The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

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Persecution, Equality, Freedom and Salvation in America

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 3, 2016

Persecution Increasing

There is no doubt that persecution of Christians is on the rise in America, although in comparison to what Christians in other countries experience, we should admit we still have it easy.

The headlines warn us: Christian-owned businesses are under attack. Bow down to the governmental beast, or your buying and selling will be hindered. People who don’t want to fund abortion or contribute to the LGBT lifestyle because of personal and biblical convictions are being fined and threatened. I just saw that a Christian dating site has been told it must allow homosexuals to create accounts looking for same-sex partners. These are all signs that biblical truth has been rejected by the majority in this country, and sin is being protected–even promoted–by law. The foundations have been destroyed, and the righteous are headed for serious trouble–

For look! The wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow on the string, that they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart. If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psa. 11:2-3)


The Pursuit of Equality (It’s Not Fair!)

The true equality God has given to men is that each individual has equal opportunity to turn from evil and do good to the glory of God. The redemption in Jesus’ blood was offered to one and all, rich or poor, white or black, male or female.

The world has its own idea of what equality looks like.  As unbelievers embrace the devil’s doctrine, first we see abominations (according to God) being considered equal in moral value to righteousness. Fornication is “normal,” homosexuality or gender-bending is “an option,”  killing a baby in cold blood is a “choice,” and drone-bombing civilians in other countries is “heroism.”  The person who disregards God’s law is considered equal in morality to the person who doesn’t. There is no right or wrong; every man does what is right in his own eyes. That’s the devil’s brand of equality. And it has sold quite well in this country for decades.

It wasn’t long before this moral relativism gave birth to a greater evil yet–now good is called evil, and evil is called good.  The murderer of the innocent is protected by law, and the one who rebukes him is ordered to step off the grass or go to jail. The immoral person is celebrated and paraded down the street naked with police protection, while the person who rebukes this wickedness is put on the terrorist-watch list.

These are the times we live in. They are very dark times. And under pressure, some Christians are saying things like this–

“Why is the government picking on Christians, but not Muslims or atheists? Isn’t that hypocrisy? No fair!” And a chorus of disgruntled voices answers, “Amen, this isn’t fair. We need to fight for our rights.


The Promise of God to Christians:  You Will Suffer Injustice

I truly believe the “Christian right” news is toxic to the spiritual health of American Christians. We are constantly warned that we are victims losing our rights–rights that are nowhere promised us in Scripture. We are urged to fight back, to take our nation back (as if we aren’t pilgrims), etc. There is an underlying culture of fear and anger that works like a poison in our hearts, and sets us up to fight the wrong battle with the wrong weapons for the wrong prize. We fight flesh and blood with carnal weapons for the prize of earthly stuff that is vanishing away, and vainly imagine that we are spiritual warriors.

So why are Christians persecuted, while Muslims and atheists and others are allowed to get away with what they do? Why the hypocrisy? It’s really simple–Because of Jesus. The world hated Him, and the world will hate His disciples. Nowhere did Jesus say that the world will persecute unbelievers, those who are deeply involved in false religions, or lukewarm name-only “Christians.” He said the world will hate disciples of Jesus, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33) The world accepts all those who are following a false way.  The world will not accept the True Way, because the god of this world (satan) is at war with Him.

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. (John 15:18-21)

Notice Jesus did NOT say, “Be outraged at the injustice! Get into a panic-induced hysteria and form a militia and protect your turf! Elect officials who will give you what you deserve!” Instead He spoke often of the other-worldly peace and joy His people would have while suffering. Rather than responding to pain with “This isn’t fair,” the early Christians responded with rejoicing because they had been counted worthy to suffer shame for His name (Acts 5:41).

I understand when the heathen seek “equality;” they are trying to appease their guilty conscience which condemns them loudly before a holy God.  But it troubles me to hear Christians complaining about unequal treatment. As much as I agree that persecution of Christians is evil and wrong, it is the very life we are called to. It is exactly what we have been promised. Funny how we like to stand on the promises that sound cheerful and fun, but side-step the promises that we must through tribulation enter the kingdom of God.

