Evangelical families in Mexico lose access to water, services for refusing to deny their faith

Two evangelical families in central Mexico have been threatened with being cut off from essential services or expelled from the community if they continue to refuse to deny their faith and pay a fine illegally levied against them, according to a report.

The families of Nemesio Cruz Hernández and Eligio Santiago Hernández, who are from the First Baptist Church in the La Mesa Limantitla area in Hidalgo state’s Huejutla de los Reyes Municipality, were threatened during a community meeting on Monday, the U.K.-based group Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported.

At the meeting, the evangelical families were forbidden to even speak as they were threatened.

On Aug. 3, community leaders, identified as Jose Marcos Martínez and Julio Alvarado Hernández, had made similar threats and instructed them to stop holding worship services in the home of Bartolo Martínez Hernández, who was also fined for allowing services in his house.

In January 2019, many evangelical families were forced to sign an agreement renouncing their faith. While eight families signed it, the families of Cruz Hernández and Santiago Hernández refused to do so.

The community leaders then blocked the two families’ access to water, sewer services, government benefit programs and the community mill for over a year until they were forced to sign an extra-legal agreement on Jan. 15, 2020, in which they renounced their right to hold religious services.

The agreement said each family would be ordered to pay an illegal fine of $3,000 ($57,700 Mexican pesos). State authorities paid part of the fine, but the families have continued to be threatened with forced displacement in several follow-up meetings throughout 2020 and this year, CSW said, adding that the amount of the fine is based on the costs incurred by community leaders in their efforts to halt any investigation into crimes or human rights violations associated with the case.

In Mexico, such extra-legal agreements are often used in lieu of appropriate justice mechanisms when the rights of religious minorities are violated.

The state officials must intervene “as a matter of urgency,” CSW’s Head of Advocacy, Anna-Lee Stangl, said. “If the state government refuses to protect the rights of religious minorities, the federal government must intervene.” Stangl added: “The government, at both state and federal levels, must address the culture of impunity which has allowed violations like these to go unchecked for far too long, ensuring that families like those of Mr. Cruz Hernández and Mr. Santiago Hernández are free to practice any religion or belief of their choosing without being forced to pay illegal fines or facing pressure to renounce their beliefs under threat of criminal actions including the cutting of basic services and forced displacement.”

This is not a one-off incident of Christian persecution in Mexico, which has risen due to drug cartel violence, persecution by traditionalist Catholics and violent discrimination by anti-Christian left-wing groups, Open Doors USA previously reported.

“Last year, Mexico was [No. 52 on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List]. It’s jumped up a bunch,” Open Doors USA President and CEO David Curry told The Christian Post in an earlier interview. “That would most certainly be around the issues of violence and drug cartels.”

Traditionalist Catholics often persecute Mexican Christians, too, he said. In this way, they resemble many small, rural groups of people practicing ancient folk religions around the world. Open Doors calls this kind of persecution “clan violence.”

“These rural indigenous groups see Christian churches as an outside force. They can harass and bother churches and believers who might be in the community,” Curry said. “It’s within these four states in Mexico: Chiapas, Hidalgo, Guerero, Oaxaca. It’s very localized.”

Source: Christian Post

Watch What Your Heart Goes After

“One thing I must warn you of, Beware of Antichrist. Tis ill done of you to fall in love with Walls. Tis ill done of you to reverence the Church of God in Buildings and Edifices. You do ill to rest in such things. Or, can you question, that it is on these Antichrist will fix his throne?”

Hilarius, Bishop of Rome from 461-468 AD, quoted in History of the Crusades Against the Albigenses by J.C.L. Simonde De Sismondi – 1826

A Word For The Saints Today

If you have fallen into the habit of wringing your hands over your failure and inability, and if in the back of your mind you think that this somehow excuses you, please understand something. It does not. It is now time for you to rise up as a soldier of the Cross, put on the whole armor, and go out to fight the good fight of faith in total reliance upon the One who has called you, who has promised to be with you and give you His victory. Stop concentrating on your weaknesses and failures and look instead to Him. Fall in love with Him afresh because of who He is and what He has done. You need to turn from your own inadequacies and trust God.

“And the Lord said unto Joshua, “Rise up!” Why is it that you have fallen on your face? Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things.” — Joshua 7:10-11

Source: Berean Call

UFOs, Hyperspace and The Unseen Realm

Years ago I remember talking to a man who was concerned about the environmental future of planet Earth. He was an intelligent, highly educated medical research doctor, and a firm atheist. His “hope” for humanity rested in the colonization of space. He seriously suggested that the planet Mars could be made to support life by exploding nuclear bombs at its poles, breaking up the ice detected there, and somehow creating a life-supporting environment!

This was his faith – his faith, in spite of the fact that the Martian atmosphere consists almost entirely of carbon dioxide and is very thin. Atmospheric pressure is 5,000 times less than that of the Earth’s. Temperatures are much too cold, averaging more than 58 degrees Fahrenheit below zero!

But evolution predicts that life has occurred throughout the Universe “accidentally”, with many different routes toward the culmination of intelligent life. The different imaginations of intelligent life, evolving through different chemistries along different paths – such as those found in the science fiction of Star Wars – should be evident all around us.

This medical research doctor wanted something to hope for other than the gospel of Jesus Christ. Of course, there is no personal hope in his scenario, only a collective hope that mankind would be able to continue “evolving” on another planet.

Because of our pride and determined resistance to our Maker, mankind tries to hope for anything that makes us humans the hero. We search for anything that makes no mention of sin and the moral justice required by a Holy God. If human life had somehow been planted on Earth by visiting space aliens in time past, there would be no standard of morality which an all-knowing Creator would require of His “image-bearers”. This absence of accountability to our Creator is the attraction – and temptation – which evolution presents, including the outgrowth idea of space-aliens as “seeding” life on Earth and “guiding” mankind through the “wise men” of history.

Evolution does away with a Creator. At best, there are only “lesser gods” – much like ourselves – that could be “extraterrestrial”. They would be members of the space-time Universe further along the evolutionary ladder in their evolved planetary systems.

Currently this summer, a report is being issued by the U.S. government on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs, aka UFOs). The report includes decades of “incidents” reported by the U.S. military, noting that many are not of American origin.

But the report does not rule out foreign or extraterrestrial origins. So, its conclusions become another incentive for national security, and for more global government!

“We must defend ourselves against another Cold War-type threat of hypersonic weapons that may be able to go in and out of extra-dimensional space” – “hyperspace”, as the science fiction of Star Wars popularized. “Who knows? Extra-terrestrial life may be spying on us, and it might be unfriendly!” There are, indeed, so many things to fear and obsess about if we don’t know the Lord and keep looking to Him!

Hyperspace, in theory, is a set of extra dimensions beyond the three spatial dimensions that we experience daily. These extra dimensions are presumably able to connect distant points in real space and allow for faster-than-light speeds across the Universe. In the Star Wars movies, the characters would cross into “hyperspace drive” to travel quickly in their spacecraft. It’s pure science fiction – just like space aliens.

