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While homosexuality is an sin against God both in the Oral Law and in the New Covenant it is hardly the only sin. And now, once again, it is in the forefront. Yet it is not the greatest sin or even close to it. Jesus did not even once mention it and He spoke clearly of other sins. The Foundational Church spoke of seven “Deadly sins” and homosexuality was not one of them.
We need to take things into perspective in these times. Vanity, Greed, Gluttony, Drunkenness, Divorce and Lewdness are mentioned by Jesus as offensive to God. Lying to God and using the position of leadership to deceive, extort or abuse are far more sinful. These offences are more troubling to the health of the church than the sins of the flesh.
Do not get me wrong, I am not trying to condone homosexuality but trying to put into its proper perspective. In the Oral Law, it was equal to adultery, fornication, incest, and pedophilia. We, as a Christian society, have not only condoned these behaviors, we have embraced them. We have even gone so far as to say that parents of children who have babies out of wedlock are “good role models.” we have labels a president whose wife practices sorcery as a wonderful Christian. And believe me, “channeling” is a form of sorcery. We have adapted New Age principles and ideas into our worship.
While I condemn the churches that have embraced the homosexual life style as from the pulpit, I also condemn those who elect to keep the fornicators, adulterers and child abusers. I shudder to think how may drunkards, gluttons and abusive men and women are in positions of church authority. We need to clean up our own acts before cast stones at others. We need to face the reality that ALL sin is sin and an affront to God’s Mercy and Compassion.
Having said all this, I want to also add my voice to those who support the California Marriage Act. Because the term marriage is and always has been defined as the relationship between a man and a woman in every culture know to man, it should remain so. The civil rights of those who want to have a legal binding relationship between two person of the same sex should not be called marriage. In the State of California, there is such provisions through Civil Unions. These are both legal and binding and that should be enough for them. But Marriage in the American cultural sense is the same as the sacred union established by Biblical Traditions. So to those who wish to change the law to satisfy their egos, GET OVER IT!
I know that this will end up in the Supreme Court and they have been notorious in for ruling against God at every turn. So I am convinced that Big Brother will once again distort the language of the Constitution with “good speak” and eventually Religion will take a back seat to will of the unsaved.
God Help this Nation in its many times of sin.
Pakistan Secret service supplies Taliban.
Afghanistan want to execute Christian converts.
Egypt allows forced conversions to Islam by rape and torture.
Israel uses white phosphorus on Muslim and Christians in Gaza.
India continues to free the masterminds of 2009 riots against Christian diats.
The government of the United States of America still finds it right and just to continue to support these nations that have little regard for the well being of Christian minorities. I don’t lay the blame on the Administration but on the continued policies of the last forty years of the rule of the Industrial Military Complex that Eisenhower warned us of while he was president. We are so entrenched in the fears of the “Cold War” mentality that it has clouded our Christian sensibilities. While I do support the need of a strong defense, our constant assertions that the world is against us is precisely because of our arrogance, intrusions and the “need to wave the big guns at everybody and at the same time call them friends.
We sold our souls to the Chinese, Indians, Arabs and Global corporations. We have become a nation that sells out our fellow man because of the “new god”, money. Because we have become dependant on the Chinese trade, Arab oil and the International Banks, we walk in fear of everyone. We support Dictators and Despots. We buy fuel from companies that supply and train racketeer militias in Burma. The Christian principles that this nation was founded on have been lost to the “best interests” of worldly concerns. It is well past time to condemn the actions of those countries that seem fit to attack our Faith, our LORD and our spiritual freedom.
When nations deem it right and even sacred to kill our brothers and sisters in Christ, then we as a nation should condemn them instead of supplying them with the means to continue atrocities against God. We have boycotted North Korea but continue to support the terrorist regime of Burma. We condemn Palestine and Iran yet continue to support Iraq, Pakistan and Egypt who have killed more Christians or supported genocide against free people within their own borders.
THIS IS NOT THE WAY OF CHIRST JESUS!