The world is always going to do what is evil and wrong, in accordance with its master’s will. And we disciples of Jesus need to endure hardship as good soldiers of Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 2:3), knowing that our current troubles will be eclipsed by the great joy that is coming. Let’s call off the pity-party and get suited up for battle–not a battle against flesh and blood, but against principalities,against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12) Let’s quit allowing the “Christian right” to direct our hearts into angry and fearful reaction, and let the witnesses in Scripture direct our hearts into faith and patient overcoming.

Are we prepared to go the extra mile, not just theoretically, but in actual practice? Are we prepared to endure hardness and injustice, or are we chafing at the unfairness of it all? Many will fall away in the furnace of affliction.


The Pursuit of Freedom

Beware of the pursuit of “freedom,” which unbelievers idolize, because if you seek that first, it will take you far away from God’s kingdom.

 

Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it.  For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. (I Cor. 7:20-22)

The more you pursue earthly freedoms, the more bondage you will enter into. You will live in constant terror of what you might lose. You will fear and despise the very people God sends you to with His good news, perceiving them as a threat to your freedoms. You will be self-protecting instead of self-denying. You will be carnally minded and abiding in death. And you might even learn to defend your faithless life by twisting Jesus’ words, as so many do. Beware!

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (Jn. 8:31-32, 36)

Remember that Jesus spoke these words to Jews who claimed they had never been in bondage to anyone due to their parentage. Jesus insisted they were slaves–not of Rome–but of their own sin! Jesus isn’t impressed with the “freedom” Americans sing about and idolize either. He knows that all but the small remnant is still under complete bondage to sin, from the lowly average working man to the elite politician making false promises to heal what he cannot heal.

Jesus isn’t carrying our silly flags and working for our domination over other people so we can pursue happiness. Jesus isn’t celebrating the bombs bursting in air (what a sick thing to celebrate), or one country’s independence from another. He knows what is in men’s hearts–a desire not only to be free from other people’s control, but also to be free from God’s control. He raises up and He pulls down kingdoms, all with one underlying goal–to turn the hearts of individuals to repentance and faith in Him.

Jesus is actively tearing down all the idols we trusted in, that we may see that He alone gives true freedom.  Like the idol Dagon fell again and again, breaking up into pieces, the idol of earthly freedom is being destroyed that we may see the folly of trusting it. The Christian/religious right (part of the apostasy) keeps setting the idol back up and urging Christians to find their hope in it, rather than in Christ. Do not be led astray by them.


Many False Saviors

Some who profess Christ are so deceived and blinded by their attachment to this world, that they imagine a wicked idolater like Donald Trump can be some type of savior. Savior of what, I must ask?–this pile of ruin our collective sin has brought about? And savior from what?–can this slave of sin Trump save us from judgment? I’m sorry, but he works for the same devil the other politicians work for. Do not be deceived by the many false prophets telling us to support this wicked person. They expose their own apostasy and blindness. If they had stood in the counsel of the Lord, they would turn you from sin to righteousness, rather than from righteousness to sin. If you love God, keep your hands clean. Some trust in chariots (Republican nominee) and some in horses (Democratic nominee), but we [the faithful] will remember the Name of the Lord our God! (Psa. 20:7) To trust in man is to depart from the Lord.

Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord.” (Jer. 17:5)

God’s people are set apart, not entangled with the evil of the wicked who attain greatness in the devil’s kingdom. If you are the ambassador for Christ you claim to be, then be about the Father’s business of reconciling people to God, not the business of electing a new Caesar. Do not follow the apostasy; follow Jesus! This kingdom called America, though it reaches far and wide like the Roman kingdom of old, and does so with unceasing pride, will come crashing down like all the rest. And so God humbles all the mighty and the proud.

It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord will punish on high the host of exalted ones, and on the earth the kings of the earth. They will be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and will be shut up in the prison; after many days they will be punished. (Isa. 24:21-22)

The kings of the earth cannot save you. They can’t even save themselves. They too are slaves, ensnared by their own lusts. There is only one who saves–

Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. (Isa. 45:22)

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Posted in Apostasy, False Teachers, Judgment of God, Suffering | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Why Would Jesus Help a Muslim?

Posted by israeliteindeed on January 16, 2016

“Why would Jesus help a Muslim?”  This is the question this devoted Muslim asked after Jesus made a point of helping him. This, he says, was not his conversion, but was the start of his “confusion.”  I pray that we too will walk in the heart of Christ toward all people, causing them a holy confusion about what they once confidently believed.

