Radical Christianity is a life-style, not just a mindset; radical Christianity is concerned with conquering, not cowering; with sacrifice, not superficiality; with victory, not verbiage; with scoring, not slumming; with penetration, not pandering. Radical Christianity is in first gear, neutral is nonexistent; radical Christianity is courageous but never constrictive constraining or cautious! Radical Christianity moves mountains; crosses Red Seas; pulls down walls; builds walls; walks on water; raises the dead; calms storms; feeds 5000 and walks through closed doors.
It suffers regularly; soars often; sweats daily; saturates everything and spreads everywhere. Radical Christianity calls sin black, hell hot, hypocrisy evil, Satan a liar and judgment sure. It doesn’t back down, sit down or stay down. Radical Christianity doesn't depend on the strokes of others to keep it going. It doesn’t acquiesce in the face of loud opposition, fold under pressure, wince under criticism, tarnish under time, die under duress, fade under technology nor rot under moisture. It doesn’t rust, retreat, renounce, reconsider, return or renege.
Radical Christianity always lifts up Christ; knocks down barriers; marches over objections; overwhelms pessimism; gobbles up cynicism; and tramples down skepticism.
Radical Christianity gives lavishly; prays relentlessly; claims abundantly; works feverishly; preaches powerfully; serves lovingly; perseveres patiently and believes expectantly! Radical Christianity dares to challenge the prevailing standard to make it God’s. It never plays to the grandstands; nor waters down its position; nor adjusts its principles, but rather is a thermostat that controls its surroundings, never a thermometer that merely adjusts to them. It is never big, popular, stylish, convenient, in vogue or in-step with the world. Its adherents are few; its sound clear; its philosophy unpopular and its rewards great. Its disciples aren’t rewarded by this world but are those to whom Christ will say, “Well done!”
How radical is your Christianity?
~ published by: Open Doors
Christian Persecution in America
Jesus makes it abundantly clear in His Word (John 15:18-21) that those who choose to follow Him as His disciples will experience persecution. For the majority of the world's countries, this persecution is a way of life, and death, of which Christians face daily. Up until now, America has not had to face such persecution for holding true to the message of God's Word through the Bible - but that is changing.
For clarity, a Christian is a person that seeks to know, and do, God's will for their life. The revelation of God's will is only available by the Holy Spirit through the reading/hearing of God's Word (the Bible). Many claim to be Christians, but do not adhere to His instructions, or example, as found in His Word. These people are being deceived by the spirit of the anti-christ that is running rampant throughout the world today.
Christians are being ostracized within the American society by the "left-leaning, anti-christ agenda". We're being called racists, bigots, extremists, and terrorists for our belief and lifestyle of adhering to the Word of God, and standing against that which is spoken against, and abhorred, by God in His Word. Those of us who hold true to the Biblical principles are being classified as a "threat", and must be done away with.
As the father of American geography, Jedidiah Morse, stated while preaching in 1799:
“Our dangers are of two kinds, those that affect our religion, and those which affect our government. They are, however, so closely allied that they cannot, with propriety, be separated. The foundations which support the interest of Christianity, are also necessary to support a free and equal government like our own. … All efforts made to destroy the foundations of our holy religion, ultimately tend to the subversion also of our political freedom and happiness. Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all the blessings which flow from them, must fall with them.”
Sounds a lot like the USA in 2022 to me.
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” ~ 2 Timothy 3:12
One of the marks of a faithful disciple is perseverance. We may try to shortcut the process of success and side step troubles. But difficulties arising from living faithfully are not reasons to step away from a godly life; they are the very evidence of a life of faithfulness.
Cinderella found herself in the most troubling of circumstances. She was taken advantage of, discarded, ignored, and devalued. She was pushed aside. Yet she remained kind and compassionate, caring and humble. She refused to become what she despised. She behaved in a royal manner while living among the cinders.
It turns out Cinderella was made for royalty. And, amazingly, so are we. But we currently sit among the cinders of the world. And the world does not recognize our calling. The world will abuse us. It will attempt to beat us down, silence us, and strangle our potential into its own mold. It will not stop unless we join it, and become fellow abusers.
