It is not supposed to happen in America. However, it has happened quite a bit in recent years and again this past week in a small Texas town where a gunman entered a church with a gun killing twenty-six and critically wounding others. While demonically instigated and hate-filled individuals just assume all that they seek to harm in a church are Christians, in secular settings such as Columbine in Colorado and Umpqua Community College here in Oregon, the assailants coldly asked some of those they would kill, “Are you a Christian?”1 Such targeting is the ultimate form of persecution and of course, martyrdom for the Christians that are slain for whose they are.
Professing American Christianity seems not to want to acknowledge that more and more in this still believed by many to be a “Christian nation” violent targeting of our numbers is occurring and intensifying. Once again for whatever all the reasons including the practice of Christianity the religion of men in all of its forms with various prosperity and escape doctrines, denial is easier. However, as the Lord led me to write in this edited 2010 Commentary, the foretold latter day persecution of Christians (Matthew 24:9) is a reality in many nations. It can no longer be out of mind here because of being out of sight. Hateful persecution of Christians is happening in America and the West too!
An obvious truth in all of this is that American and all other Christians are in fact, still on earth en masse while persecution and tribulation keeps rising. So, as we pray for the “Persecuted Church” on this special Sunday set aside for it, let the faithful realize though we yet have it relatively light here in America compared to our persecuted brethren in other lands, we are included among them. Let us also continue to pray for the surviving wounded and grieving families of the Texas church martyrs.
Originally Published November 2010
After recently reading an article on the current persecution of Chakma Christians by Buddhist extremists in Bangladesh, I was reminded that tribulation or suffering for Christ is quite the norm for many of His followers in many openly anti-Christian parts of the world. This month we remember persecuted Christians with prayer. I am also led by the Lord to again warn Western Christians our time to suffer in like manner is near. We do not want to hear this, of course, and have invented all manner of scenarios that will enable our escape as though fellow Christians in other parts of the world are somehow God's throwaways; people He does not care about as much as He does us.
While it is not my intent to engage in a end time prophecy debate, I do want to point out a reality to all parties planning on the escape of Western Christians from the "great tribulation" spoken of by our Lord Jesus in Matthew 24:15-22 and Mark 13:14-20. That reality is the tribulation our persecuted brethren now endure in several hostile nations is of the same nature as the "great tribulation." Powerful anti-Christ's now kidnap and/or arrest, imprison, torture, maim and kill our brethren as well as destroy their property if they will not renounce faith in Christ. The Chakma Christians in Bangladesh are not even allowed to buy or sell crops unless they openly display Buddhist loyalty.2
Bible students should instantly recognize the buying and selling issue as one that will emerge in the days of the Antichrist as foretold in Revelation 13:16-17. The government of the coming Antichrist will also violently persecute Christians as do the many national governments, terrorist and religious groups today. The only difference in what takes place now and the foretold "great tribulation" under the Antichrist is one of scope and duration; then it will be global and last intensely three and one-half years (Daniel 7:19-25; Revelation 13:1-10).
If God allows His people to experience tribulation past, present and in a foretold future, where do we Westerners get off thinking we have a special exemption from Him who shows no partiality (Acts 10:34-35)? I suspect this expectation of escape in part is tied to the sin bred arrogance of accomplishment Western nations have enjoyed over the past 500 years. Another reason surely grows out of a popular false teaching that God does not let His people suffer. But those of my racial heritage especially that are sons of slaves know better or else are we God’s throwaways too having experienced the severest forms of brutality even after professing faith in Christ?
The call to His people at this hour to become strong men and great women of God is very strategic and biblically consistent. Indeed, all trials and tribulations have the ultimate divine end of testing our faith (Deuteronomy 8:1-6; Psalm 11:4-6; Hebrews 12:1-11; James 1:2-3, 5:10-11; 1 Peter 1:3-9). Judging by the lack of biblical knowledge, spiritual maturity and outright rebellion continuously reported in Christian media, professing Western Christians are not as ready to endure violent tribulation for the faith as our brethren in other parts of the world are doing--though in fairness, the Chakma Christians of Bangladesh are struggling and urgently need our prayers.
The strong man of God in the image of Christ is empowered with His strength and equipped to persevere in faith under the most severe of trials (Ephesians 6:10-18; Revelation 12:11). For this reason Strong Man Ministries through the Strong Man Institute is pleased to be part of God's strategic work to instruct Christians from His Word on the life of the strong man of God. As well, I do the same on the printed page as the Lord leads in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics and its companion resource, The Strong Man Of God Men's Group Study pastors, men's ministry and other Christian leaders can use to equip those they serve.3
At this hour we must pray for and support our persecuted brethren in non-Western nations while we recognize the increase of and prepare more deliberately for our own tribulation (which is even now at the door) because none of God's sons are throwaways! For the record, the "great tribulation" is not God's wrath that He has promised to deliver Christians from (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11). It is Satan's permitted final expression of wrath that comes before God justly pours out His upon unrepentant, reprobate sinners sold out to evil (compare Revelation 12:7-17 and 16:1-21).
1 Oregon Gunman Singled Out Christians During Rampage, October 1, 2015, New York Post.
2 Buddhist Extremists Continue to Persecute Christians, SBC Life, October/November 2010, p. 22. The article can be read online at SBC Life.
3 Learn more about the Strong Man Institute on our Web Site. My book and companion men's group study resource are available through all major internet booksellers
and in the Strong Man Store.
