Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bullets and Swords and the True Faith

A Martyr.

Another Martyr.

And another Martyr.

To fully understand and appreciate this story and all its ramifications, we must put down our western eyes and pick up the eyes of God’s Spirit. In the third link is a man who believes on Jesus. He is not a conservative. He is not a proclaimed pro-lifer. He does not boldly state his position on traditional marriage. He has no economic policy except to feed his family. This man has become a believing follower of Jesus, and not just in word, but he is active in the underground Christian church in an extremely hostile environment in the predominantly Islamic country of Somalia.

He was not involved with attempting to change the political ways of his country, and he was not gathering votes. He was not invited to appear on talk shows, and he did not listen to Rush Limbaugh or Shawn Hannity. He attended no Tea party rallies, and he did not consider the founding fathers of Somalia as anything before God. He had a wife and four children which were put in jeopardy when he served Christ, but because he had an experience with the Risen Christ he could do no less.

He was a true servant of Jesus Christ. His name and life would have never been publicized except under the circumstances of his death. While certain preachers in the west are heralded as spiritual giants and have made massive amounts of money personally, this man lived a moderate and humble life. No television programs; no best selling books; no huge auditoriums; just a humble servant of Jesus. There can be only one conclusion: Either this man was following the true Jesus, or we in the west are. It cannot be both.

Now this kind of martyrdom happens frequently around the world. But the stories are such downers, most local churches would never read them from the pulpit for fear it would quench the contrived uplifting spirit the service is designed to create. Visitors might be turned off, and if these kinds of stories were read regularly the congregation just may get the idea that spending millions on large meeting places is a waste considering the plight of believers around the world. And besides, there are mortgages to be paid so the overwhelming portion of the offering must stay in the States.

How far have we wandered from Christ? Do we even acknowledge that these are our brothers and sisters in Christ, or because they do not live in our country do we consider them second class citizens and mostly good for a moving story? Countries like Somalia, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, and many others regularly put Christians to death and imprison many others. Their families are persecuted and they struggle to survive, and yet we live in spiritual Disneyland and remain oblivious to their plight because we are blinded by our own selfish concerns.

There are literally thousands of persecutions that go on weekly around the world which have nothing to do with moral and political issues. These believers are persecuted because they name the name of Jesus and profess to be His followers. While we raise up church giants through advertisements and widespread media, God raises up spiritual giants by the edge of the sword. While we spend millions on conferences these believers spend their lives for Jesus. While we take “Christian cruises” these believes take a bloody journey to heaven.

To say the western church has committed apostasy is now almost an understatement. We have systematically constructed a new and different religion and placed the label “Christian” upon it. It says it is Christian, but like a fake Rolex watch it is anything but the genuine article. While the true faith is made in heaven, this kind of religion is man made. But all over the world there are widows and fatherless children as well as orphans who have watched as their spouses and parents have gone faithfully to their death. Therein lies the glory of God.

Take a moment and reflect on such things. And in that light can you not at least see that there is something wrong here? The western believer complains about politics and taxes and gas prices and house equities and liberals and gays and socialists and health insurance and neighbors and all kinds of things. It is a carousel of carnality which goes on not only unabated, but is encouraged by the church. And today, this very day, someone will die because he or she was a follower of Jesus. And the western church cries crocodile tears when we are spoken against. Christians even suggest that we are being persecuted here in the west because people speak against us or because we cannot have a manger scene at city hall. What a complete sham!

But while we recline in the prosperous atmosphere here, bullets fly, swords slash, and heads are chopped off. And what is the church’s response in the west? All night prayer meetings? No! sacrificial giving to our brothers and sisters in peril? No! More volunteers to go oversees to spread the gospel? No! Brokenness before our Lord? No! The western church loudly proclaims how horrible the Islamic faith is and we soothe each other’s conscience because we are not like them. How many sermons and books and articles are written that denunciate Islam and provide a laundry list of its despicable nature. And of what redemptive value is that? We continue to live in our own cocoon.

Oh Dear Lord, break our hearts today. We have lived unto ourselves, and while our brothers and sisters have suffered greatly we have lived in abundance. We have self righteously suggested we are being persecuted while blood continues to be spilled around the world. We have become despondent over elections while widows and orphans still strive to serve Christ. We have complained about our own circumstances while millions of our brethren suffer need.

Lord, we need a mighty move of Your Spirit in our lives and in our churches. We cannot and will not seek it ourselves, so You must do in us what we do not even desire to be done.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Wow Rick This study of two kinds of Faith Kelli had posted under Sleeping At the Apocalypse is a ministry to me and it answers so many questions. I appreciate the subject matter of "True Faith". The Lord has ministered to me through this teaching. I pray the same for those whom the Lord will lead to read through it. I would appreciate feedback from any who would read it.