But the idea of “extra dimensions” carries an important biblical truth: “Interdimensional entities” are a reality! They are beings which can cross from one set of dimensions to another. The Bible – throughout its pages – speaks of angels, fallen angels, demons and the Spirit of God as moving between the four-dimensional time-space continuum (the physical world we live in) and a spiritual dimension that is unseen and unlimited by the space-time Universe.

For example, in Genesis 6 we are told how fallen angels interacted with mankind (inter-dimensionally) to bring a thorough corruption which helped lead to the Great Flood of Noah. Jude, the epistles of Peter, and the apocryphal books of Enoch elaborate on this. Psalm 82 discusses how God stands in a congregation where “He judgeth among the gods (elohim)”, who are being rebuked for ruling with corruption.

These are arguably the “principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6) which, in the study of angels, are power-player beings over the nations in collusion with Satan. This corruption of the nations, of course, led to the fact that God had to select and train His own people-group through the believing Abraham and his descendants (Deuteronomy 32). All of this supernaturalism made sense to the Hebrew worldview and writers of the Bible. But it is more difficult for modern man to be comfortable with – enlightened and limited as we are by a worldview of materialist science.

Implications for “space aliens” ala Star Wars, thus, have a basis for truth in the supernatural/spiritual reality of the God of the Bible. Satan and his fallen-angels hierarchy would like to cater to our sin nature and deceive mankind with misplaced hopes, fears, and false philosophies – thwarting the purposes of God in drawing a special people to Himself.

But our great Creator wants us to be forever united with Jesus Christ and the rest of the saints now and in eternal communion and glory – able not only to “travel safely through hyperspace” but to enjoy the heavenly blessings that He “has prepared for them that love him.” Such blessings are so wonderful that they are beyond what we can possibly imagine! This is truly a hope worth having! — Creation Moments

Where Should We Start Our Search For Truth

There is a simple shortcut to truth: start with the Bible first and investigate it thoroughly. Why start there? Not just because the Bible claims to be the only inspired Word of the one true God who created us. It also claims that all of the world’s religions and their scriptures are false and actually in the service of Satan. The Bible calls Satan “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) and thus the author of its religions. So if the Bible is true, we have saved ourselves a lifetime of vain searching through false systems. 


In fact, we can prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that every word in the Bible is true. The Bible has several unique features not found in the scriptures of the world’s religions, making it possible to substantiate its claims. Christianity is not a philosophy, mystical experience, or esoteric practice [but] is based upon undeniable and historical facts. The Bible stands on a four-fold foundation, every part of which can be examined and verified: 1) prophecy foretelling events and doctrines in advance, 2) fulfillment of those prophecies in detail, 3) secular history testifying to the fulfillment of prophecies and events, and 4) factual data corroborated by archaeology and science. None of this is the case with the teachings or scriptures of any of the world’s religions. —Dave Hunt[Excerpt taken from Seeking and Finding God (Bend, OR: TBC, 2007), pp 66-67) – Berean Call

UFOs – Fact or Fiction?

On January 4th 2021 the US Central Intelligence Agency declassified thousands of documents on unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and posted them online. These mostly contain documents “reporting UFO sightings in the foreign press and memos about how the Agency handled public inquiries about UFO sightings.”


This provides compelling evidence of how the US government has been taking the sightings of UFOs seriously for the past 70 years, despite publicly denying their existence.  


The Bible does not have any specific information on the subject of life in outer space. In Isaiah 45.18 we read: ‘For thus says the Lord, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other.’ This verse teaches that the Lord is our Creator. It implies that the earth is unique in the universe in being ‘inhabited,’ suggesting that there are no other inhabited planets and therefore no aliens trying to visit us.  


On the other hand the Bible does point to the existence of angels and demons who are able on occasions to interact with humans. This raises the possibility of another question, which is actually being asked by physicists today. Is the observable universe all there is? Is our universe one of many within a ‘multiverse’, in other words other realms which exist in a different dimension which we cannot see?


In a way the Bible agrees with this idea. Not a ‘multiverse’ but at least three different realms which are capable of interacting with our world. And the ‘visitors’ are not aliens from another planet.    


In the New Testament Paul writes of a man in Christ who ‘was caught up to the third heaven…he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.’ 2 Corinthians 12.2-5.  
In the Book of Revelation John writes of his experience of being taken out of the realm where he was (in captivity on the island of Patmos), into a heavenly realm…”  


All these experiences speak of another realm which could be described as a parallel universe. It is interesting that Paul speaks of the ‘third heaven.’ If the first heaven is the physical universe and the third heaven is the realm where God dwells, what is in the ‘second heaven?’   


These passages show that the Biblical view is that we do live in a kind of ‘multiverse’. There is the physical universe in which the earth is situated, the eternal realm where God exists and the ‘heavenly places’ where the devil and the demons exist.  The Bible also teaches that it is possible for there to be interaction between all of these realms. The presence of God appears at times on the earth. The Lord walks and talks with Adam in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3….He comes as the Angel of the Lord to appear visibly to Israelites in various occasions and to act on their behalf (Exodus 3.2, Numbers 22.22-35, Judges 2.1-4, 6.11-22, 13.3-21.  


The Bible narrative also gives reason to believe that as well as interventions on earth from God we also have interventions from the other side, from Satan and the demonic realm….Throughout the rest of the Bible we have interventions into human affairs from Satan and the demons…   


Michael Penfold gave a talk on this subject in which he said that the UFO phenomenon is all about spiritual deception. It ties in with other influences like yoga, TM, hypnosis, Zen Buddhism, drug taking in altering consciousness so that the normal function of the mind is bypassed by a spiritual entity aiming to deceive. 

To back this claim up he cites the five main messages which have been communicated by supposed contact with aliens: 


We are on the threshold of a New Age of enlightenment. 


God is an impersonal force of which we are part. We are god and our divinity is within. 


There is no death. We are endlessly re-incarnated. 


Good and evil are only illusions and one side of the same coin. 


Jesus is just a great teacher, one of many avatars who have come to earth. All roads lead to God. 


This in itself should show us that these entities are not aliens crossing billions of miles of space. Why bother to make this hazardous journey in such vast numbers as is being claimed, just to give us the same message as you can find in New Age and the occult? 


https://lightforthelastdays.co.uk/articles/christianity-and-the-last-days/light-for-the-last-days-april-2021-edition/#UFOs_nbspFact_ornbspFictionnbspnbsp

Is It Really Progressive Revelation?

It is blatantly dishonest to attempt to explain away differences in belief by saying that they simply represent Progressive Revelation, when, in fact, they represent different “revelations” that contradict each other—and, therefore, cannot possibly all come from God, who does not contradict today what He said yesterday. It may sound unifying to declare that Truth is one but called by different names. That, however, ignores the fact that Truth involves definite concepts—the correct answers to life’s ultimate questions—universal and timeless answers that do not change or vary with individuals or cultures. Greater revelation may be given, and has been given down through history as the Bible was being written, but the added revelations must agree with those of the past. You cannot build upon a foundation by undermining it.


