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The Persecuted Church

 

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Written on Sept.14, 2001

On September 11 2001 we were all shocked and distraught to see the worst of human behavior in the most devastating way. What we knew could possibly happen, did! We watched thousands of innocent people killed by political/religious zealots. 

The concerns of terrorism in America began to take a more serious side at the end of 1999 going into the year 2000, when we all thought that y2K would be the time terrorist would strike.

We have had numerous near misses in America as many were caught before they could do the act. In the year 2,000 there were 392 terrorist attacks around the world, of which America was excluded from. Tuesday was a concerted planned effort by a certain group of men representing many others. They aimed at the core of our nation-- our freedom, the very heart of what we are about.

I was up at night when it first began, and stayed up through the night watching it transpire on the TV. Shock set in from the first report of seeing of the suicide attacks using our own people as a sacrifice and planes as weapons. We have watched the most agonizing presentation of sheer evil that has been seen since Hitler.

We grieve along with those who were directly affected from this, I donít think any of us can say we are not affected, none of us will ever be the same. It is just such a terrible atrocity that words cannot be expressed.

America which is a symbol of freedom has been attacked, we have been attacked because in some eyes we are a Christian nation and are hated for what we are. Whether we are a Christian nation or not, is in the eyes of the beholder. Besides what America stands for, it is our aligning with Israel, calling them our friend that has become another major reason for this attack. Israel stands alone among their enemies. We now know what Israel has been going through. They have been living with this type of terror daily. Where itís not safe on their streets and war is always in the back of their mind.

As I watched through the week of the news reports of the heartbreaking stories and to those who experienced Godís mercy I went through many emotions, from sadness to anger. We all mourn along with those who have lost loved ones. As we mourn we can be assured God is close to the broken hearted and he hears our prayers.

What can be said about this that you have not already heard? There are some things that have not been discussed, there is a meaning behind it all. What is this all really about? From what I understand it was 10 years before on September 11 president Bush senior vowed to congress Saddam Hussain would fall. We find this attack on America to be not only a political attack, but a religious one. This will become evident of it is not already. We cannot separate the religious aspect of it. All the planning necessary to pull this horrible act shows the determination fueled by hatred from some who have interpreted their religion a certain way. While the media has presented to us kidnappings, car bombs, suicide bombs and civil wars for Islam, this is not the whole picture. Muslims throughout the world are affected by their local customs, their leaders and political agendas which have a great influence. There are different schools of Islamic law and interpretations. Most in America live a quiet life and practice their religion. It is not the same elsewhere. We have heard that over100 Muslims died in the terrorist attack as well. But to those who did this attack they saw them as siding with America, unfortunately they too are considered casualties of war.

The individual opinion of Muslims does not have any bearing on what the Quran actually says. They are to obey the Qur'an, they are not to have their own opinions on these matters. What we hearing in the media are liberal Muslim spokesmen and women who choose out of the Quaran what they want to practice just as there are liberal Christians who choose what they want, and do not believe what the Bible actually says.

Colin Powell had said no religion condones this act. Heís wrong. The worst kind of representation of a religion is when life is taken in the name of a God they follow. What we are seeing are two different Islamís. The ancient Islam where they live in the old world, and modern Islam which is more liberal, tolerant, that would condemn this kind of activity. It becomes apparent that things do not mean the same to everyone, and what some value, others may not. We must take the time to study this religion to determine what the Qur'an is actually teaching, and how do some interpret it. To know this, is to know why they did this. What I have heard from most of the media is that it is only a small group of fundamentalists doing this terrorism around the world. This may be true, but who are the fundamentalists? There are two sects of Islam, Shiites and Sunnis. The Sunnis which are near 90% are the majority and appear to be more liberal in their interpretation. But with an immense population we have the other 10% who are called fundamentalists, they make up about 100 million. However Bin Laden as far as I know is a Sunni. So this kind of act is not limited to a certain sect, but a certain mindset.

We can be sure of the motivation behind this kind of murder; and to attribute this activity to God in any way is ludicrous. It is not America who is the great Satan. 

What was meant to weaken America only made us stronger, what was meant to bring fear has brought tremendous courage despite the circumstances, what was meant to divide has brought us together. Iím fully confident what they meant for evil God will use for the good, a lasting good. But there is a condition-- if we turn to God, the true God in Jesus Christ.

As Christians what is our reaction to be and to WHOM? Besides the immediate human response of horror , disgust and anger welling up inside, there must come the overriding response of the Spirit, to have compassion, patience not only for those who have perished and the lives torn apart, but to those who are of the Muslim religion.. We are going to need to go out of our way and not make individual people guilty by ethnicity. Many are in confusion and are feeling things never felt before, I realize that there is extreme amount of anger that has to be controlled. But we cannot stoop to the same level of mindless barbarianism. No act no matter how horrific is to be reacted to in the same way lest we hurt innocent people as well.