God has commanded us to live with peace and to condemn those who seek war. We are to brush the dust from our sandals from those who reject His teachings, His Salvation and His Mercy. As a nation “under God”, we should open our doors to all people who suffer persecution in their homelands and offer up our homes, schools and freedoms to them. We should not continue to support the governments that defile God’s Word. Our troops would be better served if they defended the natural borders of our land rather than the financial institutions and special interests of foreign enterprises.
We would do better to spend more time in churches praying for the well being of our persecuted brethren than singing praises to God that we are blessed because we are not like them. The next time you look at your daughters, think of the Egyptian Christians girls forced into marriage against their will by Islamic radicals at the age of twelve. Think of the small Christian Children forced to work as slaves in Islamic household to pay off falsified debts in Pakistan. When you get out of your warm beds in the morning, think of the families of the Karen Christians of Burma and the Diat Indians who were burned out of their homes by Buddhist and Hindu radicals while the government stood by and did nothing. And add to this the fact that in Mexico, local government have the right to expel from thier comunities Chirstians because the local leaders are pagans.
As long as this nationcontinues to support, evil or uncaring governments throughout the world, we are slaves to the same sins. We can not serve God and the Devil at the same time. We must stand up for Christ! We must comdemn the corperations, political leaders and businesses that keep us in bongage to evilness.
Heed the words of peter, “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human instution. …” (1Peter 2:13) Be subject to the fact that this nation is ruled by the voice of the people and as such, in condoning the actions of evil, we are not being subject for the Lord’s sake. In supporting persecution, we are ourselves subject to God’s wrath.
Dear President Obama,
For the last several years we read the reports of persecution against Christians in countries that we call our friends. Yet I see little action or response to these horrific actions. India still has not addressed the riots on 2008. Egypt has not changed the policies that led to the Little Christmas massacre of Jan 6, 2010 and Pakistan has done little to stem the constant abduction, rape, forced conversions and marriages of minor Christian girls.
And now I am getting reports form Open Doors Ministry and International Christian Concerns that the Afghanistan Parliament is considering the expulsion of Christian Aid groups and planning the execution of converts to Christianity. If we are to be a nation that supports Human Rights, Freedom of Religious beliefs and the Free Speech, then why are we continuing to provide aid, military support and free trade without limits to nations that hold our values in contempt? Why are American jobs lost to nations that repress their own people? Why do we offer favored status to China, India and other nations that think nothing of persecuting, murdering and torturing those who only what to worship God in their own way?
In the strongest language and backed up with action, this Nation should condemn, stop aid and restrict traffic to ALL nations that continue to persecute people of faith. Let this nation, with the strongest economy, military and voice, stop being the whipping post and whimpering giant and stand for its principles before God and the world.
Thank you and may God have mercy on our souls,
Wholly for Christ
In Great Britain it has been declared a crime to openly preach about homosexuality. Arrests have been made of those passing out bible tracts or speaking out about homosexuality as a sin. Because the homosexual community has gathered much strength in America, soon it will be the same here as well.
I wonder how long it will take before preaching about any form of sin will be outlawed. Already we have dismissed divorce as a sin, lying is practiced openly and adultery is acceptable as well as fornication. Soon all sin will be legal and to openly preach about them will become the crime.
The courts in this land are ruling that Christian groups in universities must allow homosexuals and non-Christians be allowed to join and even become leaders. A judge tried to rule that the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional. Atheism, Islam and even Marxism are allowed in our school curriculum but the Word of God that is the foundation of out laws is not.
How long will we stand quiet and let our nation slip into paganism? Soon nations like China will have more religious freedom and protection of Christian rights than England, U.S.A. and other “Free” Nations.
We need to put our voices and our hands to work and speak, write and march for protection of Christians to use their rights of free speech, assembly and press to openly share the Gospel in the public square and in the media. We need to gather freinds in the Media to fight for our rights and to protect our freedoms. Here in America and in Europe, Christians are being marginalized and pushed aside because of our Faith. People like Stephen Hawking are given air time to mock our beliefs and space to condemn us in the schools and on Television. Shows that promote false teachings, heresies and rumors are aired all the time but the Truth is hidden from view. Christian organizations should demand equal time and the right to refute these distortions of history and lies with the facts of the Gospel.