Like Cinderella, we were made for more. And, like Cinderella, we can refuse to succumb. We can choose a “godly life,” a life fit for family members of the King of all creation. Persecution is an expected part of living in a Christ-like manner. The world will not understand the faith of the disciple. But this world is not the disciple’s fate. Our true citizenship is in heaven.
~ published by Yellow Balloons (https://www.yellowballoons.net)
The Work Of Ministry To Others
We’ve been learning personal lessons from prison from Pastor Okuk Ojulu in Ethiopia as he shared them with Jim Cunningham.
He says, “The third lesson I learned is that imprisonment is for ministry to people in need. The thirty-six people who were imprisoned with me from Gambella in the Addis Ababa prison – 777 kilometers away from our families – had no strong faith in the Lord."
“I began to realize that the Lord put me there to minister to these people, to feed them with the Word of God in the prison. I ended up baptizing some of them in the prison although I was not an officially recognized pastor, for no pastor was allowed to do this work in the prison.”
I am always amazed at the positive lessons from reading prison memoirs of followers of Jesus. And so many times they come to this similar conclusion. They were there to serve others.
Mama Kwang of Project Pearl in China is a wonderful example. Carl Lawrence tells her story in his award-winning book, "The Church in China":
As she sat quietly in prison singing a hymn, the Lord gave her a message: “This is to be your ministry.”
“But,” she objected, “I am all alone. Whom can I minister to?” She continued to pray that her ministry would be fulfilled. Suddenly an idea came to her. She stood up and called for the guard.
“Sir, can I do some hard labor for you?” The guard looked at her with contempt, mingled with surprise. No one had ever made that kind of request before.
“Look!” she exclaimed, “this prison is so dirty, there is human waste everywhere. Let me go into the cells and clean up this filthy place. All you have to do is give me some water and a brush.”
Not to her surprise, she soon found herself on her hands and knees cleaning and preaching. She was looking into the faces of people no longer recognizable as human beings. Through continuous torture, they had lost all hope of ever seeing another human being who did not come to beat them.
“Oh, when they realized that they could have eternal life, they would get so excited. They would fall down on the dirty floor and repent of their sins, and do you know that very soon all the prisoners believed in Jesus Christ.”
Today I acknowledge that God can enable me to minister anywhere for Him — even prison.
Thank You Lord that even in a filthy prison dungeon you give ministry opportunities.
~ Standing Strong Through The Storm is published by: Open Doors USA PO Box 27001 Santa Ana, CA 92799 USA
~ Open Doors USA is a 501(c)(3) compliant organization and a charter member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. All contributions are tax-deductible.
The Daily Article — July 7, 2022
~ Two Pennsylvania churches cited for zoning violations after serving beyond the city’s definition of "church".
Pottstown, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, has a poverty rate roughly 30 percent greater than the average for the state. So when the housing market boomed there in recent years, as it has throughout much of the country, many people were unable to keep up. Nearly half of renters there are considered rent burdened, when housing costs more than 30 percent of one's monthly income.
As a result, homelessness has become an increasingly large problem. Montgomery County, where Pottstown is located, has seen homelessness rise 118 percent in the last year, and there is little evidence that will change anytime soon.
Fortunately, several churches throughout the county have stepped up, offering support for those in need. Unfortunately, the borough has told two such churches that doing so places them in violation of the zoning code's definition of a "church."
What makes a church a church?
The borough's notice to the churches in question states that "it is the opinion of this office that the use of the property has changed, and by definition, is more than that of a church." Their definition of a "church" is limited to "a building wherein persons assemble regularly for religious worship and that is used only for such purposes and for those accessory activities that are customarily associated therewith."
Apparently, that definition does not leave room for ministries like free mental health support and counseling, free food and hygiene products, and weekly meals for the public, all of which were cited as examples of ways that the church was no longer acting as a "church."
