Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Appreciate and Act on Your Freedom of Religion

Bill Keller wrote a devotional today that I
recommend to you for your consideration. It has food for
thought. He has given me permission to copy his e-mails,
and I'm sure he would be happy if
you would share this
with people you know as well.

In the United States, we are blessed with freedom to
worship God as we choose. In some other countries
Christians are not so lucky.

Let's all be sure that we use this freedom to honor and
follow God.

Please read on.


( Philippians 3:20, Hebrews 11:13-16, 25, Acts 5:41,
1 Peter 5:10 )

The coming persecution of Christians....IN THE UNITED
STATES! Several months ago, I read about three 15-year-
old high school girls in Indonesia who were beheaded
simply for being Christians. Indonesia is the world's
most populous Muslim nation and killing Christians simply
for being a follower of Christ is a common practice in
many parts of that country. The reality is, in May of
2006 there are MANY places on this planet where it costs
to be a Christian, and that cost is often a person's
life! I submit to you today that there is coming a day
when Christians will be persecuted for their faith, even
unto death, right here in the United States of America!!!

For those of us who have lived our lives in the United
States, we have enjoyed tremendous freedoms to live and
share our faith in virtual peace. The fact is we have
never even begun to experience and can't even comprehend
what many of our brothers and sisters in Christ in other
parts of the world have to endure to simply be a follower
of Jesus Christ. Actually, we should be ashamed of
ourselves. We can go out and start a church and nobody
is going to bother us. We can go out and preach the
Gospel and nobody is going to bother us. We can set up
Internet sites, create TV and radio programs, write
books, make movies, produce music, all to share our faith
in Christ and for the most part nobody is going to bother
us. In fact, there is very little we can't do in May of
2006 here in the United States to live out and share our
faith in Jesus Christ.

In a way, all of this freedom has made us "soft
Christians." I firmly believe after 16 years of
evangelistic ministry that all of the peace and freedom
we have as Christians in this nation make us not really
appreciate our faith in Christ. Instead of our faith
being the most important thing in our life, it is simply
just part of our life like belonging to a country club, or
having a hobby we enjoy. The main reason is that we pay
no price of any kind to get saved since Jesus already paid
that price. But it costs us nothing after we are saved to
be a Believer in Christ here in the United States. Most
who come to know Christ have that "born again" experience
and grow very little in their faith because they put
virtually nothing into their relationship with Christ.
Even the basics like praying and reading the Word each
day, going to church, are too great a sacrifice for most
who call themselves Christians in this nation!

I wonder if a group of men armed with automatic weapons
came into your church on Sunday, told the congregation
they had 5 minutes to denounce Christ and leave the
sanctuary or proclaim Christ as their Savior by staying
with the understanding that those who stayed would be
killed, how many would be left in the pews? I wonder if
you were with 20 people who were taken at gunpoint by a
man who said he would kill anyone who claimed to be a
Christian, and then started asking each person one by one
if they were a follower of Christ, when he got to you what
YOUR answer would be? The sad truth is, most Christians
are afraid to share their faith in Christ with others
simply out of the fear of being laughed at, mocked, and
verbally challenged!!!

These may sound like unrealistic scenarios but they
actually happen all the time in countries around this
world. People are beaten and tortured for their faith
in Christ. People are put into prison for years, for
decades, for being a follower of Jesus. Many people
every day are martyred, killed for proclaiming that Jesus
Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! We are too
busy to pray, yet brothers and sisters in Christ in some
places today are risking their lives to pray. We are too
busy to read the Bible, yet brothers and sisters in Christ
in some places are beaten and put into prison just for
having a copy of God's Word. We have no use for Christ's
church, yet brothers and sisters in the Lord in some
places are killed for having a church service. My friend,
we have it so easy here in the U.S., we take our faith for
granted and instead of it defining who we are, it is
shuffled far down our list of priorities and simply part
of our life like the Tuesday night bowling league we
belong to.

