BE NOT AFRAID
||CHRIST'S HANDS ACROSS THE INTERNET|
Where christians come to share, pray and study.
By Michael Hawkinson
"BE NOT AFRAID!"|
These words were spoken by God and angels to men who feared their glory and power. Maybe you thought you would read of some miraculous appearance of God or some awe inspiring revelation. That is not what I am sharing in this article. But I am sharing with you and exhorting, no, praying fervently that you will truly not be afraid and will trust God in the coming days, months and years. Thank you to those who take time to read these words. I am not a speaker or writer but I share what God puts on my heart. Pray about what you read. Let God give you compassion and strength to live His will openly.
Many people around the world share, through email to CHAIN, what God is doing and what men are trying to do to stop Him. I thought I would take some time to share what is happening in America. Although God is moving powerfully and there are many, many blessings, believers are turning a blind eye to the coming storm. There is no need for panic or violence, however, there is need for consciously making a decision to live as Jesus asks us to live and to be willing to suffer if it is necessary to show the goodness of God to others.
I would like you to think carefully about Pastor Martin Niemöller's comment:
First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Many decisions have been made over the last twenty years that restrict and legislate against religion. Being somewhat familiar with history, I can understand why this is occurring. There has always been a problem with religions having political power and most early civilizations were ruled by leaders considered to be deity, descended from deity or in contact with deities. Whoever had the power, tried to dictate the religious beliefs of those under their authority. This is easily seen in Babylonian, Japanese, Chinese, Greek and Roman cultures.
Even when church and state separated the conflict continued. The Catholic Church and the Protestant churches committed horrible crimes against those who were under their authority. During the Inquisitions, they also exercised power over those who were not under their authority. The horrible persecution and crimes against people on the basis of predominantly christian (in name only) belief (dogma), forced many to flee to America. The American people officially founded the country with wonderful ideals understanding that all men are equal and may believe and practice their faith freely without government interference. Clearly, there was no thought that government would ever restrict religion, religious thought, or the practice of religious faith. People were to allow all beliefs and to allow people to choose for themselves. Not preventing discussion and debate, but allowing all to freely discuss what they believe and giving freedom of speech to all.
Why then has the government said believers may not pray while in public school? Why have they said religious leaders are no longer welcome at Baccalaureate services? Why have nativity scenes and menorahs been removed from all public parks and government buildings? Why is there a fight to remove "In God We Trust" from money or "under God" from the pledge of allegiance? Why are people asking that "The Ten Commandments" be removed from court rooms? The oath made on the Holy Bible is long gone. Some people have been told by the government that they may not have bible studies in their homes because 4-8 cars park on the street and yet people have parties with 20 cars parking in the neighborhood without a comment. Zoning laws are being used against the normal fraternization of friends who share common interests. In Arizona, the courts will decide if the praying of high school sports teams, before and after games, is illegal. The Supreme Court has decided to define state power to impose added punishment for a criminal who is motivated by religious bias (belief?).
What about churches? Churches actually condemning sharing the gospel in public?! A recent sermon at a Congregational Church was based on the scripture (taken out of context) Mark 9:38-40 "'Teacher,' said John, 'we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.' 'Do not stop him,' Jesus said. 'No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.'" The pastor said he was disturbed because he had heard some complaints that people were telling Doctors and outstanding businessmen they needed to be born again. He preached that if people are doing good that it is enough and to leave them alone?! Other churches are publically accepting the practice of fornication with boy/girl friends before marriage on the basis of evaluating "compatibility?" Churches have openly decided that the books of the Bible and the authors are inspired only in the sense of Shakespeare or Handel and not necessarily the revelation of God and His design, but merely a book of suggestions and cultural practices and myths. There are several churches who practice wife swapping and orgies, they were given a full page report in the Arizona Republic Newspaper several years ago. There are churches that bar gays, minorities or anyone in jeans to enter their doors and be ministered to.