The ministries were given the opportunity to apply for exceptions that would allow them to continue helping their communities in these ways, but they're hesitant to do so because of the precedent it would set. Clare Schilling is the director of Mission First, which is part of First United Methodist Church of Pottstown. She wisely notes, "If we do it for this, then we would have to do it for every other little ministry."
And even if they did apply, there is good reason to suspect the borough would not approve it.
After all, several other churches throughout the city offer similar services but have not received any notice of violations. Rather, these two appear to have been singled out because they're in an area that the borough wants to develop — and making it easier for the unhoused to remain is bad for business.
If that's the case, it wouldn't be the first time.
Earlier this year, Al's Heart Warming Center — the only shelter for the homeless in the area — was located a few blocks away from First UMC until it too was shut down.
To be clear, the borough is within its rights to take these actions. By the letter of the law, it does not appear that they have done anything illegal. Still, as Schilling notes, "it's a sad state of affairs."
The churches don't plan to back down, though, and are prepared to take the borough to court if necessary, noting that "we're not going to stop doing what we do because that's just what the church does. . . . We help people."
When Rome was content:
As we discussed yesterday, there are times when Christians will face opposition from other people and from the government because they don't like what we believe. What's going on in Pottstown, though, offers an important reminder that far more often that opposition will come when acting on those beliefs gets in the way of how others want to live.
The borough clearly doesn't mind churches helping the poor, or they would have sanctioned the other ministries who offer similar services as well. Rather, it was only when that help made their own goals harder to accomplish that they began to interfere.
The same principle dogged the early church's attempts to minister to those around them as well, and there are some helpful parallels we can draw from their example for navigating our present circumstances.
When you think back to the first centuries of Christianity and the persecution that those early believers faced at the hands of the Romans, it's understandable if your mind is drawn to coliseums, torture, and mass arrests of believers throughout the Empire. After all, those are often the stories that gained the most attention. But while those instances of oppression should not be minimized, they were also pretty uncommon.
Across the first three hundred years of the church, there were only a handful of times when Roman emperors made it a point to actively seek out and kill Christians. For the most part, it was only during circumstances like Nero needing someone to blame for the fire in Rome, Domitian seeing a refusal to worship their gods as treason, or natural disasters making people think the gods were angry and that Christians were really targeted. Otherwise, most of the time the Romans were content to let believers live and worship as they desired, so long as doing so didn't cause problems for anyone else.
Consequently, those early believers made it a point to live in such a way that the lost around them still valued their contributions, even if they disagreed with the faith that motivated them. As I discussed in How to Bless God by Blessing Others, no matter what the culture at large claims to care about, most individuals still appreciate and value the people who make their lives better.
That's why, despite the borough's best efforts, there are still many in Pottstown — both inside and outside the churches — fighting to keep those ministries going. And that's why it's vital that we do what we can to be the church by helping people, regardless of whether or not the lost around us reciprocate those efforts.
What the church did is what we will continue to do:
There will be times when living out our beliefs runs in opposition to how others want to live. When that happens, we shouldn't be surprised if it leads to conflict. And the further our culture turns away from God's truth, the more often those conflicts will arise.
That's unfortunate, but it's a reality all of us will face at some point. How you choose to respond in the face of that opposition, though, will go a long way toward defining how others see your faith.
Will you continue to focus on doing God's work in ways that bring him honor and glory or will you allow that persecution to make you angry and turn your focus inward?
Making the right choice will be far more difficult in that moment of trial than it is today. So decide right now how you will respond and then ask the Lord to help you keep that commitment when the time comes.
Clare Schilling was right: "helping people is what the church does, even when others may not appreciate it".
How can you be the church today?
When Life Stinks, Our Perspective Shrinks
"Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of My people in Egypt, and have heard them crying out because of their oppressors, and I know about their sufferings. I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey" ~ Exodus 3:7-8
God’s chosen people were enslaved in miserable bondage and were crying out to Him in their suffering. God speaks to Moses about it at the burning bush and reveals His sustaining care for His people.