If the Church put as much effort in defending the Faith and defining true science and reliable as apposed to theory and speculation, we would gather merit in the public eye and find more people willing to stand with us. Let us become vocal, vibrant and even outrageous in the defense of Christ and the Gospel. Let us also remind the public that Christianity opened the doors of modern science, medicine and education. It was the Christian Church that brought Europe out of the Dark Ages. The first Universities were Christian. The Rule of Law came from the Church and the moral codes that provide protection for woman, children and minorities are all based on Christian understandings. Without the Church, we would still be living under either anarchy or a oppressive governments like Nazism, Fascism or Marxism. Without the Biblical Belief System, Tyranny would be the rule, the law of the strong and powerful rather than the grace of godly understanding.
In spite of what secular non-religious promoters what to tell our children, with out God’s Law to guide us, we would be dysfunctional. Our rights to share the Word of God and to promote godly living is the foundation of civilization and for the common good. Let us fight the Good Fight for Christ!
Today is the National Day of Prayer and as a nation, the U.S.A. is in need of it. As the Military, U.S. courts rule against Christian values and expression, we are quickly turning into a Nation of the godless. Our media, entertainment, music outlets have constantly opposed, ridiculed and openly slandered those who believe in the God of our ancestors.
Little is told of the good of our faithful or the contributions offered by those who turn to God. Science has declared war on the teaching of the Bible. And we are dealing monetarily and becoming dependent on the Enemies of Christ. As our hunger for cheap goods, Arab oil and Free Trade grows, our desire to remain a Christian Nation fades.
Wake up America! Our love of the things of the World turn our hearts away from God. Soon it will become evident that this is NOT a Christian Nation but one that worships the very things of the World that lead us into Spiritual Destruction. Pray for our Nation every day but also pray that we are not trapped into the ways of the flesh and the desires of the comforts of the world. Pray that we awaken our Love of God, renew our Love of Worship and put aside those things that cast us out of the Grace of God.
Pray that as a Nation founded on the principles of Godly Equality and Fairness, we return to the very codes that made us the pioneer if peaceful existence and shared fellowship. Pray for our churches, schools and businesses that are live under the guidance of the God’s laws and Golden Rule.
And God Bless America—We need it!
Each day more and more people the world over are coming to Christ in waves and waves. On Resurrection Sunday 3,000 were Baptized in the city of Hong Kong. As India and Burma still resist the Evangelical advance, hundreds come to accept the Blessings of the Lord Jesus daily. In Egypt, Coptic Christian numbers grow in spite of Government condoned violence toward them. Iran has seen an increase of Muslims converting to Christianity.
At the turn of the Twentieth Century, Christians in Africa, Asia and the Middle East numbered in the thousands, today they number into the Millions. Approximately 45% of Africa is Christian and this includes counting North Africa which is predominantly Muslin. The South Pacific nations show that the numbers between Asian Religions, Muslim and Animism traditions combined barely outnumber the combined Catholic and Evangelical faiths. In China, there are at best guess, 30 million Christians ( about 9% of the population). From China, the “Back to Jerusalem Movement” has begun and the Silk Road Ministry has sent out over a thousand missionaries from China to spread the gospel back west toward Israel. South Korea Christians are the most enthusiastic evangelists and there are more Korean Evangelical communities outside Korea than in and still the number of churches exceeds 1,600 in Korea.
In Latin America there are more pentacostal churches than in North America. I quote from Bruce Shelly’s book “Church History in Pain Language,” in stating that there are more Baptist Churches in the Democratic Republic of Congo than in America. The African Anglican Church is sending missionaries to the U.S.A. And the most shocking of all, there are more people in the underground churches every Sunday than in all the churches in America combined.
