Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Motive and Necessity of Christmas

"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:6-8

Following up on the story I shared in yesterday's post, here are some applications:

In reference to the convicted and condemned criminal - a thief and a murderer - he is you! 

And me.

Our sins are as grievous to God as his crimes are to us. As Romans 3:23 declares, "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God".

Like him, we are guilty and condemned and worthy of judgment.

The daughter in the story, the innocent victim of the wicked criminal, represents the holiness of God which we have violated by our sinful thoughts and deeds.

A holy God cannot have fellowship with sinful people which is one of the BIG problems with sin - it separates us from God. That is sad for Him and tragic for us!

The judge and jury represent the justice of God that defends His holiness.

It is impossible for us to violate His holiness and escape the justice of God. In the short term it may seem as though evil is winning the day, but justice and judgment is coming.

In the story, the warden represents the devil who had to begrudgingly submit to the Father's authority and demands.

The father in this parable is God Who suffered from multiple attacks on His holiness and kindness.

Despite all the rebellion directed toward God, His nature does not change nor do His purposes. He remains merciful and yet mindful of those who continue in rebellion against Him. Judgment will eventually come to those who reject the Father's mercy.

And, the Son in the story is Jesus! The execution is the Cross.

I contend that in order to fully appreciate the love of God you must understand how awful and destructive sin is.

While love was the motive for Christmas, sin made it necessary. That is Paul's point when he penned these words, "God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us."

Christmas proves that God is serious about sin - dead serious.......

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

November 30, 2017

"Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom we also have our access by faith into this grace in which we stand. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only this, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope: and hope doesn’t disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were yet weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man. Yet perhaps for a righteous person someone would even dare to die. But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:1-8

I want you to imagine this scenario. You are the proud parent of a teen-aged son and a daughter who is also in her teens. They are both good students and active in church and school events.

One day you and your spouse are at work while your son is at ball practice. Your lovely teen daughter is at home alone. Someone breaks into the house to rob it and discovers her there alone, surprises her, assaults her and then brutally murders her. Following that heinous act he returns to emptying your house of every valuable item he can find.

You are the one who comes home to find your house ransacked and then make the horrible discovery of your daughter's lifeless savaged body.

This is a parent's worst nightmare! How could anything be much worse than this?

Fortunately, the thief and murderer is arrested and brought to trial. During the trial you find out more about this criminal and begin to understand some of the factors in his life that shaped him into such a cruel person. You begin to feel a bit of compassion for him yet you are thankful that he is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt and convicted of murder and grand larceny.

A month later when he is sentenced to die by legal injection you feel that justice has been served but there is also a sense of sadness over it.

During the several years that he is on death row you make repeated efforts to reach out to him but every request is denied by him. In fact, he shows no remorse but taunts you by saying he is glad he did it, he enjoyed it and he would do it again if he had the chance.

The years drag by until the day of his execution arrives. At the stroke of midnight he is to be administered a lethal dose of drugs through an injection that will end his life and carry out the justice demanded of him by the court and the legal system.

You, your wife and your son are ushered in to the small cramped room where the execution is to happen. It is a few minutes before midnight and he had been strapped to the gurney and the tubes are being inserted that will transport the lethal toxins into his body.

He refuses when asked if he wants to make a final statement. The warden turns to you and asks if there is anything you would want to say to the condemned man. You reply, "Yes, there is. My family wants him to know we have forgiven him for this terrible thing he did. In fact, my son and I have discussed this at length and decided we want him to be free from his guilt and condemnation. For that to happen, my son offers himself to be strapped to the gurney and receive the lethal dose instead of this convicted criminal. That will satisfy the demands of justice and carry out the remedy prescribed by the court."

The shocked warden responds, "This is highly unusual. This is very unusual. Are you sure this is what you want to do?"

You and your son both affirm this as your will.

"Okay, then," concedes the warden, "Release the prisoner and take this young man into custody to prepare him for execution."

Broken-hearted, you watch as the lethal dosage is pumped into your son causing him excruciating suffering until the life drains out of him.

