Tag Archives: Islam

Observations from a Middle-Georgia Pastorate: It’s War, but Faith Beats Fear

This blog was never intended to become a ministerial diary, of sorts, but reality is what reality is, not what we want or perceive it to be.

Therefore, I will continue to share my observations as we press forward in this new (to us) work in Georgia.

Reality Check

Getting strait to the point, there is a spiritual war going on, and you and I are involved in the conflict. It doesn’t matter where you and I are; the war is on-going and world-wide. We will never escape it until it’s over.

Unfortunately, too many think that life, with all its problems, is rarely affected by the spiritual conflict that rages all around us, even within us. Yet, the reality is that nearly everything we experience in this life is tactically connected to innumerable, web-like strategies meant to bring either victory of defeat. And depending on which side you are on – and that is debatable – victory may mean either bondage and destruction, or hope and deliverance.

There are no coincidences, and no small decision is devoid of long-reaching consequences. This is reality, and that’s a check you can cash.

The Influence Factor

To be fair, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you are, or what responsibility you’ve been given: you’ll never know the full extent of how your life and your decisions will affect others. However, what is equally true is that the more influence a person has, the more of a “high-value” target he or she becomes. And because we are in a spiritual war, this is especially true for those in ministry.

Just since the last post I wrote, the one about “Food and Fur,” I have been reminded that the more influence one has, the more the enemy will attack. I have been reminded that the enemy will wait until we are comfortable, then strike where we are least expecting it, and usually with weapons and tactics for which we have little defense. Or, rather, the defense we do have is more than adequate, but the enemy knows we have not done much training on how to use it.  Either way, the attack is meant to knock us back and reconsider our ability to continue the fight.

This is why it should never be an aspiration for a minister to obtain a “larger church” or anything like that, for unless it’s in God’s timing, and unless the minister and his family are equipped, because of the “influence factor,” they – and I do say “they” – may not be able to handle it. The more influence over the lives of others, the more the Enemy will desire your destruction.

The “Fear” Factor

You do remember the TV show Fear Factor, don’t you? Do you remember how that it was perfectly possible for every contestant to complete the required challenges, if only they could conquer their own fears? They all had the strength, the coordination, and the skill, but it was so often the fear that immobilized the contestant who failed. So often in this spiritual warfare what we find is that we’ve been given all we need by the Holy Spirit to be victorious, but fear – fear of failure, fear of exposure, fear of sacrifice, fear of inadequacy, fear of the Enemy – saps our strength, makes us weak in the knees, causes us to run, or convinces us to surrender.

This week (even yesterday) my family was threatened. The threat is hard to assess, but it is being taken seriously, so much so that police departments in two states are now involved. Yet, should we live in fear? Should we be intimidated?

Or, should we refuse to cower and hide, put feet on our faith, and trust our God to deliver?

In the Messianic Psalm 91, David wrote of how he would handle threats. He wrote:

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him will I trust’” (Psa. 91:1-2).

Later in verse five he writes: “You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day.”

Then King Solomon, David’s son, echoes these very words when he describes the kind of peace one can enjoy when he puts his faith in the true God and trusts His word:

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths…When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught” (Proverbs 3:5-6, 24-26).

Believe me, I am concerned. I am concerned for the safety of my daughters, my family in general, myself, and even my friends and congregation. But I refuse to live in fear! I refuse to live in hiding. I refuse to accept that threats from enemies of God – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and my Father in Heaven, the One who tells me to call Him “Abba” (Daddy) – carry more weight than the promises from God’s Word!

Conclusion

Since I’m already at 907 words, I should bring this “Observation” to a conclusion.

First, I don’t think it’s wise to share specific details about what is going on that made me write this post. Doing so would not help keep anyone safe any more than what is already being done. So, don’t expect any real details to come out in future posts.

However, I will say this: Even in America there are those who will swear they are not radical, but will nevertheless use the “fear card” credit their fellow faith-members have earned as a tool. Even should their veiled threats be hollow and only mean, it is impossible to know what is truly in the heart or intended, and should therefore be taken seriously.

