The story told in "Stand Firm" (Part 1) may or may not have actually happened.Whether that story happened or not, people all over the world are being forced to make similar decisions today.Christians are making decisions to stand up for Jesus that may put their families, their freedom and their very lives at risk.
A five minute search on the Internet found these (and many, many more) stories.
India: 11/16/2005 - Hindu militants threatened to burn and kill over 60 new Christians in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh if they refuse to renounce their faith...
Indonesia: 11/17/2005 - "We will murder 100 more Christian teenagers and present you their heads and presents."
North Korea: 11/17/2005 - An underground church leader, his family and possible dozens of his followers are likely to be executed...
Java: 11/17/2005 - Denied permits and ordered not to worship in public or at home, churches in East Bekasi, west java, have taken temporary refuge in a Social Affairs Agency Office...
If you're in one of those places, or any place that is persecuting you and your Christian brothers and sisters, we pray that God will protect and strengthen you.If you are not in a place like these, we thank God and pray that your freedom to worship will continue.
People, there's a war going on and if you're not aware of it, you can get killed.The entire universe is in this war between good and evil (God and Satin); and, you cannot be neutral.He said,"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.I wish you were either one or the other!So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth."(Revelations 3:15-16)
However, God is fighting the battle in such a way that you and I do not have to be casualties.Moses asked the Israelites in Exodus 32:26, "Who is on the Lord's side?"Jesus said,"He that is not with Me is against Me."(Matthew 12:30)
As we discussed before, even in America, children cannot pray or read the bible in school; expression of your faith in the work place may cost your job; Military Chaplains can't use the name of Jesus; and, no city or town can display Christian theme decorations on public property at Christmas.And now, the forces of darkness want to remove "In God we trust" from all our currency.
It's time!It's time to Stand Up; and, it's time to Stand Firm!
Jesus told us that all men will hate us because of Him; but, He also said that he who "Stands Firm" to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:22)
Twenty times in the NIV New Testament, we are told to "Stand Firm."Jesus knew that we would be challenged and that the test would be severe.That's why he said,"...blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (He was talking about us!)
Let's be like the man with the shriveled hand, let's "Stand Up" in front of everyone.
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."
- Philippians 2:5
Wednesday: November 30, 2005
"The High Cost of Self-Respect"
Parenting doesn't come with instructions when kids are born.Sometimes you have to make up the rules on the fly!And that's OK, as long as parents are more in love with the Lord than they are with their children.The balance between giving them everything and allowing them to earn their own way while making a few mistakes is the difference between self-respect and self-destruction.Erma Bombeck (not the best theologian of our day), provides this humorous advice in her book Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession.
"We made a speech: 'We know you won't understand this now, but someday you will.We no longer want to deprive you of the poverty you so richly deserve.The HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN BANK OF PROSPERITY is closed!Money is not related to love.It's only a shallow substitute.What you really need is a ton of self-respect.'He sat there for awhile in silence.Finally he said, 'Do I have to buy it with my own money?'We smiled.'It's the only way you can buy it.' " (page 159)
Self-respect is not bought, it is earned!And parents are an important link to teaching children how to earn it.Erma's idea is a good one to teach a child the value of money and the joy which comes from earning our way.
Another way might be to memorize a brief passage from Proverbs, chapter 3:3-6:
Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, when the sunset years are past and I am only a memory to my sons, let them not recall the many times I failed as a father, but let them know that I tried to raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. And may their children experience confidence and self-respect because they had the advantage of a godly home.Amen and amen.
Hopefully, all Christians understand that we are in the midst of a raging battle between good and evil - between God and Satan.This battle, which is being fought in the spiritual realm, is very real and has a high casualty rate.God does not want you and me to appear among the growing list of casualties.We're on the Lord's side (Exodus 32:26) and He is fully committed to be for us and not against us. (Matthew 12:30)Nevertheless, we know that soldiers who are committed to their cause and fully behind their leaders may suffer injury; but, they will still be effective warriors if they follow directions.
Therefore, let's make sure we know and follow God's directions so we'll not only escape becoming a casualty; but, also become mighty warriors for our Lord.
God knows we'll be in spiritual battles 24/7 and He has made provisions for us to be fully protected and able to withstand anything the enemy brings against us.