First of all, they were in Egypt because God cared for them. He rescued the Israeli nation from death by famine during the time of Joseph who himself was rescued from injustice and suffering to bring a solution to the coming famine crisis. This saved both the Israeli and the Egyptian nations. But a Pharaoh came along in time who did not know about Joseph and chose to persecute the growing Israeli population because of his fear of them.
In this situation they were not forgotten by the God of their fathers. Though, for wise reason, He delayed to appear in their behalf for several hundred years, yet He was not indifferent to their sufferings. Every tear they shed was preserved and every groan they uttered was recorded as testimony against their oppressors. Only God sees the beginning from the end. We are time-bound creatures and as problems arise, our perspective becomes diminished. African-American preachers articulate it this way: “When life stinks, our perspective shrinks!”
Years earlier God spoke to Father Abram in his sleep:
“Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there…In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure” ~ Genesis 15:13,16
In this situation God reveals His plan to Abram ahead of time and explains the “why.” He does not always do this, but from this example we learn we can trust His Father-heart.
So today we pray for Persecuted Church members who are suffering severely from Satan’s tactics of deceit and intimidation: loss of family members (Nigeria), economic deprivation (India), incarceration in metal shipping containers (Eritrea), lack of personal peace (Pakistan), fear of discovery (Middle East). As we pray, we can rest in the fact that they (and we) are part of God’s wise and caring plan, no matter how inscrutable that plan may appear to human eyes. There is hope because He hears the cry; He sees the misery; He is concerned about the suffering. When it seems dark and hopeless, the persecuted testify “God is good — all the time!"
I will live in the light of God’s loving care and view my problems from His perspective.
Pray that persecuted believers will trust God and not suffer from shrunken perspectives.
~ excerpt from: "Standing Strong Through the Storm", a devotional published by: Open Doors USA, PO Box 27001, Santa Ana, CA 92799 US
~ Open Doors USA is a 501(c)(3) compliant organization and a charter member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. All contributions are tax-deductible.
How Jesus' Apostles Died
1. Matthew: He suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound.
2. Mark: He died in Alexandria, Egypt after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.
3. Luke: He was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.
4. John: He faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Isle of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey. He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.
5. Peter: He was crucified upside down on an X-shaped cross. According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die In the same way that Jesus Christ had died.
6. James: The leader of the church in Jerusalem, he was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller's club. This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation of Christ following Jesus' 40 days of prayer and fasting.
7. James the Son of Zebedee: As a strong leader of the church, James was beheaded at Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded James watched in amazement as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.
8. Bartholomew - (a.k.a. Nathaniel): He was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.
9. Andrew: He was crucified on an X-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words, "I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it". He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he died.
10. Thomas: He was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the subcontinent.
11. Jude: He was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.
12. Matthias: The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot. He was stoned and then beheaded.
13. Paul: He was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught many of the foundational Doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.
Perhaps this is a reminder to us that our sufferings here are indeed minor to compared to the intense persecution and cold cruelty faced by the apostles and disciples during their times for the sake of the Gospel.
“Then they will hand you over to [endure] tribulation, and will put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name...But the one who endures and bears up [under suffering] to the end will be saved." ~ Matthew 24:9,13
Something to Think About:
• Why do we feel sleepy in prayer, but stay awake through a 3 hour movie?
• Why are we so bored when we look at the Holy Bible, but find it easy to read other books?
• Why is it so easy to ignore a spiritually encouraging post about God, yet we forward all the secular ones?
• Why are our prayers getting shorter and less specific, but bars, clubs, and social activities are expanding.
• Why is it so easy to idolize a celebrity, but very difficult to engage with God?
Make sharing this message part of your contribution to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
~ based upon a post by: I'm So Blessed Daily @Imsoblesseddaily
The Breastplate of Righteousness
"Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics [schemes, tricks, deception] of the Devil." ~ Ephesians 6:11
The soldier’s breastplate of the Roman times was to protect his vital organs. It was usually made of hardened slabs of leather or pounded bronze or a combination of both. The soldier’s rank and his country’s seal were affixed to it. It covered the soldier’s chest and stomach but not his back. So it was designed to face the enemy, not for retreat from the enemy.