“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines.”—Hebrews 13:7–9

Source: Berean Call

Origin of Song “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”

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For more than 20 years we have supported Garo evangelists from northeast India through our Asian Workers’ Fund, as they have taken the Gospel to unreached people groups in their part of the world.

Often, Christians are unaware of the origins of many of the songs we love to sing. In this brief email we would like to share the little-known background of one famous song: “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.”

In the hills of northeast India live the Garo tribe, who number more than one million people. For centuries they were feared as a primitive head-hunting tribe, but in the most recent Indian census, over 95 percent of the Garo declared themselves to be Christians. Here is one reason why…

In the late 1800s, many missionaries came to Assam in northeast India to spread the Gospel. They succeeded in converting a man named Nokseng, his wife, and his two children. Nokseng’s faith proved contagious, and many villagers began to accept Jesus.

The village chief, angry at the prospect of losing control, summoned all the villagers. He demanded Nokseng’s family to publicly renounce their faith or face execution. Moved by the Holy Spirit, Nokseng said: “I have decided to follow Jesus.”

Enraged at his refusal to deny Christ, the chief ordered his archers to shoot the two children. As both boys lay twitching on the ground, the chief asked, “Will you deny your faith? You have lost both your children. You will lose your wife also.”

But Nokseng replied: “Though no one joins me, still I will follow.”

The chief was beside himself with fury and ordered Nokseng’s wife to be shot with arrows. In a moment she joined her children in death. Now the chief said for the last time: “I will give you one more opportunity to deny your faith and live.” In the face of death, Nokseng did not waver, and made his final memorable statement:

“The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back.”

He was killed like the rest of his family, but a miracle took place. The chief was moved by Nokseng’s faith and he wondered, “Why would Nokseng and his family die for a Man who lived in a far-away land some 2,000 years ago? This God must have remarkable power, and I too want to taste that faith.”

In a spontaneous confession, the chief declared, “I too belong to Jesus Christ!” When the crowd heard this from the mouth of their chief, the whole village accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. Later, Nokseng’s words became a beloved song of the Garo Christians, and was later translated into English and sung around the world.

May the Lord Jesus bless you as together we serve the Church in Asia,

The team at Asia Harvest
www.asiaharvest.org

Remember in your prayers our brother and sisters in foreign lands who face persecution everyday.

God bless you and yours,

Carl

The Trouble With Man

The state of the world today is nothing but an appalling monument to human failure. We have come to realize that a man can be educated and cultured and still be a beast! The whole case of the Bible is that the trouble with man is not intellectual (in the mind) but moral (in the heart). If the “grace” you have received does not help you to keep the law, you have not received grace. The Christian way is a difficult way of life. It is too glorious to be easy. The New Testament way of handling sanctification is never an appeal, it is a command.


The man whose doctrine is shaky will be shaky his whole life. There is nothing so fatuous as the view that Christian doctrine is removed from life. There is nothing which is more practical. I always find that those who are driven with every wind of doctrine are those who are too lazy to study doctrine. I spend half my time telling Christians to study doctrine and the other half telling them that doctrine is not enough. My observation over the years is that it is the people who have not been taught the truth negatively as well as positively who always get carried away by the heresies and cults, because they have not been forewarned and forearmed against them.


D. Martyn Lloyd Jones“The Wisdom of Martyn Lloyd-Jones “selected by Dick Alderson, Banner of Truth ,August/September 1986.

A Cattle Woman Explains Biblical Meditation

“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)


L.B.’s family is in the cattle business, and the following was written on Facebook to the women in L.B.’s Bible Study.


According to L.B., “When a cow eats, they inhale a lot of roughage (hay, grass)! In order for a cow to properly digest that tough food, they have to be able to regurgitate parts of the food, a little at a time. To do that means the rumen in their stomachs mixes all the (good) bacteria, juices and lots of other stuff and they burp it back up to chew on for a while…then swallow once again. It’s quite complex and amazing!”


“We always say that when a cow loses her ability to chew her cud, she’s sick…that’s a real problem. Now…put that thought in line with meditating on God’s word! We ‘eat’ a lot, sometimes quickly from God’s Word. Not sure about you, but I certainly can’t digest it all properly as it goes down the first time! If I didn’t have the ability (or desire) to (pardon me for saying it this way, Lord) “burp” God’s Word back up, chew on it, digest it again, and again and again…I’d be sick too! Spiritually sick! Eventually dead!


“This will stick with me! Hope it helps imprint on your mind, too, how important God’s Word is!” (by L.B.)


L.B.’s above description really shows how, in biblical meditation, the mind is always active (chewing the cud, so to speak). Not so with New Age and Eastern meditation, or with so-called contemplative prayer. The goal of these is to still the mind, to halt all thought, and to enter the silence, where much spiritual deception can take place. Unfortunately, contemplative prayer has already infected many in the Body of Christ.**


Concerning contemplative prayer, Ray Yungen, author of A Time of Departing, writes, “The question may arise–how can credible Christian organizations justify and condone meditative practices that clearly resemble Eastern meditation? As pointed out earlier in the book, Christian terminology surrounds these practices. It takes only a few popular Christian leaders with national profiles to embrace a teaching that sounds Christian to bring about big changes in the church. Moreover, we have many trusting Christians who do not use the Scriptures to test the claims of others.” (pg.182)


**Who has helped bring this practice into the church? Rick Warren, Timothy Keller, Mike Bickle, and many others. Ray Yungen warns, “Contemplative prayer is presenting a way to God identical with all the world’s mystical traditions. Christians are haplessly lulled into it by the emphasis on seeking the Kingdom of God and greater piety, yet the apostle Paul described the church’s end-times apostasy in the context of a mystical seduction. If this practice doesn’t fit that description, I don’t know what does.” (Yungen, A Time of Departing, pg. 140).


https://thewordlikefire.wordpress.com/2021/03/02/a-cattle-woman-explains-biblical-meditation/

The Socialist Trojan Horse within the U.S. Christian Church

In recent years, the number of Christians identifying as “Christian Socialists” or “Christian Communists” has skyrocketed in a way not seen in over 40 years. Sarah Ngu, in her 2020 article “Why These Young American Christians Embrace Socialism” wrote the following: “Over the past three years, some American Christians have rediscovered this tradition and found themselves gravitating to socialism—in all its varieties, from democratic socialism to full-fledged communism.” Gary Dorrien, a professor of social ethics at Union Theological Seminary, writes “The revival (of Christian socialism) is a Christian flank of the current upsurge for democratic socialist”. For the most part, the orthodox Christian community has remained silent about this growing trend, seemingly oblivious to the dangers. It’s time we acknowledged how the Trojan Horse of Socialism entered the Church, and fight back.

