Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Faith under fire

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] John 16:33 (Amplified)
I'm not sure how I feel about the jailing of Kim Davis for refusing marriage licenses. When I'm not writing I work in a secular job - in fact I own the business. I manage a medical practice. My faith tells me that God is the one who says His own name is "I am the Lord who heals you" (Exodus 15:26). It tells me we are called to lay hands on the sick and they will recover and that the prayer of faith will make the sick person well. There is precedent in plenty of the authority to see healing in the name of Jesus in the Bible, and I've both witnessed it and received it several times in the last 30 years I've been a Christian.

But my business is a secular one. In the business I manage we have different religions represented among the practitioners and among the patients. As such we avoid putting up any religious symbols in common areas and by so doing we avoid offending others. We avoid talking religion in front of the patients - although my former PA and I enjoyed many conversations about our respective beliefs.

Ms Davis was jailed for standing up for her beliefs over man's laws. I'm not going to comment on the specifics as she stopped all licenses not only same-sex marriages. Each of us must make up our own mind about where we stand on that particular issue and face God about it on the day of Judgement. And we must remember in our thoughts that this woman's faith is personal - her conviction is personal. She does not speak for all Christians by any means.

Meanwhile a muslim flight attendant who refused to serve alcohol on a flight - something on long flights is a way to relax and enjoy the movie for many travellers - thereby increasing the workload of her colleagues and inconveniencing the passengers to the point of insulting them by her actions if not her words, has not been dismissed, merely suspended.

The "Planned Parenthood" program violates Federal law as I understand it, yet to my knowledge nobody has been arrested or convicted of that. So-called "sanctuary-cities" are also in violation of Federal laws - why are no mayors or town leaders even being sought for questioning? Even after violating a federal law with regard to classified information in private emails and admitting it, Hillary Clinton is still a presidential candidate, not under arrest.

Living in South Africa as I do, we have to rely on outside news sources for international news. In the twelve years I've been here this country has gone from a country to be proud of firstly under the leadership of Nelson Mandela, then under Thabo Mbeki, a man who, whilst not embodying the internal needs of the country spent his administration rebuilding South Africa in the eyes of the world's economic communities.

Now we have gone to Jacob Zuma, a president who was charged with rape before his election yet acquitted somehow, has publicly under oath stated that taking a shower can prevent HIV infection after sex, has squandered millions of dollars of taxpayers' money on renovations to his personal home and made nepotistic appointments in influential positions - including the news department of the national broadcaster - who will spin anything to get him in a more positive light.

He allegedly personally had knowledge of, if not actually arranged for, the escape instead of arrest of a man wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity.

But what does this have to do with Christianity?

Simple: Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, is apparently a leader of some kind in his local church. Many of the people who put together the law-defying programs in the USA are churchgoers.

It all paints Christians - the real ones, not just the nominal ones - in a very poor light.

We are a Faith at War. The god of this world is not Jesus Christ, it's Satan. Jesus has overcome him, but there's still a battle to be fought. Just as after D-Day in 1944 there were many battles between the Allies and the Nazis before the war ended, our D-Day - the Cross - merely signalled the beginning of the end. Just as the Germans knew full well the war was lost when the Allies took Normandy, Satan knows his time is limited. The orders given by the German high command at that point were beyond barbaric. Orders for the immediate execution of all survivors in concentration camps. Destroy all art collections and eliminate as much as possible of pre-Nazi historical development.

There can be little doubt given the way ISIS is spreading like a plague across the middle-East that their campaign, whilst a smaller scale for now than Hitler's, has the same agenda: eliminate anything that contradicts their dogma and fanaticism.

Christianity is under fire in a way not seen in almost 2000 years. Christian persecution by ISIS includes torture and murder. In the West we see jobs being denied and jail sentences imposed where no actual law was broken simply for standing up for a heart-felt belief in their understanding of Christianity.

There is a war going on. We have to acknowledge it. For a hundred years or more since the last major revivals in Wales, Scotland and America at the end of the 19th Century we have been a complacent people. We stood as nations against tyranny where it suited our nations to do so, but allowed our Faith to be whittled away little by little over the decades. The new religion of Atheism - and it's a religious movement, just look at how they conduct themselves and that's obvious - gains ground all the time. It convinces the World the devil doesn't exist, and without a devil there's no need for a God.

I say it again: as Christians we are at war. We live in a time where speaking out as a Christian will result in hard choices. We may lose friends, family, jobs, homes. We may lose our lives. Jesus told us it would happen. Believing in Him sets us on a path to war with those allied against us. The American and British Civil Wars have nothing on this fight we are embroiled in, simply because it's so subtle mostly or so far away from us geographically we disregard it.

Praying alone isn't enough. It's time for the Church to rise up and fight the way Christ did. Lay down our lives if necessary, whether figuratively or literally, to serve Him. By not trying to hold onto this life we save our Eternal Life.

It's time to remember our God is a Warrior.

It's time to be radical in our resistance to the pressures of this world.

Our Faith is under fire. We've been given a shield to defend us from the fire, but we also have a sword.

It's time to use it like it's never been used before.

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