Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Mid-Week Message - Stand Up!

"Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?  But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. 'Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened."  1 Peter 3:13-14  (NIV) 

We can all remember times when we were tempted to do something that we knew was wrong.  Peer pressure is a mighty force, especially in our youth.  In order to be accepted, we will consider doing things that otherwise would never cross our minds.  That is why gangs become so powerful.  They draw young people in with the promise of acceptance and loyalty.  For those coming from broken or troubled homes, this is almost to much to resist.  

We are currently witnessing actions in this country that are riotous, violent and even deadly.  What one or just a handful of people would not do on their own escalates because of the sheer numbers of individuals willing to participate.  The fervor that ripples through the crowds encourages those involved to attack ideas, structures, automobiles and the lives of law enforcement officers and anyone else that they perceive is standing in the way of whatever they take on as their goal.  The destruction left in their wake is frightful at best.  

I have to wonder how many that are taking part in these riots claim to be Christians.  I would love to think that none of them would but I personally know some who have.  I do not understand how they reconcile this in their minds and hearts as they have witnessed the actions being taken by these crowds.  I am aware that we all have our own political and social opinions.  I simply do not understand how impacting our communities through destruction and pain becomes acceptable.

Beloved, this world is changing for the worst, just as we have been warned of.  2 Timothy 3 tells us, "But mark this:  There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to the their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God".   We are seeing this in real time as we watch the news reports and see the things being done, the words being spoken and the pain it is causing in so many lives.  

It is time to stand up for what is right.  There are many who wish to transform this country into a place where our Lord is not welcome.  We have already seen bans on Bible studies in public places, scriptures removed from signs and buildings, prayer banned in schools and the attempt to take the scriptures away from our military.  Even now there are those who want stained glass windows removed from churches, nativities disallowed, and statues of the Cross or Jesus torn down.  We need to pray like we have never prayed before but we also need to be vocal and be active in reaching out to those around us.  Many are confused.  Many are scared.  We have Jesus to share!  

This isn't the type of message I normally write, but if I am going to urge others to stand up for what is right and good and holy, then I must be willing to do so as well.  1 Peter 3:15 admonishes, "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".  

My prayer for each of us is for confidence in our relationship with the Lord and boldness to reach out, speak up and stand firm.  In His grace and mercy, God bless.  

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