We need to remember even terrorists were once children, they played and laughed like the rest of usÖbut something went wrong along the way in their growing up, they were influenced into another way to live, with hatred and revenge and a stark disregard for human life.

The Bible teaches that from one man came all flesh, that we are all made in the image of God; none are excluded. Whether we agree with ones religion, nationality, we should never use force to change them. As God has given the principle you shall not kill, whoever sheds mans blood his blood will be shed.

The Bible says in Romans 13:1-4 ďLet every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.Ē

As Christians we should not think of bringing harm to another, we do not revile when we are reviled. God will repay, He does this through the government now, and He will certainly judge them later.

In the Old Testament when Israel was in sin and went to battle, they lost. We need to pray for the battle that is ahead for America, that God will keep us because we keep him, that our men be protected to do a job that no one asked for.

I believe it is time for the Muslim community to be united in condemning this and any act like it, and those who celebrate in it. If these terrorists are not Muslim, if they do not worship or follow Allah, then come out and publicly say it, and put pressure on those who have an influence over others who think this way. Just as those who claim they are Christian who use force and bomb others who differ, are equally wrong and are under the judgment of God for doing so.

I was stunned to see Arafat on TV giving blood; someone said he should have his blood tested for hypocrisy. This is man who has so much blood on his hands. He trains terrorists and then makes a public gesture as if he is sorrowful for what happened. Was this an advertisement, propaganda to soothe ill feelings and to distance himself from this attack? Time will tell whether he has a role in this.

I was amazed, as well as moved to see congress on capitol hill spontaneously sing together, both Democrats and Republicans God bless America. We sing God bless America in unison but do we understand our words and what they mean? Will we continue to slaughter our own innocent, our babies in the name of personal rights to ones body? Will we continue to worship the God of our own imagination and reject the true one? Will we repent? Will our repentance be true or temporary? Everyone calls for God when their self sufficiency fails, even atheists ask for Godís help when they are in foxholes. God will not hear our prayer unless we repent. We need to change our way of living and turn toward God to have His blessings again.

I canít help think when Israel strayed from God they were taken captive by a small but ruthless people less powerful than they. I donít want to make too much out of this except to say God is calling us back to be real-- to be real in who we are and what we say.

God who loves us and America, He has given us a wake-up call. But this is not just a wake up call to America but specifically to the church, which is supposed to be the backbone of the country. If we want to see Godís continuous hand of protection over our Country we must do what God asks. When Israel turned away from the true God they forced themselves to be judged, I canít help but see the similarity. This in no way endorses the atrocity that has happened to the people of NY. But we have been under the hand of judgment for many years, have we been paying attention to the judgments. We have an increase in diseases, crime, homelessness, immorality, all the hardships of a society that has no salt or light in it any longer. When we turn our backs on God He takes his protection away to get our attention. If we turn back to him He will have mercy. Its not the sinner God asks to turn back first but the Church, as 2 Chronicles 7 asks if my people who are called by My name will turn from their wicked ways. If the Lord asks all people to repent, how much more the church that is to be the example to the world.

I canít help but think of a story Jesus told of another tower found in Luke 13. They asked Jesus why the tower of Siloam fell on the people. Jesus did not answer them directly but said unless you repent you will all likewise perish. We are no better or worse than they.

We as the church need to get real about our message and our treatment of other human beings. Do we see their value in Godís eyes or are we just going by in our daily routine as if sleepwalking. Can we still gather together for our personal blessings while the needy stay in need? Can we still sit and learn when we are not motivated to share the truth we learn with others? Are you going to continue the same way you have. Life cannot go on as usual when we see this happening in our country, whether you are personally touched by this tragedy or not. We will all be affected in many ways, it will not be the same.

I was recently asked by a friend ďwhat should we do now?Ē I think from the Christian perspective we should do what we always should have been doing, giving out the gospel by word and living it out by deed.

Maybe youíre one who has not done this, its time Hopefully this catastrophic event has awakened you from your slumber to realize that none of us know what tomorrow brings, and we need to be prepared for eternity.

God is love and as Christians we are have the image of God restored. True faith works with love, both are actions that we must do. I John  3:18-22 ďMy little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.Ē

Love is not just a FEELING -BUT AN ACTION. It is shown in a commitment, as Christians we are to have a commitment to the truth and to follow Christ. Just as God had shown his love by sending his own son into the world to die for all who are his enemies because of our sin Jn.3:16.

We are told in Scripture these things will occur. Disasters will happen, wars will increase, earthquakes will increase. Jesus said see to it that you are not frightened. I John 4:18-19 ďThere is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.Ē A Christian walking in the spirit canít be frightened, he has the peace of God that passes all understanding. We canít solve peace in the world but we can give peace to individual hearts by the gospel, but to do this we must be at peace with God ourselves.

When we see such an atrocious act like this last week the question always comes up why God permit evil?