Because we are waging a war against an invisible enemy, we must always be armed. Our breastplate is made not of heavy metal but is molded by the Spirit of the living God to fit us properly in our inner being. Our righteousness is not a metal front, but given by Christ to show to everyone in all our day-to-day relationships and circumstances.
Our enemy will point out your failures and shortcomings. He will try to convince you that you are unworthy to be a child of God. He is right. But your relationship with God is based on Jesus’ uprightness before God, not yours. Your sins have been wiped out. When God sees you, he sees Jesus. Stand tall before the enemy…in your breastplate of righteousness.
Mikail Khorev, a very effective evangelist in Russia, spent many years in prison for his continued public ministry. On one occasion his family was refused visiting rights and sent home. When the prison guard was taunting him about it, he replied:
“I would like to tell you that my God is fulfilling his plans through you and will use you for our blessing. I love my family very much and being together with them means a lot to me, but if it brings more honor to the Lord for us to part rather than be together, then why should I insist on seeing them? If his name is glorified more through my being in prison than through my being at liberty, then I tell you that there is no greater joy for me than to die on this prison bunk as a prisoner, as my father did and as many of my brothers in the faith have done.”
Mikhail is also quoted as saying, “I have to admit to you that prison is a very useful school for our education and for the testing of the genuineness of our faith...I’m grateful to the Lord for this school and for his leading.”
~ excerpt from "Standing Strong Through the Storm", a devotional published by Open Doors USA PO Box 27001 Santa Ana, CA 92799 US
~ Open Doors USA is a 501(c)(3) compliant organization and a charter member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. All contributions are tax-deductible.
Are You Ready for Persecution?
“Just remember, when the unbelieving world hates you, they first hated Me.” ~ John 15:18
“For all who choose to live godly lives as worshipers of Jesus, the Anointed One, will also experience persecution.” ~ 2 Timothy 3:12
“If you were to give your allegiance to the world, they would love and welcome you as one of their own. But because you won’t align yourself with the values of this world, they will hate you. I have chosen you and taken you out of the world to be Mine. So, remember what I taught you, that a servant isn’t superior to his master. And since they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. And if they obey My teachings, they will also obey yours. They will treat you this way because you are Mine, and they don’t know the One who sent Me.” ~ John 15:19-21
“Do not yield to fear in the face of the suffering to come but be aware of this: the devil is about to have some of you thrown into prison to test your faith. For ten days you will have distress but remain faithful to the day you die, and I will give you the victor’s crown of life.” ~ Revelation 2:10
The Lord spoke at great lengths concerning the persecution of His followers. For many countries of the world, persecution of God’s children in Christ is a daily circumstance. But for other countries the persecution of Christians is beginning to pick-up in momentum. Jesus told us that as His followers – true followers, not just head-believers – we will experience persecution. Jesus spoke it and it will occur – ready or not.
I would venture to say that all professing followers of Christ desire to “be ready” for the oncoming persecution and subsequent suffering. But how great is that desire within us? The first desire that we must have is to know and do the will of God – not our will, but His. This is a difficult pill to swallow for most people, as most of us have done things our way – or the best way that our human nature can ascertain – and only as an afterthought do we consider asking God what we should do, or even asking Him to bless “our way”. By doing life “our way” instead of seeking and doing life God’s way, we essentially drive a wedge between us and God. The Holy Spirit cannot – and will not – live within the heart of someone like this. And without the power and strength of the Holy Spirit living within us, we will not be able to stand strong in the face of persecution.
Do you want to be ready for persecution?
Daily get into the Word of God – preferably when you awake from sleep, and before starting your daily activities. Pray, listen to praise-n-worship music/lyrics, read various daily devotions from Godly men and women, Pray – did I mention Prayer? Conversation with God is key. And conversation is a 2-way street – a one-sided conversation is not conversation at all. Be still – and listen for the Lord. Ask Him questions about things that you don’t understand, or desire to have greater clarity on – and then be still and quiet – and listen. Being still and quiet is another difficult thing for us humans, and it may take some practice to accomplish this technique.
