Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Years 2013: Let's Be Prepared

Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings. The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ Jesus will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little. (1 Peter 5:8-10)

It is safe to say that Christianity is being treated as a hated minority by the political and media elites, regardless of what the majority of the population might think.  Whether the majority agrees or disagrees, it is this elite that calls the shots and says what is. 

If the population chooses to believe the slander of the elites, the elites will be able to make use of this support to justify whatever actions they want to carry out against Christians.  If the population does not, the elites will be able to employ the law to harm us, but will have to work harder to give a semblance of legality for their actions.

Let's be prepared.  America is at the point where real persecution against Christians can be expected.  In the name of the popular ideology, we have been declared hate filled people who make our teachings on the basis of hatred of our neighbors – a charge the Romans made against the Christians in the first centuries of its existence.

Christians can only counter the slander/libel of the charges against them by reasoned argument as to why the attacks against them are false and unjust.  We can expect to be shouted down of course.  We can expect to have our teachings distorted.  We can expect to have our explanations ignored.  All we can hope to do is reach out to the person of good will who might be observing what we have to say.

We can expect this because it is already happening.  Our elites attempt to force Christians to change their beliefs, and accuse us of being ignorant and intolerant because we believe the Christian teaching is reasonable and worthy of our trust.  As they grow in power, they can be more direct in their actions.

So we have to be prepared.

But our preparation is not to find bunkers, load up with guns and launch a revolution, or to hide away if America collapses.  As Christians, we know the truth of reality.  God exists.  Jesus Christ died to save us, He rose again and we are required to respond in faith to bring the Good News to the world until He returns.

That requires us to be in the streets, not in the bunkers.  That requires us to try to bring the truth to those who hate us.  It also requires us to refuse to bend when they demand we bow the knee to the altars of the secular.  A time may come when armed revolution may have to to be waged.  A time may come where we need to practice self-defense.  But that time may also not come.

The history of our Church is filled with martyrs who met the hatred towards Christ with love, recognizing that these persecutors are our brothers and sought to bring the Good News of Christ to them, letting them know that God loves every one of us, but also calls every one of us to repent.  This is not a duty for men and women dead for hundreds of years.  It is a duty of every person who professes to be a Christian.

We must be prepared.  Not for armed conflict with hostile human beings over the political direction of our nation, but for conflict over the souls of our people who are deceived to believe that God only suggests we all be "nice" to each other.  Every one of us, by our lives, are to be a witness for Christ.  Some of us may be called to be a witness for Christ by our deaths.  We have to be prepared for that too.

Finally, we must be prepared for battle for our own souls.  Throughout the history of Christianity, there have been people who weakened and compromised their faith and their witness.  Yet Christ has warned us in Matthew 16:25-26 that:

Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?

We can expect to be hated, because He was hated and no servant is greater than His master (see John 15:18-20).

In fear of the hatred any one of us can falter.  When you have angry people screaming vile hatred at you – ironically condemning you as someone hates and judges others – it is easier to stay silent, easier to compromise, to stall.  it is easier, but it is also forbidden to us.  If we love Christ, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15) and one of His commandment is:

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)

We must remember that to be strong Christians we must realize we are weak.  We must remember that we work with Christ and not on our own.  We must pray daily that whatever trials and challenges may be sent our way, that we may be given the grace to persevere and to live as Christ calls us to live, and maybe even to die as He calls us to die.

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