Today's Christian thought: Monday November 17th, 2003
We all know that as the end of the end times approaches, all of the prophecy leading up to the rapture of the church must be and will be fulfilled. Prophecy tells us that one of the last things to be done is that the Jews will return to Israel and that Israel will be again a nation. That has happened. Every last thing that must be done has been done, including the persecution of the church everywhere on earth, including right here in the good ole US of A.
Now before you say, "What persecution of Christians in the USA,." let me explain. Let me explain by asking you a question or two, and then I think you'll understand. Is there any worse persecution than having your parents or your children ignore you? Is there any worse persecution than having your children not let you have time with your grandchildren? Is there any worse persecution than having your family treat you like dirt? Would you not prefer to be slapped in the face by a stranger than have your family ignore you at family gatherings? Wouldn't it be better to have a stranger come up and hit you with a stick, a bat, or even shoot you, rather than have your son or daughter treat you like the hired help while at the same time undermining your parental respect by influencing your younger children and turning them from you by getting them to laugh at you behind your back?
I know that every one of you has got to be shaking his or her head up and down in agreement, for over the last six years it is to me that you have written to, e-mailed, called and talked to over coffee. Telling me horror story after horror story about how members of your family have treated you like dirt since you took the step of inviting the Lord into your heart, giving your life to Him, and becoming a Born Again Christian.
I want you to read what the Lord had to say:
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.
He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it. (Matthew 10:34-39 ACP/KJV)
Do you understand that Jesus is saying to us in Matthew 10:34-39? Do you see that He is telling you and me that our family will turn against us, that our family will be our enemies. Let's jump now to Matthew 24.
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for My name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. (Matthew 24:9&10 ACP/KJV)
Another pastor and I were in a restaurant in Windham, Maine. It was Thursday, November 6th, 2003. Since we were in a good mood, we were of course talking about the Lord, not to all around us, not to the waitress or cook, just to each other. When the waitress came over and asked us what we would have, we told her the chicken pot pie which was on special. Minutes after, she arrived with a split burnt morning biscuit covered with a half a can of some kind of chicken soup out of a can. The soup was not warm and the biscuit was burnt and almost impossible to eat. As we paid our check and left, I noticed others with the same meal. Their chicken pot pie looked like chicken pot pie, thick, warm, big hunks of vegetables and chicken in it. This restaurant in Windham didn't want us there, they gave us slop to let us know that we were not welcome. Yet, the only difference between us and the others that stopped to eat is that we were talking about Jesus in a positive way and we gave thanks to God for our meal before we ate it. Once outside, we discussed what had happened inside and thanked God for finding us worthy to be persecuted in the world by people of this world.
The restaurant above is an example of persecution, it is a good example because we were fed slop only because we were professing Christians. It was persecution that was easy to take, but how easy is it to take persecution from the unsaved when the unsaved are your family?
My wife and I have some dear friends, they are old, even older than us. He is sick, very sick and could die literary any day, yet, his sons, all of which live within 100 miles have not been up to see him or even call him in over 18 months. They have not been allowed to see their grandchild nor even receive a picture in over two years. Why? Because they are Bible Believing Born Again Christians.
We have another friend, he and his wife have three daughters, one is saved the other two aren't. Most of the rest of their families are Roman Catholics, and they are treated worse than dirt by the majority of their in-laws and by their two unsaved daughters.
I know of Christian families who have for years taken care of elderly parents, with nary a word or penny from their siblings, yet they are treated like dirt by all, even the parents they are caring for.
Do you want to see pain, I mean real pain? Then you should be with me as I talk with the folks above. To understand how bad the persecution of Christian in the US is today by members of their own families, you need to see their faces, hear their voices. You need to be a fly on the wall as the elderly couple say "I don't know," in response to the normal every day question of "How are your boys?" You need to see the look of pain on the face of the couple with three daughters when someone haphazardly asks "Hey, how are your daughters doing?" You need to see the anguish in the faces of the middle-aged couple taking care of their elderly parents, as they try to explain the pain they feel because of what their brothers and sisters have said or done recently.
Why are Christians in the US being tortured like this? The answer is really quite simple. First Scripture tells us it will happen. And second is this: every soul on earth serves one of two masters, they either have given their life to the Lord Jesus or they are by default satan's. For you see, no one is born going to heaven, all are born on their way to the lake of fire, some along the way find, through the Grace of God, a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus. And some of those who find that knowledge become Born Again Washed in the Blood of the Lamb Christians, not all, but some. How you ask can it only be some? Jesus explains it much better than I ever could.
1. The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto Him, so that He went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And He spake many things unto them in parables, saying,
Behold, a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
And the disciples came, and said unto Him, Why speakest Thou unto them in parables?...
18. Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matthew 13:1-10&18-23 ACP/KJV)
So, you see, not all that receive the knowledge of how to attain salvation, actually end up Saved. Unfortunately, many, or should I say most, fall by the wayside and return to serve and be owned by satan. That said, why is it that US Christians are persecuted by their own families and not by being arrested, beat, sold into slavery and other things done by governments and/or gangs of thugs? Satan knows that by deceiving our children, our parents, our family and our friends, that he can hurt us much more with the hatred of those we love than he ever could with whips, chains and even death.
Sometimes it seems that those hurting us the most are those who claim to be our fellow Christians. Again the Lord answers better than I could ever hope to:
15. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:15-23 ACP/KJV)
What can you do? What can you do to make the persecution more bearable if not disappear? PRAY! Turn it over to the Lord.
Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30 ACP/KJV)
Brothers and sisters, the persecution has begun, it has begun big time and will only get worse, worse because satan knows his time is short and he is not at all happy about it. He can not take it out on God, he tried that 1,970 years ago and the Lord laughed in his face by coming out of the grave after only three days. No satan can't take it out on God, so he takes it out on God's people, you, me, the elderly couple, the middle aged couple and the parents of the three girls.
As you face the struggles that all true Christians will face, remember two things, one, the Lord always leaves you with a way out and two, turn to Him, turn to Him in prayer. The Lord be with you all, amen.
Pray for my friend Mac, pray for Rush and Michael Savage. While the Lord does not need the platforms and audiences that Rush and Michael have, they, Rush, Michael and their audiences need the Lord.
The Lord God of the Universe, Messiah Y'shua be with you all, amen.
The Lord be with and bless you all and may you all keep this very important point in mind. It is better to be a horse fly in the stables of the Lord Jesus than the CEO of hell.
Lord I would also ask You to be with my friend Mac, and for the salvation of Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh. Amen.
All Scripture quoted, in both sermons and daily thoughts, except when done by a guest, is from the ACP/authorized 1611 King James Version. The words in red are those quotes of God the Son, the Lord Jesus and the words in purple are those qoutes spoken directly by God the Father and the words in this sickly greenish color are of satan. But all of the Bible is spoken by God and should be viewed as God's handbook for us to run our lives by 2 Timothy 3:16.