Evidently, the Enemy wants to put a stop to what God is doing, and he’s not going to play nice. When people down here said they’d heard I was stirring things up, this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind! And whether or not what we are going through right now as a family is related at all to the overall plan here in Georgia, in reality, it’s all related.

So, pray for us.

Your soldiers on the battlefield in middle Georgia


BONUS: Here’s a song my daughter Katie sang several years ago (I think she was 17). I think it’s pretty appropriate for today. Are we fearless, or full of faith?

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Filed under Christianity, Culture Wars, Faith, Family, General Observations, ministry

Sri Lanka Weeps

The Christians in Sri Lanka weep as they mourn the loss of hundreds of precious lives, and pray for the wounded numbering in the hundreds more.

We weep with them. We mourn with them. We pray for the wounded.

But we rejoice in that the victory has already been won . . . The church will not be defeated . . . Jesus Christ has risen!

Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning! – Psalm 30:5

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Filed under Christianity, Church, Countries, Culture Wars, current events, Prayer, Struggles and Trials

Do You Even Know the Difference?

Walmart lines can be insanely long, as many of you know well. Therefore, as I am standing in one with my wife, I decided to pull out my phone and watch something on YouTube. She is looking at something in a magazine, probably about how Queen Elizabeth ordered Meghan to boot camp…or that she’s actually an alien.

Anyway, I came across the following video featuring a favorite of mine, Ravi Zacharias. No doubt, the modern church is becoming less and less equipped to handle threats against our faith, and much of the problem lies in the desire to have one’s ears tickled.

Do you know the difference between Christianity and Islam? I hope you do.

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Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, salvation

“They are killing us”

This morning, as we go to church to worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and thank Him for entering this world as a child, born of a virgin, only to one day die for us that we might receive the gift of eternal life through faith in Him, think on the following message I received this morning from a pastor friend in Pakistan…

“Brother we are dying here
they are killing us
please pray for us”

That was it…just three lines of text on Facebook Messenger.

Inside Bethel Memorial Methodist Church, Quetta, Pakistan

Earlier today a Methodist Church was attacked by two suicide bombers while the congregants were inside celebrating the birth of Christ. The attack was meant to be a message, one that was meant to strike fear. For some, I’m sure it worked. Thankfully, neither bomber was able to get inside the building, and only one was able to blow himself up at the entrance, so only around 10 people (including children) died, as opposed to the 400 who were in attendance.

But how does this affect my day? How would it affect yours? Are you even planning on attending a worship service? While there are Christians who are attending corporate worship services in places where their spiritual enemies are literally trying to kill them, do we take advantage of the complete freedom in America to congregate, or do we shun it? “Forsake” it?

How does the above message from my brother in Pakistan affect my preaching? My worship? Do I go about my day as usual? Or, do I recommit myself to the seriousness of the call to “take up your cross and follow me”?

“Brother we are dying here.” How long before we start dying HERE? With Islam on the rise, and with very few who are willing to challenge its destructive works-based theology for fear of being labeled “islamophobic,” how long before suicide bombings become more common-place than shootings?

“Please pray for us.” How long before we realize ALL of us stand in need of prayer? How long before we repent of our Laodicean lukewarmness? How long before we take seriously the calls from our brothers and sisters enduring persecution and pray for them? In reality, we should be asking them to pray FOR US!

Our churches will be relatively empty, today. Our post-modern, social-justice-minded, hedonistic society will go about this morning without a thought of God, while those who call themselves “Christian” will blend in with them. The relatively few who do attend worship services will hardly consider the rare privilege of worshipping in peace without the fear of being blown to bits while singing “Silent Night.”

Yet, somewhere in another land, there will be followers of Jesus Christ who will not be intimidated or deterred, bravely walking into proverbial lions’ dens. As the Hebrew children who refused to bow before Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, there will be some who will pray for deliverance from the furnace, but continue to worship Jesus and not bow down to Allah, even if the fire is inevitable (Daniel 3:18).

There are many who are dying. How are you living?

I’m going to church, now.

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Filed under America, Christianity, Christmas, Church, worship

Enough Said

What should we remember on this day?  

This. 

Enough said.

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Why, Dear Muslim? Why?

Reasons for Killing

I know this is dangerous, but I just want to ask the question that so many others are asking:

Why?

