From Tribulation to Triumph
Thanks to God for HisTruth
"The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church." Tertullian
The victorious Christian life:
How do most American churches differ from the despised (and often secret) church gatherings in Muslim and Communist countries?
All too often, the "positive" messages heard in today's popular churches dismiss the main truths of the gospel. Words like sin and judgment are often taboo. Warnings about Satan, temptations and hell are ignored. And those who refuse to share in the world's latest delights may face the reproach suffered by pilgrims and separatists in 17th century England. But if that's your challenge today, be glad, not sad:
"...rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you." 1 Peter 4:12-14
Since the gospel has been polished to appeal to American masses, few understand the true meaning of the cross: an object that brings death -- death to our love for the world system, death to our corrupt desires, death to the shackles that bind us to our old and sinful human nature. In other words, the cross actually frees us free from the world's ways and from our own corrupt cravings.
That new freedom opens the door to a glorious new reality: oneness with Jesus Christ our Lord. Set free from bondage to sin and guilt, we are called to follow in His steps and demonstrate His love wherever He leads us -- even if it brings insults, hostility and physical death. After all, the prize at the end of a Spirit-led journey is our new life in Christ!
A recent email message from Voice of the Martyrs illustrates the heavy cost and eternal triumphs of following that call:
"The widow stood near the body of her martyred husband, holding the hands of two of her four children. Her husband had died in prison, and the marks on his body made it clear that death had come slowly and painfully.
"The other believers knew this could be their fate too, yet hundreds came to his funeral. He had died for his faith only three months after his conversion, and now they mourned him.
"The people crowded around the house where the funeral was being held, and many were inspired by his example. Eighty people publicly accepted Christ that day, including many young people who had been part of the Communist Youth Organization.
"The Christians walked the length of the city to the river, where they baptized the new believers. The crowd had now grown to over fifteen hundred people.
"Soon, carloads of police arrived. They set out to arrest the leaders of the service, for they couldn’t arrest everyone there. The Christians immediately knelt in prayer, asking God to allow them to finish the service. Then they stood, shoulder to shoulder, blocking the police from coming forward as the baptism service went on. The crowd dispersed only after all the new believers had been baptized, allowing the police to come forward.
"One thousand people were inspired by the sacrificial example of one new believer."
Do we have the courage to take such a stand?
By His life in us, we are given the needed courage!. Consider these examples:
Seed of Persecution. Charge for seeking Christian roommate dismissed: "A single woman cited for unfair discrimination by the Michigan Department of Civil Rights for posting a note on her church bulletin board that sought a 'Christian roommate' has had her case dismissed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development....The woman, 31-year-old nursing student Tricia Rowe, was alleged to have violated the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against people of other faiths.....
"This complaint should have never been brought...It is borderline frivolous to suggest that a single lady can be fined by the government simply for seeking a Christian female roommate to share her 900-square-foot house.'...The complaint alleged the woman's statement, I am looking for a Christian roommate, prevents people of other faithsfrom contacting the woman and making arrangements to share her home with her." See Why "Hate crime" laws would ban Biblical Christianity
Education? How to Raise Boys Who Read -- Hint: Not with gross-out books and video-game bribes: "When I was a young boy, America's elite schools and universities were almost entirely reserved for males. That seems incredible now, in an era when headlines suggest that boys are largely unfit for the classroom. In particular, they can't read....
"...in some states the percentage of boys proficient in reading is now more than ten points below that of girls. The male-female reading gap is found in every socio-economic and ethnic category.... One obvious problem with the ["gross-out"] philosophy of education is that it is more suited to producing a generation of barbarians and morons than to raising the sort of men who make good husbands, fathers and professionals. If you keep meeting a boy where he is, he doesn't go very far....
"My own experience with six sons is that even the squirmiest boy does not require lurid or vulgar material to sustain his interest in a book....Could the reading gap have more to do with competition for boys' attention than with their supposed inability to focus on anything other than outhouse humor? ...I offer a final piece of evidence that is perhaps unanswerable: There is no literacy gap between home-schooled boys and girls. How many of these families, do you suppose, have thrown grossology parties?"See Brainwashing in America
'ACLU-crafted court order criminalizes Christianity': "...teachers are always considered to be acting in their 'official capacity' whenever a student is present, even at private functions off campus. Teachers cannot pray, bow their heads, or fold their hands to show agreement with anyone who does pray. Teachers and staff cannot 'Reply' to an e-mail sent by a parent if the parent's e-mail refers to God or Scripture. Teachers either have to delete such references from the original e-mail or reply by initiating a new e-mail. Teachers and staff are also required to stop students from praying in their own private club meetings." See Spiritual Warfare
Christians in Captivity: "So you can freely offend 'people of faith' -- but only people of faith. Offending anybody else is hate speech....