"A ridiculous story," you protest! "Who would even consider doing such a thing?"

I wouldn't!

You wouldn't!

But that is precisely what God did! At just the right moment He sent His Son, Who willing left heaven to suffer the penalty for your sins and mine! We were guilty. He was innocent. He suffered a cruel and shameful death sentence in our place to satisfy the just demands of a Holy God.

That is how good He is! That is how much He loves you! That is how much He wants to live in a loving relationship with you!

And that is how bad sin is! That is how ugly and disgusting it is to cause an innocent man to die a painful death so you and I could be set free from the death penalty imposed by sin.

It was in a stable in Bethlehem where a teen-aged by and his teen-aged wife gave birth to the Son of God Who came to take away the sins of the world! Jesus, the Savior, born to die for you and for me!

Glory in the highest!

But this is a gift that must be received! 

Have you received it?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Dead Spot

"You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:31-33

Mary was the first to hear of the new thing God was about to do! Everything was about about to change! God was about to move upon His people with a new work in a new way and the world would never be the same! There was "good news of great joy" about to be revealed in the Person of Jesus - God in the flesh!

Ritual and rules and religion and, especially, religious  leaders had relegated God to the fringes of their existence. They had strangled the life and joy out of seeking and serving God. There was no love, no freedom, no fellowship, and no life in their religious observances. For centuries they had been going through the motions mouthing the words and clinging to spiritual pride born from the false hope that they were "the chosen ones". Although their priests, scribes and religious leaders knew all about God, few of them actually knew Him.

Dead things need to be buried or revived. What they were trying to bury, God was about to revive. An amazing spiritual revival was just one obedience away! God needed a person, a vessel, through whom He could channel His power and accomplish His will.

Enter, Mary. She was the one God had chosen through which to bring a transforming visitation to His people. If you will - a revival. If Christmas is about anything it is about revival. There certainly would be no hope for revival if Christ had not come and Christ came at Christmas!  I hear a whole lot of talk about revival. I hear people saying how badly our nation needs revival or our church needs revival or our people need revival or our preachers need revival and they are right! We certainly could benefit from all of the above. But please define revival! I am not sure I am clear on what they are wanting. Perhaps they are not either. My guess is they are thinking of a scheduled series of meetings with a fiery evangelist preaching and some inspiring musicians who will come and whip them up into a spiritual and emotional frenzy.

Here is what two of the greatest evangelists and revivalists of the last century and a half had to save about revival:

Charles Finney, perhaps the most anointed evangelist since John the Baptist, noted this about the role obedience and sacrifice play in revival, “Revival is nothing more or less than a new obedience to God!”

A. W. Tozer, one of the spiritual giants of the 20th century added this thought, "Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going on of late - and how little revival has resulted? I believe the problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work. To pray for revival while ignoring the plain precept laid down in Scripture is to waste a lot of words and get nothing for our trouble. Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience."

Revival is a direct result of obedience. Obedience moves God from the edges of our live to the center. Obedience allows God to cleanse us from the dead works of religion and sweep in with the refreshing, life-giving wind of relationship!

On this historic day when the angel appeared to Mary, He was indicating that a great move of God upon her and through her was just one obedience away!

Could it be that revival, a fresh move of God upon you, is just one obedience away? Is it possible that you need to stop wishing for revival or praying from revival and simple "obey" for revival?

Is there a "dead spot" in your spirit? Is there a point of disobedience that is preventing God from moving upon your heart and spirit?

Look what happened to our world when Mary chose to obey! Look how she did it, “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Her obedient response to God brought a revival that continues to this day!

Is there a point in your life where you have pushed God to the edges by your disobedience? Will you allow God to move to your center by praying with Mary, “I am the Lord’s servant, May your word to me be fulfilled.”

Monday, November 27, 2017

November 28, 2017

"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" II Corinthians 9:15.

If taken literally, giving the gifts of the famed holiday song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, would cost you a fortune--and much more this year than last!