Last Friday more Christians were killed by Muslims (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb {AQIM}), this time in Burkina Faso. The following was given as the reason:

Muslim reason for killing

“In a new message from the heroic champions of Islam, with their blood and their bodies, to the slaves of the cross, the occupiers of our homes, the looters of our wealth, and who would undermine our security, launched a group of knights, Al Murabitoon, on a commando raid in Hotel Splendid…. [This is] a reminder to the worshipers of the cross of their crimes against our people in Central Africa and Mali and other Muslim countries and revenge for our Prophet.”

Seriously? 

Missionaries Amy and Michael Riddering

Missionaries Amy and Michael Rittering

American missionary, 45-year-old Michael Riddering, ran an orphanage, helped women in crisis, and even helped dig graves during the Ebola crisis! What did he loot? What did he occupy? How did he undermine your security? How many of your children did he kill?

Canadians Yves Carrier, Gladys Chamberland, and their two children, Charles-Élie, 19, and Maude, 37, along with two of their friends, Suzanne Bernier and Louis Chabot, were volunteering as short-term missionaries…helping the poor and the orphans! What wealth did they loot? What did they occupy? How did they undermine your security? How many of your children did they kill?

Reasons for Living

Slaves of the cross? At least you go that part correct. But do you know why? Because of love! The cross of Christ compelled them to LOVE!

You terrorists think nothing of taking innocent life. In your twisted thinking you justify killing helpless women and children as you dare call yourselves “knights”? What kind of cowardly soldier of the crescent are you? You think it’s brave to shoot a crying child with an AK-47? The brave ones are the ones who go unarmed into your countries, risking their lives, all to help alleviate the suffering your oppressive and sadistic beliefs bring about.

Dear Muslim, why can’t you see that this path of bloodshed, of beheadings, of stabbings, of raping in the streets, of sex slavery, of beatings, of destroying ancient artifacts, of killing those who only want to bring peace is the WRONG path?

Why?

The greatest Christians are those who willingly lay down their lives so that others might be saved; the greatest Muslims (from what we see) are those who willingly lay down their lives so that others may die. Can you see the stark difference?

You follow Islam and the Prophet with such legalistic fervor. You keep all the laws with such religiosity, yet never truly know if you are accepted by Allah. You do all these things in order to earn his praise and the respect of others. But what is it really getting you? Love? Grace? Forgiveness for your sins? Peace? No, only bloodshed.

We follow Jesus Christ because it was He who laid down HIS life – not to take the lives of others, but to set them free from the law of sin and death! He died on the cross, in our place, in order to satisfy the righteous judgment of God! When we were yet sinners, Christ died for us! All we have to do is accept the Gift of God’s mercy and be forgiven! We voluntarily submit our lives to the One who gave His so that we might live forever!! And we don’t have to blow ourselves to pieces, either!

Hebrews 12:2 – “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Galatians 3:13 – “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:”
Titus 2:14 – “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
1 Peter 2:24 – “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

There is a better way, dear Muslim! Why can’t you see it? Or, rather, why can’t you see Him? Why?

  • Call 1-800-NEED-HIM if you’d like to talk with someone about Jesus.

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Filed under Countries, current events, Faith, Life/Death, ministry, Struggles and Trials

On This Day…

On this day we remember…

When radicalized, Jesus-loving, saint-like Baptists hijacked three airliners and forced the occupants to endure theologically sound Bible studies and eat donuts…

wait…that’s not right…

When some radicalized, Jesus-loving, predestined Presbyterians took box cutters to three brand new crates of autograped Timothy Keller autobiographies and…

wait…that’s not right, either…

september-9-11-attacks-anniversary-ground-zero-world-trade-center-pentagon-flight-93-second-airplane-wtc_39997_600x450

Photo Credit: Unknown

When some radicalized, Jesus-loving Pentecostals screamed in other (albeit unknown) tongues as they forced some hungry New Yorkers in an alley to eat sandwiches…

No, that’s not right either…

What DO we remember happened on this day just fourteen short years ago?

…America was being really, really bad, so a bunch of radicalized, Allah-loving Muslims were forced to be faithful to their misunderstood cause. That’s all.

Remember?

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