" New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Palladino recently touched off a firestorm by saying he wouldn’t take children to a 'gay pride' parade. It has become controversial not to expose children to a lot of semi-nude men.... But the thought police declared the remarks 'controversial' and 'hateful,' and Palladino immediately backed off....
"...the expression 'people of faith' is not quite honest. If your 'art' abused Buddha, or the Hindu pantheon... you would be smeared all over the country as a 'hater'.... Our civil government, courts, media, schools and universities, and major corporations -- we surrendered them all to the enemies of Christ our King."See Why "Hate crime" laws would ban Biblical Christianity
Bakery displays morals, now faces eviction: "An Indianapolis cookie shop could be evicted from its longtime location for refusing a special order from a college homosexual group." See Why "Hate crime" laws would ban Biblical Christianity
Principal threatens to fire teachers who help Christian club: "A principal who reportedly threatened to fire any teacher who helped with the organization of a campus Fellowship of Christian Athletes club is getting a warning letter from a civil rights organization."
Christianity not accepted here: "Expelled for being Christian. That’s the fate of two college graduate school students at separate universities.... Julea Ward lost her lawsuit against Eastern Michigan University July 26. ...she was dismissed from a counseling program in March, 2009, for not affirming homosexual behavior as morally acceptable....
"...at Augusta State University...Jennifer Keeton was told her Christian beliefs are unethical and incompatible with the prevailing views of the counseling profession. She must stop sharing her beliefs with others and change her beliefs if she’s to graduate from the program, the school has told her."
"Therefore Jesus also, that He might 3sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing jHis reproach." Heb 13:12-13
"He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly jI will rather boast in my infirmities, kthat the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore lI take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. mFor when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Co 12:9-10
To be entirely safe from the devil's snares the man of God must be completely obedient to the Word of the Lord. The driver on the highway is safe, not when he reads the signs but when he obeys them.
That Incredible Christian, 51.
Spiritual Warfare and Sin: Be Ye Holy
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying "Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: 'You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.'" --Leviticus 19:1-2
No one whose senses have been exercised to know good and evil but must grieve over the sight of zealous souls seeking to be filled with the Holy Spirit while they are yet living in a state of moral carelessness or borderline sin. Such a thing is a moral contradiction. Whoever would be filled and indwelt by the Spirit should first judge his life for any hidden iniquities; he should courageously expel from his heart everything which is out of accord with the character of God as revealed by the Holy Scriptures.
At the base of all true Christian experience must lie a sound and sane morality. No joys are valid, no delights legitimate where sin is allowed to live in life or conduct. No transgression of pure righteousness dare excuse itself on the ground of superior religious experience. To seek high emotional states while living in sin is to throw our whole life open to self deception and the judgment of God. "Be ye holy" is not a mere motto to be framed and hung on the wall. It is a serious commandment from the Lord of the whole earth. The Pursuit of Man, 102.
"Father, deliver me from 'moral carelessness and borderline sin.' I commit myself today, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to a holiness of life that will be pleasing to You. Amen."
Today's "Insight for Leaders" is taken by permission from the book, Tozer on Christian Leadership, published by WingSpread Publishers
This Insight for Leaders devotional is also available in a print-friendly format here on the LMI web site.
Countless other martyrs have died without an earthly crowd of witnesses. Hebr. 13
"The church lives in a hostile world. Within and around her are enemies that not only could destroy her, but are meant to and will unless she resists force with yet greater force. The Christian would collapse from sheer external pressure were there not within him a counterpressure sufficiently great to prevent it. The power of the Holy Spirit is, therefore, not optional but necessary. Without it the children of God simply cannot live the life of heaven on earth. The hindrances are too many and too effective." That Incredible Christian, 86-87.
For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. --1 John 2:16-17
1. Extreme Devotion 11/11/2010
4? Tozer, That Incredible Christian, 86-87. on Christian Leadership, published by WingSpread Publishers, Insight for Leaders devotional, For more information about LMI: http://www.litmin.org