DayBreaks for 11/14/19: It Is Here
From the DayBreaks archive, November 2009:
All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you. – John 16:1-4 (NIV)
Jesus often couched his messages and teaching in riddles or parables that were designed to be understood only by those who had open hearts and eyes. In what is surely a sad commentary on human nature, not even those who were the closest to Him often grasped what He meant. But in this passage from John 16, Jesus spoke in point blank terms. There was no mistaking His message to those who followed Him: “…a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God.”
We have lived in religious freedom in the United States of America for about 235 years. What a blessing! I fear that we’ve come to a point in our country where we no longer experience much religious freedom. Of course, I’m speaking in relative terms – we have far greater religious freedom than in China where churches are forced underground, or in Muslim countries or even in countries where Buddhism or Hinduism are practices. In such countries, lives are sacrificed – literally – on the altar of obedience to God every day. We aren’t there yet in the United States. I hope we never will be – but such hoping on my part may just be wishful thinking for myself and those I love. It may be best for the kingdom of God if such persecution were to come to this land.
Seldom does persecution arrive “full blown.” There are usually steps and phases – the proverbial slippery slope – where small things are first lost. Then, if no one notices or raises an alarm, the next step is taken…and the next…and the next, until finally one wakes up to find the persecutor knocking on the door. Think it isn’t happening here? Consider this excerpt from “Cross and Culture”, an evangelical blog written by my youngest son, Tim: “Bill McGurn has an excellent article on two “Christian Girls, Interrupted.” The first girl, Amanda Kurowski, was ordered by a judge to attend public school because, essentially, the judge determined that the girl should be exposed to ways of thinking other than those of her religious parents. Amanda’s parents are divorced; her mother has primary custody, but her father has been concerned about the effect of home-schooling on her “socialization.”
“The judge determined “that Amanda is generally likeable and well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising, and intellectually at or superior to grade level.” Yet due to her “rigidity on faith,” the court concludes that Amanda “would be best served by exposure to different points of view at a time in her life when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief and behavior and cooperation in order to select, as a young adult, which of those systems will best suit her own needs.” In other words, the judge determines, essentially, that she must be sent to public school in order to get away from her mother’s narrow religiosity and be exposed to other worldviews. Pretty extraordinary stuff. As McGurn writes, “Just how extraordinary [this line of reasoning is] might best be appreciated by contemplating the opposite scenario: the reaction that would ensue were a court to order a young girl out of a public school and into an evangelical one so she might gain “exposure” to other “systems of belief.”
Religious freedom still exists in America – provided you aren’t a vocal Christian of the evangelical stripe. Are you ready for the knock on the door? Will your faith stand the test – or has it already been compromised?
PRAYER: Lord, we pray for renewal and repentance in our country that we might return to You! We pray that we would love our enemies, regardless of what they might do to us, that Your kingdom may grow. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>