Why should I have a “quiet time” with the Lord after I wake up?
Only God knows what we will face during the course of our daily activities, and only God can adequately prepare us for those circumstances. God also desires the “first-fruits” of ourselves – this is not only monetary in nature, but time and resources as well. The “first-fruits” of our daily activities is before we do anything else during that day. By honoring God in this manner, He will bless our lives – and His blessings come in many different forms; protection, health, well-being, wisdom, strength, courage, etc.
Bottom-line is that as children of God, we need to live our lives as Christlike as humanly possible in order to be prepared for the oncoming persecution, and the only way to be more Christlike is to go to the source of this available knowledge, power and strength to draw nearer to the Lord. Only then, will the Holy Spirit from God indwell within us, and prepare us for life circumstances.
“Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” ~ James 4:8
“If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are greatly blessed, because the Spirit of glory and power, who is the Spirit of God, rests upon you.” ~ 1 Peter 4:14
“How enriched you are when persecuted for doing what is right! For then you experience the realm of heaven’s kingdom. How blessed you are when people insult and persecute you and speak all kinds of cruel lies about you because of your love for Me! So, leap for joy — since your heavenly reward is great. For you are being rejected the same way the prophets were before you.” ~ Matthew 5:10-12
“If your faith remains strong, even while surrounded by life’s difficulties, you will continue to experience the untold blessings of God! True happiness comes as you pass the test with faith, and receive the victorious crown of life promised to every lover of God!” ~ James 1:12
Christian on Trial in Finland for Quoting the Bible on Sexual Morality
“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life.” ~ Proverbs 10:11
Päivi Räsänen is a former Finnish interior minister. In an online article, a radio interview, and a 2019 tweet, she made comments that Finland’s state prosecutor claims are likely to cause intolerance, contempt, and hatred toward homosexuals. For example, a photograph attached to a tweet contained verses from the Bible which, according to the BBC, “appear to describe homosexual acts as shameful.”
As a result, the BBC notes, “The court will have to decide whether citing the Bible can be considered a crime in some cases in Finland.” Prosecutors say her statements violate the equality and dignity of homosexuals and therefore go beyond the limits of freedom of speech and religion. The charges she faces could technically lead to a prison sentence, though prosecutors have asked that she receive a fine relative to her income.
Räsänen arrived at court last Monday holding a Bible and said she was “honored to be defending freedom of speech and religion.” She added, “I hope that today it can become clear that I have no wish to offend any group of people, but this is a question of saving people for eternal life.” Some are calling the allegations she faces “a modern-day inquisition.”
How Parents Could Spend Five Years in Jail:
The collision between religious liberty and sexual freedom is escalating daily. Laws banning “conversion therapy” have been passed by more than a dozen countries including France, New Zealand, and Canada. Critics claim that as a result of such legislation, private conversations with religious leaders, counselors, and parents are no longer protected. Born Perfect, a group seeking to outlaw “conversion therapy,” says more than twenty states in the US and Washington, DC, have passed similar laws.
A proposed law in Canada (Bill C-8) would also make it a criminal offense for parents to help their children accept their biological gender. Under this legislation, parents could spend up to five years in jail if they do not affirm their child’s gender transition.
As I have discussed frequently, the so-called “Equality Act” disallows any appeal to religious beliefs by American churches and ministries who wish to follow biblical sexuality standards in employment and other practices. Last year, the Religious Freedom Accountability Project filed a class-action lawsuit against the US Department of Education alleging that more than twenty faith-based colleges and universities “discriminate” against LGBTQ students and thus should not receive federal funds for student scholarships.
Invariably I am asked if there is any hope for our future. I’d like to offer a simple but profoundly transformative answer to that question today.
“The lips of the righteous feed many”...
