It has been a few days since I have posted anything here on wordpress- We have been studying what the Bible says about personal finances. We have covered a lot of ground and have a lot more to cover. But for right now, I want to focus on something else – Before we started the study on person finance we looked at the epistle of 1 Peter, a letter that Peter wrote to encourage the churches that were being persecuted and in that letter Peter gives guidelines on how to respond when one is being persecuted. I have not covered too much of that in my blogs but have talked about churches and individuals being persecuted on my blogtalk radio program. You can hear it on Wednesdays from 9:00-10:00 pm and immediately precedeing my program in Bishop Manley’s My Prayer Closet from 8:00-9:00 Pm. Here is the link for the programs:
We here in the US have been fortunate in that we do not face the kind of persecution that others throughout the world face. My fear is though, that as I see the culture becoming more and more secular and worldly it is coming- the politicians have even been discussing changing our freedom of religion to fredom of worship. This is not a good thing! We have the freedom to exercise our religion openly, we can evangleize- which is the last commandment that Jesus gave to us before He ascending into Heaven – that commandment is also know as The Great Commission. Under what is called freedom of worship is that we have to keep the practice of our faith in the church building and in our homes. That is just the beginning of the restriction an out of control government would bring into being. As it stands now the US Constitution puts no restrictions on the church but says that Congress shall not. The phrase separation of church and state does not appear anywhere in the constitution. Many people do not know that, as the that phrase as been banterd about for the last several years. Where that phrase comes from is from a private letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to a church leader that was a friend of his. The was some type of conflict in the church and the church leader wanted President Jefferson to come to the church meeting as a government official and settle the dispute. Jefferson refuse saying that he did not think that the government should be involved in the churces business and that there should be a wall of seperation between the church and the government. That wall was to be the government staying out of the churches business , not the other way around. Notice that Jefferson never said that the church should not involved in the government. Somehow, today this letter has been misquoted and misapplied and now we are in danger of losing that freedom of religion. Folks, it may come down to what your first priority is- This is for those in the US- are you and Ameircan first or a Christian first? Do not get me wrong- I love my country, but when it comes right down to it- I have to serve Christ first. In the last few years there have some cases of Christians being arrested for procaliming the gospel, in California that was a home Bible Study group that was fined for meeting in someone’s home. Just recently there some Catholic priests and some Protestant church leasders that were arrested for praying on the White House lawn in protest of the Obamacare mandate that has been in the news. How much more peaceful protest can there be than praying? This was a clear violation of both rights guarnteed by the firt amendment. Which reads like this:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
In the case of the Priests – their whole first amendment rights were violated – with the arrest order coming from the White House itself. I do not know WHO issued the order but here we are! What is my point in all this? We are in danger of losing these precious rights because we, as Christians and as the church as a whole have been silent while these freedoms have been quitely chipped away and we have said nothing. It is time to speak out! Speak up for Jesus! We need to speak the Truth in love. This nation was founded by brave men who came here to escape religious persecution. I sincerely believe, the United States was raised up as a nation under God for the express purpose of spreading the Gospel of Christ. But in the last fifty years we have turned our back on God and when a nation does that He will remove His hedge of protection and discipline that nation. We as a nation must have a spiritual revival or God will abandon us, 9/11 was a divine warning that was heeded for only a short time. God willl use pagan nations and peoples to discipline His own. We can see many examples of that in the history of Israel from the Old Testament. For examples of where we could be headed as Christian check this link out:
1 Peter 4
New Living Translation (NLT)
1 Peter 4
Living for God
1 So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.[a] 2 You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. 3 You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.
4 Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. 5 But remember that they will have to face God, who will judge everyone, both the living and the dead. 6 That is why the Good News was preached to those who are now dead[b]—so although they were destined to die like all people,[c] they now live forever with God in the Spirit.[d]
7 The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. 8 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.
10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.
Suffering for Being a Christian
12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
14 So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian,[e] for then the glorious Spirit of God[f] rests upon you.[g] 15 If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. 16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! 17 For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? 18 And also,
“If the righteous are barely saved,
what will happen to godless sinners?”[h]
- 1 Peter 4:1 Or For the one [or One] who has suffered physically has finished with sin.
- 1 Peter 4:6 Greek preached even to the dead.
- 1 Peter 4:6 Or so although people had judged them worthy of death.
- 1 Peter 4:6 Or in spirit.
- 1 Peter 4:14 Greek for the name of Christ.
- 1 Peter 4:14 Or for the glory of God, which is his Spirit.
- 1 Peter 4:14 Some manuscripts add On their part he is blasphemed, but on your part he is glorified.
- 1 Peter 4:18 Prov 11:31 (Greek version).