The question then rises; why is the Gospel on the rise everywhere but in America and Europe? The answer is in the current trend of agnosticism and anti-god approach of the science community, the “politically correct” secularist governments and the media’s fascination with “scandals” that flood our airways. “Bad News” is good press, always. So this is the “bad news” for today,…. God is Real and He is getting fed up with us! As I read the Old Testament I see that every time the Israelites wandered from the Truth and took on the ways of the “World” they faced disaster and war. As the West is turning toward a godless society, Christians the world over face persecutions, the governments in Germany, Sweden, UK, USA and Russia pass laws that restrict free expression of Christian Faith. If the trend does not turn back toward Godliness instead of godlessness, Christians, Jews and and other faiths will be hounded down and ridiculed in America as they are in the Middle East, North Africa, India and Burma.
What are you doing to protect your right of Faith? If you were charged with “crimes against the State” for being a Christian would you be convicted? Are you “guilty” of loving and “Serving the KING”? Slowly we are returning to the days of the early Church, the witnesses of Faith, the Way and the Cross are shunned by society. We are mocked by people like Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan and others because we accept that God is real. But what are we doing about it? Very little it seems. We can start by inviting our unbelieving friends to church, we can speak openly about our faith. We can reach out toward others of Faith (outside our own small group of believers) and work together to share the Mercy, Love and Grace of Christ.
Not only are we to be better attenders of Church, we are to be better retainers of God’s Good News! “Count as JOY, my brothers, when you meet trails of various kinds, for you KNOW that the testing of your FAITH produces STEADFASTNESS.” (James 1:2 ESV). “But the one who looks into the PERFECT LAW, the Law of LIBERTY, and preserves, being no hearer of the WORD but a DOER WHO ACTS, he will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1:25 ESV).”As a fellow elder, this is my appeal to you: CARE of the flock of God entrusted to you. WATCH over it willingly, not grudgingly – not for what you will get out of it, but because you are EAGER to SERVE GOD. Don’t lord over the people assigned to your care but LEAD THEM by your GOOD EXAMPLE.” (1 Peter 5:2-4 NLT) [Caps mine]. When Jesus gave the Great Commission to spread the Good News to all Nations, it wasn’t to stop until all who were willing to come to His Saving Grace were reached. Christians in America and Europe must rise up and take their place in society as leaders, examples and participants of their Faith.
Open Doors Ministry sent me a list of Remarkable Remarks made by those who live in persecuted areas. Among those were; “Christians are like nails; the harder you hit them, the deeper they go.” “All my suffering is worthwhile, even if I were to reach only one person for Christ.” “We are soldiers under the banner of Jesus Christ in a spiritual battle. We can only advance and never retreat.” Are we game enough to defend our Faith with the actions worthy of Jesus? Let us begin with a prayerful attitude and commune with Our Father in heaven to open our hearts, voices and our wills to serve the Lord of Creation and His Beloved son, Jesus with the Spirit of the Most High to guide us.
The Perpetual Need for Prayer
Many Nations where surprised to find themselves on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s “hit list.” While it is expected that China, North Korea, Eritrea and Saudi Arabia are on the top of the list, Vietnam, Pakistan and Nigeria where not expecting to be on the list. Their governments seemed to put an effort in allowing and encouraging religious freedoms.
What went wrong? Well, it wasn’t the governments that practice discrimination officially. The local leaders; religious and secular, that led the persecutions or allowed mob violence and personal vendettas take root. India, Egypt, Turkey and even Israel failed in the efforts to protect minority religions. Being made aware of this, efforts are underway to rectify the problems.
While it is easy to condemn these Nations, it is hard to boycott, reprimand and close ranks against them. China, Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and many others are “Trade partners” with America. We are trying to build bridges with Iran, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba. Yet all these Nations still have to deal with the mind set that Christianity is a “Western Intrusion”.
International Christian Concern has put together a prayer calendar that is available by request at firstname.lastname@example.org. and Voice of the Martyrs has a prayer list as does Open Doors. To keep updated on the trials of the Persecuted Church, The Roman Catholic Church also reports on the Christians of all walks in China, Burma and throughout the Sub Continent at asianews.it and UCAN.org.
Each day I read their reports and I also read news on Mission New Network. To see the complete list of nations on the USCIRF list you can go to their web site uscirf.gov.