I was reading Proverbs 10 yesterday and found these encouraging observations:
• “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life” (v.11).
• “The tongue of the righteous is choice silver” (v.20).
• “The lips of the righteous feed many” (v.21).
Each occurrence of the word "righteous" translates "saddiq", a Hebrew term meaning to be “just” or “upright.” It describes who we are as expressed by what we do.
When a person is righteous, the writer asserts that their mouth “is a fountain of life” and their tongue “is choice silver.” In the present moment, such people “feed many.” By “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15), our words make a redemptive, proactive, transformational difference in our world.
How, then, can we be “righteous”?
“For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21
Christ makes us righteous when we trust Him for our salvation and our sanctification. If we seek to be conformed to the character of Jesus (Romans 8:29) through Bible study, worship, obedience, and service, the Holy Spirit will make us holy and the world will know that we have “been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
Conversely, if we are not different from the world, why would the world want what we have?
“Meditate at all times on the things of God”...
So, the key to speaking words that change the world is to be changed by the One who is Himself the “Word” (John 1:1).
In a biblical exposition St. Ambrose exhorted: “We must always meditate on God’s wisdom, keeping it in our hearts and on our lips.”
He also notes, “When we speak about wisdom, we are speaking of Christ. When we speak about virtue, we are speaking of Christ. When we speak about justice, we are speaking of Christ. When we speak about peace, we are speaking of Christ. When we speak about truth and life and redemption, we are speaking of Christ.”
As a result, Ambrose encourages us to “meditate . . . at all times on the things of God,” for then we will “speak the things of God.”
Here’s the bottom line: the more time I spend with Christ in his word, the more I become like Christ, and the more I will speak his word to the world with redemptive, transformative power. Then God promises that his word, empowered by his Spirit, “shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
What Awakenings Have in Common:
America has experienced four “Great Awakenings” in our history. They have two factors in common: each was preceded by desperation, and that desperation led someone to seek and speak God’s word with passion and power.
Historians cite Jonathan Edwards in 1734, Isaac Backus in 1784, Jeremiah Lanphier in 1857, and Evan Roberts in 1904 as catalysts for these spiritual and cultural movements. The first two were ministers, the third was a businessman, and the fourth was a coal miner.
Does America Need a Fifth Great Awakening?
Can God use you as a catalyst for such a transformative movement of his Spirit?
If not, why not?
~ based upon an excerpt from: https://www.denisonforum.org/columns/daily-article/christian-on-trial-in-finland-for-quoting-the-bible-on-sexual-morality/
Jesus spoke of the persecutions that would increasingly befall on His disciples as the end of the ages approached. We need to continue in daily prayer for all of the persecuted Church, and that the Lord would increase our faithfulness, stamina, courage and strength to stand strong in the face of it.
The Ignored Pandemic: 360 Million Christians Persecuted Worldwide
by Raymond Ibrahim
February 13, 2022 at 5:00 am
In short, the persecution of Christians, which was already horrific, has
increased by nearly 70% over the last five years, with no signs of
How long will it be before this seemingly irreversible trend metastasizes
into those nations currently celebrated for their religious freedom?
Lord, Search Our Hearts
Make no mistake about it - unless the Lord changes the path that our country is going down, ostracisation and persecution is quickly approaching those that will not bow to the globalist agenda - and yes, that includes the demonically-inspired mRNA vaccinations. For those that have "ears to hear", I strongly suggest that you earnestly seek the Lord's will, and then "walk in it".
Fear and deception is a very real lie from satan. If you're walking in the fear and deception of the current global narrative, then it is possible that you do not have the Spirit of Christ living within you, or, you have ignored His gentle urging's for so long that you are no longer able to hear Him.
Heart-felt, life-changing repentance may be in order - please don't delay.
In Nazi Germany no one spoke out against the evil regime until it was too late – it was the wrath of God (working through the allied forces) that brought the destruction upon the nation and its people.
