I don’t know about yours, but my news feed is chock full of reasons to go hide under a rock, escape to a foreign country, or both. In the past few weeks, we as a nation have been inundated with so much change. So many reasons to worry. To fear for our future. To worry about the America our children will inherit.
It’s been overwhelmed with stories of Caitlyn Jenner’s gender transformation and treaties with foreign countries that traditionally loathe Israel – the country that Genesis 12:3 says,
“I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
There has been so much division – rioting in the streets and looting over policy brutality and confederate flags. Mothers will come to blows over simple opinions such as how long (or if) one should breastfeed, parenting methodology, and even which mom is the better mom – the stay at home mom, or the out-in-the-workforce parent.
Around you, preppers will tell you that the power outages that many large cities have experienced lately are planned attacks on the nation’s infrastructure while covert military operations happen in Texas.
Across the ocean, Christians are tortured for their faith. We release prisoners of war to terrorist nations, yet don’t demand the return of our own prisoners of war from those same nations in return. Entire countries contemplate bankruptcy, and marriage is recognized as a union between two people, regardless of sex. The veil covering Planned Parenthood was thrown back as we learned of babies being born to women seeking abortions, as the babies were and are still being ripped apart in a manner that allows for the highest amount of their organs to be harvested in the name of stem cell research. Millions of babies have been aborted since Roe V. Wade, in part due to the lies spread by the abortion industry, but this week… this week, there was no denying the intent of the industry as Planned Parenthood “leaders” are taped discussing prices of deceased baby parts. Ten Commandments statues are removed from courthouses while in other communities, statues that represent satan are erected alongside statues of the Ten Commandments, in an effort to show impartiality to the Christian faith.
This is not a century, or a decade, or a season.
This is little over a month.
None of this is how God designed or intended for it to be. Trying to find the words that communicate how grieved I am for this period in our history is difficult, and trying to convey what we as Christians should do is even more difficult.
There are good stories among the bad. Police officers who’ve brought food to a hungry family. Businesses who aren’t being sued because they didn’t bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. Maybe even a teenage mother who didn’t get an abortion because HER newsfeed was filled with planned parenthood awareness links. Stories of hope, and rebuilding, and small victories. New ministries, and new church plantings, and new hearts being won.
But even as much as we see the good, it sure seems like those who are trying to shine a light are quickly outnumbered … not just by extremists who believe the opposite of what Christians believe, but also by Christians who don’t really know what they stand for. Christians who follow along, who pop into church on Sunday because it’s expected, and even Christians who mean well and follow Jesus just up until the point that it ruffles feathers from the popular crowd. As we open our borders and become a melting pot of not just nationalities, but of religions, the number of those who stand for Christianity dwindles.
Little by little it seems we have become the child that no longer holds their mother’s hand. The child that walks off on their own, proud, and strong, with a “we’ll do it ourselves” attitude. The child that one finger at a time, lets go of our grasp on the Savior’s hand, destined to move forward without Him, influenced by other religions, our own desires for self-gratification, and spiritual immaturity. We let go, without His help, without His provision, without His involvement. “Thanks, but we can take it from here.” Unlike us, who clap for their achievements when our children let go, I don’t think God is clapping.
Isn’t this what we’ve asked for? When we walk away from the God who has carried us – when we become a nation who no longer clings to God – isn’t that what we’ve said we prefer? But the further we walk on our own, the less aware we are of God’s intentions for us, and the more susceptible we become from outside influence. So what can we do to not be afraid in these times?
Ephesians 4:13 says, “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,…”
Isn’t it time for us to grow up? To not be tossed around by this doctrine and that one? When babies are born, they’re expected to eat baby food. It’s good for them, and gives them the nutrients they need. Their bodies aren’t designed to eat table food the way an adult can. But then they become toddlers. They can eat other foods, different types of foods, and more variety. Young children add even more food varieties and textures, and can begin eating meat and cutting chicken and steak – food that babies just wouldn’t be able to eat. Once we’re adults, our palate changes yet again. We eat foods that we never would have eaten as a child. Spices and flavors, and unique pairings. Christianity is that way! Sometimes you can’t jump right into Revelation or Daniel, but you CAN get a recommendation for Bible studies that explain in terms you can understand, what the word is saying to you, and what God says through His word. You can also listen to Christian radio – let me tell you, when I first started listening to Christian radio as an adult, it was because I heard a song with a great club beat that sounded just like the popular radio station in town. That club music with Jesus-words opened my heart to thinking maybe Christian music could still worship God and not sound like your grandma’s toe-tapping Sunday hymns.