The cost of buying all 364 items repeated throughout the timeless holiday carol has gone up 6.1 percent since last year, according to the annual Christmas Price Index compiled by PNC Wealth Management. And the new retail cost of $107,300 really hurts in the biggest U.S. cities [Chicago, Los Angeles, New York], where state and local sales tax adds on as much as 9.5 percent. …

Thrifty shoppers may find some reasons for cheer. Six items mentioned in the song haven't gone up in price: maids-a-milking, ladies dancing, lords-a-leaping, calling birds, turtle doves and the partridge. The eight maids-a-milking still cost just $58.

Twelve drummers drumming ($2,775.50) and eleven pipers piping ($2,562) might also be considered relative bargains compared to seven swans, which will set you back $7,000. Nine ladies dancing will cost you $6,294.03.

Dunigan said the 2011 drought caused the prices of some birds to soar, partly because of corn and other feed costs.

"The geese were up 29.6 percent, and swans were up 11 percent," said Jim Dunigan, managing executive of investments for PNC, adding that none of the gifts in the song went down in price this year.

The price of a pear tree is $189.99, an 11.8 percent jump from last year's $169.99. Five gold rings jumped 16.3 percent this year, to $750, and three French hens are now $165, instead of $150.

The $15 partridge is the cheapest item, and swans the most expensive, at $1,000 each.

Last-minute shoppers who turn to the Internet, possibly in a bid to dodge sales tax, will pay a bit more for the gifts. Buying one set of the core items in each verse costs $24,431 in traditional stores this year, but $40,440 online. Part of that difference is the extra expense of shipping live birds, Dunigan said, adding that Internet costs rose 1.5 percent compared to last year.


Wise gift givers this year (and every year!) might do well to forgo the partridges, gold rings, and swans in favor of sharing the one gift of greatest value ... the message of salvation by grace alone through faith in the Child of Christmas ... the Lord Jesus Christ. Cost to you ... nothing. Cost to Christ ... everything. Value ... priceless!

November 27, 2017

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:6-8

I'm sure you have noticed that God's timing is different from yours. I certainly have!

Have you ever questioned His timing? I have.

In verse six the Apostle Paul mentions God's timing, "You see, at just the right time...."

So, the Great Apostle is reminding us that God's timing is perfect.

I have to wonder if Joseph and Mary had a few doubts about God's timing when the events of Christmas began to unfold?

Could there have been a much worse time to become pregnant? Mary's pregnancy spoiled their wedding plans, scandalized both of their reputations, and potentially placed Mary's life at risk.

What a terrible time for a taxation to be imposed!

What a terrible time to ride a donkey for a few days over rugged rutted roads!

And what an awful out of the way place to go!

What a terrible time for the King to become paranoid and cause Joseph, Mary and Jesus to flee to Egypt for several year! How hard do you suppose that was on his carpentry business back in Nazareth!

I think I understand why the might have questioned God's timing around that first Christmas! Who would blame them?

But they were obedient and faithful despite the hardships imposed by God's timing. Soon they came to understand that God was RIGHT on time!

History records that it REALLY was just the right time! The Romans had built roads and aqueducts, and shipping routes and established the "Pax Romana" so it was possible to travel safely. Plus, the religions of the day had grown stale and empty and people were ready for something real.

God's timing really IS perfect and Christmas proves it! I am sure that if you could interview Joseph or Mary today they would echo Paul's affirmation that it happened at "just the right time".

So, if you are doubting God's timing are questioning "why" things are happening as they are, remember He is working at "just the right time!"

Saturday, November 25, 2017

November 26, 2017

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

I don't have to think very long to identify reasons to be thankful. I can't even list all of them.

This week-end after Thanksgiving I am thankful that one of my bad days is still more blessed than many peoples' good days.

What a faith! What a God! What a way to live!

How can I say that? Because it is fact! James verifies it in the first few verses of his letter to the believers.

If you were writing a letter to bless and encourage struggling Christians how would you begin that letter? I am not sure I would begin it by reminding them of their sufferings but James did. And it makes sense when we think about it.

