By Mrs. Robert Hammond
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. II Timothy 3:1-5
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:12-13
These two scripture passages offer an interesting contrast. The first is that which we actually see concerning many who claim to be a part of the church. The second is a command spoken by the Head of the Church Himself – what the church is actually supposed to look like.
Two pictures: the first of selfishness; the second, selflessness.
In many places in scripture, we are assured of one thing: persecution. I used to say to fellow believers that the seeming lack of persecution in America made me a little nervous, for one of the promises in the Bible is that if we live a godly life, we will suffer persecution. Jesus said that the world hated Him and therefore, it also hates us.
Outside of the USA, persecution is rampant. It was only a few years ago that the only people who seemed to know about Christian persecution were ministries like Voice of the Martyrs. Now, it is making the worldwide news on a weekly, if not daily, basis. The devil no longer is working in the shadows. He knows his time is short, and he is working his terror throughout the world.
The church and its leaders in the USA have allowed many unholy things to come into our land. We have been warned for years by old men and women of the faith (many are dead now) that we need to stand up for righteousness and stand against the sin of this age. But in the past six presidential elections we have voted four times as a nation for a pro-abortion president. The first of these men vetoed a bill that would have banned partial-birth abortion. The second of these men made the statement, “God bless planned parenthood,” and has worked vigorously to have taxpayers fund the killing of the unborn. We voted these men into office.
Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron; Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High: Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. Psalm 107:10-13
In January of 1981, the Iranian hostage crisis ended. You may or may not remember it. I was in high school. We had elected a man who said he was a Christian. He was pro-abortion. We really didn’t pay attention to that, otherwise I know my parents would not have voted for him. During his presidency, America was humiliated, crippled by the hostage crisis. And then came a man who wasn’t afraid of the enemy and who was willing to call abortion the murder that it is. He was not afraid to invoke the name of Christ. The day he became president, before he did anything, the hostages were released. And later he stood in front of the Berlin wall and told the leader of the communist world to tear it down!
Do you remember that?? Do you remember President Reagan calling for a revival? (I do.) WHAT HAS HAPPENED??
Do you know that the persecutors were afraid of Reagan? There was persecution in the world. There always has been. But it was not as bold as it is today. I read once that our brothers and sisters in other countries were praying that a certain man win the presidential election, because they knew their lives would be more peaceful if he were elected.
There will always be persecution. Jesus said there would be such. But it can be dulled by our prayers and by our holy living. Daniel was thrown into the lions den. The three Hebrew children were thrown into the fiery furnace. But they were not hurt. They were persecuted, but victorious.
There is something else Jesus said. He said we would have His glory. He said we would have his peace. He said the world would know who we were, who He is, because of our love for each other.
I want to go back to a statement I said earlier. I said that WE voted the ungodly into office. Ever since I started voting, I have always voted pro-life to the best of my ability. I believe this to be a command. “CHOOSE LIFE.” God said that.
Daniel, in praying for the nation of Israel and their sinfulness said:
We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. Daniel 9: 5-6
Daniel identified with the sin of his nation. He was righteous. There is no record of Daniel sinning, but as he stood in the gap for his brothers, he became fully identified with the error of his nation.
Christ fully identified with us. He took our sin upon Himself. He took our poverty. He took our sickness. He took our curse. In the garden, He begged God to be delivered from this cup. But he surrendered and said, “Not My will”.
Our intercessor, Christ, now asks us to do the same. Identify with our nation, with our brothers and sisters in other nations. When we pray, we need to pray for our brethren in Niger and Nigeria and Laos and Iraq and all the lands where living for Christ can mean death. We need to be willing to give our lives to prayer for those who are on the front lines.
As we vote, we need to realize it doesn’t just affect us here in the USA. It affects our brothers and sisters throughout the world. All it took was for a strong leader to be elected in 1980, and the day he took office, the hostages were released. “Why Mary Ann, the election is over two years away!” That means you have ONLY two years to get on that face of yours and cry out to God for a leader who will lead in righteousness! (If it is not too late).
I didn’t mean to write about voting. I meant to write about living a selfless life in praying and identifying with our brethren who are suffering, whose children are being murdered and kidnapped, whose churches are being burned, whose husbands are being jailed and beaten.
We need to do both. We need to pray for safety and for courage. We need to cry out as if they were our family, because they are. I wrote about our TOO STRONG DELIVERER a while back. I wrote about GLORY in the church. Now I write about persecution. And it all fits together.
The early church saw great glory. 3,000 souls the first day, 5,000 souls after the man at the gate beautiful was healed.
Flogged and murdered, the early church grew. By the fifth chapter of the book of Acts, there was such glory that a couple lost their lives lying in church…about money!
And then came a holy fear of God within and without the church. While there were people beaten and martyred, there were also people mightily delivered in the early church.
As we pray for our brethren throughout the world, as we pray for wisdom for our leaders and wisdom for ourselves as we vote for our leaders, let us stir up our faith and build up our faith in the God who promised persecution; but also in the God who promised victory.
Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ. II Corinthians 2:14
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:18-19