Once you grasp that, and you ask God for MORE, just like that infant who graduates to solids because he needs more than milk, God will give you more. He’ll speak to your heart through the Bible, through church, through Godly friends, and even devotional blogs and studies. But unless you learn who God is, you won’t be able to tell when other religions are leading you further away from God than closer to Him.
UNDERSTAND WHERE YOUR FOCUS SHOULD BE.
God will allow us to turn our back on Him for only so long before… before He lets us live the lives we’re begging to live. Lives that don’t include Him. But we don’t have to be afraid for our future. Sad for our children, yes. Grieved for our nation, yes. But afraid? No.
There are 365 verses in the bible that tell us not to be afraid. Fear Not. Do not fear. Do not be afraid. They all come with and “and…. Because… but” clause. Don’t be afraid because. Be not afraid, because the Lord your God is with you.
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32
Even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 1 Peter 3:14
I am the one who comforts you. Why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear? Isaiah 51:12
Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord. Jeremiah 1:8
Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both body and soul in hell. Matthew 10:28
Listen to me, you who know right from wrong, you who cherish my law in your hearts. Do unto be afraid of people’s scorn, nor fear their insults. Isaiah 51:7
Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you. Deuteronomy 1:17
Do not worry about what you will eat or what you will wear… “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Matthew 6:25-34
Yes, these are scary times. Know what’s going on around you, and know the truth of God’s word and how it compares to what others are saying. But don’t be afraid, because in the end, God will sift through the faithful and unfaithful – those who cling to Him, and those who’ve clung to something else – anything else but Him.
satan isn’t a red-faced, horned little devil with a pitchfork tail. He is very real, with legions of demons that roam this earth, “seeking whom he can destroy.” Sometimes he comes in an angry vengeance, as he controls his demons and spirits, and influences people to slaughter Christians in their churches and behead those who refuse to bow to other gods. Other times he slinks quietly in like a snake, as he strokes our pride, plants seeds of envy in our hearts, and convinces us that we don’t really need to wait until marriage to show our affection for our significant others, that babies at 23 weeks after conception aren’t really babies, and no one will be affected by an abortion that you need to have because you can’t raise a child on your own. I would venture to say that the number of extreme-angry-vengeance moments that satan accomplishes each day is far, far outweighed by the millions of simple whispers that He makes into our ears to lead us one step at a time on a path away from God.
USE YOUR LIFELINE.
The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 4:7, “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” We have a DIRECT lifeline to God! How many times has the fate of the Israelites been altered because of the prayers of the faithful that were sent to heaven to intervene on their behalf? Not “Dear Cosmic Jesus, please bring me this and that” prayers. But true conversation – speaking AND listening, intervening on behalf of our schools, our children, our nation, our neighbors, and our families. When was the last time you – the last time I – prayed to the God who created every single thing around us as if we believed He could actually answer? Like Peter, who faltered on the waves when he looked around at the fierceness of the storm, our eyes need to be on Him, not on the things going on around us. Yes, we are to be aware of the world and what’s going on so we can teach our children HOW to survive and how to live their faith, but don’t be so afraid of what’s going on in the world that you let go of your faith in fear of the world’s retaliation.
Luke 21:36 tells us, “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
We KNOW times will get tough, but that’s no reason to be afraid. It’s time to gear up. Time to strengthen our faith, not falter. Not time to let go of God’s hand, but to grasp it tighter than ever before, so you can answer the question that Jesus himself asks in Luke 18:8.
“However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
That, I think is the scariest of all. That when He comes, there will be no one left who stood the test, not even you or I. That in our wishiwashiness, we never really stood for anything at all. It’s going to be scary to stand, but we absolutely have to.
How can I come alongside you, grab your hand, help YOU learn more about Him, stand firm, and strengthen your faith? I welcome your comments and thoughts.