These are some of the very first believers. This Christian faith is a brand new phenomenon. They have seen the signs and wonders. They have experienced the freedom and the fellowship. All the wonderful benefits that have come from receiving Christ and joining these Christians almost seemed too good to be true. How long can this last? What am I missing here?

Now they are facing the pressures of persecution. Some of their beloved leaders have been jailed. It is risky to identify yourself as a Christ follower. Public worship is becoming a thing of the past. The heat is being turned up on every hand. BUT through these trials and tribulations they have discovered something very significant - THEIR FAITH WORKS! Everything is true! God is real! Suffering as a Christian is better than prospering as a pagan! What would have destroyed them before they believed now develops them!

What sort of faith is this! What an incredible God! What a blessing to have a faith that works! What a joy to know the truth - because the truth is in the Truth. Pain now has a purpose! Suffering now has significance! Heartache now helps me understand the heart of God!

Can I count it joy when I suffer? What sort of notion is that? Is that healthy? Is it a delusion?

No! It is the blessing we have as Christ-followers! It is real! It is His reality! "All things really DO work together for the good of those who love Him....."!

On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I thank God that because He is so good and so strong and so holy that living for Him and with Him makes my worst day make sense!

How about you?

November 25, 2017

"Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen. ’" Matthew 6:13

It's been a long time since I first fell in love with the Word of God! That love continues to deepen the more I study it!

This part of the Lord's Prayer, as with the rest of it, is powerful at every level! The deeper you dig the more powerful it becomes!

Obviously, the key word in this verse is "temptation" and the Greek word used appears six times in the Bible. Each New Testament appearance renders it "test" or "trial". But there is an Old Testament iteration in the Hebrew that sheds more light on the deeper meaning Jesus is implying in this statement.

The Old Testament equivalent of this word in Hebrew is translated "Massah". It refers to an event that happened at that place that came to be known by that name. It would be like me saying "Chancellorsville" or "Gettysburg". You would know immediately that I am referring to Civil War conflicts. Massah was a place where God's people grumbled against Him and tested His patience. The story is found in Exodus 17:

"All the congregation of the children of Israel traveled from the wilderness of Sin, by their journeys, according to Yahweh’s commandment, and encamped in Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test Yahweh?” The people were thirsty for water there; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst? Moses cried to Yahweh, saying, “What shall I do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.” Yahweh said to Moses, “Walk on before the people, and take the elders of Israel with you, and take the rod in your hand with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb. You shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because the children of Israel quarreled, and because they tested Yahweh, saying, “Is Yahweh among us, or not?” Exodus 17:1-7

God had supernaturally led them out of bondage from Egypt, then He parted the Red Sea to deliver them from the Egyptian army, then He miraculously provided manna and quail for them to eat but now they complained about having no water.

What would it take for them to trust God stop their grumbling. He had led them into the wilderness to test them and develop their faith but they kept testing Him. Moses was disgusted and God was running out of patience. Rather than prove their faith in God in time of stress and need they demanded God prove Himself by doing another miracle.

So, with that background we come back to Jesus' teaching on prayer. When he says to pray, "Lead us not into temptation" what He means is "when You lead me into temptation, keep me from testing you". 

That is how you are delivered from the Evil One! When you submit to God's testing and resist the temptation to test God, the Evil One is defeated!

An interesting thing happens when God leads you into a season of testing and you submit to His will rather than doubt God's goodness or demand that He proves His presence. Your faith is strengthened and as a result - He proves His faithfulness to you!

Perhaps you are in a season of testing and trials right now! Prove your faith in God and He will prove Himself to you!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

November 24, 2017

"Don't bring us into temptation but deliver us from the Evil One." Matthew 6:13

I hope you had an amazing Thanksgiving Day!

In my sermon study and preparation this week I came across a sermon on this verse by an Australian Pastor named Lionel Windsor. His interpretation of this Scripture fascinated me and blessed me with a new insight into what Jesus was teaching in this part of the prayer.

When I checked out his exposition of the Scriptures it supported his interpretation. So, I share it with you.