First, doctrine and history make clear that Biblical Christianity and Socialism and/or Communism are in opposition on fundamental levels. The intellectual forefather of Socialism, Karl Marx, taught this about Christianity: “The social principle of Christianity preaches cowardice, self-contempt, abasement, submission, humility….” Marx further asserted “The more of himself that man gives to God, the less he has left of himself”. Like all future communist and socialist leaders who follow Marx, he believed: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of the heartless world, and the soul of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opiate of the people.” (Communist Manifesto, the Bible of Communism).

The history of the socialist war against Christianity is instructive. “The League of the Militant Godless” was developed by early Soviet leaders like Leon Trotsky and Lenin. Its slogan tells volumes: “The struggle against religion is the struggle for socialism”. In just over 15 years, the League boasted 3.5 million members and included a hundred ethnicities. This was while Soviets in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) were executing tens of thousands of Priests, millions of Christians, demolishing churches and ruthlessly suppressing Christianity. The official literature of the Comintern (International Communist Front), stated “One of the most important tasks of the cultural revolution affecting the wide masses is the task of systematically and unswervingly combating religion – the opiate of the people.”

Ben Gitlow was a top figure in the early Communist Party (USA), and twice ran as Vice President of the US on the Communist Party ticket in 1924 and 1928. He left the Communist Party in 1929, and began hearings before Congress about Communist infiltration in America starting in 1939. According to Gitlow in answering Congress about the Communist “united front” technique of infiltrating America: “the tactic of the united front adopted by the Communists in 1922 after they realized that their militant policy for instigating a revolution in Germany and then throughout Europe and the world had failed…….. The united front tactic enabled the Communists to greatly increase the effectiveness of their infiltration activities.” The aims were to first build pro-Soviet sentiment in America. Second, to set conditions for Communists to capture trade unions. Third to “Spread Communist propaganda, incite discontent amount the people, undermine the loyalty of the American people and to divide them on religion, national, racial, and economic lines.”

Importantly, Gitlow said this about infiltration of the Christian Church in America: “the united front policy enabled the Communists to widely expand their infiltration activities on the religious field because instead of using the Communist Party directly (on Christian organizations)”, they used united-front organizations not directly connected to the Communist Party. Communist Party USA leader Manning Johnson told Congress that “deceit” about the anti-Christian nature was “a major policy of the Communist Propaganda”. According to Johnson: “(Communists) made fine gestures and honeyed words to the church people which could be will likened unto the sea nymphs luring millions to moral decay, spiritual death, and spiritual slavery. An illustration of this treachery, I might point out, is smiling, sneaky Earl Browder, for example, who was vice chairman of the American League Against War and Fascism, greeting and praising ministers and other church workers participating with him in the united front anti-war activities, while secretly harboring in his heart only contempt for them and for the religion that they represented.”

The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and no longer commands the worldwide Comintern. However, Communism as a worldwide movement continues. The ideology spawned during those decades made substantial inroads into the Church and academia (an estimated 18% of American Professors today identify as Marxist). United Methodist Reverend Lindsey Joyce provides a window into the modern infiltration: “Socialism gave me a politics that finally provided clarity….. It wasn’t about my individualistic faith or spiritual gifts.” Christianity centers around individual spiritual redemption, while socialism is about the collective and material. Communist “Christian” Dean Dettloff is indicative of the fraud being promulgated to soften and revive Communism within the Church. Dettloff claims “the worst abuses in history have actually been committed by people who are devoted to Jesus Christ”. This glosses over the upwards of 100 million people who died under 20th century communism, a number that dwarfs almost 2000 years of alleged Christian “abuses”.

The Church can no longer remain silent. The Trojan Horse of Socialism and Communism, wheeled in to the US in the 1920s, is a growing “enemy within”. Neither Communism, nor Socialism can be reconciled with Christianity, and it’s time to voice that truth boldly and loudly. We fight back with spiritual weapons and in Christian love, but against this threat we must fight back.

Bill Connor, a retired Army Infantry colonel, author and Orangeburg attorney, has deployed multiple times to the Middle East. Connor was the senior U.S. military adviser to Afghan forces in Helmand Province, where he received the Bronze Star. A Citadel graduate with a JD from USC, he is also a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Army War College, earning his master of strategic studies. He is the author of the book Articles from War.

Source: The Christian Post

Color, Communism and Common Sense and Similarities To The U.S. Today

Blog note: Since communism is an enemy of God and Christianity, I wanted to share this article with you. It originally appeared on Lighthouse Trails blog. God bless you and yours, Carl.

Manning Johnson

LTRP Note: Color, Communism, and Common Sense was first released in 1958 and written by Manning Johnson, who spent ten years in the U.S. Communist Party because he believed the “red” party would help improve conditions for black people. When he finally came to realize that the opposite was true, he rejected communism. The following is chapter 1 of his book. We referenced Johnson in our recent booklet on Critical Race Theory and the Southern Baptist Convention because of the shocking similarities between his story and what is happening in the U.S. today. (Note: In Johnson’s book, he uses the term “Negro,” which was the term used in the 50s and 60s for black people and was not considered a disrespectful term at that time. We have maintained Johnson’s writing just as he wrote it.)

You may read Manning Johnson’s entire book online at www.manningjohnson.org.”

“The Web”

By Manning Johnson

Ten years I labored in the cause of Communism. I was a dedicated “comrade.” All my talents and efforts were zealously used to bring about the triumph of Communism in America and throughout the world. To me, the end of capitalism would mark the beginning of an interminable period of plenty, peace, prosperity, and universal comradeship. All racial and class differences and conflicts would end forever after the liquidation of the capitalists, their government, and their supporters. A world union of Soviet States under the hegemony of Russia would free and lead mankind on to Utopia.

Being an idealist, I was sold this “bill of goods” by a Negro graduate of the Lenin Institute in Moscow.

The color of one’s skin is no bar to a young man or woman dreaming of making a better world. Like other Negroes, I experienced and saw many injustices and inequities around me based upon color, not ability. I was told that “the decadent capitalist system is responsible,” that “mass pressure” could force concessions but “that just prolongs the life of capitalism”; that I must unite and work with all those who more or less agree that capitalism must go.

Little did I realize until I was deeply enmeshed in the Red Conspiracy, that just and seeming grievances are exploited to transform idealism into a cold and ruthless weapon against the capitalist system—that this is the end toward which all the communist efforts among Negroes are directed.

Indeed, I had entered the red conspiracy in the vain belief that it was the way to a “new, better and superior” world system of society. Ten years later, thoroughly disillusioned, I abandoned communism. The experiences of those years in “outer darkness” are like a horrible nightmare. I saw communism in all its naked cruelty, ruthlessness, and utter contempt of Christian attributes and passions. And, too, I saw the low value placed upon human life, the total lack of respect for the dignity of man, the betrayal of trust, the terror of the Secret Police, and the bloody hand of the assassin, during and since, those fateful years when I embraced communism.

I was lured into the red movement by way of the American Negro Labor Congress, one of the many “front organizations” set up by the communists to trap naïve, unwary, unsuspecting, and idealistic Negroes. The use of such attractive and appealing fronts as a means of entrapment is a most important serpentine method of the reds.