This is one of the most beautiful conversion stories I’ve ever seen. Please take the time to watch both videos below.


Also, please read this encouraging article, which shows how even the evil of ISIS is being used by God for good.   One Christian leader is quoted as saying his organization “can barely keep up with the desire of refugees to learn about Christ and the Bible.” Jesus was telling the Truth when He told his disciples to look on the fields, which were white already to harvest (Jn. 4:35). He also said this–

The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.  (Matt. 9:37-38)

Are we trying to learn how to be laborers in His harvest? Or are we seeking to save our own lives in this world?

Posted in "Christian" Zionism, Christian Life, Preach the Gospel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

And a Little Child Shall Lead Them

Posted by israeliteindeed on March 21, 2015

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. (Isa. 11:6)

Watch as 10 yr-old Miriam gives her edifying testimony of God’s love and faithfulness, in spite of the fact that Isis has made her homeless. Look at her thankful spirit and her contagious joy. See how readily she forgives her enemies without the slightest hesitation! Weep as she sings a song of love to her Savior, Who, motivated by love, came to restore her to righteousness. Pray that your faith and your heart can be as pure as hers if you are ever tested in the ultimate way!

See also Who is my Neighbor
Early Church Writings on Christians and Violence

Posted in Christian Life, persecution | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Vengeance is Mine

Posted by israeliteindeed on December 20, 2014

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:17-21)

When the prophet Jonah was called to go to a people–who had persecuted his own people– with a message that God would forgive them if they would repent, he was more than reluctant. Only after nearly perishing in the ocean did he agree to obey. After they repented at his preaching and received God’s mercy (chapter 3), Jonah admitted his motive for running away was that he didn’t think they deserved that mercy!

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.” (Jon. 4:1-2)

No one deserves mercy. That’s what makes mercy what it is. Jesus rebuked His disciples when they were too willing to call down fire on a town that did not receive Him (Lk. 9:51-56.) His rebuke was not a soft one; He said they were of another spirit!

There is a vengeance and a destruction that is coming–the Day of the Lord. God’s enemies will be destroyed; we can be sure of that. In fact, they are already abiding “under His wrath.” (Jn. 3:36)

But ambassadors of God’s kingdom who are sent out with the Great Commission are not sent out to bring His wrath. They are sent out with an offer of God’s mercy on the conditions of any sinner’s repentance and faith. Unfortunately, some feel like Jonah–none too keen on seeing certain subsets of humanity receive God’s mercy. Or, they would like to see those people redeemed, but only if it doesn’t cost THEM something. Sometimes, being swept up in the worldly mindset produced by patriotism, and controlled by that mind instead of the mind of Christ, they leave the ranks of God’s ambassadors and join the ranks of the world’s destroyers of men. They may destroy by firing the weapons; they may destroy by supporting those who fire the weapons.

But our instructions, if we are God’s children, are very clear in the Romans passage above. These instructions are repeated in different ways elsewhere in Scripture also. It isn’t that God’s instructions aren’t clear or abundant enough; it’s that men don’t want to obey. They’d rather run from their responsibilities because they deem other people groups too far gone to be recipients of God’s mercy.

But as God revealed His heart concerning the lost to Jonah (4:10-11), He will also reveal His heart to us, unless we are content with that “other spirit” that insists we take vengeance in our own hands. Unfortunately, many professing Christians are so taken up with the importance of their earthly country and personal safety, those perishing things trump the value of men’s souls in their eyes. They are thus easily caught up in fleshly reactions to men, rather than spiritual war with spiritual weapons against spiritual principalities.

If Jesus came in the flesh today, pitying the souls of Muslims and calling us to be willing to die for them, He would likely be cast out as an apostate by the American church.

If a false savior came passing out carnal weapons and instructions for how to take Jerusalem from the infidels, he would gain some popularity–but only among those who are first rejecting the true King’s instructions.