The key is understanding the meaning and background of the word for "temptation". In the original language the word used here can mean "temptation" as in an enticement to sin or "testing" or  a "trial".

We can rule out the "temptation" interpretation in this context because we know James clearly states God cannot nor does not entice us to sin so He could not lead us into that form of temptation:

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." James 1:12-15

So, we know that Jesus is referring to the times of testing or the trials of life that God allows into your life.

Does that mean then we are to ask God not to test us?

No, it doesn't mean that at all. It means that we encounter tests or trying times we are not to test God. So, the prayer is this "when you lead me into times of testing keep me from falling into the temptation of testing you. That will keep me from the Evil One."

This raises the question of, "Why does God test me?"

God allows tests to come into my life that will test my faith and my patience and my wisdom and my trust in His character. But the temptation that often arises when I am suffering under a severe season of testing is to test God by questioning His goodness or His power or His presence or His love.

Praying "Lead me not into temptation" is a prayer to for Him to help me understand the purpose of His testing in my life is for my good not to question His goodness.

A classic illustration of that truth is Job. Why did God subject Job to such a tragic and traumatic season of suffering?

It was to prove to Job what God already knew about him. Job was a righteous man who absolutely trusted God. 

"There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually. Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”  And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord." Job 1:1-12

Did you notice that God was boasting about Job to the Evil Accuser himself. God was absolutely certain Job could endure whatever trial the Evil One would inflict on him. But Job needed to know that conclusively about himself.

And while Job's wife and his friends were questioning Job's integrity, impugning God and encouraging him to "curse God and die". Job's testimony is recorded for eternity is this text from Scripture:

"Then Job arose, and tore his robe, and shaved his head, and fell down on the ground, and worshiped. He said, “Naked I came out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. Yahweh gave, and Yahweh has taken away. Blessed be Yahweh’s name.” In all this, Job did not sin, nor charge God with wrongdoing." Job 1:21-22

Job was able to bear up under this unimaginable overnight loss of his children and all of his financial fortune because he knew God was testing him and he trusted that God had his best interest at heart.

I will have more examples to further illustrate this insightful truth I want to teach you. But think about what I have shared with you in this blog.

But if you are in the midst of a difficult time of testing I want you to remember, God is testing you to make you better not to inflict your life with unnecessary pain. Remember it is for Him to test you not for you to test Him!

If you are in the midst of a difficult time of testing right now I also remind you of this promise from the Word of God:

"The temptations (tests) in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation (test) to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted(tested), he will show you a way out so that you can endure." I Corinthians 10:13

Will you pass the test today and trust God in your pain? He tests you for your good!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

November 23, 2017

George Washington's 

Thanksgiving Proclamation 

[New York, 3 October 1789]

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Does God Lead Us Into Temptation?

"Don’t bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One. Amen." Matthew 6:13

This is confusing.

James 1:13-14 tell us,"And remember, when someone wants to do wrong it is never God who is tempting him, for God never wants to do wrong and never tempts anyone else to do it. Temptation is the pull of man’s own evil thoughts and wishes."

So, does God lead us into temptation?

No and yes.

Now I'm really confused!

No, God does not lead us into situations where we are enticed to sin.

But yes, if we choose to live for God and take a strong stand for our faith in a evil world that determined stand will lead us into trials.

Jesus said as much, "And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved." Matthew 10:22

The Apostle Paul, familiar with suffering, wrote to Timothy, "Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." II Timothy 3:12

From cover to cover the Bible tells stories of godly men who suffered severe trials because of their unashamed testimony for God. Almost everyone who was anyone in the Old Testament and the New Testament suffered persecution and death rather than deny their God.

To this day many Christ-followers are facing unimaginable persecution, suffering, depravity and even execution because of their determined stand for their Christian faith.

American Christians have largely been spared persecution because of their witness or testimony of faith in Jesus. But with the rapid rise of secularism and anti-Christian bias our generation could begin facing increased pressure to compromise our faith.

But do not worry because if that happens you have a prayer!

You can pray, "Don’t bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One. Amen." Matthew 6:13