After two years of practical training in organizing street demonstrations, inciting mob violence, how to fight the police, and how to politically “throw a brick and hide,” I was ready, in the opinion of my leaders, for a top communist school.

At a secret national training school in New York City, I was given an extensive and intensive course in the theory and practice of red political warfare. As a result, I was appointed District Organizer by the Political Bureau of the Communist Party in the Buffalo, New York area, one of the vital industrial sections of our country. It was in the position of District Organizer that I learned to use secret codes, “mail drops,” organize clandestine meetings, “shake police shadows,” and other underground activities. At the same time, I became acquainted with the nature of communist sabotage and espionage.

My zeal, training—both theoretical and practical—combined with loyalty and willingness to sacrifice, changed me from a novice into a dedicated red—a professional revolutionist. Consequently, I climbed rapidly to the National Committee, the highest governing body of the Communist Party in America.

Being a Negro top communist, I was placed on the National Negro Commission, an important sub-committee of the National Committee of the Communist Party. On this Commission, which was created on direct orders from Moscow to facilitate the subversion of the Negroes, I began to realize the full implications of how the Negro is used as a political dupe by the Kremlin hierarchy. Under the guise of “unity of black and white in the struggle,” several top white communists, such as James S. Allen, Elizabeth Lawson, the late Robert “Bob” Minor, and George Blake Charney were placed on the National Negro Commission. These white communists wielded more power than the nominal Negro heads of the Commission. In a word, they are like white overseers. Every Negro member was aware of the fact that these white overseers constituted the eyes, the ears and the voice of the Kremlin. Moreover, these white overseers are the surest functional guarantee of the maintenance of the hierarchial authoritarian control of the Kremlin over their Negro lick spittles directing the conspiracy among Negroes in America.

Indeed, it is the white group on the National Negro Commission that holds full sway. They flatter one or two top Negroes by making them feel they are actually participating in the formulation of policy by consulting with them prior to meetings of the Commission. Then these two Negroes are assigned to lay down the line to the other Negroes on the Commission. The white members check to make sure they do. Their opinion of what a Negro member says at a meeting can either make or break him. Usually, the Negro who is broken is accused of “petty bourgeois nationalism,” that is, placing the interests of the Negro above the interests of the Communist Party.

In this connection, I observed how white women communists are used as political prostitutes, cohabiting with high-level Negro communists in order to spy on them. Through such intimate relations, these white women communists are able to elicit information pertaining to family background, sources of income, marital difficulties, arrests, convictions, opinions on communist policy and communist leadership. This information is invaluable to the red hierarchy in their relations with their Negro lickspittles. In top red circles, this is known as “bedroom politics.”

White communist women are also used to maneuver top Negro reds into compromising positions that, if revealed, would result in public scandal or disgrace. In this way, the reds make these Negroes permanently subject to blackmail if they ever consider leaving the red movement. Moreover, this information is used to destroy the credibility of the defectee, should he decide to fight the red conspiracy.

The highest position I attained was candidate for the Political Bureau (Politburo) of the Communist Party. The Politburo is a small, close-knit body, carefully selected by the Kremlin hierarchy. Each member holds his position solely on the approval of the reactionary, rapacious despoilers in the Kremlin. This is the real governing body of the entire red conspiracy in America. A candidate is invited to sit in on deliberations with voice but no vote. Usually, a representative of the Kremlin participates in all meetings and deliberations of the Politburo. This writer sat in such meetings when Gerhard Eisler, alias Edwards, Brown, Hans Berger, etc., was the Kremlin representative. Eisler later jumped bail and fled the United States on the red Poish liner “Batory” after he was exposed and convicted of passport fraud.

The assignment of political commissars to the red movement in America is not limited solely to America, but is an established Kremlin policy in relation to all communist parties in countries outside the “Iron Curtain.” Kremlin agents, such as Eisler, exercise an awesome power over the white, as well as black lickspittles, comprising the leadership. When Eisler spoke, one could hear a pin fall. Each leader sat in rapt attention, hanging on to every word Eisler uttered as if it were, indeed, a pronouncement from the “Holy of Holies.” On several occasions, he expressed the grave dissatisfaction of the Kremlin because of the failure of the party to take advantage of the broad “people’s front movement” to build “progressive groups” in participating organizations such as the N.A.A.C.P., youth, religious, fraternal, labor, etc. These “progressive groups”, he said, “was the only guarantee that the decisions we make with leaders will be brought down to and carried out by the membership.”

Significantly, Eisler emphasized that the “people’s front” or “democratic front” is “a maneuver only” to lay the basis for firm communist direction and control of masses. And, too, that the leaders of non-communist organizations are drawn into joint movements with the communists “only to facilitate the infiltration, ideological and organizational penetration of their respective organizations.” After all, this is a fight for leadership to determine “who shall lead the masses, the communists or Negro reformists.” The “progressive groups,” consisting of communists, sympathizers, liberals, etc., constitute the vehicle on which the reds pin their present hope of victory.

Never once were we allowed to forget the vacillating, uncertain, untrustworthy character of the Negro intellectual, the Negro minister, the Negro petty bourgeois, the Negro reformist and the white socio-liberal, philanthropic, humanitarian supporter. They are accused, on the basis of experience, of “running frantically from one camp (red) to the other (capitalist) when the going gets tough.” So that when communists unite with and support them today, it is necessary to keep in mind that “it may be necessary to denounce them tomorrow and the day after tomorrow hang them.”

Thus, as a participant on the highest level of the communist conspiracy in America, I observed the cold, calculating, ruthless nature of red power politics and political warfare, stripped of all its illusory propaganda and idealistic cover. Click here to read other chapters.

For ‘Peace and Safety’ – The Foolish Trade Off

For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”

I Thessalonians 5:2-3

A friend recently gave me a copy of Rod Dreher’s book entitled Live Not by Lies – A Manual for Christian Dissidents. In chapter four he discusses how we are naively giving up our hard won liberties and privacy for perceived conveniences and safety.  The “we” are United States Christians, but the same thought applies to Christians in other countries also.

This helped me understand what our opening Scripture states about “Peace and safety!”.  The “they” in verse three are religious people who have been deceived by governmental rulers and false religious leaders in the end times. They have traded the true gospel and its responsibilities for the perceived benefit of peace and safety.  The benefit is a false benefit because there is not true peace and safety outside of a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.

For instance, today we are naively giving up our right to privacy for the convenience of smartphones, the internet, email, smart TVs, smart cars, smart watches, computers, lower car insurance rates, personal assistances, credit cards, etc.  All which are or can be monitored by outside parties and data harvested for sale to advertisers and unknown others. We mind but we don’t really mind, because we keep using the devices and allow it to happen. Deep down inside we love the convenience and safety it provides.

 We are being conditioned.