I would like to point out that not all persecutions is against just Christians. In Countries such as Uzbekistan, there are only a handful of religions that are given freedom. Russian Orthodox Roman Catholic and the “National Musim” faiths are accepted, evengelicals, Baptist and Luthern are not. All other Muslims are rejected as well as all Eastern Religions.
What is needed is prayer for the people who having become refugees are being told that they have to return to their homelands even though they are under the threat of death. The U.S.A. and its allies must put these people first. They need our protection over all others. While we face the debate on new immigration laws, those people who come to America for religious freedom are the only ones to be given priority. Those seeking economic betterment can say what they will, but they need to wait in line. It should be understood by the government, that the life of every man, woman and child is the most important reason for entry. Those who enter the country from Mexico can wait a while longer, and use the proper channels.
And as a Free people, we need to step up and tell our leaders that the persecuted Christians should not be delayed in being allowed entry. And we need to let them know that we do not want to buy products made by enslaved people, or from nations that fail to allow its people to worship God as they choose. If China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other nations do not step up in protecting all their people then we should stop all trade with them. We should not aid and condone prosecutions by dealing with them. All Nations on the USCIRF list should be put on alert; No Religious Freedom, No Trade.
“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.” (James 5:1 ESV). The sarcasm of James does not become the person who was called the brother of Christ. But even as today, the rich and powerful are tempted to do the outrageous in order to “protect” their wealth. James seems to echo 1 Tim 6:10 with a vengeance. The love of money is the downfall of many good Christians. The need to accumulate wealth in excess stands in the way of the path of righteousness as a mighty roadblock and causes most to forget the statutes of God and the power of Chirst living. In the final days, in the days of judgement, “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” (Proverbs 11:4, ESV). God does not count your gold or silver but the intent of your heart. If you used money for the good of mankind, it is well; but if you kept the fortunes and denied the welfare of the needy and the poor then it will be charged against you. It would appear that those who amassed great fortunes at the expense of others have found it of no value in heaven and useless in the pit of torment. Many have stood at the feeding trough, leaving millions of people jobless, homeless and penniless. and they cry out “Woe is me, I have lost fortunes! Please bail ME out while I let others wither by the wayside!” It is as if they did not listen to the words of Jesus, as He preached on the mountain side, “Do not lay up your treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal, but lay up yourselves Treasure in Heaven…” (Matthew 6:19-20 ESV).
Today I see the same mindset in not only the very rich but also in those who struggle day to day to provide for their families. The forces that causes them to work hard to provide for their families causes them to forsake the needs of others. I hear their cries that others don’t deserve help because they didn’t earn it as much as others. It is an attitude that if you want it, go earn it yourselves, regardless if they are capable working, have an opportunity to work or the skills to provide for their needs. They reject the needs of the elderly, sick or weak because they are afraid that if they help, they will become just like them. So they hoard what little they have to prevent the “undeserving” from getting anything at all.
James 5:3 states, “Your gold and silver have corroded you and their corrosion will be evidence against you…” When the final judgement comes God will ask you if your desire of wealth, and the reluctance to give aid to others, was more important than your desire to please Your God. Are you so afraid that the health needs, the food on other tables, the education of those in the inner cities, the starving, persecuted in foreign lands would come out of your pocketbooks that you forsake the Gospel of the Sermon on the Mount? Here in America, the land of the free, we are leaning toward a land of the haves and the have-nots. What we create by our reluctance to share with one another, to fight for the issues that provide for all, to meet the needs of the many, is in fact partnering with the oppressors in the dehumanization of the poor, weak and those who have medical needs that they can not meet by their own means.
