Yikes! 2015 is almost half gone, and we’re still here, not dead, and not yet rescued from this depraved and reprobate world. The darker it is, the brighter a light shines, and your light and mine can still shine like a city on a hill—IF we abide in Christ and “stay lit.”

God’s Word is very clear that those who choose to follow Jesus Christ will meet opposition and persecution similar to what he did. When I first made Jesus “Lord,” I didn’t fully realize that I was signing up to suffer. Surely you are aware of the increasingly worldwide persecution of Christians, and it is coming our way. The Internet is full of true accounts of Christians here in the USA being persecuted for standing up for their faith, and there are many warnings of impending economic chaos and depression, civil disorder, martial law, the dis-armament of our citizenry, confinement camps, and great restrictions on our freedom. What should we do in the face of such disturbing information?

The Internet is full of true accounts of Christians here in the USA being persecuted for standing up for their faith, and there are many warnings of impending economic chaos and depression, civil disorder, martial law, the disarmament of our citizenry, confinement camps, and great restrictions on our freedom. What should we do in the face of such disturbing information?  

After defining “faith” and emphasizing its absolute necessity for powerful Christian living, Hebrews 11 lays out the sterling litany of the faith in action of many Hebrew believers, as well as the persecution they suffered. I, for one, have led a very “sheltered” life in that regard, never having experienced anything close to life-threatening opposition. But given the clear message of Scripture, I think I should be doing something to prepare my heart to face what so many of my brethren have faced, and are facing today. My goal is to GROW IN FAITH.

MAGNIFYING GOD is a huge key to growing in faith (trust) in His promises. Think about this: when the Israelites looked at GOLIATH, they compared him to themselves, and ran away from him. But because David had MAGNIFIED his God, he compared Goliath to GOD and ran toward him. Comparing the otherwise overwhelming wickedness of the world to the boundless goodness of God is the only way to do what the Word repeatedly exhorts us to do: “Fear not!”

Jesus Christ is the only perfect image of the invisible God. He showed us precisely what God is like and how He deals with us, ALWAYS doing ALL He can to give us His BEST. Jesus vividly magnified to us both our Father’s WILLINGNESS to bless us and His ABILITY to do so. Our God (and our Lord Jesus) can and will do for us the kinds of miraculous things we see them do in the Word.

If you have not heard the May WWF teaching I did titled Living in the Eye of the Storm, please do so. It significantly augments what you are reading in this FOD letter. Among many other things, we looked at the Greek word for what we call “stress,” and set forth keys from the Word as to how David, Jesus, and Paul dealt with the relentless pressure in their lives. Our choices are fear or faith, agitation or peace, and each of those attitudes is a choice.

Segment 11 of One Day With The Creator is titled: The Biblical Motif: “This is WAR!” because that is the message of God’s Word. Satan, of course, wants people to believe (and most Christians do) that God is in control and that He is ultimately responsible for both good and bad, triumph and tragedy. That fatalistic fallacy leads to passivity on the part of God’s people, rather than an aggressive spiritual assault on the methods of the Devil. His 6000-year onslaught against God’s communication to man has been very successful, to the end that the vast majority of precious Christians believe far too many “doctrines of devils.” Consider the following verses:

2 Peter 2:1-9
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. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to [Tartarus], putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.

We need to recognize the reality of Satan’s dominant influence in the world today (1 John 5:19), and yet not let it dilute our joy and peace. The key to doing so is intimacy with our Lord Jesus, who was tempted in all ways as we are, yet never failed to entrust himself to God, always focusing on the joy of hope set before him.

1 Peter 3:13-17
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

That is not saying that it is ever the will of God for us to suffer, but rather that it is the will of God for us to stand in harm’s way, like Jesus did, and that if we do, we will suffer to some degree.

1 Peter 4:12-16
12 Dear friends, do not be surprisedat the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

Our brother Paul’s exhortations to Timothy and to the Philippians saints are both totally relevant for us today and extremely encouraging.

2 Timothy 1:6-12
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

Philippians 1:27-30
27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

The key phrase there is “striving TOGETHER.” If the dung (biblically speaking) hits the fan, you and I must have koinonia—intimate fellowship with our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. We need one another’s love, encouragement, and comfort as we stand together for our Lord. Who are your close Christian friends with whom your heart is knit together?

You may know that I’m currently ministering in six prisons here in central Indiana, where about 75 guys are now going through ODWTC. The inmates here are referred to as “Offenders.” Who is the greatest “Offender” of all time? Yes, that would be Jesus Christ. For example, “Hello, I am the only way to the one true God.” Jesus was LIGHT and TRUTH, and numerous verses like John 3:19 (“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil”) show us that if we follow him, we too will incur the wrath of sinful men.

In the right sense, I too want to be an Offender! The question is, who do we offend, and how? Let us MAGNIFY OUR GREAT BIG WONDERFUL GOD, strengthen ourselves in the Lord, and determine to step out in faith and walk in his steps until he rescues us from this present, evil age.

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