Scripture tells us that if we want to be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power, we must put on His full armor.In this way, we can take our stand against the devil's schemes. (Ephesians 6:10-11)Note that He says the full armor.God knows that if we're only partially protected, we cannot stand.
We are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.If we keep on all of God's armor we'll be able to stand your ground when that evil comes against us. (Ephesians 6:12-13)
What is the armor of God?
The Belt of Truth (The Spirit of Truth - John 16:13-15): Keep it buckled around your waist to keep you strong and so you will know our authority in the spirit world.
The Breastplate of Righteousness (the manifestations of our righteousness; what comes from our hearts - Matthew 15:18-19): We put on the breastplate when we allow God's Spirit to become so strong in our hearts that it directs our every thought, word and deed.
The Boots of the Gospel of Peace (Romans 10:15 KJV): God's "boots" (The Gospel of Jesus Christ) are firmly in place when we share that Gospel with those around us.Satan may lay traps, but we cannot be "tripped up" if we're wearing God's boots.
The Shield of Faith (The Peace of God - Romans 10:8-9):We pick up God's Shield when we adopt His Spirit of Love; and, through His Grace, we gain His Strength.We use His Shield when our faith allows us to let go of all anxiety and fear because we know we are His.With His Shield we can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one no matter where they are directed.
The Helmet of Salvation (God's Law in our mind - Romans 7:21-25): Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life sets us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2).By confessing our sins and trusting God that He has forgiven us, we are set free (1st John 1:9).
The Sword of the Spirit (The Word of God): Jesus defeated Satan with these three words,"It is written"(Luke 4:1-14).We can do the same.God's words will accomplish what they were intended to do and we can use them as an indefensible weapon (Isaiah 55:11)
Prayer (The "glue" that holds the armor together):"Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." (Ephesians 6:18)
This Armor of God is beautifully described by Paul in Ephesians 6:14-19.If we keep our full armor in place, we can be as Paul described in the last few words of Ephesians 6:20 and not only Stand Firm; but also Stand Fearlessly, as we should.
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."
- Philippians 2:5
Friday: December 2, 2005
"Let it go"
There are people who can walk away from you.And hear me when I tell you this!When people can walk away from you... let them walk.
I don't want you to try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, staying attached to you.I mean hang up the phone.
When people can walk away from you let them walk.Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left.
The bible said that, they came out from us that it might be made manifest that they were not for us.For had they been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us. (1st John 2:19)
People leave you because they are not joined to you.And if they are not joined to you, you can't make them stay... Let them go.
And it doesn't mean that they are a bad person it just means that their part in the story is over.And you've got to know when people's part in your story is over so that you don't keep trying to raise the dead.
You've got to know when it's dead.
You've got to know when it's over.Let me tell you something.I've got the gift of good-bye.It's the tenth spiritual gift, I believe in good-bye.It's not that I'm hateful, it's that I'm faithful, and I know whatever God means for me to have He'll give it to me.And if it takes too much sweat I don't need it.Stop begging people to stay... Let them go!!
If you are holding on to something that doesn't belong to you and was never intended for your life, then you need to... LET IT GO!!!
If you are holding on to past hurts and pains... LET IT GO!!!
If someone can't treat you right, love you back, and see your worth... LET IT GO!!!
If someone has angered you... LET IT GO!!!
If you are holding on to some thoughts of evil and revenge... LET IT GO!!!
If you are involved in a wrong relationship or addiction... LET IT GO!!!
If you are holding on to a job that no longer meets your needs or talents... LET IT GO!!!
If you have a bad attitude... LET IT GO!!!
If you keep judging others to make yourself feel better... LET IT GO!!!
If you're stuck in the past and God is trying to take you to a new level in Him... LET IT GO!!!
If you are struggling with the healing of a broken relationship... LET IT GO!!!
If you keep trying to help someone who won't even try to help themselves... LET IT GO!!!
If you're feeling depressed and stressed... LET IT GO!!!
If there is a particular situation that you are so used to handling yourself and God is saying "Take your hands off of it," then you need to... LET IT GO!!!
Let the past be the past.Forget the former things.GOD is doing a new thing for 2005!!!
LET IT GO!!!
Get Right or Get Left... think about it, and then... LET IT GO!!!