Posted in "Christian" Zionism, Apostasy, Judgment of God, nationalism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Do Not Give in to Fear

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 31, 2014

Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. (I Jn. 3:13)

It seems today that the western church is marveling and fretting because of the hatred of the world toward Christians. But what does Scripture say this will lead to?–

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm. (Psa. 37:7-8)

Instead of going the route which will only cause more harm, let us take the road Jesus set before us–the road of resting in Him and waiting for Him. Remembering this:

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. (Jn. 15:18-21)

Contrariwise, if the world is accepting of you because you look and act like the world, then you have a problem (and need to repent.) If you are loving what the world loves and fighting in the world’s battles for the world’s treasures with the world’s weapons, the world will accept you. If you are willing to hate your enemies and only love your friends, the world will approve. But when you begin to make the words of Jesus the rule of your life, and your allegiance to His kingdom trumps your allegiance to the world’s kingdoms, everything will change. The world only loves its own. Those who count its countless man-glorifying schemes and monuments as worthless will themselves soon become regarded as the scum of the earth. Jesus said such people will be killed, and that’s not all–in a terrible twist of irony, they will often be killed in the name of God!

These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. (Jn. 16:1-4)

The world is very religious, but it does not know God. We are to expect opposition so that we don’t stumble when it comes. Jesus said “WHEN the time comes” not “IF the time comes.” The time is coming and is already here! The world hates and pursues the lovers of God in myriad ways. We WILL have tribulation, but–

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (Jn. 16:33)

Is it possible to have peace here when the hatred is escalating and people are being beheaded and panic is rising? Yes! You can be “where satan dwells” and still be faithful (Rev. 2:13). This is the glorious, overcoming power of our God. In fact, we are not called to arm ourselves carnally against the growing threats and cower in fear, (figuratively) turning to Egypt or Assyria for help. We are to face the world filled with the Spirit and sanctified by the Truth, spiritually armed and ready to overcome evil with good. Our mission is to turn many to righteousness. God has made sure this mission cannot be thwarted by the violence of satan (Matt. 16:18). When the pressure is on, let us not defect to the enemy’s side by choosing his ways.

I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. (Jn. 17:14-18)

Jesus SENDS us out into the God-hating world as sheep among wolves. He sends us with the instructions we are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves (Matt. 10:16). Wisdom is in short supply in the western church today, and harmlessness is ridiculed as either impractical or cowardly. There are pastors (widely praised) calling for actual Crusades and the killing of our enemies (one example here). These men work up their listeners into a frenzy of fear, warning them that their wives will be raped and their children killed before their eyes unless they choose the world’s ways. These men may stand in pulpits and use the Lord’s name, but they do not serve the Lord Jesus. They are not faithful to the Word, and they increase among their listeners a carnal, self-serving attitude that is indignant in the face of the tribulation Jesus promised. They further the apostasy! We need to get away from these peddlers of fear, even if some of what they say (concerning the escalating evils in our world) might be accurate. While in a haze of fear, many evils can seem justified. This is why we are commanded to stop fretting because it only causes harm.

Jesus never hid from us the possibility of our suffering violence. But His instructions regarding how we are to respond are very clear. And these instructions are being largely ignored today by professing Christians. The apostate church today is an adulterous woman (fornicating with the world) astride the beast. She is harnessing the powers of satan’s violent children, hoping to preserve her place in this world, and claiming God approves. She proudly refuses to suffer. But here is what the faithful saints will be careful to obey:

Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. (Matt. 10:21-26)

Many calling themselves disciples want to be above their Teacher. But Jesus said “it is enough” to be like Him.

When you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps. (I Pet. 2: 20-21)

Are we satisfied with being like Him and following in His steps? Or do we demand a fairer wind and an easier road? Unless we settle it in our hearts now that we are content to be like Him, we are likely to stumble. But we could die a violent death?! Yes, we could. Are we content to be like our Master, or aren’t we? We need to count the cost long before the day arrives when hard choices must be walked out. Do not fear them, says Jesus. He doesn’t say this because bad things won’t happen. He says this because they will.

Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matt. 10:27-31)

What kind of faith do we have? Do we have the kind of faith that wilts in the face of a true threat? We need an enduring faith to win the prize. We need a faith that says, “I will obey Jesus to the end, no matter what it costs me.” We need a faith that looks past the persecution Jesus allows to the sure promise that awaits us if we endure. We need the kind of faith that rejects the voices of strangers and false shepherds who urge us to be like the world and to be driven by fear. The voice of Jesus always says, “Do not fear them!”

Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Lk. 12:32)

Isn’t it amazing how Jesus speaks peace to His seemingly defenseless sheep, many of whom will die at the hands of violent men? We don’t need to seek what the nations of the world seek after, but only seek the otherwordly kingdom of God (Lk. 12:30). He will give us the Kingdom if only we keep our eyes and hearts fixed upon it, not allowing our affections to wander and embrace what is temporary and vain.

God bless you as you follow in Jesus’ steps, being content to be like Him come what may. God bless you as you choose faith and reject fear. And may God put a witness in your mouth that the very gates of hell cannot overcome.

For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell forevermore. For the Lord loves justice, and does not forsake His saints; they are preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell in it forever. (Psa. 37:9-11; 27-29)

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ISIS, Suffering with Those Who Suffer, and Following Jesus

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 14, 2014

My heart goes out to the Christian victims of ISIS.  They are suffering greatly. It is my hope that many more will be rescued. To be honest, I feel almost guilty that I can sit here in my living room and type out these words without fear of a threat on my life.

 

Yet I cannot hope or ask that someone will bomb their tormentors. This is not of the Spirit that lives in me. I know that He is angry with the wicked every day, and that He will judge in righteousness. But today my hope is that their tormentors can also be saved, and that, like Paul, they too can become the bondservants of Jesus. 

 

It seems that this emergence of ISIS has revved the American Right’s terror of Islam into high gear. Can I say right here, in the beginning, that I believe the American Right–which claims to be Christian–is spiritually adulterous and thoroughly leavened? True Christians, please beware of being swept away in its tide.

 

Islam is a false religion, a religion that was sown with the seeds of violence from the beginning.  It’s more radical adherents are indeed terrifying. But the American Church has been led by fear for so long, and I have to wonder why. The wicked flee when no man pursueth, but the righteous are bold as a lion (Prov. 28:1).

 

I think the American Church is fearful because the American Church is apostate.  I think she is a friend of the world and an enemy of God.  I think she has taken up carnal weapons because she has become a stranger to the real weapon–the Sword of the Spirit. 

 

The American Church has joined with the world for many years in using carnal weapons and warfare to “crusade” against “the enemy”–and the enemy was always flesh and blood.  Because of her adultery, she did not see how the world was able to lead her and use her to pursue its own questionable goals. She is a woman astride a terrible, destroying beast, thinking she has some control.  Once the world and its god is through using her, it will turn against her.

 

In the meantime, she is always fearing lest “the enemy” gain the upper hand. Fearing “the enemy” could bring an abrupt end to the quickly fading American dream, which she holds much more dear than the kingdom of God. Fearing, fearing, fearing. But also hoping–

 

Hoping that she can live by the sword without dying by the sword. Hoping Christ didn’t mean what He so plainly said. Hoping she doesn’t have to love THAT neighbor. Hoping she can turn the other cheek only when there is little at stake, and He will understand. Hoping that by manipulating politicians (if that is even possible), she can create for herself a safe fortress in which to love only those who love her. 

 

And for all this crusading, the violence of “the enemy” has not been stilled. It has not even been lessened. It has only gotten worse. 

 

There is a way to overcome this world. Jesus is that Way, and Jesus demonstrated that Way. His Way is so powerful, that by it He disarmed principalities and made a public spectacle of them, and overcame even death and hell for those who would follow Him. His children lose even their fear of death (Heb. 2:15).  Jesus calls us to that Way, but most refuse to get on that Way because it’s not comfortable to deny yourself and take up the implement of death-to-self. We like to speak of such things only hypothetically, always hoping that actual violence and pain and suffering never show up on our doorsteps and bring before us that terrible choice between self-preservation and Jesus. 

 

But the reality is that many, many have already made that choice. They overcame by the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and by loving NOT their own lives to the death. They did not overcome by twisting Jesus’ words into oblivion. They did not overcome with a secret stash of weapons, or by saving their lives in this world (Matt. 16:25). 

 

We should hurt with those believers who are hurting. We should remember them as if suffering with them (Heb. 13:3). They are body parts in the same Body we belong to, and if they hurt, we also hurt. We need to pray for their peace and their endurance under trial. 