In having made reference to Harvey Weinstein and the sex scandal spinning around him as I did in the introduction to last week’s blog, in follow up, I am led by the Lord not to judge him, but to declare His Word on the ancient use of sex as a tool of power and ambition. Let me be biblically correct from the outset: all sex outside of male and female marriage is sin--period (Genesis 2:18-25)! The beautiful sexual intimacy of marriage God intends for a man and his wife outside of that framework is not only immoral in His eyes, but cheapened and degraded. This is all the more so when sex becomes a medium of exchange for anything including the promise of success in any career field.
Before going further, let me also say that a man should make no further advances on a woman after being firmly rebuffed by her.1 All touching of a female’s body (genitals, breasts, legs, buttocks or any other parts she asks not to be touched) is inappropriate and out of bounds. Intimate touching is to be considered private foreplay between a man and his wife (Proverbs 30:18-19). Rape, of course, is sin before God and men with even a tiny bit of morality and conscience (Genesis 34). Men know all of this, but the tempting work of demons, testosterone driven lust, deceitfulness of sin to include arrogance, conceit, pride, selfishness and evil mindedness easily overrule doing what is right.2
Thus, female prostitution is of the oldest professions and rape, of the oldest crimes on earth because sinful men--many as passionate hedonists--believe they have the manifest right and entitlement to be sexually gratified by women as need, convenience and opportunity present themselves. A natural historical development was that the most powerful of men could command the sexual indulgence of large numbers of women as wives, concubines and slaves (1 Kings 11:1-3). Of the most stinging pain American slavery still holds for many black American males is the sexual abuse and rape of our slave foremothers in some cases even while married to slave husbands.
From such positions of power, typically men have exploited women for sex in exchange for granting them their ambitions. Sinners too and no dummies, rather than as victims, many women have purposely and wickedly leveraged their bodies and sexual talents to manipulate lust filled men weak and powerful to gain what they were after. “You got to use what you got, to get what you want.” So goes the modern female line with roots in very ancient times. In the Bible, Tamar posed as a face covered prostitute to be impregnated by her father-in-law, Judah, (Genesis 38) as one example and Bathsheba surely knew who David was as another (2 Samuel 11:1-5).
Then there are the seductresses like Delilah with Samson who use sex to conquer a man for their own ends and/or payment by their benefactors (Judges 16:1-20). Some are simply in it for the sport and prize of owning a man’s soul as Solomon warns (Proverbs 6:20-7:27). Others, as women of power, pursue men of their choosing (a fact cheered by some feminists today). Potiphar’s wife with Joseph, an aspiring strong man of God is an example.3 In this rare occasion of being rejected, she took vengeance by falsely and successfully crying rape (Genesis 39:1-20). This, by the way, illustrates the ability women still have to this very day to ruin men with false sexual accusations.
As Solomon pensively resigns, “there is nothing new under the sun,” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10, NKJV). More and more women entering the predominantly male work force from the beginning of the industrial revolution until now has seen incidences of male exploitation, harassment and molestation increase. Because of sin, expect this to continue. Hollywood among the industries of recent invention has had moguls such as Harvey Weinstein as accused, to take sexual advantage of female ambitions for stardom. And while much is being made of how wrong this is as it should be, in all balance, the Lord would equally have female aspirants check their character and souls and consider whether ambition for whatever is worth using sex as a means to achieving it (Mark 8:36-37).
Indeed, for do you not know that ambition for anything of this passing world enough to sell your soul or body for is evil (Genesis 3:1-13, 25:29-34; Hebrews 12:12-17)? What all seem to be missing in this current blame game is that the living God is holding accountable both sinful men and women as perpetrators and self-described victims of using sex as a medium of exchange for whatever reasons. Everyone now saying, “me too” that kept silent for the sake of career aspirations rather than real fear of bodily harm or forgiveness; who invited, welcomed or were flattered by advances, sexual language, touches or attempts to “make love” is a deceitful hypocrite with no innocence before God holy, true and just who judges (Psalm 69:5; Proverbs 30:20; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Jeremiah 17:9-10)!
Therefore, neither active seducers, promiscuous fornicators, adulterers, pornographers or exploiters, harassers, abusers, molesters, rapists, prostitutes, pimps or sex traffickers of any human being will endure before God without consequence now and lacking repentance and faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, eternally on Judgment Day (1 Corinthians 6:18; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11; Hebrews 13:4; Revelation 21:8). Let all of the guilty then, repent now! And for all that are true victims of sex related human sin, repent of any bitterness against the perpetrator(s) among your sins and turn to Christ as well in order to receive God’s forgiveness. Then, having been forgiven, be healed in God’s power to forgive those that have harmed you (Mark 11:25-26; Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:30-32).4
1 Ladies, this means you are not and will not be playing coy or hard to get in the ancient game of male pursuit and female “catch me if you can.” Your seriously firm no is
2 As a lightweight wannabe “player” (translated smooth fornicator seeking sexual conquests) in my youth and early young adult years, I was confused at times by females
that gave mixed signals about their interest level in having sex. A half-hearted “no” with the allowance of deep kissing and heavy petting was (and is by most aroused
men) received as an invitation to continue the pursuit which in that wicked mindset, makes the eventual conquest much more gratifying. On the flip side, as I am shameful-
ly aware from those past days, men caught up can easily be construed as having attempted rape when pressing the pursuit after the half-hearted “no” remains consistent.
So, the best policy to follow even with one’s wife not in the mood is to accept “no” as “no” and stop right then. Thank God we Christian men have supernatural help (if
sought) to exercise His “self-control,” (Galatians 5:22-25, NKJV)!
3 Joseph is among men of the Bible I hold up in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics available at all major internet booksellers and in the Strong Man Store.
In an important Appendix of the book, I also speak to Christian men about appropriate sexual conduct before God.
4 Having been molested as a child by two different female teen babysitters and escaped the attempt by a non-immediate family male relative, I know the truth of what I write.
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