Communist China TODAY is using it citizen’s personal data to form a “social score”.  Those that follow the Communist Party script develop a high score and reap certain benefits by being allowed to do certain activities: go to college, get a good jobs, etc.  The person not following the rules will receive a lower score and not be allowed to participate in certain benefits: no college education, no good job, etc. Being a Christian trying to faithfully practice your faith will surely lower your grade or maybe zero you out. 

And this is the danger for us in the U.S. We naively trust in our Constitution and Courts that we will be protected from these abuses and resultant control.  But if you have your eyes open, you see the same spirit that is working in Communist China is working now in our government at the highest levels.  Hitler, Stalin, and Mao would of loved this ability to spy on their people.   They would not have to spend so much time and money torturing people for personal contacts when they have the ability to download their smartphone or email contacts. These past mass murders would have loved it!

We are already seeing the principals of “Peace and safety!” being expounded in certain areas of the world today.  When it is bought into by the U.S. government and judicial system, the faithful Christians may receive a letter like the one following:  

“Dear Mr. William J. Christian:

Data (Voice Data 17845.exe.4589) indicates that you on March 17, 2021 in a phone discussion (Cell Data: 24082 3/17/2021 spool 17) with a Mr. Rex A. Johnson (Social Security No. 798-43-0211) stated that there is only one way to the true God and that Jesus Christ is that Way.  Per our previous discussions with you at headquarters, you are in violation of the United Nations Religious Toleration Act (12/12/20), Section 102, subparagraph cc, which states that all signees will require that religious toleration and harmony be practiced by its citizens for the sake of global peace and safety of all inhabitants of Mother Earth. The U.S. federal government is a signee of said Act.

The Toleration Act acknowledges and affirms that all global religions are seeking the same God. Even Pope Alex II, the Christian Global Representative and Moral Authority, acknowledges and agrees that good Buddhist, Hindus, Islamicist and members of other global faiths are in right relationship with God and on the way to God, just on a different path.  You stating that Jesus is the only way to God is offending the members of these global faiths and are creating potential security problems; therefore you are ordered to stop spreading this racist lie.  

If you do not stop and desist immediately, the Governmental and Religious Committee of the state of Georgia will take action immediately to maintain harmony within the global brotherhood of man. If you do not appear before the local office of this Committee within seven days to recant your statements to said Johnson the Committee will implement the following restrictions: 1) immediately you will not be able to buy, sell or trade in any economic form or fashion; 2) you will be transferred to a re-education facility for specialized training in global religion and global reharmonization; 3) should these steps fail, to maintain peace and safety of the global community, you will be eliminated in a humane matter.

There will be no need to bring an attorney or witnesses to the local office of the Committee since the accusation has been confirmed by our AI department and data previously mentioned at the beginning of this correspondence.  Your legal rights are superseded by the need for peace and safety and are therefore null and void.

Consider this a final warning.   For the “peace and safety” of mankind, we pray you will make the intelligent decision and join with us in reaching our global goals.   

The Government and Religious Committee of Georgia

You get the point.

For Grace and Peace in Jesus Christ Alone

Carl

Christian Church Growth in China

An article by Jessica Lea, “‘Leaders are scared’ of How Fast the Church in China Is Growing” is both encouraging and raises other concerns.

It is exciting that they are growing: “The number of Christians in China is growing so quickly that it could reach 300 million by 2030, says Dr. Ron Boyd-MacMillan. He believes the rapid growth of the church in China is why the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is targeting believers so aggressively. 

“We think the evidence as to why the Chinese Church is so targeted, is that the leaders are scared of the size of the Church, and the growth of the Church,” said Boyd-MacMillan, who oversees global strategy and research for Open Doors International.

Speaking to the Daily Express on Jan. 24, Boyd-MacMillan said, “And if it grows, at the rate that it has done, since 1980 and that’s about between seven and eight percent a year, then you’re looking at a group of people that will be 300 million strong, nearly by 2030. And, you know, the Chinese leadership, they really do long-term planning, I mean, their economic plan goes to 2049, so this bothers them.”

It also may well be as our government continues implementing Marxism into our nation they will tap into their technology of: “tracking the biometric data of church attendees, as well as developing a way of giving everyone in the country a social score based on how well they comply with the government.”

Big Brother will indeed be watching, rewarding and punishing obedience.

https://mailchi.mp/671aa29f4143/the-naked-spiritual-rhythms-for-the-enneagram?e=169825fd77

Source: Berean Call
   

Chants and incantations to Aztec gods of human sacrifice in California’s public schools?

I have told my seminary students for years that a society or culture is never in a state of stasis.  It is just the nature of human societies – they are constantly in flux, heading in one direction or the other, getting worse or getting better, depending on your perspective.

(Photo: The Christian Post/Katherine T. Phan)

I have never been more depressed to have been proven right about American society’s increasing volatility.  Current news stories contain harrowing reports of ever more radical “woke” philosophies being imprinted on the impressionable minds of our nation’s youth – in this case the six million primary and secondary students attending California’s public schools.

If you were concerned about the cultural divisiveness of the centrifugal forces generated by Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality and Black Lives Matter, wait until you see what the formerly “Golden” State of California is contemplating inflicting on the unsuspecting youth of their state.

Christopher Rufo reports that next week the California Department of Education will decide whether to approve a statewide “ethnic studies” curriculum with the goal of “decolonizing” American society of its biased “Eurocentric” white “hegemony” over the indigenous peoples which allowed white settlers to establish a “regime of coloniality, dehumanization, and genocide.” 

As Rod Dreher reports on Rufo’s research “the ultimate goal is to “decolonize” America and replace it with a new social order of “countergenocide” and “counterhegemony” which will overthrow the dominant Christian culture and result in the “regeneration of indigenous songs, chants and affirmations” culminating in teachers leading students in chants to Aztec gods, seeking empowerment to be “warriors” for “social justice” and importuning the Aztec God of war and human sacrifice, Xipe Totec known as “Our Lord the Flayed One” because typically victims of human sacrifice, before they were disemboweled, dismembered and eaten, were skinned alive (Wikepedia, “Human sacrifice in Aztec culture”).

The curriculum asserts that “white Christians committed ‘theocide’ against indigenous tribes, killing their gods and replacing them with Christianity.”  This all culminates, according to Dreher and Rufo, with students shouting “Panche beh!  Panche beh!”  seeking ultimate “critical consciousness.”

This is all so comprehensively evil and destructive it is hard to know where to begin criticism of this dangerous, divisive, retrograde cultural vandalism.  The idea that a tax supported public school system would, or could, be used to unleash this vicious cultural and spiritual poison into out young people’s consciousness is both extremely offensive and quite possibly illegal. 

How does this curriculum not violate the First Amendment’s “establishment clause?”  If public schools are not allowed to sponsor Christian prayers, why would they be allowed to sponsor prayers to an Aztec pagan idol to whom human sacrifices were offered routinely?

If California’s authorities approve this curriculum, they should be challenged in court.  Approval of this curriculum would also reveal that California is indeed a state surrounded on all sides by reality. 