 

But at the same time, we should remember that–like the members of ISIS–we were once blind and without God in this world. We too were once the tools of satan, and through us, he hurt many people–we ourselves hurt many people.  We were enemies of God and alienated from Him in our minds because of our wicked works. But Jesus came to save that which was lost, and He died for us WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS. There is hope even for murderers and people following false religions. 

 

Let us love Jesus and obey His commands. Let us come out from among false, self-centered and earthly-minded religion, which has caused so much harm. Let us return to the simple Way of denying ourselves and obeying all Jesus’ teachings. Let  us not explain them away any more, lest we be condemned with those who “take away from the words of this Book.”  Let us think of no one as unworthy to hear the gospel from our lips, for we are sent to “every creature.”  Let us be the good samaritan, no longer justifying ourselves caring for one and hating another.  Let us be willing to suffer with Christ in this life, and commit ourselves to Him that judges righteously. Let us pray fervently that Christ may give us boldness and confidence under trial, and that His love will be perfected in us so that we do not fear those who can kill the body–but only Him who is able to destroy soul AND body in hell. 

 

As iniquity abounds more and more in this nation, and as our grande illusions of freedom and self-determination crumble into dust, the love of most will grow cold as paranoia and desperation set in. Hopefully some in the church will repent and gather fully with Jesus;  those who do not will be scattered.  The world will be judged, but judgment begins in the House of God.  The Father will examine every branch in the Son, and those which are not producing good fruit will be cut off. TODAY, let’s examine ourselves, our actions, and our motives. Let’s judge ourselves honestly, and change if necessary, lest we be judged!  Never forget that lovers of the world have made themselves enemies of God. The saints shall be hated by ALL nations for Jesus’ sake. But he that endures to the end shall be saved.

 religious 3 Isis

Posted in Apostasy, persecution, Suffering | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Brother Saeed Abedini, Imprisoned in Iran, Needs Your Help

Posted by israeliteindeed on January 19, 2013

***Update 1/24/13 Please see the bottom of this article for links to updated information.

Saints, please pray for our brother Saeed Abedini, an American citizen who has been imprisoned in Iran for his obedience to the Gospel and the Great Commission.

Saeed Abedini & His Family

He is due to stand trial on January 21 before “the hanging Judge”–so named for the many death sentences he has given. This is in two days!  This brother needs our prayers. Scripture commands believers to carry one another’s burdens and to remember those who are bound as if bound with them.  One day, it might be you or me that needs prayer and help!

You can read all about Saeed’s situation, and specific prayer requests from his wife, here:  http://asiaharvest.org/pray-for-saeed-abedini-in-iran/

Saeed has recently written the following to his family:

“Prison is a test of faith. I was always worried that the storms of this life would break the ship of my faith, but when you stand steadfast, the storms are like a nice breeze. Nothing can break my faith. These walls have created more fervor for me to love others through sharing the Gospel, but more than that, the walls have deepened my love for my Savior. I feel the prayers of all who are praying for me.”

We need these saints. We need their examples of courage in the face of great affliction. We need to read their words carefully and notice that they do not hate their enemies or seek their destruction, but instead hope God will grant their enemies repentance unto life.  Make sure you read the letter from Saeed, posted at the above link under January 11.

These saints also need us.  They need us to intercede for them. They need us to share their stories, and encourage others to pray and share on blogs and other social media. They need us to speak out on their behalf. God is looking to see if we love our brethren, for this is a primary proof that we are in Christ.

God bless you.

***UPDATE 1/21/13  Please visit these links with updated information. Keep praying!

http://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/english/country/iran/2021748/

http://aclj.org/iran/pastor-saeed-trial-iran-uphold-obligations-protect-religious-liberty?fb_action_ids=542146339386&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=

***UPDATE 1/24/13
http://aclj.org/iran/american-pastor-barred-iranian-trial-address-bogus-charges?sf8839902=1

***UPDATE 1/26/13   Saeed’s Whereabouts Unknown
http://global.christianpost.com/news/pastor-saeed-removed-from-irans-evin-prison-whereabouts-unknown-88851/

***UPDATE 1/28/13   Saeed Abedini has been sentenced to 8 years. Pray for him to reach many people while he is an ambassador in chains. Pray for his family and him to have joy in their suffering. Pray for his release!
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/01/27/report-iran-sentences-american-pastor-to-8-years-in-prison/

Posted in persecution | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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