant, those faithful few experienced the same judgment that the unrepentant did. They were exiled, they were attacked, they were in the land when judgment hit.

Isn’t this taking on extra meaning, as we enter the strange, new world that America has become? The faithful are shrinking quickly. Those who stand for the Truth are becoming smaller in number, as most fall away through the deception that is so rampant in this land. And while we don’t have prophets speaking to us, we do have God’s Word to show us what is to come. (By the way, if you have never done it, do a study sometime on the fulfilled prophecies of the Word of God–it will remove any traces of doubt you may have about the Bible).

So the discouraging message is that, if the Lord tarries, we will experience persecution against the church and we will also experience the judgment of the wicked. The sun is setting on America and her days are most likely numbered (barring a miracle–which is possible, of course!)

Many of us have been thinking about this in the back of our minds a lot in these past few years, given what’s been going on in America.

But there is also an encouraging message. If we experience persecution and if we are swept into the coming judgment, we are still God’s people. He will not desert us. I was reading the other day in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs of the horrendous atrocities that the Catholic church committed against true believers during the Spanish Inquisition. Torture that we can’t even fathom. And, yet, people sang during their gruesome deaths. They sang!

You may think why read of such terrible things? I read them because I want to be encouraged by their strong faith during such terrible persecution. I read because it strengthens my faith. God is real. And He will not desert us. If we receive a martyr’s death, we will receive a martyr’s crown.

Be not discouraged. He is faithful and will give His people the right amount of grace at just the right time.

I know this is easy to write, but as things start heating up, it will get harder and harder. Are we ready? How do we get ready?

I was talking with a friend the other day and she expressed her desire to memorize scripture because she just wonders how long we will be able to carry our Bibles freely. This is a great way to prepare for what is coming! Memorizing scripture and some of the great hymns of the faith rich with doctrine is a great place to start.

But even as we try to prepare our hearts and minds for what is coming, we can’t stop living our lives now. We can’t spend our hours in fear and worry of what is to come.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:34: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

We are in the care of the great God of the universe. We need not live in fear. No matter how this thing ends, we have so much to look forward to– like all of eternity!

So live joyfully! Extend love and grace freely! Share the gospel! And never, ever cower in fear! For we are told in 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Now let’s go live these words!