I know many of you many think we need to start calling Senators, Congressmen, Governors, Mayors and the press. Maybe you are making plans to call the Bishop, pastor, deacon or Bible study leader. I want to tell you there is someone more important to call. Your neighbor! The local AIDS Hospice, Food Banks, Elementary & High Schools, United Way, etc. Get involved in a positive way with non-believers. People who do not know God or reject Him must still be given food, water, clothing, prayer when needed and be visited in prison for encouragement even if guilty of their crime. We must love our enemies! Do not give in to the hate or lukewarmness of religion. Rejoice! Speak the truth that Jesus taught with love and joy!
What is the government to do? It grieves me to speak of what I have to say next. I will tell you to vote. Do not fail to be a good citizen. When you have time, get to know your politicians. However, there is a deep, deep wound in the heart of God. It is those who call themselves by the name of Jesus and yet blow up abortion clinics and gay bars. They torture and harass those who are minorities. They teach that God has forsaken His people, the Jews. They stand on street corners and tell people they need Jesus but then scream at them that they are going to Hell because they refuse to take a tract or stop to chat. They stand and yell rude and obnoxious things at Pro-Choice marchers. They are militias and fanatical groups refusing to pay taxes and piling up arms. They are men who shoot innocent Jewish children at a camp in Los Angeles. "They" are people like Jim Jones, David Koresh and many others. "They" are anyone who does not turn the other cheek, pray for their enemies, bless those who curse them or refuse a cup of water or crust of bread to a needy person. They are wolves in sheeps clothing, but "they" make the news! They are false teachers and wicked prophets speaking hate, violence and intolerance of those who Jesus came to save, but "they" are on Sally Jesse Raphael and Jenny Jones! They are the exception, but "they" are held up as shining examples of Jesus' followers by the ACLU, Atheists and politicians!
The truly sad part of what is happening in America is that believers have not been filled with the Spirit of God and boldly gone into "Jerusalem, Samaria and the the of the earth." Instead, they have cloistered in their church buildings. Now God calls you to step out. Be solid in fellowship and hold yourself accountable to all who know and love the Lord. Step out to volunteer to help those suffering from AIDS, domestic abuse, child abuse, substance abuse. Offer a hand and some hope to the sick, the hurting, the unpopular, even if they follow a foreign god or no god at all. Do not participate in the sins of others but always let them know you will pray for them and they are welcome to find food and shelter when it is needed. Go to parent-teacher conferences, attend city council meetings, be active in your neighborhood association or block watch and get to know your neighbors. Offer help to pregnant teens, single parents, those who are rebelling against authority. Get in touch with that gay person, smoker, tattooed and pierced teen or divorced person who was made so uncomfortable that they left the fellowship of believers. Do not give up hope.. give hope!
In closing, I am not sure if I made too many points to get any points across. God can turn America around. He is the only who can. I do not believe we will see governments turn to God again until Jesus returns. Already a "National ID number" is being considered for every man, woman and child. You will be ID'd like a pet. The chip injected into your hand (or forehead?). Global situations are arising that make it more possible every day for an international "star" to rise and awe the nations of the world. Will you be awed? Will you be one of his disciples only to find that he will claim to be God and turn into a violent, angry, hateful man? Will you be lost with him? Tomorrow is not the time to decide where you stand. Christians are falling pray to sexual sin, substance abuse, depression and materialism every day. Choose this day whom you will follow, for when they come for you, you will not have a chance to think.
Many pastors, seminary students and church goers turned against believers in Germany and China when the government made outlaws of believers in Jesus and those who helped the Jews in Europe or Christians in China were imprisoned, tortured and executed. Those who feared peer pressure and societies judgement failed to acknowledge the One who suffered more than all of us combined when asked if they followed Jesus. I am sure God weeps for them for many gave up their "religion" when it was time to count the cost. No one will be able to die for something or someone they don't really believe in. James said, "Faith without works is dead." That kind of faith will not save you when trials and persecution come. Decide today that you will die rather than deny God, for tomorrow may be too late. America is not the panacea of faith it was thought to be. Who knows if it ever was? It is still a land where much freedom exists and free speech is allowed for the most part. It is a land that has been blessed! If you are suffering persecution in other countries, know that the time is coming when America will face trial. You who have suffered for generations, please remember to pray for believers in the United States of America.
ALL MATERIAL IS PROPERTY OF CHAIN UNLESS OTHERWISE CREDITED AND NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT PERMISSION
Back to the Top