Moses told the people, “You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him, the wages of the hired servant will not remain with you all night until the morning. You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind. but you shall fear [revere] Your God.” (Lev 19:13-14 ESV). Yet while our nation debates on a National Heath Program, struggles to create jobs for the unemployed and provide programs for those struggling with mortgages that they were tricked into getting and they could not afford, many good Christians cry out they do not deserve our help. But let me ask you this; do any of us deserve to be rescued by Jesus from our sins? What makes us better than God? Who are we to decide who is worth saving and who is not? I have long held the notion that if those who loved the Lord Our God as we claim to do, the Government would not need to create programs for society, the Christians would naturally do it themselves. While we struggle to keep our heads above water, we hear those who have robbed us of our well being by shady deals, unscrupulous business practices and outrageous profit taking tell us the the government want to take from us what is ours. The facts are that they are the ones who are the robbers. They convinced us to buy what we did not need, to invest in their schemes and to trust their bad judgements. They try to convince us that by helping one another to survive, we are only hurting ourselves. They try to tell us that some people deserve not to have a living wage, to be denied medical aid, to earn a right to live in a safe place, to have equal and affordable education. And to make things worse, many come to us as leaders in our communities and our churches.
In Deut. 24:14 comes the commandment of the God of All; “You shall not oppress the hired servant who is poor and needy…” Jeremiah tells the rich and the powerful. “Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper room on injustice.” (Jer. 22:13 ESV). The prophet Malachi tells them, “Then I will draw near to you a judgement, I will be a swift witness against… those who oppose the hired workers in his wages, the widow and the fatherless…” (Mal. 3:5). therefore when James says, “Behold the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you. And their cries have reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.” (James 5:5 ESV).
It is no wonder then that those who have been denied, who are victims of other peoples greed and carelessness, who live without the benefit of health insurance, who are now jobless and have lost their homes in these days of crisis cry out as did David, “I call upon You, for You will answer me, O God; incline Your ear to me to hear my words.” (Psalm 17:6) “In my distress, I called upon the LORD. to My God; I cried for help.” (Psalm 18:6). The poor, the lame and the rejected cry our for justice while those who have all the benefits, the wealth and the power cry out, “Woe is me, I can not spare pennies of my millions to help you.” They do not care for the plight of the people, they seem to worship another God than we do.
Did not Isaiah warn the people of Judea, “Woe to those who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is no more room, and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land.” (Isaiah 5:8 ESV). If ever there was an argument against mega-conglomerates, this is one. As the few amassed great wealth by cutting jobs, rejecting decent wages and joining together to create a false sense of security with “paper profits” , fewer and fewer people had real jobs and real pay. If James wrote to the churches today, his words would be even stronger at the mega-preachers who drive luxury cars, and live in mansions while thousands of people are out of work, with no food to feed their families, no homes. Do not think that you are “saved”, when we wish to reap desolation on those who have less by neglect. We are then no better than the Pharisee who thanked God he was not like the publican. (See Luke 18:9-14).
So when James says that the injustices of the rich and powerful against the workers cry out against them, they reach the ears of the LORD. And those who support the injustice because they fear that they shall “lose” riches on earth, they share in the injustice. I have heard prayers that the health plans of the government fail. I have heard people say that those who are in fear of losing their homes because banks talked them into loans they could not afford should not be helped. To them I say, Christ is not in your heart. James says, “You have condemned and murdered the righteous person.” (James 5:6). When our hearts are hardened to the point that we no longer want to help those who are in need, or who foolishly listened to the advise of greedy men, that our hearts no longer hear God’s Love of all men. As we fret over the cost of programs to help the needy, we lose sight that we are to love one another as equals in the eyes of the Lord.
Paul wrote to the citizens of Rome, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present yourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1 ESV). Jesus told the Pharisees, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your heart. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15 ESV). So these men who were the lovers of money, (Luke 16:14) are the same people who justify accumulation of wealth that serves no purpose but to deny others. The need of greater wealth is status and they become bored and feel useless without it. 2 Peter 2:19 speaks of the powerful and sinful as those who live in error, “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” to the rich and the powerful who resist paying good wages, who fight against health programs and would rather lay off or fire a good worker to hire someone else for less, they have enslaved themselves to a false god. They have come to worship the need of money over the Grace of God. They have forsaken righteousness for greed, no matter how much they justify or candy coat their intentions. To them, their reward is in the wealth they acquire. because they have turned to worship manna, their only reward will here on earth. They will be rewarded by a swift and hash judgement in the final days. Their god, manna, money, will not save them. they may cry our, “Lord, LORD,” but he will not hear them, the god of wealth has no ears.