By not speaking out against the evil that is destroying our nation (and world), we are no better than those that held their tongues in Nazi Germany; and God will likewise bring about the destruction of our nation unless we stand-up and speak-out against the spirit of the antichrist that is behind the current global agenda. Will we be persecuted for it? Absolutely – it has already begun with censorship and ostracization.
Standing Strong Through the Storm: What's Your Struggle?
Open Doors colleague, Ron Boyd-MacMillan, shares the following insight from his teaching, “Why I Need to Encounter the Persecuted Church”:
I’m often questioned about the main difference between a persecuted Christian and a Western Christian. My answer has not changed in twenty years. In the Persecuted Church, Christians realize they are in trouble, and go to God about it. In the Western church, Christians forget they are in a fight, and even if they do remember, never manage to find the time to go to God about it.
Persecuted Christians know they are in a fight. Every day they struggle. Not being conscious of a daily struggle may be sure sign that one is losing the battle of life. The ancient Psalmist looked at the rich elite of Israel and said, “they have no struggles.” They should have struggles if they wish to please God. But so many Christians in the world today seem surprised at the language of struggle today.
What struggles do the persecuted awaken us to?
There is, first of all, the struggle we are always in. Everyone that visits persecuted communities comes away with a renewed appreciation of the spiritual battle we are always engaged in.
Secondly, there is, the struggle we must awaken to. A persecuted Christian in Palestine said, “When you become a real Christian, you get reawakened to the fact that ‘the whole world lies in the hands of the evil one,’ and this reflects in your own culture.” She added, “What your culture worships, you have to struggle against.” In her case, it was a worship of extremist terrorists, who risked everything to kill Israelis. In standing out against that, she struggled to communicate to her neighbors who thought she was being “unpatriotic.”
We have to face up the same question. What is our culture worshipping? Is it, as Francis Schaeffer once said, “the god of personal peace and affluence,” where we don’t mind what goes on in the world so long as our space and prosperity is not affected?
Finally, there is, the struggle we must create. Brother Andrew tells the story of meeting Pastor Haik of Iran, who said to him in 1993, “Andrew, when they kill me, it will be for speaking, not for being silent.” Haik was killed in 1994. If he had stayed silent about the treatment of his Christian friend, Mehdi Dibaj, Haik would be alive. But he chose to enter, even create, the conflict. The fact is we can avoid struggle if we want. Each of us has to make a choice to speak up, defy the powers-that-be, and bring a struggle into being. Otherwise Satan wins.
Persecuted Christians are always in a fight. They struggle all the time, against their own sins, against idolatries in their own societies, and against the orchestration of the evil one who is out to take our worship away from God. Yet these struggles should mark our own lives and churches as surely as the devil does not live exclusively in China or Columbia. This world is the place of struggle. What’s your struggle? The persecuted force us to ask. Everyone ought to have one!
Today I will affirm and engage in the struggles I face in standing strong against the enemy.
Help me, Lord, not avoid the struggles the persecuted awaken in me.
“Standing Strong Through the Storm” is a daily devotional published by Open Doors USA (https://www.opendoorsusa.org)
Open Doors USA is a 501(c)(3) compliant organization and a charter member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. All contributions are tax-deductible.
Open Doors USA, PO Box 27001, Santa Ana, CA 92799 US
Missionaries kidnapped in Haiti: An update and God’s call to courage
~ By Dr. Jim Denison
“God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7
“Please pray for us! We are being held hostage, they kidnapped our driver. Pray pray pray. We don’t know where they are taking us.”
This call for help was posted in a WhatsApp group Saturday as seventeen missionaries and family members were being kidnapped by a street gang in Haiti. The group included sixteen Americans and one Canadian and was made up of five men, seven women, and five children.
The missionaries work with the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries and were returning from a site visit to an orphanage when they were abducted. Authorities believe the “400 Mawozo” gang, one of the most powerful in Haiti, is behind the kidnapping. As of this morning, no ransom demands have yet been made public.
Read more: https://www.denisonforum.org/columns/daily-article/missionaries-kidnapped-in-haiti-an-update-and-gods-call-to-courage/