Please, I am so tired of hearing Christians whining about
being persecuted in this country. Because we can't pray
in public schools we are being persecuted? Because the
town hall won't put up a manger scene we are being
persecuted? Because a department store like Wal-Mart
won't say "Merry Christmas" we are being persecuted? That
is not persecution, that is simply part of living in a
society that has chosen to live in rebellion to the God
of the Bible and reject His Truth and Son Jesus Christ!
Should we speak up about these issues? Sure, but please
don't say we are being persecuted. Being persecuted is
when someone takes a machete and chops off your head for
no other reason than you have identified yourself as a
follower of Christ!!!

However, there is coming a day, sooner than any of us
think when we will endure that type of persecution right
here in the United States! Impossible you say? NO, very
possible. We have taken our faith for granted, taken the
great freedoms we enjoy for granted, and there will come
a day when we won't have those freedoms any longer and we
will have to decide how important our faith is to us. At
that time, it will COST to be a Christian. It will COST
to pray. It will COST to read the Word. It will COST to
go to church. It won't cost money but the potential of
being beaten, tortured, thrown in jail, and even killed.
On that day, I wonder how many will be left willing to
pay the cost? Will you?

I love you and care about you so much. I pray today that
this word will cause you to think, cause you to evaluate
your faith. It is easy to say I would die for Jesus, but
would you really? Let me challenge you today. If you
would die for Jesus, will you live for Jesus? If we
really love the Lord as we claim, then He should be the
top priority in our life. Christ should be such a
burning passion in our heart that we should be actively
involved in trying to help everyone we know come to the
saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

When you accepted Jesus into your heart and life by faith,
you gave Him your life. Not just for an hour on Sunday
morning, but ALL of your life! The Bible says it is no
longer your life, that it belongs to Him. If you really
believed that your life is no longer your own, you would
live like it was no longer your own. You would be fully
and completely surrendered to Christ every moment of
every day. It would not be about you, it would be about
Him. It would not be your desires, it would be His
desires. It would not be you that lived, but yea, the
Christ that lives within you!!!

Sadly, it is going to take real persecution in this
nation for God's people to be One. When persecution
comes, we won't be divided any longer by Methodist,
Baptist, Catholic, or Pentecostal, we won't be worried
any longer if this person speaks in tongues or that
person chooses to worship quietly, it won't matter if the
color of your skin is black, white, yellow, or red, only
if you know Jesus. All of the ways we have found to
divide ourselves will be gone and we will be bound simply
by the blood of our Lord, one in Him. Those God raises up
to lead His people in these days of persecution will be
true servants, since there will be no money in serving the
Lord, only sacrifice. Those who want to lead in these
days of persecution won't have people paying to hear them
speak, only people coming to lead them to their death.

But be of good cheer. The Bible proclaims that our
citizenship is NOT of this world We are citizens of a
different world and are simply passing through this one.
Those who know Christ as their Savior understand that
this life is but for a brief season and that we have the
assurance of spending all eternity with Him. They don't
live in fear of death, since death has no hold on the
Believer. Our purpose in this life is to serve and
glorify God with our lives and that will be the only
goal of those who follow Jesus.

In closing, let me leave you with this thought and
challenge. Every day, somewhere on this planet a brother
or sister in Christ is literally giving their life for
their faith. These are courageous men and women of God
who in spite of death have chosen to follow Jesus. I
pray that their lives will encourage YOU today, challenge
YOU today. God has blessed us in this nation to have a
season with great freedoms to live our faith and share
our faith. Instead of taking those freedoms for granted,
causing us to take our faith for granted, let us use
those freedoms to proclaim to this lost and dying world
that Jesus Christ is "the way, the truth, and the life,"
and that nobody comes to the Father except through Him.

In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,
Bill Keller

***If I can help you in any way you can contact me
through my personal email at bkeller@liveprayer.com

ETERNITY? The fact is you will die one day. At
that moment, you will either spend eternity with
the Lord or be cast into everlasting darkness
forever separated from God your creator. To know
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(C) Copyright 2006, Bill Keller Ministries.
All rights reserved


May God bless you as you learn from this message!

Donald W. Mitchell, Your Dream Concierge

Copyright 2006 Donald W. Mitchell


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