To which James says, “Be patient, therefore, brother,…” (James 5:7) The righteous will be served, the faithful to the Spirit of Christ will prevail and those who suffered on earth by the hand of the ungodly and the unrighteous will see heaven and be able to praise God eternally. what we must guard against is that we don’t lose sight of God in our struggles to survive day to day. We must focus on the riches of a godly life and not on the frivolous thing of the world. we must be satisfied with what we have and not desire to have more than we need if it means others do without because of it. We must strive to live within our means and use our excess to aid others. We are to protect ourselves form placing to much importance on worldly things and be satisfied by the pleasures of God rather than the desires of material things.
I ask myself today if I really need all the trappings of man that surround me and I find that I have way more than I actually need. I could do away with most of the things I have and still be comfortable enough. Even the house I live in is more than I wanted and I have lived in a smaller house most of my life quite well. For years I have tried to convince my family that I don’t need a second car, ( I don’t like driving anyway) but they have always found a need for it. God has always prevented me from selling it. God knew that I still needed to keep it so that my daughter can use it until she can affords one of her own. (She does not want to buy it, she hates it!) As I write this, I have been thinking of all the things I can do without. When the Mobile Park has its next yard sale, I want get rid of most of it and donate the money to missions. Convincing my wife will be a problem though, much of the stuff was bought with her own money and I have no right to ask her to sell or dispose of things that I have no control over. As I realized that I have not practiced as well as I should the lessons of God’s word regarding my own meager “wealth”, I see that I enjoy pleasures to much while members of my own family are struggling with their lives. So I intend to put into practice what I preach.
There is concerns that the new Religion Reform Laws of the small Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan are really an attack on the freedoms of the minority Christian religions of the country. While religious freedom is guaranteed in the Constitution of the nation, the new laws give the government more control over who can worship and where they can meet. I carefully read the press release of Forum 18, a religious watchdog group, and found little evidence that the new laws were designed to attack Christians but where targeting radial militant Muslims and “State Religions” of foreign groups.
The History of the conflicts between the Russian Orthodox and the Armenian Orthodox people give rise to caution in this fledgling democracy. Its location in southeastern Europe and the closeness to the oil fields in the Caspian Sea make for a very nervous Government. The fact that the pipe lines from the Caspian Sea go through their country and into Georgia and Turkey keeps them on their toes. But perhaps the most dangerous threat comes from Iran and its oppressive form of Islam and the possible spread of radical, militant and inhumane cell groups like the ones that raked havoc in its neighbor, Afghanistan.
Ninety-three percent of its residents are Islamic and have lived in peace with its Christian neighbors. Combined, the Armenian and Russian Christians only represent five percent of the population. The other two percent are a mix of Hare Krishna, Evangelical Christians and Atheists. The new laws will affect mostly those Islamics who want to start cults or religious cells that do not promote religious tolerance. Even though Shi’ite Muslims are the majority, they are not of the same mindset as those in Iran.
While we need to be aware of the temptation to exploit others by the new laws, we should take into consideration that they are trying to protect their people from terrorists who use religion to promote hate and violence. They suffered under the cloak of the USSR for decades and resent foreign entanglements and the intrusion of others into their way of peaceful coexistence. They would no more welcome a repressive Religious Regime than they would welcome the return of Communism. Pray that they seek the Wisdom of God and the sensibility of International Law when enacting the new laws. Pray that they find that the true believers of God seek only to live within the peace of God and desire never to bring harm to others. Pray that the doors of Spiritual Freedom are opened to those who bring the Message of Peace into the land.
What I want to stress here is these laws make it impossible for terror groups like the Al Qaeda and the Taliban form forming cells in Azerbaijan. And that is a very good thing! What the government of Azerbaijan needs to do is to act with tolerance and gentleness when dealing with the over enthusiastic Evangelists. Let them examine the intent of these missionaries and the heart of the message. And I applaud Forum 18 for keeping us informed of what is happening in these small Republics across Europe and Western Asia.