Monday, October 31, 2016

Stand Firm

In this intolerant pre-election season I have become increasingly aware of the ramping intolerance for Christians in our society. The press is the leader along with very sadly our own government. I could go on complaining about this, but Jesus and early disciples very clearly warned us that this would come in like a flood. “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them- bringing swift destruction on themselves”  (2Peter 2:1).  As we studied recently and proclaimed, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).  There are many similar teachings in the later New Testament warning us to stand firm in the faith.

 I am part of a group of men, Faithwalkers, a Bible study representing nearly 20 separate denominations, but of common cause in Christ and His sovereignty and everlasting inerrant Word, the Bible. We stand together to encourage one another. I have described this group for over 25 years of attendance as my “aircraft carrier.” We each are like planes flying out to do battle all week and then return each Saturday, full of bullet holes, to study, share and be healed by the Way, the Truth and the Life in Jesus Christ.  As long as we stay true to our biblical tenants we will be a strong and safe place for believers to lift up His word and each other.

The psalmist said, “He gave us a firm place to stand” (Psalm 40:2). That place is the word of God which stands forever and will never leave or forsake us as Hebrews 13:5 speaks of our Lord and Savior. “Not one word has failed” (1 Kings 8:56) the Bible tells us. God has given us nearly 7,500 promises to stand on in faith. Joshua said, “You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed” (Joshua 23:14-15). Yet God has also promised that He will bring “evil” upon us if we disregard and don’t follow His covenants.

We as a country have come to a scary place of immorality and faithlessness in God. Joel, a prophet of God called for the Israelites to, Consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord” (Joel 1:14).  Solomon similarly called for a sacred assembly after the temple construction was finished and prayed, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).  This prayer was the theme prayer for “Stand in The Gap, a Scared Assembly of Men,” held in Washington, D.C. October 4th, 1997. I led a group of nearly 100 men from our study to join the largest assembly ever held in the capital of 1.3 million men, “To gather a diverse multitude of men in the name of Jesus Christ to confess personal and collective sin so that we may present to the Lord godly men on their knees and poised for revival and spiritual awakening.”  This was accompanied by the Promise Keepers movement, the largest Christian organization of praying men in our history. Yet our nation has continued to fall into immorality, rewriting the constitution and changing the Word of God concerning marriage an institution of God for men and women. The numbers of Christians has been falling. This unfortunate trend will continue as intolerance and persecution increase and people want to get along with a culture that does not honor God or His Word.

So what do we do as Christians? Paul dealt with persecutions and even stoning. Yet he said to the Corinthians, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14).

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