Thank God for Christopher Rufo and Rod Dreher for having the courage to warn Americans about this looming, highly flammable fuel for a cultural apocalypse.  They are like modern, cultural Paul Reveres sounding the warning, “The Barbarians are coming! The Barbarians are coming!”

Rod Dreher titles his column “The Re-Barbarization of California”  and asked this rhetorical question:

Social-justice Marxists who want to teach millions of children in the state’s public schools to achieve liberation against the descendants of European colonists  of 500 years ago by teaching them to chant to Aztec gods who required human sacrifice.   How do you think this is going to end?

Dreher then closes with this line “Wake up folks, and read the signs of the times.”

Dr. Richard Land, BA (magna cum laude), Princeton; D.Phil. Oxford; and Th.M., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, was president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (1988-2013) and has served since 2013 as president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC. Dr. Land has been teaching, writing, and speaking on moral and ethical issues for the last half century in addition to pastoring several churches. He is the author of The Divided States of AmericaImagine! A God Blessed AmericaReal Homeland SecurityFor Faith & Family and Send a Message to Mickey.

Source: Christian Post

“News” As Spiritual Deformation

Here’s a question to ask any pastor: “What’s the greatest challenge to discipleship in your church?” This is the likely answer: “The news.”

When I press for more details, I hear something like this:

People’s preferred news source seems to be the most powerful voice in their lives. It tells them what to believe about who they are, the problems of the world, who is at fault, and what to do about it. The news has become a lens through which the Bible, the Christian faith, and the local church is interpreted and evaluated.

Christians will often agree:

Yes, sensational, heavily political news is the problem. That’s why I only follow [my favorite outlet]. Other people are influenced by the news, but not me. I’m a free-thinker.

Gnosticism Revisited

Why is news so enthralling? It doesn’t seem rational. Most news content is depressing and terrible. Why do we keep coming back for more?

One theory is that most news sources pitch themselves as a sort of gnostic gospel. Gnosticism began as a second-century quasi-Christian spinoff religion. The church fathers soon identified Gnosticism as heresy because it invited people to trust not in repentance of sin and salvation in Christ but in special mystical knowledge or esoteric insight.

Such special insight is what news offers us. News media say, implicitly, “We’ll give you the inside scoop. Follow us and you’ll be one of the enlightened few and not in the mob of fools.” The news offers salvation through special knowledge.

Follow us and you’ll be one of the enlightened few and not in the mob of fools.

Let’s take things a bit deeper. The news offers a substrain of the temptation presented to the first humans in Eden: to be like God.

God, in his omnipresence and omniscience, knows and cares about all things happening in all places. We, in our finiteness, only have the capacity to know and care about a few things happening where we are.

Contemporary news sources present our finiteness as a problem to overcome. We must transcend our locale and become global. We must leave behind the darkness of not knowing and enter the light of “breaking news.” We must, in short, become like God: knowing and caring about everything.

It’s a heady tonic. This is why following the news makes us feel important. There is something godlike about the illusion of knowing and caring about everything.

Inactionable News

Most news is bad: an earthquake, a hurricane, a murder, a scandal. Most news is also inactionable: there is nothing you can do about it. What does knowing all this inactionable bad news create in you?

Most news is inactionable—there is nothing you can do about it.

  • Anxiety: The sheer quantity of evil reports being pumped at you 24/7, like a firehose to the face, will not leave you more peaceable, more content, or more joyful. It will leave you more anxious.
  • Loss of agency: Because you grow accustomed to hearing about problems you can’t fix and suffering people you can’t help, you develop a deep feeling of lost agency.
  • Anger: For anyone with a moral compass, this leads to anger. Because you are made in the image of God, a sense of justice rises against villains.
  • Hate: Anger is like the evaporated alcohol that rises from fermenting grain. It can be distilled and bottled into hate.

This is why Christians who watch or read a lot of news usually end up hating, not loving, their neighbor. They have been spiritually deformed by truckloads of voyeuristic, inactionable horror stories. They perceive themselves as part of a small, heroic, minority of good people at war against powerful multitudes of the ignorant (at best) or the wicked (at worst).

Most news is inactionable—there is nothing you can do about it.

I ask again: What’s the use of inactionable news?

It doesn’t typically help me love the Lord our God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

It doesn’t typically help me love my neighbor as myself.

In short, it’s typically of no use.

Choose Local News

You may respond: “Are you suggesting we should withdraw from society? Retreat from the real world?”

Quite the opposite. News only gives the illusion of engagement and thus inoculates you against actual engagement with real people. I’ll take it a step further: you should not seek to know everything or care about everything, because you should not aspire to be like God.

Your opportunity for obedience to God is a local opportunity. Therefore, the primary news that should matter to a Christian is local news. By local news I don’t primarily mean news about city or state government. I mean something more intensely local, what some thinkers call “hyper-local”:

  • News about a neighbor with a cancer diagnosis
  • News about the young couple down the street having their first child
  • News about someone in the church who’s lost a job
  • News about someone’s coworker visiting church for the first time

The primary news that should matter to a Christian is local news.

This is news for the average human. This news presents you with an opportunity to love, to pray, to serve, or to celebrate at the human level.

As you respond to such local news, a different kind of formation will work within you. Anxiety will be replaced with confidence, helplessness with initiative, anger with delight, hate with love.

You will not find such hyper-local news in daily papers or TV reports. Rather, you will likely discover it the same way people have for generations: through ordinary conversation.

D. J. Marotta is a priest in the Anglican Church in North America and rector of Redeemer Anglican Church in Richmond, Virginia. His wife is gracious and his children are clever.

Source: The Gospel Coalition

Roman Emperor Constantine – The First Vicar of Christ

In Constantine’s day (306-337 CE), the emperor, as the head of the pagan priesthood in Rome known as the Pontifical College (now headed by the Pope), was called Pontifex Maximus. Constantine headed the church, as would the emperors after him for five centuries. He called himself Vicarius Christi (Vicar of Christ). Yet he continued to officiate at pagan celebrations and to endow pagan temples even as he built Christian churches! The popes eventually claimed the emperor’s titles, Pontifex Maximus and Vicar of Christ, as their own. True Christians separated themselves from an increasingly apostate church and began to call the popes Antichrist.

Constantine never renounced his loyalty to the pantheon of pagan gods. He abolished neither the pagan Altar of Victory in the senate nor the Vestal Virgins; and the sun-god rather than Christ continued to be honored on imperial coins. Throughout his “Christian” life Constantine mixed pagan and Christian rites and continued to rely upon “pagan magic formulas to protect crops and heal disease.” Historian Philip Hughes, a Catholic priest, writes:

“In his manners he [Constantine] remained, to the end … the Pagan of his early life. His furious tempers, the cruelty which … spared not the lives even of his wife and son, are … an unpleasing witness to the imperfection of his conversion.”

Dave Hunt – The Berean Call

I Will Seek….