God has given mankind free choice, the entire universe is ultimately under Godís control, but not everything that happens is according to his will. There us still evil in our world. Nothing happens that God is not aware of, but He allows evil to continue even though it is not his will. God does he want evil to rule over us. It was a foreign intrusion to mankind, yet he did not stop it when it first began, but instead made a provision for it. Their is coming a day when this will be taken care of, but right now we are in position of grace where God is commanding all men everywhere to repent while we live in this fallen world. Man has been given a free will-we can choose what we want. We sin because we want to sin, it is our natural inclination. We all exercise free choice in the direction of our nature which is inherited from the "fall" of man. We follow our strongest nature at any given time, we are not morally inclined toward God. This is the basic reason for evil and suffering in the world. It is temporarily man's responsibility, not God's. God could stop all evil, but He offers us choice and by doing so a chance to grow and be genuine in doing hat is right from the heart. He waits giving us time to repent out of his love to see us not reap the eternal repercussions of our wrong choices of sin. He waits very patiently.

It is worth noting that the whole point of real Christianity lies not in interfering with the human ability to choose, but in God allowing for us to choose good over the evil. To do what he asks willingly, makes it an authentic choice from our heart and will, it becomes our choice not his. One day Christ will come back and destroy all evil in one fell swoop, whose side will be on. You canít switch sides at the last moment. If youíre not on his side today will you have time to be on his side tomorrow? what if tomorrow never comes.

What is the price of freedom? It can be quite high, many people have given their lives on the battlefield of other countries to set the people free, some whom they never met. These are all acts of the highest ideal in man, motivated by love and with the intent toward the greater good.

Jesus states in John 15:13 ďGreater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.Ē While we can die for friends and those who have the same ideals and principles, there is only one who gave his life for his enemies.

What about you reading this? With all the wars fought through history to bring freedom, there is a greater freedom that was bought by one man, one who fought for your soul to be rescued. Jesus Christ who being completely innocent died for the guilty. While we can point our fingers at those who are guilty and seek justice to punish them of this heinous act, lets not forget we are all equally guilty before God.

What about us? Before we as Christians can say well Iím forgiven, we should examine our commitment.

We are guilty for not telling the people of how to be rescued from sin. We have been cold and indifferent towards the gospel. We need to repent for not practicing the truth that we all affirm to hold so dear; because we as Christians, not as Americans, but Christians, have the knowledge of the truth and yet we neglect to tell others. Why? Because we just donít seem to see the urgency to tell it. If we want revival, real revival there is an element necessary for it to take place, repentance. We need to be real first if we want to see others affected around us. People have talked about revival for years, some have said we have been in revival with some of the most errant and silly things ever done to prove it. Historically revival will follow a time of persecution, we donít want to miss this opportunity that is at our door.

We will eventually rebuild the buildings and the lives ravaged by this act of violence will take much time. but the most important factor in this will be to rebuild our foundation in Christ, in our lives individually and in our nation. Let's pray for our nation that it would find its way back to God, not in the generic sense as we are seeing but in Jesus Christ.

If you want to make sense out of this tragedy it can only come from knowing your creator. If you want peace of mind and peace in your heart you must turn your life over to Lord, he loves you beyond any human love you have experienced. He has wonderful plans despite any state of sin you may be in. He takes you as you are and pours His power into you to change you.

You may ask yourself ďhow do I repent?Ē Maybe you have been lukewarm for so long you donít know the way back. Maybe you have tried to come back to the Lord many times but failed, or you tried, you struggled as it only lasts for a while. These are matters of the heart and our will. To repent means to turn from the direction you have been going, it means to give up the things you have been doing and turn towards God, to make a 180 degree turnaround. It means to be honest and upfront, to be open with God. It says in Heb 4:13 ďNeither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.Ē God already knows, what he wants us to do is admit it to ourselves and humble ourselves by confessing the wrong to Him. It may take great effort on your part to turn away from the way you have been going, their would be no hesitation one you are turning to can be trusted, he will never let you down and will always be there for you, to comfort you in your trials and pain

Letís continue to pray that God would do a work in the peoples hearts and use this horrendous tragedy for the greater good. And would bring many to know Him through this. That it would be Godís Spirit that would hunt down those who practice terrorism and bring a strong conviction to those who committed this heinous crime and those planning to do so in future, that a torment would be in their soul, and that they would repent. That they would have no peace until they do, as Scripture says, there is no peace for the wicked.

America started as a nation with Christ as our foundation; hopefully we will finish with Him. For He is both yours and my only hope! May God Bless America again as we turn toward Him.

Touched by an angel The Gospel in the Stars  The Sermon on the Mount  The Bible Code
Traditional Marriage Religions Started by Angels   Parables for the covetous Genesis-Days or Ages
Amway- Is it Gods way? Drugs The Prince of Egypt ? The Truth about Abortion Abortion facts
The Gospel of UNITY NBC's Noah's Ark The Omega Code Poke'mon Harry Potter
America where are thou? y2k, the aftermath  Cleansing Stream Suicide

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