I will seek the will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them. —George Müller

Faith Under Fire: Are You Growing In It or Fleeing From It

By Cedric H. Fisher – From Lighthouse Trails

God’s Word gives us examples of faith in the fire, faith in the flood, faith when outnumbered by the enemy, faith when facing an indomitable foe, faith in prison, faith during torture, faith when destitute, hungry, and thirsty, faith on stormy seas, faith to lose everything and faith to receive it all back again, faith to procreate though infertile, and faith to die. Every instance of faith thus described is manifested in adversity or great need. To find examples in Scripture of faith operating in a peaceful and bountiful climate would be a difficult task. I’m not sure there are any at all.

The Bible likens God’s way of purifying the faith of a believer to the refining process of gold. Peter writes:

. . . that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:7)

The refining process of gold requires that it be heated to a molten condition whereby the impurities (dross) float to the top and are skimmed off. The prophet Malachi describes this process as an illustration of how God purifies the believer:

[A]nd he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Malachi 3:3)

Some might contend that the peaceful climate is the result of faith. That may be true, but it is not faith in operation. Good health is the result of exercise, but it is not exercise. If our comfortable status is faith, then the testings of faith would not require adversity. Further, there would be no biblical examples of godly men and women exercising faith to overcome adversity.

The obvious truth is that the appearance of faith tends to be relatively dormant in times of peace. We are sustained by the benefits of our relationship with God. However, when a true Christian believes he can go through life without any adversity, such a person is being set up to be “channeled.” Now, what I am referring to by “channeled” is this: when someone tries to avoid adversity, he is actually setting himself up to be manipulated and channeled by Satan who is always at work to make it difficult and painful for devoted believers to obey God’s will.

Let me elaborate on this line of thought. If a Christian believer intends to be a light that shines in darkness, he becomes a target of evil entities. If he stands up for and speaks the truth, he will suffer. If he accepts, assimilates, and defends the values of godliness, he will suffer. If he refuses to go with the flow of nominal Christianity or worse, apostasy, he will suffer. If he refuses to deviate from God’s Word in a time of great compromise, he will suffer. If he has a prophetic calling, he might even lose his life for Christ’s sake.

Consider this scenario: A professing Christian has witnessed the suffering of a fellow believer who is being a true witness for Jesus Christ. The professing Christian has tried to do the same and experiences similar sufferings and consequences. As a result, he decides to avoid manifesting any fruit of Christianity that causes contention, rejection, or persecution. He is considered one of the nicest, most gregarious, kindly, friendly, and positive people. Everyone loves him and speaks well of him. What’s more, he is flexible and capable of mingling with any belief system. Nearly everyone enjoys associating with him, and he has excellent rapport with all of them. Secular and religious people of all stripes laud him as an example of a true Christian. And he does not want to lose that status, so he makes every attempt to make sure he doesn’t end up suffering again.

However, such a Christian does not match the examples of what the Bible describes as true Christianity, nor does he match the example of Christ Himself. In reality, such professing Christians, in their efforts to avoid the consequences and sufferings of true Christianity, are being “channeled” by Satan and his imps. Upon seeing this compromising attitude, these adversaries of our souls can re-circumvent lives (i.e., change the direction one is going) by causing situations that re-direct that person in his walk because he wants to avoid suffering, ridicule, and rejection for standing in and defending the faith.

These re-directed channeled Christians have, in effect, turned down their light to a non-offensive level. In fact, they are not actually lights at all, but shadows; they lie somewhere between light and darkness. The path they walk weaves around every uncomfortable and inconvenient situation; they walk in a state of delusion because deceit has become the norm for them. Christ warned about this type of fruitless follower.

Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. (Luke 6:26)

The apostle Paul described what would befall the ones who truly desire to live godly in Christ. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). Peter also wrote about the suffering of true followers of Christ. He mentioned the suffering of believers eighteen times in his first letter.

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (1 Peter 4:12-13)

Isn’t it interesting (and tragic) that so many modern-day Christians believe it is strange to suffer and that it is not God’s will. They believe they are supposed to be constantly happy, blessed, healthy, wealthy, and peaceful, while enjoying life in this temporal realm. The terms “happy,” “blessed,” “peaceful,” etc, are relative. Those emotions are based on a life ordered by them, not by God. They avoid all negativity. They have no productivity because it is inconvenient.

Heretics find a willing audience in these individuals because they never resist darkness. To do so would be too uncomfortable and painful. Their lives are empty, swept, and ordered (Matthew 12:44).  They’ve maintained a shiny neon shell of godliness, but there is no substance inside. The will of God is not included in their order. Standing up for truth, being a true light that exposes evil, obeying God when the price is rejection, or worse, harsh persecution, are not in their order of things to do.

The focus of that type of professing Christian is on milking God’s Word and kingdom of all the benefits without incurring the costs of genuine relationship. They are “professors,” but not possessors. They never exercise faith because they avoid the situations where faith is needed. There is no sense of true victory in them. There must be constant stimulation from a source other than God and His Word. . . .

In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he so eloquently describes the role and the results of our willingness to suffer for Christ’s sake:

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings. (Philippians 3:7-10)

Christians who do not exercise their faith but rather run from it end up in a miserable and decrepit spiritual condition. And allowing such a thing to happen does not honor God at all. For one thing, it ignores and rejects all He has given us for victory, the “precious promises” He gives us for living godly lives consecrated to Him. To such people, the substance of faith is more a happy thought or luck charm than it is a supernatural infusion of iron will to fight the good fight and win:

[W]hereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:4-8)

The damage of the so-called “positive confession” aka “Word of Faith” heresy has been to strip out the heart of a warrior and replace it with the heart of entitlement-mindedness. Even committed followers of Jesus Christ can be affected by this fallacy if they are not watchful. When they suffer and feel alone and rejected, they wonder if God has abandoned them. That is actually an opportunity for faith to go from embers to blazing brilliance.
As long as we are humans and children of God, we need the trials. When distraction and disfocus dim our view of God’s glory or our humanity incrementally cools us to a temperature less than hot, we need the fiery trials. In essence, we must embrace them. Paul said he actually took pleasure in them (because he knew the benefits of them):

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

From my own experiences during fiery trials, I can testify that the pain, the angst, and other suffering are conquered the instant I surrender to the flames. It is like falling backwards off a steep cliff into the hands of God. There is no parachute and no stopping halfway. If He doesn’t catch you, then you will hit the bottom and die. That is literally the goal of faith—to trust God with your life and everything in it. All that is not put into His hands is unprotected and causes us angst and suffering. However, when all is surrendered, we receive a deep serenity that the fire will not burn anything except what needs to be consumed. That’s when the gold shines.

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-9; emphasis added)

Remember, the destiny of Christ was a cross. Our destiny is also a cross. Only when we accept that destiny, will we understand. Newness of life has its birth and growing pains. But the heart of a believer in Jesus Christ holds this proverb by its roots:

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18; emphasis added)

In the meantime, let us not grow weary of the trials and tribulations of this life, knowing that God is doing His work within us for His glory:

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:10)